Archive of former news items

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The information below was originally presented in the News & Events section of the Portal site and has since been moved here for archiving. The order is in reverse date order, with the newest items on top.


Contents

ROMANIA: Identification key for gymnospermae - in Romanian (Cluj, 10 Dec 2009)

After the local training workshop with biology teachers in Cluj (Nov 2009), professors Felicia Boar ( Vocational Training College on Environment Protection) and Adelhaiad Kerekes (Cluj Inspectorate for Education) have designed a tool for the identification of different species of gymospermae from the school's park. This tool is entirely HTML-based. Other K2N tools on this topic: Spanish version for identification of gymonspermae, based on JKey Editor. Technical implementation realised by UTCN. Access the tool (in Romanian)..., See the training plan (in Romanian)....

ROMANIA: Printable keys available (Cluj-Napoca, 8 Dec 2009)

With the support of University of Trieste (P.L.Nimis and S.Martellos), the on-line key to woody plants of the Dendrological Parc of Bistrita is now available in a printable format. This key can be used in the field by schools which do not have PDAs or pocket PCs. Currently (8 Dec 2009), there are many available printable keys produced by KeyToNature, e.g: Romanian, Slovenian and Italian.

PORTUGAL: Teaching and Learning 2009:"Excellence and Quality: Timeless Challenges in Education"(Oporto, 7-9 December 2009)

The conference covered all areas around Education from teaching to learning perspectives. It was held in Oporto, Portugal, from 7th to 9th December. Stefano Martellos (Project Dryades), presented in an oral session the new Open Key Editor, recently produced in a joint effort by ETI Bioinformatics and Project Dryades.

ROMANIA: Call for EU project collaboration with Romanian schools (Cluj, 3 Dec 2009)

The "Cluj Inspectorate for Education", under the initiative of inspector for biology, calls the associated schools of K2N partners to collaborate, to share the K2N experiences and to propose new European projects starting from K2N tools. Read the Call for Collaboration for more details.

ROMANIA: K2N Workshop with the teachers (Cluj-Napoca, 18 November 2009)

The K2N partner "Technical University of Cluj-Napoca" and the "Local Inspectorate for Education" have organised a K2N workhop for the teachers of biology at the "Constantin Brancusi School". The aim was to update the teachers with the new identification key developments in K2N (JKey, Open Key Editor), to demonstrate the usage of the new keys (street trees, garden birds) and how to use the search tools available in K2N. New interested teachers have been enrolled in specific K2N actions for the schools and a programme of activities has been agreed.
See the workshop agenda, the list of participants and the agreed programme of activities. (in Romanian)

FRANCE: Results of K2N project have been presented at TDWG2009 Annual Conference (Montpellier, 10 November 2009)

Among 300 participants at the TDWG 2009 Annual Conference "e-Knowledge about biodiversity and agriculture", the K2N project has been represented by 3 participants: Dr. Gregor Hagedorn, Prof. Mircea Giurgiu and Ing. Stephan Opitz. They have participated with two paper presentations: "IBIS-ID, an Adobe FLEX based identification tool for SDD-encoded multi-access keys" (presented by Mircea Giurgiu, Proceedings of TDWG2009, pag.90) and "The jKey wiki key player and builder" (presented by Gregor Hagedorn, Proceedings of TDWG2009, pag.79)).

ITALY: First National Meeting of KeyToNature (Brescia, September, 9th, 2009)

The first National meeting of KeyToNature, held in Brescia on September 9th was a big success, with c. 150 persons attending. The event was introduced by the hosting institution, the Natural History Museum of Brescia, by the Municipality of Brescia and by two Associate Members of KeyToNature,the Italian Lichen Society and the Federation of Italian Scientific Museums. A general presentation of KeyToNature by the Coordinator of KeyToNature prof. Pier Luigi Nimis was followed by the illustration of activities in schools and universities by Proff. Elena Tuzzi, Prof. Maria Bellavite and Prof. Eva Barreno (University of Valencia, another Associate Member of KeyToNature). All partecipants received the multimedial box of KeyToNature, containing keys and e-learning modules on lichens and vascular plants. The interest of the partecipants was very high, resulting in several proposals of collaboration for the development of new projects.

UNITED KINGDOM: KeyToNature and OPAL: a project on lichens as indicators of air quality (September, 7th, 2009)

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL), an Associate Member of KeyToNature, is launching a project for schools, centered on lichens as indicators of air quality (http://www.opalexplorenature.org/?q=AirSurvey). KeyToNature has collaborated to the project with the production of an interactive key to common epiphytic lichens of England (http://dbiodbs.units.it/carso/chiavi_pub21?sc=351) prepared in collaboration between the Natural History Museum of London and the University of Trieste. The key also includes pictures and drawings from the University of Tartu (Estonia). A e-learning tutorial on lichens was also associated to the key: this is an abridged version of 4 e-learning modules developed in Italian by two further Associate Members of KeyToNature, the CIRDA-Lab of the University of Turin and the Italian Lichen Society (translation and adaptation to the UK situation by Pat Wolseley - NHML). Altogether, the contribution of KeyToNature to the OPAL project has involved 3 partners and 3 Associate Members.

BULGARIA: The Faculty of Biology of the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" became a K2N Associate Member (28. 08. 2009)

With a letter by professor Pier Luigi Nimis - the K2N project coordinator, the Management of the Faculty of Biology of the Sofia University have been officially informed about the K2N Consortium approval of the Faculty's Associate Membership application. One can learn more about the profile and the associate membership roles of the faculty at the Bulgarian section of the Associate Membership page.

ITALY: Mobile-Packager now available - (Sestri Levante, August 22nd, 2009)

Mobile Packager is a tool for improving key quality. It can be used in mobility ensuring the correctness of location. Typical scenario is a school-trip in which students shot photos with their mobile phones and teachers select the best photos for updating Dryades keys (through key-editor). This is the user manual showing the application from user point of view and focusing on the importance of metadata. The Installation Kit is available on VE-Forum and you can install it on your mobile phone and on your server (if you have any) Try yourself!
Screenshot

BULGARIA: Bikam opened a special Shared Space for K2N-related presentations at SlideShare.net (August 2009)

Bikam opened a special Shared Space for K2N-related presentations at SlideShare.net. The purpose of the space is to freely and publicly share K2N-related presentations and other documents (mainly in Bulgarian) that can be of use for the K2N-audience in Bulgaria - mainly to teachers, but also to students and all other interested parties. For this purpose a special SlideShare user account was created, named "KeyToNatureBulgaria". In addition to the shared presentations, the account gives other basic information about the K2N project and the role of Bikam Ltd. as a partner in it.
The first 5 shared presentations in Bulgarian are part of the training materials from the Dissemination and training course-seminar "K2N e-Keys and e-Learning for Biodiversity education" (2-3 April, 2009, Sofia).
The web-location of the Bulgarian K2N Shared Space is: http://www.slideshare.net/KeyToNatureBulgaria
Please come, see, read, and download!

BULGARIA: 317 K2N feedback questionnaires (Usability and Teachers’) in total have been filled-in from May to July 2009 (31. 07. 2009)

Until the end of July 2009, 24 testing events have been conducted by 13 organisations in Bulgaria, of which:

  • One Primary school (grades 1-8)
  • Four General comprehensive schools (grades 1-12, Primary and Secondary level of education)
  • Three Gymnasia (grades 8-12/13) of which one Professional, and two - for Specialised general education – Languages, Math, and Science
  • One In-Service Teacher Training University Department (the users being teachers average age 40)
  • Three Biology / Science University Faculties (the users being undergraduate students)

As a result:

  • 282 Usability Questionnaires have been filled-in (258 by pupils/students, and 24 by test-administering teachers)
  • 24 Short Teacher Questionnaires, and 11 Full Teacher Questionnaires have been answered by test-administering teachers

THE NETHERLANDS: KeyToNature at Systematics 2009 - (Leiden, The Netherlands, 11-14 August 2009)

At the the meeting of the Systematics Association - the Federation of European Biological Systematic Societies - held in Leiden (11-14th, August 2009), KeyToNature showed up with three speakers: 1) Gregor Hagedorn talked on community-driven keys in the WikiMedia environment, 2) Pier Luigi Nimis lectured on adapting interactive identification tools to user's needs, 3) Peter Schalk gave a general presentation on KeyToNature at the project’s half term. The talks stimulated the interest of several people-projects-organisations potentially interested to collaborate with KeyToNature. This was also the occasion for an informal meeting with Régine Vignes-Lebbe (EDIT), devoted to the organisation of a joint meeting (EDIT + KeyToNature), centered on identification tools, to be held in Paris in september 2010.

More info about the event is here: www.biosyst.eu.

BULGARIA: The Faculty of Natural Sciences of the "Konstantin Preslavsky" University of Shumen became a K2N Associate Member (03. 07. 2009)

With a letter by professor Pier Luigi Nimis - the K2N project coordinator, the Management of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the "Konstantin Preslavsky" University of Shumen have been officially informed about the K2N Consortium approval of the Faculty's Associate Membership application. One can learn more about the profile and the associate membership roles of the faculty at the Bulgarian section of the Associate Membership page.

ITALY: KeyToNature Technology Transfer Day (Trieste, 11 June 2009)

Reliable tools for the identification of organisms are important in the economic-social field, such as in health care (pathogens), food industry, agriculture (pests), fisheries. forestry, conservation, etc.

On June, 11th, 2009 the University of Trieste, together with T&B e Associati Srl and Enterprise Europe Network has organized the first KeyToNature Technology Transfer Day, held at the AREA Science Park near Trieste.

The event was centered on the emerging areas of Biodiversity Informatics and Bioinformatics (molecular biology), focusing on the new, powerful tools for the identification of animals, plants and fungi, based on widely different, but converging technologies. Several new tools were presented, to be exploited as innovative Decision Support Systems in areas of economic importance.

The event mobilized a critical mass of participants, with c. 66 people, ranging from biotech, life science and environmental SMEs to RTD performers and health professionals. It also hosted a visiting group of students from the University of Food Sciences (Parma), a unique academic institution founded by Slow Food with the support of the Regions Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont. For them, an extra-lecture by Prof. Giorgio Graziosi (Dept. of Life Sciences, Univ. Trieste) was organised on the spot upon request, centered on coffee fingerprint and on the distinction between the Arabica and Robusta coffee cultivars.

More info is here: download the talks of our speakers>>

SPAIN: The first guide of KeyToNature in Catalan (12 June 2009)

The first guide of KeyToNature written in Catalan has been produced in collaboration with the Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid, the Xarxa Telematica Educativa de Catalunya (XTEC) and the University of Trieste. It is a guide to selected woody plants, to be used as educational material for schools and can be consulted on-line here [[1]]

BULGARIA: Presentation at the national workshop "Forms, methods, and tools for developing crearivity through education" (30-31 May, Varna)

K2N project presentation, developed by Pencho Mihnev, has been delivered by Mr. Alexander Angelov - director of "Centre for Creativity Traininig" (CCT) - a "Friends of K2N" organisation, at a national workshop with teachers, principals and stakeholders, organised by CCT in Varna, Bulgaria on 30-31 May, 2009. The event involved c.a. 50 teachers, principals and educational stakeholders from the regions of Varna, Dobrich, Shumen, Burgas, and Silistra.

ROMANIA: KeyToNature National Seminar - (Bistrita, 28 May 2009)

The Romanian K2N National Seminar has been organised by Technical University of Cluj-Napoca at National College "Liviu Rebreanu" in Bistrita with the support of local county inspectorate for education and local NGOs involved in biodiversity protection. The title of the seminar was "Using the new ICT tools for teaching and identification of organisms". The main idea was to gather teachers from secondary and high schools together with pupils in order to demonstrate the best practice examples in using the identification keys produced in the frame of Key To Nature project for Romania and to share related pedagogical experiences.

ITALY: KeyToNature presented at TICEMED - (Milano, 28-29 May 2009)

Dr. Alessandro Mazzetti presented KeyToNature at TICEMED 2009 - 6° International Conference, UBIQUITOUS LEARNING, Università di Milano-Bicocca, 28/29 May 2009 [site].

The "Mobile Packager" application has been presented during two round tables "Market trends and institutional problems" and "e-learning Centers: products, solutions and experiences". Several KeyToNature flyers has been distributed at the exhibition

SPAIN: KeyToNature at IMS Learning Impact Conference - (Barcelona, 11-14 May 2009)

Dr. Fabrizio Cardinali (ELIG chair and Giunti Labs CEO) presented Giunti Labs projects at Learning Impact 2009, IMS Global Learning Consortium's annual conference [site].

Several KeyToNature flyers has been distribuited at the exhibition [Giunti Labs event].

GERMANY: BHL-EUROPE Kick-off Meeting (Berlin, 10 to 15 May 2009)

Dr. Gregor Hagedorn (JKI) participated at Kick-off Meeting of the Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe (BHL Europe), representing K2N. The Meeting took place at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin.

The meeting was held successfully and resulted in new collaboration scenarios with BHL itself, but also with STERNA and Europeana. Sterna provides interesting semantic web technology, in which Key to Nature would like to participate with it WP4. The Key to Nature - BHL Europe use cases were received well by BHL (US) and BHL Europe. Both plan to start specific projects to support these and similar resource-use scenarios.

ITALY: A new section of the Forum Natura Mediterraneo dedicated to schools (May, 2009)

The Forum Natura Mediterraneo, Associate Member of KeyToNature for Italy, has just created a new section dedicated to schools. This will permit teachers and pupils to use the Forum not only for assistance in identification, but also to exchange experiences, projects and ideas. The new Forum is here [[2]]

BULGARIA: Ten Bulgarian Schools and training centres have become “Friends of K2N” until the end of April 2009

Ten Bulgarian Schools and training centres have become “Friends of K2N” until the end of April 2009, with a promise to conduct tests and real use of the interactive “Key of 371 trees and shrubs in Bulgaria” and to report the user and teacher experience with the key. See the list and short info about the Bulgarian “Friends of K2N” organisations.

SLOVENIA: KeyToNature national seminar (Ljubljana, 18 April 2009)

The KeyToNature national seminar was held on April 18th, 2009, in the Biological Centre in Ljubljana with 33 participants from primary and secondary schools and other educational institutions from all over Slovenia. The KeyToNature project, e-tools and some cases of good practice of use interactive keys at class in Slovenia and Italy were introduced in the first part of the seminar. The second part of the seminar was focused on a practical introduction of available interactive keys (mostly Trees and Shrubs of Slovenia and other Dryades keys in Slovenian) with fieldwork. We also asked teachers to give us feedback about their experiences with KeyToNature e-tools by filling in questionnaires and writing articles for Pedagogical handbook. More >>

BULGARIA: Dissemination and training course-seminar "K2N e-Keys and e-Learning for Biodiversity education" (2-3 April, 2009)

A two-days course-seminar "K2N e-Keys and e-Learning for Biodiversity education" has been organised and conducted jointly by BIKAM Ltd. and the Department of Information and In-Service Teacher Training, Sofia University on 2nd and 3rd of April 2009 in Sofia. Sixteen participants attended the seminar - Biology Teachers (Primary and Secondary school all around the country), and Teacher Trainers in Biology from the Department Information and In-Service Teacher Training. During the course-seminar the K2N project and its 1st year achievements have been presented, practical work with the new Key of 371 trees and shrubs in Bulgaria has been carried out, "live" Key-demonstrations have been conducted with the participants, and a half-day training session on how to use Moodle e-learning platform has been conducted.

ITALY: A new KeyToNature guide to calcareous algae of the Mediterranean Sea (April, 2009)

This interactive guide to Mediterranean Corallinaceae (In Italian and English) was produced by a research team of the University of Trieste. It can be consulted here [[3]]

BULGARIA: The first two Associate members from Bulgaria have been approved (London, 17 March 2009)

The Associate membership applications of the first two Bulgarian organisations have been approved by the K2N consortium at the 4th K2N project meeting in London, 16-19 March 2009. The two organisations are:

One can learn more about the profile and the associate membership roles of these organisations at the Bulgarian section of the Associate Membership page.

SLOVENIA: KeyToNature presented at Press Conference in Triglav National Park in Bled (March, 2009)

Presentation of research work in Triglav National Park with press conference included also presentation of KeyToNature project. The Triglav National Park (TNP) is the only Slovenian national park and the Triglav National Park Public Institution would be an Associate member of KeyToNature project. The PPT presentation and the leaflets were used as dissemination materials.

SPAIN: A new KeyToNature guide to plants, for a school near Madrid (March, 2009)

Launched: Interactive key for the “Environmental Centre Villaviciosa de Odón”. The intense collaboration between KeyToNature and this environmental centre, placed on a forest near Madrid, has produced this guide, to be used at the Centre, with schools. http://dbiodbs.units.it/carso/chiavi_pub21?sc=311

BULGARIA: KeyToNature: An interactive key of 371 wild and cultivated trees and shrubs of Bulgaria - in Bulgarian - is now on-line. (March, 2009).

An Interactive key to 371 wild and cultivated trees and shrubs in Bulgaria is now on-line. It is now available for testing at schools and universities. The interactive key is complemented with a software tool, which allows the extraction and production of smaller keys and editing of all keys - the original one, and the newly produced sub-keys. Available for download at the online key page is also a portable version of the key for Pocket PCs and Smart Phones. An off-line, CD-ROM version only, of the dichotomous key is produced as well and available for free use. The interested teachers, schools, and universities throughout the country are kindly invited to test any or all of the key versions and to ask for a free CD with the dichotomous version of the key. Please visit the Bulgarian national portal, where in the "Interactive portal" section you can have a direct access to the online key, and can obtain the statute of "Friends of KeyToNature" (Приятели на "Ключ към природата") in order to obtain a free CD of the key and to gain access to all tools and instruments, produced by the K2N project.

SLOVENIA: KeyToNature: an interactive key to trees and shrubs of Slovenia (in Slovenian) is now on-line (February, 2009)

The interactive guide to trees and shrubs in Slovenia] is now on-line. It includes more than 400 species of wild and cultivated trees, shrubs and woody climbers in Slovenia. The key is now available for testing in schools and universities. Teachers and professors are kindly invited to test the on-line version and to ask for the free CD. More about the key is on Slovenian national portal.


SPAIN: Paper presentation at IADIS Conference on Mobile Learning 2009, (Barcelona, 27 February 2009)

On February 27th, 2009, Licia Calvi presented the paper entitled "Learning Biodiversity through Mobile Identification Keys: Design and Evaluation" by Licia Calvi and Verónica Donoso. The IADIS e-Society 2009 conference aims to address the main issues of concern within the Information Society. This conference covers both the technical as well as the non-technical aspects of the Information Society. Broad areas of interest are eLearning, eSociety and Digital Divide, eBusiness / eCommerce, New Media and E-Society,Digital Services in ESociety, eGovernment / eGovernance, eHealth, Information Systems, and Information Management.

ESTONIA: KeyToNature: an interview in an Estonian national radio broadcast (February, 2009)

On February 22nd 2009, Tiina Randlane gave an interview to the national radio broadcast “Environmental tent” (“Keskkonnatelk”) - Radio Kuku, introducing the project, explaining the benefits of interactive keys and describing joint activities of partners which have been carried out so far. The interview lasted ca 12 minutes. Listen to the broadcast

EUROPE: KeyToNature selected as "Project of the Month" by elearningeuropa.info (February, 2009)

The European Commission's portal elearningeuropa.info has selected KeyToNature as “Project of the Month” in the January issue of its Newsletter (sent out to 27.000 subscribers in 21 languages). See the Newsletter here [[4]]

ROMANIA: KeyToNature: an interactive key to trees and shrubs of Romania - in Romanian - is now on-line (February, 2009)

The on-line interactive guide to selected trees and shrubs in Romania] is now on-line. It includes more than 300 species and is now available for testing in schools. The tool is the first of this type produced in the Romanian language. Teachers from schools are kindly invited to test the on-line version and to ask for the free CD. Please check the Romanian national portal to contact us.

EUROPE: KeyToNature. Launched: web-quiz for learning the main characters of plant leaves (January, 2009)

We are proud to announce that the "eXact-Dryades-Quiz", a web-tool for teaching the main characters of plant leaves through a quiz, is now on-line. The application, originally designed by the University of Trieste, was developed further by Giunti Labs (GLABS) using the commercial LCMS "eXact Packager". It is available through the LMS "Learn eXact Siter/Glove", which manages the enrollment of users, tracing their proficency with the SCORM tracking functionality. Enjoy it here: Exact-Dryades-Quiz

ESTONIA: 3rd Seminar “KeyToNature – keys for whom and to where?" - Estonian Society of Biology Teachers, Tartu, Estonia (January, 2009)

The third KeyToNature seminar for Estonia was held on January 16th, 2009, at the annual seminar of the Estonian Society of Biology Teachers, with c. 30 participants from primary and secondary schools from all over Estonia. The seminar was focused on a practical introduction of locally available interactive keys (e-Flora of Estonia I, Trees and Shrubs; Epiphytic macrolichens of Estonia), and on the teachers’ role in returning feedback to KeyToNature.


ROMANIA: KeyToNature. Launched: Key to woody plants of the Dendrological Park, National College "Liviu Rebreanu", Bistrita, Romania (November, 2008)

The on-line interactive tool for identification of trees and shrubs from the Dendrological Park of the National College "Liviu Rebreanu", Bistrita, was published on-line in a bilingual version (English and Romanian) on CD in November 2008. The project Coordinator Prof. Pier Luigi Nimis, a group of teachers from the Romanian College, and the Romanian partner of KeyToNature, the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, have produced this tool in order to support Romanian teachers and college students in using modern ICT tools. The park is is under protection by the Bistrita municipality.

SLOVENIA: KeyToNature: a new way of teaching and learning biodiversity - Workshops for teachers in Slovenia (November-December, 2008)

In November-December 2008, seven KeyToNature workshops were organized in Slovenia, thanks to cooperation between the Slovenian Museum of Natural History and The National Education Institute of Slovenia. They took place in several primary schools in different regions of Slovenia. KeyToNature was introduced to more than 200 teachers of biology and science. The workshops included a short PowerPoint presentation of KeyToNature, online demonstrations of the KeyToNature web site, and interactive keys suitable for Slovenia, plus a demonstration of a Quiz and work with one of the Dryades-keys (see some photos from the event). At the end of each workshop, teachers and their schools were invited to participate in the project as 'Friends of KeyToNature'.

ROMANIA: KeyToNature presented at 'Universitaria 2008' in Cluj, Romania (November, 2008)

KeyToNature was presented at Universitaria 2008, the Romanian national fair of educational services organised in Cluj, 19-21 November 2008. The PPT presentation, the banner and the leaflets were used as dissemination materials. See here photos.

ROMANIA: KeyToNature. First testing of KeyToNature identification tools at the "National College Liviu Rebreanu", Bistrita, Romania (October-November, 2008)

A key to trees and shrubs produced by KeyToNature was tested with tertiary school students at the "National College Liviu Rebreaunu" and "Sangeorz School" in Bistrita, Romania, under supervision of Prof. Liana Tirau. A group of 4 professors (Liana Tirau, Buta Emilia, Gabriela Mos, Dan Tirau and Elod Gyorgy), have tested with their classes the on-line key, and have reported the pedagogical results. See here some photos from the event. Further testing and a teacher seminar will take place in May 2009.

ESTONIA: 2nd Seminar “KeyToNature – a key for whom and to where?” Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia (November, 2008)

On November 17th, 2008, a KeyToNature seminar was re-conducted at the Botanical Department of the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences. The seminar included a ppt presentation and online demonstrations of interactive keys suitable for Estonia by the senior researcher Malle Leht, who was involved in the preparation of the e-Flora of Estonia I, Trees and Shrubs. The demonstrations were followed by discussions on the usability of KeyToNature keys in practical teaching work.

BULGARIA: KeyToNature presented at the Educational Conference “ICT in Education”, Sofia, Bulgaria. (November, 2008)

BIKAM Ltd. took officially part in the International Educational Conference “ICT in Education” on 07.11.2008, Bulgaria. The conference was jointly organised by the Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies (BAIT), and the Ministry of Education and Science, in the frame of the Thirteenth International Specialised Exhibition BAIT EXPO 2008, Sofia, (4th - 8th November 2008). The educational conference was attended by c.a. 100 persons – teachers, educationalists, HE academics, educational business representatives. In the conference section “Companies and organisations” Pencho Mihnev delivered the presentation “One year participation of BIKAM Ltd. in the eContent Plus project ‘KeyToNature’, 2007-2010”. KeyToNature brochures and print materials were disseminated among the participants. In the Q&A part of the presentation, answers & explanations were given to the public, concerning the KeyToNature project, the role of BIKAM in the project, and on how the interested organisations can join the project – either as Friends of KeyToNature or Associate Members. The very interested public was invited to visit the KeyToNature web portal and its Bulgarian page, and to establish direct contact with the KeyToNature project group at Bikam Ltd. Links were established with schools, training centres, and educational institutions interested in cooperation with KeyToNature.

ESTONIA: Seminar “KeyToNature – a key for whom and to where?” University of Tartu, Estonia (November, 2008)

On November 6th 2008, a KeyToNature seminar was organized at the Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu to introduce KeyToNature and its tools for teaching biodiversity. The seminar included a powerpoint presentation by Tiina Randlane & Andres Saag, online demonstrations of Italian databases and interactive keys suitable for Estonia, demonstration of a Quiz, and the first results of users’ experiences. 55 university lecturers and post-graduate students participated in the seminar, including guests from the Estonian University of Life Sciences.

ITALY: KeyToNature on mobiles. New portal: KeyToNature-Dryades keys on-line, on smartphones. (November, 2008)

A new portal for PDAs and smartphones, designed to fit the technical features of portable devices with small screen sizes, is available on-line. PDAs or smartphones connecting to the Dryades-site (http://www.dryades.eu) will be automatically re-addressed to the tools produced by KeyToNature-Dryades.

Launched: Marine Species Identification Portal (MarBEF/KeyToNature; October 2008)

We are proud to announce the launch of the Marine Species Identification Portal (www.marinespecies.eu), an initiative of ETI BioInformatics under MARBEF (an EC funded network of Excellence) and KeyToNature (a project in the EC e-contentPlus Programme). This website provides open access to scientific information on marine species, including identification keys, to support the scientific community in activities such bio-monitoring programs, and to provide students and other interested parties with general information on marine biodiversity. The Marine Species Portal unlocks information on 9875 marine species and 5545 higher taxa, most with descriptions and illustrations. A total of 7932 taxa are keyed out in 52 identification keys. Furthermore 19 876 synonyms plus 2782 vernacular names in English, and 8389 names in 25 other languages, facilitate searching.

The information was compiled over a period of 10 years by a global network of collaborating taxonomists started with UNESCO support. Currently 31 species documentation projects are included; information on authors and other contributors can be found for each section under the menu item ‘credits’. Most projects are also available on CD-ROM published in ETI's World Biodiversity Database series. The information and identification systems presented here were constructed using the Linnaeus II taxonomic data management package that is downloadable from the ETI website. Differences in geographic coverage and taxonomic treatments are the consequence of a decentralized, author-driven mechanism that ETI set up for species documentation; a process that is still ongoing.

The Marine Species Portal is very much a work in progress; other functionality such as dynamic maps will be added. Your participation to improve, enhance and increase the content of this site is much appreciated and encouraged! If you have keys on missing taxa, hold better illustrations or more detailed descriptions, don't hesitate to contribute! This is your site; we merely facilitate the information sharing process! We are interested in your feedback to improve the information service. Relevant URLs: Marine Species identification Portal: www.marinespecies.eu; MarBEF: www.marbef.org; ETI: www.eti.uva.nl.

Paper presentation at DREAM conference, Odense, Denmark, 18-20 September 2008

On February 27th, 2009, Verónica Donoso presented the paper entitled "Re-engineering Content and Simplifying use: Learning Biodiversity in a New Digital Context" by Verónica Donoso and Licia Calvi at the second international DREAM conference (Digital Content Creation: Creativity, Competence, Critique) 18-20 September 2008 University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. In knowledge-based societies, competence formation through education is key, and the formative role played by digital communication is widely acknowledged. However, one of the major challenges today is the mismatch between the digital resources nurtured by users in and outside of formal educational contexts. Not least young people’s rapid take-up of social software such as weblogs and wikis, online chat clients and virtual world applications serve to challenge existing forms of communication for learning, since these innovations allow and assume users’ own creation, sharing and editing of content.

Paper presentation at MobileHCI 2008, 2-5 September 2008, Amsterdam

On February 27th, 2009, Licia Calvi presented the paper entitled " Focus groups as a technique for co-design: some lessons learnt" by Licia Calvi and Verónica Donoso at MobileHCI 2008, the 10th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services was held 2-5 September 2008 at the Royal Tropical Institute Conference Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and was preceded by the MobileHCI 2008 Doctoral Consortium on 1 September 2008. MobileHCI 2008 was organised by Telematica Instituut, Freeband Communication and Philips Research Europe, in cooperation with ACM SIGCHI and ACM SIGMOBILE.

Paper presentation at DREAM conference, Odense, Denmark, 18-20 September 2008

On February 27th, 2009, Verónica Donoso presented the paper entitled "Re-engineering Content and Simplifying use: Learning Biodiversity in a New Digital Context" by Verónica Donoso and Licia Calvi at the second international DREAM conference (Digital Content Creation: Creativity, Competence, Critique) 18-20 September 2008 University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. In knowledge-based societies, competence formation through education is key, and the formative role played by digital communication is widely acknowledged. However, one of the major challenges today is the mismatch between the digital resources nurtured by users in and outside of formal educational contexts. Not least young people’s rapid take-up of social software such as weblogs and wikis, online chat clients and virtual world applications serve to challenge existing forms of communication for learning, since these innovations allow and assume users’ own creation, sharing and editing of content.

A new interactive guide to the trees and shrubs of Estonia (September 2008)

The cooperation between the University of Trieste (Italy), the University of Tartu and the Estonian University of Life Sciences (Estonia) has brought to the production of an interactive guide to the trees and shrubs of Estonia, to be used in secondary schools, universities, and by anyone who is interested in the flora of the country. The guide includes about 140 species: all spontaneous trees and shrubs (with the exception of species of Craetagus, Rosa and Salix which are difficult to separate) and most of the introduced species cultivated in parks and orchards. The main skeleton of the key, produced by Trieste, was enriched by the Estonian partners with notes and distributional maps of spontaneous species. The Estonian version of the key can be found here. - Work is in progress for an interactive guide to the whole flora of Estonia.

KeyToNature Seminar with the biology teachers in Bistrita, Romania (19-Sept-2008)

The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca and the County Inspectorate from Bistrita have organised a KeyToNature Seminar in Bistrita on 19 Sept 2008 in the frame of the general meeting of biology teachers organised for the beginning of the new school year 2008/2009. The purpose of the seminar was to rise the interest of biology teachers from the Bistrita county in the testing and using of the identification keys produced or to be produced by the KeyToNature project. The host of the seminar was the main inspector for biology Prof. Elena Virtic (evirtic at yahoo.com) and the speaker was Prof. Daniela Marian (daniela.marian at math.utcluj.ro) from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. Dissemination means: PPT presentation, poster at the entrance , leaflet distribution, online demonstration of available keys. The audience was of 96 biology professors from the Bistrita county; among them about 20 professors are interested in the testing and use of the KeyToNature identification tools. A dedicated plan to collaborate with them will be produced in the near future.

KeyToNature in the Aosta Valley (Cogne, Aosta, 12-September-2008)

On september, 12th, 2008, the Coordinator of KeyToNature presented the project as an invited speaker to the Annual Congress of the Italian Lichenological Society, held in Cogne (Aosta Valley, NW Alps). The Society has a very active group of teachers involved in educational projects centered on lichens. As a result, the Society has applied for becoming an Associated Member of KeyToNature, and its working group on education has committed itself to prepare together with KeyToNature an e-learning instrument devoted to lichens, similar to the Dryades-quiz developed by the University of Trieste and Giunti Labs for vascular plants. Furthermore, during the Congress contacts were established with two important institutions at regional and national level: the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of St. Pierre and the Gran Paradiso National Park. The Museum as well has officially applied for becoming an Associated Member, being ready to involve local schools in testing our identification tools. The Park is interested in the construction of specific identification tools for the several visitor centres plus the Alpine botanical garden, visited by many schools from throughout the country. Finally, the Société de la Flore Valdôtaine is planning to invite the Coordinator of KeyToNature to present the project on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Society (Aosta, december 2008).

Paper presentation at MobileHCI 2008, 2-5 September 2008, Amsterdam

On February 27th, 2009, Licia Calvi presented the paper entitled " Focus groups as a technique for co-design: some lessons learnt" by Licia Calvi and Verónica Donoso at MobileHCI 2008, the 10th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services was held 2-5 September 2008 at the Royal Tropical Institute Conference Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and was preceded by the MobileHCI 2008 Doctoral Consortium on 1 September 2008. MobileHCI 2008 was organised by Telematica Instituut, Freeband Communication and Philips Research Europe, in cooperation with ACM SIGCHI and ACM SIGMOBILE.

Second meeting with EDIT (Paris, 6-August-2008)

On August, 6th, 2008, in Paris, there has been a meeting among some partners of the European projects EDIT and KeyToNature, in order to explore possible collaborations. Those present: Elise Kuntzelmann, Regine Vignes-Lebbe (EDIT), Nicola Dorigo, Pier Luigi Nimis, and Peter Schalk (KeyToNature). The main results are: a) KeyToNature would like to invite EDIT to become Associated Member of the project, b) There will be an exchange of identification tools between the two projects: EDIT has furnished a key to the main order of aquatic insects, while KeyToNature - after the Paris meeting - has produced a key to trees and shrubs, to be used as tutorial at the Jardin des Plantes of Paris, c) It could be possible to organise a joint international congress dedicated to identification tools during 2009, d) Further possibilities of interaction will be explored, with special reference to the creation of a future network which could apply to further EU calls concerning biodiversity and/or education.

Che fiore è? - What flower is this? (15-May-2008)

On 23rd May 2008, at Badia Prataglia (Tuscany) the KeyToNature project has been presented, together with the new interactive guide to the flora of the National Park of the Foreste Casentinesi (N-Apennines, Tuscany and Emilia; email: info@parcoforestecasentinesi.it). The guide, which includes more than 1200 species of vascular plants, has been published on the KeyToNature/Dryades website (www.dryades.eu), including easier subkeys for different habitats specifically produced for educational activities with schools. See also an attached Miniposter

New publications (14-May-2008)

Several articles regarding Key to Nature were published recently:

Biodiversity Research - Safeguarding the Future (14-May-2008)

The governing body of the Convention on Biological Diversity has had its ninth meeting ("COP 9") in Bonn/Germany in May 19-30, 2008. To channel results and needs of biodiversity research into the political discussion, the associated scientific meeting “Biodiversity Research – Safeguarding the Future“ has taken place in May 12–16 at Bonn (see http://www.precop9.org). The meeting was organised by IUBS, DIVERSITAS, the host institutions in Bonn (Museum Koenig, NEES Institute, University Bonn), the German Science Foundation (DFG), the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU), and Solar World. See http://zfmk.de/preCOP9/index.html for further information. Prof. P.L.Nimis was invited to give a talk about the KeyToNature Project.

First experiment on data exchange in KeyToNature (05-Mar-2008)

The first practical experiment to exchange data and thus enable their reuse between partners (in this case between the Università degli Studi di Trieste/Dipartimento di Biologia, Italy and Real Jardìn Botànico/Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientìficas, Spain) is now online.

KeyToNature Presentation on YouTube (05-Mar-2008)

A project presentation is available as a short video on youtube.

K2N meets EDIT (11-Jan-2008)

On 6th and 7th February 2008 the K2N consortium has hold a joint workshop in Amsterdam with representatives of the European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT), to identify synergies between the two initiatives regarding species data, in particular data (exchange) standards. EDIT is the collective answer of 27 leading European, North American and Russian institutions to a FP6 call of the European Commission for a Network of Excellence in taxonomy to support biodiversity and ecosystem research. The network started on 1st March 2006 and has a life-span of 5 years. Taxonomy provides the basis for understanding biodiversity and facilitates communication between biological disciplines. EDIT objectives are to reduce the fragmentation in European taxonomic research and expertise, to coordinate the European contribution to the global taxonomic effort, in particular the Global Taxonomy Initiative, and aims to improve the society’s capacity for biodiversity conservation. See http://www.e-taxonomy.eu for further information.

KeyToNature CORDIS Wire Press Release (30-Nov-2007)

On 30-Nov-2007 the first press release was published viA CORDIS Wire

Presentation of KeyToNature at the Educational Exhibition Universitaria 2007, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (21-Nov-2007)

The KeyToNature project has been introduced at the Romanian National Fair of Educational Services, Universitaria 2007. The project PPT has been presented by Prof. Mircea Giurgiu and the available leaflets distributed at an audience of about 30 people (teachers and students, (see the photos from the event). A brief demonstration of available identification keys from the content providers partners has been realised. The audience was interested in the expected results of the project and emphasized the need of such products for Romanian educational market. This presentation was very important for making the contacts among the teachers interested to participate in the Romanian focus group for needs analysis survey.

Press Release of KeyToNature in Romania (13-Nov-2007)

On 13 Nov 2007 Prof. Mircea Giurgiu (Telecommunications Department) and Ing. Cornelia Veja (Informatic Department) from Technical University of Cluj-Napoca have launched the K2N project in Romania by a press release (see the photos from the event) organised at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cluj with the occasion of the preparation of Universitaria 2007 Educational Fair. There were present representatives of the Rectors from seven universities and media representants. There were outlined the principal products of the project from the point of view of educational potential of teaching biodiversity with online interactive tools.

Agreement between UNITS and the Regional Educational Board (30-Oct-2007)

The Regional Educational Board (Ufficio Scolastico Regionale), i.e. the branch of the National Ministry for Education in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region, has signed an agreement with UNITS, for supporting the implementation of the users' experience tests, due to officially start in the first months of 2008. The next step will be the official creation of the Focus Group, which will include ca. 12 teachers and experts, responsible for different districts of the Region.