The first PROLEARN general assembly was held at the L3S lab in Hannover, Germany Nov 30-Dec 2 2003.
So keen are the project participants to get started, that we decided to have our kick-off over a month before the formal start date for the project and before the contract with the EU has even been signed! Formally, the project is due to start January 2004 and run for 4 years.
The Knowledge Media Institute team were represented by Drs Peter Scott and Kevin Quick. Alas that British Midland lost our luggage for 2 days out of the 3 day visit … but you can go a long way with a shared laptop power supply and hotel toothbrush!
The Prolearn consortium partners (19 EU Universities) were welcomed by the Network Coordinator, Wolfgang Nejdl and Network Administrator, Martin Wolpers. The critical network management, contractual and financial issues were then detailed by Nani Clow and Eva Rose from the University of Hannover. Finally, representatives from the 14 work-packages launched into their presentations. The aim of the Prolearn initiative, which is funded for 4 years as a European Union 6th Framework “Network of Excellence”, is to “embody a significant advance in our scientific understanding of the use of technology for professional learners”. The Prolearn network is envisaged as a structure housing 7 horizontal work-packages that will unify European research on this subject and 7 vertical work-packages that will provide a focus for the critical issues in this area. For KMi, the critical work-package is our own vertical “Interactive Media”, but we are integrated into 8 of the total 14 work-package activities. The key metric for success in the Networks of Excellence will be our ability to fully “integrate” work from all over our community into a coherent whole.
Colleagues back in the lab in Milton Keynes were able to keep track of the work of the general assembly via the experimental CNM Hexagon system. From a networked seat in the W3S lab in Germany, Kevin Quick's laptop camera broadcast the event into a Hex. Not only could KMi colleagues pick up a little of the Prolearn activity and take some part in it, but Hex itself and our own folks here made quite an impact of the Hannover audience. The sight of John Domingue eating a yogurt in a Hex, was almost too much for some of our hungry EU partners.
Prolearn is one of 6 planned KMi activities for the EU 6th Framework. Others include the Knowledgeweb Network of Excellence, the E-LeGI smart-presence grid-computing Integrated Project, and the diP semantic web services project.