An extremely honorary distinction worldwide won “Athena” the first free Online Ecumenical School at its official presentation in the Online Educa Berlin 2015, one of the largest global conferences on technology in education (e-learning), held in Berlin with the participation of 2,300 education specialists from 100 countries.The selection of the presentation of the Ecumenical School among the largest educational institutions of the world reflects the international recognition of its innovative social and educational action and contribution and marks its consolidation in the global educational affairs.
The main theme of the conference organized under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany and the support of the European Commission was the multidimensional and diverse challenges of today at a global level so as to accelerate through the coupling of technology and knowledge the transition to a new era of educational opportunities. In this context, the scientific team of the “Athena” Ecumenical School, headed by the Director and co-founder, mathematician and civil engineer, Mr. Ioannis Krokos presented the first and unique free educational platform of the e-Primary School, which through the www.arnos.gr site was embraced from the beginning by thousands of pupils, parents and educators both in the Greek territory and the land where Hellenism is found.
At the conference, innovative educational practices of the Ecumenical School for primary education were presented at a special panel of teachers – leaders with the main topic: «Schools: Current Challenges and Best Practices».
The organization and coordination of the discussion was conducted by Mrs. Shafica Isaacs from South Africa, specialized researcher and consultant in the use of digital technologies in education, while the speakers group attended the Finn Professor of Biology and Geography Mr. Pasi Vilpas, who in his presentation pointed out that the classroom is by far detached from technological developments and the needs of modern society and the Dutch educator and CEO of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Dr. Nick van Dam, who focused on the need to create a suitable environment of e-learning solely for pupils of primary school with a central axis “a teaching subject for each student at a time.”
Arnos Online Education is the biggest online education company in Greece that provides online educational services for all levels from Kindergarten to University, over the last 30 years. Our website was launched in 2000 and since then is a living cell, where teachers create video tutorials, interactive tests for the students according to the Greek curriculum and support online more than 50.000 students per year.
Ø The problem
In 2008, the society got deeply wounded by the economic crisis, thus chaos, anarchy and social degradation left their indelible mark on the historical center of Athens and the area of Exarchia, where Arnos’ headquarters are located. Unemployment and heavy taxation, which started to appear, were a severe blow to the average Greek family, that couldn’t afford the necessities for its survival and therefore neither the education for the children. Arnos Online Education and its Founder and CEO Mr. Ioannis Krokos were deeply concerned regarding the financial predicament and its reflection in school education of primary students in every Greek family.
Ø The Solution
Being able to foresee the intensity of the economic crisis and its reflection to the social & financial stability of the country, Mr. Krokos inspired a team of gifted and specialized teachers, which is my honor to be a part of, starting the creation of educational learning material in video format for the Greek primary curriculum.
This initiative, called “ATHENA” Ecumenical School has been nationally embraced from the Greek audience and attracted in Arnos’ educational portal more than 15,000 students on daily basis. “ATHENA”, the first free e-school in Greece, with thousands of video lessons per course for the primary education and unlimited access to them, was a reality for the Greek family and society as well, which they warmly welcomed it from the first moment. Our motivations from the beginning were inspired and strengthened by our passion for teaching and our willingness to support children by providing them with best practices of education, despite the severe crisis and difficult social circumstances. In that way, we were able to be present in every home and school in need, by providing for free the quality primary education. With access to our educational material 27/7 on a daily basis, the student gradually becomes independent in the study process, as he can adjust it at his own time, place, path and pace.
Ø The “Socratic Method” & The Role of a Multidimensional eTutor
Breaking new ground in the frontier in education, as Mr. Krokos and Arnos deeply believe in the Socratic Method in teaching, knowledge is being formed by questions and is constructed through dialogue. Everyone who participates in the teaching process is important, thus the teacher, through our practices, has at his disposal modern educational tools to set the “scene”, in order to be able to apply the Socratic Method in the classroom.
Being given the chance to study theoretical concepts on their houses through our website material, the students are then participate prepared in the class and as a result both student and teachers can be dedicated to the learning object. The real truth is that we faced and continue to face crisis as a chance to change by constructing a new educational ecosystem, based on the needs of personalized learning and promoting the role of the multi-dimentional teacher: the one that combines imagination, creativity, interactivity, interdisciplinarity and the most of all… love and passion for teaching!
Through the following link you can download the correspondent file of our presentation:
Ø The High Recognition “ATHENA” Ecumenical e-School
As up today, the success and the momentum of our educational model have been embraced by hundreds of thousands of students, parents, and teachers who consistently choose our online educational services. “ATHENA” Ecumenical School, through Arnos’ Social Actions Department, is now a source of high-quality education for the Social Online Tutorial Schools of Municipalities, regions and ecclesiastical parishes in Greece, a fact that has strengthened our recognition of international educational community as a phenomenon on the Greek field of online education. A fact that not only secured and maintained Arnos’ quality and success during economic crisis and social decline, but has also led our research team and representatives of educational department to the upper echelons of European conferences in Toulouse, Egypt and then… in lovely Berlin.
As we can see in the following plot, the horizontal axis represents the period 2010 to 2015, whereas in the vertical one we can see the total amount of users/year. In 2010, when the crisis appeared, the total amount of our users was approximately 2000, with our prices being at a normal level.
Now we have won a special position in Online Education and Athena itself marked the beginning of a new era for Arnos Online Education, as we built a bridge of recognition & trust with our customers. The strengthening of our brand name and the traffic on our website were better than ever. It is a fact that during the course of the school year 2012-2013 the page views 2.500.000, while the corresponding ones for the period 2014 to 2015 amounted to 40.000.000.
This warm support to the “education acts and social contribution” of the “Athena” Ecumenical School were expressed with messages by the Deputy Minister for Education Mr. Theodosis Pelegrinis and the Secretary General for Greeks Abroad Mr. Michalis Kokkinos, while during the honorary presentation of the e -Primary School in Online Educa Berlin 2015 were present by the Greek Embassy in Berlin Education Coordinator Dr. Emmanuel Wise and expatriate associations and representatives of Media. It is worth mentioning that the “Athena” Ecumenical School sensitized during the presentation the majority of the organizers, the participants, and visitors of Online Educa Berlin 2015, as it was characterized as a unique phenomenon if conjugation between the education support and social assistance through the use of innovative web technologies.
The honorary participation of the “Athena” e-Primary School in the Online Educa Berlin 2015 was welcomed by the Deputy Minister of Education Mr. Theodosis Pelegrinis who declared: “We are really happy that the “Athena” Ecumenical on-line Primary School is an ark of the basic core of our culture and Greek language, which travels with love and respect throughout the Greek territory and the land where Hellenism is found. You used the technology to build bridges and unite the old with the new, the present with the future, for our children, for all male and female pupils, parents and teachers. We wish you wholeheartedly success and creativity in the journey of the “Athena”, which embraces and unites all Greek children all over the world.
The General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad Mr. Michalis Kokkinos on the occasion of the participation of the Ecumenical School in the On Line Educa 2015 declared:
“The highly successful presentation of the free on-line Ecumenical School in the 21st Online Educa Berlin 2015 for the Online Education and Training / e- learning, held a few days ago in Berlin confirmed the feeling I gained from the first moment for all your creative team, who practically loves and passionately supports the “Athena” Ecumenical e-School.
Dear fellow teachers, we invite you to sign up for free, to our website teachers.arnos.gr and it we will be our pleasure to determine our next steps of action and creativity.
Please read the whole article, written in the Greek language, for the global honoring distinction of “Athena” Ecumenical e – Scool, here.
¨Do not forget that our thoughts are the ones to create boundaries… and that boundaries are captured from our inaction”.
Krokos P. Yannis: Mathematician – Civil Engineer
Mantsis Kosmas: Mathematician
Tsilivis Vasilis: Mathematician