LINK Innovations proposes one of the best digital innovations at the international #DigiEdu hackathon

On November 12 and 13, the European Union (EU), the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany and their partners held a large offline and online education hackathon #DigiEduHack2020, which welcomed the best leaders in education, national representatives from 36 countries, with the aim of creating the best virtual solutions for digital education.
LINKgroup, a company dedicated to investing in innovative educational solutions, and the LINK Innovations department, founded with a vision to introduce positive change through innovative research-based projects, combine the latest trends in education, science and business, thus transforming good education ideas into practical innovation resources, had the honor to be the sole representatives from Serbia at #DigiEduHack2020. 
Members of the LINK Innovations team, MSc Aleksandra Ikonov, Dr. Andrej Bunjac and Dr. Svetlana Belić Malinić, presented their fantastic idea which was selected as one of the best digital innovations on the topic Hack the Great Online Pivot among 2,400 entries.

The LINK Innovations team platform solves all online teaching challenges

LINK Innovations has designed an inter-institutional communication platform U-turn-4-U-learn: EM-OWL platform for social-emotional learning, which combines the best features of many popular social media applications, possesses a range of unique functionalities and puts everything in an educational co-curricular context. It is designed to enable instant communication between students and the faculty, i.e. the school system. The main purpose of this platform is to provide actors in education with a unique tool for quick social, emotional and academic interactions.
Hence, this unique platform provides:
  • freedom to create and moderate subforums in apps; 
  • anonymous sharing of emotions during online teaching; 
  • chats organized around hashtags that can direct participants to specific posts; 
  • a unique post rating system (hoots) which enables users to anonymously rate other users’ posts so as to filter unwanted behavior; 
  • possibility to gain academic credits through peer support and problem solving; 
  • instant sharing of text, photos and voice messages; 
  • personalized analytics for students and teachers indicating the behavior that led to the most successful social outcomes; 
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) chat filters for removing unsuitable content; 
  • emotion detection system based on AI, video communication which alerts the teacher to the overall mood in the classroom. 


The main advantages of the LINK Innovations educational platform

One of the main reasons why the EM-OWL platform was chosen as one of the best at this year's hackathon is that it includes all actors in the education sector – school administration, pedagogical and psychological services, parents, teachers and students (junior and senior).  This connection creates a stimulating network environment that nurtures and develops social and emotional interactions and forms an empathic communication triangle between students, parents and the school.
The main goal of this platform is to preserve a sense of community during distance learning, while enabling fast, efficient and accurate communication between students and teachers at all levels.
Unlike other platforms, the EM-OWL digital solution is based on the positive psychology approach, which, in an online environment, engages students in a highly creative fashion and initiates peer learning and mutual learning, which certainly triggers mutual motivation. A unique feature of this platform is that it allows students and teachers to convey their feelings about teaching and learning using an emotion barometer, rather than likes, grades or points, which are then processed using an AI-integrated algorithm.

The motto of the platform is "Teachers who love teaching teach students to love learning", since EM-OWL is an educational tool that encourages the academic achievement of every student while fostering the social and emotional aspect of the entire education process.

Given that at #DigiEduHack2020 the LINK Innovations team highlighted the importance of harmonising the activities of all educational institutions and students’ social and emotional needs, LINKgroup has highly ambitious plans when it comes to improving education. In the upcoming period, we can expect new startups, whose groundbreaking design and programs will further establish LINKgroup as a leader in education throughout Serbia, the region and beyond. LINK Innovations’ results have significantly added to LINKgroup’s role in education.
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