About Educate to create

Educate to create is the flagship 1.5 day conference on education of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.  The event is co-organised by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.

The conference will be an opportunity to bring attention to the pressing need to raise digital skills and competence levels across Europe and to support young people in using technologies for creativity, knowledge construction and effective and efficient learning. It will look at the ‘ecosystem’ surrounding the learner and address teacher training, support for organisations, cooperation with industry and the role of non-formal education.

This event ties in with two of the main political priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency namely digital skills and youth, as well as with the policy objectives of the Digital Education Action Plan adopted in January 2018 by the European Commission. It also supports the Communication on Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture which highlights the urgent need to boost levels of digital competence and work towards a European Education Area, where driving innovation in education and modernising the development of curricula are key objectives.

Educate to Create  will open with a speech by the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister  Tomislav Donchev, the  Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev, the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova the European Commissioner for Education, Youth and Sport and Culture Tibor Navracsics.  European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel will deliver the opening speech on the second day of proceedings.  A number of other high-level participants will take part, including Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Advisor at the European Commission on Digital Education, Former Minister of Education, Higher Education, and Research in France.

The conference will have both plenary and workshop sessions led by international experts in education and thought-leaders from policy, business and research.

Around 300 participants and more than 40 high-level speakers will take part in the event at Sofia Tech Park, the innovation and digital hub of Bulgaria’s capital. The conference will target a diverse number of stakeholders- policy makers, educators, students, innovators, the business sector, NGO representatives and researchers.

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19-th April 2018, Sofia Tech Park

  • 7:45 – 9:10

    Registration & welcome coffee

  • 9:10 – 9:15

    Official Opening

  • 9:15 - 9:50

    Welcome session

    Welcome speeches

    Mr. Tomislav Donchev, Deputy Prime Minister, Bulgaria

    Mr. Krasimir Valchev, Minister of Education and Science, Bulgaria

    Ms. Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia


  • 9:50 - 10:05

    Keynote address

    Moderator morning session: Ms Sasha Bezuhanova, Founder of MOVE.BG and EDIT network 

    Keynote address: Mr Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport

  • 10:05 - 10:45

    Sof(i)a chat and panel session

    Digital creativity with technology: What is the current state in Europe? Are we meeting the demand for digital creativity in and out of schools?

     As technology increasingly transforms our world, young people need to be able to shape, manipulate and solve problems with technology. This is crucial not only for today’s job market but for full participation in many aspects of daily life. The Digital Education Action Plan, adopted by the European Commission in January, highlights the need for young people in Europe to be more than simply users of technology and to become the next digital creators, innovators and leaders.

    Across the continent, a growing variety of organisations, volunteers, tech enthusiasts and parents are running workshops, clubs and events that help stimulate digital creativity. Schools are also playing a key role with teachers fostering creativity with digital means. Many young people are exploring digital creativity of their own accord. Such digital making can take many forms from blogging to programming and coding, robotics, 3D printing, music, art, fashion and film-making.

    The session will look at what we understand by ‘creative learning with technology’ and  how does the creative use of digital technologies support the development of key competences. Questions around the role of teachers and other professionals in getting young people engaged creatively in the digital works and the different needs of learners in different ages will be asked.


    • Ms Denitsa Sacheva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Bulgaria
    • Mr Markku Markkula, First Vice-President, EU Committee of the Regions
    • Ms Charlina Vitcheva, Deputy Director General, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
    • Ms Eva Maydell, Member of the European Parliament
    • Ms Tanya Otsetarova, Young STEM Champion, Bulgaria
    • Ms Liz Williams, Director, Tech Literacy and Education Programmes, BT (British Telecom)
  • 10:45 - 11:15

    Networking coffee break

  • 11:15 - 12:45

    Parallel sessions

  • Workshop 1

    Young digital makers – how can we unlock the potential of young people for digital creativity?
    Moderator: Ms Annika Ostergren Pofantis, DG Connect, European Commission

    Young children and teenagers are innately creative and are drawn to activities through which they can create new objects and artefacts and solve problems. Technology can help nurture creativity both within and outside of school. In the school context, digital creativity can be found in many subject areas, from art, music to sports lessons. Digital making can also be ‘cross curricular’ in its nature which can be both a challenge and an opportunity. Many young people learn digital making skills in schools but off the timetable in lunchtime or afternoon clubs.

    The discussion will focus on what steps different stakeholders such as policy makers, digital professionals and parents can take to provide young people with more opportunities to deepen their digital creativity and how education can better engage young people in activities that are relevant to their interests and passions.


    • Mr Jochen Didden, ICT and Media, Lego education, Belgium
    • Ms Sofia Reis, eTwinning teacher, Portugal
    • Mr Ross O’Neill, Community Lead, Coder Dojo Foundation, Ireland
    • Ms Delphine Schram, ERSILIA project, Le Bal, France
    • Ms Kristel Rillo, Ministry of Education, Estonia
  • Workshop 2

    Digital creativity and maker skills – the role of teacher education
    Moderator: Mr Jan de Craemer, Ministry of Education Flanders 

     Are teachers confident enough to unlock their own creativity? Makerspaces, hackerspaces, tinkering – are these hypes in education or central to the future of good teaching? Much will be determined by how teachers are trained and what opportunities they get to develop professionally.  Technologies change continuously. This poses a challenge to the professional development of teachers. How can teacher training empower teachers for life-long learning in a digital age? What can ministries do to support teachers in fostering digital creativity in the classroom?


    • Prof Deirdre Butler, STEM Education, Innovation & Global Studies, Dublin City University
    • Ms Angela Rees, Media in Action project, Pontydysgu, Wales
    • Ms Nina Lindström, Strawbees Sweden
    • Mr Oliver Quinlan, Research Manager, Raspberry Pi Foundation, UK
    • Ms Karen Triquet, tMail project, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • Workshop 3

    Building the capacity of schools for digital creativity
    Moderator: Ms Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, Director, DG Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, European Commission 

     Meet SELFIE: the new self-reflection tool to help schools understand where they are at in technology use for teaching and learning. SELFIE, developed by the European Commission with a team of experts from across Europe, was piloted in 14 countries in Autumn 2017 and will be scaled up to more countries and more languages in 2018.

    The workshop will look at questions such as ‘How can digital technologies and in particular digital creativity become part of school culture?” What are the main roadblocks to a better and more pedagogical use of digital technologies in schools?’ and ‘What is the role of parents/carers?’.


    • Mr Panagiotis Kampylis, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, – DEMO – Introducing SELFIE – self-assessment tool for schools;
    • Ms Daniela Sepanovic, Ministry of Education, Serbia
    • Ms Rehana Schwinninger-Ladak, DG Connect, European Commission
    • Mr Robbie O’Leary, Digital Schools of Distinction programme, Ireland
    • Mr Borut Campelj, Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Slovenia
  • Workshop 4

    International entrepreneurship and digital creativity
    Moderator: Ms Milena Stoycheva, CEO Junior Achievement Bulgaria 

    Entrepreneurship is a key driver for job creation, growth and economic prosperity. It unlocks personal potential and can bring innovation of societal interests. Evidence shows that investing in entrepreneurship education has a positive impact on individuals and educational institutions as well as on the economy and society.
    In the digital age, being entrepreneurial has close ties with digital creativity and entrepreneurs often use digital means to reach business and personal goals. Promoting entrepreneurship education at all levels of education and fostering an entrepreneurial mind-set are crucial factors to ensure young people are equipped with the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed for employability, active citizenship and new business creation.
    This panel will look at good practices from the EU and beyond aiming to foster entrepreneurship and digital creativity.

    The workshop will explore the topics of entrepreneurship and digital creativity through answering questions such as ‘How to support young people in developing innovation oriented and entrepreneurial mindset?’; ‘What role should business have in fostering entrepreneurship and digital creativity?’. How can countries – both in and beyond the EU – cooperate more on exchanging good practices in entrepreneurship and digital creativity?’


    • Mr Joseph Jeong, MIT trained entrepreneurship instructor and Founder of FutureHack Innovators Bootcamp
    • Ms Aura Salla, Communication Adviser, European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC)
    • Mr Georgi Kadriev, CEO, Imagga
    • Ms Linda Frietman, Founder and CEO, Progrez
  • 12:45 - 14:00

    Lunch break

  • 14:00 - 15:10

    Plenary session:Digital inclusion – digital creativity skills and competences for all learners

    Moderator: Ms Evgenia Peeva-Kirova, Teach for All Programme, Bulgaria

    Digital inclusion – digital creativity skills and competences for all learners

    In January 2018 the European Commission launched the Digital Education Action Plan, which calls for a fair and inclusive digital transformation in education. Today one in five young Europeans leave school lacking basic digital skills.  A major challenge for policy makers and practitioners is to ensure that digital creativity opportunities are accessible and available to all.

    The plenary session will discuss ways in which policy makers can ensure that all learners have the equal opportunity of experiencing and developing digital creativity, by looking at inclusion through various dimensions: use of technologies (from passive to creative use), universal design, geographic location for face-to-face activities, connectivity, gender equality and others.

  • 14:00 - 14:20


    Mr Jean Deydier, Director, Emmaus Connect, France

  • 14:20 - 15:10



    • Ms Mara Jakobsone, National Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Latvia and Vice-President of the Latvian IKT association
    • Ms Eva Maydell, Member of the European Parliament, Bulgaria
    • Mr Adam Micklethwaite, Director of Digital Inclusion, Good Things Foundation, UK
    • Ms Amanda Watkins, Assistant Director, European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education
    • Mr Stuart Mclaughlin, Senior Regional Manager, Google.org
  • 15:10 - 15:30

    Networking coffee break

  • 15:30 - 16:45

    The EU and digital creativity in education:
    current priorities, programmes and future perspectives

    With the 11 initiatives of the Digital Education Action Plan, the Commission supports Member States and educational organisations to harness the potential of technology in education and to support digital competence development. The Commission also encourages exchange and discussions on digital education policy with Member States and partner countries. Initiatives such as EU Codeweek and the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition aim to raise awareness and mobilise stakeholders to take action on improving digital skills.  A wide range of projects on digital education are funded as part of the Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 programmes.  The Commission has also published a series of frameworks on the digital capacity of citizens, educators and organisations and supports Member States with research and data collection.

  • 15:30 - 15:50


    Ms Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Advisor at the European Commission on Digital Education, Former Minister of Education, Higher Education, and Research, France

  • Panel


    • Ms Neli Koleva, Director for Public Partnerships, Teach for Bulgaria
    • Ms Begoña Arano, Head of Unit, DG Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, European Commission
    • Mr Enrico Nardelli, President, Informatics Europe
    • Mr Alexander Riedl, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Connect, European Commission
    • Mr Martin Kern, Interim Director, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
  • 16:45 - 17:30

    Expo - visit to conference fair - projects on digital skills and competences

  • 17:30

    Close of Day 1 conference

  • 19:30 - 21:30

    Dinner at Sofia Tech Park

20-th April 2018, Sofia Tech Park

  • 8:00 - 9:00

    Registration & welcome coffee

  • Plenary session: Building ecosystems for digital creativity: partnerships and players

    Moderator: Ms Denitsa Sacheva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science Bulgaria

  • 9:05 - 9:15


  • 9:15 - 9:35

    Opening address

    Ms Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

  • 9:35 - 9:55

    Keynote Speaker

    Ms Petra Kammerevert, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the Education committee

  • 9:55 - 10:40

    Developing the digital competence of all citizens means mobilising many different players

    In recent years, many companies, volunteers, parents and enthusiasts have been creating opportunities for young digital makers within and outside the classroom. The Digital Education Action Plan acknowledges the need to involve a wide range of education and training stakeholders including business, research, NGOs and non-formal education.

    What motivates the many different volunteers, including NGOs, public bodies and businesses to get involved in fostering digital creativity? How can we support and scale up this digital-making ecosystem? – these and other questions will be discussed in the course of the panel discussion.

  • Panel


    • Ms Anna Dimitrova, Member of the Executive Board, Vodafone Germany,
    • Mr Danijel Bačelić, Industry Solutions Executive for Education, CEE Multi Country Europe region, Microsoft
    • Ms Maria Brauchle, Scientix, Approaching the digital gap in the classroom
    • Ms Ilona Kish, Director, Public Libraries 2020 Programme
    • Mr Marc Durando, Executive Director, EUN/European Schoolnet
  • Adoption of Sofia call for action

  • 10:40 - 11:10

    Networking coffee break

  • 11:10 - 12:10

    Parallel workshops

  • Workshop 1

    Education and industry partnerships for creating with technology
    Moderator: Ms Maria Todorova, Director, Ministry of Education and Science, Bulgaria 

    Many companies, large and small across Europe, are offering digital creativity opportunities to young people. Industry involvement takes many forms: providing staff, mentoring schemes, equipment, venues and funding.

    The panel will look at the ways to best encourage more education-business partnerships, so both sectors can benefit and the ways in which limits and restrictions in such partnerships can be overcome.


    • Mr Svetlin Nakov, Training and Inspiration Manager, Software University Bulgaria (tbc)
    • Ms Elena Coman, Programme Director TechSoup, Romania
    • Mr Steen Hertzum Kirchhoff, Coding School, Danish IT Industry Association
    • Mr Anastas Shopov, Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies (BAIT) and ERP Academy
  • Workshop 2

    STE(A)M – how to attract more students to tech studies and jobs?
    Moderator: Ms Paolina Gadjulova, Digital mentor, Bulgaria 

    A sufficient supply of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills and qualification is vital for growth, innovation and competitiveness in Europe. A mix of social, cultural, economic and educational factors explains why STEM studies and careers can be less attractive for young people. Of particular concern is the persistent under-representation of female students and graduates in many STEM fields. Policy makers, educators and STEM-focused companies are trying to motivate more students to develop an interest in STEM.

    The panel will discuss questions such as: ‘What is working and not working in the many STEM promotion activities across Europe? ‘; ‘What is the main added value of adding the ‘A’ in STE(A)M? Is the A in STEAM a synonymous with creativity? ‘and ‘How can we encourage more mentoring schemes and reach students at an early age?


    • Mr Achilles Kameas, School of Science and Technology, Hellenic Open University
    • Mr Alexei Hristov, Chairman, Natural Sciences Olympic Teams Association (NSOTA)
    • Emil Kolev, Director, High School Students’ Institute of Mathematics and Informatics, Bulgaria
    • Ms Elpida Makrygianni, Advisor for STEM Network, Pre-University Engineering Education Outreach, University College London
    • Ms Eleonora Pavlova, Teacher, Varna, Bulgaria
  • Workshop 3

    Gender equality in digital studies and careers
    Moderator: Ms Teodora Raychinova, Digital Policy Consultant, Hanover Communications 

    A recent study about Women in the Digital Age highlights the problem of fewer female students interested in participating in the digital sector, be it higher education, jobs or entrepreneurship. Only 24 out of every 1000 females graduate in an ICT related subject – of which a meagre 6 go on to work in the digital sector. The Digital Education Action Plan, launched by the European Commission earlier this year also highlights the problem of fewer female students pursing studies in ICT, science, technology, engineering, mathematics studies and careers. Although the digital sector is rapidly growing, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs every year, the share of women in the sector is decreasing. If more women were to enter the digital jobs market it could improve equality and competitiveness and create an annual 16 billion euros GDP boost for the European economy. The underlining questions remains: what could be done to increase the participation of women in the digital sector?
    We will look at whether girls and young women approach digital creativity in a different way to male students and how we can ensure that women have an equal share in creating and shaping the digital world. We will also look at the experience of initiatives dedicated to girls and women, such as coding clubs.


    • Ms Bianka Siwinska, Executive director of Educational Foundation Perspektywy Poland
    • Mr Laurent Roux, European Institute of Innovation and Technology (tbc)
    • Ms Carlota Tarin, Consultancy Area Manager, ICLaves
    • Ms Sasha Bezuhanova, Founder of MOVE.BG and EDIT network
  • Workshop 4

    The role of non-formal education and training in digital creativity
    Moderator: Ms Gabriela Ruseva, All Digital  

    Many exciting abd ground-breaking activities in digital creation are being driven by the non-formal sector (NGOs, grassroots, community centres, fab labs, libraries, etc.) and many of these take place outside school hours. For some learners this is their only experience of digital creativity. For most, it’s a space for experimentation, learning-by-doing, peer-learning. We look at “digital creativity” from a broader perspective as empowering everyone with the skills they need to create with digital tools according to their needs, so to create anything from a word document or a photo through blogs and discussions, multimedia, etc.
    During the session we will look at the added value of non-formal education in teaching digital skills and the ways in which in which such opportunities can reach everyone. Also, the workshop will discuss how non-formal learning can support formal learning and the ways in which the formal learning can support non-formal.


    • Mr João Carlos Martins de Sousa, Ministry of Education, Portugal
    • Prof Jackie Marsh, Makey EU project, University of Sheffield, UK,
    • Ms Veronique de Leener, Founder and Director, MAKS, Belgium
    • Dr Samia Ghozlane, Managing Director, Grand Ecole du Numérique, France
    • Ms Karolina Cikowska, Founder, Girls Code Fun Foundation, Poland
  • 12:10 - 12:30

    Conference wrap-up and next steps

    Mr Jens Nymand Christensen, Deputy Director General, DG Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, European Commission

  • 12:30 - 13:30

    Lunch ‘to go’

  • 13:30 - 16:00

    Optional programme

    Sofia Education and Tech Safari Cultural programme

 Sofia Tech Park JSC
111, Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd.

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The Venue

The conference ‘Educate to create: from digital consumers to digital creators’ will take place in John Atanasoff Innovation Forum, Sofia Tech Park.

Serving as a bridge between the scientific and business communities, the John Atanasoff Innovation Forum is an event centre that hosts a variety of events related to the main focus areas of the Science and Technology Park – science, information and communication technologies, innovation, education and green energy.

  • The Science and Technology Park is located on 111 Tsarigradsko Shosse Blvd, Sofia.

    The main car entrance is located near the “Aviation Square”. There is a paid multi-story parking in the park. Pedestrian access to the park is also near the “Aviation Square”, as well as through the pedestrian bridge over the “Tsarigradsko Shosse” Blvd.

    Near the park there are many stops of public transport lines, including:

    • Bus stop “Sofia Tech Park”: Bus routes 306 and 84 and Trolley routes 5 and 8.
    • Bus stop “Square of aviation”: Bus routes 1, 3, 5, 6, 280, 294, 305 and 306 and Trolley routes 4, 5, 8 and 11.
    • Bus stop “Hospital St. Anna”: Bus routes 1, 3, 5, 213, 305, 6, 76, 204, 604, 505, 304

    Guests are kindly asked to organize their travel in Sofia themselves. You can find information about the location and transport to the venue at address: http://sofiatech.bg/en/contacts/.

  • All guests are kindly asked to organize their transfer to and from Sofia International Airport. For your convenience when planning your transport around the city, please visit the Sofia public transport guide (https://freesofiatour.com/blog/sofia-public-transport-guide/).

    Buses are available from Terminal 1 and 2 and Sofia Metro is available from Terminal 2.

    Single trip card for metro and public transport is 1,60 BGN.

    Single trip card for metro is issued by Transport Documents Machine at the entrances of the Sofia Metro or by a cashier at the cash desks and is validated at the validator located on the barriers to the metro entrance. The card can be used for entrance to the metro up to 30 minutes after its issuance.

    Single trip cards for bus lines 84, 184 and 384 can be purchased from the ticket offices of Sofia Urban Mobility Center, located in the Arrivals Hall of Terminal 2 or from the ticket machines at Terminal 1 of Sofia International Airport. Please perforate your single trip card after boarding the vehicle.

    Further information can be found on the website:




    Taxis are available directly outside the Arrivals Hall at Sofia International Airport 24 hours a day. A taxi service booth is situated in the Arrivals Hall.  Make sure that you check the prices of a particular taxi before you enter the car to avoid taxi scams.

    Approximate taxi fee in Sofia:

    • Initial Charge: 0,60 – 0,90 lv. (0,30 – 0,45 EUR)
    • Daytime rate per km (6 am – 10 pm): 0,79 – 0,90 lv. (0,40 – 0,45 EUR)
    • Night-time rate per km (10 pm – 6 am): 0,89 – 0,99 lv. (0,45 – 0,50 EUR)
    • Waiting rate: 0,24 lv. per minute (0,12 EUR)
    • Call-out charge: 0,90 lv. per minute (0,45 EUR)

    Further information can be found on the website:


  • The guests are invited to organise their stay in Sofia themselves. Each participant is free to select and book their accommodation in Sofia using any of the relevant booking platforms. The organization team for the conference recommends the following hotels in Sofia:

    1. Best Western Premier Hotel, Sofia Airport – http://www.hotelpremiersofia.com/
    2. Best Western Hotel Expo – https://www.hotelexposofia.com/bg/
    3. Novotel Sofia – https://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-8468-novotel-sofia/