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Groningen school pupils tackle urban distribution

'Web expeditie Groningen' project unique in the Netherlands
05 March 2018

On Monday 5 March, 130 primary and secondary school children gather in the afternoon in the Groningen Forum. The kick-off for ‘Web Expeditie Groningen’ will then be held in the large auditorium. The project is a collaboration among the University of Groningen (UG), Public Education Groningen, the municipality of Groningen, Cisco and the Logistics Top Sector to examine the future of urban distribution.

Physical Internet; self-organizing sustainable logistics

Public Education Groningen and the UG have started a collaboration within Digital Office Groningen in the field of the Physical Internet : new self-organizing logistics, inspired by how the open and linked internet functions. In June 2018, the UG will be organizing an international conference on this topic, and wants the logistics managers of the future to join in. The UG is investing heavily in knowledge exchange and hopes that ‘Web Expeditie Groningen’ will make school pupils enthusiastic about the logistics sector.

Prof. dr. Iris Vis
Prof. dr. Iris Vis

City centre under pressure

That is also the mission of UG professor Iris Vis: ‘Last year, with my colleagues I developed a publicly available interactive textbook on logistics for groups 7 and 8 (10 to 12-year- olds). “Web Expeditie Groningen” is the first logistics challenge in the Netherlands where school pupils supervised by our students work on applied research in a multidisciplinary context. We hope to find solutions to the challenges faced by the logistics sector when supplying shops and households in cities.’
The pressure on Dutch inner cities is only increasing through online shopping and the growing need for fresh regional products – important themes within the Logistics Top Sector and in research at the UG on e-commerce and the Physical Internet.

Creative solutions

The Groningen school pupils will be pondering the following question in the coming weeks: How can you optimize the delivery of goods in a city? Groningen Alderman Ton Schroor: ‘As everyone can see, we are currently busy renovating parts of our city centre, the aim being to give cyclists and pedestrians more space. But this also generates challenges, for example in the field of collection and delivery of goods. I’m very curious about the creative solutions school pupils will come up with.’

Sound supervision

The primary school pupils come from De Swoaistee (groups 6/7/8) and De Starter (group 7), and the secondary school pupils from the Montessori Lyceum Groningen (2 HAVO) and the Praedinius Gymnasium (groups in the Technasium). The project partners are organizing the supervision of the groups by students, and where necessary putting the school pupils in touch with a network of companies and experts. Cisco is organizing ‘Spark’, an online collaboration platform for all school pupils, teachers and students, using online lectures to keep them informed about digital innovations.

Plenty of choice

The children will be allowed to choose a sub-assignment within the urban logistics issue. They can also choose how to approach it: from a social, technical, legal, philosophical or economic perspective, or a combination of these. The school pupils can determine with the teachers and students just how far they want to zoom in or out. The emphasis will be on digital literacy, a fundamental part of the education programme at primary and secondary schools in Groningen. The Groningen school pupils will work on their assignments until June, and will have the chance to present their results during the international Physical Internet conference.

Read more about Professor Iris Vis or watch the short film on the Physical Internet.

Last modified:21 April 2020 1.51 p.m.
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