Steering group

Meet the 2021 Steering group

They are the heart and soul of this edition of DigiEduHack!


Arjana Blazic

Arjana Blazic is a language arts teacher, education technology consultant, course designer and international speaker. She holds a Master of Education from the University of Zagreb and a Course Designer Diploma from the CARNet e-Learning Academy. She is a recipient of the 2014-2015 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Award at Penn State University, where she successfully completed a one-year academic and professional development program.


She works as a teacher trainer with the International Expert Team for Curricular Reform at the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education. She is co-author of the National Curriculum for English and the National Curriculum for the Use of ICT as a Cross-Curricular Topic. She has written articles about teaching and learning with technology, teacher professional development and building teacher capacity. She has won awards in different competitions, such a Microsoft Partners in Learning, National eTwinning Prizes, Europe @School and Edublogs.


Arjana speaks at conferences and leads workshops, seminars and webinars. She has expertise in organizing international onsite and online events for professional development including Twitter chats and Teachmeets. She is co-founder and co-host of the Teachmeet International at BETT Show in London. She is proudly serving on the Steering Group for the Digital Education Hackathon for the second year in a row.


Arjana is an avid user of new technologies and a lifelong learner with a strong passion for travel. She likes experimenting with digital tools and learning how to effectively use technology in the classroom. She believes that sharing is caring and she is passionate about continuous professional development and sharing her knowledge with peers. Recently she has become a teacher-turned- YouTuber as her job is now to design and record video lessons and video tips for remote teaching and learning.

Mark Brown

Hello, I'm Mark Brown and I’m delighted to once again be supporting this year’s DigiEduHack. In such uncertain and rapidly changing times, this important global event gives us the opportunity to reimagine teaching, learning and assessment for a better future for all.

Currently I live in Ireland where my role is Professor of Digital Learning and Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU). However, I also bring a down under perspective to DigiEduHack as I originally come from New Zealand and retain strong links to colleagues and professional networks in the Southern Hemisphere. For example, I was previously President of the New Zealand Association for Open, Flexible and Distance Learning (DEANZ) and continue to serve on the Executive Committee of the Open, Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA).

In Europe, I act as Treasurer and serve on the Executive Committee of the European Distance and eLearning Network (EDEN). In 2018, I was recognized as an EDEN Fellow. I have a strong background in the area of digital education and also serve on the Supervisory Board of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU). In 2017 I was recognised by the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) as a world leader in supporting new digitally enhanced models of higher education. And in 2019 I had the privilege to Chair of the ICDE World Conference on Online Learning in Dublin.

I play an active role in the EEuropean Consortium for Innovative Universities (ECIU) where through the ECIU University initiative we are endeavouring to hack traditional models of education in keeping with our strapline of “challenging conventional thinking”. On a personal note, my academic career is encapsulated by the expression that “the light comes through the cracks”. This important hack is an excellent opportunity to expose some of these cracks in the service of a more creative, innovative and imaginative education system for the 21st Century.

Mihajela Črnko

Mihajela Črnko is the Chief Communications Officer at IRCAI, International Center in Artificial Intellingence under the auspices of UNESCO. She is also head of VideoLectures. NET ; an award-winning, free, open-access scientific video lectures repository with more than 27,000 freely available educational videos. Previously, she was a successful digital journalist and editor at various media companies, specializing in the development of new publishing concepts.


She applies her entrepreneurial spirit in the field of technology innovation, specifically in business development and implementation of blockchain solutions in various fields. Above all, she is an advocate of open education technologies, open education and open licenses, which she has demonstrated in numerous international conference presentations and academic and media publications. She is part of the team working with the UNESCO Chair in Open Education and OER. She is also involved in numerous EU-funded projects ranging from digital credentials to innovative educational content creation and policy analysis in education. She uses her experience in online publishing, her role as Head of Videolectures.Net and her understanding of the tech world to improve access to OERs and other good practice cases in education.


Alenka Flander

Alenka is currently holding a position of the Director of the Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European programmes in education and training the leading Slovene institution on the field of the internationalisation of Higher Education. She has been involved in internationalisation of higher education for over 20 years, specialised in providing enhancement advisory services for higher education institutions in the field of internationalisation.


Through her professional work, Alenka always seek for efficient and effective solutions and ways to support our HEIs with knowledge to address the internationalisation in a strategical way. She contributed to national or international expert groups (i.e EUROSTUDENT, EAIE Task Force, BFUG WG on Internationalisation and Mobility) and I was behind the preparation of Slovene Strategy for internationalisation of higher education (and its Action plan), adopted in 2016.

Alenka was involved in several research projects on the impact of the international cooperation on institutional and national systems development as well as international comparative research on academic profession. Her main research interests are related to internationalisation strategies, cooperation and the knowledge of the HE systems and governance. Currently she is a National Team Leader in APIKS (The Academic Profession in the Knowledge-Based Society), involving over 30 countries worldwide. 

Alenka holds a Graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Political Science. She is also a holder of Certificate Programme on International Higher Education at Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) from Boston College.



Ruben Janssens

Ruben Janssens is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Students’ Union. He works on topics concerning the quality of higher education in Europe, with a particular focus on learning & teaching, digitalisation of education, the European Universities Initiative and mental health.


Ruben is also a recent graduate in Computer Science Engineering (MSc) at Ghent University in Belgium. In his studies, he has focussed on artificial intelligence and data science, doing thesis research in human-robot interaction.

Before joining ESU’s Executive Committee, he has been active as a student representative for many years. He was previously active as a student representative in Ghent University, as an executive committee member of the Ghent Student Council, and in the Flemish Union of Students (VVS). Throughout the years, he has worked to improve the quality of education and the representation of students, focussing on topics like internal and external quality assurance, learning & teaching, learning analytics, and mental health. He was also a member of ESU’s Quality Assurance Student Experts Pool.


Ilona Kish

Ilona is a Library Avenger. As Director of Public Libraries 2030, she aims to create a stronger European library sector through EU advocacy and network building.


A former Secretary General of Culture Action, Ilona has extensive experience in EU advocacy and campaigning, as well as a thorough working knowledge of both the operational and political functions of EU institutions.

Alexander Knoth

Alexander Knoth, historian and sociologist, works as Head of Section Digitalisaton at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Berlin.


He is responsible for the strategic planning and management of DAAD’s digitalisation activities. Before he took over this position, Alexander Knoth worked as an Advisor for the Digitalisation of Teaching and International Affairs at the President’s Office of the University of Potsdam. As Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) coordinator, Alexander has gained experiences in interdisciplinary and international co-teaching scenarios, connecting classrooms around the globe.


He also worked at the chair of Complex Multimedia Application Architectures (Institute for Computational Science) and at the chair of Gender Sociology both at the University of Potsdam. Alexander is an Educational Expert Fulbright Alumnus. He has been honoured by the Federal President of Germany and he has won the Teaching Award of the Federal State Brandenburg twice. His mobile application “Reflect.UP” has been nominated for the German E-Learning Innovation award (delina).

Line Gry Knudsen

Line is a dedicated learning and education specialist with a deep insight into the interplay between learning and innovation. Her work is routed in the believe that people empowered with the right skills, capabilities, and mindsets are vital for the transformation towards a long team sustainable society. And to get there we need a constant focus on lifelong learning, with a good mix of digital and non-digital tools and a variety of pedagogies.


She runs her own consultancy, ‘LEARN Consulting’ where she supports learning designers and event organisers in re-thinking their learning activities or meetings to accommodate the needs of the future—whether formed by the Covid19 crises or the need for a more flexible and environmentally sustainable delivery. She uses ALL tools and methods – whether digital or analog – to create the most interesting and sustainable learning conditions and activities. The magic is in the blend. 


Previously she was the Director of the education team at Europe’s largest climate innovation partnership; EIT Climate-KIC, a body of the European Union. EIT Climate-KICs aims to drive a new climate-conscious economy through innovation, learning, and entrepreneurship. She has been instrumental in designing and running Europe’s largest climate innovation summer school and a huge global hackathon on climate challenges; the Climathon, running in more than 100 cities every year. In 2019 she initiated the design of the global ’Digital Education Hackathon’ and is pleased to serve on the steering group and thereby help shine a light on the urgent agenda of the EU Commission’s Digital Education Action Plan.

Previously she worked 6 years at the Copenhagen based Think Tank DEA, that works for smart investments in education, research, and innovation, creating productivity, jobs, and growth in Denmark. Line is also an external lecturer at Copenhagen Business School from where she holds a PhD degree in organization and management. Finally, she is a dedicated beekeeper enjoying the mental wellbeing that is gained from taking care of approximately 100.000 bees. 

Davor Orlic

Davor Orlic is an MA graduate in Digital Humanities from University College London. He co-founded VideoLectures.Net with 20.000 educational videos, launched the OpeningupSlovenia national education initiative, established the UNESCO Chair on Open Technologies for OER and Open Learning, curated the 2nd UNESCO OER World Congress in 2017 and worked on the delivery of the UNESCO Recommendation on OER.


He is the Chief Operating Officer at the International Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (IRCAI) and Knowledge 4 All Foundation with 60 global members in machine learning. Active in Artificial Intelligence research, open education, policies and business innovation in education. Has managed portfolio of European and African research projects on AI from capacity building of communities, to applicative solutions and policy with 40+ partners and 150+ researchers across the board. He is currently working on two European Networks of Artificial Intelligence (HumaneAI, ELISE), one Network in Sub-Saharan Africa (AI4D) and in the European Network for Catalysing Open Resources in Education (ENCORE+).


Margaux Pelen

Margaux Pelen is the founder of Learning Studio, a European collective of freelancers focusing on the future of education and work, and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of, a community of top digital freelancers in Europe.


Margaux’s mission is to empower individuals with new education offers so they can access more professional opportunities today and tomorrow. Since 2011, Margaux has been building trainings, programs, and ventures to connect companies and individuals through the development of new and relevant competences. Her area of expertise is located in the triangle of Education, Technology, and Entrepreneurship.  She is thriving in the two-step process of designing and developing concrete learning opportunities. Specifically, she launched a new university in Berlin (CODE University), relaunched the existing entrepreneurship center at her Alma Mater HEC Paris and led the crafting of new offers with various leading startups and companies.

Margaux is an HEC Paris & Telecom ParisTech alumni and won a full scholarship to attend Singularity University (NASA Ames) in 2014. She’s regularly teaching at the Center for Interdisciplinary Center (Paris) and lives in Berlin since 2017.

Florian Rampelt

Florian Rampelt is an open education enthusiast with a focus on digitalisation and artificial intelligence in higher education. He believes in the power of educational innovation for more inclusive and open societies.

Florian is Deputy Managing Director of Hochschulforum Digitalisierung (HFD / German Forum for Higher Education in the Digital Age) and Project Lead of KI-Campus / AI Campus – the Learning Platform for Artificial Intelligence at Stifterverband in Berlin.

Together with several partners like the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI) and more than 20 higher education institutions from Germany and Luxembourg he is currently buidling the AI Campus as an open and innovative learning environment for Artificial Intelligence, aiming to promote AI skills and competences on a broad scale. At Hochschulforum Digitalisierung he works on higher education strategies for the digital age and coordinates international initiatives such as "Bologna Digital".

Previously, Florian was Director of Education at Kiron Open Higher Education, leading several teams and projects on innovative, digital solutions to higher education for refugees. Florian Rampelt studied political science, European studies, teaching at secondary schools and education at the University of Passau. After his studies he worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Teacher Training at the University of Passau with a focus on internationalisation in teacher education. As a (part-time) researcher, he focuses on open education, quality assurance and internationalisation of higher education in the digital age.


Cristina Riesen

Cristina Riesen is the Founder and CEO of Educreators Foundation, a nonprofit supporting deep change in education.

An EMScom graduate, certified strategic foresight practitioner and design thinking professional, Cristina is a seasoned entrepreneur experienced in different fields: media, design, technology, innovation and education. She likes to describe herself as “an enthusiast by nature and a lifelong learner by design”. Her inner fire is fueled by creativity, and an insatiable interest in education, entrepreneurship and education.

Named Digital Shaper and Transformer by the leading Swiss economic magazine Bilanz, in recent years Cristina was General Manager EMEA at Evernote, managed the launch of the Swiss Edtech Collider at EPFL Lausanne, and worked with the Strategic Development team at EETH Zurich.


She joined the #DigiEduHack steering group last year with the goal of actively supporting grass root innovation in education.

Altheo Valentini

Sociologist and communicator, I deeply believe in transformative social change! For this reason, four years ago, I’ve been captured by the magic world of Hackathons and I’ve launched the first Social Hackathon Umbria, a 48-hour digital marathon for the co-creation of innovative solutions aimed at solving different societal challenges. I am a member of national associations and networks in the field of innovation (General States of Innovation) and digital cultural heritage (DiCultHer) and I am part of the board of some international organizations, including: All Digital for the promotion of digital skills, EAQOM for the quality in international mobility projects for training purposes and the Europeana Education Community.


M.A. in "Publishing, Media and Journalism", I have been working for more than 15 years as a project manager in the framework of various financing instruments of the European Commission, with a particular focus on digital and social innovation. To do my job in the best way, 8 years ago I founded the European Grants International Academy Srly, a training agency in the VET and Adult education sector and a consultancy company in European projects design and implementation.


I have worked with and for different target groups, always starting from the assumption that high-quality education and training are fundamental to the whole realization of the individual. “Education for all”, in my case, has meant in particular the realization of training courses and other formative interventions for disadvantaged groups. Unemployment, disability, gender and racial discrimination, from one side, have been dismantled with adaptability, guidance and social inclusion, from the other side. You can find my blog posts and news on adult education in EPALE, the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe.


I am glad join the steering group of DigiEduHack because I believe it is important to sensitize and orient the new generations to the multiple innovation opportunities that the current digital transformation process can offer in the educational sector.

Bart Verswijvel

Bart Verswijvel is a Belgian educator and expert trainer who works as a Senior Pedagogical Adviser for European Schoolnet in Brussels. He is the pedagogical lead of the Future Classroom Lab, the concept of a flexible learning space. He also coordinates the EUN network of Future Classroom ambassadors and the emerging network of Future Classrooms.


Bart works with Ministries of Education, schools and communities of teachers. His special interest is in whole-school approaches to stimulate active learning and innovative practices in a context of innovative learning spaces with the support of technology. Bart promotes and investigates innovative ways of continuous professional development for teachers. He designs and delivers online and onsite courses and workshops. Bart is an international keynote speaker and a host of Twitter chats, hackathons, webinars and Teachmeets. Bart is the co-founder and co-host of the International Teachmeet at BETT.


Bart has been a project judge for Microsoft and other organisations at Belgian and European competitions for teachers and he held the title of Microsoft Innovative Educator for 2 successive years. He has been very active in the eTwinning community both as a teacher and as a member of the Central Support Service.


Bart holds a master’s degree in Germanic Philology and a postgraduate in E-learning and Digital Didactics. He is a co-author of several textbooks for Dutch as a mother tongue. In 2010, Bart was awarded the Queen Paola Prize for Education.


Bart’s power is to spread the joy of learning. Store your knowledge in friends, is his favourite quote.

Petri Vuorimaa

Prof. Petri Vuorimaa is the vice-head of education at department of computer science, Aalto University.


He is also the programme director of both master’s programme in Computer, Communication, and Information Sciences and double-degree programme in ICT Innovations (EIT Digital Master School). At the moment, he is also the academic leader of the FITech ICT project, which is a joint continuous education project by eight Finnish technical universities. The ministry of education and culture, Finland has granted the project 10 M€ funding for 2019-2021. Prof. Vuorimaa’s own research and teaching area is web technologies, applications, and science.