ICT supporting learning and teaching
This article was originally published by Ulrich Tiedau on the Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, volumen 9, issue 1.
This article investigates how Open Educational Resources (OER) and Practices (OEP) can support a ‘strategically important and vulnerable subject’ (SIVS) in the UK, in this case a less-widely taught modern foreign language, namely Dutch Studies. It details the experiences of VirtualDutch, an inter-institutional subject community involving all four Dutch departments or sections of Schools of Modern Languages in the UK, that aims to create and share Open Educational Resources and to develop and engage in web-supported forms of inter-institutional collaboration in teaching and learning. After an overview of the VirtualDutch experiences, in particular those in the pilot project in phase 1 of the Joint Information System Committee’s Open Educational Resources Programme (2009/10), the importance of forming communities of both practice and learning around OER for language teaching is highlighted, something particularly, but not exclusively, relevant for less-widely taught subjects like Dutch.
careNET: Building ICT competences in the long-term care sector to enhance quality if life for older people and those at risk of exclusion
The CareNET project aims at developing a set of ICT competences in two identified ‘at risk’ target groups: care-workers and older persons. The project is designed to work in a synergistic way to tackle identified problems in the low skilled and under professionalised care-worker sector while at the same time promoting social inclusion and enhancing the quality of life of older people.
An online social network will be put in place for care-workers, experts, researchers and pracitioners with relevance to ICT competences in care-systems, and a set of workshops for care-workers will be organised to pilot the elaborated professional development pathways and tools.
What resonates amongst both groups – care workers and care recipients – is their exposure to the risk of social exclusion as they are both often at the margins of society and likely to be the victim of digital and social divides. ICTs and associated competences have been shown to be a critical component in mitigating these risks of exclusion and helping to support an increased quality of life. The acquisition of digital skills is essential for these actors in the family employment sector where we find over half of all private individual employers aged 60 years old and over, and low-skilled women representing the majority of household employees. In response to these pressing needs the CareNet project will design, develop and pilot learning paths and resources based on cooperative learning between care workers and care recipients to promote improved quality of care and quality of life through the acquisition of care related digital competences. In addition, to answer specific needs, learning modules for individual learning, addressing ICT competences for employability and self-development (care workers) and ICT competences for active ageing (older people) will be created. In this way the project will contribute to: the identified needs for professionalization of care workers; increased access to learning opportunities; personal development of care workers; overcoming the isolation of both care workers and older people by promoting social enterprise, active citizenship and active ageing.
For this reason, the project seeks to design, develop and pilot:
- learning paths and resources based on cooperative learning between care workers and care recipients
- to promote improved quality of care and quality of life through the acquisition of care related digital competences.
- In addition, to answer specific needs, learning modules for individual learning, addressing employability and self-development of ICT competences for care workers and active ageing ICT competences for elders, will be provided and piloted.
The project will contribute to:
- increased access to learning opportunities;
- personal development of care workers;
- overcoming the isolation of care workers and elders by promoting active citizenship and active ageing.
Details of on the project can be found at the project website: http://www.carenetproject.eu/
The aim of this project is to have a positive impact on the development of students' problem-solving competencies by promoting the use of inquiry and problem-based approaches to teaching. To achieve this, a training framework will be developped for training teachers how to create science lesson plans by not just providing examplar solutions to problems that arise from everyday practice, but also enabling them to perceive effective lesson planning in relation to educational principles that may enhance students' problem-solving skills.
Following the recommendations of the Rocard report on science education in Europe, the use of problem-based and inquiry-based approaches is important because they provide the means to increase students' interest and motivation.
LD-Skills is a pilot project that is funded by the European Comission's Comenius Multilateral project programme. It has started in January 2011 and is expected to run for 2 years.
'Discover the European Union with EuroparlTV' is the title of an educational pack for teachers of pupils in the age groups 11-15 and 15-18.
The pack includes a series of 20 videos designed to appeal to young viewers, encourage classroom debate and promote understanding of key European issues of our time which have a direct impact on students' lives: treaties, laws, institutions, policies, etc. It also offers interesting insight on the history of the European Union. The videos are available online in the 22 languages of the European Union as well as on two DVD's, each one addressed to a specific public.
DVD I (11- to 15-year age group) presents the key aspects of the European Union in an informative fashion and offers insights into topics of interest to young people.
DVD II (15- to 18-year age group) provides a more in-depth analysis and puts the key stages and policies of European unification into historical perspective.
All videos are available here.
SimAULA is a project focused on the development of a virtual practicum for teacher training in the form of a 3D virtual world. Both current and future teachers will have the opportunity to interact with avatar-students, develop lesson plans and teach in virtual classrooms. We talk with the project coordinator, Eva Vázquez de Prada.
What’s the objective of Simaula?
Simaula’s main objective is to develop a virtual practicum for teachers and future teachers. This virtual environment will provide Higher Education institutions and schools with a very innovative training platform to enable the enhancement of teaching abilities through result-driven classroom practices.
The knowledge of teachers and pedagogy and psychology experts helped us define models to create simulations and situations that are both pedagogically and educationally realistic.
Could you describe how a virtual classroom look like?
The project developed a 3D virtual classroom where the teacher can interact with avatars (the students), develop lesson plans, and teach.
The training platform replicates typical situations where teachers face common problems that happen in real classrooms. The teacher will have to select different options for each situation taking into account the teaching strategy, the pupils profiles, their level of attention, the classroom type, etc.
Students (avatars) will automatically react to the teacher selection depending on their behaviour model, the teaching strategy, their classmates, the duration of the class, ...
At the end of the game, the teacher gets a score that is calculated according to the global involvement of the students during the class (this depends on the students' behaviour and how the teacher deals with their interruptions during the game), the choices made by the teacher regarding teaching methodology, the learning resources that the teacher uses, the learning activities and the time spent on each activity.
Besides from the score, the teacher also gets a final feedback describing why he got that score and how he can improve it.
Does this programme respond to a demand from teachers?
The idea of developing Simaula came from the specific demand of different universities that were implementing the new Bologna Process. They realised that they were experiencing different problems managing the increase of the number of in-school practicum hours.
We also conducted a research during the project and we identified several problems of a different nature that the students, tutors and host teachers face during the teaching practice: administrative barriers, organizational barriers, pedagogical, psychological and methodological barriers. We believe that Simaula can help in many ways to overcome these barriers.
Why use serious games to train teachers?
Several studies demonstrate the efficacy of serious games for training in particular through behavioral change.
Serious games help to create a good simulation of real-life learning situations, allowing trainees to go over the same situations, settings, contexts in a low-stress environment. Simaula also promotes experimentation with various techniques and allows meeting learners’ individual needs, interests and abilities, all this in a safe environment.
We also believe that learning how to teach can also be a fun and entertaining activity
Is it possible to virtualize the pupils’ behaviour?
We are aware that modeling students' behaviour is a very complicated task and there are many researches going on now in Europe focused on this. But that’s not Simaula's main objective.
We modelled the five most characteristic behaviours of students in 6th grade (Talkative, Skeptic, Moaner, Joker and “Flower pot”), based on our own research. We wanted the teacher to learn how to react to the most common situations that can occur in a classroom. But we also modelled the classroom types according to the different teaching methodologies (Learning through experiment, collaborative learning and Problem based learning), the choice of ICT and learning resources. And finally, we designed the pedagogical model based on the choice of the available learning activities in order to achieve a particular learning objective.
Do you think game-based learning will replace classical training?
In the specific case of Simaula project, we believe that this training platform could be a very powerful tool to complement the in-school practices for future teachers. Simaula provides universities and schools with a very innovative simulation system that enables them to be more flexible (with less barriers of time and distance), more efficient and to better adapt to the Bologna process. This is because Simaula provides opportunities for professional training in safe, multimodal, and personalised settings. The students engage in learning activities from their homes or from the university computer labs.
Simaula can help to develop trainees’ confidence and increase their motivation (the feelings of uncertainty, fear of failure are minimized).
Simaula can also support the transfer of acquired knowledge and skills from the controlled educational setting to the real classroom and provide the opportunity for development of professional skills and their transfer to new contexts, including a variety of constructivist models of learning: collaborative learning, learning through experiment, problem based learning etc.
E-learning, open and distance education have been important fields of intellectual excitement and innovative development. Challenges posed by the new technologies are permanent, and students constantly keep teachers under pressure to develop. Learning is becoming more and more individualized and self-managed. Individual and collective motivation, enhancement of the learning experience, and an overall improvement of learning quality are gaining ever-increasing traction. How can we do our best to make learning a thrilling experience for learners, including providing a sense of joy in the virtual classroom?
The EDEN 2013 Conference will discover and present the latest best practice in this field, share progressive concepts, inventive solutions, and promote joint-thinking and collaboration.
Discussion and debate will provide a range of innovative theories and approaches about the smart use of ICT tools, new methodologies for enhanced learning experience, content management systems, or fascinating solutions supported by game based learning, immersive environments, multimedia, etc.
Online and Social:
The 2013 Annual Conference will be supported and accompanied intensively by social networking, sharing, online and virtual presence and involvement possibilities.
This will be strengthened by and implemented through the EDEN members" portal: the NAP Members Area on the web and its services.
Call for Contributions:
We invite for the conference proposals for paper presentations in parallel sessions, posters, workshops, and short demonstrations that relate to the conference themes.
Submissions will be double peer reviewed by the Conference Committee. Accepted contributions will be published in the electronic Conference Proceedings with ISBN and their summary in the printed Book of Abstracts.
Schedule and Deadlines:
Submission of Proposals – 5 February 2013
Registration Opens – mid-February 2013
Notification of Authors – 22 March 2013
Digital Learnscapes: Meeting Future Challenges. We live in a period of change and uncertainty. Many are bewildered by these changes and find it difficult to keep up, particularly in the education and training sectors. The ability to anticipate and prepare for change is the mark of innovative educators, as is the skill of harnessing new and emerging tools to promote good learning.
At Pelecon 13 we want to provide learning professionals with opportunities to explore, discover and discuss new approaches, new technologies and new ideas to enhance, enrich and extend their own professional practice. There will be particular emphasis this year on simulations and games, personal learning tools, new pedagogies and practices, learner and teacher voice, and digital literacies.
The aim of the course is to support the development of European schools’ digital culture and teachers’ digital skills, so that they are able to understand the uses and applications of digital resources in school practice, and subsequently to benefit from digital content and technology solutions covering a wide range of areas: Science, Mathematics, ICT, Social Studies, Arts and Language Studies.
Thus, teachers will not only be familiarized with a unique collection of open digital educational resources, but they will also be trained to link them with innovative pedadogical practices, such as using real world learning activities, implementing resource based and project-based approaches.
Throughout the course teachers will be handled in three different modes: a) as learners participating in real world learning activities; b) as teachers implementing resource based problem-solving educational projects and collaborative strategies in their classes; and c) as researchers collecting, examining and interpreting data about their practice and their students’ learning.
ICERI2012 will focus on the presentation of innovative projects and open up a floor for to discuss the main aspects and the latest results in the field of Education and Research. The general aim of the conference is to promote international collaboration in Education and Research in all educational fields and disciplines. The attendance of more than 700 delegates from 70 different countries is expected.
The seventh “European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning” (EC-TEL) 2012 is taking place from 18 to 21 September 2012 in Saarbrücken under the motto “21st Century Learning for 21st Century Skills”.
EC-TEL offers a unique opportunity for scientists, practitioners and politicians to discuss current challenges and progress in the field of technology-supported teaching and learning, find new forms of cooperation, strengthen their networks and exchange their respective experiences.
After taking place in previous years in Crete (2006, 2007), in Maastricht (2008), Nice (2009), Barcelona (2010) and Palermo (2011), in 2012 EC-TEL is being implemented in Saarbrücken by the Centre for e-Learning Technology (CeLTech) in cooperation with IMC information multimedia communication AG and the Festo Lernzentrum. As well as the General Chair Prof. Dr. Carlos Delgado Kloos (eMadrid / TELSpain / Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) and the Programme Chairs Prof. Dr. Stefanie Lindstaedt (Graz University of Technology and Know-Center) and Prof. Andrew Ravenscroft (University of East London und CASS School of Education and Communities), amongst others Dr. Volker Zimmermann (imc AG) will be involved in the planning, organization and running of the conference as Industry Chair, Dr. Sergey Sosnovsky (CeLTech) as Dissemination Chair and Private Lecturer Dr. Christoph Igel (CeLTech) as Local Organization Chair.
The development of “21st Century Learning for 21st Century Skills” to do justice to the present day needs and challenges is one of the main interests within the European Union and its constituent countries.
How can schools prepare young people for the jobs of the future? How can technologies be used to support formal and independent learning outside traditional education settings? How can we use the next generation of social and mobile technologies to enable informal learning in the workplace?
The answers to these questions show that a further range of new skills is required. In 2012 for the first time EC-TEL is directed above all at innovators in Technology Enhanced Learning, creative “doers” and other representatives from the eLearning field. Extensive demonstrations and interactive “TEL in action” sessions will set discussions in motion between different groups, which will be broadcast via live Internet radio transmissions.
EC-TEL 2012 will address the transitions between research, practice and industry, and highlight the opportunities for optimisation at these points.
Registration for the conference is still open. The conference fee of € 500 (different prices apply for students and EATEL members) includes participation in the conference sessions, workshops and tutorials including lunches, coffee breaks, a book of proceedings, a conference bag and attendance at the social dinner.
Payment by bank transfer, credit card and PayPal is accepted.
Further information about the conference generally and the programme can be found online at http://ec-tel.eu/.
Click here to register online.
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