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Animated Learning for Transitions - Early Recognition
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Highlighting concerns about education, digital technologies, and the overlap between the two, "Animation and Learning for Transitions - Early Recognition" (ALT-ER) aims to foster resilient learning environments, lessen/prevent early school leaving, and give European children a good start in their education by focusing on bridging the transitional period that experts recognize as occurring for children around the ages of 4-6 years. In pursuit of this the partnership will develop age appropriate ICT animation tools and games as well as a pedagogical framework specific for the transition phase from kindergarten to school. While IT components are a natural part of life for children - at home, in schools and even kindergartens - and teachers and pedagogues are increasingly expected to be adept at a variety of ICT based and other approaches for content delivery. The NMC Horizon Report Europe 2014 Schools Edition states that ICT is not being used to its full capacity across the European Union. Often teachers and pedagogues lack the necessary skills and there is felt to be a need for initiatives that integrate digital pedagogies and learning in a way that is not merely superficial, but founded on meaningful research that shows how children best learn and thrive with digital tools and methods.Meant to provide both teachers and students with a means to better understanding and utilizing new media and technologies in education, this project addresses the EU strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth where knowledge, learning and innovation are pointed out as flagships for a better and more sustainable future in Europe. Based on studies which show ICT has a positive impact on wider educations goals such as attendance, behaviour, motivation, attitudes, confidence, and engagement, and achieved through employing a digital, transnational, and innovative agenda that shares understandings, needs, and solutions amongst all the partners, ALT-ER works towards aligning high level thought and practical practice in the area of ICT and early education. ALT-ER is made up of seven European partners from very different backgrounds, creating a focused team of animation, gaming, and learning experts affiliated with relevant but varied environments. The applicant is VIA University College in Denmark - The Animation Workshop - Animated Learning Lab which for the last 20 years has worked with animation as a learning tool. The six partners are two NGO’s - Camera-ETC in Belgium and Kinobuss in Estonia - who both work in the area of creative and active learning with children. The Finnish SME TeacherGaming LLC successfully develops educational versions of popular games like Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program, while CNA Regina Maria Constanta is a Romanian primary school focused specifically on students' artistic skills. Aalborg University in Denmark and their reCreate centre are a global inter-disciplinary centre that focuses on developing and exploring frameworks for learning through integration of mind, body and technology, while NHTV University Breda represents the technical lead as their Academy for Digital Entertainment in the Netherlands focuses on the planning and execution of transmedia productions.The project will run during the period of September 2016 until September 2019 and will include pilot studies in kindergartens and schools in all partner countries. Workshops for the participating pedagogues and teachers and two conferences with the specific focus on how to use animation and serious games in the context of education will be conducted. The results of the project will be a pedagogical framework for the transitional phase with a focus on how to use ICT in the professional work of teachers and pedagogues as well as a Toolbox of animation and serious games available as an OER via the project website. An accessible guide to the use of the toolbox and framework as well as a series of analysis reports produced on two pilot studies will round out the assembled platforms of the ALT-ER initiative. The long-term effects of the project are to foster motivation, digital competences and genuine engagement in young students and pedagogues across Europe while working also to prevent early school leaving predicated on the belief that combining crucial skills of teachers and the capabilities and benefits of modern ICT can lead to significant improvements in education. The primary target groups are teachers and students, but the initiative is thought to have resounding implications for actors attendant to educations, namely parents, researchers, and politicians. As the outputs of this project consider and engage varied strata of public and private actors across Europe, the framework will serve to propagate and promote the understanding developed and the activities themselves, which in turn can lead to considered change in attitudes, use, and policy as it regards ICT use in educational contexts.
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