Archive of European Projects

Making construals as a new digital skill for creating interactive open educational resources
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background The European Commission’s Rethinking Education initiative has identified the need ‘to scale-up use of ICT in learning and teaching’ to exploit the opportunities that the digital revolution presents for enhancing education. It calls for innovation, work to ‘define how, when and where ICT can be used effectively in pedagogical and assessment approaches’ and activities to support teachers and learners to increase their digital competence. Rationale for this project One of the primary aims for an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership is "enhancing the quality and relevance of the learning offer in education, training and youth work by developing new and innovative approaches and supporting the dissemination of best practices". The proposed consortium, led by the Computer Science Department at the University of Warwick, propose to form a Strategic Partnership of pedagogical and technological experts with the aim of further developing, trialling, evaluating and disseminating a novel framework – developed by the Empirical Modelling research group at the University of Warwick – for ‘creating knowledge and solving conceptual problems with the support of digital tools’ (cf. the digital competence of the same name identified in EC DIGCOMP). We shall introduce new principles and tools for a computing practice that enables educators and learners to collaborate in creating live interactive resources ("construals") that serve as personal, shareable 'working models' or understandings. Such a practice is more accessible than conventional programming but more expressive and powerful than conventional uses of ICT. Its adoption will lead to the online development of open educational resources that can be flexibly modified by educators and learners alike to give exceptionally rich support for blending educational practices combining instruction and construction. This contributes to the wider aims for Strategic Partnerships to promote take-up of innovative practices in education, training and youth work and enhance the professional development of those working in these fields by increasing the quality and range of initial and continuing training. The proposed consortium allows for the project to draw on a unique blend of skills and experience, and to access opportunities to trial and disseminate the activity through a number of learning activities covering learners of all ages across the EU. Objectives and activities The principal objective of our project is to promote 'making construals' as a new practice that promises to better support teachers and learners to create knowledge and solve conceptual problems with the support of digital tools. As the framework has potential to address policy objectives, challenges and needs relevant to several fields of education, training and youth, our proposal is to form a Strategic Partnership covering more than one field. The core activities of the Strategic Partnership will be to: • Develop and refine the existing framework and tools, drawing on the pedagogical and technical expertise of our consortium • Apply the framework in a number of educational contexts with a range of learners to explore and test its potential to enhance the teaching of computing/programming and other subjects • Refine the framework and tools in light of its application in educational contexts and launch it as an open educational resource • Conduct experimental studies to evaluate the efficacy of the framework for supporting learning • Dissemination of the framework and tools as elaborated below. Expected outcomes The widespread adoption of making construals as a new digital skill to support personal learning and collaborative construal construction as way of developing open educational resources. Greater awareness of the critical impact of the mode of construction upon the qualities of software. Dissemination and longer term benefits The results of the project will be disseminated via an international conference, and establishment of the proposed MOOC. A range of other dissemination channels – including development of a project website, newsletters, presentations/publications to conferences/workshops, online publications and presentations through social and contemporary media, and the Erasmus+ dissemination platform - will be used during the lifetime of the project to increase awareness of the activity and encourage wider contribution and support for the project. We also expect project outputs to be disseminated through subsequent work, for which we will seek support during the life of the project. This will include web resources that embody explanatory mechanisms that can be readily explored, extended, remixed and customised for personal use. In the longer term, it is to be hoped that making construals will make an impact on the mainstream computing curriculum. If successful, the project also has the potential to contribute to a transformation in programming practice in the long term.
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