News Story

The Open University receives 759k from EU for learning technologies

KMi Reporter, Friday 16 Nov 2012

The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) has been awarded two grants of €408,000 (£323k) and €351,000 (£285k) from the European Commission for two projects which build bridges between innovation and education, both in the classroom and in the manufacturing workplace.

The grants are specifically for its Technology Enhanced Learning Livinglab for Manufacturing Environments (TELLME), which is launching today in Milan, and Working Environment with Social, Personal and Open Technologies (weSPOT) projects.

The two new grants to KMi will allow The Open University to explore diverse contexts for technology enhanced learning bridging the school classroom and the manufacturing workplace. The bridge between the enquiring student in the school classroom, and the enquiring SME worker is one that is not immediately obvious – but many of the learning topics and technologies are surprisingly similar.

These two new grants have been awarded to the New Media research team, led by KMi Director Professor Peter Scott, who said: "These new grants will explore diverse contexts for technology enhanced learning in a social, tangible world; WeSPOT will lower the threshold for linking everyday life inquiry with science teaching in schools all over Europe, while TellMe will explore social learning and the use of multimedia learning objects within business ecosystems".

The WeSPOT project started in October 2012, and is being led by Dr Ale Okada and Dr Alexander Mikroyannidis. It aims at propagating scientific inquiry as the approach for science learning and teaching in combination with today’s curricula and teaching practices. WeSPOT will support the meaningful contextualization of scientific concepts by relating them to personal curiosity, experiences, and reasoning.

Students will be enabled to develop their inquiry-based learning skills by taking on the role of an explorer and will be motivated by their personal curiosity, guided by self-reflection, and develop knowledge personal and collaborative sense-making and reasoning. The project will involve providing a European reference model for inquiry; a diagnostic instrument; support tools and make use of social media for integration and viral marketing.

The TellMe project, which started this month, is led by Fridolin Wild, and will bring Technology Enhanced Learning to a new area: SME-driven human-centric and service-oriented manufacturing workplaces. Here KMi will be extending its learning research programme into support for learners in diverse companies: from the manufacture of helicopters, furniture to basic textiles.

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