e-Learning for Museum and School Environments
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The project aims to create and implement a new e-learning environment that demonstrates the potential of the e-learning solutions for specific user groups.
The proposed project aims at the networking of specialised cultural and educational institutions, specifically museums and schools, for the development of common learning materials and services based on their contents and their research resources, in order to create and implement a new e-learning environment that demonstrate the potential of the e-learning solutions for specific user groups.
On the one hand, school, as the main provider of the formal education, works mainly upon pre-defined static curricula and the learning process is based on the traditional relationship between teachers and learners that is gradually enriched with the potentialities for interaction with new information technologies.
On the other hand, museum, is by definition an institution “in the service of society and of its development, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment” (ICOM).
In order for the museum to correspond to its communicative role it has adopted various ways of communication, mainly through the exhibitions of real objects, but also through publications and educational programmes. Especially, the establishment of educational departments in most European museums enforces the educative role of the museum and its evolvement to an alternative, non formal learning environment. Additionally, in order to meet the demands of the digital age, museums gradually open up to the challenges of the new information technologies.
The proposed project will provide the methods and the tools a) for teachers and curriculum authors to create a plethora of multidisciplinary and engaging educational activities b) for learners to collaboratively participate in vivid adventures designed with specific educational goals in mind, c) for providers of cultural and historical content to channel their resources in educationally meaningful ways.
The project will provide the means for the easy setup of individualized and culture-specific based activities around broad themes, for example society, economy, politics and culture in ancient world, in order to proliferate innovative activity in the school system and in the museum environment.
he project will develop in a pilot stage the theme of the “Olympic Games in Ancient World”, which is of great significance given the forthcoming Athens Olympics of 2004 organised in their birthplace for the first time after their revival in 1896.
The project activities, therefore, will focus on the historical background, the tradition of the athletic games, their importance and social - political impact in different times, so as to trace their evolution and all the peripheral themes.
The participant institutions will use common resources, conventional and digital ones, to plan and implement common on-site and online educational activities in school and museum environment.
Anticipated results include:
1. A set of learning activities which are based on common curricula, objectives, and resources among the participating countries, and are adapted to the needs of school students whenever they act as museum visitors, linking digital with on-site resources and thus creating a unique experience within a challenging learning environment..
2. Software tools that facilitate these activities by exploiting state-of-the-art computer and communication technologies, like Java and the internet. The technological infrastructure will provide all the features to support the required kinds of interaction within a shared spatio-temporal terrain (interactive maps and 3D spaces along the temporal axis), navigational aids (bound by the scientific knowledge of each historical period), “mind-tools” to visualize and observe, manipulate information and reason with (e.g. database filtering and querying tools, graphs, interactive timelines, etc), and the means to collaborate in real time with colleagues in order to coordinate the task at hand (e.g. exchange findings with colleagues that “meet” at same place of the common terrain).
3. Production of a model of best practice activities that can be transferred and adapted to many other similar structures in Europe. Establishment of a direct, solid link between museum and school in each participant country as well as among all the participant countries, for the creation of a network that will have the potential to expand and encompass other education providers in the future.
The main challenge of the project is to develop and generalize IT uses in both formal and non-formal educational environment. This will be based on elaborating and validating concrete propositions of activities that will help switching from a conception of school where teachers transmit knowledge to more or less passive receivers, to a conception of school where teachers create situations and environments which lead the students to look for and to develop, by themselves, the information, the knowledge and the methods they need in order to reach the objectives they targeted.
At the same time, museums will become an open, more friendly learning environment, where on-site and online activities will take place with the advantageous presence of the real exhibits. Within the above-mentioned framework the project has the following objectives:
-To provide the European youth of the digital age with multiple opportunities to understand their situation and perspective within the modern world and equip themselves with communication and thinking abilities that will allow them to be aware of the stakes behind the issues of our era and be able to manage them in a responsible way both at the individual and collective level. School students will take advantage of both formal and non-formal educational practices taken place in the school and the museum environment, as well as of the potentials of ICT as a learning tool.
-To enhance the impact of the history and culture courses already provided by the formal educational system, by taking advantage of the museum's mission to collect and exhibit real objects representative of human culture through time, in order to establish an active, interactive relationship, a “dialogue” between the learners and the original exhibits through the introduction and full use of ICT. Classical education, especially the study of history and culture, is considered as an important resource in the acquisition of the above mentioned abilities.