The U.S. Department of Education issued the National Education Technology Plan 2010, which includes technology-related recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders to use in helping to achieve these reforms. In an effort to learn from the experiences of other countries, particularly counties with high-performing education systems, the Department of Education funded this study, International Experiences with Technology in Education (IETE).
The Open Educational Resources in Europe (OEREU) project will provide a critical assessment of OER initiatives and practices in Europe, develop sector-specific foresight scenarios to illustrate the benefits, carry out a representative survey on the use of OER, identify challenges across all sectors and, jointly with stakeholders, develop, discuss and propose recommendations for the further development and mainstreaming of OER in Europe.
OER refers to "the open provision of educational resources, enabled by ICT, for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes" (UNESCO, 2002). Important to note that those resources are not limited to content, but comprise also "the creation of open source software, development tools and the development of standards and licensing tools" (OLCOS, 2007). It is acknowledged by policymakers and researchers that a fundamental transformation of education and learning throughout Europe is needed to address the new skills and competences required if Europe is to remain competitive, overcome the current economic crisis, grasp new opportunities and insure social justice and cohesion. In order to provide stakeholders with evidence on the contribution of Open Education to those aims, and in pursuance of promoting the use of OER in school education, higher education and adult education, the Open Educational Resources in Europe (OEREU) project will provide a critical assessment of OER initiatives and practices in Europe, develop sector-specific foresight scenarios to illustrate the benefits, carry out a representative survey on the use of OER, identify challenges across all sectors and, jointly with stakeholders, develop, discuss and propose recommendations for the further development and mainstreaming of OER in Europe.
Openness inside Education, Learning and Training provide a strategic opportunity to improve quality and inclusiveness as well as to facilitate policy dialogue, knowledge sharing, capacity building, pedagogical innovation and new business and sustainability opportunities.
Even if OER are high on the agenda of educational policies their use in education has not yet reached a critical threshold due to a number of bottlenecks including lack of awareness, know how, recognition, interoperability, standards, quality and sustainability, amongst others.
Crawler regarding inter-linkage between a selection of OER initiatives
=> full screen image (created with Issuecrawler by Govcom foundation)
Consultation and Dissemination Activities
Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), Thematic Working Group on ICT and Education (Brussels, 22 May 2012):
Up to date research and information on the economics of education, tailor-made to the needs of busy policy makers, is now available on the re-vamped website of the European Expert Network on Economics of Education (EENEE). The network supports reforms and identification of investment priorities in the area of education and training.
Running now in its eighth year EENEE is an EU Think Tank sponsored by DG Education and Culture. The expert network aims to contribute to the improvement of decision-making and policy development in education and training in Europe. EENEE's core task is to advise and support the European Commission in the analysis of economic and financing aspects of educational policies and reforms. A further key service provided by EENEE is the promotion and dissemination of research on the Economics of Education in Europe. The following new services can be found on EENEE’s website:
- A new series of "Policy Briefs" - two-pagers on important research topics written in a way digestible for busy policy-makers; the first two are on "The Cost of Low Educational Achievement in the European Union" and "Class Size: Does It Matter?"
- Analytical reports commissioned by the DG Eduaction and Culture, including titles such as "Financing Lifelong Learning" by Falch/Oosterbeek, "A Policy Agenda for Improving Access to Higher Education in the EU" by Veugelers, "Non-Cognitive Skills and Personality Traits" by Brunello/Schlotter, and "The Cost of Low Educational Achievement in the European Union" by Hanushek/Woessmann).
- There is an extensive list of literature references to the economics of education, organized by topics, that is should be useful to anyone working in the field.
The aim of this project is to generate a comprehensive instrument to identify, measure, and compare Third Mission activities of HEIs from a wide perspective. This will be achieved by creating indicators on Third Mission activities and by giving a new approach on the concept of ranking methodologies.
here is a growing recognition around the world of the role universities can play towards economic growth and social development in the modern "knowledge society" as lay out by the Lisbon Strategy. University activities have traditionally been understood as two missions: teaching and research. However, more recently policy makers have been keen to encourage all the other contributions of universities to society, their Third Mission.
While several ranking systems exist for the First and Second Missions, the Third Mission lacks any cohesive methodology. E3M will address this need.
First, a set of standard indicators for three dimensions of the Third Mission that we believe to be indicative of the Third Mission as a whole will be developed and validated. These dimensions are Continuing Education, Technology Transfer & Innovation and Social Engagement. Second, a ranking methodology will be created to assess the performance of European Third Mission providers, benchmarking excellent practices, and helping to create a common European area of higher education institutions. These tools will be built into a web based platform to provide access for project stakeholders, along with a range of case studies of excellent providers.
E3M will involve several leading European Higher Education networks to ensure a broad and sustainable dissemination of the project's outputs. The project will enable Third Mission providers to assess their own performance, share best practices and build relationships with other European Third Mission providers. This will lead to more effective and efficient services being provided to society and industry as institutions seek to improve their standards, improving the quality of their lifelong learning provision and other services. Funding bodies will be provided with a tool to understand Third Mission performance, rewarding excellence and rectifying lower standards.
cMinds aims to deploy information technology, and specifically visual programming concepts, as an avenue for developing analytical, structural, and creative thinking among elementary school children through blended learning activities that can be integrated into existing school curricula as complementary educational tools.
Analytical thinking is a transversal learning skill that can help an individual develop experience and excel in wide areas, academic, social, civic, and professional. It facilitates skilled reading, writing, reasoning independently of the thematic area, problem solving, evaluation of values, and informed decision-making. It helps individuals set goals, develop alternatives, and identify sound courses of implementation.
Despite the applicability of analytical thinking throughout an individual’s lifetime, development of the skill in early life in the context of school curricula in primary schools is not representative of its importance. Current teaching avenues mainly deploy math, which provides a general theoretical background. However, the interest of children in math education may lag behind other subjects as children do not see direct links to everyday life. Interestingly enough analytical thinking is missing from early formal technology education. This is predominantly a result of teaching approaches that follow dry presentations and exercises. Current teaching practices fail to leverage the inherent link between technology education and creativity, which emerges when children are encouraged to find innovative solutions through brainstorming and problem solving sessions.
nformation technology provides a new medium for developing analytical thinking through programming concepts: it is precise, structured, step-wise, and requires the setting of goals, exploration of alternatives, and evaluation of implementation approaches in a typical problem solving, project-based methodological structure. Learning activities that explore programming concepts may serve as complementary tools for developing critical thinking in the context of science education curricula. Finally, the technology offers additional advantages, such as the option of visual solutions that can be tailored to inspire children’s curiosity, promote creativity, and increase motivation.
Activities will encourage children to analytically break down selected themes and visually demonstrate solutions that are the result of collective, creative problem solving and will take into account computer literacy levels in the selected age group. The objectives more specifically are:
- To develop age-appropriate inquiry and project-based didactical methodologies promoting analytical and structural thinking and the development of independent minds in wider inclusive, collaborative educational environments
- To develop proof of concept learning activities on the deployment of programming as an educational tool that motivates analytical thinking. The activities will encourage children to set goals, explore alternatives, evaluate solutions, and iterate for optimization. Learning design will ensure quick early results instilling a sense of success and encouraging further engagement. Individual work and class collaboration will demonstrate how different solutions may work better for different individuals
- To build a collaborative school network through which children and teachers can share ideas, findings, know-how, and good practice recommendations
- To validate methodologies and learning activities through their deployment in real life educational settings in several countries, including Greece, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Sweden
- Finally, to reach a wide range of stakeholders and to promote the integration of proposed methodologies and learning design into school curricula through targeted dissemination and adoption strategies
DIsclaimer: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.