Joint Programme of Activities

The Joint Programme of Activities will be driven by an interlocking set of integration instruments (see Table 1) designed to increase the research capacity of European TEL at all levels. These instruments will be driven by work in Work Package 1 that will identify and formulate the Grand Challenge for technology enhanced learning research. At the most general level the network will reach out to the wider stakeholder community via the organisation of strategic stakeholder communication vehicles whilst at the other end of the spectrum it will take its strategy and vision to an annual policy maker “meeting of minds”. The path between these two key instruments is designed to reach each key community and greatly increase its capacity to address the critical research issues at each level of capacity.

The STELLARnet community has a vision of a Network of Excellence that can take the Grand Challenge to our community via a set of interlocking capacity building and communication instruments that target the key levels of our capacity and can measurably increase that capacity (See Table 1 above). These instruments have been chosen to ensure that the network is able to deliver the necessary integration and sustainability that is needed in order to create a European virtual centre of excellence in TEL. The chosen instruments take into account the need to support researchers at all levels, from doctoral students to senior scientists. They are also chosen to support communication with policy makers, practitioners and commercial partners at a strategic level.

Our strategy has collected 2-3 instruments that address a specific capacity level into an ‘Instrument Work-package where they can be implemented by the specialist research teams of the Network. All WPs in the Network are integrative and it is anticipated that all partners will contribute somewhat to all WP interventions, so the person-month allocations presented below represent the larger blocks of time that we are currently envisaging for the planned work. This will be constantly under review. Overall, we plan that Grand Challenge WP1 will drive the Instrument WPs 2-5 who will implement the GC vision and feed back into it; they will supported by an innovative infrastructure for “doing Science 2.0” WP6; with Evaluation and Management WPs 7&8 respectively, assessing and managing the risks.

The STELLAR Network of Excellence is aiming to build capacity at each level of TEL research, via a series of interlocking Instruments that are built to be sustained beyond the funded life of the Network.

If we consider our Stakeholder Community action in particular, this work is focused on WP5. This WP needs to consider various perspectives of different types of our stakeholders. Many end users are interested in their opportunities in life-long competence development; therefore we have to promote this type of learning offerings for them. Teachers need training in applying technology in education as well as exchange of resources and experience with their colleagues, which we want to support in cooperation with national institutions. National and European technological platforms will be involved as industry hubs in our planning. As many industrial partners lack social networking in national as well as international contexts, the project will offer them facilities to exchange ideas and get in touch with potential partners. Through these clusters of the industry sector, we will contact companies that are or could be interested in TEL and in stellarnet.eu activities, although they could not be aware of what specific benefits can achieve yet. Their interest can be focused on several areas and processes where learning and training can be applied to (i.e, development, innovation, production, design, research, analysis).

Interdisciplinary in Technology Enhanced Learning 

Science refers to a specific human and social activity in the context of which the status of statements (pieces of knowledge) depends on the quality of the related claims for validity, as opposed to opinions and beliefs. For a long time the problem of science has been reduced to logical aspects and characterization by the means and methods used to support the claim for validity of results and statements. The development of Human and Social Sciences during the XX° century and technology based research in the second half of the XX° century has extended this understanding of science to include the organisation of communities and their actual practice to consider as scientific, knowledge based more on pragmatic and critical consensus than formal proofs (e.g. ethnographic methodology, action-research, design-research, etc).

Each scientific community has its own scientific method visible in its professional practices, rituals, tools, and ways of disseminating. Within the interdisciplinary field of Technology Enhanced Learning a multitude of sciences (natural as well as social sciences) work together to support people to learn, apply, and combine existing knowledge as well as to construct, create new knowledge and ideas, all of this in different settings and environments. In particular Technology Enhanced Learning research needs to draw on the following perspectives:

  1. The design perspective - a focus on the design and co-evolution of new technologies and new learning activities.
  2. The cognitive perspective - a focus on what the individual can learn under certain conditions in different types of contexts.
  3. The social and cultural perspective - a focus on the social and cultural factors that influence learning.
  4. The sociological perspective - a focus on changes brought about by digital technologies in activities in schools, universities, workplaces, and informal settings.
  5. The epistemological perspective - how the specificities of the domain impact on the technology enhanced learning.
  6. The pedagogical perspective - a focus on concrete problems and possible solutions offered by teaching/learning situations mediated by the use of technology.

As in many interdisciplinary fields the scientific practices themselves have not been fully established. In this respect WP6 has been explicitly designed to allow for exploration of the evolving knowledge structures of the TEL scientific communities, identifying the best practices and the tools to support them. The aim is to provide access to the research outcomes of colleagues and peers in related disciplines, using Web 2.0 approaches that leverage the links between people as well as the links between documents, using a combination of pull and push technique.

How will the Network spread excellence, exploit results, disseminate knowledge?

In the work programme a Network of Excellence is a requirement to “Support the Joint Programme of Activities implemented by a number of research organizations integrating their activities in a given field, carried out by research teams in the framework of longer term cooperation.” The StellarNet.eu community represents the key participants in the previous 2 successful TEL Networks of Excellence. Both Kaleidoscope and Prolearn used a four-year programme of integration events to build their own unique views of the structure of TEL in Europe. Both provided a set of distinct and powerful programmes for TEL, one focused in the pedagogical uniqueness of European TEL (http://www.noe-kaleidoscope.org), the other focused on its technological excellence (http://www.prolearn-project.org). This project will exploit the synergies of both visions in the “grand” challenge for European TEL to 2012.

We will constantly review the progress of the network against a set of metric provided by our Evaluation programme (WP7). This will provide a ‘living set of metrics’ to track our progress against the network's objectives discussed above. In particular we have selected a wide range of people-centred measures of performance. In any networking or integration programme of work, it is the people that must be integrated and connected to each other and to new ideas. We will seek out measures of the people / ideas / progress for our work, and ensure that we feed back our progress in an open way to all project participants.

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