Tableta Scuola presents "EDI Touch", a school tablet designed for children who suffer from dyslexia. It's been designed to encourage children to further their own interests and better understand the topics they study at school, with an interface and special features that are tailored to those who experience learning disorders.
The EDI Touch tablet is the first of its kind, designed specifically for children who experience dyslexia. Its 9.7 inch size gives it the look and feel of a primary school textbook. The tablet has a parental control feature, which permits teachers and parents to define the programs available for the child, in class or at home, as a way to help them focus and reduce possible distractions.
EDI Touch can also be used by non-dyslectic children, for whom it can be used as a way to integrate standard teaching methodologies.
Ángel del Blanco Aguado works on making Serious Games universally accessible at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid's eLearning Research group. The group recently presented a paper on this topic in the Game-Based Learning workshop at ICWL 2012, in Sinaia, Romania.
Serious Games? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
If we use games in education, we can't forget the fun factor. But we also have to include, and this means working together with education experts, the pedagogical element as well. The word serious is used because the audience we’re talking about includes both children and adults—teaching business skills like teamwork management, for example.
Your current research focuses on automatic and semi-automatic tools, what exactly do you mean by that?
It’s what we’re putting into practice at our eAdventure platform: making games accessible for everyone, without a need for technical skills. The word automatic simply means that by selecting a few choice settings, creative games can be transformed for use by disabled people, for example.
Are we talking about a choose-your-own-adventure kind of website?
Well, it’s more about tackling certain program features in favor of universal access. For example, using a text speech engine means you can transform instructions into audio, so that the game becomes available to blind people. In the end, our aim is to bring universal educational content to a wider audience.
Is this being put into practice in actual classrooms?
We’ve been working on eAdventures for 6 years, and at first it’s true that teachers didn’t use games much. Our research led us to believe that, although they were keen, the games were not easily adaptable to their needs because they were diconnected from their real learning cenarios. Nowadays, however, there’s a growing interest, not only in schools, but at the university level as well, due to the increasing number of games. Also, in cases like eAdventure games, the possibility of adapting their content or creating them from scratch makes them more attractive and accessible. We've already started to hear from teachers who employ them in our community.
What does the future hold for Serious Games?
In a global sense, it’s hard to tell. Our near future involves connecting games with learning analytics so as to predict and understand the problems users encounter. Because right now there’s a lot of information and materials out there that could be used to examine students’ interaction with educational content, but it’s not being fully analyzed and interpreted.
Aaron Doering stopped by the International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies - Edulearn12 in Barcelona to share his passion for using technology in innovative ways, by focusing on experiences instead of products. His most recent project, Earthducation, takes this concept to creative extremes by bringing adventure learning to the classroom.
Aaron Doering’s experience as a K-12 Geography teacher convinced him of the need to link the real world to the classroom via technology in order to motivate students. Today he is associate professor in learning technologies at the University of Minnesota, co-director of the Learning Technologies Media Lab, and runs the adventure learning project Earthducation, which focuses on bringing global narratives on education and sustainability to students the world over.
Doering (www.chasingseals.com) recently stopped through Barcelona to deliver the keynote address at the International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies - Edulearn12, and to share his recipe for combining adventure and teaching in order to create change.
How is adventure learning possible…virtually?
What we do is write this specific curriculum, tie it to our experiences, and then bring in all the experts. So if we’re talking about whaling in the Arctic communities, we talk to a scientist, but we also bring in the students and the elders from that community, which people don’t normally do.
It’s applicable to every area, not rocket science at all, and the idea is that the ‘explorer’ is the expert in the field. It does take a different way of designing the learning environment, but you could have an electrical engineer providing real-time updates in coordination with the curriculum, for example.
Earthducation has you dog-sledding across the Arctic and cross-country driving in Australia, does the e-learning part of your project have as many miles under its belt?
It all depends on the year and how much exposure the project gets…But we’ve had over 3 million students a year who use our projects. That’s at least 2,000 classrooms on six continents.
Some of the climate hotspots you travel to are pretty remote, is e-learning a real option for isolated rural communities today?
It’s actually funny to talk about Internet access around the world, because it’s not what you might expect. In the Arctic, for example, maybe there were areas that weren’t connected 10 years ago, but now most are. The school is the hub of their village, and so they’ll have Internet access there, interactive whiteboards…it’s pretty amazing.
I’ve also spent a lot of time with the Sami, and they’re talking about how they can sustain their culture and their language, through online learning. They run videoconferences so as to teach in regions that otherwise wouldn’t have classrooms or teachers.
If that’s the case, what kinds of roadblocks does online education still face?
Well, take Africa, for example. You find they’re using little chalkboards because they don’t have textbooks, and they don’t have pens, but what they do have is mobile technologies. So it’s crazy, everyone’s texting when they don’t even have access to water.
So if we have mobile technologies in these communities…I mean, we’re dealing with other problems like how to charge the battery, or access to solar power…but the future might just look like this, like the mobile.
How does Europe compare to the U.S. with regards to online learning?
I think our goals for online learning and education are pretty similar. But we really need to rethink how we’re delivering online learning. It can’t just be discussion boards, or throwing up a power point and asking students to learn from that. It’s about creating an experience for each learner individually, by having them generate projects related to who they are, even as they’re working on the content we’re teaching.
What’s your advice for teachers who aren’t well versed in technology?
The first thing is that they just can’t allow themselves to be afraid of it. And we have to remember that this process takes time. Technology not only has the power to motivate your students, but also to reenergize you as an educator. It’s not going to happen overnight, though, and you have to move forward without fear. If you’ve got motivation and ambition, then you can truly change students’ lives with technology.
În cadrul Anului european al îmbătrânirii active şi al solidarităţii între generaţii, fundaţia ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence Foundation) a încheiat un parteneriat cu reţeaua AGE Platform Europa, în vederea promovării incluziunii digitale a vârstnicilor.
Colaborarea include lansarea noii versiuni a unui program de formare în domeniul tehnologiilor informaţiei şi ale comunicării, adaptat nevoilor persoanelor în vârstă: o versiune actualizată a programului EqualSkills, program de formare în domeniul TIC (tehnologiile informaţiei şi ale comunicării) al fundaţiei ECDL.
Program of the 2nd International Conference on Video Game and Virtual Worlds Translation and Accessibility
The complete program of the "Fun for All: II International Conference on Video Game and Virtual Worlds Translation and Accessibility" is now available on the website. Scroll down to check all the speakers that will detail the state of art in this area of elearning today.
The conference is organised by Transmedia Catalonia Research Group and it will take place between 22 and 23 of March 2012 in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.
Venue: Faculty of Translation and Interpreting, Room 2
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