Nowadays education does not happen exclusively face-to-face, in the physical space. Neither does it happen exclusively through online tools in the virtual space, like Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), blogs or wikis. There is a continuous transfer from one space to another: certain activities are done in the classroom, some are accessed on a web virtual learning environment or a 3D world, then the students collaborate either physically or digitally, etc.

Three Educative Reflecting Spaces: the web space, the 3D virtual space, and the augmented physical space

Recent technological advances open broad opportunities to link these spaces, thus enabling the realization of an “extended ubiquitous learning” settings that incorporate and coordinate objects and activities from them all. Examples are: the use of augmented reality, that superimposes a digital layer on top of the physical space, providing extra information or linking objects; the use of 3D virtual spaces mirroring the physical space (e.g. showing an image from the physical world coming from a camera); sensors or RFID technology in the physical space that can provide information such as identity or location to digital applications; tangible computing devices that enable the manipulation of objects in the physical space that have impact on the digital space... Thanks to these technological affordances, objects in one space may have reflections in the others. That is the underlying basis of Educational Reflecting Spaces (EEE from the Spanish acronym). Three kinds of EEE are considered by this project: the web space, the 3D virtual space, and the augmented physical space.

Research challenges

This project focus on the orchestration challenges that arise when dealing with ubiquitous learning in EEE. Orchestration is a complex task that involves the design, enactment and observation, and on-the-fly adaptation of the whole learning process, mainly performed by the teacher and partially by the learners. In EEE, the learning process involves activities in which learners interact with both physical and digital objects. The design of such scenarios requires authoring support based not only on sound learning practices, but also on the knowledge of the underlying technology. Furthermore, enacting an orchestrated learning scenario requires programmable interfaces between spaces so as to transfer information among them (thus enabling coordination and reflections maintenance), as well as to observe learners’ interactions for monitoring and potential adaptations. Finally, the evaluation of ubiquitous learning is also challenging as information on learners’ activities and interactions comes from different spaces and therefore needs to be combined.

  • Objective 1.To define a framework for the orchestration of educational settings within and between reflected spaces of different nature: Web, 3D and augmented physical spaces.
  • Objective 2. To provide technological components that enable the flow of activity state and data between spaces, and the linking of objects in different spaces, so that orchestration can be achieved.
  • Objective 3. To define methods and supporting technology for the evaluation of ubiquitous learning that take into account the actions of the learners in the different spaces.
  • Objective 4. To design, implement and evaluate pilot expereinces using orchestrated elements in reflected spaces.

This project aims to provide technological and methodological solutions for the support and evaluation of the design, enactment, and observation of orchestrated ubiquitous learning settings in EEE. The support will include educational designer-centred tools for the authoring of orchestrated ubiquitous learning, as well as hardware and software components that will enable the flexible management of flows of learning activities that require the coordinated configuration of objects in different EEE. With a new framework for evaluation of extended ubiquitous learning, the results of the project will be assessed in pilot experiences in real educational institutions, and with the collaboration of companies in the sector to get early feedback.Aim and expected outcomes

Consortium

UC3M UVA UPF

The consortium consists of three Spanish universities (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and Universidad de Valladolid) with a long record in the field of Technology- enhanced Learning and relevant international projection. The research groups have previously worked successfully together and their qualifications and background are adequate for complementing each other in key subjects. Also, other researchers from Spain and abroad have been incorporated to round up the consortium.