The diversity of knowledge, experience and resources (both real and virtual) that are available in an increasing number of scientific disciplines, together with the wide range of mobile electronic devices, software modelling, simulation and collaboration tools, and distributed and ubiquitous computational technologies, offer an enormous potential for the exploration of new ways to teach and learn.
This technology, seen in the context of current theories of situated cognition and learner centred education, offers possibilities for the design and realisation of collaborative learning activities in scenarios that extend the standard scholastic framework, not only in terms of their physical location but also the mthodology and the realism of the scientific context, the participants, and the temporal dimension of the work, moving the learning scope away from the school. This has a similar philosophy to what are called 'active museums' or exploratories, or environmental education centres which are typically located in wildlife parks or reserves, and have a similar educational framework. The idea here is to improve the learning process, focussing on the acquisition process via the practical development of a learner's own scientific research capabilities. However, it is very important to note that these explorative activities are connected to the day to day school curriculum, being established as a link that enables the students to integrate information.
From a computer science perspective, the use of agent technology for modelling and providing active support of activities in complex organizations, together with the utilization of the 'semantic Web' to organize and structure shared knowledge and distributed resources, represent the technological baseline needed to achieve the objective of the present project: the modelling and design of open enviroments with intelligent communitiy learning support where the learning strategies, the collaboration mechanisms and the tools available, offer additional functionality to different work enviroments, experimental scenarios, and formal levels of social organization: individual, small groups, large groups, and communities. A fundamental part of this investigation is the generation of a semantic portal for learning communities in the area of enviromental education, using a participative design methodology and formative evaluation to verify the viability of the proposal. Specifically, to analyse and modify the functionality necessary to articulate the notion of 'community' (made up of both real and artificial agents) from different perspectives: the scholastic world, the scientific world, the professional world, and the society. In order to this, collaboration is planned with experts from different organizations with a long history of enviromental education, for example, both primary and secondary education.
Participants: M. Felisa Verdejo (UNED), Beatriz Barros (UNED), Carlos Celorrio (UNED), Emilio Julio Lorenzo (UNED), Javier Vélez (UNED), Sergio Prades (UNED), Tim Read (UNED), Miguel Rodríguez Artacho (UNED), José Ignacio Mayorga (UNED), Alberto Ruiz Cristina (UNED), Teresa Sastre (UNED), David Bueno (Universidad de Málaga), Federico García (SEO Birdlife), Marta Millán (IES).
Coordinator : Mª Felisa Verdejo.