ICLASS - Intelligent Distributed Cognitive-based Open Learning System for Schools
The iClass project is developing an intelligent cognitive-based open learning system and environment, adapted to individual learners’ needs and ensures their take-up in the education sector at a European level. The project takes into account not only advanced technology but also educational, psychological and cognitive aspects to ensure full integration of current research and best practices.
The creative method proposed is founded on an ontology-based architecture for sequencing of knowledge and adaptive to the learner's level of understanding and learning style by dynamically creating individualized learning objects. The system is based on a distributed, collaborative environment with ubiquitous access for all stakeholders (parents, teachers, students, Ministries, publishers) to rich multimedia content and services, empowering direct communication.
iClass project aims to the realization of a paradigm shift: making ICT more than simply a tool. The resultant system and services will allow:
-a new pedagogical approach capable of adapting teaching and learning processes to the profile of individual learners;
-personalization according to different cultural characteristics and learning styles;
-a prescriptive-diagnostic system, where the system not only presents personalized content to learners but also identifies the problem areas encountered during the learning process and reports on these areas to the relevant parties;
-a more generalised and widespread access to learning resources;
-a wider collaboration between researchers and practitioners;
-promotion of an innovative approach in teaching and learning practice.
In the iClass project, according to the European Union vision, curricula from different countries and cultures are being aligned. At the same time it is also desired to preserve the cultural and national diversity: iClass will involve the development of a system that takes into account demographic, multicultural, and multilingual characteristics of the member countries.
The results of the project are addressed to several educational stakeholders: students, teachers, school administrators, educational authorities and parents, and other important partners such as educational content developers, publishers and providers of educational services.
During the first year the activities concentrated on two main axes: Applied Research and Development. The project started by defining on the one hand “Educational Vision Statements” and on the other hand “Technical Vision Statements” upon which the system will be based:
- The Educational Vision reflects the expectations and needs of the major educational stakeholders and highlights the potential that may be brought by innovative research in the educational space.
- The Technical Vision also focuses on the requirements from the stakeholders and target users. After positioning the project as a business opportunity it describes the main users and their needs. It then provides a high level view of the iClass framework and then situates this within the standards, system and European policy requirements.
To support these two main axes, parallel activities in the domain of training, dissemination and standardization were carried out.
The iClass project has been organized into a series of seven sub-projects, each containing main components (called “modules”) from a technology point of view grouped together in meaningful clusters.
Global requirements as well as individual requirements for each sub project were gathered for producing the basic functionalities of the sub projects modules. Hereto a user centric / scenario driven, approach has been adopted. Through these scenarios description innovative use case for iClass are being explored.
In close fit with these requirements and international open standards a global framework technical infrastructure is designed and sub projects engaged to replace themselves into this architecture. The "Educational and Technical Vision" were used as reference points for this design, such that the learning experience is highly personalized. A concept for a service oriented, model driven architecture which will be a distributed system with a very long term of use is set up. Preparations are being made to establish an infrastructure for a rapid prototyping environment for the sub project modules to develop and be able to early demonstrate the system.
Furthermore a training plan was set up, containing a standardized description of training courses for iClass- partners as well as for stakeholders (thus future users of iClass).
The project is leaded by a partnership from eleven different countries, which includes leading European research partners in cognitive science, pedagogy and artificial intelligence, four of the world's leading IT companies and three SMEs with state of the art learning & new media technologies; three multinational school networks who will pilot and evaluate the iClass results during the project.
The Partners of iClass:
• Siemens Business Services Turkey
• Siemens Business Services Belgium
• Sun Microsystems
• European Schoolnet
• European Schools
• University of Graz
• Institute of Education, University of London
• METU - Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
• Trinity College Dublin
• Laboratory of Mixed Realities
• Plan B
• University of Liege
• Gothenburg University
iClass is a 54 month project, started on January 2004. It is funded under the FP6, in the Technology-enhanced learning and access to cultural heritage action line.
For more information:
Visit the project website: www.iclass.info