How NEWTON project contributes to innovation in the Education field: EdMedia conference

Do you know about STEM and how NEWTON contributes to it? The project partners have submitted a paper to the unique conference “EdMedia + Innovate Learning that was just held in June 24th in Amsterdam see here more information: http://www.aace.org/conf/edmedia/

The EdMedia + Innovate Learning, is the premier international conference in the field since 1987, spans all disciplines and levels of education attracting researchers and practitioners in the field from all over the world. This annual conference offers a forum for the discussion and exchange of research, development, and applications on all topics related to Innovation and Education. And of course, NEWTON project has participated in the conference with interesting inputs!

We want to share in this blog post what the main issues are about our project and how we are applying  innovation in the Education field. As you may know, “STEM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and in the context of an Innovation Project, the use of the NEWTON platform and its innovative learning technologies is expected to increase user learning experience and satisfaction during the learning process and eventually attracting more students to STEM subjects, while maintaining and potentially improving their learning outcome.

One of the NEWTON’s main objectives is to identify challenges or barriers that prevent learners engagement and enthusiasm when studying STEM disciplines and to see how innovative technologies and pedagogical approaches can help overcoming them. Thus, attention is given to assess the pedagogical impact of those approaches and technological deployments in large scale pilots.

For this reason, the project is running many different pilots, in different types of organizations, in different countries, with learners of different age groups and with different educational needs.

NEWTON real-life pilots involve at least 15 small-scale pilots and 3 large-scale pilots comprising approximately 1,000 students and 20 teachers/lecturers from 3 primary, 4 secondary and 1 school dedicated to special learning students, 1 vocational institute and 5 universities from 7 EU countries: Ireland, Slovakia, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Romania and UK.

We have developed a Theoretical Framework that underlies the methodology and practical guidelines that we have produced to perform the pedagogical assessment (PA) activities of the NEWTON pilots.

To make the evaluation a big success, the partners involved in the PA offer a set of theoretical and practical recommendations for all the organizations, the researchers involved in piloting NEWTON proposed technologies. For example, they offer a practical work plan, tools, guidelines for researchers to gather data and evidence covering the different dimensions.

In our theoretical framework, we have set out the main dimensions to be evaluated: learning outcomes, learner satisfaction, affective state dimension, psychological profile development – an additional dimension that will be evaluated only for learners with special educational needs; on this type of learners all the other dimensions mentioned above will be also assessed – and teacher satisfaction.

For each of these dimensions we have identified and defined metrics and methods (objective and subjective) to be used in assessment process.

The impact on teacher role is a critical aspect of introducing any new technology into the classroom and in this context, we are paying attention to teachers’ engagement in the evaluation process.

To assess the pedagogical impact of the use of NEWTON elements we iterate in every step, we ensure a continuous feedback loop, to ensure best results.

For NEWTON partners the most important aspect of the evaluation is that the results of all pilot activities are shared and are informing future iterations of the NEWTON solution. For this, we need to guarantee that there is a clear coherence between the type of pilot and the type of evaluation run. Although our aim is to create standardisation across the evaluation process, we must also recognise that we cannot run the same evaluation for all pilots and that some aspects of the evaluation will be dependent on size, scale and context.

Specifically, longer pilots will give us the opportunity to explore more deeply some aspects of learner progress whereas shorter pilots or ‘one-offs’ may be better focused on learner experience with the technology.

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