Beaconing (Breaking Educational Barriers with Contextualized Pervasive and Gameful Learning)
The beginning of the 21st century has been marked by rapid advances in technological innovation—from smart phones and big data to artificial intelligence and machine learning. While new technology can generate jobs and increase labor productivity, it also creates job displacement and widens the skills gap. Today’s generation of young people now face a world in which nearly half of today’s jobs globally—around 2 billion—are at risk of becoming obsolete due to automation and technological advancement in the coming decades.
A job for life is now a thing of the past. The World Bank estimates that 4 out of 5 children entering primary school today will eventually hold jobs that do not currently exist. These fast-changing realities create ripple effects on communities worldwide, but the world’s poorest are likely to be the most adversely affected by these market shifts.
The ability to acquire new skills throughout life, to adapt, and to work flexibly will be of particular importance. So too will be technical, social, and critical thinking skills. Quality learning opportunities must be created by governments, cross-sector industry leaders, and local communities alike to encourage learning experiences that are adapted to today’s world, and that drive income generation, reduce inequality, and provide a prosperous future for all.
Building on sustainable development environment for education to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, how can disadvantaged children and young people develop the skills they need to participate in the workforce of the future and thrive in the 21st century?
The Project Beaconing community aims to unearth and support innovative solutions to guarantee that disadvantaged young people under 24 from low socio-economic (income, wealth, and education) backgrounds are equipped with 21st century skills and prepared for the workforce of the future. To do so, the Beaconing community can:
- Suggest innovative learning technologies to help increase skills development for disadvantaged youth around Europe and beyond.
- Present new educational models and concepts to improve quality of learning for young people in the 21st century
- Propose tools and strategies to teach skills that will drive entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and adaptability
- Identify innovative solutions to ensure equal access and inclusion of all genders and people with disabilities to quality education and skills development.
Europe’s “Opening Up Education” initiative aims to promote open and flexible learning that is exploiting “the potential of ICT to improve education and training systems, aligning them with the current digital world”. Opening up education will ultimately lead to anytime, anywhere learning for all learners, “with the support of anyone, using any device”.
To contribute to this initiative, BEACONING aims to develop, integrate and pilot a digital learning platform that blends physical and digital learning spaces and merges formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts to enable all learners to have equal access to the same learning opportunities, and to gain highly contextualized, connected and personalized experiences beyond the barriers of time and a physical classroom.
The pedagogical foundation is the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) model, where the learning strategy is to create associations between the different concepts, knowledge and skills learnt within a formal setting (classroom, school) and extend the learning experience to non and in-formal settings (co-curricular, local community, home), and vice versa.
To foster anytime-anywhere learning, the gamified learning activities will be pervasive, where virtual play-learn is positioned in the physical world, concurrently with the learners’ everyday activities, transforming the everyday world around them into an information/knowledge playground for all manner of new interactive and engaging problem solving experiences.
Interoperability is essential and BEACONING platform will deliver a framework to integrate and advance the science and socio-cultural technologies required for digital learning ecosystem. BEACONING will account for the diversity of users (including mental and physical abilities), their specific concerns (even cultural), and the particularity of the systems’ functioning conditions. Advances in user experience design (UX), Future Internet Technologies (mobile communication, location-based and context aware systems, cloud technology), learning analytics, procedural content generation, pedagogy-driven games techniques (digital games, gamification and game analytics) are to be exploited through innovative integration towards a blended learning space and context.
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