I’ve just been to the information day organised by the TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) unit of the European Commission. A new call for project proposals will be published by the beginning of summer, most probably July, with a deadline of November 2009.
What has changed in the strategy of the EU towards TEL?
Firstly, the jargon. S&T (science and technology) seems to be the new R&D (research and development).
Secondly, it’s the return of the teacher! After some years where the t-word had been a sort of taboo not to be mentioned in public, it is finally back. Self-directed learning is still mentioned but has definitely lost on emphasis.
Finally, there is a clear message: “get real”! The path leads away from blue-sky hypothetical and speculative research. S&T needs to be applied and evidence-based.
Serious gaming is on the cards, but the word ‘serious’ was stressed very much. The Commission’s understanding of this is: games that support predefined learning outcomes, which can be evidenced.
I am reasonably satisfied with this approach, as I have long argued that hype-based TEL is not leading to sustainable and effective results. Let’s hope this is the end of the “guinea-pig” generation of learners who were bounced between new emerging technologies without anyone understanding properly what they are good for and what they are not good for.
Some 49m euros are available for the call. This sounds much, but in reality isn’t much more than 7-9 projects, of which there are 2 IPs (Integrated Projects) swallowing up some 27m euros, the rest goes into STREPS, NoE, and CSA.
PS: Are you interested in a partnership with the Centre for Learning Science and Technologies (CELSTEC) at the Open University of the Netherlands? Please get in touch!