Esprit Long Term research plans to publish a call for proposals on experimental school environments on September 16th 1997. The call will solicit proposals to research and validate new kinds of IT-based tools designed to enable new approaches to learning. The focus is on young learners, typically 4-8 year old children. Working with this age group provides exciting challenges from both educational and technological points of view.
Proposals should investigate "new paradigms" for learning based on the development of novel IT-based tools. The new paradigms investigated should make learning an enjoyable, stimulating and engaging activity, both on a personal and group level, promoting the development of key skills such as creativity, self-expression and learning to learn. The paradigms should encourage the active participation of pupils and teachers, and extend to include parents or members of the community if necessary, empowering the people involved with meaningful roles in the learning process.
The educational tools designed to enable new approaches to learning could be based on new types of devices, artefacts, or environments, that support interaction with one or more senses. The tools could be portable, wearable or sharable, and could have toy-like or game-like characteristics. They could be based on new systems that allow for the easy creation and access to information, supporting interaction and sharing between groups of people.
In order to achieve these aims it is expected that educational and technological aspects must be researched and worked on together in an open and exploratory fashion, encouraging innovation. The new ideas, concepts and technologies should be tested and evaluated in relation to real school environments, using a range of appropriate processes and methodologies.
The deadline for receipt of proposals will be 16 February 1998. Proposers will be encouraged, on a purely voluntary basis, to submit pre-proposals for consultation with the Commission. In order to participate in the pre-proposal phase, proposals will have to be sent to the Commission by 18 November 1997. Full proposals will be evaluated independently of any comments given on pre-proposals.
An information document i3 Experimental School Environments will be available nearer to the call date. A special session for prospective proposers will be held on 29 September in Brussels, as part of the Esprit Information Day. Additional information on the call is available from: