A total of 54 proposals was received in response to the 10th call for proposals of the ESPRIT programme, task 4.4, Intelligent Information Interfaces (i3), Experimental School Environments (ESE).
Focusing on early learning, typically children in the age range of 4 to 8, i3-ESE looks at the development of a range of skills, such as creativity, imagination, self-expression, sharing, team-work and learning to learn.
The selected projects, which are currently under negotiation and should start this fall, can be characterised by three inter-linked groupings, based on their main orientation:
Projects in the first two groups place more emphasis on particular aspects of early learning, whereas projects in the third group place more emphasis on environments capable of supporting a range of learning activities. Most projects have potential synergies within and across groupings.
In addition, ad hoc working groups will have the role of providing child centred design strategies as well as independent evaluation competencies on specific themes such as the emotional well-being of children, as well as children development, across the range of projects selected.
A positive feature of the selection is that a wide range of schools, kindergardens, pre-schools, day-centres and even families are involved in the selected proposals, either as partners or sub-contractors. Collectively they cover a broad range of educational and cultural backgrounds, which is important in areas such as the one covered by this call. Another interesting aspect of the selection is that the ratio of partners in current i3 projects to partners in the selection of i3-ese is 1:4. This is a healthy balance since it brings in a high number of newcomers to the i3 community with new skills and expertise, yet it is sufficient to allow interaction and synergy with existing i3 projects.