University researcher: Virtual teaching gaining ground

Christian Stracke.JPG

The education world is not as conservative as it is often seen, with many teachers now using innovative methods based on eLearning, says Christian M. Stracke.

Christian M. Stracke is European and international coordinator for eLearning, Quality and Competence Development at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The university is a partner of the EU-funded Open Discovery Space project. He responded to EURACTIV questions in writing.

The Open Discovery Space project [www.opendiscoveryspace.eu] is a unique project of its kind in Europe. What are its aims? How do you see it contributing to eLearning take-up in schools across Europe?

Open Discovery Space brings together the teachers interested in school innovation and modernisation and offers them materials and services for their daily teaching.

The emphasis is on virtual communities for connecting, sharing experiences and learning resources to be used in school education. Over 2,000 schools and 10,000 teachers will benefit from the developments of Open Discovery Space for improving their school education through innovative methods, scenarios and eLearning.

52 partners from over 20 European countries are collaborating to set up a network across the whole of Europe. The Open Discovery Space portal, to be launched in Athens next month, will provide access to many regional and local communities that all teachers and schools can establish by themselves using the provided easy-to-use templates.

The motto of your conference emphasises the importance of digital repositories and their usage in lifelong learning and improving learning innovations and learning quality. What are digital repositories? How will digital repositories advance the Digital Agenda for Europe?

Digital repositories are libraries for any digital content including learning materials. They will provide the access to all resources online that teachers, pupils and citizens are searching for.

Open Discovery Space will combine the existing digital repositories to establish one single access point for all subjects and materials: Therefore we were very pleased that Open Discovery Space was presented a workshop at the LINQ 2013 conference dedicated to school education [www.learning-innovations.eu]

Open Discovery Space aims at transforming education in Europe. As a keen observer of education in Europe, one can ask how do you plan to overcome ‘cultural’ and ‘administrative’ barriers that are inherent in any process leading to profound changes, especially in a quite conservative world such as education?

The education world is not as conservative as it is often seen: Many teachers are introducing and using innovative methods and learning styles to face societal challenges and changes. Open Discovery Space supports them by many events and developing templates for modernising and opening up school education, e. g. learning scenarios and patterns.

In the first year, many workshops as well as Summer Schools took place in over 20 countries. In the following years, national conferences and European competitions and workshops will bring together all interested teachers to exchange good practices and learn from each other.

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