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The Beaconing project was presented at the ENH2016 conference the 22th of June 2016 by Olivier Heidmann form ORT France. This conference was organized by the University of Thessaly and the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas.
On Thursday 30th June 2016, Managing Director Lawrence Howard and Theresa Pruvost Head of Operations attended the 15th annual conference of the Association of Dyslexic Specialists in Higher Education (aDShe), at Aston University in Birmingham.
Lawrence Howard said, “It was a great opportunity to discuss the Beaconing Project, how it will be using gamification to help improve the learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and enable students to apply what they are learning.
“Additionally there was a lot of interest from the members of aDShe to have an involvement in the pilots of Beaconing where Hands Free will have integrated many assistive technologies into the Beaconing platform to make it as accessible as possible to the widest range of disabled learners.”
On July 19th, ORT and COVUNI meet in Paris to discuss about the ORT scenario and how to emphasize their “beaconization” by introducing beacons gamified activities and pervasiveness.
The two existing scenario were discussed :
1) Basic algebra calculation at a secondary and high school level in the context of avoiding Early School Leaving and to try to prepare as well as possible the passage from high school to university level for students.
2) Knowledge and management of digital identities to help foster understanding of the impact of one’s identity on internet and help control and master it.
Those 2 scenarios have been improved by ORT to now include the concept of the type of technology used inside a lesson plan and to mention the academic competencies addressed by each scenario.
Beacons: Beacons can be of several types. Most commonly they are physical beacons that need to be installed in the classroom. In the case this is not feasible we need to have a workaround by providing Virtual Beacons (which can be images or QRcode). They will be registered as virtual beacons and later be considered the same as physical beacons when approaching them. Those physical and virtual beacons can be combined with a geolocation-based solution for providing help to students
Soft beacons also offer the advantage of being able to determine the students’ locations without triggering any privacy issue that could arise by using GPS technology. For example, if an image of a cup of tea is used as a soft beacon to represent the fact the student is home, each time a cup of tea scanned by the Beaconing software the student will be considered as being home. This allows transforming the “home” concept from a hard location to a soft, transportable one.
To complement this approach, a timetable defining when the students are considered as being at home or in class could be authored by schools authorities and/or teachers. This approach could replace or complement the beacon concept.
For the Beaconing software being pervasive an important feature is it can allow students to be more engaged in the learning process.
Several methods of pervasiveness were discussed, such as gamification or social engagement (e.g.: to collect maximum elements in the next hours to gain points, pressing the ‘right’ button at the ‘right’ moment, finding the ‘correct’ beacons at the right moment, etc…).
A general Beaconing currency and Beaconing-related collectibles have to be defined, as motivation can be maximized by using a collection system (e.g. Pokemon Go).
Analytics can be used at several levels, one of them being to help the pervasiveness of the system by constantly analyzing the behavior of the students and reinforcing the desired behavior via a positive feedback loop. The analytics should also serve to help in rewarding and engaging the students and motivate him.
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