Educators and researchers worldwide will benefit from OpenLearn tools created by The Open University, recently recognised for their contribution to innovative practices in education
An international learning project, led by the Minho University with partners from Portugal, Brazil and France and using FlashMeeting webconferencing, has recently won a Microsoft sponsored international award for innovative education.
The Open University FlashMeeting project is breaking down barriers to distance by providing a real time video conferencing tool for students and staff through their desktops using a plug-in to Adobe Flash 8.0 software. To date, the technology has been used for student discussions, tutor moderated meetings, virtual seminars, web-casts of physical lectures, and project meetings.
According to Ale Okada, researcher in the OU’s Knowledge Media Institute, the use of technology is an essential component in providing high quality educational outcomes to students and researchers.
“The award winning project, Flying Across BPF, focussed on using Flash Meeting technologies to enhance information sharing and learning outcomes for students from different countries”, Okada said.
Students from the two different hemispheres were encouraged to use blogs and Flash Meetings to share information about the amazing "14-Bis" airplane built by Brazilian pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont and flown in France in 1906 - setting the first aviation record in Europe.
The project, presented by academics from Minho and KMi at the recent Web Curriculum Conference in Brazil, has a dual purpose of information exchange globally and improving communication skills amongst participants.
A part of the OU’s OpenLearn scheme, designed to foster free and open exchange of education and research globally, the award winning Flash Meeting project was also recognised as being a more productive and environmentally friendly work practice in the national eWellbeing awards earlier in the year.
The Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) was set up in 1995 in recognition of the need for the Open University to be at the forefront of research and development in a convergence of areas that impacted on the OU's very nature: Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Artificial Intelligence and Semantic Technologies, and Multimedia.
For more information on the KMi go to http://kmi.open.ac.uk/index.php