The C2Learn project sets out to shed new light on, and propose and test concrete ways in which our current understanding of creativity in education and creative thinking, on the one hand, and technology-enhanced learning tools and digital games, on the other hand, can be fruitfully combined to provide young learners and their teachers with innovative opportunities for creative learning.
The aim of the C2Learn project is to design an innovative digital gaming and social networking environment incorporating diverse computational tools, the use of which can foster co-creativity in learning processes in the context of both formal and informal educational settings. We envision this innovative C2Learn environment as an open-world “sandbox’’ (non-linear) virtual space enabling learners to freely explore ideas, concepts, and the ‘shared’ knowledge available on the semantic web and the communities that they are part of.
To achieve this aim, the C2Learn project brings together a consortium comprising expertise of the highest level and quality in diverse areas, including: educational, cognitive and philosophical research with a very strong emphasis on creativity in education and creative thinking; educational practice and educational policy making; learning technologies research and development, knowledge representation and acquisition research and technologies, digital games research and technology; and the digital games industry. This diverse consortium will co-design and implement the proposed innovation in systematic interaction and exchange with stakeholders following participatory design and participative evaluation principles. The designed innovation will be implemented and tested in and around school communities, covering the spectrum from upper primary education to the end of secondary education and beyond (learner ages from 10 to 18+ years).
C2Learn innovates methodologically by designing a game-based creative learning environment on solid conceptual foundations, based on new research-based understandings about creativity. We introduce two new non-linear thinking processes, as fundamental heuristic devices in fostering creativity, Diagrammatic Reasoning and Emotional Reasoning, based on most recent results of cognitive science research on the roots of reasoning and its relation to emotion and representation. We implement these non-linear thinking methodologies in game environments, in order to enhance the motivational component and to enrich the manner and opportunities of engagement with these activities. In so doing, we are guided by an acclaimed educational theory on how to use digital gaming and social networking technology to promote creative thinking in children and the young. This strong theoretical background is coupled in the C2Learn project with a direct link to real-life educational practice, which places the design process in continuous interaction with innovative teaching and learning communities.
C2Learn innovates technologically within the areas of game technology, computational intelligence, knowledge representation and acquisition, and human-computer interaction at large. Specifically the project exploits the expertise and technologies of the participating technical partners to develop new algorithms and methods for automatic content generation, content analysis, game player profiling, adaptive dialogue management and game context-based emotion detection, for empowering creative non-linear thinking and brainstorming tasks via open-space digital game environments. An additional technological challenge addressed is interoperability of generated content with existing Learning Technology standards-conformant Learning Management Systems, so as to maximise the impact and exploitation of the generated content itself, and to enable existing educational content to be reused within the context of the C2Learn Digital Game Environment.
The C2Learn project has the following specific objectives:
To define a clear and detailed methodology comprising the conceptual framework, the issues at stake, and the parameters which need to be addressed in the project from a theoretical perspective, so that the design of the C2Learn game-based creative learning environment will be based on solid conceptual groundings and strongly innovative propositions relating to creativity in education and creative thinking, originating in acclaimed cutting edge theories in pedagogy, cognitive science and philosophy.
To provide the necessary gaming infrastructure and integrate all tools in a unified gaming and creative learning environment, through the design of the gaming scenarios, the development of the methodology and tools supporting mixed model (human – human, human – machine) content generation, the development of the game engine, and the integration and deployment of the C2Learn system and user-end environment.
To select, adopt, adapt, design and develop appropriate computational tools that will be embedded in the C2Learn digital game environment, through customizing existing state-of-the-art semantic reasoning tools; extending existing, or developing new, computational tools for diagrammatic reasoning; developing new computational tools supporting emotive reasoning; developing a user profiling service; and, finally, defining the interoperability specifications for the C2Learn computational tools, so that they can be integrated in a unified digital gaming and creative learning environment.
To test the use of the designed technology and corresponding pedagogical interventions and evaluate their impact in real-life educational settings, by carrying out focused experiments embedded in the wider context of in-depth qualitative case studies, closely involving users in continuous participatory design and evaluation within stakeholders' communities of practice developed around the project.
To disseminate the messages and outputs of the project widely in Europe and beyond through targeted communication actions addressing all stakeholders (school communities including teachers and students as well as parents, educational administrators, teacher trainers, curriculum designers and educational policy makers, the pedagogy, cognitive science and philosophy academic communities, technology-enhanced learning experts, game design and game-based learning experts, knowledge representation experts, the gaming and educational technology industries).
To exploit the results of the project at the European level as well as at national and institutional level, making them easily available to stakeholders and all interested parties, through carefully designed exploitation work.
To manage the research project efficiently so as to assure in-time delivery of best-quality project outcomes according to the work plan, effectively addressing any organisational and operational issues that may arise, and maintaining a close coordination with the European Commission.