The "OpenWebSchool" Project

Using e-Le@rning in Schools

The "OpenWebSchool" offers learning units which can be started from the internet. You can start these learning units simply from your browser, they are thus immediately available without installation and support on any computer connected to the internet.

The advantages of the internet can now be used by schools and students: Since these learning units are available at any time and any place, students and teachers can utilize them at their convenience, in school and at home. The possibilities of multi-media software can thus be used on less powerful PCs, especially on quite different PCs (Windows/Intel, Apple, Unix/Linux, etc.) - not only in the schools but at home, too. This advantage is for teachers preparing lessons for the next day as well as for students who want to repeat a learning unit or go more deeply into a subject.

The "Open Source" Principle

The learning units and the source code of the programs are made available by the "open source" principle: Every interested person can enhance the programs or modify them according for her own requirements. A copy of the learning units can be installed on the school server such that a continuous connection to the internet is not required. Naturally, we hope that such new learning units will be made available again to the OpenWebSchool community and thus all other schools.

Like other successful open source projects (Linux, MySQL), the OpenWebSchool shall grow and improve in time with the help of many supports. Since the software is available in the internet, optimizations, enhancements and corrections can be provided immediately to the user community.

When a certain set of learning methods is available, many others can be derived from those by simple modifications. Furthermore, regional teaching requirements can be considered, adaptations can be done easily and made available without delay.

By students - for students

The learning units can be created by senior-class students for grade-school students. This way, senior-class students can be involved in many useful tasks in various software development projects: all kinds of challenges are possible, starting from simple JavaScript programs up to complex CGI scripts and networking-capable Java applications. The individual tasks are manifold and can be chosen according to the individual interest, talent, and time commitment.

Not only learning units are needed: students could create games and humorous topics which can be implemented as reward for the successful completion of a learning unit or as recreation between learning units.

All students and teachers can participate in this project, even faculties which have little to do with computers. It would be possible that art classes provide artwork as backgrounds, illustration or comics, or they create the design of complete learning units. Music classes could provide simple pieces of music which can be used in multi-media learning units. Language classes could create methods for the syntactical and semantical analysis of written answers which allow a better feedback than a simple 'true' or 'false'.

By engaging in knowledge representation, senior-class students will automatically repeat and increase their basic knowledge. The consideration of pedagogical aspects allows the student to reflect his own learning methods and to improve his representation and conviction capabilities.

Through the participation of students and teachers of computer classes, we hope that many different learning units will become available. Maybe, sponsors will provide prices for the most interesting, funny, wonderful, and humorous programs.

Educationally Optimized

Through the work of creating and enhancing the learning units together with school-teachers it is ensured that educational requirements are fulfilled. Beyond that, these new media allow totally new approaches which should be tried and tested. This opens several opportunities for educational research projects to participate.

Most interesting in this context are the possibilities of quantitative analysis of learning behaviour: Using modified scripts, many data can be collected easily on the usage of this particular learning unit. The findings from the analysis of these data can be used again to optimize the learning units.

Also, special educational requirements can be realized easily. Learning units with different educational approaches can be used in parallel in order to satisfy the diverging requirements of the students, or to verify which approach leads to the best learning success.

Learning units can be provided faster: If new educational methods are needed, they can be provided in the OpenWebSchool very quickly for the general audience.

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