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Alexandra Okada, Monday 20 February 2017

ENGAGE is a winner of the 2017 OER & Project Awards for Open Education Excellence, which was announced by the global network of Open Education (OEC). Fourteen partners and more than 15.000 open educators in 80 countries members of ENGAGE are celebrating this award now, whose the ceremony will be presented at the upcoming OEC Global Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, March 08-10, 2017.

Dr. Okada highlights that the award was made in recognition of a new approach to Open Science Education which promotes Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). The term RRI created by the European Commission refers to the participatory process that aligns scientific innovations to societal needs and expectations. She has just announced to the ENGAGE team that “We are officially leading creative innovations for Science Education to empower teachers through OER and MOOC for equipping next generation for RRI by connecting non-formal resources (topical science-in-the-news) and informal learning (science networks) with formal education (science curriculum)”.

The ENGAGE project funded by the European Commission links available knowledge outside the classroom such as  science media that have impact on citizens’ lives to create controversial socio-scientific dilemmas, which hook learners’ curiosity and “need to know” in the school. Students think, talk and develop informed based views using science connected to their life interacting also with scientists. Through OER and guidelines, teachers support them with 10 inquiry skills for RRI, which are grouped in four areas: enquire, analyse, solve and communicate. This framework was adopted by the UK national exam board AQA for assessment.

ENGAGE presents a new way of thinking and substantially improved the discoverability, presentation, usability, accessibility and availability of openness in science education for RRI. It offers contemporary learning materials for students, guidelines for teaching and open online courses in the OpenEdx MOOC platform for all educators – all under creative commons license in 10 languages.

A key challenge in Science Education, which ENGAGE was designed to tackle “for promoting critical scientific literacy, and for learning about science, scientists, scientific inquiry and scientific argumentation, is the need to furnish students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to address socio-scientific and environmental issues in a critical way and to reach informed decisions on a range of science-related and technology-related issues that impact them, their immediate family and friends, the surrounding local, national and global community, and the planet as a whole.”  Hodson

ENGAGE researchers are taking into account possible gender and geographical differences in Europe, including also the analysis of projects developed by socio-economically disadvantaged groups in remote areas of Brazil and Africa. Various studies in Brazil, Lithuania, Spain and Romania use LiteMap tool for collaborative argumentative visualisation developed in KMi. New interdisciplinary research about children's health and wellbeing in the UK and Brazil are currently in development based on ENGAGE materials related to ZIKA virus,  Vitamin D,  Sugary Drinks,  e-Cigarettes and  Text neck (smartphones).  

The ENGAGE team led by Dr. Sherborne elaborated more than 30 OER based on contemporary science linked to various topics: Earth, Ecosystem, Electromagnetism, Energy, Forces, Genes, Matter, Organisms, Reactions and Waves. Dr. Okada coordinated MOOC on pedagogical tools and inquiry skills for RRI for pre-service and in-service teachers delivered by 11 partners and co-authored a course book, various research papers and policy reports. Currently, ENGAGE portal has more than 3,500 comments; 130,000 downloads and 675,000 views.   

ENGAGE Team, well done !

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Alexandra Okada, Wednesday 23 November 2016

The conference “Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) IN ACTION” organised by RRI Tools project supported by the European Commission was held  in Brussels on the  21st - 22nd of November 2016.  This event brought together 200 experts in the field to discuss open science and innovation system that tackle the societal challenges of our world.

RRI IN ACTION engaged a full range of R&I stakeholders: researchers and research organisations, policy makers at global, European, national and regional level, business and industry representatives, science education members, and civil society organisations. 

During this event, various relevant questions were discussed:  What are the key impacts of RRI projects for academia, business and society?  What have RRI projects achieved so far? Is our research work addressing social-scientific issues that are significant for society? What are the consequences of projectification? How are we equipping the next generation for RRI? How are the RRI best practices influencing policy? What are the international perspectives on responsibility and innovation? What is next? What is beyond the H2020?

Ale Okada, technical coordinator of the European project ENGAGE, invited as a speaker, presented various outcomes of the project and its impact in EDUCATION. ENGAGE developed a wide community of more than 12,000 teachers in 80 countries, 30 Open Educational resources on topical science and 3 Massive Open Online Courses translated in 10 languages, a significant RRI curriculum that connects science with societal issues, needs and concerns, 10 inquiry skills for equipping youth for RRI linked to AQA national exam board, 6 pedagogical tools for educators to embed RRI in the classroom, and various best practices at local, national and transnational level.  During the conference, Okada also discussed with the participants the outcomes of the research on the mapping technology “LiteMap“ for RRI, which has been used by  the ENGAGE community (researchers, teachers and students) during two years  in Europe and Brazil.  

More than 45 projects were presented on various key issues: public engagement with science, gender equality, open access, ethics and research integrity, and science education. The event was a fantastic opportunity to envision collaboratively the next steps of Responsible Research and Innovation in Education including in terms of impact, policy and funding opportunities.  The event ended with a nice proverb “If you want to go fast - go alone, if you want to go far - go together"

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Updated: Jul 19, 2018

Today Dr. Simone Fuchter from the UNISUL - University in Brazil visited the Open University / LTI to develop a study about VR 360 with the research group of Dr. Okada.

This VR research focuses on the APP Virtual classroom developed with 360 video and Unit 3D together.

The app was used by students at Unisul Brazil and The OU UK. Findings will be published in a journal paper.

The preliminary study was presented at the IED conference on Immersive Education in Lucca.

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