Objectives of the service
The main objective of the STELLE project is to build a groundbreaking educational platform in order to empower students’ learning by Virtual Reality contents and give the teachers support with innovative resources to conduct both in-person and remote education experiences.
Moving from SCUOLAB, the scientific virtual laboratories, the main aim of the STELLE project is to build SCUOLAB – SDA (Satellite Data Augmented), an educational platform with interactive and experiential contents produced from satellite Earth Observation data, and in particular Copernicus Sentinel satellites and based on issues of global importance such as climate change, melting glaciers, rising sea temperatures.
SCUOLAB – SDA will enable a qualified learning process enhancing the unlimited value of data collected by Sentinel satellites, making them available to a wide set of people using a simple and addictive way to perceive the value of data collected from our Earth.
Since the schools need tools to track the learning progress of the pupils in order to enhance the effectiveness of the educational provision to promote educational success and prevent early school leaving, the Artificial Intelligence, that will be developed within the project, will provide a decision support system to the schools giving qualified feedback on the general and individual learning process.
Users and their needs
The schools involved in the project are middle and high schools around the Europe with a focus on scientific and technical matters. The project will be geared towards schools that need to engage students both in-person and virtual experiences that stretch their understanding and expand how they approach new learning about earth science, physics, chemistry and technology, particularly during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Teachers, through the project, will continue to carry forward their instrumental role in guiding and supporting students by a new educational platform that allow to communicate and challenge the new generation of digital native pupils in a proper way.
Indeed, in order to raise awareness among the young generation about climate change related issues, the schools demand services to make students protagonist of their own learning by practicing first-hand experiences to better understand how natural phenomena work.
The project will provide the best role model to observe, gather data, manipulate, experiment natural phenomena with virtual chemistry and physics experiments related to climate change issues to sensitize pupils about what is big data, how big data is present in everyday life and it will allows us to better understand the climate change.
Service/ system concept
The service will be available as a Web Application with content in the form of html pages, videos and WebGL code, thus an HTTP server and a Database are all that is needed to deliver the service to thousands of users.
Through Moodle teacher and students will be able to register and run the immersive VR experiences. Teachers will be able to see what their students have done and receive alerts from the based on the analytics gathered by the system.
The most innovative aspect of the system will be the VR experiences, these will be developed using Unity, one of the most popular game engines on the market.
Unity is able to compile experiences into WebGL code, which allows the system to deliver complete immersive experiences as if they were web pages, making the transition from the LMS to the VR experience painless and seamless.
The VR Experience will also record every interaction the users had during the experience; this data will be later analysed by the Learning Analytics System to understand how the experience can be improved to provide a better learning process.
Space Added Value
Our considered asset is related to the most of all satellite data obtained by Earth observation in order to produce effective and addictive contents connecting laboratory experiences to climate phenomena.
SatEO represents a fundamentally better way to properly augment and link physical and chemical elements to valuable information about global phenomena that affect our planet in order to boost student comprehension regarding the current environmental concerns.
In terms of easing the actual challenges that implies actually remote learning process, the service will provide a powerful and rich remote learning platform to maintain and, we trust, improve learning process level with the prospect of becoming a permanently used system after the outbreak.
The first activities have refined the pilot contents. The team had extended consultations with the teachers to generate the technical specifications about the virtual environment and lab experiences, the identification of the learning objectives and models to properly engage the pupils through the project.
From September to December 2020, three European schools were exposed to the preliminary version of the courses to align the contents in a European context and to tune them to the needs of each countries into features that match their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
The pilot stage of the project was successfully executed between January and August 2021. More than 3000 sessions, 1200 active users and 200 hours using the platform’s interactive services confirmed the users’ appreciation for this innovative course. Starting from September 2021, most of the contents developed by the STELLE project are available as the “Scuolab Climate Science” course for Italian schools and will be commercially launched in other European countries in the following months.