Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

TOPILOT

The TOPILOT learning platform consists of a communication platform and three multimedia-learning packages that validated this platform. One learning package (Rollerball) targets children and others are targeted at young adults. The Rollerball package teaches young children basic reading and arithmetic skills. The packages targeted at young adults are concerned with electricity and business skills. The platform consisted of a CD-I player, and a GSM modem as learner workstation, a PC with an Internet connection as tutor workstation, and a central server to enable communication between tutor and learner. The communication platform's main function is to allow teachers to follow up their students' learning process.

The session starts with switching on and clicking a standard 'play' button. This activates a programme on CD-I, which initiates a GSM signal and establishes contact between the workstation and the server via mobile telephone networks. Any messages from the tutor are then downloaded along with programmed instructions, which control access to units of material on the disk. Once this process is finished, the learner can read messages and begin to work with the materials. At the end of the session users are asked to finish with a special 'Exit' routine. This re-establishes contact with the server; this time to download information related to the work which has been done, and to send any messages which the learner wishes to despatch to the tutor.

From the tutor's perspective, the interface is a series of inter-linked Web pages with a menu system for sending and receiving messages, opening or closing sections of material on the disk, and monitoring the progress of students as they work through the materials and the interactive exercises within them. Communication is asynchronous. Tutors and students can choose their own working sessions.

In this way, the TOPILOT platform offers a unique combination of wireless technology and easy-to-use multimedia learning materials.

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