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Breaking Educational Barriers with Contextualised, Pervasive and Gameful Learning (BEACONING)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BEACONING (Breaking Educational Barriers with Contextualised, Pervasive and Gameful Learning (BEACONING))

Berichtszeitraum: 2017-07-01 bis 2019-04-30

There is a need to reduce the current restrictions of time and physical space in education, fostering greater connection between formal/informal learning and remove obstacles leading to ubiquitous learning. Pervasive approaches increase flexibility for learners and expands the boundaries of anytime, anywhere learning, enriching their learning experience. This aligns with CEDEFOP’s recommendations- “the importance to Europe of a skilled and knowledgeable citizenry extends beyond formal education to learning acquired in non-formal or informal ways”.

The project has achieved the three main objectives, which include:
1. To integrate technologies, pedagogical and social perspectives of using pervasive, context-aware and gamified approaches
2. To develop, implement and validate the BEACONING platform
3. To explore and measure the level of engagement, effectiveness and impact that is enabled by the BEACONING platform

The BEACONING project has developed and piloted a platform (see https://beaconing.eu/results/) that facilitates, tracks and authors contextualised, gamified and personalised learning activities, demonstrating positive outcomes. The pedagogical foundation is based on the Problem-Based Learning model centred around active learning, whereby learners discover and work with different resources to solve problems or ‘quests’. Game-based learning that is readily blended with existing educational practices, are more likely to be accepted by teachers as useful resources. Through our engagement with the teachers, we made sure that our design supports such blending, which ranged from pragmatic considerations, such as how well an intended play session fits within a teaching schedule or extra-curricular activities, to pedagogical designs, which seek to address shortcomings in didactic instruction. Instead of primarily focusing on the learners, the project has focused more on the teachers aligning with UNESCO (2017) emphasis that it is essential that teachers are up-skilled as they play such a vital role in the education ecosystem - one of the most effective and direct means of achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 targets.
All work packages have been completed, which has produced the Beaconing platform and its components (https://beaconing.eu/results/). The Large-Scale Pilots has explored the application of the BEACONING platform in a wide variety of contexts with different users and pedagogical objectives, engaging with over 600 teachers and students across primary, secondary, further (including VET) and higher education, providing a wealth of insights into the application of gamified learning in the various use cases across 10 countries (France, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Israel, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, Romania and UK). Findings demonstrate the flexibility of BEACONING to meet diverse testing scenarios.

The project has been actively disseminating best practices and subsets of tools, as well as the whole platform in various communication platforms (social media, website), at least 255 number of national and international events, live location-based game released in at least 16 countries including Singapore and various publications showcasing our technical and pilot outputs. We have engaged with 9050 stakeholders from the scientific community, 55 main bodies in the industry, 3254 general public, 105 policy makers, 6 potential investors and over 1000 others (including existing and potential customers). The platform has been featured in many events and most importantly implemented by the stakeholders in the 10 countries. Beaconing publications have also been shared on Zenodo (https://zenodo.org/communities/beaconing_eu/). The business model will also introduce opportunities for third party entities to be involved in the ecosystem for providing elements that can be applied within the authoring tool; for instance, new minigames, new narratives and so forth. Current exploitations that are already being explored within the project includes the geolocation component, proposing a unique selling proposition in sectors other than education, producing a spin-off product, which is called PlayVisit (see http://playvisit.com). The Accessabar toolset is also ready for immediate exploitation. The game tracking/analytics component has been produced as open code with Apache 2 license and it is available at github - https://github.com/e-ucm. The full platform will be exploited based on the exploitation plan delivered and agreed within the consortium.
"The project has progressed the state of the art of how a lesson plan can be gamified. When paired with pervasive technologies, ubiquitous play-learn can be facilitated, advancing the pedagogy of active learning supporting outdoor/indoor teaching and learning. Beaconing lowers the barrier of entry for end-users to customise gamified learning content via the authoring pipeline adapted to multiple authoring roles: game designers, learning designers and teachers. This affords learning designers and teachers to think of learning in a new and innovative way and create pervasive educational games using three tracking technologies: Beacons; GPS and QR codes with no need for programming skills.

The project has contributed to the objectives of the ""Opening up Education"" initiative, the development of digital learning and teaching resources, the rate of adoption on technologies for the modernisation of education and the testing of fundamental business hypothesis (including continuous development and testing with users). Our impact is threefold: (1) the introduction of gamified learning as teaching and learning resources, (2) the creation and co-creation of gamified learning resources and (3) the extension of teachers’ imagination by including geolocation play-learn. From the engagement, teachers are progressing from no (1) to no. (2) and (3), which aligns with the need for the sense of ownership of the experience, empowering teachers to think (imagine) beyond their normal practices. Beaconing has been used to enhance learning delivered within the classroom setting, extended into informal contexts and spaces- which includes the use of Beaconing gamified lesson paths (GLPs) as escape games, flipped classroom and part of homework or extracurricular activities.

The modular approach of Beaconing, where GLPs can be constructed using these elements: narratives as metagame wrapper, minigames as activities/challenges/tasks associated to the learning objectives and the location-based game and so forth, also opens up opportunities for an ecosystem that allows sharing and monetizing of digital educational games, assets and contents, e.g. teacher-preneur, where they can take ownership on their GLPs and offer them to others for free or offer in the marketplace for potential exploitation. Developers of minigames and narratives can also offer new contents into the marketplace – this is explored in the exploitation plan for realising impact in new business models for edtech- also allowing the testing of fundamental business hypothesis. The hypothesis also includes the potential for Beaconing’s approach to impact others sectors beyond education such as culture and tourism."
Student dashboard - desktop
Beaconing Poster
Teacher creating and testing
example metagame
Teacher creating and testing
student dash board - mobile
Multilingual options
BEACONING group photo from kick-off meeting January 2016
Beaconing at Vienna 2018
Students playing as a group
metagame screenshot