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Stories of Tomorrow - Students Visions on the Future of Space Exploration

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - STORIES (Stories of Tomorrow - Students Visions on the Future of Space Exploration)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-07-31

At the end of the first reporting period of the project in June 2018, an innovative working collaboration platform and a unique and powerful authoring tool (with Virtual and Augmented Reality capabilities), incorporating the proposed requirements stemming by the Pedagogical Framework developed in WP1, was in place, as a result of the activities of WP2, WP3 and WP4. The Consortium had also managed to finalize with success the first Implementation Period in real school settings (WP5) which provided invaluable data that were thoroughly analyzed in WP6. A dissemination plan and dissemination material were also in place, as a result of WP7 actions.
Taking advantage of the above-mentioned accomplishments and taking constantly into account the recommendations received after the 1st Review Meeting of the project, the requirements set by the Ethics Work package (WP9) and the latest Data Management guidelines, the Consortium dynamically entered to the second reporting period and implemented the second pilot with great success.
The implementation activities of STORIES during the second pilot phase, namely Phase B, started October 1st, 2018 and were concluded in July 31st, 2019. Following a successful first phase of implementation with 1262 students from 5 countries, in phase B we managed to implement STORIES mainly in 6 countries with 1691 students.
The STORIES project managed to introduce creative approaches in STEM education and generated alternative ideas and strategies within scientific enquiry as an individual or group, and reasoning critically between these. This is driven by a commitment to fostering everyday creativity in students, such that they engage in purposive, imaginative activity generating outcomes that are original and valuable for them.
The Stories of Tomorrow project is specifically designed for teaching professionals in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It introduces teachers to the concept of digital storytelling, as well as inquiry-based science teaching techniques, in order to develop, improve and enhance their teaching skills and practices. The project’s partners designed and tested a new vision for teaching, which leads to the development of strategies for how teachers’ roles and conditions can support and enable deeper learning for students.
To this end, the STORIES Consortium has identified three major exploitation paths:
(i) Commercial Exploitation of:
a. The STORIES Collaboration Platform
b. The STORIES Authoring Tool and
c. The STORIES Conversational Agent

(ii) Exploitation in education context:
a. The STORIES Conversational Agent can be further customized as an embedded tool to the educational process (and gradually to the curriculum). A tool which evaluates student performance on collaborative solving skills while being executing unnoticeably in the background. Regardless of the integration of this assessment to the official grading system, the collected data will be valuable teachers, headteachers and policy makers in order to examine specific curriculum interventions.
b. The Teachers Professional Development Programme that has been tested in two international courses in 2017 and in 2018 and was implemented also in 2019 due to high demand expressed by teachers
c. The Educational Scenarios & Content Creation for VR&AR developers in the form of – in-app purchases are always a major business model for AR/VR developers. The biggest attraction for the potential customers of STORIES is that the STORIES app can be published for free, with all features, but some limitations such as available educational scenarios and content. In-app purchases will still be the big role in AR/VR industry as they already do in the mobile and web markets.

(iii) Exploitation in academic context

Data and knowledge gained within the STORIES project will inspire future research proposals. STORIES evaluation instruments and results will contribute to scientific research on effective and fruitful STE(A)M education. STORIES Research results can be published in journals and presented at science education conferences to reach a wide audience within the field of science education (stakeholders, researchers, educators, policy makers). Besides use of the scientific findings, the main exploitable results are the developed assessment instruments for fascination for science and science knowledge. The collaboration test with conversational agents provides a basis for further research in this field. The science knowledge scale can be used to assess the first intellectual abilities of the deeper learning paradigm in STEM, Science Understanding and Knowledge and Scientific Reasoning. It is based on items of TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) choosing items relating to the content of STORIES in the fields of earth science, physical science and life science. The fascination for science scale reflects the motivational deeper learning abilities Interest and Excitement together with Identification with Scientific Enterprise.

Finally, the practical experience gained by the educational researchers, teachers and students gained during the two implementation phases should not be overlooked. Many innovative technology projects have failed due to poor planning, implementation or lack of training and support. Virtual Reality is no different, and careful planning, understanding and implementation are required to ensure students ultimately benefit from the investment in the technology. Thanks to experience gained during the project, STORIES partners we are able to find the right equipment, install and manage this equipment, integrate it into our lessons within the curriculum, provide the required training so teachers can use it effectively and, most important, measure the success and outcomes of using it.
STORIES is based on innovative and meaningful virtual and augmented reality technologies, advanced interfaces, learning analytics and visualisation dashboards. It is a storytelling platform that students can use to develop and publish stories about a Mars Mission. VR provides one of the most important aspects of learning that no other technology can match - experience.
The STORIES platform was designed with the MARS Mission concept, but it is not restricted to this concept only. Students are constantly told to ""use imagination"" and ""think outside the box"" in classrooms. Now, they can go one step further - their minds and eyes can witness all sorts of ideas and places. STORIES, with the power of Unity3D, can be transformed to anything: from walking amongst dinosaurs to exploring inside the human body or the structure of an atom. There are no geographic or time restrictions in VR, meaning kids can go anywhere from Ancient Rome to taking a field trip to space and Mars. The virtual environment of STORIES helps students feel immersed in ways not possible with traditional learning materials and facilitates a higher level of knowledge retention. It is a technology that has the power to change how teachers teach and students learn. Therefore, the STORIES Platform can be used as a tool for the classroom teacher of any subject, it gives the professional educator another avenue to explore with learners. It can be an effective new way to engage those that struggle, or it can just provide another opportunity to engage with a variety of learning styles.