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Final Report Summary - MIOCTI (Modeling and Integration of Orchestrated Classrooms through Tangible and paper Interfaces)

The MIOCTI project was prompted by the recognition that many classroom technologies are still underused in our schools and universities. Often, this lack of everyday usage can be traced back to the fact that many of these technologies have been tested only in controlled settings, and are not easy to manage in everyday classroom conditions. Can we design technologies that are less daunting for teachers to orchestrate? and furthermore, how can we study the effort that this complex coordination requires from the teachers (what we could call the 'orchestration load')? The MIOCTI project set as its goal the advancement in the methods and guidelines for this kind of 'classroom usability' (still in its infancy), proposing concrete solutions to model and enhance such orchestration in authentic settings, taking advantage of the power of paper and tangible objects, which are still ubiquitous in our classrooms. Further information can be found in the project's website (

One of the main activities of the project was to observe teachers as they orchestrate classroom technologies in their everyday settings, and finding novel ways of modelling and understanding that process. In this regard, the project's research team has pioneered the use of mobile eye-trackers to capture the gaze of teachers as they teach in their everyday settings. This technique, along with others like interviews and subjective questionnaires, have been used to model in a more concrete and complete manner the 'orchestration load' of the teachers, essential to understand the efforts teachers undergo when managing a technology-enhanced classroom. These and other sensors, along with machine learning techniques, have also been used to automatically capture pedagogically-meaningful features of classroom teaching, thus helping to get more timely analyses of the orchestration process, without the delays that having researchers manually observe/analyze the lessons implies. Furthermore, theoretical frameworks to help researchers understand and systematize the phenomenon of orchestration have also been proposed.

MIOCTI's research team also has engaged in the analysis, proposal and implementation of classroom technologies that are more easily orchestrable, particularly taking advantage of augmented paper technologies (e.g., using pieces of paper with markers on them to interact with the classroom technologies). A review of the educational applications of this kind of technology revealed that, despite their potential, various obstacles still prevented their wide acceptance, including the limited range of subjects to which they had been applied, and the comparative difficulty of their development. To address these obstacles, web-based and cross-platform frameworks to ease the development and deployment of this kind of technologies have been proposed, and multiple prototypes demonstrating their usefulness have been implemented, for subject areas as diverse as mathematics or Chinese language learning. These frameworks and implementations are now publicly available as open source.

Finally, these technologies and novel methods have been evaluated, and their results have been disseminated in more than twenty scientific publications, in invited talks and the organization of a scientific workshop to bring together researchers and teachers interested in technology-enhanced classroom orchestration. The outcomes of the project have also been disseminated to the general public (especially, teachers and students) in the aforementioned evaluations as well as in hands-on "open doors" events. In order to favor the accumulation of knowledge around this topic and the rapid development of these technologies and methods, not only the implemented frameworks and prototypes have been made available as open source; we have also published openly several of the multimodal datasets and analytical processes used in the project and its publications.

Although several of these project outcomes have a very practical, immediate applicability, the MIOCTI project also has opened a number of new avenues of research, which are already being explored in follow-up projects and proposals, including: a) the usage of the classroom orchestration features and analyses performed, to help teachers reflect about their everyday teaching practice, in ongoing professional development and training; b) the use of more advanced algorithms to capture automatically other features of interest in the classroom interactions; c) going beyond the cognitive point of view used so far in the project, into the analysis of other unexplored aspects of the orchestration (e.g., its affective/emotional dimensions); and d) the application of the project's activity capture and modelling techniques beyond the teaching profession, to help other knowledge workers in developing through reflection, and eventually leading to a more reflective society at large.

The scientific impact of the MIOCTI project goes beyond the cross-dissemination of two of the major learning technology labs in Europe (e.g., new research proposals are being submitted in Spain to continue the research started in Switzerland). The outcomes of the project, such as the novel techniques to measure and model orchestration, can also have an impact on European excellence and competitiveness, as they offer a novel and concrete way to study and compare different learning technologies that may be applied to our classrooms -- an essential aspect to consider before doing large investments in deploying such technologies. Furthermore, the proposals of the project can also be used in the professional development of teachers through evidence-based reflection on everyday practice, which again can help achieve a more innovative teacher workforce across Europe. Indeed, if proven successful, this kind of approach could also be applied to other professions, thus furthering Europe's goal of a more reflective society. The MIOCTI project has also had a direct impact on the general public, reaching hundreds of teachers, students in the project evaluations and open doors events, through the project website and other social media outlets used throughout the project. Furthermore, MIOCTI also has the potential to reach other stakeholders of the classroom technologies ecosystem, such as technology developers (through the open source frameworks developed in the project), or usability researchers and practitioners (through the guidelines, methods and datasets generated in the project, also published openly).

Finally, we should not overlook the impact of the MIOCTI project, as a researcher training action, in the career of the Fellow towards being an independent academic. Throughout the project the Fellow had the opportunity to gain technical and research skills (augmented paper technologies, eye-tracking and other wearable sensors, machine learning, etc.), transversal skills such as written and oral communication, as well as funding proposal writing, student supervision or teaching. The project also represented a boost to the Fellow's résumé, not only through the publishing of numerous research contributions in high-impact outlets in technology-enhanced learning, human-computer interaction or learning analytics; also by the prestige that Marie Curie Actions have in the international research scene.

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