Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

An innovative educational system for the teaching of modern physics in secondary education

The LoT project has developed a fully integrated hardware/software system for the teaching of modern physics in secondary education utilizing free choice activities of the students and transforming everyday school life into playful learning. It have been extensively used by 10 teachers and 200 students for over a year during two test runs and two final run phases in 5 different schools in four different European countries (Greece, Germany, Austria and Italy). It has been also demonstrated through the EU VAL NET network in a larger audience of teachers and students during workshops and other similar activities that were organized by this project in Italy, Austria, Holland, Denmark and Ireland. The system has been also disseminated and demonstrated in many international exhibitions and other EU related activities. The system is currently in full operation and during the lifetime of the project has been evaluated by an independent group of experts with very good results.

The basic parts of the system are the following:

The Base Station Set that receives all the wirelessly transmitted data from the peripheral units and sends them to the workstation in which the user interface is installed. The base station is located nearby the system's workstation with which is connected through the RS232 port. The ball module set, which is a specially constructed ball with an embedded accelerometer sensor in it that transmits the accelerometer's data wirelessly to the base station. The student set, which is the basic equipment that the student is wearing during the experiments or the other activities. The student set consists of various independent parts, which are namely the following: The belt assembly module, which is the main component of the student set. The belt assembly consists of the body accelerometer sensor, the student transmission module (STM) that establishes the radio communication with the base station at 433MHz and the body area network module (BAN), which collects wirelessly all data from the Arm and Leg Accelerometer modules. So the student set has also one arm accelerometer module and one leg accelerometer module that record the acceleration of the student's arm and leg and transmit it to the BAN on the student's belt via the local body area network at 833MHz. Finally there is also a polar belt module for the heart rate measurement of the student.

All the data recorded from the sensors are collected via the BAN and transmitted through the STM to the base station. The ball and the STM are synchronized and so all the accelerometer data can be correlated in the workstation. The software platform that has been developed receives, stores and processes all the sensor data in a near real time basis (it receives packets of sensor data every 10sec). The whole system is also synchronized with the local positioning system (LPS, see also result no1 of this TIP) and thus the whole activity can be correlated with the video camera frames.

The system that has been developed in terms of the LoT project is a very innovative educational system, which was for the first time introduced into normal school curriculums during the lifetime of the LoT project. In the last and more extensive phase of the final runs of the project, 10 fully operational pre-industrial prototype systems have been produced and used for over 6 months by the schools. Students performed various types of experiments from typical physics laboratory experiments to extreme activities such as judo, trampoline and skiing always using the system. The results were very impressive and the system proved extremely reliable with minimum malfunctions even though it was sometimes used under extreme conditions. All these activities were recorded and were later analysed in class during the lessons. The whole system including the software platform, is very easy to be installed and used and can be operated with typical power requirements. Its cost is acceptable, but there are further margins for its decrease in case the owners decide to proceed to the next phase of its exploitation. It should be noted that while the educational application of the system is clear and evident, during the last year of the project and through the various dissemination activities, the system has proven to be extremely useful for certain other types of applications. These applications are connected with sports activities and sports training. The use of the arm, body and leg accelerometer modules could be very helpful for the training of certain athletes such as tennis players, runners etc. The ball autonomously could also be used in team sports such as volleyball for the improvement of the athlete's performance. In conclusion the LoT system is a highly innovative system, which has already proven its use in the educational market sector and can very easily expand its applications to other very promising markets (sports and recreation).

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