With “weDraw”, the Italian Institute of Technology won funding from the European Union
The “weDraw” project, coordinated by the Italian Institute of Technology (ITT), was first in the EU H2020 ICT “Technologies for Learning and skills” call, involving the development and testing of open, interoperable components for a flexible, scalable and cost-effective digital learning solution to deliver user-driven innovation for primary and secondary education.
The project, lasting 2 years with a co-funding from the European Union of about 2.5 million euro, involves the use of a new multi-sensory teaching method, resulting from research conducted by Monica Gori’s group on the use of senses in learning by children aged 6-10 years, which will allow arithmetic and geometry to be studied through music, dance and painting by applying a new “personalized” teaching method both in the classroom and at home.
The project idea stems from the consideration that sight is the prevalent sensory channel in school teaching: the psychophysical and developmental psychology studies conducted by Monica Gori at the IIT showed that children use senses in a disconnected way, choosing a preferred sensory channel to learn specific concepts related to space and time, which does not always correspond with vision. The new teaching method is based on multisensory technologies that exploit the “strongest” sensory channel in children. Once students’ sensory preferences have been identified, these will be investigated to ensure that the concepts presented have been acquired, in terms of psychophysical and pedagogical results.
For the study of arithmetic, musical games will be introduced, where the rhythm will help to understand numerical sequences and the use of severe or acute notes will facilitate the concept of magnitude. Geometry will be learned through body movements, naturally associated with the idea of space, which will be exploited through drawing or dance. These activities will be complemented by the development of a software for the analysis of motor and expressive behaviour and social interaction in children, and a gaming platform technology with the aim to have smartphone applications to be used at school and at home, in support of teachers and families.
In addition, the development of the new teaching method will help to address in an innovative way some learning difficulties related to disability, such as blindness, or other cognitive problems, such as dyslexia and attention-deficit disorder.
During the project, some primary schools in Genoa will be involved in about four months of experimentation that will explore the sensory preferences of each child through psychophysical tests; “weDraw” will be presented to teachers on 22 February with the first of the eight meetings that will also be held in other Italian cities.
In addition to the Italian Institute of Technology (coordinator), the other project partners are: University of Genoa (technology co-coordinator), De Agostini Scuola, Istituto David Chiossone, University College London (UK), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Learn TPM Limited (UK), Vision Business Consultant (Greece), Ignition Factory (France); technology development will be coordinated by Gualtiero Volpe of the InfoMusLab group at the University of Genoa.