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An Innovative Tool to Assist the Creation of High Quality Open, and Distance Learning Courses - The Virtual Teachers Toolbox (VTT-BOX.EU)
An Innovative Tool to Assist the Creation of High Quality Open, and Distance Learning Courses - The Virtual Teachers Toolbox (VTT-BOX.EU)

Virtual Teachers' Toolbox (VTT-BOX.EU) aims to create a special virtual toolbox for teachers as a sophisticated tool for developing open, online, flexible and technology enhanced education, and learning (OOFAT). The project is a two-year project, during 2017-2019.

The project aims to innovate OOFAT and to make learners more successful, and to take the responsibilities for their own learning (Gutierrez, 2014; Liang, Wang, K. &Hung, 2008). This will be achieved by an innovative, motivating self-evaluation method, and with an innovative and learner-centered pedagogical approach based on a pedagogical framework on self-directed learning (heutagogy) (Hase & Kenyon, 2000), and an all-encompassing quality enhancement framework (Kear et al. 2016), in line with the 21st century demand, and the UNESCO goals on education (SDG 4) (UNESCO, 2015a 2015b).

To achieve this, teachers will be supported in course creation by an innovative web-based toolbox (VTT-Box). This project uses a strategic cooperation between formal and non-formal/informal educational providers using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based teaching and the enhancement of digital integration in learning.

Accordingly, this will enhance teachers' professional development and support learners' acquisition of values, skills and competences. Additional, pilot courses as samples of proven praxis will be produced and be published as Open Educational Resources (OERs). The toolbox, will hence assists teachers/trainers in the course creation by offering a pedagogical framework with a special learner's view, a quality enhancement framework and a new self-evaluation technic, the so-called mandala evaluation.

The project bundles the experience, competences, and knowledge of five institutions from different educational backgrounds and it consists strategic cooperation between formal and non-formal/informal educational providers.

The project objectives are:

- Practical implementation of pilot courses in OOFAT using an innovative learner-centered pedagogical approach (including a quality enhancement framework) and an innovative, motivating self-evaluation tool for learners (Mandala self-evaluation) to increase learners' learning success. Mandala self-evaluation is an innovative element in teaching

- Creation of a ready-to-use in-service and OOFAT training-course for teachers, to be developed as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). This course offers work methods and resources for all kinds of educators and offers a way for digitization of quality learning content and promotes the use of ICT as a driver for systemic change to increase the quality and relevance of education.

- The project supports teachers with a web-based service, which includes a tool to assist the course creation and the pedagogical framework; both of them are based on an innovative learner-centered approach (Hase & Kenyon, 2000). Moreover, it includes a quality enhancement framework (as described later). Implementation of learner centered, problem-based, active and authentic learning through a multidisciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach are a crucial issue in this development. This is the main intellectual output, and it will be provided as an OER.

- A transferability and evaluation guide enable the transfer of the developed products to other educational sectors (Early Childhood Education, Primary Education, Adult Education, Higher Education).

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