The ITCOLE brochure is no longer available online. Following is the text it contained.
Table of Contents
A New Dawn for Collaborative Learning in Europe 6
Supporting Learning in Knowledge Society 7
New Pedagogical Models and Technology 8
What is ITCOLE? 10
Collaborative Learning and Knowledge Building 12
Knowledge Building 13
Model of Progressive Inquiry 13
Problem-based learning 14
Community of Learners 15
Conceptual Change, Shared and Individual Regulation Process 15
Computer Tools for Collaborative Learning 16
Support in Using CSCL in Everyday School Life 22
Can deep thinking and
collaboration with fellow
students increase motivation in
Can deep thinking and
collaboration with fellow
students increase motivation in
“I think I have learned a lot. Mainly I have learned
how to think and to collaborate. I also believe that
we have gone away from just listening to the teacher
in the classroom which was boring sometimes.”
Georgia 10th grade (girl)
“I always liked physics and mathematics classes. “As for myself I learned to tell my opinion with no
With Synergeia it was even more interesting. Durfear
that it may be wrong. I learned that we all
ing the class we thought ourselves and analysed the learn from our mistakes. I began to see the Physics
opinions of others. If someone disagreed, he could course in a different light and to take part in dis-
express his opinions to everybody.” cussions even if my answers were not right.”
Kostas, 10th grade (boy) Archontoula, 10th grade (girl)
How can a lesson in physics with no spectacular displays receive a
nearly unanimous acceptance from the students? Why did students not get
bored with such material for three school hours? Can mechanics be so exciting?
These remarks belong to students that have participated
in an innovative CSCL project. They express
the enthusiasm shared by the whole class which
participated in the project. The subject matter had
to do with physics of a flight of a coin that is thrown
upwards. The students had to arrive at an agreement
on the magnitude and evolution in time of the
resultant force that acts on the coin. The activity
lasted three school hours and was realized by 25
students from the 10th grade of a Greek public
A New Dawn for
Computer Supported Collaborative Learning
(CSCL) is set to play an increasingly important role
in education. In the field of learning science and
research on education the CSCL is seen as one of
the most promising pedagogical paradigms. With the
increase in research, CSCL practices are increasingly
implemented in schools across Europe. The idea that
meaningful learning takes place primarily in communities
is widely acknowledged in the field of learning
science and research of education. Also the idea
that knowledge is not static but situated in teams,
organisations and social networks is widely accepted.
During the e-learning boom hundreds of conference
systems, learning management systems and virtual
learning environments have been developed. However,
most of all these environments have been designed
to manage study materials, students and their
cooperation rather than engage in active learning
and knowledge building. Besides this e-learning applications
are in general very expensive for schools
and other educational institutes.
The ITCOLE project tried to meet the need for specialized
CSCL and knowledge-building environments
that are designed to facilitate collaborative knowledge
building within a local or virtual learning community.
In such communities the users neither merely
deliver knowledge nor are they just skimming or
‘surfing’ through knowledge; they are active participants
in the process of knowledge creation.
A special characteristic of the ITCOLE project is that
both the pedagogical models and the software tools
developed are distributed free of charge for the
European educational landscape. This enables
schools and other educational institutions to test
and experiment with the system at minimal cost.
The use of open standards ensures compliance with
other systems and access to source code makes it
possible to extend the system to tailor specific user
The pedagogical models are
published and the software tools are
available for schools, without license
costs (mostly Free Software released
under Open Source GPL licence).
in Knowledge Society
As the use and integration of networked technologies increases, very rapid and deep changes will occur in the realms of society, economics and technology and new skills and competences will be needed in working life. The changes will have long-term effects comparable to the major points in the history of human civilization, such as the agricultural revolution or the first industrial revolution. It is impossible to predict these changes accurately, but based on the most advanced working life practices and visions we can outline some trends in the ways work is changing and assess the competence requirements related to these changes. Profound changes in the work cultures and professional and technical competencies are connected with the rapid growth of the high-tech industry, the emergence of a digital and global economy and the revolutionary developments in information and communication technology (ICT). Rather than working within a stable community, relying on permanent networking connections and exploiting once obtained professional competence, people are required to function in rapidly changing communities, to actively keep up with dynamically changing network connections and to repeatedly take part in educational activities. There are new things to learn all the time in order to remain professionally competent. Work in organisations is increasingly becoming structured in teams and groups supported by technology, and characterized by distributed expertise and activities that add value of knowledge rather than just produce physical goods. In group work activities, competence and expertise can no longer be described as the personal skills of individuals. There is a growing reliance on the collaborative expertise of teams and networks, of socially shared cognition and capability.
In knowledge society competence and expertise can no longer be described as the skills of one individual only, but are instead
relying on the collaborative expertise of teams and networks, a socially shared cognition and capability. In order to answer the challenges of the knowledge society many believe we have to bring about fundamental changes in the whole pedagogical philosophy of the educational system.
Models and Technology
As a consequence of the changes in modern societies, educational institutions and knowledge organisations are required to find new models and practices for facilitating the creation and sharing of knowledge as well as dynamic development of expertise.
In order to answer the challenges of the knowledge society, many believe we have to bring about fundamental changes in the whole pedagogical philosophy of the educational system. Rather than defining some specific desirable skills, educators need to adopt new ways of thinking about skills and competencies, as well as working with knowledge, and in making these epistemological changes also available to students. In order to obtain skills required in this kind of activity, it is important that students learn to work with knowledge in the same transformative way that experts do. Several researchers
have proposed that in order to facilitate higher-level processes of knowledge creation in education, cultures of schooling should more closely correspond to cultures of scientific inquiry. This includes contributing to collaborative processes of
asking questions, producing theories and explanations, and using information sources critically to deepen one’s own conceptual understanding. In this way, students can adopt scientific ways of thinking and practices of producing new knowledge, not just
exploitation and assimilation of given knowledge. Practices of problem-based inquiry supported by collaborative technology appear to be an especially promising way to develop teaching and learning methods with information and communication technology.