“NOW’S THE TIME": BUILDING A NEW VISION FOR ICT FOR LEARNING IN EUROPE. A CONTRIBUTION FROM THE VISIR PROJECT
The disconnection between the potential of ICT for learning as outlined by research and the actual use of technologies for learning is increasingly evident in most European countries. Similarly to what happened when bebop appeared in the US jazz panorama in the 40s, when critics were striving to understand the next innovation wave in a nation that was still dancing old-style swing, a number of gaps hinder effective policy initiatives to properly implement and scale up ICT-based learning innovation practices for the benefit of European citizens. The VISIR project, which started in November 2011 with the support of the European Commission, will try to close these gaps by identifying strategies to successfully scale-up bottom-up innovation in the field. The VISIR network – the acronym stands for Vision, Scenarios, Insights and Recommendations on how ICT may help making lifelong learning a reality for all - will work for the next three years to contribute closing these gaps, to facilitate the full exploitation of ICT as a tool to equip European citizens with the required skills for the XXI century and strengthening the role of Education and Training in support of growth, competitiveness and innovation in Europe. The project wants to support the leap towards a meaningful and widespread use of ICT in learning settings through a brokerage mechanism both across E&T sectors (to close the networking and understanding gap) and between practice and policy making (to close the mainstreaming gap) that directly involves the ICT-for-learning practitioners by making visible and mainstreaming their daily work. The VISIR project gathers seven European networks in the field of learning innovation: the MENON network, the European Association for Adult Learning, the EDEN network, the European Foundation for Management Development, the European Learning Industry Group, the European Interest Group on Creativity and Innovation, the European Foundation for Quality in e-Learning, plus two renewed research institution such as Scienter and K.U. Leuven. Building on this previous work in the field, VISIR is convinced that policy, research and practice must be addressed in an integrated and systemic way and will therefore articulate on three levels of analysis and action: i.e.: the macro level (education and training systems), the meso level (organisations which provide teaching and learning opportunities) and the micro level (teaching and learning opportunities themselves).