THE EMERGENCE OF OPEN SCHOOL EDUCATION: THE CASE OF OPEN DISCOVERY SPACE PORTAL

G. Xydopoulos1, L. Stergioulas1, M. Abbasi1, M. Fakhimi1, X. Ziouvelou2, L.A. Rifon3, M. Fernández Iglesias3, H. Pirkkalainen4, K. Clements4

1Brunel University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2INTRASOFT (GREECE)
3University of Vigo (SPAIN)
4University of Jyväskylä (FINLAND)
Nowadays, open schooling is considered an education paradigm with increasing popularity, which focuses on the learners and offers more freedom in education outside of the physical and other types of barriers such as accessibility, flexibility, affordability and availability of tutors, classrooms, schools and other educational institutions. Learning process, technology, tools and time are more under the learner’s control. Open Schooling refers to an open educational system in which there are no restrictions regarding learner ages, skills, duration, content of courses or number of courses in which learners must enroll. Open Schooling is increasingly recognized as a viable alternate effective, and efficient, solution to the lack of qualified teachers, accessibility to learning materials and resources, and conventional schools. The main elements that define Open Schooling are flexible learning based on fully exploring the potential of ICT to improve education and training systems quality and efficiency, aligning them with the current trends on ICT in education, distant learning and life-long training.

The Open Discovery Space project (ODS) platform allows teachers to compile personalised sets of learning activities and materials; to constantly monitor progress without having to interfere in the learning process; to re-align learning objectives and strategies in response to progress made; and to use a vast variety of engaging and interesting learning activities, materials, scenarios, learning technologies and tools. The ODS platform is supporting open school initiatives to scaling up education through the services it will provide.

The aim of this paper is to present the current status of Open Schooling mainly in the EU, but also globally, and to identify the future trends in the field by analysing the data from the use of Open Discovery Space Platform as an Open School initiative case study, as well as from a SWOT analysis of the services offered and the portal’s key-stakeholder and competitors analysis. In this study, various portals, initiatives, and actors/stakeholders active on Open Schooling and Open Education are identified, classified into categories according to their content, services, and positioning in the EU school education landscape. Moreover, these open school innovation services are studied , resulting in a comprehensive overview of the current status of Open School initiatives and a discussion of the future trends in the field.