Across the themes outlined above, there is strong need for extending the toolbox of education with new digital and internet-based arrangements for learning and sharing knowledge, including automated assessment tools, educational games and robots. Education in all phases, but especially in continuous professional development, will increasingly involve distance learning, interactive webinars, interactive applications that support learning by doing with direct feedback to students, discussion forums, the provision of curriculum materials, educational games and annotated demonstrations of good (classroom) practice through the internet. Moreover, both students and teachers increasingly use social media to engage in informal learning processes. Students, for example, create groups in Facebook when they start a new class to interact informally and exchange information and resources that can contribute to their learning process.
New technologies for formal and informal education and professional development are ubiquitous and offer many new opportunities for sharing knowledge across formal and informal education contexts, including families, work places and virtual peer networks. However, there are several challenges. New technologies should respond to societal demands of accessible design and open content. Educational and learning research needs to identify which elements of technology-enhanced and internet-based learning environments contribute to students' and teachers' development. Moreover, there is clear need for orchestration. For example, technology rich classrooms are not necessarily effective classrooms. Teachers need to be supported in optimally mixing traditional and new technologies.
The overall scope of this theme is the development of digital tools for innovation of education and training as well as fighting the exclusion of some groups from access to new technologies. ELS researchers from all participating faculties are strongly involved in these issues. Grants were obtained for designing and evaluating internet-based learning environments for mathematics education, computer-supported collaborative learning, simulations and educational gaming, and automatic assessment of students’ writing products, yielding models and approaches that can also be applied to different school subjects in different education sectors.