COIN is actively participating in the social dialogue about Internet/Screen Addiction, advocating in support of fighting a technological problem with technological tools rather than absence from technology or by limiting/restricting use of technology. Research is focused today on children and teenagers and the conclusions are very troubling with regards to their screen time but Internet Addiction is also a growing problem among adult population with even worse consequences in many cases. Not enough is done about the issue today.
A key activity of COIN is the design of highly personalised training systems achieved through the use of complex and multidimensional user models and profiles which simulate the learners and their needs. The user models are then fed to a personalisation engine for the elaboration of highly customised training plans.
The specific design is the outcome of our experiences with regards to addressing the specific training needs of corporations, SMEs and higher education institutes in the era of web 3.0, Open Educational Resources and MOOCs.
Our vision is to serve what Web 3.0 should be all about by utilising learner’s data for their own benefit in learning thus promoting the “democratisation” of user data instead of its exploitation for marketing and advertising purposes as happens today with Web 2.0.
COIN was among the first to experiment back in 2010 with new approaches for dealing effectively with Online Identities. Augmented Reality was used for helping school children understand how random data can manifest to the building blocks of an identity. The results were very good in projects carried out from 2010 to 2015. A main conclusion was that lists of “DO’s” and “DONT’s” don’t work because new dangers emerge every day. The solution is critical thinking. The approaches which produced results on school children should be tried also on adults with basic ICT skills who also experience difficulty understanding who random data can be dangerous.
INCLUSION BY DESIGN
Another one of COIN’s research interests concerns the uses of ICT in the battle against social exclusion and intolerance.
COIN’s personalisation engine facilitates the design of inclusive learning tools which adapt the content development and content delivery environment according to the types of learners (ex visual preference, oral preference, gaming, etc.) and any learning difficulties automatically identified or manually declared by the learner (ex Dyslexia, ADHD, etc.).
Social computing is one of the answers. COIN continuously researches the collaboration and personalisation aspects of social computing which provide new effective means for learning key competencies, including digital competence, transversal skills for learning to learn, complex problem solving and critical reflection. Especially in the European Information Society, ensuring advanced digital competence is a major challenge. However, social computing can also provide new approaches and peer support for improving digital skills and supports equity and inclusion by providing a new diversity of tools, resources and approaches for learning, both in organized and informal learning settings.