Vasileios Orfanakis, Digital Student Conference Platform Implementation: The case study of the “Research Project” course, Ανοικτή Εκπαίδευση: το περιοδικό για την Ανοικτή και εξ Αποστάσεως Εκπαίδευση και την Εκπαιδευτική Τεχνολογία, 12|2016, 5-23

Today, during the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ which is led by the Internet and the digital ecosystem it creates, schools are expected to achieve the development of not only the functional skills of literacy and numeracy but also of general knowledge. The apparent inadequacy of the standardized education system to respond to the needs and interests of 21st-century students urges researchers to adopt new forms of teaching as meaningful and high-quality teaching requires a more active use of innovative educational methods and tools. With the rapid development of IT globally, there is a tendency to utilize the capabilities of e-learning as a mode of distance learning since itcan function both independently of and in conjunction with conventional teaching. The varied applications of Web 2.0 tools create new possibilities in the educational sector. It provides the ability to develop innovative educational methods that transform students from passive recipients of information to knowledge creators through an active involvement in the learning process often within a modern interactive environment. This study presents the results of the implementation of a teaching intervention, with the use of a flexible and student-centered web system developed and used as complementary to the ‘Research Project’ course during the first term of the 2015-2016 school year. The ultimate goal of this effort was to highlight and consequently incorporate the use of a digital platform for student conferences which we implemented in schools as a means to research, learning, and skill development. The students had the opportunity to participate in a digital community which employed distance learning tools for communication, cooperation, and learning during a digital conference in which they had leading roles as writers and reviewers. The initial results of the pilot study indicated that the use of the digital platform increased the interest of students, supported the development of various skills and contributed to the overall improvement of the teaching and learning process.

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