In March 2000, the Lisbon European Council set the European Union the strategic goal of “becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world”. This strategy was confirmed by the Barcelona summit in March 2002, where it was stated that “European education and training systems should become world reference by 2010 and that closer cooperation should be promoted in the area of Vocational Education and Training (VET)”.
The adoption of the “Copenhagen Declaration” by 31 Ministers of Education, the European social partners and the Commission in November 2002 was a direct and concrete follow up to the broader objectives agreed in Lisbon and Barcelona. The Copenhagen Declaration was a significant step forward as it identified a set of specific issues and challenges where increased European cooperation in VET was required and welcomed.
The WASTRE Project responds directly to some of the important goals and objectives pointed out in the EU priorities so as to focus attention to the learning needs of teachers and trainers in VET, to promote employability and competitiveness and so strengthen the European dimension of VET in the areas of Waste Management and Minimisation, responding to a Europe-wide problem.
Sustainable Development encourages the preservation of natural resources.
Waste represents an enormous loss of resources in the form of both materials and energy. The project WASTRE is aimed at reducing these losses by supporting the implementation of the most advanced technologies and equipment for waste treatment, disposal and recycling.
Professionals need to pursue education in waste management and undertake training to keep abreast with constantly-changing European and state regulations and practical conditions.
Traditional learning resources have been lectures, guidance notes, books and journals with learning support via seminars, group exercises and laboratory work. Assessment has been accomplished using coursework and formal examinations.
With the increasingly sophisticated functionalities of E-technologies, there is the capability of increased interactivity in the learning process. There is a pedagogical revolution involving an evolving change of role of the lecturer from that of imparting information via classroom delivery to a facilitator of dialogue via electronic communication. Thus new pedagogies that support critical and original thinking as learning outcomes, favouring knowledge construction above knowledge acquisition, are being developed. Emphasis is shifting in the teaching approach from a didactic model to a dialogic model, learning through engagement and collaboration rather than through the acquisition and regurgitation of information imparted from the traditional lecturer.
ICT-based learning resources include computer-aided learning and interactive simulations from internet-based resources Learning support can be provided using interactive computer-aided learning and various applications software. Assessments can be carried out by computerised tests with electronic marking and feedback. There is the possibility of structured discussions on internet forums and other collaborative activities, assignments and projects among peers, lecturers and students.
It was envisaged that the future of teaching would rapidly vacate the classroom and become heavily involved in distance computer-assisted learning - anywhere and anytime on-demand. This use of the E-Learning Technologies throughout educational systems is already bringing about a major revolution in teaching world-wide and there are opportunities for the development of huge revenue streams. The revolution from the classroom lecturer’s “talk and chalk” to independent Mobile E-Learning required a completely new and different didactical approach. Education became “Edutainment” and the computer became a theatre as the student had to be inveigled to become engrossed in the learning materials without the presence and motivation of the lecturer. Young people are infatuated with music, games and mobile phones. These factors have therefore to be fully utilised for successful Mobile Pedagogical Applications.
The methodological/didactical approaches upon which the products are based are the novel and innovative mobile E-Learning Technologies. These use interactive multimedia (the simultaneous transmission via computer screens of text, graphics, computer software, animation, video, voice-overs and music in stereo sound, as well as virtual reality worlds). The use of E-Learning Technologies allows users interaction with controlling computer software programmes and may be used effectively in education and training, Sophisticated computer hardware and software are available for the production of high quality flexible training materials and at low cost.
Interactive teaching materials enhance the learning process; are enjoyable; and, using wireless networks, may be used anywhere, at any time and by anyone. An individual has the freedom to learn at one’s own pace, to select the appropriate level and to pick times for study, so as to be able to study at work or at home or in travel. The use of this dissemination medium, if prepared carefully and comprehensively can eliminate the need for face-to-face workshops, seminars, conferences, site visits and attendance at technical fairs, saving time, travel and fuels and so also reducing polluting emissions to air.
All the elements involved in the delivery of materials in classroom situations can be incorporated via video and sound. By making the multimedia package multi-dimensional with help menus and cross-links, the user may interrogate the system, just as questions are asked and answered in a classroom situation. The multimedia instructional package never becomes tired and never retires. Each use is as fresh as the first. An infinite amount of materials and knowledge can be accessed via the Internet.
The WASTRE project introduces this new innovative didactical approach to education and training which includes
• the use of multimedia (music, sound effects, voiceovers, videos and animations) in interactive presentations, innovative software, sliders and popups.
• The use of interactive software and spread-sheets containing ActiveX controls (scrollbars, dropdown selection boxes, etc.) for examinations of the effects of independent system variables on overall system behaviours.
• Quizzes, Games, Automatic Scoring, Feedback and Revision
• Storage and retrieval of data entered in interactive web forms.
• The use of Web2.o-based communication and collaboration technologies such as discussion forums, chat, e-mail, blog, Wikipedia publishing systems, IP-based audio, videoconferencing and interactive TV.
The Project Aims
The project is aimed at the preservation of natural resources and the environment, supporting the implementation of advanced technologies of waste treatment, disposal and recycling through the creation of an on-line system of mobile distance learning in the form of a Moodle e-learning system and a multimedia E-book, facilitating the transition of training and education from classroom “Talk and Chalk” to independent Mobile E-Learning.
The Project Outputs
The WASTRE project will enhance the performance of vocational education systems in the field of waste treatment and waste management and reinforce the international attractiveness of Europe’s vocational education. Its realisation will help move the EU closer to a ‘recycling society’, seeking to avoid waste generation and to use waste as a resource
The use of the new Teaching and Learning Technologies developed and demonstrated in the project will thus help bring about a major revolution, which is vital to the European Union’s strategic goal of “becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world.”
1. Project webpage www.wastre.eu with actual information about project
2. Study materials prepared in 4 modules:
• Waste management procedure
• EC Action Plans and Directives, Acts and Regulations relating to Solid Waste
• Solid Waste treatment recycling Technologies and equipment
• Evaluation of alternatives of waste treatment recycling Technologies and equipment
3. WASTRE course teacher and student manual in e-learning Moodle system
4. Pilot implementation of developed courses
5. WASTRE leaflets and dissemination material
6. Centre for Consultation on field of Solid Waste treatment