MaTHiSiS is a 36-month project funded by the European Union under the H2020 work programme that will assist the educational process for learners and their tutors and caregivers by creating a novel and continuously adaptable “robot/machine/computer”-human interaction ecosystem. This system enhances vocational training, workplace learning and mainstream education. The project is implemented by the MaTHiSiS consortium that consists of 18 partners from 9 different Member States. The consortium is very well balanced including research centres, universities, public administrations, and big and small companies. This ensures the innovation value chain merging technologies and education together.
From a technological aspect, the MaTHiSiS project makes use of cutting-edge technologies that range from specialized robots and mobile devices, to interactive whiteboards, and advance these to a greater degree of integration into the market. As a result having the “ICT use in Education” market in mind MaTHiSiS creates a whole new educational ecosystem-as-a-product, seamlessly adaptable to specific needs.
In order to ensure the wider use of MaTHiSiS products, there have been 5 diverse use cases selected, covering a wide spectrum of users, spanning from regular learners and trainees to learners with special needs and learning difficulties. These use cases are being tested through three different pilot phases: Driver, Assisted and Real-life pilots. This three-phase approach allows testing the MaTHiSiS system throughout the project’s lifetime in an iterative and augmented way and thus, ensuring the adaptability of the system.
Driver Pilots sessions within Autism Spectrum Case, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities Case and Mainstream Education Case working with students aged 5 to 18 years old, teachers, and tutors ran in May 2017 in order to configure and setup the system. This pilot stage was challenging both for educational and technical partners, but nevertheless it was successfully completed. Challenges were related to the development of teachers and students’ familiarity with the use of ICT for teaching and learning, the availability and integration of the technical equipment within the organization of the traditional learning environment, and the adequacy of MaTHiSiS learning scenarios and materials to students learning goals and the school curriculum. All positive and negative feedback was discussed among partners. The action plan is already in place to progress on the further development of MaTHiSiS looking forward to the Assisted Pilot phase.
Ms. Sophie Higson, a teacher from Nottingham Bluecoat Academy (UK), who participated in the pilot sessions, stated : “’This is an ambitious project which will help teachers to measure engagement of learners in new and exciting ways and improve student progression”.
Assisted Pilots will run during November 2017, where people at the venues will setup and configure the system under MaTHiSiS consortium physical guidance. Real-Life Pilots will run in 2018 seeking to implement the final tests.
Pilots are an essential tool for quality assurance for the whole project. Collected data in each of these phases is analyzed and has a significant impact on the structure of the following pilot phase.