IRMOS immersing learners in learning


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IRMOS immersing learners in learning

  1. 1. IRMOS: Immersing Learners in Learning by Bob LittleIntroductionThe Interactive Realtime Multimedia Applications on Service Orientated Infrastructures (IRMOS) Project is a 36 month,12.9m Euro project awarded by the European Commission to a Consortium of 13 leading European organizations.The idea behind the IRMOS Project is that today’s Service Orientated Infrastructures (SOIs) lack real-time (RT) capa-bilities. Basically:• SOIs are not dynamically configurable and adaptable to RT requirements.• Timing and interaction issues are not studied thoroughly and formally expressed in SOIs.• Web services lack RT capabilities.• Network awareness and control login tend not to be integrated into the application services login.IRMOS is partially funded by the EC Seventh Framework Program FP7/2007-2011 under grant agreement number214777 ( IRMOS aims to use grid and cloud computing to provide the computing resources to bring learners together in boththe real and virtual worlds. The 13 organizations collaborating on the IRMOS Project aim to design, develop andvalidate an SOI which will allow the adoption of interactive real-time applications - especially multimedia applications- enabling their rich set of attributes (from time-constrained operation to dynamic service control and adaptation) andtheir efficient integration into the infrastructure. The overriding objective of IRMOS is to enable RT interaction betweenpeople and applications over an SOI, where processing, storage and networking needs to be combined and deliveredwith guaranteed levels of service. ~1~ © eXact learning solutions 2010
  2. 2. IRMOS: Immersing Learners in LearningThe project is coordinated by Stuart Smithson of Xyratex Ltd, of Havant near Portsmouth and the technical coordinator is Profes-sor Dimosthenis Kyriazis, of the Institute of Communication & Computer Systems at the National Technical University of Athens.The project’s partners comprise: Xyratex International Ltd and the University of Southampton (both UK); the Institute of Com-munication & Computer Systems – National Technical University of Athens (Greece); Stiftelsen Sintef (Norway); Telefonica I+D(Spain); Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and eXact learning solutions (Italy); Alcatel-Lucent Deutschland AG, Universität Stuttgart,DFT Digital Film Technology GmbH and Deutsche Thomson OHG (all Germany).The eLearning scenario within IRMOS relates to ‘extended geo-learning’, delivered ‘in-class’, ‘in-house’, ‘in campus and ‘inbuilding’ on an urban, suburban and global GPS basis. eXact learning solutions is also working on ‘learner positioning’ in virtualworlds as well as in the real world. Fabrizio Cardinali, CEO of eXact learning solutions, commented: “And, of course, the learningcontent produced can be re-used and distributed via different delivery media – such as text books, web-based learning materi-als, mobile learning, digital boards and so on.”Using the IRMOS-empowered set-up, learners will be able to meet in specific real world learning hubs, such as art galleries,tourist attractions, schools and/or industrial locations, and receive location-based learning materials and community services,geo-located and allied to relevance and context awareness.IRMOS InnovationsAmong the innovations that the IRMOS Project aims to develop are:• A platform of services that enables RT interaction between people and applications.• An integrated optimization approach at various levels from inter-organization business processes to intelligent networking and vir- tualization techniques that enable RT interaction and concurrency at all points of value chains that span organizational boundaries.• Software tools and associated modeling environments to enable RT interactive applications to be written to target the IRMOS framework.• Specification languages that unify various parameters and characteristics used to describe real-time applications on SOIs, and allow value chain participants to collaborate in the design, deployment and execution of networks of services.According to the organizations involved in the Project, IRMOS will:• Advance the business models of real-time applications with the benefits that come from service orientated architectures (SOAs).• Increase the competitiveness of those using IRMOS due to low cost implementation and broader market accessibility.• Lower the entry level for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the market of RT interactive services, such as multimedia processing.• Strengthen the efficiency and productivity of organizations by advancing the resilience of SOIs.• Work on standardization and extend the state of the art.• Provide tools to write software with predictable performance and which are resilient to the changes of SOI environments.Initially, the IRMOS Project has applications in three areas: collaborative digital film production; virtual and augmented reality,and interactive collaborative eLearning. ~2~ © eXact learning solutions 2010
  3. 3. IRMOS: Immersing Learners in LearningApplication: IRMOS in Film ProductionA group of artists, colorists, editors, VFX and sound operators, located in different countries are jointly working during the hotphase of post-production of an international Sci-Fi movie co-production. Early in the morning they log into the IRMOS platform tojointly review the previous day’s work and to prepare today’s work together with the director and the producer. The system auto-matically configures their GUI according to their personal capabilities and expectations, to create a collaborative environment inwhich they are also able to use the multimedia capabilities it offers in order to communicate with each other.They start the visualization of the already edited film in a synchronized way. In other words, the application using the IRMOSplatform provides multiple streams of the same content to the group in order to discuss the different effects or changes to beapplied. When needed, the streaming can be stopped, the changes discussed with the others and, after performing the corre-sponding adjustments, replay the edited sequence immediately, so everybody can agree to the final impression.The system processes these changes in real time using the processing power in the IRMOS enabled computing networked com-puter cluster so that, at the end of the process, the group gets a good impression of the result. This collaborative approach withdistributed teams drastically reduces the time needed for production and, so, lowers the total costs.Application: IRMOS in Learning Anna is one of a large group of Spanish students visiting Athens as part of a school trip. They are learning about classicalGreece and, before their visit, they have already experienced an interactive, real time virtual course on ancient Greek archi-tecture. While visiting the Acropolis, Anna accesses the eLearning application again and indicates the topics in which she isinterested.The application, running on an IRMOS-enabled platform, considers her device’s capabilities and the kind of services sheneeds. It then constructs a virtual reality learning environment around which Anna can move - with her fellow students. Sheis be able to interact with the learning material by accessing real time multimedia content, using video streaming and seeinga visualization of how the Acropolis used to look.The virtual environment allows access to information from other locations. For example, Anna can access the National Mu-seum of Athens to gain further information on artifacts found at the Acropolis and to interact with other members of her classwho are visiting the museum at the same time. After the visit, all the students gather in a nearby hotel, where they are stay-ing, and ask to videoconference with an expert on classic Greek architecture - to have a deeper explanation on the history ofthe Parthenon and discuss what they have learnt collectively during the day. IRMOS allows them to videoconference with acurator on duty at the site who also delivers some multimedia material for supporting his explanation.This enables a large number of people with a need for synchronization of experience to interact with one another through avirtual environment. It also allows RT delivery of multi-media material to users with adaptation of the service rates, based onthe users’ ability to consume the delivered data rate and on the number of simultaneous users of the system. Furthermore,the system provides the automated selection of the best source of material for delivery to the user and automated construc-tion of the service over the network. ~3~ © eXact learning solutions 2010
  4. 4. IRMOS: Immersing Learners in LearningHistorical ContextSetting the IRMOS Project in the context of the historical development of eLearning, Fabrizio Cardinali, chief executive officerof eXact learning solutions – one of the 13 organizations collaborating on the IRMOS Project - commented: “First generationeLearning offered little more than electronic page-turning and so didn’t provide much competition for classroom-delivered learn-ing. Second generation eLearning began to meet the needs of learners who were looking for informal, self-generated learningopportunities, while the new – third – generation of eLearning materials are addressing blended learning issues, with ubiquitous,open service learning being delivered in a variety of ways via mobile devices and even virtually.“Today, we’re not thinking about ‘eLearning platforms’ but, rather, about an ecosystem which knows – or discovers – who thelearner is, what language s/he speaks, the learner’s background, learning delivery preferences and so on,” he continued. “Thisis giving rise to a new generation of distributed and federated learning content access standards. These standards are helping toproduce true personalized learning – at least, they are doing so in our research laboratories.”These standards are important because, while first generation eLearning locked content to the hardware system that ran it,standardization has produced ‘open’, plug and play learning solutions through services oriented architectures (SOAs). An exam-ple of an SOA is the OKI initiative, which breaks eLearning into single components which allow learners to pick and choose theelements of their own learning ecosystem. This is also helping to lower the cost of producing these components and, thus, thesystems they inhabit.“These days, you don’t need to produce every part of the system – because, thanks to international standards, we have distrib-uted and interoperable stakeholders and services,” Cardinali said. “These stakeholders include service brokers, service providersand service consumers. So, we now have web service implementation empowering a new generation digital learning contentnetworks and marketplaces.”Marrying the Real & Virtual WorldsWithin the IRMOS Project, eXact learning solutions studied both open and non-open source systems and is developing a userscenario for interactive real-time location based learning, integrating eXact Mobile learning technologies with the Open Wonder-land Virtual Worlds and collaboration platforms, running on top of the IRMOS service oriented infrastructure (SOI) infrastructure.All IRMOS public deliverables are available in the AuthorFor over 20 years, Bob Little has specialised in writing about, and commentating on, corporate learning – especially eLearning – and technology-relatedsubjects. His work has been published in the UK, Continental Europe, the USA and AustraliaeXact learning solutionseXact learning solutions, formerly Giunti Labs, is a leading online and mobile learning content management and digital repository eXact learning solutions - Headquarterssolutions provider, offering a wide range of tools and services for content development, management and delivery, covering: Abbazia dell’Annunziata • Multi-language bespoke learning content production Via Portobello - Baia del Silenzio • Content management and digital repository platforms 16039 Sestri Levante (GE) Italy • Mobile learning technologies • Consulting and professional services Tel +39.0185.4761The company has over fifteen years of experience and more than 100 clients worldwide. Our technological innovations allow Fax +39.0185.43.347enterprises to improve their organizational performance, and achieve significant reductions in business costs. ~4~ © eXact learning solutions 2010