The main purpose of the COSMOS project is to create an experimental laboratory for students and teachers in order to improve science instruction by expanding the resources for teaching and learning in schools and universities and by providing more challenging and authentic learning experiences for students. The project will build upon the state of the art developments as regards the interoperability architectures and metadata standards and the latest evolutions in learning technologies to perform an extended validation on the effectiveness and the efficiency of the proposed approach in the science teaching and learning.
The COSMOS approach will be implemented at two levels:
• secondary education: The COSMOS approach will make educational materials (educational scenarios, lesson plans, collaborative projects with the associated content) easily accessible for creative, hands-on interactive science lessons to meet the needs of school curricula. These would be suitable for small-group collaborations and would include automated image acquisition service and/or observatory control as required to complete the lessons, plus the use of copyright material on our project’s portal.
• university education: The databases of the observatories of the COSMOS network will be used to improve the quality of science instruction at the university level, while offering to the students the opportunity to realize their own projects and carrying out independent scientific research. Students and faculty members can use our service for teaching practical astronomy laboratory techniques and research astronomy courses. Essentially (due to the nature of telescopes) optical observational techniques can be taught.
Two major existing repositories, the Discovery Space Portal and the Educational Repository of the Schools Observatory project will be used as sources of science education content (projects, activities, lesson plans, astronomical images and scientific data, videos and simulations of physical phenomena, questionnaires and on-line tests). The project will run numerous pilots in real world environments in Greece, Austria, Germany, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Finland and Sweden at high school and university level. The main outcomes of this work will be the COSMOS Tool-Box and the Roadmap for the implementation of a Pan- European Educational service, which will include recommendations for European Quality Certification of science education content.