Organisers: Charikleia Tsalapata, THMMY, University of Thessaly
Computer science is an area of innovation that fuels economic growth and job creation due to high demand for effective digital solutions that promote the quality of life. Given the importance of digital technology for development, universities have a responsibility to modernize their educational practices to develop innovation skills to highly qualified young professionals who will be able to address the major sustainability challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, green cities, clean and cheap energy, eliminating inequalities, sustaining life on land and sea, clean water, and others. Building the innovation capacity of Electrical and computer engineers is crucial for a number of reasons: it benefits young professionals by providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue a successful and lasting career in a growing and highly evolving sector, creates a highly skilled workforce that the industry needs to pursue emerging business opportunities, and address shortages of qualified scientists and contributes to growth and prosperity through designing solutions to pressing industry and society challenges.
This workshop presents a learning intervention aimed at enhancing innovative thinking in students of Electrical and computer engineering departments and their ability to turn ideas into action. The proposed solution focuses on the design and implementation of a digital collaboration service that develops gamified design thinking to promote student's creativity and participation in innovation activities. Design thinking enables design teams to tackle difficult challenges in which a viable solution may not be visible at first glance. This is achieved through a methodology of problem investigation, empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, and evaluation that allows design teams to discover the real parameters of a problem and address real, as opposed to perceived, needs. The proposed digital collaboration service supports teachers in flexibly structuring challenges inspired by real problems using principles of design thinking. It further encourages students to address in groups and in a meaningful way challenges by collaborating inside and outside the classroom through a shared digital workspace that can be modified and updated by team members simultaneously in real time. Gamification elements encourage participation in the learning process through experience points that allow participants to unlock new features, enriching their work environment.
The presentation is part of the research project ICT - INOV: Modernizing ICT Education for Harvesting Innovation (http://ictinov-project.eu), funded by the Erasmus + Capacity Building in Higher Education Initiative through the collaboration of 12 universities from Greece, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, Estonia, Portugal and Italy. The coordinating institution of the research project is the University of Thessaly and specifically the Creative Learning Technologies Group of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (http://ctll.e-ce.uth.gr).