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Objectives

MERLIN intends to take advantage of the accumulated knowledge and experiences of a cluster of projects that are connected to TSER-IV Framework Programme (Targeted Socio-Economic Research), reflecting on innovative educational practices and methods mediated by the use of ICT for learning. The project intends to identify new educational methods that emerge in technology-based learning environments, in order to valorise their results, advantages and limitations. Furthermore, this project addresses the need to assemble a group of experts among participants in these projects, and as a result of this process, to elaborate policy briefs suggesting new needs for research and recommendations for policy development within the Key Action "Improving the Socio-economic Knowledge Base" and for the VI Framework Programme.
This proposal addresses the following objectives:

· To revise and synthesise results from final reports produced by a series of projects from the Joint Multimedia Call that have a TSER component, as well as from the 1st TSER Call, all of them belonging to the IV Framework Programme dealing with innovative teaching/learning practices mediated by the use of ICT.
· To identify new teaching methods and practices, organisational changes and other socio-economic dimensions as a result of the use of ICT for learning in a series of TSER projects from the 2nd. TSER Call, area "Research in Education and Training", currently grouped in the cluster "Innovations via Technology", by assessing the intermediate and final reports that have been produced, and comparing and contrasting the outcomes with the ones from the projects mentioned above.
· To review the results of different TSER projects from the 3rd. Call whose objectives include the study of innovative approaches to the use of ICT in teaching and learning, in order to include them in the cluster previously mentioned, contrasting their outcomes with previous projects' results.
· To assemble a group of experts from the above mentioned TSER projects, who will be asked to relate their results to a joint report about new methods and practices in learning environments mediated by the use of ICT, its efficiency, and its contribution to lifelong learning.
· To contribute to the development of policies in the area studied, by identifying common research trends, issues and policy recommendations among the projects selected, and synthesise the findings relevant to policy making in a draft report with recommendations for dissemination to the wider community of experts and policy makers.
· To establish a framework for a European-wide discussion by combining results for said projects with experiences made by policy makers throughout the organisation of a workshop in order to prepare final recommendations for a new agenda for research.

In order to help in the analysis, a series of transversal research questions are posed for all projects:

· What are the key features involved in the utilisation of ICT: new learning processes, new cross-curricular and communication skills, changes in teacher-pupil roles, market-oriented strategies, and, specifically, the new collaborative learning methodologies involved, the new methods and technologies (supporting these methods)?
· What are the consequences for organisations when introducing these new ways of learning, including European cross-cultural issues involved in the process? Are there institutional strategies for using ICT?
· What are the components of cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis in these respective projects, taking into consideration how these concepts are defined in the projects?
· What are the contributions of ICT to lifelong learning in terms of access to education and training? Does the introduction of ICT stimulate/avoid social exclusion?

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