The eCity project is interested in the adoption of an innovative pedagogical methodology that supports the learning process both in engineering academic organizations and in secondary and vocational schools. The methodology is focused on two different complementary approaches:
· Engineering students themselves will develop new challenges and problems. This way they will be directly applying the concepts learned at higher education.
· They will be solving the set of problem-developed challenges plus the new ones with the support of other (secondary/vocational) students. By doing this they will scaffold their engineering learning and develop other skills like leadership, group work and collaboration.
The pedagogical methodology has some important characteristics. One of them is, for example, that the methodology has to be motivational. In this case, in secondary and vocational schools, the eCity platform will be a complementary activity for students to develop their interests and motivation towards engineering. Other characteristics are that the eCity platform has to be multidisciplinary, it means, has to be useful for different engineering areas. Furthermore, the platform should facilitate the collaboration between secondary and higher education students.
If we talk about the problems, we have to develop them keeping in mind some particular characteristics. Problems should be configured and customized by teachers for specific issues or even to represent real local situations. At the same time, users should be able to create new problems. Furthermore, eCity will allow students from different countries to work together in a problem, facilitating collaborative work.
To promote a healthy competition, the system can include reputation points for problem solving allowing the establishment of rankings. It will be interesting too, to allow the “immortality” of the learner’s work as long as it can be accessed by all the users from the game beginnings
Finally, problems or challenges can be fed into the platform as homework, teamwork, curricular activities, extra-curricular competitions, big or small projects, etc. PBL can be incorporated within existing structures with little disruption as it can be implemented in a variety of forms.