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Past Research Activities

Anatomy of the vestibular system (with Prof Peter Schwartze)
Experimental work and PhD in the area of the vestibular apparatus of the rat. Anatomical and microsurgical work at the maculae level (measuring the postnatal development and growth of the macula utriculi and its associated nerve). Part of the PhD work which was completed with suma cum laude.

Motor Control, CPG and the Air Righting Reflex (with Prof Peter Schwartze)
Analysis of the air-righting reflex (including its pattern generation) in postnatal rats. Differentiation between a chain-reflex- versus a CPG- theory of the reflex. Cybernetic analysis of the system. Part of the PhD work which was completed with suma cum laude.

Extracellular spinal cord recordings, signal analysis & mathematical modeling (with Prof Uwe Windhorst)
Extensive experimentation on anesthetized cats. Detailed characterization of the multi-channel signal transmission that involves motor units, spindle and cutaneous afferents, dynamic signal transmission from cutaneous afferents to dorsal horn neurons, dynamic properties of Renshaw cells and other circuits using linear and nonlinear techniques. Analysis of the results using modern DSP software (to a large extend developed by myself using Fortran) and nonlinear. Development of new techniques to compare results obtained in time- and frequency domains.

Computer and electronic systems (with Robert Reinking)
Development of advanced computer methods, environments, techniques and fast-responding circuits for the automated analysis of multi-channel complex systems.

Fatigue in the neuromuscular system (with Prof Douglas Stuart)
Electrophysiological investigations in spinal cats. Extracellular and intracellular recordings from motoneurons (centrally or at the level of their fibers). Motorneuron firing rate adaptation and discharge variability in response to sustained and intermittent extracellular stimulation. Superposition of pink noise. The significance of the activation pattern for motor-unit force production during neuromuscular fatigue (force optimization).

 

New Media in Learning Laboratory

Relations between human-computer; Development of new learning theories

The computer is the first human construct that emulates and amplifies intelligence (previous constructs mimic only physical powers). Computers have profound effects on how people will learn in the future, and this project thus focuses on the effects that IT has on the lives and learning habits of children. Our first goal is to define a new vision statement for future educational paradigms (working version: "to re-define the methods, tools and purpose of education, in light of relevant social change"). Furthermore, our team is working on a definition and practical implementation of what we named KnowledgePacket™. A KnowledgePacket™ defines a new standard in designing IT curriculum units that extend in multiple domains. Each learning object (LO) combines tasks that aim not only to introduce computer skills, but also to develop social and mental abilities of the child. Sub-components include (1) an educational theme and task, (2) IT skills, (3) tasks to promote mental development relevant for the age of the child, (4) a social angle to ensure that learning proceeds in a socially-relevant and responsible way, and that new learning is integrated in the social reality of the growing child. KnowledgePacket™  has enjoyed several awards and served as the scientific core of a chain of computer learning centers (CYBER Kids in Cyprus have applied this methodology to develop a 6-year long curriculum that served more than 15,000 children by 1999). Parts of this work have been presented at various conferences (some invited as key lecture, e.g.: “A Leap into the New Millennium..”, “Mediterranean Computer-Using Educators' Conference”, “Meeting the Challenge of Globalization”), but the actual theoretical framework has so far remained largely unpublished (except for some book chapters in 2005). Our plan for the next two to three years is to (a) analyze and publish the existing data; (b) design new experiments and paradigms implemented at a national level; (c) develop a new theory of student-teacher interactions and learner-computer interactions.

 

Integrating Mobile Technologies in Education

In the era of the next technological revolution, mobile devices (MDev) with advanced computing features are proliferating. They are also entering classrooms, but not as educational tools. Psychologists and philosophers raise questions, as to how this development will impact our lives. In addition to the challenge for re-defining educational paradigms, MDev ’s  are altering the concepts of time and space. Virtual communities are now a reality and this will have profound effects on social structures. Our interest in mobile learning has already resulted in invitations to participate in conferences and/or conference committees, publication of book chapters and service as National Contact Point in European networks (COST 219ter; 276), which gives us the opportunity to meet and interact regularly with colleagues. We are currently in the process of developing two new projects: (a) set-up a grid-based laboratory across Europe to enable geographically separated experimentation and analysis; (b) study the effects of MDev ’s on personality and learning attitudes; (c) extend Vygotsky’s constructivist educational paradigm to include MDev environments; (d) develop pan-European standards for meta-data descriptors of learning objects.