Brazilian-European Consortium for DTT Services

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The Brazilian-European Consortium for DTT Services (BEACON) project was selected in 2006, and funded from 1 January 2007 until 31 March 2010 by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme, Priority IST.

The BEACON web site is at http://www.beacon-dtt.com/


Summary

As a subset of e-learning, ‘tLearning’ or ‘learning through interactive digital television’ (IDTV) can prove highly beneficial to regions where access to internet-enabled computers is significantly low. Research reveals that the large majority of today’s households own a television rather than a computer. In the context of Latin-America these numbers are even more critical: while 95% of the Brasilian households have a television, less then 20% owns an internet-enabled computer. For the lowest economic classes (D and E) access to computers or internet is even lower than 2%. The exploitation of this potential is therefore undeniably important for the implementation of relevant educational policies. It is in this context that BEACON aims to go beyond the present state of the art of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

BEACON is a specific targeted research project on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) that will develop innovative t-learning pilot services related to social inclusion in the State of Sao Paulo (Brazil) on the basis of pioneering research on interoperability between the European (DVB) and the Brazilian (SBTVD) Digital Terrestrial Television standards and the definition of a pedagogically sound methodology for distance learning through digital television. Ultimately the project will result in the establishment of a Brazilian-European Consortium that will manage the exploitation of the assets and the services implemented by the project.

Expected outcomes

In order to realise innovative tLearning pilot services related to social inclusion in the State of Sao Paulo (Brasil), BEACON faces the interoperability issue on Interactive TV Platforms. On the basis of state-of-the-art technologies in both Europe (DVB-T) and Brasil (SBTVD-T platform) interoperability through the adoption of MHP for the DVB-T framework and Ginga NCL-Lua middleware for SBTVD-T.

At the same time a pedagogically sound methodology for distance learning through digital television will be defined. This issue is underdeveloped since the majority of learning activities through IDTV so far have been developed by broadcasting companies rather then by the educational world.

The technological and pedagogical research will be followed by in-depth testing of the tLearning services through a series of pilot runs related to social inclusion issues in Sao Paulo. The use of a ‘User-Centred Design (UCD)’ evaluation methodology during this pilot phase will enable the definition of a sustainable model for tLearning development, particularly customised for the Latin-American market.

In the end, the BEACON project will establish a Brazilian-European Consortium that will manage the exploitation of the research outcomes resulting from the project activities.

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