ARI-Lab has been a long-term
research project carried out by CNR (Italian National
Research Council) researchers working, first, at
the Institute for Applied Mathematichs (IMA), then
at the Institute for Educational Technologies (ITD).
During project development different progressively
richer versions of the ARI-LAB
system had been designed and implemented.
The ARI-LAB system (CNR licence)
is an educational multi-environment system based
on microworlds, and communication technology. It
is aimed to arithmetics problem solving.
The first prototype of the ARI-LAB
system had been experimented with widely and exhaustively.
The system had been tested in different school situations
and with different kinds of students (different
school levels, normal students, deaf students, students
who are considered as low achievers in mathematics).
All the experiments were developed in the long term.
With one class, the system was used for almost the
whole cycle of primary school (from the second to
the fifth grade), with significant integration into
the mathematics curriculum.
During all experiments, the teachers of the classes
involved were present throughout and participated
actively both in planning the teaching itineraries
and in following the students’ work on the
computer. Each experiment was accomplished in a
real class situation and during normal class hours
not in an “ad hoc” laboratory setting.
After this phase, the structure of the system had
been reviewed taking into consideration results
and hints coming from the experimentations. A new
version of the system was designed and implemented
under the Windows operative system. This enhached
version was tested in different classes too and
in training courses for teachers. DIDAEL spa marketed
it at the beginning of 2000 (http://www.didael.it/sito/index.htm).
The work and the research related to ARI-LAB
grew then up thanks to a project of the European
Community: ITALES project
– Innovative Teaching
and Learning Environments
for Schools (IST-2000-26356):
Fifth Framework Programme, IST, key action: “School
of Tomorrow”. Within this EC project the latest
versions of the ARI-LAB system were designed and
implemented: ARI-LAB 2 and ARI@ITALES.
ARI-LAB 2 is an evolution of the
ARI-LAB system with a completely
re-designed interface, many changes in the offered
functionalities, and with the addition of two new
microworlds: one for approaching rational numbers,
and one for introducing the algebraic language.
ARI@ITALES was designed and implemented
to offer teachers tools for projecting and managing
online classes. It allows users to access some of
the interactive tools of ARI-LAB 2
through a common browser (Explorer).