The objective of the Trapeze project is to build a satellite tele-education service showcase for travelling people like those in bargee, circus or fairground communities. Due to their mobility, these communities do not have access to fixed communication lines. The satellite tele-education service showcase is intended to convince organisations in the E.U. involved in the education of travelling communities of the value of integrating such services into their existing teaching practices.
The Trapeze project faces 2 substantial challenges. First of all, the implementation of an innovative 2-way satellite system with highly mobile users. Apart from technology issues, regulatory issues need to be solved to meet this challenge. The second challenge lies in assembling a Learning Environment, based on existing tools, that is sufficiently attractive for institutions involved with traveller education to integrate that Environment permanently in their teaching practices.
If successful, the Trapeze project will completely change the educational landscape of travelling communities. The contact between teachers and children on the move will be significantly improved, resulting in a better follow-up of the learning process and ultimately in better learning results.
From the point of view of technology, it is projected that the real-life validation of the 2-way Trapeze satellite Telecommunications platform in mobile circumstances will provide relevant data to validate the platform, so that new applications outside the world of traveller education can be confidently run via the system.
In general satellite-based communication systems focus on broadband one-way communication. The return link is usually established via terrestrial lines (dial-up modem connection via telephone line, sometimes via ISDN). Within the Trapeze project, satellite technology is utilised for the return link too, making use of the KU-band. This leading-edge technology offers the ideal solution to build an educational service for dispersed and mobile users to transmit large information files, be it data, video, audio, or graphics.
|The Trapeze Communication Platform|
The connection from the Client stations to the Hub is made possible by a transmit-receive antenna system. The Client dish itself is low-cost and small.
The Trapeze project began on the 1st of November 1999. The main components of the Project Plan include:
- Telecommunications Platform Development
- Learning Environment Definition
- Course Development
- Pilot Preparation
- Pilot with travelling and highly mobile learners in the UK and in the Netherlands
- Consolidation, involving the creation of blueprints and the organisation of consultative activities for organisations involved with the education of travelling communities
Following successful completion of the Trapeze in April 2001, the project team is now actively engaged in the exploitation of the project's activities and outcomes. Proposals to implement Trapeze-like services to support the education of traveling children are under discussion with responsible ministries in several European countries. The experience gained within Trapeze is being used to support these discussions by enabling the project partners prepare detailed and fully costed plans and proposals illustrated by the documentary evidence of the highly successful pilot run in May and June 2000.
In addition following the activities undertaken aimed at the traditional compulsory school sector, members of the project team are targeting specific regions and networks where the application of satellite services seem most appropriate. This activity is supported by the evidence gathered during the preparation of the project's Competitive Analysis report that examined the current level of Internet connectivity available to European schools.
The project team also carried out research into licensing satellite systems like the one used in Trapeze with a view to producing a basic introductory manual about licensing in 24 different European countries. This manual is now available and will be up-dated regularly.