Two of the main challenges of this project are how to produce good quality content in quantity and how to boost teacher involvement. Both of these challenges are covered by the Web Portal, which will seamlessly integrate the Authoring Tools website and the Trails Managing Tools website.
The Authoring tools component has as objective to facilitate the creation of exercises and trails. It will use crowd-sourcing principles, in which user-produced content at several levels will be encouraged.
Trails are sets of connected tasks within the same general geographic location (a neighborhood, for instance). In the current version linear trails, that is, trails where tasks follow a specific order) are supported. In the final version another element of innovation will be the possibility to automatically or semi-automaticaly create non-linear Trails with an overarching story or quest will be supported. In this type of Trail, akin to the video game adventures the students like and are familiar with, a final objective can only be attained by performing several tasks, each one of them giving a piece of the puzzle, or a key to unlock or complete other task. The authoring tool, given an existing trail, will semi-automatically generate a Story Trail or a Quest Trail using procedural generation techniques.
It is these Quest Trails that can easily support Multi -school or -country cooperative/competitive challenges. Some tasks will need information from tasks in another city or country and the students must coordinate with other groups to attain their objectives.
As stated before, the project needs to be crowd-based. The consortium cannot create math trails all over Europe. We must involve other persons, mainly teachers, to use the system and the generic tasks and their templates to go out and create tasks and trails. Whenever we think of a crowd-based solution, the website has to have some elements of social web. Users will be able to contact each other and share ideas as well as tasks and routes. There will be an option for users to become visible for others active in the area.
Also we want to integrate a forum for free discussions about tasks and problems. It will be able to form working groups to share tasks in the process of development. Also it will be possible to find parnter schools for math trails.