The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all life aspects and mostly education. This special session aims to present advances on immersive technologies, including their potential and limitations in the new era of distance learning, as well as their applicability in the Industry 4.0 (I4.0) sectors. Industry 4.0 technologies hold a great deal of promise, at the core of which novel Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) tools/applications are being developed.
The recent advances on VR/AR/MR technologies have gained the visualization part of I4.0 on the grounds of which new solutions for more efficient and effective working environments are emerging. Indeed, the inherently intuitive nature of immersive technologies enables educational technologists to design collaborative working
environments for Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) empowered by AI, which is the core of Industry 4.0. In a similar manner, manufacturing organizations are exploring the potential of such technologies under different instructional models (Blended Learning, Gamification) and assessment techniques (Learning Analytics, Educational Data Mining).
These approaches play a crucial role in all STEM disciplines as they are bound to ‘hands-on’ activities for knowledge comprehension and advancement. Therefore, research on the aforementioned aspects can help manufacturers to use immersive, scenario-based, experiential learning activities to facilitate the design and development of the 4th generation industrial training environments. By introducing such innovative methods in training various productivity-related benefits can be expected both in terms of knowledge cultivation (practicing of new skills, emergency training, reduced human errors) and in terms of operational costs (training expenses, training times).
Considering the above, we are welcoming research contributions from both the industry sector and the academic context. Prospect authors are advised to adjust the lens to the training procedures cycle (from the identification of the training needs to the distribution of a skilful experience) wherein new, promising, training methodologies capable of improving the traditional practices and adapting emerging technologies are described and elaborated
The following indicative topics constitute a sample of the areas that this special session aims at covering:
Dr. Chrysostomos Stylios, University of Ioannina
Prof. Chrysostomos Stylios is Director of the Laboratory of Knowledge & Intelligent Computing, Department of Informatics and Telecommunication, University of Ioannina, Greece (www://kic.uoi.gr/?lang=en) since 2006. Based on his pioneering research on Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs), FCMs are applied in discipline research areas. He has published over 200 journals, conference papers and book chapters. His research work has been acknowledged by the scientific community, while he has received more than 5500 citations and he has h-index 28 (based on Scopus) and h-index 36 (based on Scholar google). His main scientific interests include: Fuzzy Cognitive Maps, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Data Mining, Soft Computing, Computational Intelligence Techniques, Biosignal processing & analysis, Modeling and Decision Support Systems, Support Vector Machines, Knowledge-based systems, Simulation and Modeling Complex Systems, Intelligent Systems, Hierarchical Systems & Supervisory Control, Intelligent Manufacturing Systems, Open Innovation, Technology Transfer, Educational Methodologies and Tools, Virtual and Augmentative Reality. Prof. Stylios has been scientific coordinator in more than 30 R&D projects funded by EU and national funds. Prof. Stylios is senior member of IEEE and member of the TC 8.2 and TC 5.4 of IFAC.
Dr. Vasiliki Liagkou, University of Ioannina
Vasiliki Liagkou is assistant Professor at Department of Informatics and Telecommunication, University of Ioannina, Greece since 2020. She holds a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering & Informatics, a M.Sc. in Foundations of Computer Science and a PhD in Cryptography and Cryptanalysis of Secure and Trust communication protocols from the University of Patras, Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics. She is research partner of security sector of Computer Technology Institute and Press “Diophantus”. She participated in several national and EU funded projects, such as the IST Projects Cybercer4eu, ABC4Trust, FLAGS and AEOLUS, the national HYPERGEN project (development of the EXTRA5 and SUPER3 electronic lotteries). She has published several works in international conferences and journals and has served as an external reviewer for international conferences. Her main research interests include system cryptanalysis, vr training, e-learning, privacy exchanging technologies, system security, trust management, pseudorandom generators, algorithm engineering, number theory, wireless sensor networks.
Dr. Athanasios Christopoulos, University of Turku
Athanasios Christopoulos is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Science at the University of Turku, Finland. He holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Digital Instructional Design in the area of Virtual Reality from the University of Bedfordshire, UK. His affiliation with the Centre for Learning Analytics has expanded his research interests which include digital inclusion, educational technology advancement, immersive technologies, Artificial Intelligence in education, Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining. He has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences and has served as a reviewer, program committee, and guest editor alike. He has also worked at several research and development projects funded by both EU and national organisations.