Coding in school: Finland takes lead in Europe

What is coding in school in practice? The Finnish national curriculum takes coding farther than any other European country. In Finland, starting fall 2016, coding is a mandatory, cross curricular activity that starts from first year of school. Coding becomes another learning skill for pupils to utilize when appropriate. No other European country has taken as advanced an approach to coding.
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Latest prototypes, publications and conferences

In the LeGroup we work with the principle theory based, design oriented. This means that relying on theoretical understanding of and empirical research on what makes sense in teaching and learning, we aim to create new ways of doing things with new tools designed in the group.

We have several new prototypes. Many of them have been already presented in some conference or in a research article. Some of them are relatively mature prototypes when some of them are still proof-of-concepts. We also have some new publications and conference presentations we have been working on lately. You will find a list of them from the end of this post. Continue reading

Edukata rollout in Finland confirmed

Our group’s success in the 4 year iTEC project culminated in the production of Edukata, a participatory design model for teachers, which helps teachers constructively address new ideas and challenges and design concrete learning activities for themselves and their peers. A few days ago, we received confirmation that the Finnish Board of Education has granted us 175,000€ for a 1,5 year rollout project (Future Classroom Network, FCN). Continue reading

Recent publications, conferences and workshops

From the last six-months we are happy to report several interesting new publications. I’ll simply list them in here with the links:

(1) To the first book in Finnish about design-based research in education (Kehittämistutkimus opetusalalla edited by Johannes Perna) I wrote a chapter with the title Muotoilututkimus: tutkimusta, kehittämistä ja prototyyppejä (Design Research: Research, Development and Prototypes).

Our fellow Juha, a doctoral candidate got a paper accepted to the Nordes 2013: Nordic Design Research Conference. The article is available in the online Conference Proceedings:

(2) Juha Kronqvist, Heini Erving, Teemu Leinonen (2913): Cardboard hospital: Prototyping patient-centric environments and services. Nordes 2013.

Our other fellow Hans Põldoja has been working on his final publications for his doctoral dissertation. The dissertation is expected to be ready in the the end of the year. With his colleagues at the University Tallinn they also have published the following article in the book Open and Social Technologies for Networked Learning:

(3) Laanpere, M., Põldoja, H., & Normak, P. (2013). Designing Dippler — A Next-Generation TEL System. In T. Ley, M. Ruohonen, M. Laanpere, & A. Tatnall (Eds.), Open and Social Technologies for Networked Learning (Vol. 395, pp. 91–100). Berlin / Heidelberg: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-37285-8_10.

In the end of July we will present some early results from the Learning Layers–project (Scaling up Technologies for Informal Learning in SME Clusters) at the ISTAS 13 -conference, The IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society in Toronto, Canada:

(4) Teemu Leinonen, Jukka Purma, Kiarii Nguya, Alexander Hayes (2013): Scenarios for peer-to-peer learning in construction with emerging forms of collaborative computing. ISTAS 2013.

The following short papers will be published in the conference proceedings of the Interactive Technology in Education 2013 – conference’s research track.

(5) Jukka Purma, Kiarii Ngua, Eva Durall & Teemu Leinonen (2013): How to design learning in the 21st century.

(6) Anna Keune & Teemu Leinonen (2013): Square1 hypothesis: Building computational and collaborative learning tools in school.

(7) Eva Durall & Teemu Leinonen (2013): Digital dashboard for visualizing learning progress and well-being.

In the ECSCW 2013 (European Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Works) and in the EC-TEL 2013 (The European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning) we are organizing a workshop Backchannels and live participation tools.

(8, 9) In the ECSW / EC-TEL 2003 workshops we will present some results from the LEAD-project (Learning Design – Designing for Learning) and from the iTEC –project (Designing the Future Classroom).

(10) For the iTEC –project (Designing the Future Classroom) we are also working on a publication with the working title Edukata — Designing Future Classroom Learning Activities. The guidebook is intended to be a “source of inspiration for educators to strengthen their confidence as designers of future classroom learning activities”. It will be published before the end of the year and it will be translated to 16 languages.

(11) From the iTEC –project we are also preparing some research papers: one conference workshop paper about Ambire (an ambient display for 1:1 laptop/tablet classroom reflection) and a journal article with the working title Designing tablet apps for individual and collaborative reflection in learning.

(12) From the research done in the LEAD -project we also have submit a journal article with the title Design Thinking in Research of Collaborative Tools for Learning.

Publishing is good but demos / prototypes are great. We have some new demos and prototypes, too. The Fle4 – knowledge building tool has been redesigned with a map view. The Square1 (a collection of single-task dedicated learning devices) hardware, interaction design and software are nicely coming all together.

TeamUp wins the eEemeli / Apps4Learning competition

Last week at the ITK 2012 (Interaktiivinen Tekniikka Koulutuksessa) conference TeamUp won the eEemeli competition’s Apps4Learning category.

TeamUp is a new media reflection tool for teachers and students to form teams based on students’ interests, and for students to record 1 minute audio updates about their teamwork progress, challenges and planned next steps.

iTEC website re-design

iTEC blog screenshot

In the spirit of participatory design, and as result of the merging of the iTEC work packages WP2 and WP3, we redesigned our iTEC website. The new URL is http://itec.aalto.fi (old URL redirects). The new site acts as the place for teachers and students across Europe to interact with the iTEC project from scenario development to prototype and pilot design.

The page directly calls for teachers and students to participate, and includes news, scenarios (provided by Futurelab), information on participatory design workshops, descriptions of our prototypes, learning stories and learning activities. The page is still under development and growing as the project is going on. To keep the design process even more transparent and open for teachers and students, we are planning to publish summaries of Focus Group sessions, as well as design challenges and opportunities in the near future.

LeTech and LeGroup meet and share

Active discussions towards the end of the meeting.

Active discussions towards the end of the meeting.

We just concluded a seminar and a general “knowledge sharing meeting” between the Learning + Technology research group (LeTech) of the School of Science and the Learning Environments research group (LeGroup) of the School of Art, Design and Architecture (that is us). The meeting was organized by Jukka Purma (thank you!) and held at the newly opened Media Factory premises.

The agenda of the meeting was to present and discuss the projects that the two groups are currently involved with, and to show works by other people that the group members find promising and inspiring.

We also have a common project with the groups. In the Interoperability and Social Media in Computer Science Learning Environments, R&D project we are aiming to change how people learn programming, in the Aalto University and beyond, from small children to people already working in the field.

Here a brief overview of the projects that were presented and discussed today. During the morning session, inspiring projects by others were presented.

Jukka Purma reflected about his experiences of participating in the Machine Learning Stanford Open Course, I spoke about my involvement with the Howard Rheingold University (HRU) alumni community, Teemu Koskinen showed us what gets him excited about Code Academy, and Sonja Krogius illustrated killer features of the Khan Academy.

In the afternoon session we shared projects that are under development in the research groups.

The Learning Environments research group featured Forrest Oliphant’s Master Thesis project Meemoo, Teemu Leinonen presented the design process applied for our work in the iTEC project, Jukka Purma demoed TeamUp and illustratively explained the software’s teaming algorithm.

Making use of the tables. :-)

Making use of the tables. 🙂

The Learning Environments and Technology research group included a presentation of the highly promising improvement plans for the interoperability of programming exercise systems and its user interface (Teemu Koskinen, Sonja Krogius), Tapio Auvinen presented his Rubyric prototype that supports the assessment work of teaching assistants, Teemu Sirkiä presented UUhistle, a project about visually and interactively exploring the execution-time behavior of computer programs, and Ari Korhonen and Ville Karavirta presented an overview of the OpenDSA research initiative.

Conclusively, it was exciting to learn about the similarities and differences in the projects and approaches and I am looking forward to our next meeting in Spring 2012 at the Otaniemi campus!