We are hiring: Doctoral student

We are hiring a doctoral student to work on her or his own research related to the themes of the research group. The doctoral student must possess or apply for a post-graduate study place in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Here is the official call text from the University web site.

Aalto University is a new university with over a century of experience. Created from a high-profile merger between three leading universities in Finland – the Helsinki School of Economics, the Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Art and Design Helsinki – Aalto University opens up new possibilities for strong multi-disciplinary education and research. The university’s ambitious goal is to rank among the top universities in the world in its areas of specialization. At Aalto there are 20,000 students with around 75,000 alumni. We have a staff of 4,500 including 300 professors.

The former Aalto University School of Art and Design and the Department of Architecture of the School of Engineering have merged to form the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The new school combines design, media, architecture, film, art education and art. The key areas of research in the school are design, digital media, audiovisual representation, art, visual culture, well-being architecture and emerging technologies, and urban planning and design.

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture invites applications for

DOCTORAL STUDENT, Learning Environments Research Group
The job begins in fall 2012. The assignment is for maximum of two years.

Key Accountabilities and Qualifications
The doctoral students will be part of the Learning Environments research group (LeGroup – http://legroup.aalto.fi/ ) at the Media Lab, Department of Media. The LeGroup is involved in research, design and development of New Media tools, as well as their use and application, in the field of learning. The areas of research and design practice are in computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL); information and communication technology (ICT) in learning (tablets, mobile phones, touch screens, PDAs, PCs etc.); ICT in creative group work and design; ICT in empowerment through learning; and learning environments enhanced with technology. The group’s approach to research and design is theory-based but design-oriented. This means that besides the academic research papers the outcomes of the group are often software systems, software prototypes, applications and scenarios.

The doctoral student will conduct research and design in one of the above areas based on her own interests. The successful candidate will have theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in order to work within art and design-based academic institution. The position requires a Master’s degree, design portfolio as well as research and design skills necessary for the development of digital tools and systems (prototypes) in various contexts of learning.

The doctoral student must possess a post-graduate study place in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, OR commit oneself to apply for a post-graduate study place in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture by September 15th 2012 (please see https://into.aalto.fi/display/endoctoraltaik/Homepage). If the applicant is not granted a post-graduate study place by December 31st 2012, the employment will not be continued. Sufficient knowledge in English language is also required. The applicant has to present a research plan that is related to one of the focus areas of research in the Learning Environments research group and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture in general. The research plan must include a schedule for completing the doctoral degree.

Location
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland.

Wage level
Salary will be paid according to the University’s salary scheme.

Application period and instructions
Application documents, including an (1) application letter, (2) CV, (3) design portfolio, (4) research plan and a possible certificate of the post-graduate study right, should be sent preferably by email to rekry-arts@aalto.fi (subject: Doctoral student, Learning Environments) or by mail to: Registry, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, P.O. box 31000, 00076 Aalto, Finland. Applications should arrive no later than on August 14th 2012 by 3 p.m. (Finnish time GMT + 2:00). All application material should be in English.

Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

The application materials will not be returned.

Further information
Associate Professor Teemu Leinonen
e-mail: teemu.leinonen@aalto.fi
tel. +358 50 351 6796
www.aalto.fi/en
http://taik.aalto.fi/en/
https://reseda.taik.fi/Taik/jsp/taik/Index.jsp?lang_global=en&

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.

New projects and collaboration

It’s been a hectic end of the year.

The iTEC -project is moving forward with testing in school and new cycles of scenario creation and design work. The annual review of the project went fine. The reviews are important: they are quality control but also an opportunity to learn. We past the “control” and learned a lot.

The formal results of the iTEC project’s first year are available in the project website. We think the Report on Design Prototypes and Design Challenges for Education is worth of reading.

We have, however, some new and exciting projects going on and coming up. Some are small, some are large.

With the Learning + Technology Group at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering we have started a project studying, developing and designing online learning tools and social media for computer science learning. The group has developed many great software tools serving computer science studies and has interesting educational practices of teaching computer science. In the research project we are now looking possibilities of integrating the services, motivational questions of students and coherent design of all this.

Another national project we are involved in is called (in English) Open Networks for Learning. In it we support production of open educational resources by training teachers and other experts, creating and supporting networks and services and this way strengthening active citizenship and democracy. For this project we are, for instance, maintaining, supporting and training people to use LeMill, Wikimedia -services, and Creative Commons Finland -services. The project does not include a lot of research per se but provides as possibilities to bridge research and practice.

A third national project is service design project with the Pirkanmaa Hospital District renewing their organization to focus on value created for patients and to prepare the way for a construction of a new wing in the hospital building. In the project we are applying some learning theories and participatory design methods, as well as considering the role of new media (online, an in hospital) services and devices in the hands of the patients and hospital professionals. The first research publication (in press) from the research project is titled Games as Design Medium —
Utilizing Game Boards for Design Enquiry with Cancer Patients
by Juha Kronqvist et al.

Our colleges in the Tallinn University are getting together an interesting consortium of European top research groups in the field of mobile learning. With them we are right now preparing a research and project plan with several companies to start a new project in mid 2012.

We also have ongoing discussions with library operating bookmobiles: to study and redesign the service by introducing new media tools (tablets, projections, touch screens/tables, RFID etc.) and services in their offering. The possibilities to implement new kind of media education, youth work etc. with bookmobiles are huge. It is a great opportunity to do people-centric and participatory design research.

In addition to the European research in 2012 we are interested in to take part in the national Learning Solutions program by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. Let’s seen.

One more thing: As part of the Aalto on Waves we organized a Future of Learning study project with graduate students coming from the fields of art and design, engineering and technology and economics. We may expect interesting results.

iTEC, LeMill and some new projects in the pipeline

We have some news from the research group, which you may have read already from some other sources.

The iTEC project — the designing the future classroom — is now in a full speed. It is a four year project we started in September so the first results are expected to be out around April-May. To follow our work focusing on to engage teachers and learners in the future classroom you may visit the blog and wiki just set-up last week. Here is the link:

http://itec-wp3.taik.fi/

LeMill — the web community for finding, authoring and sharing open educational resources — developed and hosted by us is something that is getting better and better almost every week. The latest updates are reported in the blog of the service:

http://blog.lemill.net/en/

The LeMill community is also growing steadily. The statistics show that most of the growth right now comes from Lithuania, Russia and Hungary. Why from these countries? I think it is all word-of-mouth marketing from our stable community members in Estonia and Georgia. Where is the rest of the Europe, United States, Asia and Latin America? What are the competitors of LeMill in these countries or is it simply that teaches do not care? A lot of open questions. A good thing is that LeMill is getting better and better.

We are also soon starting some new projects. They are related to service design and use of ICT in informal learning in open spaces: offline and online.

iTEC: Innovative Technologies for an Engaging Classroom

In September 2010 we are starting a new four year European R&D project exploring and designing new ICT tools and ways of using them in classrooms. Our research group’s special interest is to design new practices of using interactive surfaces when pupils will all have network device they may use with the surface.

Here are some slides with some initial ideas on how the interactive surfaces could be used in classrooms in collaborative learning processes.

The ITE 2010 (ITK 2010) conference

Interactive Technology in Education (ITE) –conference is the largest conference in Finland related to information and communication technology in educational use. The conference takes place on 21st – 23rd of April 2010 at Hotel Aulanko, Hämeenlinna, Finland.

Our research group have several talks and session in it. Here is the list of events and talks:

April 21st: Full day workshop

Workshop on social media in teacher’s daily work

April 22nd : keynote and sometu track talks

Teemu Leinonen: Keynote: Networks and Learning in Future

Tarmo Toikkanen and Jukka Purma: Teachers’ open idea repository, LeMill (in Sometu track)

Tarmo Toikkanen and Anne Rongas: Teaching and studying in the fully open Finnish Wikiversity (in Sometu track).

April 23rd: Content repositories

Jukka Purka and Tarmo Toikkanen: 15 years of content repositories for teachers: what went wrong?

April 22nd and 23rd: In Open Content Bazar

On Thursday and Friday we also have a booth in the “Open Content Bazaar” where we are continuously running demonstrations about LeMill and Wikiversity.

The event is from most parts in Finnish – all our talks are in Finnish. If you are still interested in to get to know the Finnish “scene” there are some nice presentation in English, too.

New tools for sophisticated online learning

I am often thinking how to describe our design work – our attempt to create tools for learning. We naturally attempt to design good tools for good learning. The challenge is the word “good”: it opens too many questions.

Because of this we sometime use the term “sophisticated” to describe the tools and the learning they support. The term “sophisticated” is of course, also problematic but I feel that it is somehow according to our design orientation.

We are moving to start two new projects that are also conntected to each other. They are both small pieces in a possible open learning ecology with sophisticated tools helping people to run sophisticated learning – online. These are:

  1. Lightweight tools for knowledge building in social media
  2. EduFeedr – to handle your open online courses

With these tools the world would be a better place.

LeMill, Media Lab Helsinki, MobilED and Reseda

It’s been quiet on this blog for some time.

No, we have not, shut down. We simply have been busy on other “forums”.

Recently a better locations to follow our work on online have been the LeMill blog, Media Lab Helsinki news blog and even the MobilED blog. Also our University research database, Reseda, is a good place to have a look of our latest publications and projects. E.g. you may search with Media Lab – Learning Environments.

There are some major results we should have wrote about on this blog, too, but …well you know. Sorry for this. We’ll try to be better in future.

MobilED – mobile audio wiki engine

For some time we have been doing design research with the MobilED mobile audio wiki prototype we designed and implemented with our partners in South Africa.

The research has relied on research-based design approach with contextual inquiry, participatory design, prototyping and piloting of the prototype with real people in real life situations. In number of event and forums we have present the results of the research (we are still woring on with the main article). It’s been an interesting journey.

Now someone should take the MobilED technology – the mobile audio wiki engine – to a new level. If there is somewhere some software developer with coding skills related to one or more core technologies used in the MobilED, these are Asterisk and MediaWiki, we are happy to give the leadeship of the development for you.

We are happy to keep on hosting the development site (http://dev.mobiled.org/trac/), the SVN and give all the support one may need to get on working with this. Let us know if you are interested in.

Wikimedia – Media for All

On Friday April 11th I am giving a talk in the Helsinki Media Conference with the title: “Wikimedia – Media for All”. I proposed for the organizers a title “Wikimedia – Education for All”, but they thought that “Media for All” is a more catchy title. I think they are right – they are the media professionals anyway.

The conference website tell about my talk:

Researcher and designer of educational technology. Leinonen speaks about the importance of free content for people, education, societies, democracy and economical development.

Leinonen, an Advisory Board member of the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects), believes that free content is critical for billions of people around the world. According to him Wikimedia provides a platform for new kind of public media and educational services that are less bias that many of its alternatives. Wikimedia is an example of media from people to people.

The matter that I am somehow involved in the Wikimedia seems to be the edge. They are interested in the wiki-revolution: how it happens, the quality issue, is it a threat or possibility for the traditional media etc.

This is somehow a bit annoying for me. I hardly can call my self “Wikipedian” – I do not have many edits in there at all. I am fine to call myself “Wikimedian”, because of my latest contributions to the Wikiversity.

Still, I am first of all a researcher focusing on learning with new technology. The fact that Wikimedia Foundation is also interested in the same topic brings us together. I think in learning stands Wikimedia’s greatest promise.