Three new books

We have three new books / publications in the pipeline. These are Wikipedia User’s Guide, two LeMill related articles in a Learning Objects 2.0 book and an article in the UNESCO’sVisual Narratives from Arabia – Online Master Module on Art, Design and Technology book.

Wikipedia User’s Guide

With friends at the University of Tampere we are writing a Wikipedia user manual. The textbook is specifically targeted for teachers, educators and educational administrators. The aim is to answer, to such a questions as:

  • How you can trust the information found from the Wikipedia?
  • How one can use Wikipedia in teaching and learning in different levels of education?
  • How Wikipedia works?
  • Who are behind the Wikipedia?

The book will have many practical tips, but it will also explain the philosophy and future of Wikipedia. The book will be delivered as PDF and printed, free of charge for all the schools and libraries in Finland. The book is in Finnish and written in the Finnish branch of the Wikibooks. You are welcome to contribute. The book/booklet will be published in April 2008.

LeMill related articles in a Learning Objects 2.0 book

We were invited to contribute two articles to the Learning Objects 2.0 book, published by the Finnish Board of Education. The articles will be about the PILOT – progressive inquiry learning object templates and LeMill as a teacher community. The book will be published in April 2008.

Visual Narratives from Arabia

This is a book that documents and summarizes the experience of Online Master Module on Art, Design and Technology. The book is very visual, full of works students did during the master class. I wrote in it an introduction, Creative learning online: Experiences from the art, design and technology in Arab States. The book will be published in the e-tissal event taking place right now in Casablanca. Please, send me a copy!

End of the year, publications and some new projects (we hope)

The end of the year is always busy time to get everything done before the Christmas. This week we submitted two manuscripts to two peer-reviewed journals. I am very proud of us!

I also made a decision that, at least, I will in future publish only in Open Access Journals. I hope other member of the group will follow this.

We are also coming to the end with the Calibrate project where we have been developing LeMill. We should soon publish something interesting about the design and usage of LeMill.

We have been generating and submitting several new project proposals to different funding bodies and now waiting for responses. There are basically four areas, where we would like to do research in the next coming years. These are:

  1. Exchange of free and open education resources and teacher authored content: research, design and development in this field we would like to do with the LeMill and the community in the (today 1228 users).
  2. Mobile tools in learning: we have some new great ideas we would like to elaborate and workout with number of stakeholders. The MobilED is a great project to build on.
  3. Rich media, creativity and empowerment: Children and young people are more and more remixing, shooting and sharingv ideos, making music etc. with digital tools. This new sub-culture could be used to empower people. UNESCO Young Digital Creators and the Digi-Arts projects are great starting point for this.
  4. Knowledge building and conceptual tools for learning: We would like to think, design, develop and test some new ideas related to knowledge building and tools supporting progressive inquiry. Concept maps in the context of knowledge building is one area we are interested in. In the research related to collaborative knowledge building we are using social network analyses and theories, but also going to mix them with theories more common in cultural studies and classical sociology.

At the moment we do not have funding to do all this. We have some prospects (really only prospects!) to get some small grants to do the first and the third one. If you found the topics interesting and have some resources, please contact:

Saying this I feel like a Internet Beggar. Is this where we have become with the funding models for academic research? 🙂

Publications coming

We today got together to organize work around preparation and writing of research papers. Our new research assistant Katrina is taking the greatest responsibility to keep us analyzing and reporting the research results from the last three or so years of work in the research group. We are working on the following papers (working titles):

Software as hypothesis – developing human-centered design research method through three design cases

Audio wiki for mobile communities – information systems for the rest of us

Design of LeMill – web community for finding, authoring and sharing learning resources

The first article is a formulation and conclusion of the design research method and practice we have been developing in the research group.

The second article is presenting new design direction for the MobilED project proposing that the audio wiki is probably more useful as an informal community information system rather than as an application for formal teaching and learning (for what it was originally designed for).

The third article is the first proper description of LeMill with explanation of principles behind it, design rationale and the process of designing it.

We are aiming to get these out in six coming months. We are targeting to some journals and some conferences. Can’t wait to get these out!

What a spring coming up: Fle5, LeMill, MobilED, Papanek’s machine (maybe?)

I just realized today that we have a good change to release three new major “products” still before the summer. I also have a student who is interested in to develop the Papanek idea machine. This would make it four.

So, what are these “products” and how they should be considered in the “academic context”?

Our products are actually our hypothesis. They represent and carry with them definitions of challenges related to some human activity system. They are also representing out understanding on how the challenges could be solved. As hypothesis they are also prototypes: they are something we can test if they really solve any of the challenges they are designed to solve. The product is not only a product, but also our definition of “better way of doing things”.

In the academic circles the “product” sounds very commercial. However, our products are avant-garde products. They are experimental and novel. This makes them naturally to be “products” coming from an University, rather than from any other place.

Are we going to have a major release party some day later in spring?

If, we’ll get all four products released before then end of May, I’ll promise to arrange a huge party. Hans will be the dj.

MobilED in 2007

We are right now preparing more detailed plans for the MobilED project in 2007. Our friends in South Africa already wrote about their plans.

I see the following tasks as the most important for us in Helsinki: packaging the server software, setting up a test server in Helsinki, testing in Helsinki, writing / reporting the pilots (2006 & 2007).

Future Learning Models and the Impact of Visual Culture

For those who didn’t make it today to my lecture at the Department of Art Education, a recording and slides are now in LeMill.

Future Learning Models and the Impact of Visual Culture

I stiill need to practice giving talks that are recorded – well, or just get rid of the “öö”, “ää” sounds I do. On the otherhand this one is only 20 minutes so it is not too hard to listen.

I notice that in the LeMill presentation template the flash-player for the audio didn’t work. You only have the download link in there.

Fle3 + 2.0 = Fle5 (?)

I want to document the discussion we were having the other day about a name for a new version of Fle3.

The new Fle3 is totally new code. So, in that way it would make sense to call it Fle4. The number has been changing always when the software has been written from the scratch. The Wikipedia article about Fle3 explains the history of FLE.

When asked I have said that we will never do Fle4. Our new developer Risto’s fast reply to this was that we should then call the new version Fle5. Hans has been promoting (as a joke) the name FLE 2.0, which would relate the new version to Web 2.0 (and everything else with the 2.0 addition). I think that this is would be a bit unfair because FLE has been web 2.0 since 1998.

From this we got the formula: Fle3 + 2.0 = Fle5.

It is possible that the new Fle3 will be called Fle5, but no decisions have been made yet.

UNESCO Master Class in the Arab States

The UNESCO Art, Design and Technology Master Classes in the Arab States is part of the UNESCO’s Digi-Arts initiative. The history of our cooperation with UNESCO goes all the way to the late 1990’s.

In 2002 we were invited to the Digi-Arts’ advisor group. Since then we have been assigned to do some research, design and development in this framework, as well. We have been and are involved in: Young Digital Creators’ (YDC) Sound of our water and writing and design of the YDC Educators’ KIT book and CD-ROM that will be published in March 2006. Anna is working on the illustrations, design and layout of the book. Teemu and Joanna are writing it.

The Master Class in the Arab States is a “blended learning” – e-learning and face-to-face – program for students coming from different parts of the Arab region. It is implemented in a cooperation with UNESCO, Lebanese American University, American University of Beirut and Academie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts. Our task has been to do the instructional design, to help teachers in the content production, and to set-up the online environment. We also take care of the day-to-day management of the program. Teachers of the course come from Arab states, as well.

The Master Class program (no, you do not get a master’s degree) started with application procedure in September and the first online courses started in November. The online courses are over in the end of the year. After this students are asked to present a project idea. 16 of them will be selected for the part 2. These students will then take part in a week long face-to-face course in Beirut. In August / September 2006 the project are ready for exhibitions online or off-line.

Joanna is responsible of the project and has done a great job!