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!

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.

Seminar on current learning theories

The theme for our group’s yearly seminar is “Current learning theories”. The main goal is to get a good coverage of new developments in the learning field, and get everyone updated on what’s going on. Post ideas for topics and resources as comments.

We’ll organize the seminar in March, so it can be joined up with Teemu’s “New Media and Learning” workshop.

Unesco Young Digital Creators Educators Kit

“Being creative and collaborative” is the motto of UNESCO’s Young Digital Creators (YDC). YDC is designed for young people of different cultures to gradually construct, through a collaborative process and creative tools, a deeper understanding of each other’s cultural values and shared perspectives on global issues of our time. YDC is a program making the Internet and the web work for the benefit of young digital creators around the globe.

Educators Kit is designed to help teachers and educators working in school, youth clubs and organizations to generate and manage project-based learning activities with young people. The focus is on creative use of information and communication technologies, global challenges of development, cultural diversity and dialogue among cultures.”

Written by Teemu Leinonen & Joanna Saad-Sulonen

I work in UNESCO YDC project as a designer. My task is to design an instructional book for teachers around the globe of the material that Teemu and Joanna have designed and written in collaboration with UNESCO people. I am creating illustrations, making the layout of the book, designing typography and taking care of the print work. My aim is to make the book accessible to all cultures, easy to approach, easy to read and most of all engaging and inspiring to work with.

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!