Meemoo: hackable creative web applications

meemoo-ss

Meemoo is an HTML5 framework for hackable creative web applications. On a technical level, it does two main things:

  1. defines how a module sends and receives data (each module is a web page)
  2. provides a visual framework for arranging and connecting the modules into a graph, or app

Meemoo is a toolmaker for a new kind of creative web application. Apps and their output can be shared at the speed of the web. People can change the functionality of an app without coding skills. People can modify or write new modules with basic web coding skills.

My hope is that these features will encourage more people to play with web programming.

Meemoo project page | blog | demo

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.

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 LeMill.net (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: teemu.leinonen@taik.fi.

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.