We are hiring postdoctoral researcher

We are looking for creative people with interesting ideas to work with us as a postdoctoral researcher. The postdoctoral researcher will lead and conduct research and design in externally funded research projects ongoing and starting in the research group, as well as teach (supervise MA thesis projects) these topics in the Department’s MA program. The postdoctoral researcher will also act as the vice leader of the research group.

The position requires a Doctor’s degree (preferably completed within the last five years), management skills, design portfolio as well as research and design skills necessary for the development of digital tools and systems (prototypes) in various contexts of learning.

How to apply? You will find the instruction from the Aalto.fi -site.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.