As the fourth Special Edition of eLearning Papers will be published in a few days. We invited Tapio Koskinen, the board’s Director of eLearning Papers, to tell us about this first issue of the year, and to share his ideas on Open Education.
The fourth special edition of eLearning Papers is fresh off the press. What will we be able to read in it?
This is the third time I help prepare the special edition, which involves choosing the most interesting and popular articles published during the past 12 months, and then selecting a representative set of topics.
One of our most widely read issues in 2012 focused on Cyber Security, for example. For the special edition, we picked a Finnish article on “Children’s Experiences of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse on the Internet”, a problem that is more widespread than what we, adults, might think.
We also published an issue in the context of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 from which we took a very interesting “From the field” article on mobility, international students and challenges of Lifelong Learning.
In the creative classrooms’ issue – probably this last year’s most important one – we had a wonderful article outlining the concept of creative classrooms (how they are developing and their future trends) from our frequent contributor Yves Punie and also from Panagiotis Kampylis and Stefania Bocconi.
So, would you highlight this particular article?
Indeed! It might just be the best one amongst last year’s articles. It is not only really important but also nicely linked with the European Commission’s policy priorities at the moment.
Also, from our issue on learning and work–which had many good articles–we choose a “From the field” article (although it could also be considered an in-depth article) about using serious games and apps for learning.
You mentioned the terms “From the field” and “In-depth” articles? What is the difference between the two?
It was never our intention to be strictly an academic journal. Since the very beginning we have been addressing practitioners and trying to bring them together with researchers, academia and policy makers.
We look at eLearning from a broad perspective, which is why we decided to include these two categories. With “From the field” articles people can share their experiences from projects and practical work without having to “compete” with very extensive research papers. In my opinion this model has been quite well received.
You have been director the board of the eLearning Papers for a long time, how do you see the portal’s evolution?
My predecessor and the first director of the board, Roberto Carneiro from Portugal, did a lot to get this initiative started. During my time in the position, we have managed to develop a dynamic and effective way of working remotely by using digital tools.
The portal itself also met a few changes to reflect the division between “From the field” and “In-depth” articles, and the improvements in the review and selection process, but the greatest change was definitely the publishing format. We decided a few years ago that since we are eLearning Papers, we should publish the material not just on the portal or paper-based formats but also as an online magazine. Since then, we have had three issues published as a downloadable PDFs.
Which topics will eLearning Papers address in 2013?
The first issue will address learning analytics, a very hot topic in all areas of ICT applied in education and learning. The following issues will be just as interesting, with topics ranging from learning spaces design, creative classrooms and personal learning environments, to an even hotter topic such as MOOCs, which will be the third issue. By the end of the year we will also have an issue focusing on digital literacy and e-competencies.
We keep hearing about "open education" and MOOCs lately. How do you think this will transform the educational world?
A couple of decades ago, when elearning first appeared, many people were saying that digitalisation was going to revolutionise the learning processes. In reality things have not changed that much and the same people became disappointed to see universities using the digital tools for administration rather than bringing them into the classroom and beyond.
I believe that open education as a concept, opening access to knowledge, content and learning is the main driving force of today. It’s actually the first time we see big changes coming to education and learning that are being enabled by digitalisation, for example, social and participatory media tools have made MOOCs and open learning resources possible and are opening a path to change as we speak.
Thank you for your time, Tapio.
Before we finish, I would like to emphasize the fact that we are the only journal in this field being published in Europe in 6 different languages. We are most thankful to our readers, contributors and guest editors, who inspire us and make it possible for us to keep on working and to continuously improve eLearning Papers.
Higher education is facing a range of major challenges during the twenty-first century. Personalised, flexible and open learning are considered among the driving forces, thus, issues of quality must be urgently addressed.
This qualitative, multiple-case-study research with single and cross-case analysis focuses on benchmarking e-learning in higher education. The results of this study include providing conceptual lenses with which to see, discuss and perceive the complexity of benchmarking e-learning in higher education in extended, stretched and boundless learning environments.
LanCook: The European Digital Kitchen involves constructing and trialling digitally enhanced portable kitchens that communicate with learners in 7 languages and instruct them in how to cook a typical dish of that country or language.
We’ve named our project, LanCook, which is short for ‘Learning languages, cultures and cuisines in digital interactive kitchens’: This EU-funded project develops language learning materials for European languages and cuisines: English, German, Spanish, Catalan, Italian and Finnish.
The project involves partners throughout Europe: Newcastle University (UK), Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy), Helsingin yliopisto (Finland), Universität Paderborn (Germany) and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain).
Our project will demonstrate both the utility and potential of the materials to promote genuinely situated language learning. We will also develop the first truly embedded sensing environment that can be used for complex real world tasks that comprise meaningful activities that people are highly motivated to engage in, such as cooking.
The materials are represented in terms of a ‘portable digital kitchen’, made up of tablet PC with touch screen and a set of utensils with embedded sensors and additional sensors for other kitchen equipment. This portable digital kitchen can function in any existing kitchen setup, ideally where there is access to kitchen equipment such as a counter, sink and an oven etc.
The pedagogical materials are stored as a software programme in the unit and comprise of an integrated suite of materials for pre-task, during cooking task and post-task use. Each set of pedagogic materials will be produced in 5 different EU languages. Take a look in our gallery where you can see samples of the portable digital kitchen set-up.
ReFlex is a tool for learners to record 60-second audio-visual clips of their personal learning experiences, store them on a timeline and share them with teachers, peers and parents.
All recordings by one learner are stored on a personal timeline and are accessible for later review. In addition to the present, learners may also create “time capsule” recordings for the future. Time capsules can only be opened when their set date is reached, and can be used as statements of learning objectives. From the entire pool of recordings, learners can mark important clips by highlighting them. The best way to get an idea of it is to try it.
Learning Layers develops a set of modular and flexible technological layers for supporting workplace practices in SMEs that unlock peer production and scaffold learning in networks of SMEs, thereby bridging the gap between scaling and adaptation to personal needs.
By building on recent advances in contextualized learning, these layers provide a meaningful learning context when people interact with people, digital and physical artefacts for their informal learning, thus making learning faster and more effective.
Building on mobile learning research, we situate learning into physical work places and practices to support situated, faster and more meaningful learning.
Learning Layers provide a shared conceptual foundation independent of the tools people use and the context they are in.
Learning Layers are based on a common light-weight, distributed infrastructure that allows for fast and flexible deployment in highly distributed and dynamic settings.
We apply these technologies in sectors that have been particularly hesitant to take up learning technologies, i.e. health care and building and construction.
Involving two representative and large-scale regional SME clusters allows us to involve end users in co-design of the system and later scale up the approach to more than 1,000 learners within 4 years.
By inviting a larger set of stakeholders to adapt and build on our solutions and through research in sustainable business training models, the project will generate significant impact by boosting the ability of regional innovation systems to adapt to change and thereby remain competitive, on the individual, organisational and regional level.
We demonstrate the impact in the two chosen sectors, but widen the scope to other sectors and regions towards the end of the project.
The TELL-ME project (Technology Enhanced Learning Livinglab for Manufacturing Environments) aims to develop and trial in authentic contexts (SME-driven human-centric and service-oriented manufacturing workplaces) an innovative cross-enterprise methodology and IT platforms for continuous education and training in heterogeneous business ecosystems, blending Precision Teaching (PT) lifelong learning and Living Lab (LL) participative co-creation aspects in ways that can address more business needs than traditional training
This responds to several EU 2020 Strategy indicated in several Flagship Initiatives like "An Agenda for new skills and jobs", "An industrial policy for the globalisation era", "Innovation Union" and "Digital Agenda for Europe" and summarised in the two questions below:
- How can SMEs blue collar workers in less advanced industrial sectors keep the pace of innovation of technologically advanced ones?
- How can TEL-based training be positioned and improved, in order to have more impact on industrial sectors' innovation and resilience?
Five main challenges have been identified as fingerprints of the TELL-ME proposal:
- Human-centred manufacturing and the increasing need to consider human factors and workers wellbeing in the production processes;
- Service oriented Manufacturing and its increasing need to open, breed and govern globalised business ecosystems;
- Learning Ecosystems are the new frontier of collaborative value networks on a global and cross-sector market;
- Living Labs of SMEs and their need to constantly develop business-technical-social-market innovation via co-creation and inspirational environments;
- Learning at the Workplace and its need for fast, punctual and personalized life-long learning that takes account of fluency-driven approaches to training, and trends in using TEL and OER for self-regulated learning.
The EU transversal aPLaNet project, has been nominated for a global Edublogs award. This is a great opportunity for the dissemination of aPLaNet but also for the whole LLP programme in gaining global recognition of the work that is going on, at a European level, in education.
You can help by voting.
You can vote for aPLaNet here (social networking category) http://edublogawards.com/vote-here/
Science and mathematics education is important for Europe. Creativity and innovation are equally recognised as important, and their strengthening in and through education as a vital priority. Importantly, also, creativity holds a strong position in early childhood. The Creative Little Scientists project constitutes a timely contribution to a better understanding, at the European level, of the potential available on the common ground that science and mathematics education in pre-school and early primary school can share with creativity.
The recommendations of important European reports in science and mathematics education urge countries to implement innovative curricula and ways of organising the teaching of science and mathematics that address the issue of low student motivation, and ensure that science and mathematics education engages students before the age of 14.
It is widely acknowledged that empowering today’s students to become tomorrow’s creative citizens should be a priority of education in today’s world. Innovation and creativity are vital for economic and social progress, while qualities of mind such as inventiveness, imagination, intuition, wonderment and curiosity are vital for innovation and creativity.
Interestingly, an inherent link seems to exist between creativity and science and mathematics education. Science intrinsically involves inquiry and invention, which are triggered by curiosity, intuition, imagination, all of them elements closely related to creativity; it is also widely accepted nowadays that effective science and mathematics education is based on inquiry, which leads to wonder, and is fuelled by curiosity. However, traditional science and mathematics education is missing the element of creativity.
Despite universal recognition of the importance of inquiry based methods for science and mathematics education, they have not been implemented on a large scale in many European countries, resulting in less effective science learning. However, even in many contexts in which inquiry based science education has become mainstream in the educational discourse, the link with creativity is not explicitly acknowledged.
It seems therefore that we should explore the potential for science and mathematics education that exists on the common ground that it shares with creativity in pre-school and early primary school. The Creative Little Scientists project is a timely response to these needs.
The two-year CPDLab project, started in October 2011, aims to improve the quality of ICT-related Continuing Professional Development available to teachers, school leaders and other school staff and help schools become effective learning environments by offering a portfolio of training courses directly related to the needs of teachers in the future classroom.
The CPDLab project is a small, two year project, supported by the Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme as a Comenius Multilateral Project. It will deliver three training courses for teachers in the areas of:
- Interactive Whiteboards: innovative pedagogical use of Interactive Whiteboard technologies in secondary schools.
- E-Safety: improved eSafety policies in secondary schools, addressing issues such as cyber bullying, use of social networks, responsible use of mobile and Internet technologies, etc.
- Future Classroom Scenarios: implementation and dissemination of teaching and learning activities for the future classroom.
The first course modules will be piloted in summer 2012. The fully validated courses will be available from summer 2013.
Rationale for the development of CPDLab Courses
The development of the three courses has been prioritised, to address gaps in the current provision.
A wide range of Interactive Whiteboard courses exist today. Many of these are linked to vendors and are delivered as part of the initial purchase. IWB teacher communities have built up around this training, which encourage the sharing of ideas and these are particularly active within subject disciplines. However, recent research supported by Ministries of Education in European Schoolnet’s Interactive Whiteboard Working Group shows that there is a lack of a generic pedagogically-based IWB course.
In e-Safety, there is a wealth of information on the different issues and within each member state there are websites to download relevant information. There are training courses addressing specific issues e.g.: cyber-bullying. Recent research has confirmed there is still limited training for schools on this issue which has contributed to the launching a pilot for a schools’ eSafety Label.
The third course is linked to the iTEC project. This four-year, pan-European project is focused on the design of the future classroom. Divided into phases, the project will deliver a range of innovative learning activities and validate these via pilots in over 1,000 classrooms across Europe. The CPDLab project will develop training around these validated learning activities in order to spread and disseminate best practice.
Target groups for CPDLab training
The CPDLab courses are aimed at secondary schools. The main audience for the training will be teachers and trainers involved in continuous professional development within their school, region or country. Some modules will be of more interest to senior management and policy makers and the courses will be designed in a modular style to enable different learning pathways according to the needs of different groups.
Validation and Quality Assurance
Two teacher focus groups, consisting of teachers from each partner country, will contribute to the course development and validation process. The quality assurance process, will receive input and steering from a project Pedagogical Board comprising of experts in each of the areas, with review and critical friend input from an appointed independent evaluation expert.
Delivery of CPDLab training courses
The CPDLab Courses will be delivered as five day training courses, taking advantage of the in-service Comenius funding available for teachers. These courses will be delivered in the Future Classroom Lab, a fully equipped, reconfigurable, teaching and learning space that is part of the European Schoolnet office in Brussels.
The modular design of the courses, will offer the flexibility for various member states to take up all or some of the modules depending on their existing national and regional models. A course catalogue will be translated into the four languages of the project partners – Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Italian.
CPDLab Courses availability
To accelerate the dissemination and exploitation of the courses being developed, it is hoped that the first modules can be offered in the summer of 2012, following trialling with teacher focus groups and some early pilot training.
- Survey: Oct-Dec 2011
- Course development - phase 1: Jan-Mar 2012
- Course development Focus Group: Apr 2012 - Mar 2013
- Course development - phase 2: Jul 2012 - Jun 2013
- Course validation Focus Group: Jul 2012 - Jun 2013
- Final courses: Jul - Sep 2013