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.
More than 8 in 10 people involved in an EU-funded initiative aimed at encouraging innovative teaching methods and improved learning materials for children say the scheme had a positive and lasting impact on them. The same proportion also states that it would have been impossible to achieve the same results without European support, according to a new study released by the European Commission.
The “Study of the Impact of Comenius Centralised Actions: Comenius Multilateral Projects and Comenius Multilateral Networks” was conducted for the European Commission by the Greek educational organisation Ellinogermaniki Agogi from December 2010-December 2012. It conducted a survey among participants in 145 projects and networks.
The projects were funded through the EU's Comenius scheme, which supports a range of activities, from school partnerships to teacher training and the eTwinning school network. Part of the Lifelong Learning Programme, which will be succeeded by Erasmus for All from January 2014, Comenius allocates around €13 million a year to support the development of new teaching methods and materials.
The study found that the most positive impact was on individuals directly involved in projects, who said that it broadened their views, increased access to best practice and innovation, and improved their professional skills in ICT, languages and management.
The benefits highlighted most by organisations included the opportunity to develop new links and synergies, both within the institution and with others. Systemic impact through the projects and networks is less strongly felt, but most respondents say it exists, for instance where teacher training modules and content developed within a project or network are integrated into established courses.
"Our aim is to help schools to provide pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential,” said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. “The added value of this European initiative is that it exposes teachers and schools to different approaches and expertise, which results in more innovative solutions in the classroom.”
The World Information Society Day, also known as Internet Day, is observed every year on 17 May since 2006. The main objective of the day is to raise global awareness of the possibilities offered by new technologies and promote widespread Internet access, reducing the digital gap.
This year, the day will be celebrated throughout Spain with conferences, training sessions, competitions, online games and many other activities.
Universities will invite middle and high school students to virtually visit their premises and ask questions about their academic future.
The main event of the day will be held in the Spanish Senate in Madrid, where a high level panel debate will discuss about sustainable creativity and several awards will be handed.
All activities will be promoted and commented in Twitter with the hashtag #DiadeInternet
The European Commission’s report “Survey of schools: ICT in Education”, collects information from 31 European countries (27 EU Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey) and provides detailed, up-to-date and reliable benchmarking of Information and Communication Technologies in school level education across Europe, painting a picture of educational technology in schools: from infrastructure provision to use, confidence and attitudes.
According to the survey, based on data collected during the school year 2011-12, students and teachers in Europe are keen to "go digital", computer numbers have doubled since 2006 and most schools are now "connected", but use of ICTs and digital skill levels are very uneven. These skills and support for teachers to deliver them need a strong boost.
Some of the key findings of the study indicate that teachers are generally confident and positive about the use of ICTs for learning and most of them believe there is need for radical policy change. However, teacher training in ICTs is rarely compulsory and therefore most teachers devote spare time to private study of these skills. Teachers use computers to prepare lessons more often than they use them in lessons.
The report shows there are marked country differences. Scandinavian and Nordic countries have the best equipment (Sweden, Finland, Denmark); while students in Poland, Romania, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Slovakia are most likely to lack the right equipment. However, lack of equipment does not mean lack of interest: some countries with the highest use of computer equipment are the ones with the lowest scores on equipment provisions (e.g. Bulgaria, Slovakia, Cyprus and Hungary).
The findings and recommendations of the 163-page report will feed into the Digital Agenda's effort and assist the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs (which plans, for example, to promote Massive Open Online Courses for teachers and spread the use of incentives and coordination in teacher ICT training), and other Commission initiatives such as the Rethinking Education Strategy and the forthcoming Opening Up Education proposal.
The study was undertaken by European Schoolnet and the University of Liège. This is the third European survey of ICT in schools, and the first to survey students directly.
This paper appears in the post-proceedings of The International Symposium on Computers in Education (SIIE 2012) in IEEE Xplore.
The evolution of new technology and its increasing use, have for some years been making the existence of informal learning more and more transparent, especially among young and older adults in both Higher Education and workplace contexts.
However, the nature of formal and non-formal, course-based, approaches to learning has made it hard to accommodate these informal processes satisfactorily, and although technology bring us near to the solution, it has not yet achieved.
TRAILER project aims to address this problem by developing a tool for the management of competences and skills acquired through informal learning experiences, both from the perspective of the user and the institution or company. This paper describes the research and development main lines of this project.
This article was originally published on the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 14, Issue, 1.
This paper analyses workers’ perceptions and attitudes through an online survey of 2,000 employees of a leading European savings bank on training habits, perceptions, motivations, and disincentives of undertaking face-to-face or online instruction.
The results reveal that workers perceive e-learning as a more flexible and up-to-date training methodology. On the other hand, face-to-face training continues to be perceived as a more motivating methodology compared to virtuality and with better explanations from the course trainers. As regards motivations given by the workers when it comes to training, there are three main groups of attitudes: those which are more affective and social, those which reveal poor adaptability or fear of the new training requirements, and, finally, those linked to the knowledge society.
Such results state that while the benefits of distance methodology can be clearly identified from the company’s point of view (i.e., as a flexible and efficient methodology to develop the employees’ skills and knowledge), from the employees’ standpoint, the advantages of virtual training are not so clear and depend to a great extent on their attitude towards the use of virtuality.
CodeHS is designed for use in high school Computer Science classes.
Students learn introductory programming and computer science principles, and teachers receive valuable support to adequately teach this subject. Beginners learn by watching videos, working in the browser, and receiving help and feedback from real tutors. Basic members can access the first module for free, while premium members get unlimited help on all modules without additional purchase.
This paper summarizes ATC21S assessments for ICT Literacy, including a description of data (collected in Fall 2011 studies in Australia, Finland, Singapore and the U.S.) and discussion on how assessment outcomes can be reported. ATC21S aims to help educators around the world equip students with 21st century skills to succeed in career and college goals, including problem-solving, digital literacy and working together in learning communities.
This article provides an introduction to how teachers can successfully incorporate computers as teaching tools in their classroom. 21st C. students are often well-versed in this technology, and consider computers as necessary to learning as textbooks, notebooks, and pens. The same is not always true for their teachers. This resource points out several useful tools and instructions that can help teachers view computers not as a threat, but as an ally in the classroom.