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LL Theory Camp preparation takes off – Part One: The Central initiative

March 23rd, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Theory Camp(s) in the LL project – What for?

The need for specific measures to reflect on the theoretical foundations was raised by the reviewers comments in the Y1 review meeting in Barcelona. In particular these comments pointed to the theoretical assumptions regarding the Social Semantic Server and its use in the project. In general, the project was challenged to specify its own position vis-à-vis different (and sometimes contradictory) references that have been quoted. Also, other issues were raised – e.g. the project was asked need to clarify its commitment to ‘action research’ and to specify its position vis-à-vis newer developments in that field – notably the emergence of ‘transdisciplinary action research’ in cross-over areas between community psychology and landscape architecture (with an emphasis on societal dialogue and validation between planning and community participation).

One idea of the LL consortium was to respond to this critique with so called theory camp activities. At first this idea was discussed in one of the workshops of the consortium meeting in Innsbruck that started preparing a “theory camp” type of workshop for the Aachen meeting. After the Innsbruck meeting this idea has triggered further (complementary) initiatives that suggest a wider use of ‘theory camps’ with different accents, partly contributing to the Aachen meeting and partly continuing after it. This document tries to clarify, how these initiatives can complement each other and how we all can benefit of both.

The central initiative of the Innsbruck meeting: A Wiki for Theory camp in Aachen

The working group in the Innsbruck started to map different contemporary theories (or theoretical concepts) on learning – mainly with focus on generic theories and with an interest to map the theoretical landscape. One focus of this effort was to make transparent which theoretical assumptions are represented in the consortium and especially to clarify theoretical assumptions of the Social Semantic Server and their compatibility with the conceptual foundations of other project activities. This has been followed up mainly in the preparation of the Aachen agenda with a specific Wiki page that outlines issues and a procedure. (See the Wiki http://htk.tlu.ee/layers/MW/index.php/Aachen_Theory_Camp .)

The local initiative of the ITB team: A gDrive folder for a wider range of themes

A second focus (already in Innsbruck) was the need to discuss a broader pedagogical concepts and common research approaches to the project. As first follow-up measure to this, Joanna Burchert wrote a short input paper. It aimed to point out basic assumptions on learning (basic for the theories collected and discussed in Innsbruck by the LL consortium) and to show up their consequences for evaluation, cooperation and tool development. Further texts with pedagogical focus, e.g. exploring the terms formal and informal learning, followed. They are integrated in the gDrive “Theory Camp preparation” folder https://drive.google.com/?authuser=0#folders/0B02cXf0hbQH0ZFg1eVlUM28zZ0U.

In the forthcoming posts I will give some insights into themes prepared by the ITB team and discuss, how we can bring these into discussion in Aachen.

More posts to come …

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