Archive for the ‘Media Literacy’ Category

CareerHack competition reeps rich harvest

March 31st, 2014 by Graham Attwell

First the official stuff (from the press release).

“Talented UK students have won three out of four prizes in a worldwide competition to create a new app to help people develop their career.

The CareerHack open data contest was launched in November last year by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), and asked developers around the globe to build an app based on the UK Commission’s “LMI for All” open data, which contains information on the UK labour market, including employment, skills and future job market predictions.

First prize winner for the competition was Tomasz Florczak from Logtomobile in Poland, who won £10,000 for his innovative Career Advisor app, while 16-year-old school student Harry Jones, from Bath, took home a £5,000 prize for his Job Happy entry.

 

The contest also had a special prize specifically for entrants aged 16-24 in Further Education. In this category 22-year-old IT apprentice Phillip Hardwick won the £5,000 prize for his entry, Career Path. And judges were so impressed with the quality of entrants from the category that they introduced an additional runner-up prize of £2,500, which went to a team effort from students at Barking and Dagenham College in London.

Competition judge Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Chair of National Careers Council and a Commissioner for UKCES, said:

“As judges we were all highly impressed at the outstanding contributions made by our winners, and of the talent and ability being displayed by the next generation of up-and-coming developers and programmers.

“The quality of the submissions was so high we felt the need to introduce an additional prize, but all those that entered should be extremely proud of their efforts.”

The judging panel was made up of technology experts from Google, Ubuntu and HP, alongside representatives from the UK Commission and John Lewis. Judges made their decision based on how innovative the entry was, how viable it was as a working app, the potential it had for making an impact on society and the overall quality of the packaged app.

CareerHack judge Matt Brocklehurst, Product Marketing Manager at Google UK said:

“At Google we’re well aware of the importance of making data open and encouraging young, creative talent. CareerHack was a fantastic example of this and we were very impressed by the high standard of entries from everyone who entered – the fact that three of the four winners are young people at the start of their careers is fantastic news.  We hope these prizes will enable them to get a head start down whichever career path they choose to follow.”

Fellow CareerHack judge Cristian Parrino, Vice President of Mobile and Online Services at Ubuntu, added:

“The CareerHack competition demonstrated how an set of open data can be used to cater to the needs of people at different stages of their career paths. It was wonderful to see the different flavours of high quality applications and services built on UKCES’s data.”

LMI for All has been developed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, working with a consortium led by the Institute for Employment Research at Warwick University and including Pontydysgu, RayCom and Rewired State.”

Pontydysgu’s bit in all this is managing the technical side. I have to say I was a bit sceptical of producing an APi and then opening it up and encouraging contributions through a competition, but having looked at the videos I am gobsmacked by the inventiveness of teh programmers who entered. We will be looking in more depth at what has been produced. We are also seeking feedback from all those who participated and planning more events later in the year. If you would like to know more (and particularly we would be interested in similar approaches to Open data for Labour Market Information in other countries) please contact me at graham10 [at] mac [dot] com.

More great radio!

August 15th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

 

 

The RadioActive project is ramping up fast over the summer.

Here is the latest press release from Dragon Hall youth club in London.

Dragon Hall, in association with UEL, presents its latest broadcast on RadioActive 101, airing live from 7pm (BST) on Thursday 15th August 2013.

Hosted by resident presenters Sam & Danni, this broadcast sees Education put in the spotlight.

Contributions on this topic come from show regulars The Squad, Young People for Inclusion & Dragon Hall, joined this month by young people from The Chinese Community Centre in Soho and special guests Ecolonias, all the way from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

In addition to our main theme, there is the usual focus on music made by young people, as well as inner city life with The Urban Show.

Highlights for this show include-

  • A discussion with young people from Argentina about their experiences of London
  • A review of Dragon Hall’s Summer Scheme & their ‘Come Dine with Us’ Competition
  • Young People for Inclusion discussing the levels of support on offer at school for disabled children

http://www.radioactive101.org.uk/audio/details/broadcast-15th-august-2013/

So, if you want to hear the voice, interests, needs and concerns of young people from across London, then tune in this Thursday from 7pm BST-

http://uk2.internet-radio.com:30432/live.m3u

or check us out-

website-        www.radioactive101.org

facebook-      https://www.facebook.com/RadioActive101

twitter-         @radioactive101

MediaArt@Edu – mentoring media and art education processes in vocational preparation

November 5th, 2012 by Daniela Reimann

IMAGE

It has been silent here for a while, which has to do with the ongoing research and teaching activities related to new projects such as the research project „MediaArt@Edu“ (ACRONYM), which looks at artistic approaches to support media literacy of young people in vocational preparation and vocational orientation programs.
It aims to develop new concepts to enhance digital media skills of young people. The project is co-ordinated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’s Institute of Vocational and General Education and realised in collaboration with the Center for Art and Media ZKM’s department of Museum Communication, the German Federal Agency of Employment Karlsruhe as well as the Hardtstiftung e.V. Karlsruhe, a youth welfare service for young women.

The project is funded for 3 years under the German research programme entitled „strengthening media skills for sustainable media education in vocational qualification” of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
It aims to scrutinize artistic approaches and new mentoring and portfolio concepts to be applied in media technology education with young participants of vocational preparation and vocational orientation programs. In vocational preparation measures outside of vocational schools, young people are prepared for work or to take up a formal vocational training place. They are placed in a transit situation, hoping to get employed in the future.
However, in the project, a new concept to support digital media literacy of young people is developed, tested and evaluated. It brings together concepts of art, technology and vocational education as well as a specific mentoring model including portfolio research books to improve processes of self-reflexion of the learners.

In the project students of pedagogy, vocational education, engineering pedagogy as well as art and technology education accompany the young participants of vocational preparation programs. We intend to realize an education-through-art approach to technology by means of introducing artistic processes with digital media as well as didactic concepts of art education to vocational preparation. By improving media literacy of the young participants, the project aims to motivate them imagining and shaping pathways towards their own vocational biography and a perspective of future employment.

For further information, the (German) Web site can be accessed at http://www.ibp.kit.edu/berufspaedagogik/media-art-edu.php
English information will be available soon as well.

BMBF

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International Journal of Art, Culture and Design Technologies (IJACDT)

November 9th, 2011 by Daniela Reimann

LOGO IJACDT

For those of you interested in smart textile and low cost wearables as an artistic context to engage young women in technology and engineering in education, feel free to check the International Journal of Art, Culture and Design Technologies (IJACDT), ISSUE ON CREATIVITY, INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGIES CULTURES edited by Gianluca Mura (2011), p. 12-21. You can access the abstract here, or view a sample PDF here. The Guest Editorial Preface by Gianluca Mura, Politecnico di Milano University, Italy can be accessed here. You might as well like to refer the Journal (IJACDT) to a Librarian via this link.

The International Journal of Art, Culture and Design Technologies (IJACDT) links art, design, science, and culture with emerging technologies. IJACDT provides a forum for exchanging ideas and findings from researchers across the design, arts, and technology disciplines. This journal covers theoretical and practice experiences among industrial design fields, architecture, art, computer science, psychology, cognitive sciences, humanities, cultural heritage, and related fields. IJACDT presents different arguments within project culture from the historical, critical, philosophical, rhetorical, creative, pedagogic, and professional points of view.”

LOGO IJACDT

What we are working on

August 30th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Here is a quick update on some current work at Pontydysgu. With funding from the European Lifelong Learning Programme G8WAY project and the European Research Framework Mature-IP project, and working with a growing community of partners, we have been developing a series of Web 2.0 tools to support careers guidance. At the moment we are developing a  new web site which will give full access to these tools and applications, as well as to research about the use of Web 2.0 and social software for careers information, advice and guidance. Below is a summary of these tools. If you are interested in finding out more about any of these tools or about our approach to using technology to support careers guidance please get in touch.

Labour Market Visualisation Tools

We are developing tools and applications for visualising Labour Market Information in order to provide young people with an informed basis for decision making around career directions and to support the careers guidance professionals who advise young people. This work has been undertaken in conjunction with the Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick and Careers Wales.

RadioActive

RadioActive is a project using internet radio to assist young people, particularly those from a NEETS (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) background in developing decision making and communication skills. This approach focuses on informal learning and the development of communities of practice through the use of new technologies. The approach is being piloted in conjunction with the University of East London, Yoh, a Hackney based youth agency, and Inspire!, the Education Business Partnership for the London Borough of Hackney.

Storiboard

Storiboard is a Web 2.0 tool for storytelling. In the first year of the G8WAY project we found that storytelling is a powerful tool for developing and reflection on careers biographies. Storiboard allows young people to use multimedia including video, audio and graphics to tell their careers stories and aspirations. It is initially being tested  through using the original stories collected in year one of the project and will then be piloted with UK based careers services.

Webquests

We are developing a series of Web 2.0 webquests designed to support professional development for Careers Guidance professionals. The first two are on the use of the internet for Careers Guidance and on careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Along with our technical partners, Raycom, we are developing a lightweight repository which combined with the Storiboard interface, will provide for easy editing and development of Webquests.

Teachers Dispositions

August 20th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

One of the most cited reasons for the limited success in introducing new pedagogies for the use of technology for teaching and learning – and indeed for the lack of technology use on education – is resistance by teachers. Various reasons are cited for this – most often it is their own lack of ability and confidence is using technology. however, much of the evidence for this appears to be anecdotal In the last few years there has been more systematic research under the banner of ‘teacher dispositions’.
In her study, In-service Initial Teacher Education in the Learning and Skills Sector in England: Integrating Course and Workplace Learning (2010) Bronwen Maxwell says “dispositions, which ‘develop and evolve through the experiences and interactions within the learner’s life course’ (Hodkinson and Hodkinson 2003), are influential in teacher learning (Hodkinson and Hodkinson 2005). They are largely held unconsciously and ‘are embodied, involving emotions and practice, as well as thoughts’. : She points out that teachers in the sector have different “prior experiences of education, life and work, begin teaching at different ages and stages in their careers, and hold differing beliefs about education and training, so bring differing dispositions to participation in their course and workplace.”
Maxwell (ibid) point to a well established research base evidencing the significance of prior knowledge, skills and dispositions towards work and career on engagement in workplace learning including for example Eraut (2007) and Hodkinson (2004) and a strong evidence base that “attests to the strength and resilience of school trainees’ beliefs, which together with prior experiences strongly influences their approaches to practice and their ITE course (Wideen et al. 1998).”
Haydon, (2008) why with the same ‘input’ in Initial Teacher Education courses, do some students make much more progress than others in their use of ICT? “Is it about teacher dispositions towards technology or learning styles and approaches?”
Haydyn suggests there is evidence of changing attitudes by teachers to the use of ICT in the UK Citing surveys that several years ago suggested negative attitudes and teacher resistance to ICT he says “more recently, research has suggested that the majority of teachers have positive views about the potential of ICT to improve teaching and learning outcomes; one of their main concerns was finding time to fully explore this potential (See, for instance, Haydn and Barton, 2006). (Haydon, 2008).”
One of the issues is why teachers appear to use for their personal use but less so for teaching and learning (OECD, 2009). This is born out by UK reports that teacher use ICT widely for lesson planning but far less so for teaching and learning (Twidle, Sorensen, Childs, Godwin, & Dussart, 2006).
The OECD (2009) report similar findings with new teachers in America, confident with the technology and using it for lesson preparation but less for teaching and learning than more experienced colleagues.
Twidle, Sorensen, Childs, Godwin, and Dussart (2008) found that student teachers in the UK feel relatively unprepared to use ICT for pedagogical practices and ascribe this to their lack of operational skills with computers.  One of the reasons for this was the students‘ lack of
But this is contradicted by Bétrancourt (2007) who claims that there is no correlation between student teachers‘ technological competencies and their pedagogical use of ICT. (OECD, 2010)
Vogel (2010) talks about the need for :engagement “conceived as motivation – enthusiasm, interest and ongoing commitment – on the part of an academic teacher to explore the potential of technologies in their practice.”
Vogel quotes Land (2001) who summarised these kinds of person-oriented approach as:

  • romantic (ecological humanist): concerned with personal development, growth and well-being of individual academics within the organisation
  • interpretive-hermeneutic: working towards new shared insights and practice through a dialectic approach of intelligent conversation
  • reflective practitioner: fostering a culture of self- or mutually critical reflection on the part of colleagues in order to achieve continuous improvement

Vogel says “good practice in e-learning is context-specific and impossible to define.” She is concerned that professional development practices have been driven by institutional and technological concerns. Instead she would prefer Argyis and Schon’s (1974) approach to overcoming the divide between espoused theories or beliefs and theories in use or practice:
“Educating students under the conditions that we are suggesting requires competent teachers at the forefront of their field – teachers who are secure enough to recognize and not be threatened by the lack of consensus about competent practice.”
Vogel refers to Browne (2008) who undertook a survey of technology enhanced elearning in Higher Education in the UK. They found that where there was “less extensive use of technology-enhanced learning tools than [the] institutional norm”, this was often because of the perceived irrelevance of TEL to the learning and teaching approach.
Interestingly, where there was more extensive use than the norm, this was primarily attributed to the presence of a champion, who could represent the value of TEL to colleagues..
One of the issues related to teachers disposition appears to be that of time. As long ago as 1998,  Conole and Oliver (1998) said that the demands of technology enhanced learning on time had already been recognised for many years.
Another issue may be the way in which technology is introduced into schools and colleges. Often this is through projects. However the Jisc funded Flourish project suggested that a ‘project’ is not necessarily the best method for introducing a change on this scale. “Staff perceptions of a project mean that they are cautious and unwilling to be the test case, especially when they are taking time to document their own development. There have to be tangible and immediate benefits to engaging in this new way of working.”

References to Follow

PLE2010 Conference – what did we achieve

July 17th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Dave shows off the super sized Manchester PLE
Photo Samscam

Its been a week off from the blog. Following the PLE2010 conference in Barcelona I took a short holiday. And since I have been back I have been fighting (unsuccessfully) a power failure in my office. So now I am squatting in a friend’s house and using my laptop.

I have much to say about the PLE2010 conference – I am not quite sure where to start.

Firstly it was a truly social conference – social in the both face to face and distant participants were involved in the different sessions. Social too, in the way the pre-conference discussions ran into the conference proper and then into the discussions at coffee breaks and in the evening. The formal conference was just one part of the whole event. And social in the use of media. Besides the live streaming of many sessions, it woudl appear the conference generated over 5000 tweets on the first day (the tweets are archived here).Indeed, for many of us it was the first chance to meet face to face people we have been collaborating with on line for a long time.

Much of this was down to the design of the conference. the pre-conference publicity and discuxxiosn had been focused on social media and in particualr twitter. And the programme design, from unkeynotes to cafe style sessions, debates amnd workshops, was signed to facilitate social interaction and participation. And it is encouraging that many have said they will relook at how they are organising conferences and draw on our ideas.

But what about the ideas? Firstly it was very heartening to see that we seemed to have moved beyond the stage of defining a PLE by what it is not i.e. not a VLE. Instead participants were looking outwards, at how to support learning. I am not sure how much we shared common understandings and meanings around PLEs (sadly I cannot find a record of the session which tried to arrive at such a common definition) but there seemed sufficient understanding for common debates.

One controversial issue was how far it was possible to provide an institutional PLE. This debate was driven by the folks from SAPO Campus in Portugal who are trying to do just that (and still managing to find time for late night and in depth analysis of the failings of the Portugese football team!). My own take is that I do not mind where the tools for a PLE come from as long as the leaner is in control.

Two ‘discourses’ particularly heartened me. The first was between educational researchers and practitioners and software and technical developers. This is an oft troubled discourse in the ed tech community. It may be that the common understandings around the idea of a PLE are allowing these different groups to work together in new ways. I particularly enjoyed the session on using Google Wave as a PLE and was impressed by the Talkingabout video sharing site. But what charatcterised these ideas – as in others I could not attend but heard from others about – was the innovation in appropriating technologies for pedagogic innovation.

Another – and more problematic but recurrent discourse was the issue of motivation. Participants were trying to develop PLEs with students inside the schooling and university systems. But surveys and anecdotal evidence suggests students are wary being overly focused on what work they need to do to pass exams, rather than exploring ideas and learning. And most students view direct didactic teaching as the best approach to passing their exams. As such they have little time for reflection or indeed little understanding as to why they should engage in such activity. This is problematic. We may consider their longer term learning important and thus view the development of meta-cognition and problem solving a priority. But perhaps inevitably under the present education systems their major concern is just to jump the next hurdle in the education race.

My only personal disappointment was that the major focus for PLE development and implementation for the vast majority of participants was for learners within schools and universities. There was limited interest in work based learning or in learning outside teh existing systems – the very areas where I think PLEs have the greatest potential.

Indeed, I think we have to consider the wider issue of where to locate the PLE debate. Clearly it is not just another instance of educational technology. But neither can it be easily subsumed in considerations of pedagogic approaches to the use of ICT for learning. I increasingly feel that the whole issue of PLEs is closely related to the ongoing discussions around open education. The very promise of PLEs is to understand the use of technology for learning in a new way, in a context where learning becomes part of society and is free and open to all.

But now there is a lot of work to be done. We have over 70 papers and many offers of publications. Most participants seemed to assume that PLE2011 was already on the cards (watch this blog for more news on that). And the bigger question is how we can use the ideas and networks generated by the conference to build a collective community of practice based on networking and sharing. Any thoughts or ideas  very welcome.

Learning Mindmaps

March 31st, 2010 by Graham Attwell

As some of you may have seen from my twitter stream, this week I have been in Bucharest. The main reason for my visit was to speak at the launch event of a new European funded project on Lifelong Learning (more on that tomorrow).

But, on Monday, I was luck enough to be invited by my friend Magda Balica to the university who teaches a seminar based course on pedagogy.

This week she was looking at the use of mindmaps and she set the students a groupwork task to draw a mindmap with ‘learning; at the centre. I was extremely impressed with the results, and als0 with the willingness of a number of the groups to produce the maps and report on them in English for my benefit.

It was interesting that most of the groups recognised the diverse sources of learning and the different contexts in which they learnt. Interesting too, and less encouraging, was how separated the different contexts appeared to be. If joined at all, learning from different sources and contexts was seen as mediated, for instance by friends or classmates. The students were in general fairly scathing about the quality of formal education in schools in Romania, although I am doubtful that the response of German or UK students would be much different.

These were some of the comments in their report backs, as recorded in twitter:

  • Student in Romania – fame is important as the result of your learning and career – recognition
  • Student in Romania – you can live more from life than from school
  • Student in Bucharest – we want to leave Romania – we have no education, no health system, just a promise of improvement
  • Student in Bucharest – in school we learn as little as we can

Although many of the students had Facebook accounts, none had seen Twitter before and there was general excitement about getting ‘real time’ feedback from people in different countries.

Anyway, I promised to post the mindmaps on this blog (click on any of the photos below for a larger version). Thanks to all who made my stay in Romania so interesting and enjoyable.

Radio days

March 9th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Through the Mature project I have been invited to submit a proposal for a lecture or workshop for the JTEL Summer School to be held in Ohrid in June. The JTEL summer schools, the publicity claims, usually attract about 80 researchers, providing an exciting forum for cross-disciplinary dialogue, fostering new research collaborations and partnerships, and an opportunity for the next generation of TEL researchers to gain insight from leading experts in the field.

The summer school is being organised by the Stellar network and proposals were asked to explain how they contribute to the network’s three Grand Challenges:

  • Connecting learners
  • Orchestrating learning
  • Contextualising learning environments

So here’s my proposal. I enjoyed writing it and if anyone else is interested in us running such a workshop juts get in touch.

Short description

The workshop will focus on the use of internet radio in education.

1) An exploration of the use of media (and particularly internet radio and television) for learning and shared knowledge developmentThis will include looking at issues such as:

a) The appropriation of media

b) The change from passive media to interactive Web 2.0 supported media and the changing distinctions between broadcaster/program planner and listener/consumer.

c) How media such as radio can support the development of online communities

d) The use of media to bridge contexts and provide spaces for exploration and shared meaning making.

2) A practical hands on session on how to plan develop and broadcast live internet media. This will include storyboarding, interviewing, finding Creative Commons licensed music, making jingles, mixing and post processing, directing and producing and using the technology for live broadcasts.

3) The third session is planned to take place in a lunchtime or evening session. This will be a live 45 minute to one hour broadcast “Sounds of the Bazaar – Live from Ohrid”. It is hoped to involve all summer school participants in the broadcast. The broadcast will be publicised in advance through iTunes, Facebook, Twitter and other social software platforms. It is also intended to use the boradcast to link to other researchers in TEL from around the world not able to be at the summer school. The programme will be recorded and made available through the Summer School web site, the Mature project web site, the Pontydysgu web site and through iTunes.

Contribution to the Grand Challenges agenda

The workshop is primarily designed to contribute to the Grand Challenge of Contextualising virtual learning environments and instrumentalising learning contexts.

Live internet radio provides both a shared context and space for learning, with universal reach outside of institutional or national boundaries, whilst at the same time allowing individual to collectively contribute to the development of shared artefacts, which in themselves can become part of the repertoire of a community of practice. Radio also offers a means of actively engaging learners in a community and through appropriation of what was a push (or broadcast) media, through merging with Web 2.0 tools and standards allows community participation and self expression.

Paradigm change needed to enable young people to deal with implications of transformations

January 7th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

In December I wrote about a workshop I had attended at the Alpine-Rendezvous event organised by the European Stellar Network. The workshop: on ‘Technology-enhanced learning in the context of technological, societal and cultural transformation’ was organised by Norbert Pachler, the convenor of the London Mobile Learning Group (LMLG), housed at the Centre for Excellence in Work-based Learning for Educational Professionals at the Institute of Education, London.

The LMLG comprises an international, interdisciplinary group of researchers from the fields of educational, media and cultural studies, social semiotics and educational technology. The aim of the workshop was to augment the work of the LMLG, in particular around its socio-cultural ecology, and to extend the interdisciplinary nature of its work through exposure to perspectives advanced by (TEL) researchers in cognate fields from across Europe and the US, in particular in relation to design-based approaches.

This blog is an edited verion of Norbert’s report on the workshop. The full report will be published as part of proceedings of the workshop will be published as a Special Issue of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning in 2010 guest edited by Norbert Pachler.

For me, one of the most interesting points about the recent debate around Open education is the exploration of the links between theory and practice. I have been long frustrated by the paucity of theory in the area of Technology Enhanced Education. and it is apparent that if we are to develop a convincing body of theory which can properly inform and reflect practice, it is necessary to engage in a multi-disciplinary discourse with researchers and practitioners coming from different fields of study and action.

The workshop in Garmisch comprised of an attempt at developing such a discourse and whilst the findings may represent only our early efforts to understand each other, I valued the opportunity to take part in such a discussion.

Norbert says:

“The LMLG sees learning using mobile devices governed by a triangular relationship between socio-cultural structures, cultural practices and the agency of media users / learners, represented in the three domains. The interrelationship of these three components: agency, the user’s capacity to act on the world, cultural practices, the routines users engage in their everyday lives, and the socio-cultural and technological structures that govern their being in the world, we see as an ecology, which in turn manifests itself in the form of an emerging cultural transformation. Another significant trend, which requires pedagogical responses, is the prevalence of what we call ‘user-generated contexts’. We are currently witnessing a significant shift away from traditional forms of mass communication and editorial push towards user-generated content and individualised communication contexts. These structural changes to mass communication also affect the agency of the user and their relationship with traditional and new media. Indeed, the LMLG argues that users are now actively engaged in shaping their own forms of individualised generation of contexts for learning through individualised communication contexts. New relationships between context and production are emerging in that mobile devices not only enable the production of content but also of contexts. They position the user in new relationships with space, i.e. the outer world, and place, i.e. social space. Mobile devices enable and foster the broadening and breaking up of genres. Citizens become content producers who are part of an explosion of activity in the area of user-generated content. What are the implications for education?

The workshop inter alia sought to explore the following questions and issues:

  • Learning as a process of meaning-making for the LMLG occurs through acts of communication, which take place within rapidly changing socio-cultural, mass communication and technological structures. Does the notion of learner-generated cultural resources represent a sustainable paradigm shift for formal education in which learning is viewed in categories of context and not content? What are the issues in terms of ‘text’ production in terms of modes of representation, (re)contextualisation and conceptions of literacy? Who decides/redefines what it means to have coherence in contemporary interaction?
  • What synergies are there between the socio-cultural ecological approach to mobile learning, which the LMLG developed (see Pachler, Bachmair and Cook, 2010), with paradigms put forward by different (TEL) research communities in Europe and beyond?
  • What relationship is there between user-generated content, user-generated contexts and learning? How can educational institutions cope with the more informal communicative approaches to digital interactions that new generations of learners possess?
  • What pedagogical parameters are there in response to the significant transformation of society, culture and education currently taking place alongside technological innovation?

Position papers and questions for discussion were made available in advance of the workshop on Google Groups as well as Cloudworks. During the workshop contributors’ presentations were added and participants in Garmisch and beyond contributed to the discussion on Cloudworks as well as on Twitter.

Key messages from the workshop:

The mixture of theory and practice was felt to have worked well and to have been fruitful particularly in view of a potential chasm developing between the research community and the policy and practitioner communities in the field of mobile learning.

The workshop underlined the importance of definitional clarity around key terminology, particular in the context of interdisciplinary work in an international context.

Mobile learning, the main focus of the workshop, can be seen to deal with complex issues, which benefit from an interdisciplinary approach. Despite interdisciplinarity adding complexity and this complexity needing to be managed sensitively, there exists a need for greater richness in the conceptual foundations of mobile learning; there is arguably a need to challenge the hegemony of education, psychology and computer science as the foundational disciplines of the mobile learning research community.

Some topics, such as sustainability, have proved to be multi-layered and the concurrent discussion of different layers during the workshopprovided fruitful insights into possible different framings of each given topic and issue.

The workshop showed that the key theoretical framework used at the event for illuminating the use of mobile learning – the LMLG’s socio-cultural approach – has provided a useful lens and a shared vocabulary for analysis. At the same time it transpired that, in relation to some topics such as work-based learning, more work is required to align it and its theoretical underpinnings with established discourses in certain areas, such as WBL. Work-based mobile learning has to be embedded in the work-processes and current practices and not be designed as an extra layer. Structure in WBML is not only related to media platforms but also to organisational structures and focusing only on the first issue would be too narrow. Power-relationships are a central construct to be considered in WBML. And, the fact that businesses are orientated towards a productivity paradigm, rather than towards a learning paradigm, poses a particular challenge for WBML. A key question appears to be to what extent practices around mobile devices influence work-life balance.

The discussion around user-generated contexts demonstrated the complexity of the notion of context and how its different understandings are rooted in divers epistemological and ontological traditions.

The discussions around augmented reality brought to the fore a number of issues in particular around retention, perception and coherence as well as filtering and the need for criticality on the part of the user.

With respect to augmented contexts for development, the question arose whether Vygotskyan notions of perception / attention / temporality are a way forward and how these notions link in concrete terms to more academic / traditional views of ‘literacy’. And, what are the implications of for the emerging field of mobile augmented reality? Is it possible to replace the more capable peer in the zone of proximal development?

Synergies with design-based research were generally seen to offer considerable potential for the work of the LMLG and beyond. In particular, there emerged a strong sense of potential around the bringing together of a hermeneutic and critical historical approach to planning and analysis of teaching and learning, i.e. critical didactic, with the experimental, empirical evaluative approach offered by design research.

In terms of sustainability, the workshop concluded that much more still needs to be done in terms of understanding the complexity of the notion of sustainability. The discussion showed that there exists an important, and currently under-explored, ethical context to mobile learning, that is the context in which we connect with learners, composed in part of challenges such as sustainability, scalability (or transferability or replication), equity, inclusion, opportunity, embedding. It relates to a concern for the role of mobile learning for addressing forms of deprivation and disadvantage and informing the relevant policy environment.

Overall it can be noted that the discussions during the two days reiterated the need for a paradigm change in education to enable young people to deal with the implications of ongoing transformations.”

References:

Pachler, N., Bachmair, B. and Cook, J. (2010) Mobile learning: structures, agency, practices. New York: Springer

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    Online Educa Berlin

    Are you going to Online Educa Berlin 2014. As usual we will be there, with Sounds of the Bazaar, our internet radio station, broadcasting live from the Marlene bar on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 December. And as always, we are looking for people who would like to come on the programme. Tell us about your research or your project. tell us about cool new ideas and apps for learning. Or just come and blow off steam about something you feel strongly about. If you would like to pre-book a slot on the radio email graham10 [at] mac [dot] com telling us what you would like to talk about.


    Consultation

    Diana Laurillard, Chair of ALT, has invited contributions to a consultation on education technology to provide input to ETAG, the Education Technology Action Group, which was set up in England in February 2014 by three ministers: Michael Gove, Matthew Hancock and David Willetts.

    The deadline for contributions is 23 June at http://goo.gl/LwR65t.


    Social Tech Guide

    The Nominet Trust have announced their new look Social Tech Guide.

    The Social Tech Guide first launched last year, initially as a home to the 2013 Nominet Trust 100 – which they describe as a list of 100 inspiring digital projects tackling the world’s most pressing social issues.

    In  a press relase they say: “With so many social tech ventures out there supporting people and enforcing positive change on a daily basis, we wanted to create a comprehensive resource that allows us to celebrate and learn from the pioneers using digital technology to make a real difference to millions of lives.

    The Social Tech Guide now hosts a collection of 100′s of social tech projects from around the world tackling everything from health issues in Africa to corruption in Asia. You can find out about projects that have emerged out of disaster to ones that use data to build active and cohesive communities. In fact, through the new search and filter functionality on the site, you should find it quick and easy to immerse yourself in an inspiring array of social tech innovations.”


    Code Academy expands

    The New York-based Codecademy has translated its  learn-to-code platform into three new languages today and formalized partnerships in five countries.

    So if you speak French, Spanish or Portuguese, you can now access the Codecademy site and study all of its resources in your native language.

    Codecademy teamed up with Libraries Without Borders (Bibliotheques sans Frontieres) to tackle the French translation and is now working on pilot programs that should reduce unemployment and bring programming into schools. In addition, Codecademy will be weaving its platform into Ideas Box, a humanitarian project that helps people in refugee camps and disaster zones to learn new skills. Zach Sims, CEO of Codecademy, says grants from the public and private sector in France made this collaboration possible.

    The Portuguese translation was handled in partnership with The Lemann Foundation, one of the largest education foundations in Brazil. As with France, Codecademy is planning several pilots to help Brazilian speakers learn new skills. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the company has been working closely with the local government on a Spanish version of its popular site.

    Codecademy is also linking up up with the Tiger Leap program in Estonia, with the aim of teaching every school student how to program.


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