Archive for the ‘participation’ Category

Insights into managed clusters – the Cluster Performance Blog

February 10th, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

The Learning Layers (LL) project has been launched to promote and scale up innovations – on work-related learning supported by web tools and mobile technologies – in SME clusters. From the very beginning our project has taken it as a serious challenge to get a good understanding on cluster policies (as instruments for national and European policies) and on managed clusters (as vehicles for promoting and scaling up innovations).

In the beginning the issue ‘clusters’ was perceived mainly a particular area to be explored by few specialists (to get a big pictNowure). The insights and lessons were then supposed to be fed back to the pilot regions (in our case North Germany as the pilot region for construction sector). And – accordingly – our ‘cluster explorers’ gathered information and made contacts. Sometimes it appeared that there might be cases for regional ‘twinnings’ – clusters/networks in our regions appeared to have functional equivalents in other countries.

However, in the Norwegian landscape of managed clusters and in the Norwegian funding of cluster-driven innovation policies our explorers have detected a special laboratory for promoting innovations. The glimpses that I have got from the talks of our colleagues have given an impression of highly dynamic, interactive and sustainable approaches to regional and sectoral innovations. The earlier concepts of networks and groupings do not reveal the richness of the work.

Now I am pleased to note that our colleagues Gilbert Peffer and Tor-Arne Bellika have started blogging on their work. The Cluster Performance Blog informs us of the forthcoming interface event ‘Layers meets Agder’. In this context we can explore, how the services and patterns of networking in the Agder cluster region can support our sectoral pilots and/or pilot regions in scaling up the innovations. Parallel to this, the blog informs us of the ongoing European cooperation  between different cluster initiatives.

I am looking forward to learning more from managed clusters, their evolution, collaboration and expansion. Also, I am interested to find out, how knowledge alliances or strategic partnerships are being shaped in cluster regions.

More blogs to come (both here and in the Cluster Performance Blog) …

 

Alpha Beta Camp and internal dissemination for Learning Layers

February 10th, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous posts I have reported on the Year 2 review of the Learning Layers (LL) project and on the Critical Path Analysis (CPA)  that the project has carried out as a follow-up. This has been an internal exercise to set priorities and to concentrate on key activities. However, this (and the work with related project proposals) has tied us to backstage work. Now we are hoping to take further steps in our fieldwork and in stakeholder engagement. For the moment I can at best pass some short messages on current events.

1. The Alpha Beta Camp in Aachen (9.2. – 11.2.2015)

One of the aims of the project (and also a special recommendation of the reviewers) has been to overcome patchwork-like development of separate tools and apps for different users. Now, after some minor integrative efforts, the LL project is organising an Alpha Beta Camp (ABC) in RWTH Aachen. The time has become ripe for the designers and developers working in different teams to come together to a joint sprint session. For us who have been working with the construction sector – and in particular with the Learning Toolbox (LTB) this is an important milestone. As I see it, the colleagues who are working together in Aachen are trying to geththe LL tools (prototypes) and infrastructures work together at a new level. And as I see it, both pilot sectors – construction and health care – are represented by competent messengers of users. So, we can expect something to build upon in our forthcoming field activities.

2. Internal dissemination for the LL project in ITB

Last week I had a pleasant experience when visiting a meeting of one of the thematic research groups (Forschungsgruppe “Lernen in Arbeit” – FoG LiA). These thematic groups have been launched for sharing knowledge and insights across the departments of our institute. Whilst it is easy to agree that such work is useful, it is often hard to find time for such meetings in the middle of busy times in project work. Now I felt happy to present the Learning Layers to some of my colleagues with whom I had rarely had a chance to have in-depth discussions.

The FoG had developed a set of questions concerning the context of work and research approach of projects to be presented. Instead of responding to these with one ppt-presentation I arranged a guided tour across several earlier presentations:

  •  We looked at the construction sector presentation for Year 2 review to get an overview on the project (and on the work in the construction sector pilot).
  • We looked our presentation for the ECER’14 on accompanying research (Begleitforschung) in this pilot to get a picture of our multiple roles and on the evolution of the participative design process.
  • We looked at our presentations on “Work process knowledge” and “Workplace learning” for the Theory Camp session in Aachen (March 2014) to get an impression how we have brought ITB ideas on vocational education and training (VET) and on social shaping (Gestaltung) into European discussion.
  • Finally, we looked at Werner Müller’s ppt presentation on the Learning Toolbox (for craft trade company and for intermediate training centre) to get an idea, how the LL tools are supposed to support vocational and workplace-based learning.

After this guided tour and with the help of several smart questions, the colleagues wrote ‘answer cards’ responding to ‘question cards’ and assembled on overview on the LL project on pin-board.

To me, it was interesting to notice, how quickly the colleagues got an impression of a complex project, of our ( = the German partners’ roles), on the key ideas we have put forward and on the developmental steps we are taking. For me this was a clear evidence that there is a lot of shared understanding and intellectual commonality in ITB.

So, these were my interim messages. I am looking forward to the reports from Aachen and to next steps.

More blogs to come …

Back at work – facing the challenges of the new year 2015

January 22nd, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

So, after a lengthy holiday break I am back at work. As usual, when being one of the last ones to return from the holidays, you get overwhelmed by things that are on the move and you have to jump into running trains. With the EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project we are doing the homework that we got from the Year 2 review meeting – preparing a Critical path Analysis. Partly within this process and partly alongside it we are finalising our plans for the year 2015.

The Critical Path Analysis was recommended by the reviewers to clarify our priorities (what is taken on board in the critical paths) and to specify our approach to less critical activities (sandboxing them as reserve activities). In many respects this has pointed out to be useful since this is not merely a routine updating of the work plan. Instead, the analysis has pushed us to become more aware of the key activities for the whole project and to find synergies between them. Due to this task we are getting clearer about the synergies at the level of software development, technology packages, linked services and framework tools etc.

While we are working with this task we are preparing proposals for conferences and plans for field activities. Furthermore, it is one of the key features of the LL project that we are looking for opportunities for transfer projects and opportunities to exploit the results alongside the project work. So, this all keeps us busy at the moment.

More blogs to come …

Dissemination of the LL fieldwork and R&D activities in construction sector

December 1st, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Reecently I have written short news updates to the Learning & Working Newsletter on the Learning Layers (LL) project. I have firstly sent a short news article on the update of the LL websites for user engagement (both EN and DE language versions). Secondly I have sent a short summary on our contributions to educational research conferences. Since they give a quick snapshot what we have done recently and links to further sources, I will share this information also via this blog.

Updates on the fieldwork of the EU-project Learning Layers

The EU-funded research & development project “Learning Layers” supports the development of learning at workplace with mobile technologies, digital media and web tools. The project has recently updated its websites with articles and videos on the fieldwork in the pilot region for construction sector (North Germany). The articles describe the development of the new design idea “the Learning Toolbox” and the outreach activities in different events, e.g. the Brunnenbauertage and NordBau trade fairs and in different workshops with apprentices, trainers and companies.

The videos from the training centre Bau-ABC give a picture of trainers’ and apprentices’ involvement in the project and their views how to use the Learning Toolbox. The English versions of the articles and videos with English introductions are available here http://learning-layers.eu/construction.

The German versions of the articles and videos with German introductions are available on the restructured German website of the LL project http://learning-layers.eu/german/aktivitaten.

Learning Layers work presented in ECER’14 Porto and in the WERA focal meeting Edinburgh

The EU-funded research & development project “Learning Layers” (LL) has presented its interim results in recent educational conferences.

In the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2014) the LL project organised two major sessions:

  • the Research Workshop “Interactive Innovation Research in VET and Working Life: Lessons from Dutch and European Projects” and
  • the Symposium “Construction 2.0: Concepts, Challenges and Chances for Research & Development Dialogue”.

The contributions to the research workshop will be published in a joint article of Joanna Burchert (ITB), Aimée Hoeve (HAN) and Pekka Kämäräinen (ITB) by the International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET).

Following papers of the symposium will soon be available available in the ECER VETNET proceedings of the year 2014:

  • The Role of Accompanying Research and Participative Design in the Learning Layers Project” by Pekka Kämäräinen, Ludger Deitmer and Lars Heinemann (ITB) and
  • Work Process Knowledge meets Mobile Learning – Insights into Design Process of the Learning Toolbox” by Pekka Kämäräinen, Joanna Burchert (ITB) and Graham Attwell (Pontydysgu).

In the WERA Focal Meeting 2014 of the networks of the World Educational Research Association the following research paper was presented by the LL project: “Scaffolding Competence Development through Mobile Technologies“ by Ludger Deitmer and Lars Heinemann (ITB).

More blogs to come …

What are we achieving with Learning Layers Y2 fieldwork – Part 2: Stakeholder engagement and sustainability scenarios

November 7th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

With the series of two postings I wish to give a picture on the progress of the Learning Layers (LL) project with its fieldwork in the construction sector during the Year 2. With the previous blog I discussed our progress from the perspective of the (participative) R&D activities. In this blog I will shift the emphasis on our progress with stakeholder engagement and in shaping sustainability scenarios for the time after the project.

Reaching out to stakeholders in Germany and in Europe

The major steps forward in engaging key stakeholders and in outreach activities have been the following:

  • The Learning Layers outreach activities during the Brunnenbauertage trade fair (May 2014 in Bau-ABC) reached an audience of ca. 300 persons. Via the presentations, the information stall and via numerous interviews and short working meetings the project made new contacts for follow-up measures. These activities focused on craft trade companies, manufacturer and vendor companies as well as on other training providers (e.g. Fachhochschulen with intensive workplace learning schemes).
  • The Learning Layers’ partners’ visit to the major North-German construction sector trade fair NordBau (September 2014) continued the outreach activities started at Brunnebauertage in May. In scheduled talks with manufacturer and vendor companies, the representatives of Bau-ABC took the lead in promoting the Learning Toolbox among their partner companies. Parallel to this ITB started the series of cooperation workshops on company-specific piloting with the Learning Toolbox.
  • Parallel to the progress in the pilot regions the Learning Layers partners used their conference participation to involve interested experts as external advisors. In this way, the contacts from ECER 2013 and ECER 2014 have been used to engage external advisors from Germany (evaluation of training sectors in the construction sector), the Netherlands (accompanying research on the development of hybrid learning environments in two sectors, including construction), Norway (evaluation of the role of regional apprenticeship offices as catalysts of innovations).
  • In collaboration with the partners working with managed clusters at European level (see below) the North-German partners have created collaboration with North-German cluster initiatives that focus on the construction sector. In this respect, the membership of Bau-ABC and ITB in the “Bau 4.0” initiative group paves the way for wider spin-off activities.

From project work to sustainability scenarios

The progress in the development of sustainability scenarios can be characterised in the following way:

In the year one, the sustainability scenarios in the construction sector could at best be shaped as measures to promote sustainability of the main project activities in target organisations (but with limited awareness how to sustain them after the project).

Based on the year two activities, it has been possible shape an integrative scenario that links to each otherthe following elements:

  1. the consolidation of the Learning Toolbox Development Group in parallel to
  2. the upgrading of capacity-building services provided by Bau-ABC – the so-called Living Lab concept,
  3. the creation of an organisational format for users’ participation in the development of the Learning Toolbox (“Users’ association”) and
  4. the creation of pattern for business cooperation between internal stakeholders and external service providers interested in the Learning Toolbox.

These are (in a nutshell) the messages we are presenting in our deliverables. But now that we have submitted them we are already continuing to the next steps of our fieldwork.

More blogs to come …

What are we achieving with Learning Layers Y2 fieldwork – Part 1: R&D activities

November 7th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Some time has passed since my latest postings on the Learning Layers (LL) project on this blog. The reason has been obvious – we have been busy preparing the Year 2 deliverables for the review meeting that takes place at the end of the year. This has required a lot of energy to present what all we have done. Also, it has required a lot of effort to compress our message – to make it transparent. With this blog I want to use some extracts of these documents to highlight what we have been achieving in our fieldwork in the construction sector – in particular from the perspective of the (participative) R&D activities. (In the next blog I will discuss the achievements in stakeholder engagement.)

Shift of emphasis from Year 1 to Year 2

Work in the Construction pilot region in year two has been based on the following shifts of emphasis in the main activities: key points and main activities in the initial deployment and piloting of the tools:

  • During year one, partners working in the construction sector carried out a series of interviews and workshops with different stakeholders. A negative picture of the use of  digital media and web tools in the construction sector was confirmed and specified by critical feedback on scattered apps, tools and software solutions.
  • At the end of year one and during year two, the challenge has been to engage key organisations and user groups in more targeted co-design processes and capacity building measures. The main emphasis has been on an integrative framework – the Learning Toolbox –  and on capacity building initiatives,  in particular the Multimedia Training in Bau-ABC. With these activities, the project has supported the application partners in taking a more prominent role as multiplier organisations.

Steps forward in co-design activities

The main characteristics in the initial deployment and piloting of the tools have been the following:

  • The initial Design Theme “Sharing Turbine” was reviewed internally and  reworked (in January 2014) into proposals for Development project “Learning Toolbox” supported by parallel Multimedia Training programme with in-built co-design sessions. Parallel to this, the www.baubildung.net platform was launched to support the pilots in the construction sector. These new Development Projects and support measures were presented in the consortium meeting in Innsbruck (February 2014).
  • The initial development of the Learning Toolbox has been carried out in several iterations and sprints that have been followed by stakeholder engagement activities and participative workshops.
  • The Multimedia Training program (including 5 workshops between November 2013 and July 2014) has enabled trainers from Bau-ABC to launch three domain-specific blogs that deliver their training materials, literature recommendations and special tasks for continuing professional development. Also, the training has enabled the participants to produce their own video content and to become peer tutors.
  • In the next iteration the Learning Toolbox was equipped with a QR-scanner and linked to tools and apps for digitising analogical contents. These features were presented 100 apprentices and trainers in the Demo Camp event in Bau-ABC during the project consortium meeting (June 2014). This feedback event provided the basis for subsequent developers’ event in Graz (August 2014) to explore the integration of WordPress (Baubildung.net, trainers’ blogs), the Social Semantic Server and the Learning Toolbox.
  • As an alternative to an interim evaluation workshop the Bau-ABC team (with support from ITB) produced short videos on the uses of the Learning Toolbox in different working and learning contexts. In these videos the trainers also gave insights into their own progress in making use of web tools and multimedia and as peer tutors in supporting each others’ learning (see http://odl.learning-layers.eu/the-learning-tool-box-new-prospects-for-using-digital-media-and-smartphones-alongside-working-and-learning/). Based on this feedback the developers of the Learning Toolbox have had a Design Sprint event in Utrecht (October 2014).

I have given a selective glimpse into what we are reporting and I have focused on our cooperation with the training centre Bau-ABC. In the next posting I will focus on our progress with stakeholder engagement and interaction with users. Here again, Bau-ABC has played a major role.

More blogs to come …

Second thoughts after the Tallinn meeting of the Learning Layers project

September 30th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

Last week we had the project consortium meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project in Tallinn. I have posted quite a number of blogs on our preparation for the meeting – on our fieldwork with our partners in the construction sector and on the video produced by the Bau-ABC team, Graham Attwell has posted a blog on the preparation of a specific workshop on Wales-Wide Web. Now it is time to look back – to see what we achieved – and to look forward – to see how we can build on the results of the Tallinn meeting. I do not try to give an all-embracing report, instead I try to highlight some key points.

1. The Business Model workshop

The highlight of the first day was the Business Model workshop – the one that Graham outlined in his blog. Already before the meeting there was a consensus between several partners, how to develop an ‘incubator model’ that links the work inside the project (Work Package 7) to the efforts to facilitate spin-out activities with wider involvement (Work Package 8). The Business Model workshop was planned to take up some key initiatives that would require the involvement of external stakeholders and to develop business model canvases for the initiatives.

From this perspective we worked in small groups with limited time and with interim reporting session (business idea pitches) until we got business model canvases for the following initiatives:

  • Development of the Learning Toolbox (development and maintenance),
  • Development of a Learning Toolbox users’ association (external users’ engagement and co-participation),
  • Development of the AchSo! application,
  • Development of the Healthcare applications’ integration to Intradoc,
  • Development of the Social Semantic Server.

The workshop was carried out with very limited time but it gave an idea, what is needed to take these initiatives from the protective project environment to the ‘real life’ environment after the lifetime of the project. In particular it was important that these business model canvases were drafted by mixed teams – not only insiders in the respective development projects. In this way we got a far better understanding on the whole project.

2. The message of application partner Bau-ABC was received with great interest

This time our colleagues from Bau-ABC could not attend but they prepared a lengthy video from which I showed selected episodes. I have outlined the contents in an earlier blog and then made commentaries on different issues in the videos with my five recent blog posts. Here I would like to emphasise that the video gave a much more lively picture on the progress of our work and on the expectations & wishes of the Bau-ABC trainers, how to work further. Here we got insights into what can be achieved in training projects and in real work on construction sites.

It is worthwhile to note that many colleagues were enthusiastic although they couldn’t follow completely the discussions in German language. But seeing the live people in real working and learning situations or in a very intensive group discussion the colleagues got hungry to learn more what they are saying about the LL project and on the Learning Toolbox. The special “bonus track” was the episode in which Markus Pape demonstrates his Zimmererblog – the worksheets, the drawings, the added resources and the statistics. By that time the blog had passed the mark of 3400 hits (from over 20 countries), at this moment the blog has already passed the mark of 4000 hits. This is a really respectable result for a blog that was launched last November.

3. Progress with sustainability scenarios and integrated learning stories

Already in our previous consortium meeting in Bau-ABC we tried to put the sustainability scenarios into the centre of our work. Also, some of our colleagues had prepared workshops to create integrated learning stories that can demonstrate the use of several LL tools. At that point these exercises did not quite meet each other. Now, in Tallinn, after the Business Model workshop and after fresh input from our application partners we took some steps forward. When we were presenting sustainability scenarios, we were more explicit about stepping outside the project and in engaging external stakeholders. We were also in the position to script new learning stories that are based on the recent progress in our fieldwork . And finally, we were in a good position to to see, how we can make use of the visualisations of our colleagues in Tallinn to illustrate these stories with real life flavour.

I guess this is enough of the highlights. We took a lot of homework for us and now it is time to have a closer look at the ToDo-lists that have been circulating after the meeting. I will get back to blog when we take further steps.

More blogs to come …

 

 

What has Learning Layers experienced in Bau-ABC – Part 4: Final impressions and points for follow-up

June 24th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my three previous posts I have discussed the Learning Layers (LL) project consortium meeting in Bau-ABC Rostrup from different perspectives. Firstly, I have reported on the Demo Camp workshops with trainers and apprentices of Bau-ABC. Secondly, I have given insights into the Learning Café workshops that developed mid-term roadmaps for the project. Thirdly, I have described a special case of our outreach activities (in the light of an ad hoc meeting) and linked this experience to our discussions on technical development, mutual communication and scaling up processes. Now it is time to present some final impressions and to raise some points for follow-up.

Firstly, I try to give an overview of my impressions of the highlights of the three days (taking into account that I missed some of the parallel sessions):

1) For Day One that agenda had envisaged as the main activity three “Theoretical integration” sessions that focused on working with the research claims in our Development Projects and on collaborative interpretation of empirical data (collected from both target sectors and across the sectors). As a parallel activity we had planned a small German-speaking session to demonstrate some LL tools used in the construction sector (mainly to the trainers of Bau-ABC and to eventual interested apprentices). Here, quite contrary to our expectations the Demo Camp grew much bigger with its altogether ca. 100 participants (who came in several waves and swept across different stations).  The intensity of the discussions in the four demo stations was far higher than we expected and we got rich feedback. In this respect the sideline activity became the highlight event. It was a pity that a major part of the consortium missed this event but this could not have been helped – the room could not accommodate a larger audience and use of interpretation would have cut the discussions at the demo stations.

2) For Day Two the Learning Café sessions took shape only shortly before the consortium meeting. Yet, it was interesting to see, how quickly the participants adjusted to their roles as Topic table facilitators and as members of  the sustainability scenario teams. Also, it was interesting to see, how many tools we could bring forward to support these discussions and to shape the emerging conclusions. Furthermore, it was interesting to see, how all scenario groups could work their ways through the different topic tables and to give genuine and mutually complementing contributions.

3) For Day Three the agenda had envisaged a “Technical integration” session as the main activity and opportunities for parallel sessions alongside it. Luckily enough we agreed on some modifications. Firstly, the technical integration issues were started in a plenary session already on Day Two (which turned into a comprehensive situation assessment). The Day Three program was then structured as two parallel sessions – one with technical integration issues and another one with focus on Wrap-up of the Learning Cafés discussion on an Integrative evaluation concept (with reference to the developments in the fieldwork). To me, these were all important sessions but I could really see the value of these talks when we had had the ad hoc meeting with the trainer of Bau-ABC, who brought into picture a cooperation prospect with a supplier company in the construction sector. All our plans and scenarios started to get more content and scalability in the light of such initiatives.

Looking forward, there is a need to work further with the materials and the interim results:

a) We have ‘harvest’ the feedback from apprentices and trainers that we got during the Demo Camp (cards on the pinboards, drawings and audio recordings).

b) We have to harvest the results of the Learning cafés firstly to get a joint overview of the tools that were used in the Topic tables and secondly to get the interim results worked into coherent roadmaps.

c) We have to feed special cases from our outreach activities to our discussions on technical integration, participative design and stakeholder engagement to improve our understanding of our communication channels.

Altogether, a lot of homework for the follow-up. But, as I see it, we took some steps forward on all fronts and we can build upon it.

More posts to come (on the follow-up) …

 

 

 

What has Learning Layers experienced in Bau-ABC – Part 3: Outreach activities, technical development and scaling up

June 24th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my two previous posts on the Learning Layers (LL) project consortium meeting in Bau-ABC I have followed the chronological order. I have first reported on the Demo Camp workshops with trainers and apprentices of Bau-ABC (Day One). Then I have reported on the Learning Café workshops of Sustainability Scenario groups rotating across topic tables (Day Two). In this post I will firstly jump to an ad hoc meeting that took place after the consortium meeting (Day Three, afternoon) and link it to our discussion on technical integration (Day Two and Day Three, morning).

The ad hoc meeting was initiated by one of the full-time trainers (Lehrwerkmeister) in Bau-ABC and he wanted to discuss an initiative for the follow-up of the Brunnenbauertage event (7.5.-9.5.). The trainer has developed a long-term cooperation with a supplier of machinery for construction work. For certain machines the users have to be certified for safety reasons. The company has developed an e-learning program to support the necessary training but has not enough resources to cater for the training. Therefore the company is looking for cooperation with training centres like Bau-ABC. In this context the trainer saw a possibility to link such cooperation to the work of the LL project, in particular to the development of the Learning Toolbox.

Most of the LL partners had to catch their planes or trains so only three of us (with closer involvement in the Brunnenbauertage and the follow-up) could stay for this discussions. Nevertheless, we felt this initiative promising and well-timed for the following reasons:

  • The company in question is looking for opportunities to scale up training and (informal) learning with the support of the e-learning program. In this context the company is not looking for exclusive arrangements merely for its own benefit.
  • Bau-ABC has a tradition to develop such training schemes and learning opportunities as vendor-neutral events that provide parallel vendors to contribute with their inputs (when appropriate and mutually compatible).
  • For the LL project this cooperation prospect has been put into discussion at the moment when we can shape the Learning Toolbox in such a way that it will provide access to such programs.

I think this is as much as I can tell about the results of this meeting.  We encouraged the trainer to continue his talks with the company and to inform of the interest of the LL project to join these talks. We are looking forward to hearing more in a short while.

I have reported this episode as a special case case of the outreach activities of the LL project in construction sector. We couldn’t have anticipated it before the consortium meeting, whilst the opportunity grew up in talks between the trainer and the company. We couldn’t have scripted it – neither for the sake of decision-making nor for the sake of software development. We (the ones who were there) saw the chance and agreed that this is an appropriate step forward in the follow-up of the Brunnenbauertage. However, in this respect we could rely on the conclusions that we had jointly agreed in the 3rd Internal Exploitation Meeting of the Construction sector shortly after the Brunnenbauertage (involving a wider range of LL partners).

I have highlighted this case because it serves as a test case for contrasting views on outreach, technical development and scaling up in the LL project. Some colleagues may see these processes from the perspective of technology-push. The role of outreach activities would then be to extract user-requirements to be passed for technical developers and then bring the solutions to users. The development would then take place in a ‘black box’ remote from users. (I know that I am drawing a caricature and I do not wish to point directly to any of our technical partners with this picture. Yet, I want to put into question, what kind of communication with traget groups and user engagement we are looking for.) In our case we were ready to enter conversations and interaction that may give rise to several thready of co-design activities.

I do not wish to go into details of our internal discussions on technical development and technical integration. I believe that these discussions helped us to put into perspective the technical partners’ internal communication, the ‘translation’ processes between technical issues and user-concerns as well as the integration of front-end services by LL tools and linked web resources. However, this was not the whole story of the results of our meeting. Moreover, these were interim results and we need to work with them.

More posts to come …

 

 

What has Learning Layers experienced in Bau-ABC – Part 1: Workshops with trainers and apprentices

June 17th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

My previous series of blog posts was about the preparation of the Learning Layers (LL) project consortium meeting in Bau-ABC Rostrup. Normally, I would have waited until the end of such meeting before starting to write new blogs. However, the experiences that we have made already during the first day merit to be shared and put into discussion.

We had planned as part of the agenda to organise a “Demo Camp” to present some of the LL tools in a German-speaking workshop to some trainers (and eventually to interested apprentices) to get some feedback. We had expected ca. ten trainers to visit the Demo Camp very quickly and we had not assumed that most of them would bring their apprentices with them. Little did we know what was coming up.

We arranged the room in such a way that we had in the corners info  stalls for presenting the following tools/resources:

  • The Baubildung.net platform to support networking and learning initiatives in construction sector,
  • The Learning Toolbox app to manage learning resources, apps and contents,
  • The AchSo tool to produce and annotate short videos,
  • The Bits and pieces tool that had been developed as collector of learning experiences (mainly in the healthcare sector).

In all corners we equipped the stations with flipcharts and/all pinboards to gather feedback.

During the preparations we started to get the message that most of the trainers will bring their current groups of apprentices with them. We then scheduled the visits as a carrousel workshop in which the groups rotated through all four stations (if possible). While the presentations were going on at different stations, Kerstin Engraf orchestrated the allocation of the next groups who were waiting out side to the station that was coming to an end with its session. In this way we managed the visits of ca 85 apprentices and 10 trainers, supported by 5 other staff members of Bau-ABC, ABZ Mellendorf and Agentur.

At this point it is too early to give an overview what all happened. My first impressions from the station of Learning Toolbox are highly positive. We got from all groups rather differentiated and domain-specific comments, what tools/working contexts we can grasp with the Learning Toolbox, what learning materials or units we can develop towards interactive learning resources and how particular elements of the White Folder (if not the entire folder) could/should be digitised. We had participants from different trades (carpenters, roadbuilders, pipeline-builders, well-builders, concrete-builders etc.). In particular the carpetners and well-builders got into lively discussion about the usefulness of the Learning Toolbox in their trade. (I heard similar experiences from the station that presented the platform Baubildung.net.) Also, the apprentices made a strong point that the availability of such tools and resources will strongly contribute to the acceptance of smartphones as tools and resources that support working and learning in the construction sector.

I guess this is enough for the moment. We need to take some time to sort and analyse the feeedback we got in all stations.

More posts to come …

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    Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE from the Online EDUCA Berlin 2014

    We will broadcast from Berlin on the 4th and the 5th of December. Both times it will start at 11.15 CET and will go on for about 30 minutes.

    Go here to listen to the radio stream: SoB Online EDUCA 2014 LIVE Radio.

    News Bites

    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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