Friday, 29 October 2010

An overview on the benefits of social media for researchers

This powerpoint is part of a presentation I gave during the emerging voices conference preparation week at Antwerpen, Belgium.

It covers the basic reasons on why to dive into social media tools if you are a researcher.

Friday, 22 October 2010

#mLearn2010 Sustainable, scalable and affordable mobile learning service for formal education in South Africa / Finland by Riitta Vanska

Riitta Vanska is a blond woman wearing white clothes and glasses, she is part of the responsible corporate world who looks for sustainable projects (nice).

concrete examples, scalable solutions that can give evidence of good educational results from Mobile learning, so governments will understand the importance of putting money into mobile education.

October 2008 the project started. South Africa felt the time was right, so Nokia was asked to give prove of concept of how mobiles can be harnessed for formal education.

Basic frame from the start
  • approaching and engaging children with their own tools
  • learning is part of children's life
  • learner is in focus
  • positive competition
  • for formal and for informal learning
  • combining learning and social networking
  • for learners and for teachers
  • free service for learners
  • scalable
  • affordable
  • replicable
  • sustainable
  • co-operation with global and local experts
So they wanted to create solutions that fit children's life and their way of learning and to connect their learning to their own social network. And it needed to be free, so children could access it sustainable.
We wanted to make sure that once the researchers would leave, the project would stay alive. This was not completely reached, but they hope this project will eventually become completely sustainable.

Concept design principles
active learning environment (not only content push/pull)

Two phases, scaling up from 300 (first year) to 2000 (second year).

19 million children are using MXIT - they are always on it. This made it possible to go where the learner goes, Nokia digitalized much of the content to be put on Moodle. The content was scaffolded with reflective narration towards the math solution, with clever hints (not bluntly given) really empowering the learner in mathematics.

The project is called MoMath.

Results: MoMaths is used most of the time during vacations, early morning and late evening, and weekends. They can practice as much as they like, 9700 additional exercises for grade 10 mathematics, and these exercises are randomized.

Teachers knows the status of their learners understanding at every stage of the year, they can help adjust students if necessary and when needed. The telecom operators zero-rated some IP-addresses for this project, this was exceptional, and it would be nice if operators would zero-rate the IP-addresses for education.
Inside classrooms a mobile kit was given to the students, because many of them share phones.
It is easier to develop flashy, hype smartphones applications, then all covering viral educational mobile projects. This project is also an open source application.
An important success factor was the local experts that were used as local consultants.
To make this sustainable for all partners, a business validation plan needs to be build for all stakeholders.

Key findings and outcome
  • overwhelming response from learners, teachers and schools
  • 54% chose targeted learners ere active users
  • 82% was using the service outside school environment
  • 66% of teachers used the service, 23% frequently
  • learners whose teachers did not use it frequently, still used service independently
  • of 513 study sample, we saw a 14% increase in competency
  • because of this outcome, there is goodwill and opportunity for the future.
The project had three locations (under-which a really rural school in Western Cape, which actually gave the best results).

similar project started in Finland (inge you should ask for chicago blok in antwerp?)
Exploring possibilities to build learner and teacher global communities across countries

Thursday, 21 October 2010

#mLearn2010 An mlearning Journey: Mobile Web 2.0 Critical Success Factors. Thom(as) Cochrane

Thom(as) Cochrane is a gray bearded man who is silently, very knowledgeable and who started of with an eye-catching movie excerpt. This is also a real project to check out and definitely a man to follow!
Look at this massive illustrative website

The journey starts with visuals from mobile movies from architecture students. These movies were build in teams, that twittered to be connected, looking at the architecture of a Maori architectural objects.
The used Wikitude to enhance the real world architecture.

The project is all about social constructivism to facilitate mobile learning. (note from me: to far for my QRcode reader to connect)
How can we use the tool to bring about social constructivist learning. The lecturers got interested as the project moved into the next years, which has lead to complete integration of mobile learning for graduate degrees.
Each year new curriculum's appeared, new projects, within each project the actual learning was researched.

The learners were not as digitally savvy as was expected (not digital natives, and this has not changed much during the years)

There is a Learning management system, but this is not essential to the projects (sometimes they use wikipages).

Critical success factors gotten out of all these projects:
  • pedagogical integration (design framework looks really cool);
  • lecturer modelling of the pedagogical use of the tools;
  • creating a supportive learning community;
  • intentional COP reproduction reconseptualising teaching and learning;
  • appropriate choice of supporting technologies (WND rubric which also looks great)
  • technical and pedagogical support;
  • staging, scaffolding and the PAH continuum;
  • ontological shifts: reconceptualizing teaching and learning.

Abstract (as described in the proceedings)
This paper discusses six critical success factors for mobile web 2.0 implementation identified throughout fifteen mlearning action esearch projects carried out and evaluated between 2006 and 2009.
The paper briefly outlines the implications of each of the five learning contexts involved in the projects in light of these critical success factors. The resultant development of strategies for future mlearning projects in 2010 and beyond are also briefly discussed.

Conclusion (as described in the proceedings)
Mobile web 2.0 is a continually evolving environment with new technologies and affordances developing at an astonishing rate. However this research has illustrated that by identifying and putting in place strategies to support mobile web 2.0 critical success factors it is possible to transform teaching and learning.

#mlearn2010 Embedding Moodle into Ubiquitous Computing environments by Chris Glahn

Christian Glahn wears a nice suite, and he is nicely shaved with a smooth voice, he mentions at the start of his presentation that this project is about a framework in construction.

Virtual learning environments are basically not aware of the overarching context. And it is fairly difficult to integrate any virtual learning environment in physical learning environments. they were interested in how can we make a context-aware environment and secondly how can we integrate this in a learning environment?

research is based on three pillars:
  • adaptation and personalization
  • orchestrating learning
  • learner mobility
Adaptation and personalisation
Starting from Adaptive presentation (Brusilovsky (thank you very much Mark Melia from Dublin to direct me to the name!). How can we adapt the learning material on different devices or output modes.
Device selection is also possible.
Why do we want to look at contextualization: we want learners to keep relationships across context (their community or knowledge domains), because learning experiences take place across contexts.

Orchestrating learning
Orchestrating learning consists of tasks, roles, rules, and the environment. So they have looked at how knowledge is constructed within the learning environment.
When we look at VLE (particularly Moodle), strong emphasis on learning tasks, and there is a supposed dependency on Moodle. But if we look at the reality of learning, then we see that there is a mutual influence between the environment and the learning task.

Learner mobility
Both laptops and mobile devices have been strongly influenced with the computing metaphore, but contemporary reality is much more social media oriented (and collaborative).
Mobile social interfaces: e.g. they have used a software that recognizes the user of the laptop and then switches to the appropriate learner.
What is important to ubiquitous learning is the diversity of devices for the learner depending on the situation. The learning environment needs to be aware of the changes in time that affect the learner as well.
How did we build an architecture from the Moodle environment
They started with Specht's et al interaction layer.
semantic layer for meaningful layer
(and two others, but i was too far from the screen to read).
What do we have in Moodle
centralized logging function used by all Moodle plugins
This logging function was first made more complex.
On top of this a layer was placed to give meaningful logging information to the teacher.
This context model can be configured by the teachers to make it more meaningful to them.
They added a little database of devices, which enables to build a triggering software to be build.

Another problem which comes from web-based environments: whenever a learner reloads Moodle, but in a ubiquitous environment this push type of output should be enabled for different devices.

Context awareness and context challenges challenge the users.

Abstract (as described in the proceedings)
Over the past years several attempts for connecting Moodle to mobile devices have been made. The past attempts are focused on making the functions of the virtual learning environment (VLE) available on mobile devices. For this particular form of enabling access to learning the mobile device is limited to a special display type.
Features of personalizing learning experiences based on the learners’ mobility and their changing information needs in different contexts is typically not considered by these developments. This conceptual paper analyses the underlying concepts for a system-architecture for device adaption for mobile learning. The analysis focuses on educational and technical perspectives for system design. The results of this analysis are transferred
for integrating Moodle into ubiquitous computing environments.

conclusion (as described in the proceedings)
This conceptual paper analysed the underlying concepts for a system-architecture for device adaption for mobile learning. The analysis focuses on educational and technical perspectives for system design. The results of this analysis are transferred for integrating Moodle into ubiquitous computing environments.
Integrating Moodle into ubiquitous computing environments required the development of new service interfaces for the system. Nevertheless, the central user-tracking component of Moodle has been reused. This has the main benefit that this architecture allows to use other learner activities within the VLE as contextualizing factors for the adaptation process because all operations for contextualization and adaptation are built on top of this component. Furthermore, the architecture can be easily
transferred to other VLE, because most systems have similar learner-tracking components.
Given the technical scope of this study further research is needed with regard to the effect of this extended perspective on device adaptation for personalized learning and instructional design.

#mlearn2010 Virtual Mobile City Guide by A. Dingli

Based on Wikitude and depending on the user they can choose different applications.

The way forward to sustain such a system: have the plumbing in place. Get information from stakeholders (commerce, public). The end users were surveyed beforehand to know what they would like to know.
Their was also some space for commercial information from the commercial entities.

This project got a Learning award in Munich just last week. They are interested to join forces for future projects.

they will now enhance it with Gyro (all movements) and implement it for iPad and iPhone.

Abstract as mentioned in the proceedings
The Virtual Mobile City Guide (VMCG) is a mobile application which aims to provide the user with digital equivalent tools which tourists normally use while travelling and provides them with factual information about the city. Using Android technology, the VMCG is a mash up of different APIs which together with an information infrastructure provides the user with information about different attractions and guidance around the city in question. While providing the user with the traditional map view by making use of the Google maps API, the VMCG also employs the Wikitude® API to provide the user with an innovative approach to navigating through cities. This view uses augmented reality to indicate the location of attractions and displays information in the same augmented reality. The VMCG also has a built in recommendation engine which suggests attractions to the user depending on the attractions which the user is visiting during the tour and tailor information in order to cater for a learning experience while the user travels around the city in question.

conclusion as mentioned in the proceedings
The concept of having a mash-up application designed to assist tourists during their visit was welcomed by many during the evaluation and promises positive prospects. It was also shown that the Android platform provides the adequate environment to develop such applications.
The graphical user interface (GUI) was given special attention in the design of the VMCG but more diverse user interaction methods such as audio should be sought.
The GUI should also be developed to cater for directions and improve accessibility by allowing varying text size among other possible adjustments. A suggestion which also emerged from the evaluation was the possibility of having the VMCG in different languages. In the effort to also meet the solutions proposed by Brown and Chalmers, the collaborative aspect of the VMCG has to be developed by possibly allowing connection to social networking sites.
The evaluation also showed the lack of willingness of users to update the information in the application while they travel. This can be overcome by designing business models which enable incentives to the user. The guidebook aspect of the VMCG should also be developed by providing more in-depth information and also illustrating possible transport connections to other cities in proximity to the city being visited.
In this paper we also presented how to apply different technological developments in the field of tourism in order to address the needs in the latter field. The views presented in the VMCG were satisfactorily welcomed by the potential users. It was concluded that the GUI considerations are important for the users of the system and more effort should be invested in order to allow different and rich ways in which the users can interact with the system. The development of this application in the context of a framework which caters for both pre-visiting and postvisiting is our next challenge.

#mLearn2010 Augmented Reality and Mobile Learning - some lessons learned by Gunnar Liestol

Gunnar is a curly person with glasses, who just gives an AMAZING presentation!! Please if you can, look this research up! It is so strongly build (sustainable, new, well-thought throug). Just amazing!

Mostly working with digital media, on the textual level (the individual digital text and the new genres of new media). So they try to experiment with new media's. Normally the social science follows the hard science, but then they are not the constructors of the media. this is why they want to put the things together, construct the technologies upfront. They want to come up with new media and then suggest certain devices to employ and exploit built upon their media criteria.
they used: GPS, sensors for movements, compass
working with AOS (Apple), but they also want to go with android platform. They focus on 3D, thinking about this as a prototype genre that does not yet exist.

With this augmented reality, they wanted to show the parthenon and overlay information to give a complete, comprehensive experience of the Parthenon. The mobility and the movement of the perspective also give extra value.
In May they made a prototype from the Roman Forum (e.g. Caesar's temple where you can access the classical text). they also created a feature where students and teachers can add their own links or texts. the teacher can host their presentation in relation to its context (WAW, GREAT). And the students can post their assignments. As such the AR environment will work as a memory chamber of stuff you want to learn about.

They did not only want to display the temples, but also give a simulations of the events leading up to the temple of Augustus. The different events that lead to the building of the temple, are all open for the learner to explore, e.g. Marcus Antonius giving a speech. There is multimedia content, text, links... yes, full and useful (sorry, but I am enthusiastic! this is augmented learning with a vengeance!).

Testing and evaluation: tested with 3rd and 10th graders, the whole system was intuitive and easy to use. Two similar test groups. in February 2010 with Parthenon with classical students, they said that the mobile should not be 'competing' with the real objects. These same students were used for testing the Julius Caesar temple, they were enthusiastic and liked the fact that they could add their own comments and the dramatic features, but again they said this should not replace the real academic professor, but that it could compliment him/her.
this will be made available to the Apple marketplace as an application for adult users.

Abstract as described in the proceedings of the conference
We here describe experiments with a potential mobile augmented reality genre for learning, a so-called 'situated simulation' (sitsim).
Several prototypes and their key features and functionalities are presented and discussed as they have evolved over several years of design and development work. A particular focus is on the use of sequences of events and actions in the virtual environment.
This opens up for new kinds of story lines and narrative structures, which are then described and discussed in relation to narrative theory. Finally, design features for further research and development are suggested.

CONCLUSION – FURTHER DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT (as put forward in the proceedings of the conference)
The development of the sitsim genre prototype is conducted in the context of digital genre design. An overarching approach to this endeavour is to develop a method for how to create innovative communicative and expressive forms based on emerging digital technologies, such as mobile augmented reality on regular smartphones. Feedback from the user testing shows that we are on the right track. The purpose now is to make the sitsims available to larger user groups, for example via Apple's App store for free download. This will hopefully generate more feedback so that we, the developers can explore the potential of this 'genre' further. In future versions of the Temple of Divus Iulius sitsim we also plan to include different interpretations of both objects and events. The current version of the Temple is Corinthian and based on german scholar Christian Hülsen's interpretation, but the temple might have been of the composite style. Descriptions of the events surrounding Marc Anthony's speech also differ, depending on which classical source one read, Appian, Suetonius, Dio or Plutarch. In the current version we used Shakespeare's interpretation from his tragedy Julius Caesar, which was again based on Plutarch's account. To be able to switch between alternative interpretations of historical data/accounts will add a valuable dimension to the application Learning is contextual. It is a function of the activity and culture in which it occurs. Lave and Wenger (1991) call this pedagogical approach “situated learning.” In situated learning the contextual space and place are central. With mobile augmented reality and situated simulations it is possible to support and extend the “situatedness” of learning and education in new ways by means of information technologies (IT). This is not limited to historical topics as described above. It extends to any discipline or subject matter that may benefit from making present what is absent, be it past, current, or future topics.
The combination of the real and the virtual (what is simulated) also provides added experience and value. It gives the learner information from multiple sources—what Gregory Bateson in his epistemology has deemed “double description.” (Bateson 1988) In his view, the combination of two sources of information generates a new type of knowledge and experience, as is the case with binocular vision (of depth). The notion of double description has been an important perspective in combining the virtual and the real when designing the sitsims presented here, and we believe it has a great potential for future solutions.

#mlearn2010 Sci-Droid by Maurizio, Claire and Gertrude

Great stuff, this was presented by three third year university students.

primary school environment, so they developed an application for 8 -10 youngsters learning: human body game (all parts of the body) and chemical reaction game (teaches them on chemical reactions).

Android 1.5 for java and XML (HTC magic). Object recognition done by computer algorithm's and picture manipulation. Android for Eclipse (link to android post).

Literature: augmented reality and openGL.

Game design: the user chooses which games they will play.

the user takes a picture of the torso of a person, then the body parts are put upon it by the mobile, via the mobile screen. By clicking on the image, the organ and its functionality are shown.

For chemical reaction game. Open GL recognizes the android marker. The android marker must be placed before the marker and the user chooses the appropriate object from the screen. The accelerometer is used to see how the mobile is tilted and how much (spilling of object for example).

Main problem: accelerometer was not part of the emulator, so testing could not be completed completely. Difficult to identify the person in the picture (specific picture of the body, this was solved by an algorithm). Objects need to be refreshed many times, slowing down the game. Some features could be improved (important: optimize the image taken, it does not pick up a body, but an object, so the organs might be placed wrongly).
For chemical game the marker gave a problem as soon as it was no longer in the screen, or recognizable.

Conclusion: positive feedback of the children.

Abstract of the paper as mentioned in the proceedings:
The mobile industry is evolving fast and mobile phones are nowadays also very popular with people of a very young age. Sci-Droid is a project which was mainly aimed for educational purposes so as to teach young children aged from eight to ten about basic science. Using Android OS the project consisted of creating two games so as to teach students about both the organs of the body and basic chemicals which they can meet during their everyday life. This type of application is very useful in schools since it is fun and educational at the same time, making student want to play it whilst educating one self.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

#mLearn2010 Podcasting for mobile learners: using ubiquitous technologies to enhance learning in large classes by Dick Ng'ambi

Dick Ng'ambi is a suave speaker with such a clear intelligent, interdisciplinary look that it immediately caught the attention of everybody.

In south African context in Cape Town.

in Africa there are two worlds in one: first world and third world. Difference in access to technology. In cape town, the majority of people will commute into cape town. So what happens in a large class with students that do not have a necessary one-to-one interaction with the teacher (411 learners in the class).
so it is not possible to have them all participate in the classroom.
use of podcasts is increasingly becoming common in education.
In large classes and where some learners ar taught in a language other than their mother tongue (mostly the 4 language).
students may have difficulty understanding the lectures.
When they come to compass they will have high connectivity, off campus very varied.
But when on campus their is only limited time to reflect on their own learning, BUT they are moved from the better connected areas.
use of ubiquitous technology is low on campus, but high off campus.
Mobile network was excellent, both on and off campus.

When learners came to class, they transitioned from clusters of power (peer clusters) to a space where they felt powerless (suppressed voices) as co-producers of knowledge.
learners with dominant voices in class also transitioned from clusters of equals (peer clusters) to clusters of power (dominant voices).

So how could they make use of all these facts?

Podcasting and Learner Mobility
Students in a postgraduate programme use low-cost offline devices to record audio for uploading when they have access to broadband internet when on campus.
peers' podcasts are downloaded and listened to when offline and use anonymous SMS to post questions and receive answers through the Q&A tool.

mediating reflective learning
learning is a reflective process and without reflection, learning cannot take place.

lecturers were recorded their lectures, and uploaded the audio files on the course site (also for prerequisites).

Most of the time the students (for security reasons) will listen to podcasts on the move.

for data check out the paper, because here again the time was limited and his presentation was cut short (will ask Dick if he has his presentation on Slideshare, because it was GREAT!).

sms' were adding to the learner knowledge database, and it created a community feeling between the learner's.

podcasts were on average ten minutes.

#mlearn2010 Raising the bar of challenge with collaboration social flow in mobile learning by David Parsons

David Parsons spoke on behalf of his team.

Does mobile learning really mean social learning? mentioned by Savannah (2004)
What triggers collaboration (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)
In order for people to get into the zone there has to be a balance between the skills they are using, with the challenge they are up to.
We try to go beyond the Zone.

From gaming experience we have observed that these games are all about working with other people and from those experiences they begin to learn.
What we have been looking at is looking at literature outside Learning: Cohen et al., 2009: recent biological evidence suggests that team-play allows individuals to take on more risks and challenges (rise above the pain).

Social flow
Walker's 'social flow' (2010) indicate that is doing it together gets you to do more.
collaborative physical activity was rated as being more enjoyable when collaborating (overcome more barriers, so more social flow).

Social flow in mobile learning
Activity theory and desing frameworks, can we show a collaborative working to come to social flow with mLearning.

Research method: simulated campus security training
three situated learning settings (solitary mobile learning, immediate mLearning collaboration, time delayed mLearning collaboration). Dividing the groups was done at random (in total: 45 students).

Apparatus enables
talking to one another, exchange ideas,
instructions about what they are supposed to learn

Design and measures? (look at the paper, time was limited so from here on David was speaking ever quicker)

Procedure: two days of activities.

collaborative activities
sharing observations,
sharing photographs
structured debate with scaffolding words (problem, theory, agreement, disagreement, suggestion) to get some kind of qualitative idea.

The unvisited personal places were significantly different within the groups.
a lot more negotiation within the face-to-face group, time delay group. From a qualitative perspective: the interaction was smoother when happening all the time.
collaborative was much higher when going on whole the time.
significant difference in cognitive curiosity and intrinsic interest and risk-taking.

Lessons learned
positive self-improvement opportunities
opportunities might be reciprocal

future work
the communication channel: would richer communication be better for collaboration?
level of social bond: would close friends meet the challenges better?
the types of collaboration: would the be able to co-develop challenging tasks.

#mlearn2010 Andy Goff on Augmented reality for Learning

Andy Goff can be followed on twitter:

Canada is a magnet for interactive jobs on learning. There is a big demand for well educated people that are into interactive media.

Engagement in learning is key, and augmented reality enhances the real world, increases

QR-codes that trigger added layers of 3D 'roman centurions' ..., if you put it on a record player, it turns around, nice gimmick :-)

SSAT website ( not sure of this website), look at it for the free (anatomic trigger, lung heart, blatter...).
Sometimes two markers are used to build interaction: multiple tracking.

(remark to myself: wear a QR-code t-shirt for your presentation)

types of AR
  • accelerometer, gps, and compass
  • CV - camera reads maker
  • CV - camera reads images/objects.

The AR gets people into conversations, into discussions, increasing understanding.

Great interaction with markers, that trigger at learner relevant moments or locations.

A different human interface
Confucius: tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand.

eyePet from PS3: he does different things, ongoing interaction with your pet through your ps-camera (realllllly nice: used by Foxhill Primary School. This increased their confidence because the classroom felt more creative.

Also linking to SecondSightExperience: Romeo and Juliet Pilot. Markers were put down that triggered the students.

Culture and Heritage are nice AR opportunities, language understanding... Wroxeter Roman City, English Heritage (Should see this). NT Cragside - Lord Armstrong.

check out: Lustucru - in the highstreet (upper curve of application).

Olympus camera AR is nice, which allows you to click on yellow buttons with your laptop's touchpad, to trigger different elements of the AR camera. So interacting as much as possible with actual camera without having the camera in hand. (

AR: see Astom AR from total immersion movies, look at video below.

Augmented reality vs. vitual reality: which is ... (statistic graph)

#mLearn2010 keynote of Agnes Kukulska Hulme on Conversations en route to Learning

Live from mlearn 2010 Wednesday 2010. Liveblogging Agnes Kukulska Hulme (so typo's might appear due to time restraints of live blogging)

Agnes in a beautiful checkered dress with autumn colors

two meanings that interests Agnes
  1. increasingly conversations take place between learners on their way to learning => interested in moving
  2. second the metaphorical one: the learners are gearing up to learn while they have the conversations, so this is an interesting mental state.
Conversations are a very strong form of human communication.
A broad topic, so only highlighting some issues on mobile communication and learning
She starts off with her own mobile journey, which is very close to narrative learning and I like it.
Big interest in Learner-led mobile language learning.

Human ingenuity enters: for instance post restante (a letter send to Paris, and once the person arrived in Paris they would pick up the letter. Nice, for it shows that even in adverse circumstances people create conversations). Another example is the wish tree: a wish is for themselves, but really it is communication and the end point of the communication is not defined.
All these ideas comes from the past and pervades the new technologies as well.

There is an intensity about these communicative, mediated conversations, linked to your own attitude towards travel and communication. A lot of important conversations take place when people move in between places: Wright, N. (2010) Twittering in teacher education: reflecting on practicum experiences, Open Learning, 25(3). The conversation builds the community, through the use of twitter on their phones. the study recalls how the teachers shared thoughts while driving home, to reflect on their experience.

Second case study is by Madoe, M (2010) Exploring the use of MXit - a cellphone social network to facilitate learning in distance education, Open learning 25(3).

But sometimes it does not work, these conversations on route.

There has been done a lot of work on conversations and learning (going back to Pask, 1976), Sharples (2003), Laurillard (2002, 2007).

The pervasive learning space still needs to be researched extensively. We have to understand the changing surroundings. there are shifting conditions, time constraints... this leads to different states of mind while traveling, moving, waiting, lying down (learners with disabilities).

Physical traveling has become more complex. so we should investigate how learning en route is affected by complexity of the route itself.

How do mobile and ubiquitous technologies affect our conversations?
  • Conversations are becoming layered (people working together with the remote mediator, virtual additional layer). We should look at all these layers and the interactions between them.
  • We also need to look at multilogues: often conversations start in one place, and then they continue in another. Often it is due to practical or social situations (switch to group preferred mediums). So we use multiple media. "... in a world marked by fluidity, provisionality and instability" Pachler, bachman and Cook (2010).
  • Speech acts become artefacts: conversations become artefacts that travel across cyberspace and have lives of their own (the collection forms its own narrative, which in its part becomes a new artefact).
  • More opportunities now to 'Converse with Sel'. This inner dialogue is often important in a learning dialogue.
  • Any questions answered service (AQA): any question you post from your phone will be answered by unknown people that will deliver the answer anonymously. The answer is succinct, which triggers to want to know more. It would be good to explore being a learner. Nice also because you can use it anywhere.
The nature of conversations en route to learning should be researched, how?
  • donate your sms texts to research ( ), additional layer to your conversational layer. At the moment you have to send the message, but potentially you could have a conversation with the researchers, but interesting way forward for such research.
  • research data from conversations with self: mappiness application which monitors your mood. Build by London school of economics (remark from me: I think, not sure, but something with economics). You share pictures, sms... and you obtain graphs with feedback. GREAT, but also into private area for LSE researchers.
  • This highlights the limits of human language. Nolfi & Mirolli (2010) evolution of communication and language in Embodied Agents, pp 23-24. Really interesting remark on human communication as it is mostly done on external communication.
  • Digital jewelery as conversational prop (Jayne Wallace ). So as you move through space, film movie exerts are played which can trigger conversations with people around you (great also).
  • Innovative ways of starting conversations

Human communication uses all senses
  • artefacts
  • sound
  • touch, gesture and movement
  • smell and taste
  • thought and feeling
  • bodily reactions,
  • space
  • time
our challenge is to look at all of them and get a deeper understanding.

Time and turn-taking in conversation is also an interesting research, how do we understand the laps of time in between conversations.
Multimodal turn-taking has been researched as well (like comments on pictures, for which you need to see the picture in order to understand it).

New media as a lingua franca
when speakers do not share each other's language, they use a lingua franca.
in contrast with the problems encountered by non-native speakers when interacting with native speakers (C.Meierkord, Linquistik online 5, 1/00, 2000. So maybe the new media will enable joint construction.

Rebecca West (: there is no such thing as conversation, they are only intersecting monologues (remark from me: interesting as this would underline learner-centered learning).

Friday, 15 October 2010

#PLENK2010 the future of education, my vision of the future

This is how I envision the learning future. This presentation came about while following PLENK, a big online course on Personal Learning Environments, Networking and Knowledge. Alan Levine's comment triggered the presentation below, which is a reply to the question he posed: is augmented reality really going to revolutionize the world.

This is my narrative powerpoint which embeds content from people I learn from. In order to actually see the movies that are embedded in the slideshare, you need to download the powerPoint.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Guidelines on writing a paper: my synopsis

The last couple of weeks I have been flooded with meetings and one of the reoccurring things was: writing papers. So I jotted this post together to have a short document for future use.

Please add things I might have overlooked.

This post is Based on two sources:
Writing a paper – by George M Hall – third edition (referenced with pages in this post)and San Francisco Edit:

Here we go:

Readers must be able to

  • Assess the observations you made
  • Repeat the experiment if they wish;
  • Determine whether the conclusions drawn are justified by the data.

Some pointers:

  • Search a peer review journal with best reputation in publishing for your domain. Journals of societies have a larger circulation. Is the journal referenced a lot?
  • Use active verbs and clear subjects (not ‘several’ but ‘three’, not ‘somewhere’ but ‘in the Maritime region of Canada
  • Make every sentence useful, no blabla
  • Explain abbreviations before including them
  • Help the editor by using the format (style sheet) journals prescribe
  • Write the first draft without hesitation, editing comes afterwards
  • Guidelines on figures and tables:

Step 1: references – always start with the literature/research that is already out there

The references are the backbone of your paper. They provide the scientific background that justifies the research you have undertaken and the methods you have used. They provide the context in which your research should be interpreted.

References should be limited to relevant ones with clear scientific interest (too many references shows insecurity of the author)

Whenever you find a reference, archive them in a clear bibliographical way (use Zotero for instance)

The Vancouver format is preferred for scientific references:

Journal article:

Surnames and initials of authors. Full title of paper. Title of journal Year of publication; Volume number: First and last page numbers of article.

Example: de Waard I., Writeress G. Best practices in building mobile courses. eLearning Magazine 2100;55:123-234.

Book or monograph

Surname and initials of authors. Full title of book. Number of edition. Town of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Example: de Waard I. Putting humour into eLearning. 3rd edition. Antwerp: Epo, 2010.

Chapter in multi-author book

Chapter author (surnames and initials). Chapter title. Book authors or editors (surnames and initials). Book title. Town of publication: Publisher, Year of publication. First and last pages.

Step 2: make an outline

This is the blue print of your paper.

Summary (from San Francisco edit: )

  • Develop a central message of the manuscript
  • Define the materials and methods
  • Summarize the question(s) and problem(s)
  • Define the principal findings and results
  • Describe the conclusions and implications
  • Organize and group related ideas together
  • Identify the references that pertain to each key point
  • Develop the introduction

The basic structure of a paper: IMRaD (p1)

Introduction: what question was asked?
Methods: how was it studied?
Results: what was found?
Discussion: what do the findings mean.

2.1 Introduction:

One sentence says it all and engages the reader. Not more than one paragraph to explicit the first sentence. Keep it short, arresting and clear, usually between 300 – 500 words.

(From San Francisco Edit: )

  • Begin the Introduction by providing a concise background account of the problem studied.
  • State the objective of the investigation. Your research objective is the most important part of the introduction.
  • Establish the significance of your work: Why was there a need to conduct the study?
  • Introduce the reader to the pertinent literature. Do not give a full history of the topic. Only quote previous work having direct bearing on the present problem.
  • Clearly state your hypothesis, the variables investigated, and concisely summarize the methods used.
  • Define any abbreviations or specialized terms.
  • Provide a concise discussion of the results and findings of other studies so the reader understands the big picture.
  • Describe some of the major findings presented in your manuscript and explain how they contribute to the larger field of research.
  • State the principal conclusions derived from your results.
  • Identify any questions left unanswered and any new questions generated by your study.

Other points to consider when writing your Introduction:

  • Be aware of who will be reading your manuscript and make sure the Introduction is directed to that audience
  • Move from general to specific: from the problem in the real world to the literature to your research
  • Write in the present tense except for what you did or found, which should be in thepast tense
  • Be concise

Or plain and simple: what is the elevator pitch

2.2 Methods:

“This section should describe, in logical sequence, how your study was designed and carried out and how you analyzed your data. “ (p16) A clear method should be described before starting a study.
“If your research aims to answer a question, you should state exactly what hypothesis was tested” (p16) Always state clearly the a priori hypotheses (p17)

When you use statistics, give the exact tests used to analyses the data statistically.

A good methods section can answer these questions (p21)

  • Does the text describe what question was being asked, what was being tested, and how trustworthy the measurements of the variable under consideration would be?
  • Were these trustworthy measurements recorded, analyzed, and interpreted correctly?
  • Would a suitably qualified reader be able to repeat the experiment in the same way?

How the study was carried out (p18)

  • Describe how the participants were recruited and chosen
  • Give reasons for excluding participants
  • Consider mentioning ethical features
  • Give accurate details of materials used
  • Give exact data
  • Give the exact use of all the instruments involved

2.3 Results

The introduction has defined the questions and the methods the means of getting the answers. Decide during the design stage of your study how the results will be presented. (p34)

Results should not be interpreted, just delivered.

Follow these rules:

  • The text should tell the story
  • The strongest results should be mentioned first
  • The text should complement figures or tables
  • The figure will show the highlights
  • Provide a heading for each table or figure
  • The statistics should support the statements
  • Use the past tense when you refer to your results (the present tense everywhere else)

2.4 Discussion

(should not take more than a third of the total size of the paper)

Try not to repeat what you have already stated in the intro to your paper.

Decide which of the references with an important message seem to have involved the strongest methods and make them the centerpiece of your historical review.

Summary (p41)

  • Three ways to start your piece: mini-seminar, main finding, or what’s different.
  • Summarise relavant important previous work
  • Put your results in context
  • Mention doubts, weaknesses, and confounders
  • Three ways of ending: problem solved, more research is needed, or uncertainty remains.

From San Francisco Edit:

  • Organize the Discussion from the specific to the general: your findings to the literature, to theory, to practice.
  • Use the same key terms, the same verb tense (present tense), and the same point of view that you used when posing the questions in the Introduction.
  • Begin by re-stating the hypothesis you were testing and answering the questions posed in the introduction.
  • Support the answers with the results. Explain how your results relate to expectations and to the literature, clearly stating why they are acceptable and how they are consistent or fit in with previously published knowledge on the topic.
  • Address all the results relating to the questions, regardless of whether or not the findings were statistically significant.
  • Describe the patterns, principles, and relationships shown by each major finding/result and put them in perspective. The sequencing of providing this information is important; first state the answer, then the relevant results, then cite the work of others. If necessary, point the reader to a figure or table to enhance the “story”.
  • Defend your answers, if necessary, by explaining both why your answer is satisfactory and why others are not. Only by giving both sides to the argument can you make your explanation convincing.
  • Discuss and evaluate conflicting explanations of the results. This is the sign of a good discussion.
  • Discuss any unexpected findings. When discussing an unexpected finding, begin the paragraph with the finding and then describe it.
  • Identify potential limitations and weaknesses and comment on the relative importance of these to your interpretation of the results and how they may affect the validity of the findings. When identifying limitations and weaknesses, avoid using an apologetic tone.
  • Summarize concisely the principal implications of the findings, regardless of statistical significance.
  • Provide recommendations (no more than two) for further research. Do not offer suggestions which could have been easily addressed within the study, as this shows there has been inadequate examination and interpretation of the data.
  • Explain how the results and conclusions of this study are important and how they influence our knowledge or understanding of the problem being examined.
  • In your writing of the Discussion, discuss everything, but be concise, brief, and specific.

Step 3. come up with a titaliting Title (p43)

  • Concise and precise
  • Informative and descriptive
  • Not misleading or unrepresentative
  • Words appropriate for classification
  • Interesting, not dull

Step 4. write a clear and interesting Abstract

Start preparing the paper by writing the abstract if you do not have a clear outline of the paper or leave the abstract till last if you already have a clear idea and you want to make sure the abstract completely covers the paper.

  • Check the maximum number of words ,(mostly between 200 – 300)
  • Keep it simple and comprehensive (p46)
  • Check for consistency: the abstract should reflect the paper and describe your message succinctly and accurately. Do the objectives described in the abstract match those in the paper?
  • State your hypothesis or method used in the first sentence.
  • Omit background information, literature review, and detailed description of methods. ( )
  • Remove extra words and phrases
  • Revise the paragraph so that the abstract conveys only the essential information.

Step 5 add Authors

First the person who wrote the paper, second and third authors: significant contributors, last one is mostly the heavy weight and guarantor. (can vary).

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Big Question: big impact learning examples: and why they work

In the Big Question launched by Tony Karrer this month, he wonders what the success factors are of our successful learning projects? Why did they have an impact and why do we think it worked? He also links to some great eLearning examples: : Elearning samples and eLearning Examples. There are a few more to be found via eLearning Case Studies on the eLearning Learning site.

This is my list of factors that optimize eLearning or mLearning projects and ensure impact:

Management related
Strategic planning: if possible participative planning with all motivated stakeholders (only the motivated one's, see also a bit further on why I emphasize this).

Scalability: you need to plan ahead, also to scale up any potential successful project. It will also make your complete plan stronger.

Sustainability: as I work a lot in low resource areas, I have listed 12 sustainability issues.
Monitoring and evaluation throughout the course: identify measurable indicators that you will monitor throughout the course and which fit your strategic plan. Evaluate the course formatively (allows you to tailor to possible problems from early on, increasing chances of success) and summatively (the later is essential for scaling up the course).

Put in a time-line: but also put in time for readjustments (really, do it, give yourself time to create an impact).

Go ahead with the right (read motivated and strong) executive persons: Nigel Barlow made a wonderful presentation pointing out four sponsor styles, the spectators (enthusiastic, but they sit on the sidelines and as such they do not pave any ways), the walking dead (totally non-supportive executives, trying to bring these people around is probably a waste of time), the obstructionists (they can be supportive, if the project fits their hidden agenda) and last, but the only ones you want to start with: the players (players are willing to invest their time, money, and resources). So work with players even if you have a small project, it will increase your chances of success enormously. Working with players will most likely result in success stories which will attract the interest of some spectators and obstructionists. At our institute, a key player is Lut Lynen. She offers support and motivation, which leads to success. For non-profit or government eLearning projects it might be a good idea to involve the respective Ministry/ies from early on. This way you increase the chance of future scalability and/or support for future similar projects

Learner and content related
Motivate by clarification (clear framework): Provide very clear reasons to the learners on why you provide content, ask feedback, or give assessments prior to any course module. This will allow learners to put them n the right meta-cognitive mindset. Be rigorous, if you provide learning objectives, link them to real and tested learning actions. If you are unsure about what learning actions can be taken with which social media, reread Bloom’s digital taxonomy I wrote about earlier.

Take into account your international learners: culture is a motivational factor, catering to it will influence the project positively (this is what I take into account for our international elearners).

Use the right learning affordances no matter what technology: choosing a clear learning purpose and goal before choosing technology is essential. No matter how hyped a technology is, if you only use it for hype’s sake the learning results might be poor. Do not plan ‘an iPad project’, but plan ubiquitous learning which might benefit from a wifi/3G mobile device with a large screen because that fits the learning that will be build.

So why go for big impact?
Big impact will pave your way to scaling up projects and open doors for collaborative projects with strong partners.

Great book on the subject: Beyond e-learning by Marc J. Rosenberg