Wednesday 30 September 2015

An intro to ExtraTerristrial Literature? YES ! #MOOC #SciFi

This is just up my alley! A MOOC on spacebooks! Is it Art, is it Sci-Fi, is it History, is it Literature?....
It is all of the above!!

The full title of this MOOC organised by the Zurich University is: Spacebooks. An Introduction To Extraterrestrial Literature: Learn about how our imagination of the universe and its inhabitants was shaped by literature throughout the last 400 years.

And all the lectures are designed to be self-contained. The essential excerpts of the main sources will be provided, if not available on the internet. So I can just pick and choose, wonderful.

Course description:
Since the invention of the telescope in 1608, outer space has been turned into an abode, a place scientific speculation and literary imagination could thrive on simultaneously. The human mind was sent on a journey to visit other planets – and time after time it returned from there with breathtaking news, disturbing images or philosophical insight. And, of course, with a lot of questions: Why funeral customs on the Moon include cannibalism and orgies? Is it true that the people of Mars do live according to higher moral standards than we do? And where does this weird alien obsession with terrestrial paper actually come from?These are some of the questions we will be addressing within this course. Moreover, we will watch the birth of the alien reader, we will explore the logics of space invasion and the history of space colonies well. We will examine the inventory of extraterrestrial libraries and survey the competing projects of galactic encyclopedias. Next to well-known authors as Kepler, Cyrano de Bergerac, Stapledon or Lem, you will also be introduced to neglected and forgotten texts. Finally, we might even understand how literature itself was transformed by this journey throughout the universe – and how it finally became a true interstellar medium.
And... there is a special soundtrack! The soundtrack to this ET-MOOC will be provided by Swiss artists Bit-Tuner and Darkspace. Oh, how I love Art and Innovation!

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Free online #webinar on The Impact of Open Education @Edtechie

Martin Weller (blogger Ed Techie), who is professor of Educational Technology at The Open University in the UK will present a webinar onThe Impact of Open Education on Wednesday 30 September at 12.30 - 13.15 BST (British Summer Time). Martin has been an OER expert for years, this webinar will be wonderful for all of us interested in open education. 

This free webinar, which is being promoted by the ALT Open Education Special Interest Group, will explore findings of the OER Research Hub, which has been investigating the impact of open educational resources. btw, the OER Research Hub is a source of wonderful, innovative OER-work, really worth exploring!
The OER Research Hub has been investigating the impact of OERs, using eleven hypotheses, and a mixed methods approach to establish an evidence base. This talk explores the findings relating to teaching and learning. The findings reveal a set of direct impacts, including an increase in factors relating to student performance, increased reflection on the part of educators, and the use of OER to trial and supplement formal study. There are also indirect impacts, whose benefits will be seen after several iterations. These include the wide scale reporting of adaptation, and the increase in sharing and open practice that results from OER usage. 
Further details are at:

The free webinar will use Blackboard Collaborate (also available for mobile devices):

Monday 28 September 2015

Joining the debate on #OECD report on students, computers and learning

While the latest 190 page OECD report on students, computers and learning: making the connection, made a lot of educators tows curl... Some extra debates started to emerge.

This debate embedded in the Open Education Europe, focuses on the main question: "Digital technology in schools is a 'benefit' or a 'burden'?". I do have some personal doubt when looking at the selection of questions provided by the survey people of this debate. Feels like an interpretation of an interpretation, but ... at least there is an incentive to take part in this debate. And I must say I applaud the debate.

The PISA test... sigh
What is our obsession with tests that almost drag all the possible contexts from the outcomes? IQ tests are most well-known for their lack of reliable results. They indicate a specific result from a personal context, and even then it still only shows one little niche of very interpretative results. We- as educators - know and understand the importance of context (long known evidence-based outcome for mobile learning, eLearning and now gradually entering the MOOC research as well), of language use, of how personal each of our learning journeys takes form. In a sense, we should know better then to construct a test that puts everyone in the same batch, and then believe in it to state those things that we think sound nice (however tempting that type of action is... I mean, saves time on reflecting, nuancing, evaluating... and all of these time-staking stuff). The PISA test does it all over again, and ... enters the OECD report as core element of proof leading to rigorous outcomes. Yes, the correlation monster pops up once again. PISA test is an in correlation resulting test. A brief resume on the PISA critique can be read in the Guardian or a nice list of educationalists that argued against using PISA here.

A teacher is more then one type of person
An interesting reaction is the call for more CPD of teachers. Although much of the results focus on outside classroom percentages (I am guessing in the next stage the family support will be targeted).
Of course debating the use or (ab)use of computers for education, has many similarities with use or (ab)use of mobile devices for learning/training, use or (ab)use of radio/television for educational purposes... even using books (whether it be e- or paper books) for education. Whichever one wants to learn is either actively learned by the learner, or ... taught (which simply is more passive in a first instance). And teaching means the person teaching specific content has a variety of media to choose from (or not), and s/he curates the content, reflects on how they want to teach it (or not). Teaching is making choices, and as such the choices made by a person stands on their own view of the world, their philosophical framework, their views on what teaching should be, and ... their present state of being (character, energy...).
The teacher is the curator and the deliverer. As such it is no surprise that all depends on the willingness and ability of the teacher. The howl to create and fund more continued professional development for teachers can be heard (technology is the main focus, but I would love to see pedagogy in each CPD, as the media also shapes the content). I like that demand, yet at the same time it means that teachers must be provided the necessary time and options to follow these CPD's. And - for those teachers that really appreciate the art of learning/teaching - that those CPD's are delivered in a nice, high-quality, non-belittling way. The remark I most often hear from teachers is: "This CPD must have been made by pedagogues, it is awful in approach as if we - teachers - are idiots.". Or, also heard often but from CPD providers: "we make it, but they will not come?!"... which takes me back to the beginning of the eLearning era, where countless lessons were produced, yet not followed.

The success of books/computers... and the learner
At the end of the day, I have the impression that all of us discuss along similar lines of those who came before us. In this report one wonders about the efficiency of providing computers to all students, but then again at an earlier point in history the provision of books to as many students as possible was also questioned: some students never read the books we provide, they do not want to learn from books, they do not know basic terms/literature ... Some learners will indeed seldom be inspired by passive delivery of content that might also be not of interest to them. Can you blame them? Or let me rephrase it, can you blame me for being a drop-out student for the biggest formal part of my education? Can you blame the almost proverbial Steve Jobs, Richard Branson for dropping out of formal education? Of course not. And are they good in maths, reading...? Yes, of course they are. Sometimes the dominant learning model (teaching model) that is used simply does not attract as many learners as it wished it would be. No matter which medium is used, which technology... always depending on all human beings involved. Diversity in approaches and media might be an option, but then again, taking the full context of each learner into account when looking at outcomes might result in stronger (yet much, much more complex) outcomes.
Would unschooling be an option, for some and depending on age and situation or type of knowledge, but possibly no one model will deliver for all students.

The best teachers are those who inspire, no matter which technology is used, no matter where they live and teach. The best learners are those who follow their dreams and learn to achieve them via their own trials and errors, media and connections (teachers, peers, role models). 

Tuesday 22 September 2015

#CfP eMOOCs call and UNESCO call for ICT in education prize

Two calls of interest: eMOOCs2016 and UNESCO

eMOOCs2016 call for papers: MOOC experience, research and institutional track

Deadline for submissions: 28 September 2015
Call for Papers Experience TrackMassive Open Online Courses are often discussed as a new learning scenario. But from the field we know that they have many shades and facets. The experience track aims to feed the general debate on MOOCs by bringing together our shared knowledge and experiences. This includes experiences from experts who have been running MOOCs, supporting the production of MOOCs, involved in the selection of MOOCs, or analyzed data. It also includes experiences of using MOOC-related technology in different contexts (e.g. in-house training, k12 contexts, developing regions, etc.). The experience track aims to share experiences, results, solutions, and to document problems.

Call for Papers Research TrackOpen Education and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are nowadays used as an innovation format for educational institutions and they contribute to making (higher) education more accessible. By opening up their courses and infrastructure to new target groups open education gets a disruptive character which raises many question within the institutions and also from outside. These questions are related mostly to interfaces between formal and informal learning, certification and recognition but also to wider societal responsibilities for higher education. MOOC research has in the meantime matured and special intention is given to questions related to scalability of feedback and support, educational design of open courses but also on the integration of new technologies into open learning environments. The research track expects reports about solid research activities, which take into account the state-of-the-art and theories, and whose reports are based on an evidence- and data-driven approach.

Call for Papers Institutional & Corporate TrackMassive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and variations of them have changed education beyond the academic world. While universities are opening up education to leaners worldwide, the corporate, the institutional, and the non-profit worlds explore the benefits of training concepts for personnel, clients, and the public at large that harness the advantages of technologies based on the model of MOOCs. This track will consist of panel sessions and invited presentations. It will be set up by direct invitation, however suggestions might be sent to the track chair at <>.

UNESCO is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for the organization’s only ICT in education prize. 
Deadline for submissions: 10 November 2015.
Prize: individuals, instutes, non-gov organizations... 25.000$ 
To submit your application, please contact your National Commission or an International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) maintaining official relations with UNESCO and working on the themes covered by the Prizes. The submission form can be downloaded.

Description:The UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education is awarded annually to encourage and celebrate the creative use of ICT to enhance learning, teaching and overall education performance.

The Prize rewards individuals, institutions, non-governmental organizations or other entities for initiatives which successfully leverage ICT for education. Every year two awards are issued to winners selected by an international jury. Each winner receives a cash prize of US $25,000.

Should you have any questions, please contact .

Finally, we would like to remind you that the dates for Mobile Learning Week 2016 have been set. The event will be held from 7-11 March at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. The theme of Mobile Learning Week 2016 as well as the event's rationale and a provisional programme will be shared in the coming weeks.

Sunday 20 September 2015

#MOOC: no disruption, no real assessment and adults aren't dropouts! #grumpyWoman

Okay, this is a mail written on the aeroplane after returning from EC-tel conference. A wonderful conference (I will share the positive vibes and connections soon). But first I have to get some of the reoccurring assumptions uttered by some (yet too many) off my chest.

Briefly: there is NO disruption happening as those building the disruption are those being part of classic education, we are ADULTs so please stop using drop-outs – we are adults CHOOSING what we learn, and please STOP thinking in terms of classic assignments as that is NOT the only way to assess knowledge – our personal learning network can do that! And OH YEAH, that means assessment can take place contextualized and outside MOOC platforms.

Real disruption: not there yet: attract people from outside of classic education to look at the future of education
“How can we ensure that future professors will be able to teach with new technology”: well, first of all, let us all learn to cope with change and new technologies. Digital literacy in terms of cultural awareness, critical analysis (quality, selection…), and attract people that were NOT educated through the existing classic system of primary, high school, university… Interdisciplinary might not be enough to really capture or draw up a roadmap for future education. Inevitably the best scoring/performing people within a system are those who can replicate the system. As such, I often wonder how much disruption can take place if we build the so-called disruptive systems with those that come out of those systems… there won’t be too much change happening. Only marginal differences that are called ‘disruptive changes’ because it sounds nice at this moment in history.

MOOCs are disruptive? Do not make me laugh!
While discussions are multiple on the disruptive effect of MOOCs, I keep wonder how little it takes for the ‘disruption’ label to appear. At the end of the day, I still see/hear the majority of academics/professors talk about teaching, not learning. The MOOCs are in many cases simply a digitized form of earlier, existing content. So not much disruption there.
And one of the – for me questionable – outcomes of the MOOCification, are the multiple mentions of how now less teachers will be needed, less professorships, as more less well paid people can pick up certain aspects of MOOCs. So, if I understand correctly education is again cut due to (false) arguments. This also does not feel disruptive at all, in fact it feels very familiar. In this case I think the word ‘disruptive’ is only used to do more of the same (cuts) but using the word ‘disruptive’ as a false argument that simply sounds good and that people take for granted.
Real disruption would happen if a new model of education would come up that makes people be citizens and rulers of their own life. A new societal model, that would (just imagine) lead to more satisfied lives where basic (= not surviving but living) needs can be secured for all and where learning is seen as a truly important, life enabling and satisfying activity. For me, gaining knowledge and sharing it so we can all benefit is the way to go. Technology as support, living life as sense-making, following personal goals that are based on personal strengths and connected improvement for all (which does not imply a linear move towards improved living necessarily).

Drop-outs? Adult, autonomous thinking and choices you mean!
On drop-outs in MOOCs: okay, I am willing to see how graduate students might be in need of following a full MOOC (especially for those MOOCs embedded in the degree curriculum of a university, but even then… *sigh*), but most MOOC’ers are ADULTS. And adults (at least a good portion of them) can really think by themselves! So, please, can we drop the drop-out! Do any MOOC-teachers/professors really still think that the way they provide content and assessment is the only way to grasp content? As an adult, I think we can all choose what is of importance to us, and we do not need to be assessed in classic ways, we can figure it out by ourselves (at least some of us, not all, and voluntary choice is good for everyone of course).

Assessment by feedback from personal learning network
If we cannot figure it out - as adults - what we need, and how to master it, it proofs that we did not learn to find it out by ourselves. Sometimes we need classic assessment, sometimes we need to explore the unknown, and sometimes we just roam the premises in order to learn serendipitously. If small children are able to master new content, we as adults surely can too. I am not pushing assessment aside, I just feel that some of us are able to assess what we need, and whether we learned it ourselves, not necessarily by externally designed tests. Another options would be to always include contextual assignments, that way adults can embed new information in their professional/personal context and think about it. Of course the question comes up: “yes, but how will it be graded?”. Simple enough. If we really belief in a networked world, where people have their own personal learning network, you can rest assured that when sharing our drafts of these personally written assignments with each of our own network community, they will give ample feedback. And much more contextualized feedback, coming from real life, authentic experience. It cannot be called a disruptive action, if we still restrict peer review feedback to the other people taking a course. That is too simple AND it assumes that those people are the only ones being able to provide the right feedback. For me, the best feedback I get is from those in my personal learning network, not necessarily from other MOOC participants.

And I refrain myself from the tiresome discussion on using the term ‘teaching’ much more then ‘learning’. How many times must we agree on the importance of learning and learner autonomy, and then simply stick with teaching as the core concept. We learn by doing, we learn by learning. 

Okay, should probably sleep. Grumpy woman here.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Liveblog #ectel2015 #MOOC pedagogy, patterns of engagement design

With a focus on why people act/engage the way they do in MOOCs, when looking at different size MOOCs (size being the number of weeks the mooc is running). Rebecca Ferguson and Doug Clow from the OU on stage, first Rebecca, then Doug.

Different engagement patterns depending on assessments that are in the MOOC or not, the same with discussions that might be in it or not. Which makes it a difficult exersize to find patterns that can be compared.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are part of the lifelong learning experience of people worldwide. Many of these learners participate fully. However, the high levels of dropout on most of these courses are a cause for concern. Previous studies have suggested that there are patterns of engagement within MOOCs that vary according to the pedagogy employed. The current paper builds on this work and examines MOOCs from different providers that have been offered on the FutureLearn platform. A cluster analysis of these MOOCs shows that engagement patterns are related to pedagogy and course duration. Learners did not work through a three-week MOOC in the same ways that learners work through the first three weeks of an eight-week MOOC.

Life-changing learning is put on one of the slides (just side remark)

This research was a reaction to first findings from Coursera research on clusters of completers, lurkers… BUT, they were keen to see what happens in FutureLearn courses. Interested in increasing engagement, satisfaction in MOOCs as felt by learners.

The approach of this talk was not to focus on details, but that is all in the paper. So they switched to focus on ‘how generasible is the research in MOOCs’, and then only focus on one strand of research. Both slides are u on slideshare.

What do we – all of us – understand when thinking about generalising about MOOCs. So what do we think about what a MOOC is.
Only about 8% has engaged in multiple platform MOOCs, while 50% has completed a MOOC, and about 95% of people in the room has been looking into a MOOC (not completed, with completion being a very personal interpretation).

Doug Clow: patterns of engagement in the middle are quite variable in MOOCs.
Quiet participants, contributors, and consistent engagers are the clusters of engagement chosen by Rebecca and Doug.
In FutureLearn the decision was made to add discussion to every piece of content, as their focus is on discussion, or dialogue between participants.
Pedagogical choices inevitably result in different results, in different behaviors, which infiltrates clusters made as well... so that is the difficulty of focusing on one MOOC, and trying to scale to other MOOCs.
Similar when teaching a class, even if the content and approach are identical, the class dynamic will make it into a different course, simply by the interventions from the learners. 

slides (detailed version) here

Liveblog #Ectel2015 keynote Juan Pelegrin EU #funding #Edtech

Okay, this blog might be of important for anyone searching for funding regarding EdTech skills. Juan Pelegrin seems like an honest believer in funding projects to get change done.

first part from Doug Clow's liveblog
"Digital skills shortage. Mismatch of rising unemployment, with 1m vacancies not filled. Have to modernise education and training systems, cheaply and effectively. Cost-saving a priority. The OECD report on Thursday, where the conclusions were misread to say digital technologies do not help learning. Not good news, we will have to prove them wrong."

Limited uptake of ict is schools and unis
Fragility of current EU learning tech industry

  • Tech is disrupting education (moocs, cloud, tablets, interactive books)
  • Changes in education – open, flexible access t learning and education 24/7
  • Demands for 21st century skills
  • Build European market for interactive digital content for use in learning (remark Inge interesting, might be integration of MOOCs in schools)
  • Promote excellence in education and skills through pervasive access to digital learning and 21st century skills
  • Ensure adequacy between skills and employment market (remark Inge: interesting focus still on job creation, where jobs are bound to disappear through increased automation)

Support to a triple play: innovation, inclusion, and economic impact

Digital tech in EU
  • In EU education is failing to keep pace with digital society and economy
  • 63% of nine year olds do not study at highly digital schools
  • Teachers feel insecure about working with tech.
Gunther Oettinger – commissioner for digital economy and society
Mission: (interest!) “… to reinforce digital skills and learning across society, with a view to empowering EU workforce and consumers for the digital era”
This is new to EU, a focus on digital skills. The EU has put real political attention on this topic (feeling funding opportunities here

Recent EU actions
  • Digital single market initiative (2015)
  • Initiative opening up education (2013)
  • Grand coalition for ICT jobs (2013)
  • Research and innovation on ICT for learning: close to 40 projects, ne calls under H2020 contributing to shape the future of education and training (remark: look for calls)
An overview of funding is given… but … the question is of course (in my opinion) which type of funding of projects has had which type of objective impact (objective meaning: not-self reported, but established from outside findings).

Outcome Topic 20: tech for better human learning and teaching WP 2014-2015
Input: 174 proposals for 640 million funds
Output: only 54 proposals ranked as high quality, 12 retained (as many calls were resubmissions trying to fit into other calls), 5 were put on the reserve list.
(remark: this makes it possible if you write a high quality call to get funding: make it new, authentically fitting the call…)

Outcome Topic 20: Coverage
  • Good coverage overall with wide reach of learning contexts from formal to informal (schools, universities, VET, workplace, social learning).
  • Advanced personalisation and adaptivity through robotics, AI, immersive environments, wearable tech, analytics)
  • Key areas target STEM, artistic expression, languages, open courseware, assessment, career development skills and skills for industry 4.0.
  • Special needs widely recognised
  • No PPI submission (PPI? Lite umbrella – not sure what this means, need to look up)
Horizon 2020 work programme 2016 – 2017
ICT 22 2016 can be found on page 53 of the Horizon 2020 report.
  • ICT 22 2016 tech for learning and skills (30 -  20 million EUR – if I heard correctly and looking for proposals around 5 million – WHAT?! Well, just an indication)
  • Focus on developing open and interoperable components
  • Digital learning infrastructure
  • Personalised learning
  • Skills validation
  • Assessment of learner’s progress
  • Availability and wider adoption of education tech
  • Efficient and effective learning
  • Very large pilots in several European countries (very large: scalable across countries, schools, organisations… so deployment of tech)
Wise advise: read the call, and stick to the suggestions.
Primary and secondary schools only = focus

Other option for funding: focus on Research and Innovation Action
  • Tech to focus on Science, Tech, Engineering, Mathematics, combined with Arts (STEAM) – remark Inge: seems good bet, as art always led STEM innovations, think Einstein visualisation capacity)
  • Develop creativity
  • Foundational research and piloting
  • Potential impact on key growth areas
Competition remains to be very high, so if you answer a call, do it at high quality. “Half of the project evaluators sit in this room” 
16 April 2016 will be deadline
Look for good, strong partners (Lisa?)
Interpret the language of the text as it is (and/or means and/or). 

Additional information: there are billions of EUR for professional development (local initiatives) of teachers in schools... so make bid. This is apart from the above, just a note to take into consideration of CPD of teachers is in your mind. See EU structural funds. 

Wednesday 16 September 2015

liveblog @ectel2015 Grounded serious game design on scientific findings: the case of ENACT on soft skills assessment

Grounded serious game design on scientific findings: the case of ENACT on soft skills training and assessment (EU project)
Davide Marocco (Plymouth uni)
Enhancing negotiation skills through online assessment and training methods.

Goal: assessment and enhance negotiation competences based on psychological modelling and embed it in modern ICT such as elearning, mLearning, augmented reality...
Idea is to create an online stand-alone game that will enhance negotiation competences.
(and luckily) the team also wants to make an innovative and scientifically sound assessment methodology.

Negotiation competence as social-intra-interpersonal competence (soft-skill) that can be improved and impact the personal and professional life of people.

The game is role-playing game: a bit like a virtual role playing game. Role playing was chosen as it is a proven format for these types of online skill training.
Mix of converging and diverging situation and gender.
8 role playing scenarios for practising and testing negotiation skill
There are user actions, and characters and behaviours that come up.

The core is the concern for self versus the concern for others, which can be either high or low resulting in different compromises (based on Rahim & Bonoma, 1979, psychological reports, 44, 1327.
Assessment validation: with Rahim test to see which type you are resulting in 88 items  (adding demographic questions), correlation with Big Five (20 elements), Assertive efficacy (6 item), self-efficacy (8 items).
450 users, with 2350 scenarios was total population, but filtering was done to increase validation of the project.

flexible system: in simulation setup we can cntrol, add and remove several variables
people remains concentrated utnil the end of the game
the position of the sentences in the UI has no effect
the gender of the virutal player and the conflict type of negotiation have no effect
correlations with Roci are acceptable ony for dominating and integrating

Have a look at the game here

Question from the audience: the theory is rather old, so maybe how technology has changed since then, it might have an effect on the outcomes? And a big overlap with another EU project called Target?
Answer: indeed, but we choose to use Rahim to see what it results in and then move on from there. 

liveblog from @EcTEL2015 a framework to design educational #mobile based games across multiple spaces

I choose to sit in on this session as the combination of integrating multiple contexts into mobile learning design is quite a challenge. And just one of the contexts that matter to the whole set of learning contexts. So, I do think there might be a generic framework in this, or a basis to add this design framework and add other contexts to it.

Carmen Fernandez-Panadero (UC3M - Spain) takes the stage and immediately dives in with enthusiasm. Content cration and technical deployment are the two keypoints she will focus on. But first the abstract:.

Abstract: The adoption of mobile devices and context-aware technologies offers the opportunity of designing educational mobile-based games across multiple spaces that enrich the learners’ experience. But producing these games is challenging from both the authoring and technical points of view. This paper proposes a framework to facilitate the design of these games. The framework consists of two elements: (1) a narrative structure, and (2) a platform for its deployment. Both elements defined as a set of templates to be completed for facilitating both the authoring of the narrative and the design of the platform. In order to show a usage example, the framework has been used to develop a mobile-based game for a museum. The game designed has been piloted with 10 students between 6 and 12 years old. The results of the pilot show that it is technically feasible to use this framework to design a mobile-base game across three spaces: a museum, home and a classroom. The students found the activity a good and engaging learning experience.

How to extend the museum experience to other spaces (home, school)?
How can we reinvent permanent exhibition and provide different experiences with the same modules.

Learning experiences: 3 phases: before/during/after

Before: record video illustrating the main experiment (science experiment). The teams are 5 - 6 students. Each tema prepares and uploads a self-contained video.
During the visit: presenting an adventure delivered to mobiles
1st act: adventure.
5 missions, with 5 teams.
All the teams need to find out who was kidnapped.
In order to solve the adventure tthere is an 'agent kit': tablet, map and decoder.
2nd act: conflict rising: each team member has a role to solve part of the mission.
3rd act: denoument
After the visit: in-class activities, personalized reports (e.g. a comic illustrating the full process of the adventure and solving it).

This led to Content creation and Deployment
The Hero Journey is a book that was build once the author realised that adventures are always solved in similar narrative patterns.

the technology used: [m]Gauge: mobile games for augmented education
Ruby on rails, php for server technology and mobile gap for tablets

@ectel2015 Using MOOC and CLIL with 16 - 17 year old students instruments & set-up

Just arrived at the EC-TEL conference in Toledo, Spain. And finalised a second set of slides together with my colleague Kathy Demeulenaere (GUSCO), focusing on a project set up by GUSCO school (k12) to integrate MOOCs into CLIL lessons.

The overview paper is available through Academia here. And sharing the abstract:
In this HybridEd workshop paper the authors will share a pilot project that combines Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) with external (i.e. not self-developed) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) to en-hance LifeLong Learning (LLL) skills in a blended learning environment (MOOC and classroom). The target population of this project consists of upper secondary students attending those secondary school curricula that normally result in college or university entrance. These upper secondary students follow a MOOC of their own choosing. Their MOOC learning performance in terms of language use and digital skills is monitored via generic lifelong learning rubrics and teacher-student mentoring
The slides are in a beta form of course, as we will reflect upon them in the next two days. The presentation will be on Friday 18 September in session 2 of the HybridEd workshop - 5A from 17.15 - 18.30 in the La Mancha room (if I am correct?) and ... I must say I like La Mancha, any connotation with the wonderful Don Quixote is energizing.

Have a look at the slides, they contain links to instruments as well, so might be nice.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

#Ectel2015 presentation Self-Directed Learning dimensions #MOOC

The EC-TEL conference is organised in Toledo, Spain, and I just got my slides ready for the presentation on Thursday. It will be a short paper based presentation, describing the background, method, challenges ... of investigating Self-Directed Learning experiences with adult learners, covering learners that were engaged in 3 FutureLearn courses (a brand of MOOC courses).

The short paper is available through Academia here. Abstract of the paper:
Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is gaining interest, as online learning is increasingly learner-centered. FutureLearn courses provide an array of online interactions and content deliveries, which have allowed the authors to investigate a diversity of SDL elements. This preliminary research examines the SDL taking place in three FutureLearn courses, and categorises those learner actions into meaningful elements and dimensions for the learners. The SDL framework  by Bouchard [1] is used to interpret the self-reported findings coming from active learners. The research uses a grounded theory approach to look for learner experiences related to four dimensions (algorithmic, conative, semiotic, and economic) of the Bouchard [1] framework, and to discover new dimensions. Various research instruments are used: online surveys, learning logs, and one-on-one interviews, all collected pre-, during, or post-course. The initial adaptation of Bouchard’s framework offers insights into SDL, its meaning, and value as perceived by the learners.
The slides are in a beta form of course, as I will reflect upon them in the next two days. The presentation will be on Thursday 17 September in session 5A from 14.30 - 16.00 (for unknown reasons in the learning analytics and visualisation session? Might have been more in tune with MOOC and informal learning), organised in Room A.

Monday 14 September 2015

#MOOC use in secondary school (k12) for non-native English/French speakers

The last couple of weeks I have been working on a project with a secondary school (GUSCO school in Kortrijk, Belgium). Which resulted in some first explorations, shared in a previous post when I was still looking for a sound method. By now the direction, three teachers and 42 students have launched a class (well, three classes, but one sort of class) in which they combine MOOC with CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning). This means that all participating students are non-native English/French speakers (most of them speak Dutch, some have another mother tongue due to migration history), and they explore content provided in MOOCs on a voluntary basis to train their language skills and learn more about a topic of their interest.

Status of the project: today is the second class of this first year roll-out. The class takes up 2 hours per week throughout the academic year, lesson-plan is made (with room for adjustments throughout the year), instruments are active, teachers have been exploring MOOCs (continued professional development through autonomous action).

In tomorrow's post I will highlight some of the instruments used (still translating some), but listing them here:

  • an adapted scale for measuring skills and capacities, focusing on language and learning skills;
  • a logbook kept by the students to reflect upon their present week, and providing feedback; 
  • a self-regulated learning questionnaire to monitor self-esteem and motivation as the course moves along the academic year. 

While discussing this project, potential challenges came up, some of them felt more pressing then others. Here are three of the challenges and the responses those challenges (not necessarily evidence based at this point):

1- Will the target group of 16 - 17 year old's be capable of following and interacting in a MOOC?
When looking at secondary data coming from MOOCs that have been running, and focusing on those age ranges that participated in these MOOCs, there is a clear indication that 15 - 20 year old's are participating actively. Granted, many of those might be native English speakers (or natively speaking the language of the MOOC: Spanish, Chinese, Russian...), nevertheless non-native English speakers are also interacting, they do exist and as such that group is of interest. Furthermore that age group has been participating from early on in the MOOC roll-out. Additionally, in Belgium 8 out of 10 schools use online learning tools (e.g. Bingel, a learning platform provided by an book producer, and combining methods used in the books for learner activation outside of the classroom, either for remedial purposes or diversification. This means that in primary school those young pupils are already being exposed to online interactions, which makes MOOCs a potential next step once they move into secondary school. By then some of those options need to be researched for better understanding and guidance, to enable it to be embedded in school settings.
The first picture represents those MOOC participants that posted in MOOC forums (blue = full time occupied, red = not full time occupied). This demographic comes from a collection of Stanford MOOCs running on the Coursera platform in 2013. The second picture provides the age demographics of a more recent MOOCs from FutureLearn (from Simon Nelson presentation).

2 - What is the risk of those students becoming demotivated, and even loose their learning self-esteem by being exposed to following or at least interacting in a MOOC that might have content that is too complex for them at this moment in their lives?
On the issue of the content of MOOCs being too difficult. Will the average student aged 16-17 be able to complete complex assignments which are incorporated in MOOCs? My guess would be: no. But that is where the teachers come in. All three teachers are experienced language teachers, and they have a knack for for finding the Zone of Proximal Development that might just leverage the knowledge of the students that is existing in their mind to the level needed to understand (a selection) of the MOOC content. This does of course reflect in the type of grading that can or cannot be done: in this project the students will be graded on daring to speak and interact, on going through some of the MOOC content, and interacting with peers in class and in the MOOC. In a way these grades will be more generic, then content-related.
But, it is fair to say that the student motivation and self-esteem must be monitored in this case (or in any type of new class). In order to see what the impact is of each MOOC-CLIL phase (a groupMOOC phase - strong support from teachers and one MOOC is chosen for classical training in MOOC actions, a EigenMOOC (ownMOOC) phase, where small groups of students choose which MOOC they want to follow, Evaluation phase: where students produce an introduction about the class for next years students). In order to monitor the effect on student learning, a questionnaire is provided to the learners. That questionnaire looks at their self-regulated learning capacities, and monitors their motivation (extrinsic, intrinsic) and their learning self-esteem (questionnaire consists of 50 questions). By monitoring motivation and self-esteem before the full course, after the groupMOOC phase, and at the end of the OwnMOOC, we hope to get a picture of the impact of the course on the actual learning process.

3 - The fact that Content and Language Integrated Learning is combined with MOOCs that are selected by the pupils, how does this relate to the Content factor mentioned in CLIL? 
It is true that CLIL by definition demands a fair focus on content, as the language is learned via content related context. Nevertheless, we think that by letting the students select which MOOC they want to follow, they will inevitably choose a type of content that is of interest to them (more motivated?). This will (we assume) make that content more relevant for their future interests/work/plans as well, and thus the uptake of the language will be more intense. The fact that they choose which content to follow also relates to a more learner-centered approach, which is applauded at this moment in educational history (and by myself personal, as learning is personal). 

Saturday 12 September 2015

Some free reading from @RoutledgeBooks: chapters

With Routledge sharing some free chapters, it is easier (and more tempting) to choose some of their book titles. So gladly sharing the free online chapters Routledge is offering at this moment, or as they promote it:
We are pleased to bring you a selection of chapter compilations from our key book series.
Each compilation features a number of chapters from different titles within the series. The compilations give you an idea of the content and scope of the book series.
All of these compilations are free for you to view online.
Where to find these free chapters? Here.

The chapters can be easily read and shared , as the screen tool allows zooming in and out and a quick sharing option as well.

I am reading " The 'Turn to Gramski' in the English language" and one I really look forward to is a chapter from the book "New directions in the philosophy of education" series: chapter entitled: "the poeticization of culture", under the umbrella of 'truth and freedom'... intriguing.