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Blog home | August 2012 »

July 2012

Many thanks to Jim Albright and colleagues at the University of Newcastle for the chance to give a talk in the ERIN Lecture series


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Elnet (the E-learning network of Australia) is having a one day conference in Brisbane, Friday August 10th
Program, further details and rego.

Some of you may recall Derek Muller who has presented at UniServe Science Conferences and appears on Quantum. He has recently facilitated the ViBEnet Forum. Earlier this year Derek Muller, did a 5 min. audition for TED (the ideas conference run annually in California and Edinburgh). He was one of 300 speakers auditioned in 14 cities. All these talks were filmed and put on the TED website where people can rate and comment. The top 20 by voting will be invited to speak at the big TED events in 2013.

Derek's talk was about his PhD (supervised by Manju Sharma) and is an interesting presentation about some important ideas in teaching Physics. We hope you might find it interesting from that point of view. Or you might just want to support Derek in his effort to promote his science-related web activities.

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Wiley-British Journal of Educational Technology Seminar - Learning Technology: Redefining the field

Wednesday 5th September 2012, 09:00-10:30

As part of the BERA Annual Meeting in Manchester (UK), Wiley are organising a seminar on Describing and defining the field of learning technology and building an all-encompassing theoretical framework.

If you would like to contribute to this important session, please contact Nick Rushby (bjeteditor@wiley.com or tel: +44 1444 243092) as soon as possible.

Peter Reimann and I have been invited to run a workshop on eResearch methods in education for early career researchers at AARE-APERA 2012 conference. Everyone is welcome to join!

Workshop called “Going digital: Harnessing digital technologies for educational research"

Click here for conference program or workshop program

PhD students and Early career researchers who have been using digital technologies in their research projects are invited to submit an abstract and make a workshop presentation.

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The US National Academies Press has released a pre-publication copy of this very comprehensive and timely report.

See especially p99-101 which draws heavily on the work of Peter Freebody.

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On the 6th of July 2012, we officially opened The Design Studio with leading researchers in the Learning Sciences from around the world. Professor Peter Goodyear welcomed our visitors and Professor Marcia Linn from the University of California - Berkeley cut the ribbon.

The Design Studio is equipped with cutting edge technologies that support both collaborative design work and advanced research. We are excited about the opportunities that this studio will offer as we advance research in the sciences and technologies of learning.

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July 16, 2012,
Kim Arlington,
Sydney Morning Herald,
Digital Life News Article
http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/the-classroom-but-not-as-we-know-it-technology-to-revolutionise-schools-20120715-224ax.html

Article about our International Conference of the Learning Sciences: The Future of learning held on Sydney, 2 - 6 July, 2012.


Photo shows Roberto Martinez (left) Richard Gluga (right), CHAI tabletop (foreground) and School of IT Common Room (background); this was the venue for July 2 DECL Workshop Digital Ecosystems for Collaborative Learning organised by Pierre Dillenbourg (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland), James Slotta and Mike Tissenbaum (University of Toronto, Canada), Roberto Martinez Maldonado, Beat Schwendimann, Andrew Clayphan and Christopher Ackad (The University of Sydney, Australia).

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Lucila Carvalho and I are editing a book on "The architecture of productive learning networks". Routledge, New York offered us a contract today, so we are now full steam ahead for completion of the book by the end of January. Further information about the book can be found here.

The book will report outcomes from Strands 1 and 2 of my ARC Laureate Fellowship program.

Today's issue of The Australian has an article on Manu Kapur's research on 'productive failure'. The article ("Pitching failure as a sure-fire path to success"), by Bernard Lane, builds on Manu's keynote at the ICLS conference in Sydney last week.

Manu is one of the international members of the STL team here at the University of Sydney. Among other things, he is a PI on Michael Jacobson's Learning in Virtual Worlds project.

Manu is based at the Learning Sciences Lab in Singapore.

Many of you will have met Gaelle Molinari at our recent ICLS conference in Sydney.

Gaelle is organising a workshop on Tools and Technologies for Emotion Awareness in Computer-Mediated Collaboration and Learning (ARV2013), January, 28 – February, 1st, French Alps.

If you are researching in this area and would like to participate in the workshop, please send a position paper to gaelle.molinari@unidistance.ch and Guillaume.Chanel@unige.ch

Submission deadline: September 10, 2012. Gaelle & Guillaume expect to send out invitations by October 19, 2012

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10th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning

“To see the World and a Grain of Sand”

June 15-19, 2013, University of Wisconsin Madison, USA.

Brought to you by ISLS, hosted by the Learning Sciences program at the university of Wisconsin Madison.

About the conference (posted on behalf of the conference organisers)

CSCL is a major international event, organized biennially by ISLS, which gathers together people involved in all aspects of the field of technology-based collaborative learning, including research, education, training and technology. CSCL invites papers on the nature of collaborative learning in technologically supported environments from empirical, theoretical, conceptual and design based perspectives.

Our conference theme, To see the world and a grain of sand: Learning across levels of space, time, and scale” is inspired by (and modified from) William Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence” reflects the unique aspect of CSCL in which interactions and learning need to be understood, supported and analyzed at multiple levels. The attention to the theoretical, methodological and technological issues of addressing research at multiple levels is highly relevant to current research in CSCL, as well as to developing an emerging understanding of the epistemological and methodological issues that will shape our intellectual efforts well into the future. More information at conference website.

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As a Learning Interface Designer my view is probably swayed, but I was ecstatic in the audience of Pierre Dillenbourg's talk at ICLS 2012 (which was both insightful and entertaining) when he made an open call for more work to be done on HCI for Education. Later, society founder Janet Kolodner echoed agreement for this need, appropriately recasting it as "Learning Experience Design".

There has been a paucity of design thinking and human-centered approaches to the development of learning technology for too long now. The new multi-disciplinarity made possible by fields such as the Learning Sciences paves the way to change all that. The work of Dillenbourg's group is a perfect example. The technology he showcased was created by a multi-disciplinary team, and as a design solution to a problem they discovered through observation (not a technology-led approach). This narrative is utterly in tune with user experience design methods. Moreover the results, such as the lantern he showed (pictured here) were effective, elegant and appropriately minimalist - again, design thinking principles at work.

I look forward to a new era that brings these fields together so that we can finally take a principled, research-based and human-centered approach to the design of user interfaces and experiences for learning.

[PS. For anyone with a special interest in this area, please join our Mendeley group :) Also, I've been gathering information on this topic since 2005 at the eLearning Interface Design blog.]

This was also my first time attending ICLS, although I had attended the conference held every other year, CSCL. I focused most of my attention on sessions that were concerned with methods of analysing large data sets, or interesting tools and their use in learning. I saw interesting presentations by Jeremy Roschelle on Dynabook, and Paulo Bilkstein on agent-based models. I also saw interesting talks on epistemic network analysis, and path models.

What I found to be missing, at least in these sessions on analysis, was the relationship back to design, or rather, what can be designed. What I really wanted to see was ideas for the design of learning environments or tasks that could provide opportunities for learning in the context of the different patterns of behaviours that were observed.

I very much enjoyed the symposium on learning analytics and educational data mining, especially Roy Pea’s summing up at the end. He said (to paraphrase) that when we use ‘big data’, we should make sure that we don’t lose the contextual features, and that with this type of analysis we risk coming to value (or count) only what is digitally recorded. It made me think about what constitutes data across these different areas of the learning sciences, and whether there will be a way to bring these different perspectives together. Certainly multidisciplinary teams seem to be one solution to this, and a new set of challenges will be encountered.

ICLS also had interesting pre-conference events. I really enjoyed participating in the workshop on “Analyzing Collaborative Learning at Multiple Levels” led by Gerry Stahl, Heisawn Jeong, Keith Sawyer and Dan Suthers. This workshop invited participants to share datasets or analysis that could illustrate possibilities for connecting analyses across levels – such as individuals, small groups, networks and communities. We had a whole day of interesting rich discussions about various ongoing research projects, with presentations of different datasets and their associated claims about connecting levels of analysis.

This was the first ICLS conference for me, thus some insights from a “newcomer” perspective.
I haven’t experienced such explicit manifestation of conceptual “ecology” and “complexity” before in one place. The diversity of perspectives from which learning phenomena is explored was impressive - body, context, representations, social interaction, emotion, cognition, perception, etc. - all different angles and modalities were nicely reflected) in conference sessions that I attended (and often fused together.

I was pleased to see that so many researchers go beyond standard methodological toolbox and invent new research tools for analysing learning data that come in various sizes and shapes (including digital learning traces). I can see a great potential in this “methodological zoo” of eResearch techniques and, particularly, general proliferation of the methodological creativity. Overall, the richness of theoretical thought, methodological rigour and innovation that were represented in the presentations made me finally to believe that the learning sciences can be a science and an innovative science.

Three aspects made me think about the future:

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ICLS2012_logo.gif Professor Pierre Dillenbourg from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) always gives inspirational talks and his keynote address at ICLS 2012 was another such talk. He presented clever designs for educational problems and a view of the overall educational design situation as one which may be understood through orchestration. Professor Pierre Dillenbourg presented several novel systems for learning - one involving paper, projectors, and augmented reality which highlighted a 'harmonious togetherness' of several technologies. Further information may be found at the CRAFT website.

This talk was one of many influential addresses, paper presentations, symposiums, and poster presentations from world leaders of research into the sciences and technologies of learning. A truly memorable experience.

REALISTIC VIRTUAL AGENTS THAT EXPRESS COMPLEX EMOTIONS IN MULTIPLE MODALITIES

Monday 9 July 2012 11-12am. Join us for a joint CoCo-CHAI-LATTE seminar by Professor Jean-Claude Martin.

School of Information Technology (SIT) Lecture Theatre in School of Information Technology Building J12
University of Sydney

Abstract and further details

ICLS 2012 has drawn to a close; four days full of presentations, symposia and good food. Since the closing ceremony, several people have asked me about the conference and for my personal highlights of the event. It is hard to give just one highlight, there was so much of interest. For me, the chance to situate my own research within the international research community and to discuss ideas with both peers and professors was both inspirational and affirming.

An example of this was a chance meeting, just before lunch on Thursday, with Bruce Sherin. Along with Loucas Louca and with two other CoCo PhD candidates, we enjoyed lunch sitting in the Sydney winter sunshine. During lunch, Bruce and Loucas were kind enough to listen to an explanation of my research and to offer opinions and advice. The highlight of this lunch meeting, for me, was Bruce's interest (excitement is probably too strong a word) about one of my interview questions. I have interviewed several groups of school students (ages 11 and 12) about their understanding of some socio-scientific concepts. To gain an insight into the student's understanding of conservation of matter, I asked for their opinions about the weight (mass) of the Earth. The question went something like: "When I was born there were about three billion people on the planet, today there are over seven billion. All these extra people need houses, hospitals, cities, food etc.. Do you think that the Earth weighs more today than it did when I was born?". I won't spoil the ending of my PhD dissertation by revealing the results here, but Bruce Sherin hadn't heard of anyone using this question before and thought that it was a good one... Phew.

JudyKay.jpg
Judy Kay gave an inspiring presentation at ICLS2012 this morning, pushing the boundaries of the field lifewide as well as lifelong.

For more information about Judy's research (and that of the team in CHAI) -
Judy Kay's CHAI webpage

The University of Sydney Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Scheme is open for applications until 31 May 2013.

These Fellowships allow outstanding researchers within 1-6 years of the award of their PhD to undertake research in any School at the University of Sydney. Applicants must have an outstanding track record relative to opportunity in order to be short-listed and the scheme attracts highly talented researchers from around the world.

If you work in the field of learning technology/learning sciences we’d be pleased to hear from you. The deadline for applications is Friday 31st May 2013 but you're strongly advised to contact one of the Sydney STL team as soon as possible in order to meet the deadline.

More information on the scheme can be found here (offsite).

Instructional Science, Volume 40, Number 4 - SpringerLink

Special Issue: Productive Failure in Learning from Generation and Invention Activities
Guest Editors: Manu Kapur and Nikol Rummel

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Photos from the first day of the conference can be found here

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The 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences is now underway at the University of Sydney. This is the first time that the conference has been held in Australia. Over 300 researchers involved in the Science of Learning are meeting for the whole of this week, with a program of workshops, keynotes and paper sessions.

Lina Markauskaite and Peter Reimann are guest editing a special issue of the British Journal of Educational Technology on the theme of e-research for education. Full details of the call can be found here.

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Research by the University's Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI).
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