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November 2012

SS.jpgProfessor Svein Sjøberg will be presenting a seminar on International comparisons: Good and bad experiences from the OECD - PISA project. The seminar will be on Friday 7 December 2012, from 11:15am to 12:30pm at New Law School Annexe Seminar Room 342, at the University of Sydney. Turn up from 11am to get some nibbles.

Professor Svein Sjøberg is a special advisor to the EU, OECD and a number of European countries on the areas of learning and the natural sciences. Based on his experiences as part of these executive committees, he will share his critical concerns about this undertaking.

For more details and RSVP, please here.

EDRS main pic sml.jpgWhat should a space designed for learning about learning ideally include? If you'd like to see one possible answer, head over to our Design Studio website for a run-down on how and why we created this environment, what it has to offer, and how you can get involved.

The Educational Design Research Studio (EDRS or the design studio for short) at the University of Sydney has been created as part of Professor Peter Goodyear’s Australian Laureate Fellowship project. The design studio is equipped to support small teams of people working on existing or new educational design problems, using their own approaches and by using design methods, tools and resources that we can make available.


rf_discuss.jpgJoin us on November 21 for the final CoCo seminar of 2012. David Ashe and Shaista Bibi will present a joint seminar on “Teaching and learning: a knowledge in pieces perspective”.

David Ashe will discuss “School students’ scientific thinking: Is the Earth getting heavier?”, presenting some initial findings taken from a series of interviews with students as they considered a socio-scientific issue regarding sustainability. Taking a ‘knowledge in pieces’ theoretical perspective, David is hoping to help explain why students sometimes have difficulty in utilizing ‘known’ knowledge in different contexts.

Shaista will present her study, “Planning to teach with ICT: what do teachers need to know?”, exploring the nature of university teachers’ technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) when they are involved in making ICT related design and teaching decisions, using knowledge in pieces theoretical framework in her research.

When: Wed 21 Nov from 11.00am – 12.30pm (come at 10.45 for tea and biscuits)
Where: Education Building (A35), Room 230
More information: available here.
Online: This seminar will be available live at

Peter_Sloep.jpgJoin us on November 20 for a CoCo Seminar by Professor Peter Sloep titled “Networked professional learning”.

A Learning Networks is an online social network that has been designed specifically to facilitate learning (professional development). It may be viewed as a dynamic collection of communities, that wax and wane, come to overlap and drift apart in response to the participants needs and wants. In such a community professional development (learning) and being professionally active can become two sides of the same coin.

The great potential of the Learning Network concept lies in its facilitating the exploration and exploitation of the weak links between its participants. They are the as yet unknown sources of new knowledge and support. Ordinary social networks only see their participants as a means of securing income, through advertisements or selling their profiling data. This is reflected in the tools they offer. A Learning Network, rather, is a social network that seeks to serve the learning needs of its participants.


RC.jpgJoin us on the 14th of November for a CoCo-CHAI-LATTE seminar by Associate Professor Rafael Calvo titled ‘Positive Computing: How can technology support wellbeing?’

Digital technologies have made their way into all the aspects of our lives that, according to psychology, influence our wellbeing -- everything from social relationships and curiosity to engagement and meaning. As computers are gradually embedded into all the life experiences that shape us, isn’t it our responsibility to expect more from the way they impact our lives?

More information available here.


Recent research undertaken by Fiona Chatteur (née Kerr), as part of her PhD completed under the supervision of Andy Dong, aimed to make e‐learning design more pedagogically grounded in terms of learning outcomes and experiences. Fiona's thesis is called "Design for Pedagogy Patterns for E-Learning", and she presents some of her findings in this guest blog post.

Designing for e-learning can be a complex task. What often occurs when developing e-learning courseware is that content is written by subject matter experts (SMEs) independently from the user interface, content layout and information architecture design. Written copy is then integrated with the user interface, using content layout design and structured using information architecture and the resulting e-learning courseware is presented to students. The missing link in this process is the designer’s understanding of the pedagogical processes required for optimal learning outcomes.


Few weeks ago The National Academies Press has released pre-publication of the NRC Committee’s on the Mathematical Sciences in 2025 report called “Fueling Innovation and Discovery: The Mathematical Sciences in the 21st Century”. It introduces a nice set of recent advances in applied math domains. It is exactly the math that, I believe, could fascinate even those students who are scared of numbers and it is the math that could make the major difference in many practical fields. Educational research, decision-making, school management and learning are not exceptions. Learning analytics is one of classical examples of applied math on action, but I could predict that we will see much larger variety of social and behavioural research that draw heavily on much broader range of advanced data management, theoretical computer science and data visualisation techniques already in the nearest future. CoCo-Chai-Latte studies that use data mining to analyse collaborative writing, student use of computer models, etc are nice examples of applied math and data visualisation techniques for researching everyday learning. But “literacy in applied math” that underpins “visual learning science” might become one of the greatest learning challenges.

PS: A very simple yet insightful example of thinking broadly about new digital and visual methods in educational research could be Hogrebe and Tate’s paper on geospatial analysis of social dynamic published in the recent special issue on education and democracy of Educational Review of Research in Education. It is difficult to dismiss the value of such inquiry techniques in professional educational research and “citizen scientists” research.

Journal of Educational Data Mining has just published an important special issue closely related to the STL core research areas (an extract from the announcement and link are below):

"Diagnostic Measurement in Complex Learning Environments Using Evidence-centered Design: Snapshots of the current state-of-the-art."

As the title implies, the special issue bridges theoretical approaches and best practices across two disciplines that are critical to educational assessment, modern psychometrics and educational data mining. A prominent role is taken by the evidence-centered design framework - a framework for the principled design, implementation, and analysis of complex assessments - and its advantages for creating evidence-based narratives and decisions about learners.

On Wednesday, November 14 there will be a workshop on the University of Sydney's integrated learning spaces, technologies and program design.

The workshop will run from 1.00pm to 3.00pm. It is intended to expand knowledge on how the University is pursing a vision of integrating physical and virtual learning and teaching space, according to Associate Professor Rob Ellis, Director eLearning at the Learning Space. "In a colloquium held earlier this year, attendees sought information on current working examples and principles of technology-mediated program design at the University."


About the Blog

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