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February 2013

images.jpgSeveral of our researchers will present papers at this year's international Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, CSCL. The conference will take place from June 15-19, 2013, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

Papers accepted include:

  • Schwendimann, B. Collaboratively generating and critiquing technology enhanced concept maps to improve evolution education.

  • Thompson, K., Ashe, D., Yeoman, P., & Parisio, M. Phases of design: Following idea development and patterns of collborative discussion in a learning by design project.

  • Thompson, K., Ashe, D., Wardak, D., Yeoman, P., & Parisio, M. Identification of patterns of tool use and sketching practices in a learning by design project.

  • Thompson, K., Kennedy-Clark, S., Kelly, N. & Wheeler, P. Using automated and fine-grained analysis of pronoun use as indicators of progress in an online collaborative project.


On March 13th 2013, we will restart our Sciences and Technologies of Learning seminar series with our first seminar of 2013. Join us, online or in person, when STL lead researcher, Abelardo Pardo of LATTE, presents on “Using Learning Analytics to help Flip the Classroom”.

The term flipped classroom denotes a teaching strategy in which face to face time with the students is reserved to activities requiring active participation and other tasks such as readings are supposed to occur before the lecture takes place. The change translates into a significant perturbation on how lecturers must approach a session, and more importantly the type of activities to prepare.

The ubiquitous presence of technology together with the evolution of computing power allow for the use of learning analytics, collect, analyse and use data about how students interact to adapt these activities to maximize learning gains. How can these techniques be used in a day to day class?


Valentina Dagiene will visit us between the 15th and 19th of February. Valentina is a Professor of Mathematics and Informatics at Vilnius University and Head of the Informatics Methodology Department. Her research interests focus on the teaching and learning informatics (Computer Science) at secondary schools, use of computer tools as mind tools for learning. She has published over 150 scientific papers and the same number of methodological works, has written more than 50 textbooks in the field of informatics and IT for schools. She is Editor-in-Chief of two international journals; Informatics in Education since 2002; and Olympiads in Informatics since 2007.

If you are interested in meeting Valentina, please contact Lina Markauskaite at the CoCo Centre or leave a comment here for more information.

On Monday February 18th the Computer Human Adapted Interaction (CHAI) group present a seminar with Professor Gord McCalla, titled The Ecological Approach: A Framework for Supporting Learning and Learning System Design. The seminar takes place on Monday 18 February, from 12.00pm, in the School of IT Room 124 at the University of Sydney.

This talk will overview my evolving perspectives on the design of environments to support learning. The basic philosophy is that such environments must be deeply aware of the surrounding context of learning – technical, personal, social, and cultural – and must be adaptive to differences in this context. This philosophy has led to the development of a framework for supporting learning called the ecological approach that allows a learning system to naturally evolve and change as the learning context changes. The talk will present past and current research related to ecological systems. But it will also look forward to possible future applications including the development of simulated learning environments for testing various learning system architectures and the creation of a lifelong learning companion.


The STL network would like to offer our congratulations to Associate Professor Yael Kali and her team on the success of Israeli Centers for Research Excellence proposal. Their proposal, titled Learning in a NetworKed Society (LINKS) was submitted to the Education and the New Information Society theme of the Israeli Center for Research Excellence (I-CORE) committee, and their success was announced last week.

i core logo.jpgYael, who was our visiting scholar in 2010 and is an Associate Professor in Education at the University of Haifa, will manage the LINKS group of researchers from the University of Haifa, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Technion, and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. This multidisciplinary group of researchers from education, sociology, communication, management, law, and social welfare will collaborate on theoretical and practical contributions to the study of technology-enhanced learning communities.

It is hoped that STL and LINKS will collaborate and interact in their future projects, says Centre Co-Director, Professor Peter Goodyear, who provided letter of cooperation to the proposal. "The Center of Excellence objectives complement our own work, and we are very interested in collaborating in many stimulating, productive and helpful interactions that will significantly strengthen both their projects and ours. In light of past fruitful and successful cooperation, I can wholeheartedly say I look forward to participating in future initiatives made by the LINKS Center."

I-CORE is a Government of Israel initiative to establish leading research centers specializing in a range of disciplines. Of the 11 new Centers announced on Jan 30th, 4 will engage in research in the Social Sciences and Humanities and 7 in Exact Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences and Medicine. LINKS's proposed vision is to develop an integrative theoretical approach that will explain and substantiate designed as well as ambient learning processes in technology-enhanced communities, and to use the knowledge gained for enhancing learning in various educational settings.

For more information on Yael, see here. For more information on I-CORE go to their website .

Touchscreen4sml.jpgWondering what we're getting up to in 2013? One of the first projects we got into in the new year was setting up our new Interactive TableTop in the Design Studio.

David Ashe and Martin Parisio built the interactive table top for research in the sciences and technology of learning. The table is a focal point of ongoing research in our agenda, and you can see further information on tabletop research described on the the Computer Human Adapted Interaction (CHAI) website at the School of Information Technologies.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald's Digital Life News, published during the recent International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS2012) hosted by us at the University of Sydney, highlighted wider interest in such technologies for education.


The Institute for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IISME) are holding their annual event to kick off the year on February 13. This year's half-day event is titled Teaching Science to Non-Science Majors: How do we engage the students? and is convened by Dr Meloni Muir and A/Prof Adam Bridgeman.

Tertiary academics are acutely aware of the challenge of motivating undergraduate students, particularly in large classes, to engage with lecture material. It can be even more challenging when teaching the basic sciences as service units of study where students may not see the need for or relevance of these units of study to their degree or career aspirations yet are required to successfully complete them. This symposium will bring together academics and students from a range of disciplines to discuss perspectives on teaching in science service units of study with examples of successful strategies for engaging students. The keynote speakers will be Dr Kay Colthorpe (University of Queensland) and Associate Professor Les Kirkup (University of Technology, Sydney).

Further details may be found on the University event page - please register there by 8 Feb if you would like to attend.

About the Blog

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