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April 2013

Join us on the 8th of May for a seminar by Andy Dong titled “The Five Cognitive Strategies of Design Thinking and Their (Potential) Contributions to Learning by Design”.

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The concept of design thinking exceeds the field of design studies. In addition to the practical, technical tools of design, many scholars view design thinking as underpinned by a particular set of cognitive strategies.

In this talk, I will discuss the five cognitive strategies associated with design thinking: framing, abduction, analogising, prototyping, and mental simulation. I will also relate them to hypothesised cognitive behaviours that are at the heart of design thinking, based upon research in animal innovation and early childhood cognitive development, and discuss of how insights from cognitive design research on design thinking could contribute to learning by design.

Andy Dong is the Warren Center Chair of Engineering Innovation in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies and an ARC Future Fellow. His research addresses the structure and function of design knowledge and the causal importance of the structures and processes of design knowledge production to design-led innovation.

When: 8 May, 11.00am - 12.30pm. (Arrive at 10.45am for refreshments.)
Where: Education Building (A35), Room 230.
More information at the University events' webpage.
This seminar will be available live online at http://webconf.ucc.usyd.edu.au/seminar-room2

Hearty Congratulations to:

Mary-Helen Ward - who submitted her PhD last week

Carlos Gonzalez (PhD 2009) - who has just been promoted to Associate Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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).

MJ.jpgFor readers based outside Australia, in the next few weeks you can see STL lead researcher, Professor Michael Jacobson, present in various cities around the globe on virtual learning environments and the use of technology for learning in science.

Michael will be in Beijing on 23 April giving an invited talk - Beyond Serious Games: Virtual Learning Environments for Understanding Complex Knowledge and Skills - at Tsinghua University. He will also be having meetings on collaborative research projects at Beijing Normal University 24-25 April.

He then travels on to San Francisco, and the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association from 27 April – 1 May, where he will present a paper; Computational Scientific Inquiry with Virtual Worlds and Agent-based Models: new Ways of "Doing" Science to Learn Science. In addition, he will serve as a discussant for a paper session Facilitating Learning in Science Through Technology.

Read more...

Fotolia_20421333_Subscription_XXLsml.jpgJoin us on the 24th of April for a CoCo seminar by Simon Crook titled “The Digital Education Revolution: Initial data analysis of teacher and student reported use of laptops in year 10 science”.

In Australia, since 2008, 1:1 laptops have been introduced into all secondary schools through the Federal Government’s Digital Education Revolution. This study examines survey responses from 1245 science students and 47 science teachers from 14 secondary schools in Sydney in 2010.

When: 24 April, 11.00am - 12.30pm. (Arrive at 10.45am for refreshments.)
Where: Education Building (A35), Room 230.
More information at the University events' webpage.
This seminar will be available live online at http://webconf.ucc.usyd.edu.au/seminar-room2

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Join us on 17 April for a CoCo seminar by Roberto Martinez titled “Interactive Tabletops for Learning: can they help teachers support face-to-face collaboration?”.

There have been many promises and expectations about the role of technology to "solve" many educational problems. Although there is substantial research work on automatic support of collaborative learning through networked systems, there is still little research on enhancing teachers awareness when learners perform small-group face-to-face activities in the classroom.

Interactive tabletops offer new possibilities to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom, but they also impose new challenges. The prices are coming down but the question remains, can Interactive Tabletops be successfully implemented in a regular classroom?

Read more...

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Are you planning to revise an existing course, create a new unit of study, or (re)design a learning space? Will you work on this collaboratively in a team? If so, we invite you to consider using our state-of-the-art design space in the Education Building (A35).

The Educational Design Research Studio (EDRS) is equipped to support small teams (2-10 people) working on existing or new course development projects. The EDRS offers multiple projectors, interactive whiteboards, and plenty of space on the whiteboard walls to develop your ideas. There are audio, still image and videorecording facilities, so that you can take away a record of your work. Your team can use the EDRS just once, or as many times as needed to develop your project. Potential users might include academics (from any discipline), instructional designers, eLearning specialists, etc.

The EDRS has been created as an educational design research facility. You can use the space at no cost and without any obligation to be involved in our research. If, after viewing the space, you think you’d like to help with our research program, we would be happy to discuss opportunities with you.

In the first instance, please contact Dr. Beat Schwendimann [beat.schwendimann@sydney.edu.au].

On April 10th, Professor Sten Ludvigsen of the University of Oslo will present "Learning with, and coordination between, representations in science and mathematics: “What should I do next?”".

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In science and math, learning involves the development of the capacity to use and follow procedures and understand specific concepts and conceptual systems. In areas like DNA analysis and geometry (surface/volume ratio), representations are a key resource for learning new concepts. To develop an understanding of concepts, students must unpack the meanings inscribed in the representations and select and coordinate between such meanings in order to perform tasks and solve problems. Such unpacking is not cognitively trivial and is contingent upon how the knowledge becomes framed and talked about in the activities. In a series of studies in the Science Created by You (SCY) project, we investigated how students developed a conceptual understanding of specific concepts in science and math (e.g., DNA and geometry). In SCY, we designed four missions to study this issue. Overall, we asked one guiding research question: How does students understanding of concepts change during an SCY-Mission?

When: 10 April, 11.00am - 12.30pm. (Arrive at 10.45am for refreshments.)
Where: Education Building (A35), Room 230.
This seminar will be available live online at http://webconf.ucc.usyd.edu.au/seminar-room2

Read more...

RC.jpgAccording to Associate Professor Rafael Calvo we may be entering an era of “positive computing”, in which technology will be designed specifically to promote wellbeing and human potential. He has been in the news recently discussing how we can use advances in online technology to develop innovative programs and tools that support mental health and promote well-being.

The University of Sydney profiled his cross-disciplinary work in harnessing technology to improve mental health with Professor Ian Hickie, Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (Young and Well CRC). The researchers and the Young and Well CRC are engaging in multidisciplinary approaches that bring software specialists together with psychologists and other mental health experts to create new technologies, specially designed to support mental health and well-being.

The three-year project will develop of a range of online interventions to be mapped and available free to the Australian school curriculum including:

  • a Wellbeing Hub where young people can download tools and applications to improve their wellbeing

  • a semi-automated triage system

  • an online clinic to provide direct support to young people experiencing a mental health difficulty.

In his article on The Conversation, "We could be superheroes: the era of positive computing", he discusses the project in more detail, as well as how technologies that foster the factors correlated to psychological well-being are likely to become more common.

If you'd like to see Rafa discuss positive computing, and you live in the UK, you can catch him at University College London on 12 April when he will present seminar on learning technology and positive computing at 1pm. For more info, see their website.

images.jpg A Call for Participation has been opened for the CSCL 2013 invited pre-conference workshop, How will Collaborative Problem Solving be assessed at international scale, organised by Chee-Kit Looi of the National Institute of Education, Singapore, and Pierre Dillenbourg of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. This workshop seeks to create awareness in the CSCL community of the international efforts to assess Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS).

The workshop will be held on Sunday June 16th from 9:00am to 12:30pm. More details can be found in the Call for Participation pdf, or on CSCL generally on their website.

Read more...

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