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Visiting Researcher

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Two presenters juxtapose their projects to highlight new insights into research involving school-university partnerships.

Self-Directed Learning in Science, by Prof. Nancy Law, The University of Hong Kong.
This is a University-School Project that focuses on network-based capacity building and knowledge co-creation on learning and assessment design, as well as architecture for learning for scalable innovation.

Thinking Like Scientists by Dr Louise Sutherland, leader of I-Science program, The University of Sydney.
This project examines how different participants (scientists, science teachers, teacher educators and preservice science teachers) value aspects of a science-based artifact produced by high school students.


We are delighted to welcome Nina Bonderup Dohn as a visiting researcher to the University of Sydney and STL from now until Christmas 2013.

Nina.jpgNina is an Associate Professor in Humanistic Information Science at the Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark. Nina holds a PhD in learning theory from Aalborg University and an MA in philosophy and physics from Aarhus University. Her main research areas integrate epistemology, learning sciences, web communication and technology-mediated learning with a special focus on teaching and learning in higher education.

She will present a CoCo seminar on August 21st titled “A tacit-knowledge perspective on engagement with networked learning activities – abstract".

Within the field of networked learning, many researchers take their point of departure in "practice" theories, i.e. theories which stress that the meaning of actions, artefacts, and procedures are bound up with concrete contexts of activity. Important representatives of such "practice theories" are activity theory, expansive learning, and social learning theory.

In this seminar I flesh out a "practice" view of knowledge. I integrate insights from Wittgenstein, phenomenology and situated learning to formulate a view of knowledge as tacit, situated, relational, practical, context-dependent, embodied doing. I argue that our understanding of propositional knowledge is fundamentally dependent on such tacit knowledge; most significantly on the tacit knowledge originating in our ‘primary contexts’, i.e. contexts in which we involve ourselves as persons and which we consider important for who we are.

Building on this view of knowledge, I argue that insights and understandings from one context have to be resituated, transformed, and reactualized to be brought into use in other contexts. Understandings from ‘primary contexts’ have priority here, both in establishing new understandings in new contexts, and as concerns supporting learners’ motivation for engaging in learning tasks.

Whilst at the University she will be located with the CoCo Centre on level 2 of the Education Building, and can be contacted at

Peter_Sloep.jpgLast year we had the pleasure of meeting another Peter, Peter B. Sloep from the Open University in the Netherlands. This week I came across his blog which lead me to his, via my twitter feed. I’m always on the lookout for interesting commentators and have worked hard to train my Zite feed to keep me in good reading. Whilst this has been informative it leaves me feeling like a consumer of information of varying degrees of quality.

In an attempt to find a way into conversations I have tentatively begun blogging and signed up with twitter. Together they provide me with a space in which to ‘say’ something, a soap box of sorts (WordPress) and a very useful message board (twitter) – but I have yet to learn how to harness them as tools for conversation. I thought this was my shortcoming. That was until I read 'A year of content curation' in which Peter describes the missing link, the ability to go beyond recycling, to add value:

“As a content curator I want to go beyond mere filtering and collecting, I want to explain why something is striking to me, to put it in the context of the topic on networked learning as a whole, and even to take an explicit stance on some issue or other. For academic topics such as mine voicing such an opinion probably adds much value.”

I highly recommend both his blog and his Scoop, not just for their content but for what we can learn from his example.

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.

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 .

keynote_kapur.jpgDr. Manu Kapur from Singapore will be visiting the University of Sydney this week, as part of an International Collaboration Award with the Virtual Worlds Project at the CoCo Centre and STL.

Manu is an Associate Professor of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and Head of the Learning Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education of Singapore. Manu was most recently in Sydney when he was a keynote speaker at the CoCo-hosted International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS2012) in July 2012. You can see his slides and keynote video at the conference website.

He will be in Sydney from Jan 21-25. If you are interested in meeting Manu during his visit please contact his host, Professor Michael Jacobson.


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.


About the Blog

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