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Designing next generation technology enhanced learning

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Rebecca Ferguson
27 March 2011

ARV2011 Alpine Rendezvous

Design Strand led by Rose Luckin and Gerhard Fischer.

This is one of four workshop strands that relate to

STELLAR Grand Challenge 2: Orchestrating Learners
Key research questions related to this challenge include:

  • What is the role of the teacher/more knowledgeable other in orchestrating learning and how does this relate to collaboration and the knowledge of students?
  • What is the role of assessment and evaluation in learning and how can technology play a role?
  • From the point of view of the learner what is the relationship between higher-order skills and learning of a particular knowledge domain and what is the role of technology in this respect?
  • How can we identify the current learning trajectory or a person? Would it be beneficial to make them aware of trajectory switches?

Extra content

The Ecology of Resources model represents the learner holistically with respect t the interactions that make up their context.

Learners bring a history of interactions with them, and are surrounded by many resources that could potentially help them to learn. How, as a learner, can I access these resources to help me to learn?

This is based on Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, around me at any time I have a zone of available assistance, including more able others. Elements of a learner’s context include knowledge & skills, environment, tools & people.  It is not always possible to make use of resources – you can’t access the network, you don’t know what skills someone has. The potential resources are therefore filtered.

Luckin, R. (2010) Re-designing Learning Contexts, Routledge.

Rebecca Ferguson
07:21 on 28 March 2011

Designing for NGTEL - Rose Luckin

Rose Luckin presents her method for 15 minutes.

Zone of proximal adjustment – to help her meet her learning needs

Key resources

  • more able partners
  • Resources are not always avaialable when you need it. Online resource may not be available because you don’t have a network. Person you need may not be around. Resources are “filtered” in a way – maybe we can discuss the precise word. You can’t always get things when you want them.

Useful to think about :

  • Catergories of resources
  • Categories of filters

Not only how you give assistance, but how you take it away without leaving the learners floundering

The Role of Technology is key.

Design Framework

The Design Framework based on this model has 3 phases:

  1. Identify resources available to a learner or group of learners. (iterative – maybe start with brainstorming, categorize etc then back to brainstorming)
  2. Identify kinds of relationships that may exist between those resources (provides the links in the model)
  3. Looking at how you might use technology to alter nature of those relationships (to maybe support or limit access to a resource which might also be beneficial to learning)

The entire process is iterative, so you may return to phase 1 from phase 3.

Link to langauge learning phone application wiki. Dynamic resource that is being augmented all the time with case studies. Hoping that people may add their data and analysis to the wiki so it becomes a resource for the community.

Gill Clough
07:23 on 28 March 2011 (Edited 07:37 on 28 March 2011)

Transformational design objectives and methods for fostering and supporting interest-driven and passion-driven learning

What are the grand challenges for researchers and educators? – to create socio-technical environments in which people of all ages want to learn rather than have to learn.

Many TEL challenges are too timid – they don’t think radically enough. We accept too many established approaches. We tend to base our thinking on school-based models. There is a tendency to take schools as god-given entities, as defining contexts, rather than as social constructions.

Some TEL approaches are ‘gift wrapping’ – we wrap them around existing educational practices. Others are techno-determinism – ‘all schools on the Internet’ is necessary but it is not sufficient. What do you do when you are on the Internet?

Interest-driven and passion-based learning are of critical importance in lifelong learning. The fundamental challenge is to give learners enough control to become active in the process of pursuing personally meaningful problems as well as providing enough support for their activity to result in the construction of useful knowledge and artefacts.

Move from consumer cultures to cultures of participation. Environments crated by cultures of participation include Wikipedia, YouTube, Google Sketchup, Ushahidi, PatientsLikeMe

We need to understand the drawbacks associated with interest-driven learning. Is a fragmented culture better or worse for enhance learning? How do we assess the quality of resulting artefacts? Will we drown in irrelevant information?

What will motivate stakeholders to become active contributors? Which support can be provided for letting people pursue their deep interest? What are the unique challenges associated with privacy issues? Do we want to keep requiring everyone to learning the same thing in school rather than pursuing their deep interests?

Rebecca Ferguson
07:44 on 28 March 2011

Questions raised by Gerhard’s group as they reflect on interest-driven learning and passion-driven learning:

If people have interests that are not desirable – for example, gambling and pornography - what is the role of parents and teachers in guiding them to develop other interests?

How do we ensure that learners are progressing with their interest rather than just going over old ground?

How do we distinguish between those interests that are school approved or socially approved, and those that appear to be short-term personal interests but may blossom later?

What do we do when people have no clear interests, or don’t know what they want to learn?

How do we spark interest?

How do we maintain passion for topics?

How does the regulation of the learning we have to do relate to how we engage with the learning that we want to do?

Rebecca Ferguson
08:11 on 28 March 2011

Designing for NGTEL - Gerhard Fischer

Highlights the overlap between his method and Rose’s .

Core challenge for the design of NGTEL – Creating socio-technical environments in which people of all ages:

  • want to learn
    • rather than
  • have to learn

Highlights disadvantages of some current approaches in which TEL is used as:

  • gift wrapping – add on to existing practices without fundamentally rethinking how we learn.
  • techno-determination – all schools on internet, necessary but not always sufficient

Interest driven and passion based learning is of critical importance in lifelong learning. To be explored in the remainder of the session. His problem relates to Rose’s framework – how does he find the resources which match onto his concerns.

Fundamental challenge is to give enough control and freedom to the learner to pursue interest whilst providing support and guidance to enable them to find out answers to the questions they might have.

Control not with teacher or curriculum (unlike tutoring systems) but provides support and resources to help people investigate their own problems.

Cultures of participation

Many environments created by such cultures of participation – could be discussed during workshop

Meta-design: designing for designers.

Exploring the drawbacks of interest- driven learners.

  • Fragmented culture – like tower of babel
  • How to we asses the quality of resulting artifacts
  • Will we drown in irrelevant info?
  • Loss of individuality

Questions for workshop

  • How to envision a productive synergy between the head and the tail (of the long tail) and create mechanisms to support and exploit
  • What will motivate stakeholders to become active contributors
  • What are unique challenges associated with privacy issues
  • Do we keep everyone in schools learning same thing rather thn pursue their deep interests
  • What support can be provided for people to pursue their own deep interests.

Gill Clough
08:12 on 28 March 2011

Rose Luckin’s strand:

They begin by introducing the card game.

Stages in designing the game:

T1: Cameras and a webcam – cards showing what technology they used and on the back what they did with them. This threw up extra info on the issues they had with the technologies which they added to the back.

T2: First iteration of the card game but this generated a huge numbers of cards, using colour and category. Each technology had a colour but this resulted in too many cards. So they colour coded the categories.

T3: Colour strips for what technology could do. Building up idea what technologies we have, what can they do and what are the affordances (colour coding strips).

T4: Notepad for learners to write down what they might use technologies for. Concept of focus of attention. Say if going on trip, having technologies, what might you do and what issues might arrise (batteris etc).

T5: FlickR picture showing the implemention of their card game. Making links between outside context and home school context. Take pictures, share on blog, look at en route home from trip. Better awareness of how they use technologies.

The group then play the card game. 

Gill Clough
09:46 on 28 March 2011

People in our group have nominated an academic interest and a non-academic interest. They shared these with a partner, who had to go out and find out about this subject in 15 minutes. Discussion below is feedback on this. I’ve bulleted reflections from different people.

  • Googled his interests. Needed to know the motivations behind these interests. Interconnected links. Moved into learning from his own perspective. Had to force himself to quit – could have gone on investigating.
  • Personalised this – what would he find interesting about this subject. Went to layman’s guides – for example TedTalks and Freakonomics. Could join local book clubs, or join a local library, use Amazon Kindle to find people who are interested in the same subjects.
  • Had already been researching exactly the same topic [this may be a problem with doing this exercise in a workshop like this – many people have closely related academic interests so build on a strong base]and looking at academic papers on this subject.
  • Found commonality and shared subject knowledge. People use the people and the resources within their contexts – children do this in a different way to adults. Building ideas from people and from collaboration is very valuable. [Gerhard – another exercise would be for one person to identify an interest, and then the entire group to pursue that interest. Do we come up with the same stuff?] [Rebecca - Here is an example of a group doing this [ ]
  • Not enough context to tell us what perspective to approach the topics from. Needs to be some sort of regulation of communities of participation, and this might kill the passion that brings people into these communities. Anxieties about the quality and value of the content that is brought into communities of participation.
  • Talked about same subject from different perspectives.
  • Looked at this as a design issue. How is it possible to get insights into what is needed?
  • Using a lot of different websites. Need to get a grasp of concepts using dictionary and Wikipedia. Find the questions that people are working on in this area. Difficulties of finding the right concepts.
  • Limitations to search – access to resources, access to technology, control of where and when you access the Internet, being able to search in English, knowing how to use search engines effectively.
  • Search motivated by passion and tried to find examples that could be used easily – things that can be embedded or shown. Can you really learn about skiing via the Internet? Found videos and apps. [Gerhard – you could make decisions about which skis or bindings you should buy. What skiing conditions can you expect.]
  • Went to Wikipedia [Rebecca at least three of us mentioned going to Wikipedia]. Searched for courses – found several at MIT. Identified relevant books and an article. Had some prior knowledge, but felt the resources were definitely there. Did not only look for information but also looked for people – for example forums where people talk about playing the piano.

[I think this TedTalk by Sugata Mitra gives some good examples of children successfully learning together round an interest via the Internet ]

[I’d just finished typing this personal reflection, when Mike said that this workshop had brought Sugata Mitra’s work to mind]

Rebecca Ferguson
09:53 on 28 March 2011

Mobile Language Learning on Androids

Joshua Underwood

Presents on his prototype design for mobile support for language learning.

Ecology of use Framework.

He started by asking users about their use and the constraints on their use of resources for learning (filters.

What were they using?

  • A lot of internal resources came to the fore – such as motivation, having a foreign girlfriend/boyfriend. These filtered their access to other resources.
  • The effect of time – not having enough, forgetting over time. Stories about how people were learning vocab and how this moved from place to place.
  • Led to different method for exploring ecologies of resources over time.  It is difficult to represent the temporal dimensions of resources and learning. Learners were able to tell him stories and his analysis showed that these were happening in different time periods in different locations.

Anecdotal story: language learner came across phrase “at sixes and sevens”. Didn’t understand it so put ring on different finger to remind herself to look it up in dictionary when she got home. When she got home, noticed ring moved to diff figure and remembered to look up the phrase.

This episode used lots of resources and artifacts.

Anecdotal story: Came across word “Poche” in shop. Didn’t know what it meant other than “pocket” but was given a plastic bag so worked it out, but made note on phone of new phrase. Posted to Twitter and somebody responded and suggested that he’d misheard – pochette for plastic bag. However the dictionary showed that in a specific region of France poche was used to mean plastic bag.

Observation: found it easy to collect new vocabulary items (stimuli for inquiry) but harder to revisit and explore them.

So – Chronologically ordered interactions with recource ecologies in narratives.

Extracting events and linked them in terms of dependencies.  So, the sixes and sevens story – what is it dependent on?

  • Finding dictionary definition
  • Understanding dictionary definition
  • Having time to look up dictionary definition
  • Swapping ring
  • Making mental note dependent on her motivation
  • Having noticed the language in the first place
  • Dependent on person having said it in first place


So – rather than improve this instance, provide support for each of the dependencies identified above for another learner, to help it happening.

Challenge: Has 3 phones. Like a multi-media notebook. When you see a word make a quick note about it or add video. Self-rating facility – do you understand the workd 1 to 5. The app keeps a history of when and where you made changes to the record and a direct link to resources to help you learn the word. You can click sent to to send you question say to twitter or ebook. Text-to-speech for pronunciation help. Resource menu gives you direct access to resources you might want to use – bookmarks to web resource you like to use for example. Resources that are part of your personal learning environment.

For example, people use emails in a foreign langage from FL speakers to help write back. To this feature would help you search what you have on your phone.

For example, sombeody asked for origin of the town name Le Clusaz – he typed it into his app. Looked it up on wikipedia to get meaning of small path. Helped him understand but not use as he couldn’t pronounce. So he then played it using voice bit. Then he sent it to twitter to see if anybody else could help.

We then split into groups to try out the application

Gill Clough
10:09 on 28 March 2011

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