A New Direction for the Learner Experience. Engaging Students in Participatory Design of a 21st Century Classroom Chair-Desk
Classroom chair-desks tend to be uncomfortable and not appealing to the student.
A patent search using the term “chair-desk” reveals that students today are sitting in exactly the same rigid plastic seat, bolted to a metal-frame, high-pressure polyurethane-topped student chair-desk as their parents or grandparents did more than a half century ago in 1953. When the five major school furniture manufacturers in the United States were asked what research they relied on for their furniture designs, the response was that they did not rely on any and so have adopted a one-size-fits-all philosophy (Parcells 1999).
In an effort to put an end to one-size-fits all design of learning environments this paper presents a detailed account of the participatory design approach followed by a high school engineering technology class from Hopewell High School, Virginia, USA to re-design the traditional school chair-desk as part of their efforts in the 2010 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams program. With a belief that students should experience an optimum state of active-dynamic learning the team used a participatory design approach to innovate an inclusively designed, accessible student chair-desk that adapts to its user’s need of healthy, ergonomic movement resulting in an improved chair-desk experience and ultimately an enhanced learning experience. Key milestones achieved, challenges encountered, and relationships forged during the design and fabrication process of this desk are also highlighted.
Each learner is unique and will have unique learning experiences. What motivates learning, what triggers curiosity, and what tools might enhance learning will be different for different learners.
How can educators incorporate augmented reality into education? What projects are currently being employed? Come to Aumenta.me 2013, on 20 April 2013 in Valencia, Spain, to learn more!
Aumenta.me comes back for its second edition with a conference will feature the educators, researchers, materials designers and companies who use augmented reality in everyday education. The event, sponsored by the non-profit Asociación Espiral, Educación y Tecnología and the public Institute for Human Centered Technologies Lab Human, will take place in Valencia, Spain.
The role of adult education is becoming increasingly important in the framework of policies to promote lifelong learning. Adult participation in training activities, however, is still rather low, despite the incentives and initiatives aimed at allowing all citizens access to education and training at all ages in their lives.
Participation tends to decrease concomitantly with increasing age: the major difficulty that elderly people have in learning is due to a deterioration of brain function, causing a progressive weakening of concentration, memory and mental flexibility. Today, advanced researches in neuroscience show that brain ageing may be reversible: the brain is plastic in all stages of life, and its maps can restructure themselves through learning experiences.
The evolution of new technology and its increasing use, has for some years been making the existence of informal learning more transparent, especially among young and older adults in both Higher Education and workplace contexts. However, the nature of formal and non-formal, course-based, approaches to learning has made it hard to accommodate these informal processes satisfactorily, and although technology bring us near to the solution, it has not yet achieved. TRAILER project aims to facilitate first the identification by the learner, and then the recognition by the institution, in dialogue with the learner, of this learning. The learner identifies episodes and evidences of informal learning in any of the different spaces in which she learns (formally or informally). She then links to these to the tool, located within her portfolio, and then tags them in relation to a predefined but evolving catalogue of competences. The tool is linked to the institutional interface in such a way that relevant experiences (related to the institutional target competences) are accessible to the institution. Other experiences that may be personally relevant to the learner are accessible to her.
The evolution of new technology and its increasing use, has for some years been making the existence of informal learning more and more transparent, especially among young and older adults in both Higher Education and workplace contexts. However, the nature of formal and non-formal, course-based, approaches to learning has made it hard to accommodate these informal processes satisfactorily, and although technology bring us near to the solution, it has not yet achieved.
The project aims to facilitate first the identification by the learner (as the last responsible of the learning process), and then the recognition by the institution, in dialogue with the learner, of this learning. The learner identifies episodes and evidences of informal learning in any of the different spaces in which she learns (formally or informally). She then links to these to the tool, located within her portfolio, and then tags them in relation to a predefined but evolving catalogue of competences. The tool is linked to the institutional interface in such a way that relevant experiences (related to the institutional target competences) are accessible to the institution. Other experiences that may be personally relevant to the learner are accessible to her.
In this way informal learning experiences become transparent and useful both for the individual and for the institution. Also the data generated could be used to improve learning systems and identify emerging competences.
The impact of this project will be especially representative to institutions, learners and the educational systems. To institutions because they could obtain and use hidden information about skills that their workers acquire in informal context. To learners, because informal activity recognition will allow them progress in work-place context. To education systems, because they could consider the obtain information to adapt their learning pathways in a proper way to match labour market demand.
The main objective of the project is to articulate the activity flow involved in the integration of informal learning as part of an individual’s development; this starts with the identification by the learner of informal learning activities and the subsequent process in which these are made visible to the institution. This will be done by developing methodologies and tools that facilitate this process, making it transparent both to learners and institutions and allowing all involved to make the most of these processes.
This objective implies a series of related sub-objectives:
- Create communication channels between informal learning activity and institutional environments, which the learner will use to make the informal learning visible to the organization (employer or university) in order to enter into dialogue about the competences developed through these informal processes.
- Define procedures and tools with which the user tags instances of informal learning, and in doing so associates them with a predefined (but flexible) framework of competences.
- Create a space in which these tagged instances can be stored and then organised by the learner, in order to select instances or combinations of instances that the learner classifies as evidence of competence development and then chooses to make visible to the organisation.
- Provide the user with information about other users with similar interest, promoting social learning and collaboration between the users of the system.
- Facilitate, with a range of decision making and visualisation tools and an appropriate interface, the analysis by institution staff, such as tutors or HR managers, of the information the learner has made visible, in order to be able to make suggestions and provide feedback and support to the learner, define possible formal and non formal actions in the light of the informal activity and enter into dialogue with the learner in relation to this activity with a view to possible promotions or recognitions of competences acquired.
- Establish channels and procedures for this dialogue way between learners and institutions.
- Exploit the methodology, tools and public information to provide suggestions about the tools to use and how to apply it in order to improve the acquisition of competences in educational contexts.
- Plan and implement dissemination actions involving all relevant stakeholders in areas such as vocational training, universities, adult learning contexts and workplace training.
- Plan and implement exploitation actions that promote uptake of the system developed in areas such as vocational training, universities, adult learning contexts and workplace training.
- Definition and application of methodologies and recommendations for the integration of informal learning in educational institutions and the workplace.
- Establishment of the technological framework (ILC, Portfolio Component, Competence Catalogue and Institutional Environment).
- Set of pilot actions.
Learning analytics is a relatively new phenomenon in education. It involves analysing the online behaviour of students within an electronic learning environment or a digital learning and working environment. Analysing the data can help higher education institutions to gain a better understanding of:
- students’ study behaviour;
- the quality of the educational resources used;
- how the digital learning and working environment is in fact used;
- the quality of test items;
- student progress.
Growing by architecting on top of our memories with design inspired learning, fostering creativity and fun, complex educational experiences and their monitoring, ubiquitous learning and flexible environments as featured topics (for an extended list see Topics of Interest).
The technical program will feature keynote addresses, workshops, tutorials, panels in addition to presentations of standard full and short papers, posters and doctoral consortium's contributions.
The novelty of the 12th edition is the introduction of two new tracks:
- an 'Industrial track'
which focus is on: a) the presentation of a technologies ready to be transferred to the industrial context or to be exploited; b) the presentation of successful case histories of industrial development and or application;
- an 'European project track'
which aim is: a) the demonstration of the impact that outcomes of past European projects had or are expected to have in the next future on the technology enhanced education ; b) the presentation of concepts, prototyping, etc. that are produced by the on-going European project and that are expected to have a relevant impact on the technology enhanced education; c) critical analysis of past and on-going experiences.
Involving students in managing their own learning in a variety of contexts, such as building their own personal learning environments (PLEs) according to their goals and interests, is one way of developing the skills and motivation that will serve as tools for lifelong learning beyond their formal education.This paper tracks the process of PLE building by students studying for their bachelor degree in Computer Science and Electronics. It looks at their learning experiences of using the Netvibes home page and discusses the advantages of using Netvibes in the context of instructional strategies and technical solution forming. In addition, it proposes and implements a model for effective communication between the university Learning Management System (LMS) and PLEs. Finally, students' opinions about the learning done in their PLE are examined through inquiry and discussed. Most students consider PLE building to be a very useful process for learning and personal development.
Site da Educação is a Portuguese website entirely dedicated to education as the name itself (“educação” is the Portuguese word for “education”) reveals. The site is part of the Texto Editora Group, a holding that started its activity back in 1977. Site da Educação was born in 2000 and has been growing fast ever since.
.The site’s main target are teachers but psychologists, pedagogues and parents are most welcome. We aim to build a “place” where all teachers may find good tools and, most of all, find each other and seize the chance to exchange valuable learning experiences that otherwise would be confined to a far too small universe.
As we see it, from our daily experience, Site da Educação has the potential to be a crossroad where the learning community from the Portuguese Speaking Countries can meet up.
As for the site’s structure, it includes five main areas:
1. Actualidade (Current Events)
2. Serviços (Helpful Tools)
3. Professores (Teachers)
4. Escola (School)
5. Cultura (Culture)
The “Actualidade” area encloses breaking news about education, relevant dates and the most recently published works about education and pedagogy.
Inside the “Serviços” area people will find such useful tools as free webmail (a 6 MB mail box), the chance of building one’s personal webpage (10 Mb available), weather forecast or an on-line store.
“Professores” is the richest area of the site. Here teachers can find almost everything they need to help them in their practise and according to the level they teach from Infant or Junior Schools, Secondary and Grammar Schools or CTC. At this area teachers can also find articles, exercises and tests regarding several subjects. An image bank, a thematic glossary, a forum , the national curricula contents, a selection of the laws and decrees that may prove themselves useful, along with relevant comments made by skilled lawyers are some other available contents. There are also tens of large thematic articles which are quite popular. And at last, there is a section dedicated to all parents
The “Escola” area is composed by three sub-areas. The first one, called “Escola em Destaque” presents a complete file about a portuguese school (every month two different schools are presented). The second one, “Espaço Escola”, is like a very specific news section concerning sport events, school plays, field trips and so on - in dozens of schools all over the country and also abroad (we’ve been also publishing news sent to us by brasilian schools). The third item is a list of all the schools in the country.
“Cultura” offers our visitors an up-to-date cultural agenda along with monthly interviews focusing on outstanding personalities of the Portuguese educational/educational panorama. As a result of a protocol between Site da Educação and the National Library, this area has a special area which establishes a fast link that allows people to consult valuable digitalised titles that are not usually available for public and even to book field trips or demand one of the Library’s itinerant exhibitions.
One of the most recent surveys produced in Portugal, inquiring Portuguese teachers about ICT showed that by 2002 most teachers (91%) used the computer as a personal tool to prepare classes. However, only 39% possessed computers and only a low percentage (26%) actually used it (in learning situations) with the pupils.
These were some of the biggest difficulties we had to surpass in order to put Site da Educação in teachers path and state itself as an essential and strategic player in every teacher’s professional life.
But the fact is that day by day the teachers attitude and openness towards ICT training and acknowledgement of the ICT potencialities for learning is growing and consequently causing good reflects on our activity.