visit Bergen University, SLATE – Center for the Science of Learning and Technology to share their research ideas, extend their research network and learn from the Bergen colleagues. Pankaj’s research focuses on building an automated feedback system to support teachers in tracking and monitoring collaboration behaviour among students. Merike’s research focuses on supporting teachers’ professional development through classroom learning analytics.
In May 21-28 several PhD students from Tallinn University participated in the The Sixteenth EATEL Summer School on Technology Enhanced Learning. The event attracted 129 participants, speakers of 6 keynotes and 45 different workshops for one’s professional development as a researcher in the field of technology-enhanced learning. Furthermore, it is an excellent event for creating and building one’s professional network. The participants have shared their experience: Participating in JTEL Summer School 2022 was particularly useful in networking with young researchers in my field to build synergies between my research and others’ interests; I really enjoyed meeting new people, sharing similar doubts and ideas, and most importantly, building up my network in the TEL community.
Rosaline Danielle Erica Barendregt from Bergen University gave a presentation about interaction design. In the presentation ‘Introduction to interaction design’ she gave us an overview of what is interaction design and 6 design principles, why we put the user in the center when designing applications and services. Rosaline also introduced her research in the area of eHealth. Definitely an interesting research to follow with very practical value.
Tampere colleagues organised a SEIS writing clinic in a lovely and inspiring place for our event – Vaihmalan Hovi, May 16th to May20th 2022. 5 researchers from Tallinn University, 5 researchers from Tampere University and a professor from University of Missouri supporting our writing efforts.
This successful event provided for the participants a lot of inspiration, peer-feedback, an opportunity to discuss one’s work with experts, but also some time to actually do the writing tasks. One of the participants said: “this writing clinic was extremely vital and highly meaningful to me. This special group of people from different parts of the world became my ‘classmates’ and peers last week. They provided the interaction, sparring, exchange of ideas, recommendations, critical feedback, and camaraderie that I have so desperately needed these past couple of years.” The other one mentioned that “During the writing clinic, I got several comments and suggests, which in my opinion were interesting and helped me to look at my research ideas from different perspectives.”
One of the days was dedicated to a SEIS project meeting. Mainly having zoom meetings, it was a refreshing experience to discuss project related aspect face-to-face.
The next similar type of event is planned to be taken place in autumn in Bergen.
Learning Analytics is an emerging interdisciplinary research field that has received great attention. Learning Analytics is grounded in the research of computer and data science where students’ data can be used for gaining deeper insights on learning via data seeds. The field is also influenced by several other disciplines including, but not limited to, education, psychology, technology-enhanced learning, Artificial Intelligence, and statistics. However, the connection between these disciplines is oen weak and the community of Learning Analytics has been trying to tackle a set of complex problems related to improving the student learning experience and the environments of their learning contexts.
This Special Issue intends to bring perspectives and approaches pertaining to supporting students learning and engagement using Learning Analytics to highlight both conceptual and empirical research. The Special Issue also intends to highlight and bring practices that feature the importance of supporting engagement and learning as well as valuing the broader research agenda of Learning Analytics.
Jussi Okkonen, Iiris Tuvi, Daranee Lehtonen, Vallery Michael from Tampere University participated in one of the largest and well known educational technology show in Europe, Bett UK. More than 20 000 people visited it, 400+ solution providers participated and 50+ countries were represented. As numbers show, it is a huge event, where one could easily get lost if it wasn’t organized so well. The event took place at ExCeL exhibition centre in London where spring was two months ahead from northern countries and people were enjoying street cafes under blooming trees and colorful flowerbeds and green grass in the parks. The temperature was wonderful, 20 degrees in shade during all those three days full of Bett action… indoors. Fortunately, there were so much talks to choose from and solutions to see that it was possible to forget the summer outside for quite some time.
The technology presented made us curious, whether we could see something truly innovative in educational technology that we had not seen before. We did not see mind blowing innovation but the solutions advertised seemed to emphasize the affordability and the possibility of bringing a lot of functions under the same “hat”. However, some issues that were particularly interesting for the Tampere team as university lecturers, still seemed to be unsolved or it was too hard to find the provider that had developed that. For example, it would help a great deal if there was an automatic free text assessment AI developed. Instead, several providers offered possibility to add to students’ texts repeatedly usable feedback sentences with a single button press but there was no possibility to teach the system in order to automate grading the actual text. Also, beautiful platforms for creating online courses were introduced that were similar to MOODLE but they had similar flaws that MOODLE has in functionality.
The most satisfaction came from ready-made materials for class teachers (Estonian company Futuclass was really popular for providing virtual chemistry and physics labworks, Mozabook from Hungary provided ready-made interactive class materials from anatomy to history and beyond etc). There were also several providers who attempted to create smooth hybrid teaching solutions and easy to use learning analytics solutions.
The next Bett is next year in the end of March, 29-31, 2023.
Writing camps – some days outside of the everyday environments, a few people in a similar situation around you, supporting you, thinking together with you, providing feedback, helping you to take your mind away for while from your work, no other obligations, only your writing task – have become very popular and efficient among PhD students. On January 14th-20th 5 PhD students (Linda, Yagmur, Milena, Reet and Pankaj) from Tallinn University visited Bergen to work on their writing tasks within the context of the SEIS project. Every PhD student had his/her own goals to achieve: finalising an article, finishing description of a framework, rewrite a Phd plan, etc. According to the participants feedback, it turned out to be a productive trip.
On December 15th we organised our second annual advisory board meeting. Considering the pandemic situation the meeting took place again via Zoom. In addition to short presentations of our ongoing activities the main focus was on three discussion points:
In which direction do you think that educational innovation should go/is going?
Where should research go in the field of educational innovation and what should be the main focus in the near future?
What are the ethical considerations and consequences?
Our advisory board members pointed out interesting, but essential points important to consider in the field of educational innovation and research. For instance, understanding the barriers in the field, involving different stakeholders, understanding what schools need, considering the role of leadership in educational innovation and making use of data and technologies for educational innovation.
It was definitely an interesting discussion and therefore we would like to thank the advisory board for sharing their experiences and. knowledge.