Kaleidoscope member Barbara Wasson of Intermedia/Univ. of Bergen describes 'The future of research' at Online Educa Berlin.
Barbara Wasson was a bit nervous about her keynote address at Online Educa Berlin
on 1 December. Educa, after all, is not an academic conference,
focusing more on the business of e-learning than on basic research.
There were big corporations, professional speakers, government
ministers, and forums on defence and security. Moreover, her talk was
during a plenary with the ambitious title 'Future Visions.'
the end, she needn't have worried. Those of us who have heard her speak
before know that Prof. Wasson is an excellent and engaging speaker. Her
address, 'The future of research on technology enhanced learning'
balanced those by government officials and big companies. Several
people came to the Kaleidoscope exhibition booth afterwards, saying how
impressed they were with her keynote.
the conference was not all business. Kaleidoscope brought its strong
research programme which complemented the commercial activities.
Kaleidoscope members Pierre Dillenbourg and Mike Sharples each presented ongoing work in mobile learning. Prof. Dillenbourg is part of the Kaleidoscope project on interaction analysis, which ends this month by publishing design principles for analysis tools that provide live feedback to students and teachers.
Prof. Sharples is involved in another Kaleidoscope project, Mobile learning in informal science settings,
which held its own event in November - a workshop in which participants
envisioned future scenarios, building models with clay and cardboard,
then acting them out in dramatic - and often comical - performances.
The fun comes alongside serious research; the project has just
published two reports on literature and empirical work in mobile
learning. This project also wraps up this month; in January four new
projects and two new European Research Teams launch.
speaking at the Educa conference was Kaleidoscope member Agathe
Merceron. She also presented scenarios - though in a more serious
performance - from the Kaleidoscope Learning GRID special interest group.
The SIG has recently published its latest newsletter, which details
another approach to live feedback in collaborative applications - using
grid middleware to streamline the processing of event log data. Other
aspects and applications of the Learning GRID can be found in a new book edited by SIG members, who are also members of EleGI,
another network focusing specifically on the European Learning GRID
Infrastructure. At Online Educa Berlin, Kaleidoscope welcomed EleGI to
share our exhibition booth.
Prof. Merceron is also part of another Kaleidoscope project, Design patterns for recording and analysing usage of learning systems.
(It is clear that such analysis has been a common theme in Kaleidoscope
this year.) This project seeks common templates - design patterns - for
analysis, and will at the end of this month make them available in an
innovative visual pattern browser.
Prof. Wasson's Kaleidoscope special interest group in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning has remained very active this year. It has just held a workshop
on the other side of Germany, on approaches to scripting collaboration
- in other words, guiding learners' interactions in order to maximize
productive learning. In mid-December the CSCL SIG holds another workshop, in Gothenburg, Sweden, again on this year's theme - analysis of interaction and learning.
analysis is at the heart of Kaleidoscope's focus on basic concepts and
methods underlying e-learning. Matching academic research like this
with commercial imperatives was the focus of a final session at Online
Educa Berlin - a forum
organised by Kaleidoscope's Academy-Industry Digital Alliance.
Representatives from the corporate and university sectors, along with
attendees from companies, governments, independent research labs, and
the European Commission, had an interesting and fruitful discussion on
how to match funding, time scales, subject areas and outcomes. Prof.
Wasson even dropped in, relaxed after her talk the evening before, and
eager to learn how to turn future visions into market realities.