Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Free Informal language & MOOC conference call #CfP #MOOC #Language

Consider joining (by attending and/or presenting) at the International conference on MOOCs, Informal Language Learning, and Mobility. It offers FREE registration for all, plus a potential 200 EUR to cover travel cost if you are coming from outside of the UK.

Deadline for submitting: 27 May 2016.
Notification of acceptance: 10 June 2016.
Conference dates: 20 - 21 October 2016
Location: The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Conference page.

Most of the time academic conferences require considerable fees to attend a conference, so take advantage of this one being internationally oriented, yet free. They even serve free coffee and tea!

Abstracts are invited for a 20-minute presentation or a poster in a titled attachment of not more than 300 words in length, with name, address and affiliation.  Email the abstract to: Hannah Leicester hannah.leicester@open.ac.uk. All submissions will be peer-reviewed and we will notify you by 10th June.  A selection of papers will be published in a peer-reviewed and open access online journal: research-publishing.net. Full paper submission date is 30th October 2016.

The Department of Languages at The Open University (UK), in conjunction with the Erasmus+ MOVE-ME[1] project, will host this joint conference

Call for papers 
In addition to MOVE-ME project presentations, we welcome research-related papers, presentations of case studies and projects as well as posters on MOOCs, Informal Language Learning, and Mobility. Topics included but not limited to:  
·       - MOOCs - design, learning, teaching, quality assurance, etc
·       - CALL and its normalisation
·       - Mobile-assisted language teaching and learning
·       - Informal language learning
·       - Learning to learn languages
      Student mobility
      Virtual classrooms, eLearning, and ePortfolio

Confirmed keynote speakers are:
Professor Agnes.Kukulska-Hulme (The Open University, UK)
Dr Jeremy Knox (Edinburgh University, UK)

Registration: Download the registration form from here. Email the completed form to Hannah Leicester hannah.leicester@open.ac.uk by 31st July 2016



[1] Six project partners are: UniversitĂ  per Stranieri di Siena, (Italy), The Open Unversity (UK), Federazione Nazionale Insegnanti Centro di iniziativa per l'Europa (Italy); National University of Ireland, Galway (Ireland), Computer Technology Institute & Press Diophantus (Greece) and Nstitutul De Stiinte Ale Educatiei (Romamia)

Friday, 25 March 2016

2 Worthwhile courses: Personal Learning & Designing OER using practical instructional design

Two free courses that have started a while ago, but that are truly worth taking a look at.

  1. Instructional Design Service Course: designing OER while using practical instructional design
  2. Personal Learning (course built by Stephen Downes) using LPSS

Instructional Design Service Course
My colleague Johan Thys just sent me a link to a wonderful self-guided, instructor-driven online course on designing courses via a project-based approach. The course uses the CANVAS-platform and demands 2-3 hours of study time per week, and has a great course design template, uses practical frameworks (e.g. Merrill's first principles of instruction) and offers the participants a chance to make their projects (courses) available afterwards as OER.

"During this 12-week course, you will engage in a real-world authentic instructional design challenge that centers on the design and development of free open educational resources (OER) for adult basic education. This open service-learning course is facilitated by Designers for Learning (Links to an external site.), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States. We coordinate service-learning opportunities with those who seek to gain experience creating instruction and other types of performance improvement solutions to support important social causes. In this project-based course, you will gain instructional design experience while developing instructional materials that will be made available for free to adult educators and their learners in the Adult Learning Zone group on OER Commons """""(Links to an external site.). "

OpenEdX course by Stephen Downes on Personal Learning 

This course explores the topic of learning in three ways: first, through an examination of research and development issues related to the topic; second, through interaction with a personal learning environment (specifically: LPSS) to take the course; and third, through activities supporting the development of a personal learning environment at a conceptual level. A quick overview of the themes per week can be seen here.

Course objectives: participants will develop an appreciation of different models of online course delivery, ranging from the traditional LMS through connectivist MOOCs to potential future models of personal learning and performance support.

Course environment: NRC01 Personal Learning will be delivered using OpenEdX and will include text-based content, videos, discussion, and exercises. Participants will be also invited to explore additional learning environments, including the gRSShopper, LPSS.me and Arke prototypes developed by NRC. In addition, participants will be encouraged to explore and work in online environments related to the topics covered in the course and report their findings in the discussion area or their own website. Participants may also be subscribed to a daily newsletter for the duration of the course.

Course Tag: #NRC01PL
Course Registration: https://openedx.lpss.me

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Learning amidst globalisation, solidarity, collaboration, & violence #brussels

Yesterday Belgian got his share of violence, and as it unraveled it struck me how much of the actions that are undertaken by all citizens, are similar to informal learning actions (but then I am a learning geek). And of course I do realize that being in an attack is by no means to be compared to learning... but still there is something that triggered my pro-learning mind. I lived and worked in Brussels, I am Belgian, and I hope peace can be achieved at some point. So this is my completely laymen view on some of the actions undertaken by people after the attacks on Brussels airport and one subway carriage. For it is clear that all violence is futile, and there is hope to see how people seek ways to help each other.

Over the recent years the European continent has had its number of violent attacks on civilians, no matter what age, background or religion. These terrorist attacks are carried out as a result of globalised violence, just like any other element of globalisation which reaches all of us. It would be strange that only 'good' facts came out of globalisation. At this point in time there is too much of a divide between regions to talk about effective, positive globalisation. Even primary education for all, a simple goal uttered for decades is still not realized, even though there is enough money in the world to put it into place.

Coming back to the Brussels attacks, the actions taken by people after the attacks struck me. It might be that I am too deep into my learning research mind at the moment, but it seemed as if people's actions paralleled learning actions: solidarity, using their network, collaborate... And maybe that is what is going on during those events. In order to get to grips with a new devastating fact, each one of us relates to what they know, and move forward based on their experience of what is perceived as efficient. People help people out, the government is only part of the solution, or to put it into learning terms: peer learning is in many cases more efficient, while the central curated content is delivered by recognised institutions.

Listing some actions:
  • Connecting to your personal network: after each attack, I take a look at those I know live/work in that city, just to see if they are alright. The same happened now, people tried to get in contact with those they know, and of course those they love. Social media got set up, e.g. Facebook Safety Check. It is simple and useful, if you are in an area struck by a disaster of any kind (and if the network is still working), you can 'check-in' to let others know you are alright. 
  • Press communications from government: the first official press releases took some time to get aired. A bit like lectures, it takes more time, and it is more of a general update on what has happened, less on what is happening at that particular time for specific people. 
  • Citizens helping all victims: on each occasion there are people who jump in and help others. For some it is part of their background to be able to help, for others it is simply helping people, acting upon a drive to get everyone to safety. The same with learners, some simply jump in during discussions, as they feel that what they have to share will help others. Even if that is simply being supportive in some way. 
  • Governmental structures get rolled out: there are known options that can be taken to relief the chaos after any attack or disaster. Which is part of the governments readiness to roll-out help. In this case all hospitals and medical personnel got sent out, together with the security people. These roll-outs are based on evaluations of prior disasters, otherwise they would not have been in place. 
  • Reacting to real-time needs: while people were being evacuated, thousands got stranded across Brussels. Once Brussels was in lockdown, trains, metro's, public transport were shut down, and all the people without a car were stuck in and around Brussels. The government let people know where the evacuation points were, but also informed everyone NOT to come to Brussels, as it was already completely chaotic. However, grassroots solidarity started to happen: people who were in Brussels by car, got word out through twitter that they had X places in their car heading to city Z. People who did not know each other helped each other out. Others simply picked up people with destinations written on cardboard on the side of the road. 
  • Get news out in real time: again twitter was mainly used to get the latest updates out to the public. A bit like a back-channel in education. It was not the government, but the twitter operators of the institutes struck by the attacks (e.g. brussels airlines), and most of the time people learning from each other, and sharing it asap. 
  • Personalisation, collaboration and solidarity: people organised themselves and others, those left to their own devices in Brussels, got word out to people in their communities to pick-up children after school. Those who were safe took action after hearing how they could help, even in a small way: e.g. giving blood as the blood reserves were rapidly depleting. 
  • Mobiles as primary communication: all along mobile devices were used, as these allow the quickest response time to actual events. Of course the amount of content shared is smaller: real time actions are shared through twitter, instagram, ... while news articles are read to get an idea of the overall situation. 
  • Societal action to safeguard children: one of the first strategies shared on the news was related to children. As a society, it seems that we care about the effects of atrocities on our children. Strategies on how to talk to your children about these attacks were sent out around midday, only 3 hours after the initial attacks.  
  • Societal solidarity: just like in any other city struck lately (e.g. Ankara, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Paris) actions depicting solidarity and non-violence through joining hands emerged. People gathering at central locations in the city to share their fear, and build on the solidarity which they want to show. Similar people join hands, those who believe a new world is possible. The same happens in online learning, similar people come together, feeling at ease by connecting to those who they can relate to, with (mostly) similar views. 
Learning is of course a very soft version of surviving. But whether we like it or not, it involves others, even those we do not know. The learning goal might be different from the goal for survival, but nevertheless goals are set, and the motivation is central to any action taken.

Learning is difficult to capture in frameworks, but it can be captured in its human capacity, as part of most of us, in a natural setting which always pushes us forward. I do not quite understand why I needed to fit the attacks of yesterday in something that I could understand, or at least from where I could start to see new hope... but then again, that might just be the reason itself.  But I do belief hope, and solidarity needs to be kept alive at all times, for we - as humans - can. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Self-regulated learning for measuring motivation & self-esteem in #MOOC #motivation #SRL

For those interested in self-regulated learning, building upon the knowledge which is created over the years, I gladly share a recently published paper, which is part of the eMOOCs2016 proceedings. The project is briefly explained, and in this paper we (the authors) also refer to the self-regulated learning instrument which is used to monitor young students (16-17 year old) while they follow MOOCs to enhance their personal interests. The goal of this project is to increase (online) lifelong learning skills. The paper includes a reference to a SAM-scale for attitude and skills measurement, focusing on language skills (i.e. practical use of language: speaking, listening), and digital skills such as critical thinking.
The paper gives an update on a year long project which runs at GUSCO, a large and innovative secondary school in Kortrijk, Belgium, for which I lead the research end of the project (in participative mode with the teachers and directors).
The paper can be seen as part of the conference proceedings here, or downloaded from Academia here, the paper is entitled; "Ensuring Self-Regulated Learning outcomes in a MOOC and CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) in a k12 project. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Finding jobs as a post-PhD: strategies & opportunities #PhD #research #job

Today Koula  Charitonos and I are sharing some pointers on how to guide your career to where you want to go (as an academic or TELearning professional). The session is part of the valuable CALRG seminars, which are held at the Open University (UK) and are part of academic professional development and reflection. The incomparable Rebecca Ferguson and Liz Fitzgerald drive all the events and make it into an increasing success. 

Below are my slides on getting to the next career move after obtaining a PhD (which admittedly, I am finalizing still) and to find those positions that align with the personal life as well as personal ambition. [After giving my presentation, I got a tweet from Anne Krook who has some amazing links to help post-PhD students to find their next job, either in academia and/or corporate world, so gladly referring to her resources here.]

In running up to this presentation, I also wrote down some steps that makes up a PhD journey for those interested in taking up a PhD challenge and stretch their research horizons with a formal degree. Those PhDjourney slides can be found here (with links to probation reports, an example of a PhD call proposal, etcetera).

Here are the post-PhD career options slides

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Visual self-directed informal learning in FutureLearn MOOC #mooc @futureLearn

Finishing a Phd can be a slow process for some (on the positive side, I have been told by Bart Rienties that it is slower for holistic, creative thinkers as they tend to work in peaks... so with some slack in between). Anyway, I am now on iteration Z of my quest to build a visual to portray the self-directed informal learning as it is described by experienced, adult, online learners engaged in MOOC of the FutureLearn type. The visual is a way to grasp what all the findings mean, how they relate to one another, and how I can structure the findings in a way that enables the reader of my thesis to see where I am going.

The findings of my study were obtained from 52 course participants, involved in 3 FutureLearn courses, filling in Learning logs during their MOOC experience and getting interviewed on specific questions. To analyse the data I used a grounded theory approach, more specifically, I constructed a grounded theory following Charmaz's (2014) latest guidelines and pointers (while adding some of mine as well).

While sifting through the data, I found that the learning ecology of FutureLearn MOOC could be represented in 5 learning elements to embrace the whole online learning ecology: technology, context, learner characteristics, social versus individual learning, and organising learning. Admittedly, any learning could be covered by these 5 learning elements. But when focusing on FutureLearn courses, the data from the experienced, online learners provided some specific actions describing their informal, self-directed learning inside of these courses. This makes it possible to some kind of comparison to self-directed, informal learning in FutureLearn MOOC versus learning in classic online courses.
The information inside of the second circle is related to FutureLearn MOOC, outside of the second circle are some online course elements.

While going through the data numerous times (creating research vertigo in my head), I also got the impression that the key inhibitors or enablers of self-directed, informal learning are: motivation and learning goals. These two elements were most frequently mentioned in active relation to each of the 5 learning elements covering the online learning ecology. Which is why I put motivation and learning goals at the center of the 5 learning elements. The reason why I put them at the center are many, but briefly: if there is no (intrinsic) motivation, the learner does not even start to register in MOOC. Once registered, it is motivation (in most cases intrinsic motivation) which keeps them wanting to learn more (which is not the same as following all the content of the MOOC, but simply absorbing that content which is relevant to the learner). If the learning goal/s are not felt as being benefited by the MOOC, learners stop engaging in the MOOC. The learning goals (which can be professionally or personally driven, or both for those happy with their jobs) are what make learners move above and beyond: they will solve tech problems, they will connect to others, they will overcome lack of confidence, they will organise their learning against any time constraints they encounter.

With this visual drawn... I am going to rewrite findings, and add discussions to get my final chapter ready... that is the plan... yes, plan. *inner voice: "Please brain help this poor lass on getting all the words on paper. Will provide extra chocolate"*. 

Friday, 11 March 2016

IAmLearn #mobile newsletter is out: research, ethics, CfP @IAMLorg

One of the academically most influential mobile learning organisations IAmLearn, has just released the first issue of their mLearning newsletter. The newsletter begins with an overview of the changes in the organisation, and continues with some insights from mobile experts, and philosophical ideas with regard to mobile learning. 

The mobile learning community will converge on Sydney, Australia from 24-26 October 2016. The 15th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2016) will be hosted by the University of Technology Sydney. The 2016 conference theme is Mobile Learning Futures: Sustaining Quality Research and Practice in Mobile Learning.

The mLearn 2016 paper submission system is now open, and the deadline for submission is May 30, 2016. Full details can be found on the Call for Papers section of the conference website. 

The newsletter can be read here, but I also include some of the information shared below, but you need to go to the IAmLearn newsletter page to have access to all the links:

Broadcast Thoughts: PodCasts and VodCasts

One of the longest standing debates amongst mLearning researchers and practitioners is the actual definition of mobile learning. IAmLearn Secretary Dr. Jocelyn Wishart and President Dr. Aga Palalas recently participated in a podcast about defining mLearning. We invite you to listen to the podcast, and share your thoughts on what mLearning is in the comments section for this edition of the IAmLearn Newsletter.

 
Dr. Jocelyn Wishart and Dr. Aga Palalas on Defining Mobile Learning


IAmLearn Executive Committee members Dr. Dean Cristol and Dr. Rob Power recently "sat down" for a vodcast to discuss emerging trends in educational technology and mobile learning. The session used Google Hangouts On Air to broadcast live to participants in the Ohio State University's Literacy, New Media, and Creative Pedagogies for Classrooms undergraduate Education course, and is available now via YouTube.


Reflections from mLearnCon 2015

IAmLearn President Dr. Aga Palalas had the opportunity to network with a number of mobile learning and educational technology specialists at mLearnCon 2015. The event, organized by the eLearning Guild, took place June 10-12, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Dr. Palalas recorded a number of candid conversations about their experiences at mLearnCon, the value of the conference, and their views on key issues in the mobile learning sphere. Watch the following video compilation of her mLearnCon Colleague Connections.



In the next video, Dr. Palalas talks to colleagues, including Krista Hildner, about the Relationship between mLearning and Performance Support.


The Future of Mobile Learning was the subject of conversations between Dr. Palalas, Phil Cowcill and other colleagues.


Access the full playlist of Dr. Palalas’s mLearnCon Colleague Connections. Check out the Upcoming Events section in this newsletter for information on FocusOn Mobile - the evolution of the mLearnCon series for 2016.


AU Goes Mobile

IAmLearn Founding Director Dr. Mohamed Ally was recently featured in a Globe & Mail story about increasing uptake of mobile learning strategies, including at Athabasca University. The story also featured Hanny Alsahzly, a former student in AU's Master of Education in Distance Education program. You can check out Learning untethered: How mobile is enhancing how students learn via the Globe & Mail, and AU's post about the story, Mobile Learning - Plugged in Across AU.






What Killed the Mobile Learning Dream - Traxler

IAmLearn Vice-President Professor John Traxler recently spoke at JISC's Digifest about the current state of mobile learning research and practical implementation efforts. He told participants that "mobile learning has stalled," and challenged them to "examine what's happened and how can it get back on track." Check out the message from Professor Traxler's presentationWhat killed the mobile learning dream? via JISC.







Global Mobile Awards 2016

The 2016 Global Mobile (Glomo) Awards were announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, which took place from February 22-25, 2016. Worldreader and Opera's entry, Worldreader Mobile, took top honors in the Best Mobile Innovation for Education category. Worldreader Mobile is an application that uses extreme compression technology to provide access to digital books to over 350 million users worldwide, using very little bandwidth and devices that they already own. The 2016 Glomo Awards judges noted of Worldreader Mobile that it is a “highly effective and useful platform-agnostic compression system, providing social development opportunities – borne out by the huge market take-up.”

You can use your mobile phone to check out Worldreader Mobile, and you can get an overview of the application from the Glomo Awards site. You can also check out the Glomo Awards website for the full list of winners in all categories.


Mobile Learning Research Project from Poland

Currently, our company from Poland is preparing an application to get funding for a project regarding mobile social learning for families struggling with chronic diseases.

At the moment, we are looking for a scientist who would help us to do the research phase as well as to develop a methodology of social learning on mobile devices for families with chronic illnesses. We would like to cooperate with a researcher who is interested in this topic or specializes in the area. The target group is very specific so it’s important that the expert knows this area or would like to go deeper regarding this subject. You can read more about the research project to date HERE.

The best person would be from Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Italy or Turkey.
Please contact us: ikostrzewa@domszkolen.com

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Upcoming Events

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week (March 7-11, 2016)

UNESCO's Mobile Learning Week has been scheduled for March 7-11, 2016 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris France. This year's theme is Innovating for Quality. A number of IAmLearn members are planning to attend the event, and we'll be posting a newsletter update with their summaries and impressions. If you cannot attend the event, you can still catch some of the highlights. UNESCO will be streaming recordings of some of the key proceedings online.

FocusOn Mobile - Austin, TX (June 8-10, 2016)

Click on the image link to go to the FocusOn Mobile conference website
Part of the FocusOn Learning conference, FocusOn Mobile "continues the industry-leading conversations of mLearnCon that explore cutting-edge examples of mobile being used to transform learning and performance support."




2016 AMO Awards - Shanghai, China (June 29 - July 1, 2016)

Following on the 2016 GSMA Mobile World congress in February, the 2016 Asia Mobile Awards will take place from June 29 - July 1, 2016, in shanghai, China. Entries are still being accepted in a number of categories, including Mobile Apps, Connected Lifestyle, and Technology Innovation. Nominated entries will be announced in June on the AMO Awards website.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Keynote: non-native English speaking k12 students using MOOCs #MOOC #digitalskills

In January I had the pleasure of being invited to the Institute of Technology in Sligo, Ireland to share my findings on a project which involves high school students using MOOC to increase their digital skills, as well as their practical language skills. This is a project which is running until June 2016, and which spans one academic year. The students are 16 - 17 year olds, and I have been given updates on the project as it evolves. But thanks to the wonderful people at ITSligo, I can also share the keynote on this ongoing project.

In the meantime I did interviews with the students at mid-course. The students have now completed their Group MOOC (having gone through a MOOC they choose in groups of 2 or 3), and are ready to commence the MOOC of their own choice, and engage in it autonomously. The outcomes keep surprising me, as the students clearly pick-up digital skills, increase their digital literacies as they use and take in different media types, and all of this in a non-native language. But  more on the project later. Here is the keynote speech, with slides, and some Q/A. 

Friday, 4 March 2016

Free webinar on phases of Merrill's task-centered #MOOC design #EUMoocs

This one hour webinar is intended for people willing to improve the pedagogical design of MOOCs. Often MOOCs tend to follow an instructivist approach where learners are mostly expected to acquire and remember the knowledge presented by the teacher. This webinar will guide participants through the phases of Merrill’s task-centered instructional design model. We will show how the model can be applied to MOOC design for engaging learners in active and collaborative knowledge construction through meaningful and practical assignments. Opportunities that task-centered MOOC design offers and challenges that need to be considered will be discussed.

You can register here (for free), and there will be two speakers: 
Mart LaanpereMart Laanpere, Institute of digital Technologies, Tallinn University, Estonia
Mart Laanpere received the degree in educational technology (M. Sc) from the University of Twente, the Netherlands and Ph.D. degree in educational science from the Tallinn University. Mart is an experienced lecturer, trainer and a researcher in the field of Technology-Enhanced Learning. He is a co-founder of the Centre for Educational Technology in Tallinn University. Currently he is coordinating the ERA Chair project CEITER (ceiter.tlu.ee). His research interests are related with designing innovative online learning environments, school-level educational innovation, instructional design, learning analytics, assessment of digital competences and supporting professional development of teachers with e-portfolio. He has been the convenor of EERA network on Open Learning and an contributing to e-learning development in various countries, such as Georgia, Moldova, Palestine, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Senegal, Croatia and Serbia. Mart is a member of the steering group of the Estonian Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2015 – 2020.
Olga FirssovaOlga Firssova, WELTEN Institute, The Netherlands
Dr. Olga Firssova is Assistant professor at WELTEN Institute, Centre for Learning, Teaching and Technology, Open University Netherlands. Firssova has been involved in course and curriculum design, quality assurance and evaluation projects at the OU for 10 years and has been teaching various courses at the Master of Educational Science program. Research interests and areas of expertise include course and curriculum design, academic writing and design for inquiry-based learning with technologies. Knowledge construction in Massive Online courses is her new research interest. Currently Olga is involved in two European projects: weSPOT (working environment for inquiry-based learning) and EMMA (European Multiple MOOC Aggregator).

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Keynote excerpt on 2 Big Data facts impacting #education #learninganalytics #data

About a year ago I was asked to be part of a keynote debate at Online Educa Berlin. The excerpt was part of the keynote debate that is a much loved item at the Online Educa Berlin conference. The idea behind the keynote debate is to discuss in a parliamentary fashion a specific online learning motion. Each panel member can attempt to interrupt the speaker who has the floor, and it is each of the speakers challenge to keep on top of what they want to say, while stopping the other panel members to interrupt.

This keynote was on Big Data and its impact on education; Big data is changing all aspects of society, as Online Educa Berlin is one of the leading eLearning conferences, this debate put forward the motion: "big data is corrupting education". During the keynote debate an argument for or against the motion is made, each time by two speakers. The speakers in this keynote debate were Ellen Wagner, Victor Mayer Schönberger, George Siemens and myself. Together with Ellen Wagner I was supporting the motion.

The full debate can be seen here, if you scroll to the right in the keynote section. OEB offers a wide collection of recorded material from keynote speakers, and it is a treat.

As each speaker only gets 8 - 10 minutes to defend or reject a motion, I decided to focus on two aspects of Big Data impacting education: creating a bigger digital divide, and reproducing the norm. So here is the video of this keynote.