Archive for August, 2010


E-learning in third grade

August 22, 2010

I will try to gather examples of how open courseware and other open/free resources are/can be used for e-learning in educational programmes.

A colleague pointed me to this Danish primary school teacher’s (Roland Hachmann) blog about his Grouply activities in his History class in grade 3. He has among other used Grouply as a collaborative space for learning about chronology.


Exploring Learning Space Designs

August 22, 2010

From the conference on ICT and Innovative Learning Environments in Danish Universities, I took with me several insights that I want to share and have already done so in several blogposts.

– Matters of e-learning are about open explorations of learning space designs. This, of course, can mean many things…

Phillip D. Long was one of the key note speakers and workshop presenters who is looking at different open source tools on the Internet that can be engaged as ressources in academic activities (i.e. for the educator, researcher, and the learner). At the workshop he mentioned a long list of open source tools. He is making the list available online, and I look forward to this! 

He has also written a book chapter on “Trends in Learning Space Design”. The chapter is part of a book on “Learning Spaces” available at the Educause homepage, which is surely a visit worth for anyone wanting to gain inspiration for higher education use of ICT. I also just stumbled on this interview with him. It includes interesting references to other writings by Phillip D. Long on open frameworks for education and open courseware.

– in Denmark we have several takes on what open explorations of learning space designs are about.

Christian Dalsgaard is one of the researchers who are focusing on as well as advocating open source approches to the design of learning spaces. He is among other the author of the article “Social software: E-learning beyond learning management systems“. Dalsgaard encourages what he calls self-governed communication and learning environments. His approach takes point of departure in the individual student’s options to choose from and engage with the vast variety of open sources that exist and are available and free on the Internet.

Virtual Worlds like Second Life are for some researchers the point of entrance to new matters of e-learning. In Denmark, for instance, Marianne Riis has dedicated her PhD research to “Exploring 3D remediation: research, teaching and learning with and in a new media”. Her blog is worth a visit.


Connecting Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning

August 22, 2010

The workshop with Dan Gilbert “Connecting Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning” was quite interesting.

First I noted that he mentioned that Stanford University has had the goal to “make creative requirement a goal”.

I think that creative requirement should be a goal in all educational programmes. But how do you foster this?

One way is to be good at rapidly generating ideas, identifying needs, problems, and finding solutions.

At the workshop Dan Gilbert engaged us in a rapid exercise to identify a problem related to our students.

1. do an 1-1 interview, 5 minutes each, where you take turns answering these questions:

  1. “I wish my students…”
  2. Why can’t I accomplish that…?
  3. Why?… Why…?

2. round-table: Briefly state what are the participants problems. Select one of the problems. Spent 5 minutes brainstorming suggestions for solutions to this problem. Select one solution.

3. Spend 10 minutes on preparing a presentation (with whatever is at hand) where you show and tell about the solution (in 30 sec.).

It was a fun, boundary crossing, surprisingly effective, and learningful experience :-).


Divergent and convergent thinking processes

August 22, 2010

From Renate Fruchter (founding director of Problem Based Learning Laboratory (PBL Lab), I have learned that brainstorming proceses may consist of two kinds of thinking processes: 

  1. Divergent thinking processes: where you explore and open up
  2. Convergent thinking processes: where you narrow down, focus, and make closure

Of course, I already knew this. But Renate just introduced this in a way that I found quite easy to relate to.

Renate Fruchter’s workshop at the “ICT and Innovative Learning Environments in Danish Universities” was another good reminder, that the value of brainstorming processes as a kick-off for idea generation and development of designs for teaching with ICTs should not be underestimated.

Renate made it appear quite unproblematic. She introduced two principles. The BBI principle involves thinking in terms of what is needed:

  • Bricks
  • Bits
  • Interaction

The D+C principle is about thinking in action (D= design and C= Collaboration).

With these principles and a focus on instructional/teaching design generation that emphasizes problem, process, product, people, project, Renate Fruchter presented these ingredients in the process:

  • experimental 
  • being mindful about the process
  • creating clarity from complexity
  • collaboration across boarders
  • showing and telling
  • focusing on human values
  • not having a bias towards action

Keeping this in mind, the next brainstorming process may not be that troublesome :-).


What is this?

August 22, 2010

At the conference “ICT and Innovative Learning Environments in Danish Universities” I learned this cool and easy way to start thinking about innovation from Dan Gilbert (founder and creative principal of Learning Innovations Inc.):

  • Take two minutes. Brainstorm on a piece of paper “What is this?” (e.g. a pencil. Not what it really is, but what it could be)

Point of this exercise? To see that innovation is a matter of opening up, being inventive, imaginative. Furthermore, innovation can be a matter of rapid generation of ideas, identification of problems, and finding solutions.

Innovation can be about finding ways to make (better) things happen faster.

I think that ‘the world’ I come from could learn a lot from this little exercise :-). Try it. It is an eye-opener!