UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning | Fifth International Seminar – Teemu Leinonen: Wikiversity

12 November, 2008

Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning Fifth International Seminar. Fighting the Digital Divide through Education)

Teemu Leinonen, Media Lab – University of Art and Design Helsinki

Teemu Leinonen, moments after his presentation by David Campos/UOCTeemu Leinonen, a moment after his presentation (picture by David Campos /UOC)Any true understanding is dialogic in nature (Bakhtin).

UNESCO’s Young Digital Creators: UNESCO Young Digital Creators (YDC) Educator’s Kit.

Evolution of learning technologies

Is it learning with technology or learning from technology?

The best way to predict the future is to invent it, Alan Kay, 1971.

An evolution of instructional technology:

  • The media center as a separate artifact, segregated from the gallery, meeting room and seminar room.
  • The web becomes more and more the desktop, the meeting and collaborating place.
  • Pervasiveness of mobile phones brings on the possibility of mobile learning, that has to cohabit with e-learning as we knew it.
  • Affordability of multimedia devices that can record, create or edit sound, audio, etc. enrich e-learning experiences with rich media created by the user. This leads us to projects as the mobile audio encyclopaedia.
  • Then to augmented reality with mobile phones like Shedlight.

Course: Composing free and open online educational resources: a course planned (and paid by) Finnish students, but followed by +60 more people around the world. And now it can be (and it actually is) replicated elsewhere, at any time.

The syllabus, the assignments… everything took place on the Wikiversity page of the course.

Wiki platforms allow the collaborative creation of very simple — though effective — learning objects.

Three metaphors of learning
  • Knowledge acquisition: you read a book, you learn. But access to courseware is not an issue when it is abundant. Learning is an individual cognitive process. Memorizing.
  • Participation: learning is a socio-cultural process. Acting.
  • Knowledge creation: learning is a socio-cultural process with an intention to produce artefacts. Cultivating.

In Wikipedia all three metaphors take place. But where’s the place for educators? What and how are they doing?

Grundtvig’s Folkenhøjskole: the university is more than four walls, it is a social dialogue. Freire: non-institutional education. Ollman: the University as an institution that is educating and nurturing acting people, but that has built a chasm between it and the society. Hakkarainen: Progressive Inquiry [reminds me of Participatory Action Research].

Q & A

Paul West: how to maintain, validate wikis? Does it leave room for the teacher? How digitally literate do they have to be? A: Le Mill makes it easier for the teacher to create content.

Q: is it really possible to have cultural diversity in wikis/wikipedias? A: Actually, the different structures themselves of the several wikipedias do demonstrate that even at the core, cultural differences shape the container itself, not only the content.

Tim Unwin: Are artefacts content? are we focussing too much on artefacts rather than content? A: Of course the artefact is but a tool. But the process of creating, even creating the artefact, does provide too some valuable knowledge, as it forces reflecting about the process itself.

Susan Metros: How can teachers assess the materials that students are creating, specially in collaborative ways? A: It is important to keep groups really small so that tracking can be easily done.

Julià Minguillón: the pervasiveness of English as lingua franca, won’t crowd out other smaller languages? Should this small languages speakers be encouraged to create content? A: ICTs enable small languages to survive, but translating content in other languages is not the strategy: it has to be genuine created content.

Sugata Mitra: what is learning? when students “play” with computers, is that learning? A: It might be learning, but after the n repetition, is just repetition. Besides, learning and education might not be the same thing,

Ismael Peña-López: If the whole process is available, and everyone can join, how can we assess the learning of the student? how can we help them find whether they learned or not? A: Some of them might not be interested in a “formal” assessment, but just find the process was interesting. We could be talking about evaluation and feedback instead of assessment. Tim Unwin: peer assessment is a very effective — and even efficient — assessment method.

Linda Roberts: What’s next? A: Free Open Content should gain power. And a community will gather around the creation, sharing and use of these materials, enhanced by collaborative tools to engage one with each other.

Brian Lamb: How to evaluate collaborative work? A: The evaluation should also be like a dynamic dialogue. Of course, it requires time (and money).

Enric Senabre: How to create a local Wikiversity? A: Content has to be created, prove that “people will come”, and then the Foundation will create the local Wikiversity site.

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