Terje's musings on educational research

Psst summer school in Linz

In the beginning of August 2012 I took part in an intensive program called “Psst” (Personal & Shared Strategies for Teachers in Web 2.0). The purpose of the program was to provide opportunities to develop knowledge and skills using technology for teaching and learning. The intensive program brought together 25 students from Romania, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia and Austria. Topics covered during the intensive program were rather wide, from storytelling to serious games, from Web3.0 and copyright issues to philosophical aspects of technology in our society and education.

Although being in this field for quite some years now there is always something new to learn. Students’ presentations demonstrated the use of various tools and services in formal educational settings. I got a bunch of new tools to try out myself. For instance, BigBlueButton synchronous communication tool turned out to be a rather useful finding for my teaching. As I have a few courses taught entirely online, I’ve been looking for quite some time a nice alternative to Flashmeeting. In addition, Anneli demonstrated some tools for storytelling (ZimmerTwins, Creaza, Mapskip, Storybird). However, having all these fancy tools at our hands, I noticed that we tended to forget about what actually makes up a story and what the necessary characteristics are. Is a video introducing a set of London’s sights forming a story?

Our Latvian team also demonstrated some interesting sites and tools for making music, which I can imagine can be a nice supplement to music lessons. Some examples are:
GuitarPro
Muscitheory
UltimateGuitar
MagicMusicMaker

or some music databases, in which the content is under one of the Creative Commons licenses:
Jamendo
Freesound
Opsound

I found Christian Kogler’s presentation about McGurk effect (a perceptual phenomenon) and interesting one. He also claimed that “we don’t see what we don’t know”, which made me think of a concept “affordances” we have used in our research to analyse the rationale for using particular tools for certain purposes.

Although our colleagues use quite a bit of technology in their classrooms, I nevertheless got the impression that we tend to repeat traditional teaching practices without considering or rethinking whether the roles and responsibilities should change, whether a different culture of learning should be accepted and promoted. And what is exactly this different culture of learning?