Yesterday, at tedxuhowest, I presented our work on open learning and learning analytics.
I started my talk with a confession: I actually don’t like TED talks all that much… Many can be summarised as “hey, if we all do Good Stuff, then the world will become a better place”. That is probably true, but, paraphrasing one of my PhD students, “that’s just hippie talk”…
What I do like about TED talks is that they are short ;-). And I liked the idea of trying to summarise the essence of what we do in 18 minutes. The video will be posted soon, I think. My slides are below.
The other thing I like about TED events is that you meet Interesting People: I was quite impressed by what Tom Christiaens does with quindo, where students from ‘difficult’ backgrounds make radio: very different setting from mine, but very similar inspiration, views and goals… Roel Berger presented the jini quantified self framework – wish their app would finally be public! And Vero Vanden Abbeele showed a nice example of the tension between apps that try to help us improve our lives and … just living our lives.
We have a bit of a discussion going on how to ‘activate’ students, i.e. how to make them not passively sit and listen in sessions but make them participate in an active way…
Thought I’d share what I mailed earlier today and ask for your feedback…
I think it’s important to realise that activating the students is often a challenge, for all of us. Sometimes, my students can’t get enough and don’t want to stop working. Sometimes, it feels like I’m talking to bags filled with sand. The important thing is to keep trying: falling back in old, safe habits is not a solution – it just hides the problems.
A talk with the students on why they don’t engage can help, but can also turn into a pseudo-psycho-analysis that gets you nowhere.
We train students from age 6 to sit still, be quiet and listen. Those who do well at that in schools end up at the university. And then we wonder why they are not active
My main point: don’t think this is easy or always works for anyone. Keep trying. That’s much better than not even trying…
What do you do to make your students participate actively? Or, if you’re a student, what makes you engage?
Come join us in Leuven: we have an opening for a full-time tenured academic position in Computer Science for Digital Humanities at the Department of Computer Science!
Deadline for applications: 30 June 2013
From the official text:
We are looking for a candidate with expertise in applications of computer science in digital humanities. A successful candidate will already have obtained excellent research results in the area of applying computer science techniques in research applications in the digital humanities. For the applied computer science techniques, examples could be data mining, or archiving or disclosure of information from large e-archives, or human-computer interaction, or visualisation techniques, or e-learning. Concerning the applications domains, examples could be the Arts, or the Social or Instructional Sciences. Research experience with the application of multiple techniques from computer Science and/or with multiple application domains in the Humanities or Behavioral Sciences are considered are a strong added value of the application.
The official announcement gives more details…
Feel free to contact me for additional details!
Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure and privilege to do an afternoon session on learning analytics with a group of teachers at the Alberdingk Thijm College, Hilversum.
One of the reasons why I liked the session is because it was more a working session than a presentation. After a brief re-cap, participants brainstormed in small groups on things one might want to measure in a learning analytics context. Slide 18 below summarises the results.
- environment, light, carbon dioxide, oxygen,temperature, colour, weather, air quality, space, familiarity, background noise
- experience, involvement, stress, boredom, well being, fear, emotions, motivation, feeling of being competent, experiencing success, compliments from teachers and other students, security, bullying, acceptance
- duration of instruction, attention, learning effects, learning time, measuring every 10 mins whether you get through, best moments for instruction, before or after break, visual or auditory, result
- physical condition, sleep, eating, brain activity, heart rhytm, movement, teacher and student, breathing, voice, conductance, palm humidity
- web sites (related to learning or not), search activity, how long, relationship with domain being learned, facebook, alertness, thinking steps, brain activity
- social, pairing good with less good students or friends, gender, age, talking, keyword extraction, English or Dutch, space, quantity, interaction, between teacher and student,
- teacher behavior, walking around, interaction, patience, voice, compliments, humour, choice of words, volume, duration, clothes
OK, so this is isn’t perfectly structure, but, obviously, a group of 20 teachers can identify more relevant characteristics in 20 minutes than we will know how to measure, analyse and visualise in the next 20 months
Maybe you have some additional suggestions for things we could also measure?
Someone recommends something to someone else
So, they will design, build and evaluate an application that enables one person to suggest a book, a movie, a course, etc. to another person. Incidentally, it would be interesting to hear about your experiences: how do you typically give or receive recommendations?
(No, we’re not considering software generated recommendations – this is about one person making a recommendation for another person.)
We’ve also started to experiment with badges - as another student tweeted:
Being 'rewarded' with badges is really motivating and on the other hand just fun! #chikul13—
Sander Voeten (@SanderVoeten) March 02, 2013
This is still a bit in the early stages, but we’re quite excited to experiment with the mozilla open badge system…
So far, students have done brainstorming sessions and developed storyboards. Next Tuesday, we will evaluate paper prototypes in think-aloud tests. You’re very welcome to leave comments on their blogs (or here) if you want to influence their work!
Is this a MOOC? Well,
- I don’t think it’s “massive” by any meaning of the word: there’s about 30 of us at the moment;
- I do think it’s rather “open”: students work together and communicate with each other and the team through public blogs and twitter;
- It’s kind of on-line: we do use blogs and twitter (and diigo soon) to communicate, but we also do face-to-face “studio sessions” most Tuesday afternoons;
- I guess it is a course allright
So, I guess it’s more of an
MOoC? Anyway, you’re welcome to join!
(Or you could join LAK13, which is more like a MOOc, I guess…)
This part of an Aaron Schwartz interview was already mentioned by Dave Winer and John Gruber, but this SO gets to the essence of what I think is broken with schools (and universities!), that I’ll repeat it here:
“When I was a kid, I thought a lot about what made me different from the other kids. I don’t think I was smarter than them and I certainly wasn’t more talented. And I definitely can’t claim I was a harder worker – I’ve never worked particularly hard, I’ve always just tried doing things I find fun. Instead, what I concluded was that I was more curious — but not because I had been born that way. If you watch little kids, they are intensely curious, always exploring and trying to figure out how things work. The problem is that school drives all that curiosity out. Instead of letting you explore things for yourself, it tells you that you have to read these particular books and answer these particular questions. And if you try to do something else instead, you’ll get in trouble. Very few people’s curiosity can survive that. But, due to some accident, mine did. I kept being curious and just followed my curiosity.”