LEAD closing event

2 years have passed since the beginning of LEAD project and many things have happened during this time. Last Thursday 27th of November we had an open meeting in which we wanted to share the insights, as well as the tools and prototypes developed during these years.

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Learning & Design meetup

Interested to have a chat around learning and design with likeminded people? Join our learning & design meetup on Thursday November 27th in Aalto School of Business to meet researchers, practitioners and people interested here. Glögi and some food will be served.

So, our idea is to have a nice social gathering where you can hear our recent results from us. To join, register on Eventbrite, and if you know that you have something to show contact Matti to arrange this.

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LEAD researchers contribute to Wikipedia

We’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge and understanding during the LEAD project and our question is how shall we share it? And the natural answer is to make Wikipedia pages even better for others!

We’ve created a new page on the methodology used, research-based design. We’ve also contributed to articles related design thinking and backchannels.

More to come!

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Aalto Digi Platform meets on e-learning and MOOCs

Aalto University has set up what is called as Digi Platform to examine how digitalization influences society and industries.

The next meeting focuses on MOOCs and e-learning and takes place on Wednesday 28th 8am. We invite all blog readers to come and hear Teemu, Sotris, Jaakko Kurhila, Lauri Malmi and Ari Korhonen.

Those interested in LEAD welcomed to join to after coffee & tea after the Digi Platform meeting in HIIT.

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Feeler co-design workshop with foreign exchange students

A third Feeler co-design workshop was organized among Kyushu university foreign exchange students. In this occasion, the main aim was to identify differences with Asian participants of previous Feeler workshops dealing with ICT use, as well as in the type of questions and ideas dealing regarding the visualization of self-monitored data.

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Feeler co-design workshop with Kyushu University students

A second co-design workshop was organized as part of Feeler design research with students of Kyushu University Design School. Similarly to previous workshop, organized with the support of professor Yasukuyi Hirai and the Inclusive Design lab members, the session aimed to get the participants’ views and feedback about the use and visualization of Quantified-Self data for improving learning and well-being.

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EdMedia 2014 in Tampere, LEAD is here too

The international EdMedia conference is starting now at Tampere, and the LEAD research group is extreamly visible in the conference.

We have our own LEAD Symposium: Design for Learning: Enhancing Participation in Learning through Design Thinking with participants from every LEAD research group discussing design thinking from their perspectives. Welcome on Thursday, 1.30 pm – 3.45 pm.

Games and fun


Finland and Finns

… and much more!

Also, our prototypes are presented in the TEKES stand for Finnish researchers

  • Presemo, Tuesday, 2pm – 4pm
  • Square 1, Thursday 10 am – noon
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Feeler co-design pilot workshop

As part of Feeler design concept contextual inquiry, a co-design workshop was organized with students of Kyushu University Design School. The intention of the workshop was to explore issues dealing with the use and visualization of Quantified-Self data for improving learning and well-being.

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Social shift in MOOCs

Executive summary: Matti has been looking some MOOC related research taking place in UC Berkeley. One emerging theme is adding peer-to-peer interaction into the exercises to support learning. Matti suggests that this might be a weak signal and learning platform developers ought to have thought on this.

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Square1 software / hardware prototype testing in a school

13981410100_f8446aa6dc_zMore photos from the workshop.

Couple of weeks ago, we held the first workshop with students for the Square1 software / harware prototype. The objective of the workshop was to explore how the Square1 prototype may support self-organized and collaborative learning. The workshop was inspired and based on the self-organized learning environment (SOLE) experiment by Sukata Mitra.

Square1 is a single task dedicated learning devices designed for group work in schools and consists of 5 touch screen devices; in this case 4 devices for writing texts and 1 central device for making internet searches and aggregating, arranging and presenting notes from the writing device. The hardware prototypes of the writing devices had a keyboard and a screen encased in a single box.

Software prototype

The Square1 software prototype was built as a browser app. With the app one can create a ‘study room’, that can be entered in two modes: a writing mode for the writing devices and a canvas mode for the central device where the written texts are submitted and arranged as notes. The canvas mode also contained a button for switching to a searching mode where internet searches could be made through Google or Wikipedia.


The workshop was held with four, grade six pupils aged about 12 and lasted about an hour and a half. In the workshop, each pupil was assigned a device for writing texts and the central device was to be used together for making internet searches and aggregating and arranging the written texts for presentation.

Learning task

The pupils’ task for the workshop was to find out possible answers to the question:

Why do things fall downwards and not upwards or sideways?”.

Data collection

Since we were interested in the pupils’ first impressions with the prototype and the interactions and experiences that would happen during the task, we captured the entire workshop on video and audio. Furthermore we conducted open-ended interview with the pupils and their teacher who was observing with us students work with the task.

Preliminary outcomes

We experienced some problems with the prototype during the workshop; the central device functionality for arranging the written texts (from the writing devices) partly failed. As a result, the written texts were aggregated in the central device but they could not be arranged for the presentation purposes.

We later found out that the problem was a result of the submission of about 800 empty text pieces to the central device. In practice pressing “enter” in the writing devices was posting enpty notes to the canvas. This slowed down the central device’s software to the point where it became unresponsive. The bug has been fixed.

By observing and from the open-ended interview we concluded that the writing devices should come with a functionality of flipping the view to have the same search tools available that are in the central canvas. In the prototype tested the search functionality was accessible only through the central device with the intention of looking at how pupils would discuss and agree on when and what to search. Observations we made in the workshop suggested that discussion and collaboration on searches would still take place even when the search functionality would also be accessible through each individual the writing devices.

We are now taking a closer look of the data gathered. it looks, however, that the Square1 prototype is ready for more testing in schools. During the summer we are also working with the hardware design, so that it becomes possible for people to assemble their own set of Square1 devices. It’s going to be an exciting autumn.

What did the students learn?

This is a tricky question. While searching answer(s) to the questions students found out that the issue is related to gravitation but were not able to properly explain it. The explanation given was that everything goes to the center of the earth and therefore things fall down. In their search of information they were very source critical and discussed about the reliability of the information they found. During the follow-up interview we discussed more about phenomena and we may assume that after that students did have a better and more correct idea about it than before the workshop.

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