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.

There was a friendly atmosphere that favored attendant’s questions and open discussions. The session was intended to be quite informal, but there was also time for briefly presenting some of the project main insights. LEAD researchers have done stays in so different countries such as USA, Colombia and Japan, which brings a quite broad perspective about current possibilities and challenges regarding learning and design.

LEAD tools and frameworks use data to support the adoption of design thinking and ICT (Information and communication Technologies) at three levels: 1) Educational policy-making; 2) Teaching and facilitation and 3) Learning. The nature of the data differs greatly in each of these levels, although in all cases the information collected is analysed in order to inform decision-making, problem-solving as well as identify new challenges and opportunities for design in learning.

Data and its analysis are an increasing focus of interest for many educational institutions. This has implications at many different levels. Some of LEAD research outcomes are tools and framework that support understanding and decision-making based on data in educational policy-making. Opeka, an online tool for teachers and schools to measure and analyze their usage of ICT in teaching, and Speld – Social practices for Empowering Learning Designer, a framework for representing the social factors in the sustainable and scalable use of ICT in teaching and learning are good examples of this trend.

The Horizon report 2014 has highlighted Learning Analytics as one of the most high-impact technologies in the short term future. Presemo and Feeler, a tool and a prototype based on real-time data monitoring, clearly address the challenge of questioning which data is more meaningful to monitor in learning situations. In the case of Presemo, a system that connects viewers and presenters during face-to-face session through real-time computer-mediated communication, the aim is to facilitate participation, engagement and (peer)learning. Feeler, in turn, seeks to foster awareness and reflection in learning by visualizing learning performance and well-being.

Closely related to the maker culture, Square1 is another of LEAD prototypes that aims to evoke awareness of learning, in this case of collaborative work. Square1 is a collection of single-task dedicated learning devices designed for collaborative work at school. Square1 computer will be assembled by students at schools. The experience of building their own computer is regarded as educational and empowering.

After this 2 years period we are happy to confirm the relevance of this research topics in learning design and we plan continue contributing to this field. For instance, Work on Presemo will focus on exploring the practices in more detail. We hope this work will help others applying these practices in their events. In the case of Feeler, near future prototypes are exploring how to visualize brain electromagnetic activity in order to support awareness about attention levels in study activity. Square1 as gone through several iterations and testings and, although there is still work to do, we plan to have new prototypes and pilots during 2015.

In the near future some of LEAD prototypes will be presented at ITK2015. Certainly this will be another good opportunity to get feedback and engage in interesting discussions.

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