Edukata, The Innovative Learning Activity Design Toolkit

The culmination of three years of work by the design team in Aalto is here: Edukata, the innovative learning activity design toolkit.

Edukata1.0 coverThere is an abundance of inspiring scenarios about innovative schools and groundbreaking educational practices. However, practices that work well for one school do not necessarily yield the same positive impact in another. Unique organizational school structures, varying experience of educators and students represent different sets of complex challenges. Often, this complexity is not reflected in the scenarios, making the active implementation of change is difficult to introduce and sustain.

Edukata is a collaborative design process for educators to fill the gap between visionary scenarios and classroom practice. The Edukata design process is a source of inspiration for educators to strengthen their abilities and confidence as designers of future classroom learning activities and to expand and improve educational design skills.

Edukata starts with the selection of an inspiring scenario and guides educators to create future class- room learning activities that reflect the key aspects of the scenario, the personal interests and needs of students, and the classroom context. These learning activities will address design challenges and will build on design opportunities as well as supporting resources that educators identify during the Edukata design process. The learning activities will be documented as subject non-specific modules that any educator could perform.

The Edukata process is based on an empirically tested design methodology. During the years 2011- 2013, learning activities designed with the Edukata process were piloted in over 17 European countries and in over 2000 classrooms. These activities were found to positively impact teaching, learning and attainment and to foster 21st century skills.

Edukata is a starting point. It provides a glimpse at, not a blueprint of the successful design of quality learning activities. It requires commitment, experience and stepping beyond your comfort zone. We recommend to facilitate the Edukata design process repeatedly to receive in depth understanding of the process. The resource corner includes useful tools and online resources to support the Edukata design process. You may also seek professional training and certification from the Future Classroom at the European Schoolnet.

Download the Edukata guide book.

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Winter School schedule

Here’s the preliminary Winter School schedule. Some things may change as reality meets plan, but that’s only to be expected.

TUESDAY 12.03.2013

13.00 ONWARDS Arrival to Oulu

18.00 ONWARDS Meet and Greet at the hotel bar

18.30 – 19:30 Guided walking tour of Oulu

WEDNESDAY 13.03.2013

08.50 Meeting at the hotel lobby

09.00 Early bus to Ubiko

09.30 – 10.30 Student observation at Ubiko (optional)

10.00 Late bus to Ubiko

10.30 – 11.00 Welcome at the school cafeteria

– Welcome speech / Tarmo Toikkanen, Aalto University

– Introducing Ubiko / Kari Kumpulainen, Leading Principle, University of Oulu, Teacher Training School

– Walking Tour of Ubiko / Heikki Kontturi, Ubiko Project Leader

11.00 – 11.45 Winter School workshop: iTEC demos

11.45 – 12.30 Lunch at school cafeteria

12.30 – 14.00 Winter School workshop

14.00 – 14.30 Coffee break (optional: explore iTEC demos)

14.30 – 17.00 Winter School workshop

17.00 Bus to the hotel

18.00 Evening program

THURSDAY 14.03.2013

09.00 Bus to Ubiko

09.30 – 11.45 Winter School workshop

11.45 – 12.30 Lunch at school cafeteria

12.30 – 14.00 Winter School workshop

14.00 – 14.20 Coffee break (optional: explore iTEC demos)

14.30 – 15.30 Open webinar

15.30 – 16.30 Winter School workshop

16.30 Bus to hotel

18.00 Evening program

FRIDAY 15.03.2013

Departure from Oulu at your own schedule

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Cycle 4 Full Pilot Material

This cycle Learning Stories and Activities focus on “real world” challenges, that is, challenges related to the sociocultural context of the students and are personally meaningful to them. Students work with realistic problems, selecting personally meaningful challenges or addressing the challenges of an audience they can relate to. To give future stories stronger stronger grounding in personal learning goals, please add your personal experiences as comments to the blog or as entries to the iTEC planning tool “Composer”.

The activities focus extensively on extending the role of the teacher. Each activity provides teachers with suggestions for developing their expertise, including digital and pedagogical competence. Teachers are also challenged to adopt different roles and to support learners on various levels. Teachers are, first and foremost, invited to act as a provider of inspiration. Further, they are asked to carefully listen to students, to shape activities to address the individual needs and interests of the students, and to coach the students through the activities by questioning the underlying assumptions in relation to project work to cultivate the students’ critical thinking skills and their ability to reflect in and on their action. The activities further solicit challenging students to think further and supporting them to collect evidence that could strengthen or weaken their claims, essentially preparing the students for situations that require them to defend a cause. Lastly, the teacher’s role is to expand learning beyond the walls of the school by coaching students to connect to and collaborate with people outside of school. Through these connections, students can discuss their prototypes and concepts with people who have an in depth understanding of the challenges the students’ work relates to, and may receive meaningful suggestions or constructive criticism.

Overview of teacher roles

Develop – To expand the expertise and competence of the teacher.
Inspire – To evoke shared experiences and the feeling of being part of a meaningful endeavour.
Coach – To offer advice and guidance to the students.
Listen – To carefully consider students’ interests and needs in shaping classroom activities.
Question – To challenge students’ assumptions by asking open ended questions.
Support – To step in and offer practical, hands-on support.
Assess – To evaluate students’ achievements based on collaboratively designed criteria.

The Learning Activities respects teachers’ expertise in developing pedagogically sound experiences that support the personal development of young people. They are inspirational material that suggest ways of performing parts of a Learning Story. Teachers can change the Activities to better suit the performance of a learning story to their classroom context. The activities are inspirations, not prescriptions. Only through receiving comments and modifications, we can reshape the activities to accommodate European school settings even better. We recommend active engagement with other iTEC teachers and partners through various online channels. This cycle consists of a total of four Learning Stories and nine Learning Activities. The illustration above shows the flow of Learning Activities to perform a Learning Story.

Overview of the Learning Stories

Illustrated by the Learning Story “Creating an Object“, in which students develop a tangible design.


Illustrated by the Learning Stories “Telling a Story” in which students narrate a scientific concept through audio-visual media.


Creating a Game” in which students construct a playful learning activity.

Overview of Learning Activities

Dream
Introducing, understanding and questioning a design brief

Explore
Collecting information in relation to the design brief

Map
Creating a mindmap to understand relations between the collected information

Reflect
Recording audio-visual reflections and feedback

Make
Creating a design

Ask
Performing workshops with people who may represent future users of the design

Show
Publishing and presenting designs to an audience

Collaborate
Forming ad-hoc collaborations with learners of other schools

The Learning Activities are inspirational material that suggest ways of performing parts of a Learning Story. They are not prescriptions. Teachers can change the Learning Activities to contextualize the performance of a Learning Story.

It is possible to choose to perform one of three learning stories. Further, There is no one correct or best way to perform an activity. It is possible to select different tools and practices for performing learning activities. For example, if you are in a hurry, it is possible to abridge learning stories and only perform the Dream, Explore, Map and Reflect activity, essentially skipping the production aspect of a story while focussing on planning. If you are very motivated, learning stories can also be combined. For example, a rendered 3D modeled object created in the story “Create an Object” can be featured as a sequence of a digital film created in the story “Tell a Story”.

iTEC has been working on developing several digital tools to support teachers in performing the learning activities. These tools are TeamUpReFlex and the iTEC Widget Store. It is highly recommended to explore and use these tools during the pilot. The times at which the tools can be used are mentioned in the pilot material.

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TeamUp Manual updated

A new version of the TeamUp manual is available. The manual is organized in three parts. Part A describes how to create and fill a classroom in TeamUp, part B explains how to form teams based on the interests of learners, and part C presents how to record and listen to teamwork process.

Download the TeamUp Manual Version 2.

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VVOP12 – Learning activity workshop for teachers

As part of the VVOP12, we facilitated a workshop for teachers to explore the iTEC reflection tools through the cycle 4 Learning Activities.

We asked them to form team, and to perform 4 Learning Activities:
Dream – understand and questing a design brief
Explore – Collecting information in relation to the design brief
Make – Creating a design or forming ideas
Reflect – Recording an audio-visual reflection

The design briefs can be viewed on the Participate Blog, the video above and several more that can be found on our Vimeo channel document the workshop.

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Holiday greetings

The Aalto team is wishing all iTEC teachers and students a happy holiday season.

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Design briefs for a teacher workshop

We are organizing a teacher workshop / focus group. The following six design briefs will be presented to teachers who can choose which ones they are interested in. Time is limited, as this is only a 1,5 hour session, but we still want to use design briefs that are relevant in the real world. Continue reading

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Focus groups with teachers and students (cycle 4)

Learn about four iTEC digital prototypes and provide your comments on their further development! We warmly invite iTEC students and teachers to participate in online focus group sessions.

iTEC focus groups are informal 1-1.5 hour long sessions facilitated online by the Aalto University. We will use Skype or google hangout to communicate.

Prototypes under discussion

  • ReFlex, a functional tool for personal reflection
  • Ambire, a functional ambient tool for whole-class reflection
  • Participate Blog, a functional multi-lingual resource for teachers
  • Mindmap annotations, a visual prototype for textual navigation

Proposed times

  • 28 November, between 10 AM and 2 PM
  • 29 November, between 10 AM and 5 PM
  • 30 November, between 10 AM and 5 PM

All times are UTC+2 (Helsinki, Finland)

How to participate
Please confirm your interests by sending an email to anna.keune(at)aalto(dot)fi
Mention which time and tool (Skype or Google hangout) would suit you best. If none of the times suit you, please include an alternative time and date in your message.

I am looking forward to the sessions with you and your students!

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Join the Oulu Winter School

Date: March 13-15, 2013 (Wednesday – Friday)
In the capital of Northern Scandinavia: Oulu, Finland

The Oulu Winter School is an exciting event that brings together teachers from all iTEC pilot countries to learn about a novel method of creating educational scenarios and turning the scenarios into realistic, practical learning activities. Set in the UBIKO, one of the most innovative school buildings of Finland and charged with the latest educational equipment, Winter School participants will also explore and experiment with state-of-the-art iTEC technologies for an engaging classroom.

During a walk on the frozen sea, visiting Oulu’s artist district Pikisaari, and enjoying a traditional Finnish Sauna, there will also be time for international collaboration and networking.

Two excellent teachers of each iTEC country are warmly invited to participate. Here is how it works: Each pedagogical coordinator of an iTEC pilot country suggests one excellent iTEC teacher, with fluent English skills, for the Winter School. This teacher then chooses a friend to bring along. The friend must also be a teacher with fluent English skills. It is not necessary, however, for the friend to have prior iTEC experiences. The travel and accommodation expenses of the teacher plus friend are covered by iTEC Aalto University.

If pedagogical coordinators want to join the event, they are welcome, but their expenses are paid from their own budgets.

To join, contact Tarmo or Anna.

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Cycle 4 pre-pilots can start

Cycle 4 pre-pilot material is ready for classroom piloting. Please familiarize yourself with the learning stories and packages of learning activities and our instructions for reporting and performance. Remember that the stories are not meant as prescriptions, but rather represent examples of how the learning activities work together.

To translate learning stories or learning activities into your native language, we encourage you to use the translation capabilities on this website. This way your translation work will remain useful even after the iTEC project has ended.

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