Focus Group session at Media Lab

Teachers are discussing the teacher feedback tool concept.

Our first cycle 4 Focus Group sessions was arranged in Helsinki last Tuesday. Two teachers from Oulu joined us to discuss and comment on three iTEC prototypes:  TeamUp, ReFlex and a  teacher feedback tool concept.

TeamUp is already a functioning prototype that has been the subject of several design iterations. Hence, the comments on the tool were small, but valuable suggestions related to interface design. For example, it was mentioned to prompt a screen with suggestions in case teachers with dated and incompatible browsers would navigate to the page.

Interesting design leads emerged when discussing ReFlex, for example, the value of audiovisual recordings, and the concept of future capsules that refers to recordings that can only be viewed after a specified time period. We further considered meaningful questions that could evoke personal reflection.

When discussing the concept of a tool for teacher feedback, it was considered that audiovisual recordings could be valuable for the orchestration of more personalize feedback and that the recordings could be meaningful for teacher-parent and student-parent discussions. Overall, privacy presented to be a larger topic of discussion in comparison to TeamUp and ReFlex.

The Focus Group session resulted in inspiring new touch-points for the further design of the tools we discussed. We would like to thank our participants from Oulu!


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Cycle 4 Pre-pilot material available soon

We are planning cycle 4 activities using post-it notes

The five scenarios that were selected for cycle 4 per-pilots and pilots have been analyzed based on the comments by the steering committee and the PD workshop. Design challenges and opportunities have been identified and similarities and differences in the scenarios emerged.

The scenarios were heavily related to previous themes, namely design practice in school, building on personally relevant and local challenges, (inter-) national collaboration between classrooms and teachers, broadening the walls of schools, and, last but not least, working with experts outside of the school domain. Hence, we are designing the cycle 4 Learning Activities on previously piloted activities. Continue reading

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ReFlex design session

Picture taken during a design session.

We are working on getting ReFlex ready for iTEC cycle 4.

ReFlex is a new media tool for individual student reflection. Following the TeamUp design metaphor, students can record one-minute audio updates about what they learned. At the end of cycle 3, the tool was a visual prototype.

The picture to the right shows members of our team during a design session and the picture below shows Antti working on implementing the decisions we ideated during the session.

Antti is developing ReFlex.

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Video Comments by Teachers on Learning Activities

Anna Riita Vizari, an Italian teacher, comments on the challenging and engaging aspects of the cycle 3 learning activities “design learning in school”.

During the September teacher workshop at the European Schoolnet in Brussels, we recorded short video comments about the cycle 3 learning activities with  iTEC teachers and iTEC national pedagogical  coordinators.

The learning activities are all about design learning in school. The video comments  present engaging aspects of the activities, challenges that might be encountered when performing the activities, and tips for teachers to address these challenges.

While we asked the teachers and coordinators to comment in their native language, some choose to speak in English. View and comment on all videos on the iTEC Vimeo channel.

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Cycle 4 participatory design workshops

The cycle 4 scenarios are ready. We request all pre-pilot partners to organize PD workshops (at least one, just like in the 3 previous cycles) with teachers and if possible students. Choose 2-3 scenarios from these five scenarios:

Here’s what you as NPCs need to do:

  1. Select 2-3 of the five scenarios that you find most interesting.
  2. Respond to this post and tell which ones you are planning on analysing.
  3. Organize your PD workshops in the usual way. Refer to the PD workshop guidelines. Remember that PD workshops are supposed to be face-to-face meetings, not online meetings.
  4. Write your summaries and submit them as blog comments to each of the scenarios you discussed in your workshop (use the links above). We need the summaries by the 22nd of August, but absolutely by the 29th of August 2012.
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Student design blogs are pouring in

Aggregation student design blog RSS feeds.

Cycle 3 pre-pilot teachers have been busy with their students. Five teachers have already provided links to their student design blogs. We aggregated them on our “Student Design Documentation (iTEC pre-pilot 3)” Netvibes page. View the page to see all the fantastic work that the pre-pilots teachers and students are up to! 

All teachers who have not yet filled in the google form with the links to their student blogs are warmly welcome to do so. We are excited to add even more student works to this site. 

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Pondering about flipped classrooms

Flip the classroom and make it more engaging. Image: Taylor Hand @ Flickr, CC BY-SA

A flipped classroom is often mentioned when discussing the future classroom. Ideas and aspects related to the flipped classroom have also been juggled with in iTEC, for example in the scenario Homework and schoolwork “flip”. Continue reading

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TeamUp wins the eEemeli competition

Jukka, Anna and Tarmo with the TeamUp poster. Photo: Björn Lindholm

Today, at the ITK 2012 (Interaktiivinen Tekniikka Koulutuksessa) conference, TeamUp was announced the winner of the eEemeli competition Apps4Learning. Way to go team!

TeamUp is a new media reflection tool for teachers to form teams of students based on interests, and for students to record 1 minute audio updates about their teamwork progress, challenges and next steps.

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Cycle 3 Pre-pilot material available NOW!

Illustration of pre.pilot 3 Learning Activities

* UPDATED 26.04.2012 *

Teachers and National Coordinators, please add your questions and improvements suggestions to the Learning Activities and Learning Stories as comments to the specific posts! THANKS!

Cycle 3 pre-pilots can start! This cycle’s pre-pilots are truly special as they will be all about learning through design (and in design).

Pre-piloting teachers can choose one of two Learning Activity Packages. Both packages include 6 Learning Activities that guide teachers through a design learning process. Both packages are illustrated by two Learning Stories, to show how the activities can be performed in the classroom. The packages and stories are:

Learning Activity Package 1: Observe and Design

Learning Stories to illustrate Package 1:

Learning Activity Package 2: Benchmark and Design

Learning Stories to illustrate Package 2:

You need to provide your students with an initial design brief, which the students then flesh out and improve during each phase of the design process. Download: Design Brief Template (*.doc)

While the activities should be performed as closely as possible, the Learning Stories are only examples and you can tweak them as you like to make the activities work for you, your students, the curriculum etc.

When your students have their blogs set up, fill out this form so the blogs can be added to an overall view of all pre-piloting design blogs.

Reporting: What we really want to find out with this pre-pilot is what are the challenges of teachers to “teach” design and what are the challenges of students in the design process. Also we want to find out what works for you and the students and how we can support you in the future! What digital tools would address the challenges in the process? For this, we are dependent on your feedback! Rate the activities and add comments to them:

  • What worked for you and/or the students and how?
  • What did not work for you and/or the students and why?
  • Did you observe additional learning outcomes? Which ones?

You can add comments to each activity after performing it with your class. This would give us the possibility to react to challenges that you might encounter during the pre-pilot! 🙂

You should complete your pre-pilot by the end of this spring semester. Send comments to the learning activities before the 20th of June, so they can be included when considering next autumn’s full pilots.

Any questions? Ask your national coordinator or ask us by adding a comment to this blog post!

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A glimpse at the pre-pilot preparation

Early illustration of thinking hats for teachers and students

We have been working extensively with the 3rd cycle scenarios and the Participatory Design workshop summaries that the NPCs sent us. Design challenges as well as similarities and differences across all scenarios have been identified. From this, an early theme for the pre-pilot was created.

This cycle pre-pilot will focus on design based learning, that allows teachers and students to choose ‘thinking hats’ and builds on the educational, learning and interest driven expertise of teachers and students.

The concept of design based learning differentiates from Project based learning, as it leaves room for the exploration of personal interests and engagement with communities. Drawing inspiration from the IDEO “Design thinking for educators” and the design learning activities of university level design educators, we will present design learning activities that are tailored to K-12 level students. Stay tuned for the details!


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