Wikipedia-Diversity is a new collaboration between Wikimedia Germany and Gender & Technology Center at Beuth University, dedicated to promoting diversity in Wikipedia. We have just started in February and are starting off with an interdisciplinary research team bringing in expertise from pedagogy, psychology, sociology and culture studies. The topic is super interesting and the team truly dedicated so I am really glad to lead this project. Our first common paper describing the approach was accepted for the eSociety Conference 2013 and I enjoyed presenting and discussing with the eSociety community in March (presentation below). Our approach is based on transdisciplinary principles (as we intend to utilise approaches from various disciplines to find best possible solutions) and on the principles of open innovation (as we intend to support the sharing of ideas, skills and resources from inside-out and outside-in). We are now prioritising the common goals for the overall strategy and the milestones for the first year of the project. This summer semester I will be also working with my students in the course “Media Didactics and Learning Design” at Beuth University on designing digital learning materials addressing specific aspects related to fostering diversity. It is a very exciting phase and I just can’t stop thinking about solutions and ideas.
- If you know of some inspiring approaches that may be relevant for our project, please let me know!
- If you are interested to find out more, I am curating resources on ScoopIt: Wikipedia-Diversity on Scoop it
- If you want to read in German, here is the project website (under construction): WiDi project website
The PLE idea will die without impact studies. #pleconf
As much as I agree that we need impact studies, we all know that measuring impact in general is all but straightforward: How do measure the impact of PLEs? And the impact on what/who – the learner? the learning process? the learning outcomes? the peers? the teachers? the system the learner operates in? What dimensions and criteria are appropriate? Certainly, we have to start with the goals we want to reach when designing and implementing PLEs or supporting others in doing so in our roles as educators.
A framework that may be useful when designing an impact study, especially when defining and interrelating various dimensions and possible impacts, may be the activity theory triangle that we proposed here:
Buchem, Ilona; Attwell, Graham; Torres, Ricardo (2011). Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. pp. 1-33. Proceedings of the The PLE Conference 2011, 10th – 12th July 2011, Southampton, UK
The triangle defines the main dimensions of a PLE (subject, object, tools, rules, community and division of labour) and the core attributes of elements in each dimension, which can be contrasted with attributes of other activity systems to reveal potential points for conflicts and clashes.
In an impact study we can focus on all or selected dimensions and apply research methods in order to collect empirical evidence about the attributes of the learning environments as object of our study. For example we could ask questions like:
- Does the learning environment we study promote the feeling of ownership and grants control over its various elements (subject)?
- Does the learning environment promote learning that is based on interest and participation (object)?
- Does the learning environment utilize tools that can be customised by learners to facilitate their individual learning (tools)?
- Does the learning environment employ principles of openness and decentralised distribution of resources (rules)?
- Does the learning environment enable boundary crossing and social support (community)?
- Does the learning environment enable learners to pursue self-directed learning and teachers to facilitate this process (division of labour)?
If we could empirically prove in a study, that a learning environment we are researching does just that, we would have some evidence on possible impact.
Another idea may be to start from the point of view of a “perfect” personal learning environment and take all these attributes from the triangle for granted and so focus on collecting empirical evidence on learning processes and outcomes in such an environment. Maybe we could contrast it with learning in other settings, e.g. in a learning environment, which has different attributes in all or some of the six dimensions in the triangle.
In a research study me and colleagues from different countries are recently preparing and which we are submitting for the PLE Conference 2013: http://pleconf.org/ (BTW: Call for Abstracts is running until 25th March), we combine both perspectives. Based on the survey on the role of ownership and control in context of PLEs which was conducted in 2012 at two universities in Germany (see reference below), we collect empirical evidence on the impact of ownership and control as one of the key elements of a Personal Learning Environment on learning. The original study:
Buchem, Ilona (2012). Psychological Ownership and Personal Learning Environments. Do possession and control really matter? Proceedings of the PLE Conference 2012, 12 July 2012, Aveiro, Portugal. LINK
was rooted in the theory of psychological ownership by Pierce et al. (2001, 2003). The results indicated that control of intangible ePortfolio elements, such as control of content or personal data, is strongly related to the feeling of ownership of one’s own ePortfolio as opposed to the control of tangible elements, such as technical tools. This may mean that learners feel that a learning environment is their own (belongs to them), even if they do not have the full control over technical tools and do not in fact own them. With ownership and control being critical issues in PLEs, the new study will focus on the following question:
What are the effects of the feeling of ownership and control of a learning environment on learning, such as time invested in creating an own PLE, creative uses of media, applying a PLE beyond the boundaries of the original context in which it was created/used. At this time we are collecting survey items with which we could collect evidence on learning effects. We are open to collaboration, so if you would like to join us in this, just let me know!
This year I am going to attend the Alpine Rendez‐Vous 2013 for the first time. The ARV13 takes place from January, 28 till February, 1st in Villard‐de‐Lans, Vercors, in the French Alps. As the ARVR13 homepage says:
The Alpine Rendez‐Vous (ARV) is a now well established atypical scientific event focused on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). (…) One main goal of the Alpine Rendez‐Vous is to bring together researchers from the different scientific communities doing research on Technology‐Enhanced Learning, in a largely informal setting, away from their workplace routines.
This is what I am really looking for – getting away for some time from the daily work and be able to discuss a myriad of fascinating topics with great researchers!
During the first three days I am going to participate in two workshops:
Here is just an abstract of the position paper Graham Attwell and me submitted for Workshop 5: TEL, the Crisis and the Response, which is hosted by Prof. John Traxler.
危机 – wēijī is the Chinese word for “crisis”. It comprises the symbols 危 wēi (danger) and 机 jī (opportunity)
In this position paper, we discuss whether current TEL promotes diversity or divide and the current barriers in promoting diversity in TEL. We discuss these issues based on the example of Personal Learning Environments (PLE), which is as an approach to TEL aiming at empowering learners to use diverse technological tools suited to their own needs and connecting with other learners through building Personal Learning Networks. We argue that this approach to TEL promotes diversity through boundary-crossing and responding to the diverse needs and prerequisites that each individual learner brings in. At the same time we discuss how the PLE approach challenges current educational practices and what tensions arise when Personal Learning Environments are implemented in educational institutions.
You can read more here:
When we ask our students to share online -- in a discussion forum within an LMS; in a wiki, course blog, Google Doc or Facebook group; on Twitter or anywhere on the open web -- we are inviting not just online interaction but an enactment of each student's digital identity. Involvement in or resistance to online interaction is largely rooted in ideas and beliefs about identity, privacy, voice, authenticity and power.
In this course we will discuss about the most hottest topics in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning: Human Computer Interaction in digital learning environments, the future of online learning - from Learning Management Systems to MOOCs - and the last advances in…
You probably got yours too already. Here is an excerpt from the WordPress.com 2012 annual report for my blog (interesting idea to put it this way):
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.