TLU hosts a conference this week: IFIP-OST’12: Open and Social Technologies for Networked Learning. I had a chance to participate there for one day and I had quite good impression about it, the atmosphere was like a little warm discussion meeting of old acquaintances and new fellows.
Mainly I was interested in the presentation of the keynote – Stefanie Lindstaedt. In the final phases of my PhD research project I read about the EU funded Mirror project that focuses on reflective learning in the workplace. As my own thesis is about reflective practice in teachers’ professional development, then the contributions of the project were really helpful for me. Stefanie’s presentation did not disappoint me and in several times I wanted to applause to her. Thank god am I shy enough as such emotions are not in common in the conferences. Unfortunately I was also too shy to thank her for the inspiring presentation. Anyway, when she talked about the Mirror project (also about the projects APOSDLE and Mature), I was wondering why such project is there and I am here, the Mirror is something I would like to do.
Two other sessions, one about social learning networks, analytics and recommendations and other about workplace learning seemed also relevant to me. Riina Vuorikari talked about how they analyzed the large-scale network of teachers with the social network analysis, which was interesting, because I also have focused on teachers’ network and SNA have been so far too difficult to me. Workplace learning is relevant as well, because the settings of my research area is teachers’ workplace learning.
During the final presentation I started to thinking that the today’s presentation are in a way similar. Also our paper with the professor Peeter Normak (will be presented in the Thursday) and even my PhD research project are similar in the same way. What I mean is that in all those studies some pedagogical innovation with the support of social media (also intelligent systems and so on) have been developed and implemented. The implementation process have been mainly analyzed with the content analysis method (interviews, written documents,…) and based on those results the faced challenges have been identified. In general most of the studies that are conducted in the different settings (formal higher education, workplace learning, teachers’ development and so on) face the same kind of challenges that can be categorized as personal attitudes, motivation, skills, commitment, technological systems and their problems. I just started to wondering that the context changed with the new presenter (or forthcoming presenter or our own studies so far), but the aim, process and results are kind of similar. Sometimes the used technologies are even the same (weblogs, wikis, forums, etc). And also the scaffolding elements tend to be same like (more collaboration, more authentic assignments, more reflection). Despite of that idea that occurred during the conference it is still interesting to see what others are doing and how they are doing it, especially when the conference is coming to us and I don’t have to travel myself.