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Journal Article

Copycat or Creative Innovator? Reproduction as a Pedagogical Strategy in Schools  pp83-93

Stine Ejsing-Duun, Helle Marie Skovbjerg

© Jan 2016 Volume 14 Issue 2, ECGBL 2015, Editor: Robin Munkvold, pp81 - 149

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Abstract

Abstract: This article explores how student behaviour and interactions change when teachers use producing as a primary pedagogical strategy (Papert, 1980; Ejsing‑Duun and Karoff, 2014). Based on observed student and teacher actions and responses, as w ell as students production, this paper emphasizes the importance of understanding how students explore creativity and playfulness while producing in learning situations. This paper is based on a large research project called Children as Learning Designe rs in a Digital School (2013…2015), funded by Denmarks Ministry of Education, which included fieldwork in five Danish public schools, involved about 500 students, and comprised six interventions in the first, second, fifth, sixth, and tenth grades. Th e projects empirical data consist of observations, participatory observation, and productions students created during the interventions. This paper presents an analysis of how students were creative and playful while producing learning material as games during three of the projects interventions. The study is based on a specific understanding of the creativity with a point of departure (Boden, 2004; Tanggaard and Wegener, 2015) and playfulness (Karoff, 2013) that occur in learning situations. We app roach creativity and playfulness as new methods of learning, through six areas of change that inform [ƒ]how todays kids play and learn, and, more generally, how they see themselves, relate to others, dwell in place, and treat things (Ackermann, 2013: 119). This paper investigates how educators handle childrens productive processes in a school setting and how teachers can conceptualize and nurture play and creativity as drivers for learning. In this context, the importance of skills and acknowledgeme nt of reproducing and re‑mixing existing materials is discussed. We further argue that playfulness is necessary for creativity to occur. From this point of view, it is possible to understand how learning activities can support creativity„an essential twen ty‑first century skill (Levinsen and Sørensen, 2015).

 

Keywords: Keywords:, re-, production, creativity, innovation, playing, learning, games

 

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Journal Article

Using Software Testing Techniques for Efficient Handling of Programming Exercises in an e‑Learning Platform  pp88-95

Joachim Schwieren, Gottfried Vossen, Peter Westerkamp

© Feb 2006 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 111

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Abstract

e‑Learning has become a major field of interest in recent years, and multiple approaches and solutions have been developed. A typical form of e‑learning application comprises exercise submission and assessment systems that allow students to work on assignments whenever and where they want (i.e., dislocated, asynchronous work). In basic computer science courses, programming exercises are widely used and courses usually have a very large number of participants. However, there is still no efficient way for supporting tutors to correct these exercises, as experience has shown that correction (and, beyond that, automatic grading) are difficult and time consuming. In this paper we present an enhancement of the xLx platform developed at the University of Muenster to efficiently support tutors in handling Java programming exercises electronically. The new component is based on concepts of automatic static and dynamic testing approaches, well known from software engineering, and provides an automatic pre‑ correction of submitted solutions. In addition, a tutor is able to annotate solutions manually, by adding comments that are associated with the source code of the solution in an intelligent way. Static tests are based on a compilation of the sources to find syntactical errors, while dynamic tests use test cases defined by tutors during the creation of the exercises and have to be executed correctly on the solutions in order to receive credits for the exercises.

 

Keywords: Programming exercises, Automatic pre-correction, e-Learning, Blended learning

 

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Journal Article

Is a Blended Learning Approach Suitable for Mature, Part‑time Finance Students?  pp111-118

Julia Burgess

© Apr 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp99 - 182

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Abstract

Blended learning is a pedagogy that is sometimes heralded as the answer to some of the problems which part time students face. Creating a module for part‑time students with some e‑learning elements is time consuming and resource intensive. Therefore it must be demonstrated that the investment in such innovations will benefit the students and create wider learning opportunities in the most effective manner. A small investigation has been conducted which has looked at the learning needs of part‑time finance students at The University of Winchester to see whether a blended approach would have benefited their studies. The results of this investigation have been used as the basis for developing the course to allow a more blended style. This paper attempts to outline how the course was designed and to do a preliminary analysis of the use of blended learning for part‑time mature finance students.

 

Keywords: Blended-learning, finance, part-time, mature-student, e-learning

 

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Journal Article

Escalating the use of Web 2.0 Technology in Secondary Schools in the United Kingdom: Barriers and Enablers Beyond Teacher Training  pp91-100

Alison Hramiak, Helen Boulton

© Jun 2013 Volume 11 Issue 2, Editor: Roy Williams, pp80 - 167

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Abstract

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Keywords: pre-service teacher education, secondary school teachers, technology uses in education, teaching methods, weblogs, blogs

 

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Journal Article

Identifying Consistent Variables in a Heterogeneous Data Set: Evaluation of a Web‑Based Pre‑Course in Mathematics  pp82-93

Katja Derr

© Apr 2017 Volume 15 Issue 1, Editor: Robert Ramberg, pp1 - 103

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Abstract

E‑learning has made course evaluation easier in many ways, as a multitude of learner data can be collected and related to student performance. At the same time, open learning environments can be a difficult field for evaluation, with a large variance in participants’ knowledge level, learner behaviour, and commitment. In this study the effectiveness of a mathematics pre‑course administered to four cohorts of prospective students at a technical faculty in Germany was evaluated. Deficits in basic mathematics knowledge are considered one risk factor regarding graduation in STEM‑related subjects, thus the overall goal was to investigate if the pre‑course enabled “at risk” students to improve their starting position. A data analysis was performed, relating students’ preconditions when entering university, their attitude towards mathematics, and their use of learning strategies with further study success. The strongest determinant of first year performance were results in a diagnostic pretest, confirming both the importance of basic mathematics knowledge for academic achievement in engineering and the reliability of the chosen pre‑posttest design. Other outcomes were quite unexpected and demanded deeper analyses. Students who had participated in additional face‑to‑face courses, for example, showed less learning gains than students who had participated in an e‑tutoring version. It also could be observed that meta‑cognitive variables failed to explain successful course participation. Reasons for these outcomes are discussed, suggesting reliability threats and interactions between students’ preconditions and their learner behaviour. A significant and unmoderated impact on students’ learning gains in the pre‑course was found for the number of online test attempts, making this variable a reliable indicator of student engagement. The evaluations show that open learning designs with heterogeneous learner groups can deliver meaningful information, provided that limitations are considered and that external references, like academic grades, are available in order to establish consistency.

 

Keywords: learning analytics, pre-course, mathematics, formative e-assessment, STEM

 

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Journal Article

Assessing the Utilization Level of E‑Learning Resources among ODL Based Pre‑Service Teacher Trainees  pp385-395

Sunday O. Olaniran, M.A.N Duma, D.R. Nzima

© Oct 2017 Volume 15 Issue 5, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp367 - 466

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Abstract

Electronic resources have become a dominant feature of higher education, both traditional and distance learning based. Unlike in the past when universities relied majorly on the physical library and hard copy of books, e‑books accessible through e‑libraries are the dominant features of this century’s institutions of higher learning. This study investigated pre‑service teacher trainees by distance and the utilization of e‑learning resources. A survey research design was used to carry out the study. One hundred and forty four (144) pre‑service teachers by distance from three institutions offering teacher training programmes by distance in South Africa completed the anonymous web based survey designed to gather data which provide answers to the five (5) research questions in the study. The results revealed a high utilization of e‑resources to learn but a low utilization of e‑resources to teach among the respondents. The study recommends institutional based training on the techniques of accessing and utilizing e‑learning resources for pre‑service teacher trainees in ODL institutions.

 

Keywords: E-Resources, e-learning, open and distance education, pre-service teachers.

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 6 Issue 3 / Oct 2008  pp161‑254

Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz

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Editorial

The International e‑Learning Conference was held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, hosted in the beautiful city of sea and mountain, at the University of Cape Town. Several pre‑conference workshops were held, on such topics as mobile learning and open education resources, which meant that by the time the Conference began, discussions were already in full swing. The 68 papers presented were well attended and debates were lively. A Special Issue such as this one cannot capture the tenor of those debates, but it can offer a taste of the conference. We have thus selected excellent articles, which give a flavour of the conference, and of the issues raised.

One might have asked, with delegates from 20 very different countries, all operating in divergent contexts, was there enough commonality of interest and context for a shared conversation to be possible? The answer was clear. Despite widely different technological circumstances, delegates were united by a passion for learning, and the possibilities of technology to enable learning to take place more effectively. The focus was therefore not on hardware nor on infrastructural issues, but on leveraging the affordances of a very wide range of technologies to address the challenges of education, the challenges faced by educators everywhere, and the challenges of helping students learn. These challenges were recognisable across the board. Can technology help students be more engaged with learning? Can technology address the impersonal and alienating environments of large classes in universities? Can technology help students be more reflective and receive more feedback? Can the most basic problems of education, such as primary school literacy be helped by current technologies?

Participants at the conference commented in the final session on how delighted they were by the innovations shared, and by the standard of the discussions in all the sessions. The papers selected for this Special Issue is a selection of such innovations, rigorously accounted and carefully researched.

Most of the papers selected for this journal address specific micro level aspects of learning. Two, for example, confront the basics of reading and writing at the primary level. South Africans Freda van Wyk and Arno Louw report on the use of electronic reading programmes in a context where primary learners perform worse than their peers internationally. They report that while all learners were below expectations for their grades at the outset, after the programme, all had improved. At the other end of the spectrum is a Danish example where researcher Karin Levinsen reports on a primary school context where ICTs have become ubiquitous. Her paper explains how technology which was developed to assist pupils with learning problems proved so successful that they were found valuable for all learners, including those without writing and speaking problems.

Still in the primary school, Philip Balcaen describes a robust process of conceptualising and developing media rich science resources in a Canadian project. The principles and framework he reports on which enable the development of thinking skills in young learners are transferable beyond that specific context and prove useful to educators across the sector.

While the specific teaching strategies change higher up the system, learning challenges do not and students need to be helped to engage with complex learning resources in potentially impersonal environments.

Stefanie Hain and Andrea Back from Switzerland report on the use of blogs to support learning, describing a robust method to design environments which integrate blogs to enforce learning. Fran Greyling from South Africa reports on the potential of technology to assist with the well known difficulties of large impersonal undergraduate classes. This paper shows how assessment and community building can be amplified in quite specific ways.

The blurring of formal and informal learning spaces was also acknowledged in the Conference. Sylvia Jones and Mary Lea use an ethnographic‑style approach to show how amongst students in higher education there is an inter‑mingling of institutional and academic requirements with issues of student identity and personal affiliations, shaping students’ digital literacy practices.

It is not however, only the students whose identities are being reshaped and who need collaborative spaces and supportive communities. Educators and learning designers do too, and indeed supporting a community of learning designers itself is a matter of concern as the field grows. Jill Jameson from the UK shows through empirical case studies how to intentionally grow a community of practice, and she highlights in particular the value of the role of a ""critical friend"". Also bearing in mind the complexity of the terrain to be navigated by learning designers, Mandia Mentis offers a valuable navigational tool, e‑Learning alignment guide which offers a way of aligning the three key zones of pedagogy, technology and context.

At a macro level, the proliferation of recorded data made possible by the online learning environment itself is an opportunity for data mining in the service of macro level decision making in higher education. South African Liezl van Dyk shows how indicators can be generated from such data and correlated with student performance and learning style, offering many insights into students’ learning behaviour.

And finally a bird’s eye view is provided by Laura Czerniewicz who uses researcher and professional views to distinguish the field itself, and who suggests ways in which the field may be developing an identity distinct in its own right. The Conference, and these selected papers provide a taste of that rich and zesty field.

 

Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1 / May 2009  pp1‑85

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

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