Saturday, October 16, 2010


In Timisoara, Romania for the annual IADIS Cognition and Exploratory Learning in the Digital Age conference.Took about a day and a half to get here (with short stops at Hong Kong and Rome airports).

Did an exploratory walk in the afternoon. The old town centre of Timisoara is very picturesque with a blend of Italian, Austrian and Turkish styles in the architecture, a reflection of Romania’s rich history. Some parts of the old town remind me of post-earthquake Christchurch, with buildings sheathed in scaffolding or in various stages of decline / disrepair.  However, the Timisoarans are very friendly and I found my way around the various monuments, magnificent churches and leafy parks. 

The conference programme is varied with various keynotes and concurrent sessions and held at the Universitatea Politehnica.  Conference officially opened by the IADIS committee who organized the conference. Provided an overview of pass conferences and also summary of the current conference focus.

First session were on ‘student-centred learning / assess of exploratory learning approaches, a mixture of long and short papers. Papers on integrating digital games into the school curriculum – from Hercules Panoutsopoulous and Demetrious Sampson (University of Piraeus).Discussed the contradictory evidence of efficacy of using games to improve mathematics learning. Generally student motivation is improved but does not necessarily lead to improvement in understanding of maths context. The effect of introducing novel pedagogy may raise expectations of students to the educational outcomes from engaging in the extra effort required to learn how to use the technology in addition to learning content.

Then designing online quizzes with Maree Gosper from Centre of Learning and Teaching, Macquarie University.There is a need to use a whole curriculum approach to designing on-line quizzes, her paper provides good background on the uses of quizzes for formative feedback. Also the importance of Bigg’s constructive alignment in ensuring quizzes are integrated into the overall learning process. Plus use updated Bloom’s taxonomy (Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001) to work out when and how to use quizzes. A model useful for finding out if using curriculum alignment /cognitive practices and learner characteristics actually is effective.

YuhiYuzuchara, Yong Xu, Keiichi Kaneko from Tokyo University of Agriculture and TechnologyMasatoshi Ishikawa from Tokyo Seitoku University and HarukoKiyakoda from Tsuda College provided background on work they have been conducting on vocabulary learning with coloured-learning materials.An interesting study, improving on work established by others on using coloured letters to improve recall. In this case, learners generate their own colours leading to better association of colours with certain words to be learn as foreign vocabulary.

Mark Frydenberg and John Miko presented on using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as an example of authentic learning. SEO simulator in the form of a ‘contest’ used to engage students into learning the techniques (many tacit skills involved) to complete effective SOE.

During morning tea, had a look at the poster by Akiko Orita, Atsushi Yoshikawa and Takao Terano from Keio University and Tokyo Insitute of Technology on using Manga case for learning in practice:embedding awareness experience and knowledge in description. Students are provided case to study in the form of a manga comic / manga case. This is then used to raise topics for discussion etc. and leads to students forming improved concepts of topics. Of interest is the multiliteracies approach used to engage students’ interest using a form of communication they were familiar with.

All the above provide some interesting ideas, mostly not too difficult to put into practice which may enhance student learning in specific contexts.

After lunch, opening keynote from Professor Miguel Nussbaum from the Universidad Catolica de Chile via virtual conferening. He spoke about ‘looking into the future: integrating technology and pedagogy.

Bases his work on Engestrom’s activity theory to study the consequences of technology on present children’s development. Used example of the evolution of language (txt speak) as an example of how technology has changed the way in which we interact with each other. However, teachers are still using traditional methods when integrating technology into learning / teaching. Introduces the concept of ‘one mouse per child’, using minimal equipment (computer, projector, one mouse / PDA per student) to change the way in which interactions could be enhanced by technology in the classroom – participatory literacy. Basically, link each child with teachers’ computer in similar concept to classroom presenter (used at CPIT).

Lost connection part way so Mark Frydenberg presented an overview of Web 2.0 moving to Web 3.0 (the semantic web) with examples provided as, google goggles,, google squared labs and wolfram alpha. All these allow for ‘mashups’ and aggregation of data, often based on user preferences / location / or use patterns.

The attended session in the learning communities and web service technologies stream

Daniel Chia-en Teng (National Sun Yet Sen University), TommasoLeo (UniversitàPolitecnicadelle Marche
Ancona, Italy), Kinshuk(Athabasca University) and Nian-ShingChen (National Sun Yet Sun University) presented on using online synchronous learning.Evaluation of use of Synchronous Cyber Classroom for group of students from Italy, Canada and Taiwan working through a post-graduate programme.Evaluated model of community of inquiry (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000) to study teacher, social and cognitive presence. Student (12 Phd students) feedback indicate teacher presence was perceived to be weak (could be due to cultural differences, unfamiliarity with online environment, students assumed an active role as speaker / moderator); social presence again was low (maybe due to no class work required collaboration and students did not know each other well); and cognitive presence was better (students have sufficient prior knowledge to cope and make relevant links to information presented).

Masayuki Shinohara, Hiroshi Shimeno, Shigenori Ioroi and Hiroshi Tanaka from Kanagawa Institute of Technology on a lecture system using cell phones, similar concept to clickers. In-house system constructed (open source) to allow use of cell phones to be linked to tutor computer with software to manage the answers coming in.Future developments include integration into elearning system and a review function for incorrect answers. Something to follow up on although the system will be based on the mobile web, still an expensive option in NZ :(

BahaaeldinMohamed (TU Dresden) and Thomas Koehloer on effect of using project based web 2.0 learning on students’ outcomes (nicely done presentation on prezi). Re-defines problem based learning using community based, project (start, lit review, method, research, conclusion) management (CBPM) as a model. Compared two groups, one using online CBPM and other using offline model. Explored students acceptance and attitudes.

Kathleen Houston from the University of Central Lancashire on online employability workshops. Evaluates the effectiveness of using online workshops to raise awareness in students – about to graduate – on the requirements to prepare for work, look for employment and create effective CVs.

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