ITK 2011 conference and updates about EduFeedr

Two weeks ago I participated the ITK 2011 conference in Hämeenlinna. This is the largest e-learning conference in Finland with approximately 1600 visitors. For me it was fifth year in a row to participate ITK conference.

My main aim was to present EduFeedr to Finnish audience. As more educators are trying to use blogs and social software instead of a learning management systems, tools like EduFeedr become handy. There have been 19 active courses and several more tryouts in EduFeedr since we launched the beta service last September. The best example in English is New interactive environments, but the largest course is actually in Spanish (Innovación abierta en la gestión de proyectos culturales with 61 participant blogs). In addition to English (2) and Spanish (2) we have courses in Estonian (11) and Finnish (4). Here are my abstract and presentation slides from ITK.

We planned to release a version 0.6 before the ITK conference but unfortunately we didn’t manage to do that. The main features that we have planned for EduFeedr 0.6 are described in EduFeedr blog.

On the second day of ITK we had a joint video conference session with Estonian e-learning conference that took place in Tartu. From the Estonian side my colleague Mart Laanpere was talking about the development of digital learning resources by vocational and higher education teachers (PDF). From the Finnish side Ville Venäläinen and Tarmo Toikkanen presented the Sometu network. Twitter hashtag #itkesitys178 was used for short comments from the participants in both sides.

Most inspiring presentation for me was the keynote speech by Pierre Dillenbourg. He presented several “modest computing” experiments where they used simple physical objects with simple sensors/displays in the learning setting (video). Although I am now able to follow presentations in Finnish quite well I was most of the time in the English session. There were two open education related presentations by Kati Clements and Anna-Kaarina Kairamo. An interesting discussion followed Jukka Huhtamäki’s presentation about the Knowledge Federation initiative.

Teemu Leinonen presented three design concepts that our research group in Media Lab Helsinki has developed in iTEC project. TeamUP, PLATES and ReFLEX that are designed for supporting study projects where students work in small groups. These applications help to divide students to small groups, follow their work, manage/share media and reflect on the learning experiences.

Teemu Leinonen presents iTEC project

I hope that next year the Estonian and Finnish e-learning conferences don’t take place on the same days. Then there could be more visitors and presenters from the neighboring country in both conferences.

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