Two new projects: DigiMina and Dippler

In recent months I have been busy with two new projects. Both of these are local projects but I hope that the final results will be useful also outside Estonia. Unfortunately most of the design documentation about these projects is in Estonian.

DigiMina

In DigiMina project we are developing a framework and a web-based tool for assessing teachers’ educational technology competencies. Our educational technology competency model for teachers is based on ISTE NETS for Teachers 2008 and consists of 19 competencies. Each competency can be measured on a 5-level scale. Teachers will be able to solve competency tests in DigiMina environment. These tests will contain self-tests items, peer-assessment tasks and self-reflection tasks. Finally teachers will be able to publish their competency profiles and compare their level with other teachers.

We are currently still in the design phase but first full paper about the project has been already accepted to ICWL 2011 conference and will be published in December:

Põldoja, H., Väljataga, T., Tammets, K., & Laanpere, M. (in press). Web-based Self- and Peer-assessment of Teachers’ Educational Technology Competencies. In H. Leung, E. Popescu, Y. Cao, R. Lau, & W. Nejdl (eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web-based Learning (ICWL 2011).

Dippler

In Dippler project we are developing a lightweight LMS with an open and distributed architecture. Learners will use WordPress blogs that have Dippler plugin. This plugin connects to a learning management system that is used to manage courses and learning activities. There are several aspects that make Dippler different from other learning management systems. One of these is blog-based architecture that supports open learning communities. Another aspect is special focus on learning outcomes. All the course assignments can be connected to learning outcomes. In the end of the course learners can compose e-portfolios where evidences are linked with learning outcomes.

We haven’t published anything about Dippler yet but in recent months we have made a fast progress with the software development. I hope that I will be able to use Dippler in my next course that is starting in February.

In both projects I have been also thinking about possible connections with my doctoral thesis. Educational technology competencies are not directly connected with open education but there are some aspects of openness that could be emphasized in the design of DigiMina (public competency profiles, etc.). In Dippler project my challenge is to find a compromise between open educational practices and institutional requirements that universities have for learning management systems.

Dippler and some other projects have taken all the time from our developers. This means that we had to postpone the next release of EduFeedr. Hopefully we can find some time for EduFeedr in the beginning of next year.

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