Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Contributing to the Polish Presidency on Mobility

The Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised a conference on "Mobility as a tool to acquire and develop competences from childhood to seniority” in October 2011. I participated  in two workshops as an expert on virtual mobility for teachers. The proceedings of the conference include my short paper called Virtual mobility and teachers’ collaboration networks.

Do netbooks require a different type of pedagogy?

In the beginning of the Educational Netbook Pilot, I was often asked whether netbooks really require a different type of pedagogy. I was rather convinced that they do, especially under the circumstances that our pilot was implementing them: 8000 netbooks were distributed in more than 200 classes in 6 European countries. This was a rather disruptive change.

From the end of 2009 until the end of 2011, I was the project manager and chief investigator of the Acer-European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot. I was responsible for implementing the pilot from scratch, meaning establishing links with national points in 6 countries, facilitating finding the schools, organising a network of national pedagogical coordinators,  implementing pedagogical support through a community website, conducting evaluation and finalising the evaluation report. At the end, I was rather convinced that to use netbooks successfully, a netbook pedagogy is needed.

Below a 30-minute video presentation of the final results elaborating also on the concept of the netbook, or any 1:1 pedagogy (e.g. with tablets). Links to the reports can also be found below.

The final report "Introducing netbook pedagogies in schools" is available to download here (pdf, 7Mb).

Reference: Vuorikari, R., Garoia, V., & Balanskat, A. (2011). Introducing Netbook Pedagogies in Schools. Acer - European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot. European Schoolnet.

The country reports are available in respective languages:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Different types of "Blended learning"

The term "blended learning" has become a lot used word in educational sciences, and in general in the filed of e-learning and technology enhanced learning (TEL). It's almost a "passe-partout", a term used to mean a little bit of everything.

I came across a paper that had identified 6 models or categories of blended learning. I'll copy them here and I look forward to reading the whole paper!  

Choose Your Blend*
In 2010, more than 4 million K-12 students participated in some sort of online learning (up from 45,000 in 2000). An Innosight Institute survey of schools that have adopted blended learning was able to identify six basic models.

  1. Face-to-Face: Most material is taught in the traditional manner. The teacher uses online learning as a supplement or remediation.
  2. Flex: This is online learning but in a school setting. Teachers provide support as needed, generally through tutoring, either one-on-one or in small groups.
  3. Self-Blend: Students supplement traditional school by taking online classes from home. This model is used mostly to take AP and foreign language courses.
  4. Rotation: In this model, used in Rocketship schools, students spend a scheduled portion of their day learning online. Essentially, they rotate from classroom to online computer lab and back.
  5. Online Lab: Courses are conducted entirely online, including interaction with the teacher, but students do coursework in school (rather than at home). 
  6. Online Driver: Schooling is online: Students take classes and work with teachers remotely.
*Source: Heather Staker et al., The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning, Innosight Institute,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rethinking skills in education and training

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about skills and competences needed for the future. This is the case especially in the field of education and training, which is in a prime spot to influence on how the young citizens "turn out" after their initial basic education, and what kind of attitudes do they have regarding lifelong learning and future skills acquisition in the future.

In the European Commission's Road map for 2012, the on-going work in Education and Culture concentrates on Rethinking skills in the context of Europe 2020.

As part of an assignment, I've collected links to recent publications, studies and programmes in the field of education and training (initial, youth and adults, disadvantaged groups) that deal with skills acquisition, evaluation of skills, etc. Here is a list of interesting publications related to:
Here is also a (not-an-exhaustive) list of some references to relevant studies recently conducted in Finland (mostly in Finnish). I was very positively surprised and impressed with the high quality reports that the Finnish Board of Education and the Ministry of Education and Culture have published!

Aihekokonaisuuksien tavoitteiden toteutumisen seuranta-arviointi 2010. (2012).Koulutuksen seurantaraportit 2012:1. Retrieved from
Harjunen, E., Jurvonen, R., Kuusela, J., Silen, B., Sääskilahti, M., & Örnmark, M. (2011). Opetushallitus - Miten peruskoululaiset kirjoittavat? (Raportit ja selvitykset 2011:2). Retrieved from
Havén, H., & Tuononen, M. (2011). Performance indicator for initial vocational education and training in Finland 2011 (Publications 2011:1). The Finnish National Board of Education. Retrieved from
Hildén, R., & Kantelinen, R. (2012). Language Education - Foreign Languages. In H. Niemi, A. Toom, & A. Kallioniemi (Eds.), Miracle of Education (pp. 161–176). Rotterdam: SensePublishers. Retrieved from

Hirvonen, K. (2012). Onko laskutaito laskussa? - Matematiikan oppimistulokset peruskoulun päättövaiheessa 2011 (Koulutuksen seurantaraportit 2012:4). Opetushallitus. Retrieved from

Jäppinen, A.-K. (2010). Onnistujia opinpolun siirtymissä – Ammatilliseen peruskoulutukseen ohjaavan ja valmistavan koulutuskokeilun (ammattistartti) vaikuttavuus. Opetushallitus. Retrieved from

Kärnä, P., Hakonen, R., & Kuusela, J. (2012). Luonnontieteellinen osaaminen perusopetuksen 9. luokalla 2011 (Koulutuksen seurantaraportit 2012:2). Opetushallitus. Retrieved from
Kilpinen, J., & Salonen, M. (2011). Maahanmuuttajien ammatillisen peruskoulutuksen tila lukuvuonna 2009-2010. Koulutuksen seurantaraportit 2011:3. Opetushallitus. Retrieved from
Lappalainen, P. (2011). Opetushallitus - Sen edestään löytää (Koulutuksen seurantaraportit 2011:2). Opetushallitus. Retrieved from
Mäkelä, M., & Salonen, M. (2010). Hyvä startti! – Ammatilliseen peruskoulutukseen ohjaavan ja valmistavan koulutuksen kokeilun loppujulkaisu. Opetushallitus. Retrieved from
Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö. (2012a). OKM - Ammatillisen lisäkoulutuksen työelämän kehittämis- ja palvelutoiminnan kehittämishankkeen loppuraportti. Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön työryhmämuistioita ja selvityksiä 2012:3. Retrieved from
Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö. (2012b). Koulutus ja tutkimus vuosina 2011–2016. Kehittämissuunnitelma/ Education and Research 2011–2016 (Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön julkaisuja 2012:1). Retrieved from
Ouakrim-Soivio, N., & Kuusela, J. (2012). Historian ja yhteiskuntaopin oppimistulokset perusopetuksen päättövaiheessa 2011 (Koulutuksen seurantaraportit 2012:3). Opetushallitus. Retrieved from
Rajala, S., Salonen, M., Blomerus, S., & Nissilä, L. (2011). Romanioppilaiden perusopetuksen tilannekatsaus 2010-2011 ja toimenpide-ehdotukset (Raportit ja selvitykset 2011:26). Retrieved from
Rauhanen, T., Kangasharju, A., & Kröger, O. (n.d.). VATT - Talouden rakenteet 2011 (VATT Publications 59). 2011: Government institute for economic research. Retrieved from
Sulkunen, S., & Välijärvi, J. (2012). OKM - PISA09. Kestääkö osaamisen pohja? (Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön julkaisuja 2012:12). Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö. Retrieved from
Tuokko, E. (2009). Miten ruotsia osataan peruskoulussa? Opetushallitus. Retrieved from
Tuokko, E., Takala, S., Koikkalainen, P., & Mustaparta, A.-K. (2012). Kielitivoli! - Peruskoulun vieraiden kielten opetuksen kehittämishankkeessa 2009–2011 koettua: tuloksia ja toimintatapoja (Raportit ja selvitykset 2012:1). Opetushallitus. Retrieved from!
Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö. (2011). Rekrytoinnin mustan laatikon avaaminen: rekrytoinnin syyt, rekrytointiongelmat ja hakukanavat Suomessa v. 2010 (TEM-analyyseja 38/2011). Retrieved from

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Workshop on Recommender Systems for Technology Enhanced Learning (RecSysTEL 2012)

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) aims to design, develop and test socio-technical innovations that will support and enhance learning practices of both individuals and organisations.
It is an application domain that generally addresses all types of technology research & development aiming to support of teaching and learning activities, and considers meta-cognitive and reflective skills such as self-management, self-motivation, and effective informal and self-regulated learning.

Information retrieval is a pivotal activity in TEL, and the deployment of recommender systems has attracted increased interest during the past years as it addresses the information overload problem in TEL scenarios with a low cost approach.


Saarbrucken, Germany, 18-21 September 2012

Organised jointly with the
European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL 2012)
Recommendation methods, techniques and systems open an interesting
new approach to facilitate and support learning and teaching.
There are plenty a resource available on the Web, both in terms of
digital learning content and people resources (e.g. other learners,
experts, tutors) that can be used to facilitate teaching and
learning tasks. The challenge is to develop, deploy and evaluate
systems that provide learners and teachers with meaningful guidance
in order to help identify suitable learning resources from a
potentially overwhelming variety of choices.

The aim of the Workshop is to bring together researchers and
practitioners that are working on topics related to the design,
development and testing of recommender systems in educational
settings as well as present the current status of research in this
area. Overall, it aims to outline the rich potential of TEL as
an application area for recommender systems, as well as
expose participants to the challenges of developing such systems
in a TEL context.

Topics include but are not limited to:

* User tasks to be supported by recommender systems in TEL
* Focus of recommendation in TEL
* Requirements for the deployment of TEL recommender systems
* Publicly available data sets for TEL recommender systems
* Recommendation algorithms and systems for TEL
* Transfer of successful algorithms and systems from other application areas
* Evaluation criteria and methods for TEL recommender systems
* Experiences from actual implementation in teaching, learning and/or community building


30 June 2012: Submissions
16 July 2012: Notifications
1 August 2010: Camera-ready of accepted papers
18-21 September 2012: RecSysTEL Workshop in Saarbrucken


The Workshop accepts a variety of submission types:
* Full papers: 12 pages
* Short papers: 6 pages
* System/service demos: 2 pages
* TEL Data sets: 2 pages (and if possible, data set file/URL)

Papers should be original and not previously submitted to other venues.
Submission will be available through the EasyChair submission system:

If you haven't an EasyChair account yet, you'll be asked to create it before you can access the RecSysTEL'12 page. 


Workshop proceedings will be published in a seperate volume by a publisher
that will be announced soon.

* Jesus G. Boticario, aDeNu - Spanish National University for Distance Education (Spain)
* Peter Brusilovksy, University of Pittsburgh (USA)
* Erik Duval, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
* Denis Gillet, Swiss Federal Institute of Lausanne (Switzerland)
* Ralf Klamma, RWTH Aachen (Germany)
* Stefanie Lindstaedt, Know-Center Graz (Austria)
* Peter Scott, Open University (UK) 
* Miguel-Angel Sicilia, University of Alcala (Spain)
* Martin Wolpers, Fraunhofer FIT (Germany)
* Riina Vuorikari, European Schoolnet (Belgium)

* Nikos Manouselis, Agro-Know Technologies & ARIADNE Foundation (Greece)
* Hendrik Drachsler, Open Universiteit Nederlands (The Netherlands)
* Katrien Verbert, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
* Olga C. Santos, aDeNu - Spanish National University for Distance Education (Spain)


The European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL 2012)
brings together technological developments, learning models, and
implementations of new and innovative approaches to training and education.
The conference traditionally explores how the synergy of multiple disciplines
can provide new, more effective and more especially more sustainable,
technology-enhanced learning solutions to learning problems.

EC-TEL is a unique opportunity for researchers, practitioners, and
policy makers to address current challenges and advances in the field.
Through EC-TEL, established and emerging researchers as well as practitioners,
entrepreneurs, and technology developers explore new collaborations,
strengthen networks, and complement their core experience.

See for details.