Monday, January 21, 2013

International Conference on Web-based Learning (CfP)

One of the truly international e-learning conferences that crosses the boundaries between continents is the International Conference on Web-based Learning. This year, the ICWL takes place in Taiwan on 6-9 October 2013. In 2009 it took place in Germany, where my paper won the best-paper award. This year again, I'm serving as part of the International Program Committee (IPC) which gives me a privileged access to review the papers!

Abstract submission deadline: April 8, 2013

Personal Learning Environments (PLE): Learning and Diversity in the Cities of the Future

The annual conference on Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) has a great focus this year: learning and diversity in cities of the future. I love the step out from the formal context of learning (i.e. schools, university) and the fact that we now start thinking of the whole city as a learning environment. This allows asking the following type of research questions, for which the call for papers has now been set-up (deadline 4 March 2013)

What shapes can Personal Learning Environments take to support diversity, cross-boundary learning and interdisciplinary transformation of urban spaces? How can we design and implement Personal Learning Environments as part of highly interconnected social and technological infrastructures of smart cities? What technology-enhanced scenarios can be envisaged to enhance learning and diversity in cities of the future?

In general, PLEs are an approach to Technology- Enhanced Learning based on the principles of learner autonomy and empowerment. PLEs include methods, tools, communities, and services constituting individual learning infrastructures or ecosystems which learners use to direct their own learning and pursue their educational goals.

This year, I'm honored to serve as part of the Scientific Committee. In 2011, I was one of the (un)keynote speakers.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Reading habits (paper based and web) by Finnish youth

The PISA results have since 2000 highlighted how Finnish 15-year olds excel in math, science, reading, etc. This report gives an interesting look into Finnish youth's reading habits, it includes both digital and paper-based media. Interestingly, we again find out that computers and ICTs are not often used for learning purposes, at least not in a formal learning setting (i.e. school, homework).   

Some outcomes (hastily) translated :
Since 2000, Finnish young people are reading the most variety of literature among 26 participating countries. The "reading index" that tracks the variety of reading, e.g. magazines, comics, literature (fiction and non-fiction) and newspapers is statistically decreasing in all countries. Apart from fiction and non-fiction book, Finnish youth reads less printed material. It is likely that the printed material has been replaced by, among other things, online reading and communication

In general, the use of web-based material among Finnish youth is at about average among PISA countries. In schools, however, computers are not used as actively as at home. In Finland, students seek less information on the Internet to help with homework and they rarely discuss their homework assignments online. Instead, the use of computer at home is mainly for pleasure purposes in Finland.

Parviainen (2012) Suomalaisnuorten lukemisen ja verkon käytön monipuolisuus