Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University

YoTeach.US: Adventure Learning project

Posted on October 26th, by George Veletsianos in adventure learning, emerging technologies, online learning, open, sharing. 2 comments

We are in our second week of our latest Adventure Learning project and I am really excited to be working with a group of committed graduate students on this! It is called YoTeach.US and is currently being used in a large sociology course at UT. The aim of the project is to assist sociology students in exploring the relationship between large social forces and individual behaviors and actions. Outside of that course, the project is also intended to be a free resource for students and educators when discussing teacher roles, teacher excellence, and memorable teachers. Here’s a small audio teaser:

Cesar: The teacher’s role by veletsianos

Adventure Learning is an approach to learning design that involves students in the authentic, experiential, and collaborative exploration of topics of interest. It usually revolves around an adventure or a narrative, and engages students in inquiry-based activities. For instance, the GoNorth adventure learning projects have been admired as an example of an innovative approaches to education. A review of research on adventure learning is available at the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning journal.

In our project, our team traveled through the city of Austin and asked individuals to respond to the following:

  • What is the role of the teacher/instructor?
  • Tell us a story about your most memorable teacher.

These contributions were then compiled into mini documentaries and shared on the online learning environment. At the same time, we crowdsourced contributions online and received notes, audio files, and short videos from Texas, California, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from students, teachers, parents, professors, and researchers. Once student exploration with this topic ends, they will then investigate the relationship between social forces and individual choices within their own communities, create digital artifacts on this exploration, and discuss the results of their research with others.

As always, this project is free to use. If you do use the project or media in your courses, we’d love to hear about it, and if you have any questions or concerns, please lets us know!

CFP: Theory in Learning Technology

Posted on October 14th, by George Veletsianos in cfp, scholarship. No Comments

See below for a call for paper submissions for a Special Issue of Research in Learning Technology, the Journal of the Association for Learning Technology (disclosure: I serve on the editorial board)

Theory in Learning Technology

Guest Editors
Chris Jones –
Laura Czerniewicz –

Abstracts can be submitted to either of the guest editors for informal feedback until 1 December 2010.
Papers should be submitted via the Manuscript Central online submission system at before 31 January 2011.

The call
This call for papers on theoretical approaches in digitally-mediated environments aims to investigate and develop the conceptualisation of theory in the field of learning technology. Theory can be contrasted with practice and is often associated with the particular forms of research given value by higher education institutions. Technology is constantly changing and yet theory aims to stabilise and order change so that a degree of permanence is introduced into this sea of change.
In this special issue, we wish to attract papers which consider theory from a wide range of perspectives including the relationship of theory with practice, with empirical research, and with both traditional forms of scholarship and newer claims for digital scholarship. Questions for consideration include the following: How can practice inform theory? How can theory help to design, choose and use technology appropriately? How does empirical research inform theory? What is the role of theory in the development of empirical research? How is technology changing our relationship to knowledge? We are also interested in receiving papers that consider the ways in which changes in technology can drive an atheoretical chase for the novel and the new.

Research and scholarship in learning technology are most commonly served by the disciplines of psychology, sociology and philosophy. Psychology has had a central position because it has provided theories of learning and theorists who have proved important to the field (e.g. Piaget and Bruner). More recently, social theories of learning with roots in sociology and anthropology have provided an important challenge and complement to psychologically-based theories (e.g. Engeström, Lave and Wenger). Furthermore, alongside theoretical approaches to understanding learning, theory has also considered the roles of context, such as generational, societal, political and intercultural differences.

How well do current theories serve the field? Are existing theoretical approaches robust, even as the technology changes rapidly? How do new areas of research affect the work we do? We are interested both in papers that use existing theoretical approaches and those which develop new approaches from diverse fields to underpin and inform the study of learning technology.

The Boyer Commission suggested there are four types of scholarship: discovery, application, integration and teaching with the first being most closely aligned with traditional notions of research. In a field which has a practical and applied focus, what is the role of theory in the scholarships of application and integration, bearing in mind, that such forms of scholarship are not one way? The process of applying knowledge to specific problems gives rise to new understanding and can in itself define a research agenda. We are interested in papers which explore the relationship between theory and scholarship, including new forms of digital scholarship in our field. Indeed, the field of learning technology also needs to engage with new ways of conducting and sharing research.
The aim in this special issue is to bring together popular and less known theoretical approaches and assess their value to the study of learning technology. We see clearly articulated theoretical frameworks as essential to the study of learning technology and the further advancement of the field. We hope that this issue will acknowledge and bring together researchers from diverse fields of specialization and guide their future research. In particular, the papers in this issue should demonstrate how a consideration of theory can contribute to a better understanding of the nature of the problems we face, deepen knowledge to be shared across contexts, contribute to methods of investigating emerging technology, and ultimately improve both policy and practice.

Types of papers
With these issues as a springboard, we welcome papers in a variety of formats including:

  • considerations of the general role of theory in learning technology;
  • considerations of particular theories and their contributions to learning technology;
  • critiques of the role of theory in learning technology policy, practice or research; or
  • case studies of innovative practice informed by a particular theoretical approach.

About the Guest Editors
Chris Jones is a Reader in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University (UK). He is co-editor of the books Analysing Networked Learning Practices in Higher Education and Continuing Professional Development and Networked Learning: Perspectives and Issues. He has recently completed a two-year research council funded project The Net Generation encounter e-learning at university and co-edited with Laura Czerniewicz a recent edition of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning on the same subject.
Laura Czerniewicz is an Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Educational Technology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She has an interest in the epistemological nature of the field itself. For the past seven years she has lead a multi-phased project on digitally-mediated student practices, and has co-published widely on the project findings. Theoretically she has found Bourdieu, Bernstein and Archer useful to frame her research investigations.

Submission process and timetable
The submission of abstracts for informal feedback is encouraged. They can be sent directly to guest editors until 1 December 2010.
Full papers must be submitted according to the journal’s Instructions for Authors.
Papers should be submitted via the Manuscript Central online submission system at before 31 January 2011.
Papers received will undergo peer review and authors will receive feedback and where appropriate, an opportunity to revise their paper. An additional round of reviewing is sometimes used to encourage authors to improve their paper, either for this special issue, or a subsequent issue of Research in Learning Technology.

Videos on Teacher Roles and Memorable Teachers

Posted on October 6th, by George Veletsianos in adventure learning, E-learning, emerging technologies, online learning, open, sharing. 3 comments

Teachers, Parents, Principals, Professors, Students, Researchers, and all the shades in-between: We’d like to hear from you! My research/development team (Cesar Navaerrete, Greg Russell*, and Janice Rios) has been diligently working with me on a project in which we intend to study the diverse roles of teachers. The goal of our activity is to collect and share as many ideas and opinions as possible.

And, what a better way to learn about this, by asking all of you to share your thoughts with us in the form of a video! Some of you may have seen examples of crowdsourced video already. For instance, Alan Levine’s Amazing Stories of Openness serves as one of the models we are using for this project. And the Learning Technologies group at the University of Minnesota (Aaron, Charlie, & Cassie) is traveling around the globe to create a narrative around the question “what is education?

Our goal here is to build a collection of user-created videos on the topic of teacher’s roles and create a freely-available curriculum for anyone interested in exploring the topic. The more voices shared, the more open and diverse the discussion can be.  Thus, we hope that if you have a few spare minutes, you might contribute a video clip and add your own perspective.

If you’d like to help out, we would greatly appreciate your response to one of the following:

  • What should the role(s) of a teacher be?
  • Tell us a story about your most memorable teacher.

Talk about your thoughts as they relate to your background, beliefs, or practices! There are no correct answers and we aren’t looking for one single answer. The definition of “teacher” is also fluid: it can be a k-12 teacher, a professor, or a family member who acted as a teacher, a coach, or someone/something else that you consider to be a teacher.

Your contribution should be a short (45-90 sec.) video clip of your ‘off-the-cuff’ response, recorded with a webcam or digital camera.   There is no need for editing, HD, or a great deal of planning.  Just keep it short and simple.  But, don’t let us constrain your creativity. When you are finished upload it to Youtube or Vimeo and either post a link on the comments, email us a link (veletsianos |AT|, or send us a note on twitter at @veletsianos or @mrgsrussell

Another example of the videos we have so far is below:

We will be posting a portion of interviews onto our project’s website; therefore, you must be willing to have your video published online. A link to the site will be posted within the next two weeks

Thank you in advance for your time and help!

George, Greg, Cesar, Janice

* This entry has largely been written by Greg Russell, one of our first-year PhD students at UT Austin.