The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Archive for February, 2009

Our EXTEND/Planet discussion….

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 26, 2009

is now available as an Elluminate recording.  Thanks to Cristina and Frances for facilitating this.

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Finding evidence

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 26, 2009

There are a couple of things that make patterns distinct from other forms of design guidance. One is that they are routed in practice – they are not simply “good ideas” or theories (not that there is anything wrong with those) but they are drawn from real examples of things that have worked to solve problems in specific contexts. Another is that they cannot just be based on a single example – a pattern can only really be called a pattern if it can be demonstrated to have worked in at least three distinct cases. We call this the rule of three. We recently reviewed all the “patterns” that have arisen from our workshops and most fall into the “candidate pattern” category – we think they might be patterns, we have one – occasionally two examples of the pattern – but we don’t yet have sufficient evidence to be confident that this really is a pattern.

So we are looking for evidence in the stories of successful practice that we all have as educators. Our Elluminate story telling session on Tuesday with the EXTEND project brought up several examples which – at least on the surface – seem to be evidence of one or other of our candidate patterns. We plan to hold more open story telling sessions over the next couple of weeks. Prior to that we will be publishing summaries of our existing candidate patterns so that people can easily review them and let us know if they have had any experiences relevant to any of them.

Pattern elicitation is an ongoing community process – and we expect the Planet patterns to be evolving and developing long after the of the project through other initiatives that are already in progress. But we’d like to make the most of the wealth of experience in Emerge to gather evidence! Watch this space.

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The Planet Video

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 25, 2009

We have produced a short video which provides an overview of the project and our methodology. Many thanks to the EXTEND project for their assistance in developing this and to Jakki Sheridan-Ross for her production. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "The Planet Video", posted with vodpod

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Join us for a mini-Planet workshop – online!

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 22, 2009

The EXTEND project is hosting a mini-Planet workshop on Tuesday lunchtime from 12.30 UK time – full details in Cristina’s post. All welcome – we will be sharing examples of successful practice and discussing the Planet methodology.

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three workshops and a symposium

Posted by yishaym on February 20, 2009

March is going to be very, very busy. Apart from the expected business of writing reports and cleaning up project outputs, we’re going to be running three workshops and leading a symposium at CAL.

The Digital Identities Workshop (March 2nd) asks –

We use the term ‘digital identity’ to refer to the online representation of an individual within a community, as adopted by that individual and projected by others. An individual may have multiple digital identities in multiple communities. What is the impact of new technologies on digital identities within education? How should we design technologies and practices to address the complexities of digital identity?

This is a Workshop III type event, which means it is focused on scenarios and builds on previous work. It is therefore, regretfully, an invitation only event. But if you have a special interest in attending, please contact Steven Warburton.

Fast on its heals, we have a meta-workshop at the E-Learning Patterns conference in Tuebingen (March 5th)

This is intended to be a sort of old bikers’ gathering. Taking the opportunity of having many experienced design pattern folk around, we’re going to rev up our (methodological) engines, and compare the tunes.

Then, back in London, there’s a workshop on Patterns for civic empowerment (March 17th)

This is a joint initiative with the Public Sphere Project, and PRADSA network, celebrating the release of the Liberating Voices book. There are still a few places left but you better be quick!

Finally, if you’re coming to CAL’09: Learning in Digital Worlds, (March 23-25th 2009, Brighton) please join us for –

a symposium on The challenges of the design pattern paradigm for the development of learning environments and experiences. We’re bringing our participatory approach with us, so you’re welcome to make a contribution before, during and after the event.

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Online discussion on Sharing Practice

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 16, 2009

For the next fortnight the Benefits Realisation project EXTEND is hosting an online discussion around the topics covered by Planet. In the first week we will be discussing how we share practice, in the second we will give people a taste of the Planet approach – albeit online! Please come along and join in at – it would be great to have as many different perspectives as possible – and you can see the first version of our new Planet video!

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Clay Shirky: no, *you* shut up!

Posted by yishaym on February 14, 2009

(cross posted from designedforlearning)

(title nods at Clay’s 2006 talk)

Charlie Beckett hosted Clay Shirky at the LSE a couple of weeks ago, and the Podcast is now available for download – and well worth listening to.

I couldn’t make it to Clay’s talk, but luckily, due to the snow (remember the #uksnow?) some of his interviews were canceled and he generously found some time to have coffee with Niall Winters and me.

Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to design patterns. Clay reminded us of the work he did a few years ago on moderation patterns. Sadly, the original moderation patterns wiki is down. But yay for the waybackmachine, here’s an archived copy.

There’s more than 40 patterns there, dealing with issues of digital identity and managing social dynamics for collaboration / conversation platforms. You would think that at the rate of current technology development, most of these would be obsolete. At the time they where written, nobody had heard of opensocial or OpenId. Yet they are surprisingly relevant. The reason is, that they deal with the social aspects of technology, not with the code. And as fast as technology may change – human nature is reletively stable.

Example? login with email. Have you noticed how more and more sites let you use either a username or login? The rationale for this has nothing to do with technology. Asking us to remember a user name and password for more than seven sites, give or take one, is ignoring the structure of human memory. That may be changed by technology, but marginally.

Social dynamics are much more complex than we tend to realise, which is why most social software is autistic. Its not a fault of the programmers that facebook’s friends featrue looks like this. Anyone (well, any 20 year old male) who would be asked to model the concept of friendship would come up with something similar. What we need is a serious and prolonged attempt at capturing the design patterns for social / participatory media.

But the death of the moderation patterns wiki holds a warning. Sustaining such an effort is not easy. It required institutional, personal and collaborative commitment. That, in turn, relies on the ability to show a constant stream of valuable outputs. I don’t have an answer to that, but its definitely something we’re thinking of as the pattern language network project nears the end of its life.

As for the moderation patterns themeselves, we’re looking into the options for giving them a new home. By the way, my personal favorite is use email.

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Three or four workshops?

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 9, 2009

I’m in the process of writing a script for our short Planet video and have been pondering on both the practice and the theory of the workshops model. We have defined it as a three-workshop model: cases to candidate patterns; candidate patterns to patterns; patterns applied to scenarios. But there seems to be a fourth activity that we have all done – which doesn’t seem to fit well into this model: mapping patterns. Whether that is attempting to develop a community language or attempting to map patterns to an existing structure, this has been a core activity in several workshops. So do we actually have a four workshop model?

I suspect part of the answer is that the boundaries are fluid – a “workshop” is not necessarily a discrete event but a collection of activities that might actually take place over the course of a number of face to face meetings – and, conversely, different groups will work at different speeds and may combine elements of several workshops into one meeting. But the fact remains that there are four distinct activities – and, unless we find the holy grail of a single organising structure, all four will generally be needed. At the moment I am putting mapping and use together – but maybe we need a four phase process?

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Visual Design Languages, Affect, Pedagogical Patterns: Workshops at ICALT’09 (July 14-18, Riga)

Posted by yishaym on February 4, 2009

Michael Derntl has pointed my attention to two workshops he’s co-organising at IEEE ICALT 2009, (July 14-18, 2009, Riga, Latvia). Both are relevant to our work:

VIDLATEL — International Workshop on Visual Design Languages and Applications for Technology Enhanced Learning

Many human activities are supported by the use of visual representations, which enable us to manage the complexity of real work problems by facilitating the use of our (commonly very limited) cognitive capabilities. Architects, musicians, surgeons or engineers use visual artifacts in their daily practice to plan, design and carry out their endeavors. Visuals can support imagination, creative thinking, communication, discussion, and organization of the work to be performed. Similarly, the difficult process of creation and provision of learning environments could be supported by the use of appropriate visual artifacts.

The achievement of learning is pursued by the performance of activities using learning objects, resources and tools. The ever increasing number of existing Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) tools and applications (e.g., Moodle, dotLRN, RELOAD, LAMS) provide academic staff with lots of useful functionalities to design their TEL environments. Past research has focused mostly on the computational aspects of TEL environments. There are a number of specifications that allow computational representation of processes and contents (e.g., SCORM, IMS-LD, IMS-CP, IMS-QTI) intended to facilitate reuse and interoperability of solutions. Nevertheless, these specifications provide only limited help and hints about how such learning environments can be developed by the average user (i.e., the instructor, the teacher).

Despite the need for sound and user-friendly instructional design approaches to TEL, there is still a lack of cooperation and integration between the fields of TEL and instructional design. The workshop is intended to explore this integration through the use of visual design artifacts (languages, notation systems, tools, applications). These can support and enhance the quality of TEL systems, facilitate sharing ideas, collaboration, reuse, and learning from experience.

Workshop on Affect and Educational Design Patterns

In this workshop we aim to bring together research in educational design and affective computing. Recent progress in the two areas is opening up opportunities for synergy that could lead to radical improvements in learning experience design. We invite contributions from both the areas of Educational Design Patterns and Affective Science, and particularly those that explore (or show results of) the combination of the two.
On the one hand, educational design patterns describe reusable solutions to the design of learning tasks and environments. Essentially, a design pattern provides a generic, reusable solution to a recurring design problem or situation. The key is to describe the solution in a way that makes the solution reusable for similar problems. Today there are a significant number of design pattern initiatives and projects dealing with educational design patterns. Despite the general agreement that emotions have a significant impact on learning, they have not been considered in pedagogical designs, probably due to the difficulty posed in doing so up to this point.
On the other hand, affective computing, the design of systems that can recognize, interpret, and process human emotions, has made great progress of late and is now being integrated into current intelligent tutoring systems.
Recent advances in biomedical engineering, neuroscience and data mining have increased researchers ability to investigate this issue. We are at a point where significant accuracy in automatically recognizing emotional states is feasible through a number of approaches, even for collaborative situations. The identification of affective and mental states provides a magnifying glass for closer look into the processes involved in collaborative learning experiences.  We are finally in a position where the effect of emotional states on learning experiences, can be taken into account in order to improve the design of these experiences and the technologies that support them.
The envisaged outcomes of the workshop are:
•    Contributions on the state-of-the-art in affective computing related to educational technology, in particular technology enhanced collaborative learning.
•    Identification and discussion of ways of representing good practice in affective educational computing using the design pattern approach
•    Understanding the role and synergies of affective computing and design patterns in the development of advanced learning technologies.
•    Proposals of design patterns for affect-aware learning technologies.

If you’re going to EuroPLoP, you can probably continue straight to Riga.

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guest post: Maisie Platts on sketching at the EDID9 digital identity event

Posted by Steven Warburton on February 3, 2009

Maisie Platts along with Martin Jones joined us at the digital identities workshop last month. They are both illustrators, and helped us add a visual dimension to the case stories and group discussion – Martin’s reflections can found below. These are the notes that Maisie has sent and kindly allowed us to publish here as a guest post:

When I was invited to attend the Digital Identities workshop to draw my view of what was being said and done I was both excited and a little nervous as to what to expect. My biggest concern was to whether I’d be able to comprehend what was going on. The idea of creating quick sketches with a possible audience was also quite daunting and very much out of my usual comfort zone. I’ve become very used to sitting at home with only myself for company drawing things over and over until I am pleased with the results before I show them to anyone. Although I was feeling a little anxious about these things I am a firm believer of the importance of setting myself challenges and it’s always good to get out the house!

A week or so before the workshop we were sent links to some of the case stories that attendees had written about digital identities. From reading these I felt less worried as I began to understand better the idea of digital identities and was familiar with some of the subject matters such as Facebook and Flickr. There were still a few things though that boggled my mind.

On the day of the workshop an early morning rise and a surprisingly fast train journey got me from Liverpool to London, handily arriving at Euston Station just around the corner from the British Library. I was very happy to be greeted with a cup of tea when arriving at the conference centre and enjoyed a quick chat with some of the attendees along with Martin my fellow sketcher for the day.

In the introduction I understood most of what was being said and enjoyed thinking about how I could draw the three aspects of my identity that we were all asked to do. Everyone then got into to groups to discuss specific case stories. I chose to sit in with one of the groups having not yet decided whether I would stay with them for the whole morning or move around and catch elements of different groups conversations. We all began by introducing ourselves and talking a little about what we did and about our depictions of the three aspects of our identity. Then two members of the group Margarita and Josie talked through their case stories and the group proceeded to discuss. I started out by trying to quickly sketch my interpretation of what was being said (seminaked.jpg) and then redrew a few of the elements which I felt needed a bit of refining to make it clearer what was happening (protection.jpg).

Towards the end of their discussions the group were stood up around the table looking at a large sheet of paper and moving around different coloured post it notes. You could tell they had been working hard as the table was in a bit of a state of disarray, much like how my desk gets at home. This was when I chose to draw what I saw before me to try and capture the enthusiasm and energy of the group (conceptmapping.jpg).

I had gotten so carried away with my drawings that it came as a surprise to me when it was lunch time already.

After lunch I made the decision that I would not stay in just one group but move around a bit more to see the differences or similarities between them. When I arrived at the first group it was quite difficult to understand what they were talking about as it was all a bit too technical for my ears. I began making literal interpretations of the words ‘Super Patterns’ and ‘Anti Patterns’ which seemed to keep coming up in their conversations. I imagined them to be highly decorated superheroes and plain clothes anti heroes from a comic book. I didn’t want to get too carried away with this so after a while I asked the group for a brief run down of what they were focusing on. This made it a little clearer and allowed me to draw something I think was a little more relevant to their discussions. (Pica1.jpg)

After this I decided to move over and sit with a different group. It was quite difficult again to figure out what the basis of their discussions were as one story seemed to lead on to something different. However I decided it didn’t really matter what the starting point was as what was being said was very interesting so I just chose to draw from what the group were talking about at that moment. (Pica2.jpg, Pica3.jpg) Before too long everyone was packing up for a final round up of the day so away went my pencils into my pencil sharpening filled pencilcase.

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