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The Learning Environments research group (LeGroup) at the Media Lab Helsinki of the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture is looking for doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers interested in to work in several new research projects starting in Autumn 2012.
For the doctoral students position(s) there is still a week to prepare your application materials. The applications should arrive no later than on August 14th 2012. You will find the official call text and instructions from the Aalto University web site. Please read it carefully and prepare your application.
If you are interested in to the postdoctoral researcher post(s) , please send an email to Teemu Leinonen with a (1) cover letter, (2) CV, (3) design portfolio and (4) a statement of your research interests.
Associate Professor Teemu Leinonen
tel. +358 50 351 6796
New stories praising Finnish educational system are popping up almost weekly. Now CNN reports with focus on education in USA and how things are different in Finland.
I agree with most of the points made in the story: teachers are essential and standardized testing is doing more harm than good. These are also interlinked issues. We need highly educated teachers, appreciation of the profession, empower teachers, have decision making in classroom and school level etc. When these are in place we may focus on education, instead of training children to tests.
I think, however, that these stories are missing one important thing: smart, continuos development of the system. I consider this to be relatively well in place in the primary and secondary education in Finland. It’s not great but it’s not bad either. Most likely, it is better than in most systems. The in-build development of the system, I think, is behind good educational results in primary and secondary education. At least in Finland.
I also have a working theory. Because of lacking for a long time the spirit of smart and continuos development in higher education in Finland we are actually not doing very well in it. For a couple of years now things has changes in it too and I strongly believe that we are getting better. It just requires smart continues development.
So what is smart continuos development? It is a bit like agile software development.
Agile Manifesto states the values, as follows:
These principles, with minor modification. should be used in educational system development, too (and I am claiming we do it a bit in Finland) + it should be continuos. Here is my (agile( values for educational system development:
Finally. There’s always room to be better.
We probably will discuss about this topics, too in a panel discussion taking place tomorrow, on Thursday October 13, 2011 in the Mobility Shifts – An International Future of Learning Summit in New York.
“The goal of InnoSchool is to develop the Future School Concept: a set of research-based good practices, processes, models and designs, and recommendations for their successful combinations in the Future School.”
It is a nice project with many interesting results. The report is worth of reading, and even just to browse if you do not read Finnish. The pictures from different physical learning places and spaces are a great resource for anyone interested in learning environment design.
The final report, however, has a section describing “design research” (design-tutkimus). When reading the section, I noticed that the research described in it is not “design research” but “design-based research”. At least in the discussions in Finland — regardless of the design boom over here (design thinking, service design etc.) — there seems to be a lot of misconceptions related to the design -terminology.
Design-based research (as described in the field of Learning Science, for instance Barab & Squire, 2004; The Design-Based Research Collective) is not to be confused with design as it is understood in the art and design tradition.
In design-based research, the aim is to do research with designed interventions into real-world situations. As a such, it is in practice, one form of action research – not more. In design-based research design interventions are a research method. You do them to gain some data or ideas to build your pedagogical theory.
In design as discussed in the field of art and design, the designs (artifacts, tools, services) are the main outcomes of the activity. To draw routes to that outcome research helps. Research studying design, its methods and its results is design research (design-tutkimus).
I would love to see more design research in the field. In practice, it means that you will “get your hands dirty”, build a prototype, build a software.
Last night the company’s Bird Whisperer Ville Heijari said that when international media asks how come Angry Birds comes from Finland they have a standard answer: “that is simply because in Finland we are the best in the world in marketing and in the art of creating brands“.
Another (ridiculous) game studio start-up in Finland, which I know much better, is the Virtual Air Guitar Company. I think the company is a good example of future high-tech company in Finland. The tech. guys of the team are top computer scientists who have developed “computer vision library that allows accurate real-time tracking of the entire human body as well as background removal using regular webcams”.
The other half of the team are New Media professionals, game designers, musicians, artists and designers who have been playing with similar kind of hacks for years to develop games you control with your body. It’s been a long way from the first working prototypes in 2004 to the game released last week on Playstation in Europe and US. Congratulations!
I think that still a couple of years ago the computer science guys would have license their technology to some corporation and be happy. That probably would have made the founders wealthy. In this case, the people also wanted to do content that is using the technology. I think that is wise and for sure more fun. Doing stuff is fun.
In think the Virtual Air Guitar Company is also leading the way to photorealistic virtual worlds. When we are able to track human body with video from several angles we may model 3D photorealistic “avatars” with a talking face and face expressions. With 360 cameras like the one used by Google street-view, possibility to do 3D photorealistic models of objects and possibility to combine the pictures and the models means that we can have photorealistic 3D worlds. With the new micro-size cameras you may also shoot and do 3D photorealistic models about very small and otherwise hard to reach places.
I think photorealistic virtual worlds are the future of video conferences. There are huge possibilities for learning, too. Just think about all the possibilities to build simulations and to do explorations. For instance with these tools medical doctors could study Intestines inside the system or engineers could study nuclear power inside a reactor.