Bianca Pereira
A researcher and software developer at work, a feminist by ideal, and a dancer and singer by passion.

Reflections on jTEL Summer School 2019: A Blog Series

This article introduces a series of reflections on my engagement on the jTEL Summer School 2019 activities. In the last post I discussed the importance of summer schools for the formation of PhD students. In this post I will explain the themes I used to chose among the multiple parallel workshops available in the jTEL Summer School 2019.

Originally, my plan was to write one post with my experience in most workshops but it would turn out to be a long reading, so I decided to break it down in a series of blog posts instead. This blog series will be divided into the five themes that I used to decide in which workshops I would participate.

  1. Experiential learning

    I have a strong belief that in order to learn we need to engage our whole selves; whereas engaging our minds is a good first step, we also should improve our ways to engage the rest of our bodies as well as feelings. Because of this, I have been trying to include elements of experiential learning on my presentations and I am also interested in learning more on how I can make any ‘normal’ software more engaging and educational. Softwares are tools to support humans, so it is our job to make them more human friendly. The workshops and talks I attended in this theme were:

  2. Self-directed learning

    My PhD research is in self-directed learning and my whole research journey is centred around that. So, why did I do two masters in automatic discovery of concepts in Natural Language Text? Many people do not know, but self-directed learning was the driver for it. The workshops and talks I attended in this theme were:

    • Reflection Guidance - State-of-the-art and Challenges in Intelligent mentoring systems
    • Am I planning SMART? Exploring learning cycles
  3. Research design

    I cannot stress enough how much I like to study research methods and methodologies, but I suppose this is a topic for another blog post. In this theme I included methods, methodologies and theories I could potentially use on my research design. The workshops and talks I attended in this theme were:

    • Evaluation Methods - Field Studies in Technology-Enhanced Learning
    • Introductory Epistemic Network Analysis Workshop
    • How the Blockchain can shape the future of education
    • The Trialogical Approach: learning through shared objects and technologies.
  4. Current challenges

    My research participants are very important to me and these are the people I want my software tools to support. Also, I want to leave a positive impact with my work, therefore I want to ensure my research follows only ethical procedures. My challenge then has been to learn everything I can about ethical research. Sometimes, however, open, engaged and ethical ideologies seem to clash, in particular when we consider all the details of GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation). So, anything I can learn on these topics and their interaction is always welcome. The workshops and talks I attended in this theme were:

    • Research ethics and informed consent
    • Opening up TEL Research: State of play and essential tools
  5. Equality, diversity and inclusion

    The last theme is something I have been strongly working on for the last 2 years (if not my whole life). Although this theme runs through all workshops and talks, some of them were more strongly related to it (according to me). The workshops and talks I attended in this theme were:

    • Culturally sensitive learning analytics
    • The keynote talk of Roberto Maldonado-Martinez on ‘From Oysters to Pearls: Key Strategies for Communicating Learning Analytics Insights’
    • The keynote talk of Marco Kalz on ‘Unintended consequences of mainstreaming of technology-enhanced learning’
    • The keynote talk of Donald Clark on ‘AI changes everything – why AI will change online learning and its design’
    • The keynote talk of Carl Smith on ‘Context Engineering in TEL’

Although some talks and workshops spans multiple themes, I attached them to a main theme. As I publish new articles in this series I will update this page with the links.

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