News

iCamp simulation study appeared

March 6th, 2012

In the recent article “Simulating Learning Networks in a Higher Education Blogosphere – At Scale“, Fridolin Wild and Steinn Sigurdarson introduce into a simulation model built from the iCamp trial data and educational model assumption: they wanted to see what would happen, if trials are scaled up an order of magnitude. The simulation results are encouraging – and the simulation is available for other researchers to build on: click here to download the NetLogo code. Click here to see a video of the simulation run with courses and FeedBack enabled.

iCamp Handbook available in Spanish

May 30th, 2010

One year after we succesfully went through iCamp project’s last official review, we are wirting down a new post for wellcoming a new version of our Handbook. This is the time for its Spanish version, issued by Win-Win Consultores, with the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Turism under its “avanza2” programme for promoting Information Society, managed by red.es. We also have to thank ColorIURIS, responsible for the intellectual property rights management scheme.

Puedes descargarte la versión en español, tras aceptar las condiciones legales, siguiendo este enlace “Manual de Uso del Software Social en la Educación Superior”.

This is intended to be the UPM team’s contribution for the Spanish Presidential Term of the Council of the European Union ;)
Cheers!

iCamp handbook now available in Polish

May 19th, 2010

The iCamp partner AGH – the University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland, has published recently a Polish version of the iCamp handbook on how to use social software in education. Please click here to get the electronic version.

iCamp participates in the MEDEA Award

September 17th, 2009

Since the iCamp experience was very successful in making use of new media for cross-cultural collaboration iCamp competes for the MEDEA Awards, respecively in the European Collaboration Award.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

iCamp Success Story

May 26th, 2009

We now received the final review report where our external reviewers commend us on our excellent work and our valuable contribution to European research in Technology Enhanced Learning.

Here are some quotes from the report, which can also be downloaded:

… In the opinion of the reviewers the products and outcomes of the project are of considerable significance for the development and implementation of Technology Enhanced Learning and we are confident of their future implementation and use within the educational technology community. Special attention is drawn to the work of the project in developing, testing and evaluating the use of social software for
learning….

The outcomes of the iCamp project have a high potential impact and offer extensive opportunities for exploitation. Firstly the tools and technologies produced by the project have wide potential use and can
be integrated in different frameworks and applications. As Open Source products, they can also re further developed and repurposed for future use.

Secondly the educational models developed by the project are of cognisance for moves towards technology supported collaborative and group based learning and student centred learning. The models are also of interest for those seeking collaborative work between students in different universities and different countries.

The handbook is a timely and well produced publication which will be of use to practitioners seeking to introduce social software for learning. The research framework and evaluation tools and processes developed by the project may also be of use in future research in this area.

The reviewers commended the project coordinators and partners on their work. They expressed their hope that the partners would continue to develop and exploit the outcomes of the work in future projects and
within the Technology Enhanced Learning community in Europe.

Download the full report here: iCamp_Final_Public_Report

Successful final review

February 14th, 2009

Yesterday we were discussing our 3 years project work and our final results with Vladan Devedzic, Graham Atwell and Martin Majek, our Porject officer from the European Commission, in our final review meeting.

reviewers

The presentations and discussions went extremely well, we got very constructive comments and officially finished the EC-funded period of the iCamp project very successfully.The whole iCamp team is very proud of this great feedback that we got and we are all committed to continue this work in one or the other way.

The review was performed in a very “iCampish” way: Graham was twittering during the meeting and collecting also questions from the wider audience on the Web. Antonio Fumero was broadcasting part of the event live. Probably the first EC project review with so much live presence on the Web!To get a short summary of our project so far, here is the executive summary of the final public report: An Open Virtual Learning Environment for Europe’s Higher Education Driven by continuous socio-economic changes, such as the increase of knowledge intensive jobs or the demand for new skills and competencies, iCamp started over 3 years ago with the vision to create an open virtual learning environment for specific competence advancements. An additional motivation for the project has been to contribute to the establishing of an inclusive information society in an enlarged Europe. During the course of the project the research team in iCamp followed a design-based research approach with a strong focus on designing for real life trials, getting feedback from practitioners and feeding this knowledge into advanced pedagogical concepts and new technological developments.

An educational intervention model

The educational work in iCamp started out by defining a conceptual framework to describe activity patterns and intervention strategies for facilitators along the contextual constraints of cross-cultural collaboration in digitally mediated environments. Facilitators were intervening into current teaching and studying practices with the aim of advancing competencies in certain areas of challenge, namely self-directing personal learning projects, collaborating with peers and social networking.The final educational intervention model that is heavily based on the experiences from the field studies describes strategies as to how facilitators may intervene in order to advance competences. The iCamp educational intervention approach can now be applied within a certain range of convenience.

Social Software Technologies for Higher Education

With regards to the technological advancements the main focus in iCamp has been set on social software technologies and its usage and adaptations for specific educational needs.A set of tools, including ready to use elements, up to rather experimental technologies that need further research before they can be implemented in practice, have been developed. The iCamp team has committed itself to an open source policy and has published all code developed during the project under creative commons licence at Sourceforge.Finally, from the practical experience of applying innovative pedagogical intervention strategies in combination with social software technologies we derived a handbook that is mainly targeting educational practitioners in higher education.One of the main strengths of iCamp has definitely been the large fieldwork that was performed during the three years and that made us aware of current highly restrictive institutional policies with regards the use of technologies. Such restrictive polices are hindering factors when it comes to educate autonomous and self-organized citizens. The democratization of institutions remains an important move that we need to take in Europe and we believe that the iCamp approach may be one small step in this process.

iCamp handbook: How to Use Social Software in Higher Education

February 11th, 2009

The iCamp handbook has been recently released. It is a practical guide as to how social software can be used in educational settings, especially in higher education.The handbook addresses in particular practitioners who would like to enhance their online teaching practices with pedagogical activities making use of Web2.0 technologies. You can download the handbook here as PDF or get in contact with any of the iCamp partners for a printed version.

Latest iCamp deliverables available

January 23rd, 2009

We just finished our series of final deliverables. This includes the following documents:

D1.3 iCamp Educational Intervention Model

D2.4 Trust Management, Privacy and IPR Framework

D2.5 Final Portfolio of iCamp Building Blocks

D3.4 Mash-UP Personal Learning Environments

D4.4 iCamp Third Evaluation Report

D5.4 Final Plan for Using and Disseminating Knowledge

All these documents are all public and can be downloaded from the following link:

http://www.icamp.eu/learnmore/project/deliverables/

iCamp featured at ICT Results

December 10th, 2008

ICT Results, the European Commission’s official editorial service and news portal to showcase EU-funded ICT research and activities, has dedicated a featured article to the iCamp project:

Learning by blogging

Thinking about how to promote further take-up of iCamp (Tallinn Meeting 2008). © Gytis-Flickr

Many students learn best working together on structured, self-directed projects. European researchers have created software that links student blogs and other social software tools into a virtual collaborative learning environment.

The researchers of iCAMP (Intercultural learning campus), a three-year project funded by the European Union, wanted to create software tools that would let university students and teachers work together on structured, self-directed learning projects no matter where they were or what kind of social networking systems they were using.

They believe that the tools and learning approaches iCAMP has pioneered have the potential to transform how institutions of higher education work.

“It could change higher education completely,” says Barbara Kieslinger of the Centre for Social Innovation, Vienna, Austria, and iCAMP project coordinator. “If it would really take off, it would lead to a democratisation of these institutions.”

Closing the learning-leisure gap

Kieslinger and her colleagues at more than a dozen universities across Europe set out to close the gap between existing educational software tools – usually rigidly structured and teacher-controlled – and the free-wheeling, self-directed social software students use in their spare time, such as blogs, messaging, feeds and other social networking services.

“We found a mismatch between what younger people were using in their leisure time, software that is easy to use and control by themselves, compared to centralised systems that are controlled by the organisation,” Kieslinger says.

The iCAMP researchers were guided by an educational theory called constructivism. They believe that students gain new knowledge and skills most readily by working together with others on projects that they themselves define and manage, facilitated rather than controlled by teachers.

In addition to the specifics of what students learn, Kieslinger points out that iCAMP’s approach prepares them to be more self directed, teamwork oriented, and technologically adept later in life.

“It’s part of our responsibility to invite students to take control,” says Kieslinger. “In the workplace, people need to be competent in self direction, social networking and collaboration in technologically mediated environments.”

Better blogging and iLOGUE-ing

From early on, the researchers knew that weblogs would be one of their basic building blocks.

“Blogs are the most important single tool,” says Kieslinger. “They are really easy to use, people like them, and they can be used in lots of different activities and learning environments.”

The problem blogs presented was interoperability. Blogs generated on different systems were often not compatible, so students could not conveniently manage joint blogs or track and contribute to each other’s blogs.

The iCAMP software developers found that support for interactions between blogs was essentially unavailable, creating a major roadblock to the kind of active networking students needed.

To solve this problem they developed FeedBack, a system that essentially lets blogs and bloggers communicate with each other easily and manage automatic feeds and updates smoothly.

Once they had resolved the interoperability problem, the researchers went on to create additional communication and collaboration tools. One of these tools is an open-source software package called iLOGUE.

The iLOGUE tool “scaffolds” self-directed learning by guiding learners through the steps of specifying a learning contract, setting goals and sub-goals, identifying resources, and maintaining a learning diary.

People start by entering their objectives and resources, Kieslinger says. They then maintain a conversational, reflective diary, and discuss their learning progress and problems with the facilitator and their peers.

“It’s also a good instrument for self-assessment of what they’ve accomplished,” she adds.

Positive feedback

The iCAMP researchers were eager to test their system in the real world. So far, they have carried out three trials with a total of 136 students and 19 facilitators in 10 countries, including many of Europe’s new Member States. They are still analysing the results of their third and largest trial.

As one example, social science and computer science students studying quantitative research methods took on the task of designing an online questionnaire. The social science students shaped the content while the IT students developed the software.

“We got some really positive feedback from the students,” says Kieslinger. “Even though it was more work for them, they liked the new techniques and getting to work with students from other countries.”

The researchers now know that the tools they have developed work well, but also that the software alone does not guarantee success. Project facilitators need to be highly motivated and experienced in this novel approach to learning. In addition, resolving national and institutional differences in requirements, curricula, and even course scheduling turned out to be prerequisites for success.

Still, the iCAMP team are excited about the potential of their approach and software tools to create a rich, empowering and easy-to-use environment for interactive, student-driven learning.

Several universities in the east of Europe are already offering iCAMP-based courses.

“It’s a more democratic way of using technology for teaching, where each learner can build his or her own learning environment and pick the tools needed for a specific learning task,” says Kieslinger.

To promote further take-up, iCamp will publish a handbook this December presenting what the team has developed and discovered in the course of the project.

The iCAMP project received funding from the ICT strand of the Sixth Framework Programme for research.

The full article is also available under the following link:

http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/90256

iCamp presented in Lithuania

December 4th, 2008

undefinediCamp project has been extensively presented in The International Conference “Adult Learning and e-Learning Quality” that was held in November 25-26, 2008 in Lithuania. Conference was organized by Vytautas Magnus University in the framework of Lithuanian Virtual University program. There were 4 presentations dedicated to iCamp technology and tools in the section “New trends in e-learning development and practical applications”. Another section “e-Learning curriculum technological (re)designing methodology” dedicated to new project REVIVE was also based on iCamp methodology. All presentation of the Conference was also broadcasted live on the internet and will be available for review on demand.

 
IST