The main theme of the DIVERSE 2012 conference will be 'Enrich the learning experience'. It sets the agenda for the exchange of experiences, ideas or research findings on the role and good use of visual media for teaching and learning. In particular the Leuven edition would like to focus on 5 subtopics:
- Engaging Learning Materials
- Innovative Learning Spaces
- Access and Digital Ability
- Projects & Cases
- Blended Learning
Engaging Learning Materials
For this topic we are seeking projects, ideas, experiences or research results that focus on the creation and use of interactive, visual learning materials. The idea for this topic came from meeting DIVERSE community members who are working on how lecture capturing could be enriched with interactive elements, suggested readings, group comments or social annotation. Others are working on the design and development of interactive e-books, mobile learning apps or games, that combine text with animation and video - all through an easy-to-use software solution.
- Which projects, examples or research results do you have on the good use of digital media to enrich learning materials?
- How and why are you working on the enrichment of video content (user video, automatic weblectures, podcasts, ...)?
- Are you working on the creation of open content (with visual and interactive elements)?
- What are your experiences with the design or use of e-books?
- Which combinations of content work and which do not? Why?
Innovative Learning Spaces
Traditional university teaching and learning is transmissive: it focuses on communicating a great deal of information (or ‘content’) to students. We know however that we do not learn as effectively by simply listening passively, note-taking and absorbing information. We know that we learn better if we are engaged. Most university classrooms however are lecture halls, designed for didactic content delivery rather than interaction. They have a slight slope with chairs looking in one direction - the teacher, supported by a Powerpoint projected on a large screen. Would flexible, open learning spaces not be more suitable for interactive learning? At the same time we see the emergence of innovative systems such as interactive whiteboards, multitouch graphic displays, clickers, telepresence or videoconferencing systems, lecture capturing, live streaming technology and mobile devices, etc. And we notice a growing interest in informal learning spaces (learning landscapes, new types of libraries, ...) How does all this fit together?
- Does educational infrastructure matter?
- Is the future (formal) learning space an open space with flexible furniture and mobile devices? Does this work? How?
- Is there still room for a lecture hall, and if so - what does it look like? Where does media fit in the future classroom? Which choices have you made at your institution? Have you tested some of these new devices?
- Will we see a convergence between the online learning space and the on-campus location in the future?
Access and Digital Ability
A key part of the Digital Agenda for Europe is 'Access and Digital Ability'. Although for most of us digital media and new devices are designed to make our lives easier, for a large part of the population ICTs are difficult to use, if not unusable. Particularly the elderly and disabled people are often sidelined as the design, production and installation of ICTs fail to take account of their specific needs. For example, blind and partially sighted people may find it difficult to watch a web lecture or interactive website if the font size cannot be increased or if an audio version is not available. Even if the user has the software that is required to help them browse websites, unless the site designer has followed recognised standards, it may not work. Moreover, ICTs themselves can actually become tools of exclusion. For instance, older people often feel intimidated by new technologies and are then confused when new versions are introduced.
- How can media support or help people with special needs? Which choices are helpful, which create a challenge?
- What is your experience with closed captioning, audio description, subtitles, etc. in relation to digital video (such as lecture capturing)?
- Did your institution work on this issue? What did you encounter? What did you have to change, improve?
Projects & Cases
There are of course plenty of interesting projects or experiments that think about other issues related to the use of visual media in education. This topic bundles all experiences or ideas you have and want to share with the DIVERSE community!
This track looks at practices and examples of blended learning initiatives, which can demonstrate the balancing act between physical classroom experiences and online learning experiences.
At its simplest, blended learning environments are a thoughtful alignment of physical classroom learning experiences with online learning experiences. On one end this alignment can be the integration of audiovisual materials to foster an extensive understanding of a particular concept related to the learning context. On the other end the alignment of physical classroom learning experiences with online learning experiences can be the implementation of streaming audiovisual content (for example web lectures) to replace one of the learning experiences. There is a considerable intuitive appeal to this approach and to the concept of integrating the strengths of real-life and virtual learning activities.