Have returned from a 3 day meeting during which time I realised exactly these projects are called ‘integrating projects’ (IP) ! This time I met colleagues working on the technology side of the project – extremely smart developers who are at the cutting edge and creating online tools to scaffold learning in workplace. The showcase was amazing, demonstrating early prototypes of some tools and more developed versions of others. Our ‘Help Seeking’ tool prototype was part of a series of integration meetings, and the preparation work by John, Patricia and I on Vygotsky and how his theories of Zones of Proximal Development, Temporal Contexts and ‘More capable peer’ could feed into the tool specification were well received, and will also feature in subsequent Social Semantic Server/Help Seeking tool discussions.
The tools developed will all generate data, and the ‘big data numbers’ generated will be processing by the Social Semantic Server (SSS) team. They analyse the data and apply algorithms to enable different functions to be communicated back to the user. The larger and more active the user data set is, the more accurate responses can be fed back to the user. All the LearningLayers coding materials are Opensource and available from the Open Design Library http://odl.learning-layers.eu
Running alongside our ‘theory camp’ started to address the reviewer comments about a more cohesive approach to the pedagogies underpinning informal learning in the workplace. The following days saw the two strands weave together in a set of workshops as teams drawn from across the project integrated theory and practice. Each different theoretical perpesctive had a 5 minute talk with 5 minutes of clarification, all filmed, and available for the wider project team to refer back to as work continues. See the @learninglayers twitter stream (via project website www.learninglayers.eu) for my short tweet summaries of different theories. Groupwork across the three emergent themes/frameworks were the focus of the final day, before an excellent plenary, chaired by Tobias Ley pulled the work together and set the framework for the Consortium meeting in Bremen in June.
Socially RWTH looked after us really well – they had their wonderful Masters and Phd students on hand to assist; arranged a fanstastic tour of Aachen cathedral and the old town after work one evening; and hosted an excellent dinner at the ‘Goldenen Schwan’. A highlight of the trip for me was the invitation on the final afternoon to visit the RWTH ‘Virtual Augmented Reality Cave’ and having an immersive 3D tour of the reconstruction of the Afghan Bamiyan Buddha. This incredible artefact was destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 – details of the significance of this loss detailed in the UNESCO report http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/