Archive for April, 2007



April 29, 2007



I had a great sciencefree day with canoe on Halliste river in Soomaa national park. At some places the river was blocked by beaver-dams, so i had to drag the canoe barefoot through wet land. But it was a great trip…the reason why my first education was biology is quite clear 🙂


teaching in web 2.0 course vol. 2

April 27, 2007

I am going to meet with my students of the web 2.0 educational technology course tomorrow in Tallinn. It is part of our research project.

The course live monitoring site in PageFlakes aggregator gives an impression how we are working.

So far they have been creating self-directed learning environments..or what they think are self-directed patterns. Tomorrow we will play in different collaborative environments and then the second homework invites people to create collaborative knowledge-building patterns and environments from distributed tools.

Give a little – get a lot! pattern


I must admit, that doing this course is a lot of fun and the ideas what come in the progress make me think how to make this kind of learning more and more constructivist..i think many ideas, which get evoked by what students do, could never be planned it in advance.


Just one example pierce of homework.

I am really waiting how they start presenting all their ideas.


Tallinn today

April 27, 2007


The story in english.

Bronze soldier in trolley-bus stop ofTallinn center before removal.


Fights in Tallinn yesterday and tonight caused damage to the shops for 50 million crones. Around 100 people were arrested, about 50 injured.

new place soldier

Bronze soldier in new place at the Military cementary. The limestone wall will be built within 1 month.

On the morning of May 2nd i received an email to my university mail from Latvian address, which invited people to donate money that the “freedomfighters” could go from East Estonian towns with buses to Tallinn.

Part of this text is quite horrible:

nasha cell zastavitt uiti v otstavku fashista Ansipa i korrumpirovannoje pravitellstvo
vernutt pamjatnik i stenu obratno na iskonnoje mesto
prosba sabotirovatt i piketirovatt vsemi vozmozhnymi sposobami reshenije pravitellstva
zadacha probitt kardony policci i snjatt ograzhdenija i palatku i ostanovitt raskopki i bogohulstvo

budet organizovana vooruzhonnyi piket, v tom chisle maski, oruzhije i gazovye balony i prochee
dlja etogo trebujetsja sredstva znachitelnye, bez vashei pomoshi my ne spravimsja s bespredelom vlastei!

I am not supporting this organised attacks from outside Estonia, against my country.

It seems quite peaceful again, at least if to believe in press. My son said that actually what press is writing at both sides is quite similar. Yesterday for instance there was a heading in Õhtuleht (a yellow paper) newspaper about the Nashi movement : Putinjugend is demonstrating to free the prizoners.

I accedientally found a paper from Washington post about the hidden war – cyber assaults in Estonia. Some attacker addresses are here.
By the way, it seems similar attacks are also done against Finland, our closest neighbour. Some wasy the situation seems like before the occupation in 1939-1940 in Estonia, when also Finland had the Winter War with the mighty neighbour.

14.06. Article in the paper with agitation.

Embodied statue:
embodied bronze soldier

Images year after
bronze soldier ghost


Idea for trial 2

April 26, 2007

We have been analysing a lot what happened in iCamp trial 1. Principally it was a collaborative activity, which demanded a lot of regulation to take place when people worked with distributed tools and tried to realise communicative and productive actions in these.

What i mean by collaboration and collaborative is traditional understanding (Dillenbourg, 1999) where he distinguishes it from cooperative activity on the basis of ‘are the goals shared’ and ‘how do people plan, and realise actions’ – individual-subtasks based for shared goal (cooperation) or do they share and circulate roles and tasks constantly in the process (collaboration).

Cooperative work is accomplished by the division of labour among the participants where each person is responsible for a portion of problem-solving, whereas collaboration involves the mutual engagement of participants in coordinated effort to solve the problem together (Rochelle ja Teasley, 1995). In collaborative situation individuals have to explain their ideas and conceptions to others, and through this externalization process they have to construct a better mental model about the issue or concept in question.These can be subsequently elaborated further by collaborators. Thus the former is more individualistic to contribute with some pierces to the joint product while the activities might be distributed, and the latter is more joint activity when the joint product is being built together.

3 modes

My figure illustrates individual, cooperative and collaborative approach of learning.

Now, Mart Laanpere has pointed to the interesting approach from Norway by Paulsen. where they suggest that the solution in shared learning environments might be emphasis on cooperative aspect, where learners can be both self-directed, and keeping their learning contracts, as welll as group-oriented if they for instance form so called study-pairs and can evaluate each other’s accomplishments according to those contracts.

Here i suggest my personal view trial 2 ideas for iCamp.
We have decided that the focus will be in self-directed learning and we wanted to use some learning-contract ideas in dynamic manner.

In collaborative settings the application of learning contract-based self-regulation is hindered, because the team needs to dynamically make changes in their individual contracts and orchestrate those at team level to be succesful as a team. This takes alot of effort and the student is thinking less of himself than of the team at monitoring level.

If we decided, that Trial 2 was cooperative, another setting would be formed – each individual can keep its personal contract and realise the cooperative subtasks, but nevertheless at certain moments of the overall activity the learners would need to orchestrate their initial contracts. But they can revise their individual accomplishments with subtasks on the basis of individual contracts, this can be done on study-pair bases, and finally they can also evaluate themselves how well their accomplishments were in line as part of the team contract.

What comes to my mind is jigsaw type of activity proposed by Aronson. I scetched a figure that could be discussed and developed.

DILLENBOURG, P. (1999). Introduction: What do you mean by ‘collaborative learning’? In P. Dillenbourg (Ed.), Collaborative learning. Cognitive and computational approaches (pp. 1-19). NY: Pergamon.


activity pattern figure ‘collaboration’

April 24, 2007

We agreed with Sebastian Fiedler to generalise the affordance-based activity pattern figure for iCamp trial 1 for the deliverable.
Here is the first version for discussions.

version 2 (NEW)

version 1
trial 1 collaboration

Sebastian suggested to generalize some aspects like learning environments which already involve people, artifacts, so it was too general heading for the tools section.
I have also simplified the artifacts part – they now consist of all kinds of artifacts (webpages you might read when learning and knowledge artifacts you might create)


edmedia 2007 paper accepted

April 20, 2007

Our paper Semiotic Perspectives to the Students’ Conceptual Development with the Virtual Inquiry in Young Scientist Environment was accepted as full paper Conceptual and Empirical Study
So meet me in EdMedia 🙂 Vancouver in June.

Comments to the Author:
A very detailed and interesting paper, with some good (if complex!) analysis of the results. The conclusions could have been more in depth – for instance, it is mentioned that serveral aspects have been discovered from the experiment but it is unclear how these aspects will be clarified or investigated further. Overall a very interesting idea well presented.

Perhaps I will also be part of the Symposium Getting beyond centralized technologies in higher education Sebastian Fiedler is planning. He has invited me to replace Barbara’s presentation. He has invited Robert Fitzgerald, Brian Lamb, Bryan Alexander, Scott Wilson and George Siemens to participate at this symposium.


principles of learning in multirepresentational environments

April 19, 2007

For some years i have been conducting research in multi-representational learning environments.
What i mean by those is envornments where student is presented to various information sources from different contexts and representational types and expected to construct knowledge through problem-solving, decision-making, designing or inquiry activities.

Some examples of those are presented at the biology materials web-page of my unit, but there are plenty of nice environments one might take a look like WISE, Lake Illuka, Nardoo River (those you need to buy), BGuile (downloadable) and others.

My ideas of these environments are related with conceptual learning in general. Major idea is not to look and describe separate principles of multimedia instruction like Richard Mayer has done (e.g. Principles of Multimedia Learning from Cambridge University Press from last year), but analyse these environments at larger grain size. What i mean is looking the semiosis possibilities these environments afford to the learners who act in them.

The key ideas are, which translation borders these environments have, and how do the translation possibilities become realised by learners. The concepts i have played around with are: awareness of learning objects in the multi-representational environment, translation between contextual and representational systems, which do not have total overlap in information, cognitive load in these systems..and i think, also the affordance ideas have been used at one paper to some extent. The latter needs a new refresh look because i have worked on that concept for some time in web 2.0 learning domain, and it is about time of translating those ideas into new context and see what would happen.

Why i am writing about all of it today, is because i will have a lecture on saturday about these issues, and i prepared my presentation (in estonian) to elaborate the multi-representational environments. I think it would be a good idea to write of this approach as a generalization of semiotic ideas in learning design.