— S e b l o g g i n g

Sebastian H.D. Fiedler

We have just published Article 10 as part of Issue 2 of EDeR – Educational Design Research. Taiga Brahm’s (University of Heidelberg, Germany) contribution is titled “Design-based research in the context of transitioning to VET: Developing interventions through research-practice collaboration”:

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15460/eder.1.2.1163

This is the abstract of the text:

“The transition from school to vocational education and training (VET) is becoming more difficult for an increasing number of adolescents. Despite the growing significance of this phase, the- re is hardly any research regarding interventions targeting stu- dents’ resilience, especially with regard to their capacity to join the labour market. This paper aims at describing the research process of developing three different interventions in coopera- tion with a number of practitioners who teach in so-called in- terim solutions. The goal of the paper is, thus, to illustrate how design-based research (DBR) can be conducted in the context of vocational education. The comprehensive three-cycle develop- ment of three interventions with the aim of fostering students’ conflict management competence, attribution and self-efficacy will be used as a single case study to illustrate a complex DBR project. Each step in the design-research process will be reflec- ted, resulting in a discussion of the possibilities and obstacles of combining formative and summative evaluation in the DBR process.”

Sebastian H.D. Fiedler A week ago I finally got a chance to start fooling around and tinkering with a Makey Makey kit which its makers describe with the following words:

“Makey Makey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween”.


[MakeyMakey.com Website]

To get started we hooked up the Makey Makey with a bunch of different objects, ranging from bananas, various kitchen tools, and water filled cups, pieces of tinfoil, coins, etc. and used these as input devices to play with a number of Web apps that can be found on the Makey Makey Website.

Here is an example how my 10-year old co-creator plays a kitchen tool piano setup that we had thrown together:



And while I was starting to gather more information on the overall topic, I began to realise more and more of the (initially hidden) connections in my personal network of interests, knowledge, and previous studies. It turns out that the inventors of the Makey Makey – Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum – are both related to the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT, and thus intimately linked to the work of Mitchel Resnick and Seymour Papert whose work I studied in the late 90s while being a student of the “MEd in Instructional Technology” programme at the University of Georgia, USA. In fact, “Constructionism in practice” with its bright, yellow cover was easy to find on my book shelf… and immediately reminded my of Papert’s opening chapter “A word for learning” which I had wanted to revisit for quite some time for its explicit references to “mathetics”.

While I was pondering all these unfolding connections a blogpost titled “Personal Learning, Technology and the end of the Curriculum” of Mark W. Johnson from the University of Liverpool popped up in my Twitter stream. Mark revisits the concept of the Personal Learning Environment and offers some deliberations of his recent experiences with using digital tools and objects in the context of language learning. He concludes…

Objects as technologies should be the organising focus of education, not curriculum. We should create ways in which objects can be manipulated so as to create a natural flow of inquiry between teachers and learners and between learners and each other. The ridiculous thing is that I don’t think this is hard to do. But to achieve it we have to deal with that other pernicious object in education: the assessment. Assessments are where everybody hides their lack of understanding! In an authentic world of object-human relations, there may in fact be no need for assessment. But that’s an unthinkable thought in the education system of today.

The Makey Makey seemingly offers an intriguingly low barrier for turning a wide range of objects into input-devices for computational explorations and inquiry. It sure looks like a fun way to prototype new types of interfaces and interaction patterns. I think this is an important field for tinkering with new, emancipatory forms of expression and knowledge creation that can go beyond the forms and cultural “programmes” that dominate the “book and industrial culture” as
the media historian Michael Giesecke has so aptly analysed and described over the years. In fact, Giesecke already reminded us in 1995 that electronic media offer a chance to go beyond our cultural bias on particular forms of visual and acoustic forms of input. Giesecke wrote (in German):

Die neuen elektronischen Medien bieten nun die Chance, die einseitige Orientierung auf bestimmte Formen der visuellen und akkustischen Informationsgewinnung und -darstellung aufzubrechen. Im Gegensatz zur noch oft geäußerten Meinung liegt ihre Stärke keineswegs in der Automatisierung der bislang mechanisch betriebenen Textverarbeitung. Die Entwicklung der Robotonik und der vielen elektronischen Sensoren zeigt, daß die Computertechnologie nicht notwendig am Sehen und/oder an standardsprachlichen Inputs anzuknüpfen braucht.
(Giesecke, 1995. Von den Mythen der Buchkultur über die Versprechungen der Neuen Medien in das Jahrtausend des Gesprächs. Rundfunkbeitrag.)

Well, I am really curious to see now if I can turn the Makey Makey into a generative object of inquiry and a mediating instrument within my personal learning environment. The start sure looks somewhat promising and I can already see multiple trajectories for expansive development and further connections down the line… Scratch, the wider Maker movement, revisiting the PLE concept,… and my ongoing interest in “mathetic” principles in an increasingly networked lifeworld.

Sebastian H.D. Fiedler We have just published Article 09 as part of Issue 2 of EDeR – Educational Design Research (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15460/eder.1.2).
Adi Kidron and Yael Kali from the University of Haifa, Israel, are the authors of “Extending the applicability of design-based research through research-practice partnerships”:

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15460/eder.1.2.1157

Here is the fulll abstract of their text:

“This research explored the implementation of a technology-enhanced instructional model for interdisciplinary learning. The model was developed in a previous phase of this research via DBR in the context of higher-education. Our aim in the current phase was to extend the applicability of the model and refine its underlying design principles based on their implementation in three secondary schools. For this purpose, a research-practice partnership was established, which included researchers, practitioners from an educational non-governmental organization, school principals, and teachers. Three practitioner-teams, facilitated by one of the researchers, collaboratively designed their own technology-enhanced interdisciplinary learning environments, in which they adapted the instructional model. This paper presents a new type of principled practical knowledge (PPK) —enhanced principled instructional model— which was obtained by comparison between the practitioners’ designs and the original, higher-education context design. The PPK broadened the partnership’s understanding of ways to promote interdisciplinary learning. Furthermore, it has raised new perspectives that were not considered during the development of the model, thereby allowing deeper understanding of the notion of interdisciplinary learning. Thus, this study illustrates how the establishment of productive research-practice partnerships can serve as a powerful strategy for implementing and scaling educational innovations beyond the original DBR context.”

Sebastian H.D. Fiedler Last week I presented the paper “Digital instrumentation in higher education: Deliberations on emancipated learning activity and transformative change” at “The Purpose of the Future University” conference at Aarhus University, Denmark.

The conference was the first of a series that is trying to promote scholarly conversation and work on philosophy of higher education. Søren Smedegaard Bengtsen from the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media (CUDiM) and Deputy Director of the Centre for Higher Education Futures at Aarhus University and his collaborators did a great organising job for this initial gathering.

In 2018 this “Philosophy of higher education conference” will be hosted at Leeds Trinity University in Leeds, UK.

Splitting what is into good/bad, perfect/imperfect, proper/improper, success/failure, and so on creates false dichotomies. A false dichotomy produces a perception of alternatives to what is. A belief that the reality does not have to be what it is at any given moment leads to a desire for it to be what it is not. Constant rejection of what is and a desire for what is not is the essence of perfectionistic suffering.

P. Somov (2010). Present perfect. New Harbinger Publications.

Sebastian H.D. FiedlerWe have just published the first Article of Issue 2 of EDeR (DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.15460/eder.1.2) This is also the first contribution to EDeR written in German that we publish.
EDeR generally accepts articles in English and German.

Dirk Jahn’s (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany) text is titled “Entwicklungsforschung aus einer handlungs-theoretischen Perspektive: Was Design Based Research von Hannah Arendt lernen könnte” and can be found here: http://dx.doi.org/10.15460/eder.1.2.1144

Here is the English abstract for this contribution:

“This contribution analyses the design based research (DBR) process from perspective of action theory and discusses its epistemological and methodological consequences. For this purpose the concept of action is scrutinised, following a particular line of thinking proposed by the philosopher Hanna Arendt (1996). The overall aim of the text is to outline a potential and possibly important perspective on design based research, to strengthen DBR as a distinct and adequate research approach, and to bring to mind its original and pragmatic concern: novelty, usefulness and sustainable innovation.”

Sebastian H.D. FiedlerIssue 1 of EDeR – Educational Design Research is finally online.

The Journal is published in collaboration with Hamburg University Press… and this is where we met our final bottleneck to get things online. Hamburg Uni Press is hosting the OJS Server on which we run EDeR. However, due to some unfortunate staffing situation there (somebody had left, somebody else was sick for multiple weeks, and so forth), we had to wait a good while until some significant irks and quirks of this OJS installation got worked out.

Nevertheless, we now have the first visible product of our collective effort online. Six Academic Articles authored by scholars from Australia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, and Switzerland. All issues and problems that we had to struggle with aside… I personally think that we are off to a rather decent start. It is going to be very interesting if we can build and maintain the necessary momentum to turn this project into an ongoing success.

Offering regular updates on the project via Researchgate has worked surprisingly well to built up a small following of interested researchers. I hope we can convert this initial attention into various levels of engagement and participation over time.

Things are actually looking quite promising in this regard. I have already seen a draft of the first Discussion Article in reply to Dieter Euler’s “Design principles as bridge between scientific knowledge production and practice design” in Issue 1. I know of another Discussion Article in the making.
Futhermore, I have already received a submission for Issue 2. And tonight I have been promised another submission of an Academic Article. Keep them coming… ! :-)

Thanks to everyone who has been contributing to EDER in one way or another. Your continuous support and engagement is highly appreciated!

Oh… and this is the DOI of EDeR Issue 1: http://dx.doi.org/10.15460/eder.1.1

“Interessant ist dabei, dass Bürokratie vorrangig als politikveranlasste Überregulierung von außen erlebt wird. Die hausgemachte Bürokratie wird nicht thematisiert. Aber was ist mit der internen Engstirnigkeit, was ist mit der managementgetriebenen Regelungswut? Was ist mit den explodierenden Standard Operating Procedures? Was ist mit den unendlich vielen Online-Formularen und Fragebögen, all den Vorschriften und Instrumenten, die wenig mehr erzeugen als Kundenablenkungsenergie? Was ist mit den Unmengen an Sitzungen, Tools, Plänen und Kontrollsystemen? All den Transaktionskosten-Schleudern, den Budgetrunden, Controlling-Routinen, Dokumentationspflichten, Performance-Messungen, all den zeitraubenden Aufgaben, die uns von dem abhalten, was uns bei der Arbeit Freude macht? All das ist Absicherungsaktionismus, es dient der Angst vor dem Risiko, vor Macht- und Kontrollverlust. Ohne große Mühe kann man in den Unternehmen ganze Misstrauens-Abteilungen identifizieren, die ihre Zeit damit verbringen, Leute zu überwachen. Zu überprüfen, ob sie auch tun, was sie tun sollen. Und sie mit Formularen und Regularien unter neurotischen Dauerstress setzen.”

Reinhard K. Sprenger (2014). Das anständige Unternehmen.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

Charles Bukowski

Sebastian H.D. Fiedler Issue 1 of EDeR – Educational Design Research is finally taking shape. We have 5 contributions in the pipeline that have successful passed phase 1 (text mentoring) and phase 2 (blind peer review) of our workflow model and have been revised according to reviewers’ feedback. These will definitely make it into Issue 1.

We are still working with two additional, somewhat controversial, contributions. However, these might have to be pushed over to Issue 2. Our Editorial Board will make final decisions on these texts by next week.