Friday, November 23, 2012

BPN 1617: The social University (2)

Fireworks were promised by the conference organisers oand fireworks the conference delegates got. The first speaker was Mr Adam Montandon, a UK citizen working in Denmark. He is not completely unknown in this circle of people as he won the Europrix overall award in 2004 with an applied multimedia project for a practical problem. For a man who was absolutely colourblind, he and his team thought up a cyborg, a camera linked to a microcomputer, which translated colours into sounds. The camera has been refined and is now part of a pair of glasses. So in 2004 he already was able to look at the world in a different way for solutions. And in fact he still does, but now he is an assistant professor and teaches students in Denmark creativity or how do I tackle problems from different angles.

In his presentation he summed up a series of projects he had started at the IAL school. All these projects carried the same slogan: Look at things in a different way and just play! And playing they do. In order to learn code and object, they play human table football. Having played the game and understood the objective, the students will never forget what code is and how object can be recognized. An absolute racket is playing the game of space invaders by humans. Opponents are charging right at you and try to get through line of humans. Interesting was the assignment to build QR codes with Lego (what else in Denmark). Participants will never forget how precise they have to be in constructing the QR code. Misplacing a piece of Lego will produce a wrong QR code or even a non-code.

The assignments are intellectual and physical. Believing in yourself can be tested by using techniques from Taekwondo. Slashing a piece of wood really makes your day; for some people slashing an iPad would make their week! But what about business skills. Students get stuck with plastic swans and have to turn the lot into a business opportunity. And some students did it. They produced ice-swans and sold them. A business group of students had to produce a rap about business ideas and also composed a rap about business ideas.

Crazy ideas, but where do they lead to? At least students experience a very unconventional assignment, but will often remember it. The coding assignment will stay grafted in their memory and having completed the QR assignment, they will never be sloppy about a precision assignment. And all these crazy ideas even lead to new start-ups such as Free Hugs, a company to cheer up people in the street. The business model still has to be worked out, but paid advertisement and free publicity should be able to cover costs.

The man bubbles with ideas and is a master in unexpected social interruptions. And he loves it. One of his sayings is: there might be a credit crisis, but there is no creative crisis. And another is really sharp: don’t look for a job, but for an occupation; something that might interest you for a long time, businesswise but also personal.

Adam made also the observation that all teachers want to be different, but they all have the students use the same book. And this is funny for him to say, as he is finishing up a book called The Awesome Department, which is book on creativity and contains many suggestions for assignments. The book is due to be published shortly (in English, of course), but you can pre-order and follow the title blog..

Thursday, November 22, 2012

BPN 1616: The Social University (2)

The University of Graz was today the host of the Academic Network Conference organized by the network European Academy of Digital Media (EADiM), a foundation legally incorporated in The Netherlands. The conference usually attracts professors and lecturers from universities and colleges throughout Europe. This time the following countries were represented: Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, UK, including Wales, Austria, Hungary, Italy and Cyprus.

This year’s theme The Social University sounded very interesting. The organizing committee wrote on the theme: “ Today’s students are intense users of ICTs and multimedia and have taken charge of creating content. Intellectual and cultural production in general have been democratized radically through social media. The new technologies deliver smart phones and tablets in everybody’s hand, and social media and PCs are ubiquitous in higher education environments”.

EADiM’ chairman Peter Bruck extrapolated the statement at the start of the conference. Students, besides creating content, learn by creating content and generate knowledge in the process of creating content. Students even share content faster than professors can speak, Professor Petre Bruck said.

No longer can you speak of an info transfer between the professor and the student as the student breathes Google in and out. That is the way he learns, basically out of poverty. And learning is relational. Relations count and are decisive for the education of the student. It is formed by social structures, altered by technologies and access to them. In this way the intellectual production is democratized radically and the web and social media are the channels.

A new culture is emerging thanks to the new media platforms and the convergent media environment. New skills and new lietarcies are acquired and need to be passed on. Try and learn, explore and study, live and reflect are the main ways of growing up as a student and staying up2dateas teacher/instructor.

The basic question to Institutions of Higher Education/Universities are maintaining currency in this shifting media environment and engaging students as producers and partners in practicing new paradigm of learning and research.

With such a theme there should be some fireworks coming from the lectures and discussions. And it did on the first day.      

Monday, November 19, 2012

BPN 1615: Program EADiM Conference 2012

Program, of the EADiM Academic Network Conference 2012
Location: Resowi, Geidorfgürtel  or Universitätsstraße15, 8010 Graz
Room G2, SZ 15.22, Second Floor

Richard Vickers, University of Lincoln, UK
Cai Melakoski, TAMK School of Art, Music and Media, FI
Thursday 22nd Nov

10:00-10:20 Welcome Note
Wolfgang Rauch, Dean, Faculty of Social & Economic Sciences, Univ. of Graz, AT
Peter A. Bruck, Chairman EADiM Board, Honorary President ICNM, University of Salzburg, AT

10:20-11:00 Collaborative learning in interactive learning environments
Play Is More Important Than the Bottom Line
Adam Montandon, Erhvervsakademiet Lillebælt, DK

Experiences on collaborative online learning
Cai Melakoski, TAMK School of Art, Music and Media, FI

Leadership in education
Niki Ernst, Planetsisa GmbH, AT

11:00-12:00 Teaching research in action/ Learning practice as research: Academics present projects and works.  Part 1

Combining courses with real life projects
Ari Närhi, TAMK School of Art, Music and Media, FI
The use of digital media in the creation of a safety culture
Kostas Gouliamos, European University, CY

Develop This - Educating science doing research as education
Geert de Haan, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, NL

12:15-13:30 Lunch

13:30-16:00 Teaching research in action/ Learning practice as research: Academics present projects and works.  Part 2

Toward student teacher research
James Norwood, Erhvervsakademiet Lillebælt, DK

Teacher or/and eLearning producer
Vladimir Burcik, Comenius University, SK
Jozef Hvorecký, City University of Seattle, Bratislava, SK
Robert J. Skovira, Robert Morris University, Moon Township/Pittsburgh, USA

Some examples for archaeological education and on the evolution of social media
Katharina Holzinger, TU Graz, Student, AT

16:00 EADiM joins EYA Festival: Departure for the Design Walk!
UNESCO City of Design, Walking tour around Graz
16:30-17:45 Meeting point: Hauptplatz

Digital Disruptions and “Designing MDGs”, Opening of EYA 2012 Festival
Lightning Talks and Vernissage of Exhibition
18:00-19:45 City Hall Graz, Hauptplatz 1

Graz Twittering and Styrian Supper
Find friends, network for the evening
20:00-21:00, City Hall Graz, same location

Friday 23rd Nov.
Location: Zentrum f. Weiterbildung, Harrachgasse 23, Room SR 38.21 

10:00-11:00 The new economy of education: the more you share, the more you have
Findia as best practice of Student and Youth Project
Mathias Haas, SuperSocial, AT

Transformatlab - an intensive multiplatform progression for creative industry graduates
Hannah Raybould, Media Academy Wales, UK

Pleasure of Participation
Albert van der Kooij,  Hanze University, NL
& Gyorgy Retfalfi, BKF, HU

11:00-13:00 The paradigm shift in universities: new media teaching that is student entered, learning focused
UX as a critical success factor for participatory projects: Enhancing the user experience to encourage participation.
Richard Vickers, University of Lincoln, UK

Leading the change or missing the challenge? A proactive approach to the natural evolution of the educational domain
Alfredo Ronchi, MEDICI Framework, Politecnico di Milano, IT

Science is to test ideas - Engineering is to put ideas into practice On Experiences with Research Based Teaching
Andreas Holzinger, Medical University Graz, Research Unit Human-Computer, AT

Serious Game Design Summer School
Maja Pivec, FH Joanneum, AT

UVIC_Lab, an innovative concept of digital content laboratory at the University of Vic
Arnau Gifreu Castells, University of Vic, ES

13:00 Conclusion & EADIM Next Steps

EADiM Publication: SPRINGER (Gabler), Serie "Smart Media and Application Research”
Jak Boumans, EADiM, NL

13:15 EADiM joins EYA Festival for lunch!


Monday, November 12, 2012

BPN 1614: The India tablet at 32 euro

The version of low-cost tablet Aakash, coined the India tablet, was launched in New Delhi on Sunday by President Pranab Mukherjee. Coming at a price tag of Rs.1,130 (32 euro) for students, the version which will be made available to students of engineering colleges and universities to begin with, is now powered by a processor running at 1 gigahertz (GHz), has a 512 MB, a 7 inch capacitive touch screen and a battery working for three hours of normal operations. It has been developed under the aegis of IIT Bombay with the active support of THE Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.

Photograph: PTI

Canada-based firm Datawind is rolling out the device. “The price is Rs.2,263 at which the government purchases the device from us. The government subsidizes it by 50% and it will be distributed to students at Rs.1,130,” said Datawind chief executive officer Suneet Tuli. He said the government is also trying to encourage the state governments to chip in by subsidizing it further so that the device can eventually be available to students free of cost.

The first 100,000 devices will be provided to students of engineering colleges and universities and subsequently these will be distributed to others. About 220 million students will get the device across the country in the next five-six years.

By through the Digital Empowerment Foundation