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Über dieses Buch

This book gathers contributions to the 3rd International Conference on Smart Learning Ecosystems and Regional Developments (SLERD 2018), held at Aalborg University, Denmark on 23–25 May 2018.

What characterizes smart learning ecosystems? What is their role in city and regional development and innovation? How can we promote citizen engagement in smart learning ecosystems? These are some of the questions addressed at SLERD 2018 and documented in these proceedings, which include a diverse range of papers intended to help understand, conceive, and promote innovative human-centric design and development methods, education/training practices, informal social learning, and citizen-driven policies.

The papers elaborate on the notion of smart learning ecosystems, assess the relation of smart learning ecosystems with their physical surroundings, and identify new resources for smart learning. SLERD 2018 contributes to foster the social innovation sectors, ICT and economic development and deployment strategies, as well as new policies for smarter, more proactive citizens. As such, these proceedings are relevant for researchers and policymakers alike.



Smart Learning Ecosystems


Improving Massive Alternance Scheme: The Paradigmatic Case History of the Incubator of Projectuality at the Ferrari School of Rome

Since three years the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR) has introduced a massive alternance scheme, completely new to Europe, whose implementation still shows several critical issues and requires a special effort by all potential players - schools, associations, enterprises, local communities, etc. - to design and experiment models and strategies capable to mitigate them. In this article we present the first validation of an approach, based on the simulation of innovation processes, that can be considered innovative in the context of the Italian School Work Alternance (SWA) scheme. The outcomes of the experimentation are encouraging and show an average increase of more than one point over ten in the student satisfaction with respect to that of peers who have experienced other schemes of SWA activities during the previous school year. Not by chance our proposal has been selected as best practice by the local association of the entrepreneurs. Despite of such positive result, as discussed in the body of the paper, there exists a considerable room for improvements.
Carlo Giovannella, Ida Crea, Giuseppe Brandinelli, Bianca Ielpo, Cristina Solenghi

Interactive Learning in Smart Learning Ecosystems

The increasing heterogeneity of students at German Universities of Applied Sciences and the growing importance of digitalization call for a rethinking of teaching and learning within higher education. In the next years, changing the learning ecosystem by developing and reflecting upon new teaching and learning techniques using methods of digitalization will be both – most relevant and very challenging. The following article introduces two different learning scenarios, which exemplify the implementation of new educational models that allow discontinuity of time and place, technology and process in teaching and learning. Within a Blended Learning approach, the first learning scenario aims at adapting and individualizing the knowledge transfer in the course Foundations of Computer Science by providing knowledge individually and situation-specifically. The second learning scenario proposes a web-based tool to facilitate digital learning environments and thus digital learning communities and the possibility of computer-supported learning. The overall aim of both learning scenarios is to enhance learning for diverse groups by providing a different smart learning ecosystem in stepping away from a teacher-based to a student-centered approach. Both learning scenarios exemplarily represent the educational vision of Reutlingen University – its development into an Interactive University.
Irene Merdian, Gabriela Tullius, Peter Hertkorn, Oliver Burgert

When Smartness of a Participatory Learning Ecosystem Should Not Be Interpreted as Mediation by Technology: Case-Study of Golbaf Town, Iran

Sustainable development is coined with ongoing social learning processes. As part of a sustainable regional development project in Golbaf town, Iran, development of a participatory community-based learning ecosystem (social learning) was soon found to be a requisite. This in turn was seen to be hampered by lack of social capitals, namely trust, self-confidence and participatoriness.
The interim results of the project indicate the followings as a way towards smartness (survivability) of a participatory learning ecosystem in developing contexts where mistrust, inactiveness and lack of confidence prevail: (1) Facilitating rather than doing by conveners, (2) learning by doing by citizens, and (3) gradual trust formation. It also questions suitability and survivability of highly technology-mediated learning ecosystems in such cases characterised by mistrust and lack of confidence.
The results suggest a progressive approach towards mediation of technologies. In fact, above socio-cultural barriers required us to proceed face-to-face for the regeneration of social capital in order to make the newly-born learning ecosystem survivable and embeddable by time.
Ali Maleki, Najmoddin Yazdi, Milad Jalalvand, Seyed Reza Tabibzade

Smart Schools with K9 Student Opinions: The Aveiro José Estêvão Case

Smartness has been advocated with a strong bias, almost exclusive, on technology’s characteristics and extension of implementation in diverse ecosystems. The research process reported in this paper takes place in the school ecosystem and considers all its stakeholders in a bottom-up approach to nurture the knowledge needed to understand the relation that is established between educational community and school. This approach does not exclude other top-down models and approaches to understand the school ecosystem, in fact, it supports the complementary need to have a correlation of both perspectives to develop on the community - school relation. The reported work contextualizes and explains the smart learning ecosystem strategy and describes the research method used to engage and inquire stakeholders concerning their wishes, interests and needs in the school ecosystem. The smart school questionnaires used to inquire the educational community’s stakeholders will be described considering structure and nature of closed and open-ended questions that are used. The research procedure, data processing and analysis will be shared in the context of the pilot study that took place last spring 2017 in the José Estêvão Aveiro school cluster, with 7–9th grade students, n = 81. The potential for co-design of technology-mediated solutions (APPs/services) will also be discussed in the context of the qualitative opinion of these particular stakeholders.
Óscar Mealha, Fernando Delgado Santos

Smart Learning and Territory


Unravelling the Role of ICT in Regional Innovation Networks: A Case Study of the Music Festival ‘Bons Sons’

Since the beginning of the century two thirds of the Portuguese territory is threatened by desertification and the decline of economic activities. To face such trends, regions need to implement innovative strategies that leverage on the endogenous resources of the territory to foster economic recovery and to promote entrepreneurship, creativity, smart learning, and innovation. This paper reports on the study of the Bons Sons music festival as an example of an initiative developed in a low-density population area that mobilized their endogenous territorial resources to promote growth and economic development. The case study, which was based on the descriptive and qualitative analysis of a semi structured interview with the artistic director of the festival, aims at understanding the role of digital technologies in the process of regional innovation. The article contributes with an analytical view of community networks mediation practices and offers a set of tips and recommendations for the effective creation and consolidation of mediation strategies, community networks, and learning ecosystems that foster regional innovation.
Paula Alexandra Silva, Oksana Tymoshchuk, Denis Renó, Ana Margarida Almeida, Luís Pedro, Fernando Ramos

Sharing Community Data: Platform Collectivism for Managing Water Quality

We are investigating community data, which is data gathered, analyzed, interpreted, and used by members of a local community. We discuss the ways that developing data literacy could result in more substantive civic participation and decision-making. Community members are already engaged in community data practices. Our goal is to help make these data more visible and accessible throughout the community and to engage the community at large in deliberation and planning with respect to its data. We report high-level outcomes of a community data hackathon that we facilitated along with a group of local water quality stakeholders. In order to design and develop an open community data platform and to build social infrastructure to sustain a long-term community data project, we plan to organize a series of these community-wide hackathon events.
John M. Carroll, Jordan Beck

Tiles-Reflection: Designing for Reflective Learning and Change Behaviour in the Smart City

Modern cities are increasing in geographical size, population and number. While this development ascribes cities an important function, it also entails various challenges. Efficient urban mobility, energy saving, waste reduction and increased citizen participation in public life are some of the pressing challenges recognized by the United Nations. Retaining livable cities necessitates a change in behaviour in the citizens, promoting sustainability and seeking an increase in the quality of life. Technology possesses the capabilities of mediating behaviour change. A review of existing works highlighted a rather unilateral utilization of technology, mostly consisting of mobile devices, employment of persuasive strategies for guiding behaviour change, and late end-user involvement in the design of the application, primarily for testing purposes. These findings leave the door open to unexplored research approaches, including opportunities stemming from the Internet of Things, reflective learning as behaviour change strategy, and active involvement of end-users in the design and development process. We present Tiles-Reflection, an extension of the Tiles toolkit, a card-based ideation toolkit for the Internet of Things. The extension comprises components for reflective learning, allowing thus non-expert end-users to co-create behaviour change applications. The results of the evaluation suggest that the tool was perceived as useful by participants, fostering reflection on different aspects connected to societal challenges in the smart city. Furthermore, application ideas developed by the users successfully implemented the reflective learning model adopted.
Francesco Gianni, Lisa Klecha, Monica Divitini

Smart Learning – Involving People in Design


People-Centered Development of a Smart Learning Ecosystem of Adaptive Robots

Robots are currently moving out of the laboratory and company floor into more human and social contexts including care, rehabilitation and education. While those robots are usually envisioned as a kind of social interaction partner, we suggest a different approach, where robots become adaptive tools for facilitating social interaction and learning in special needs education. The paper presents a people-centered design and development process of such a system that is rooted in the close collaboration between the developers and a network of users and caregivers.
Daniel K. B. Fischer, Jakob Kristiansen, Casper S. Mariager, Jesper Frendrup, Matthias Rehm

A System of Innovation to Activate Practices on Open Data: The Open4Citizens Project

The increasing production of data is encouraging government institutions to consider the potential of open data as a public resource and to publish a large number of public datasets. This is configuring a new scenario in which open data are likely to play an important role for democracy and transparency and for new innovation possibilities, in relation to the creation of a new generation of public services based on open data.
In this context, though, it is possible to observe an asymmetry between the supply side of open data and the demand side. While more and more institutions are producing and publishing data, there is no public awareness of the way in which such data can be used, nor is there a diffuse practice to work with those data.
The definition of a practice for a large use of data is the aim of the Open4Citizens project, which promoted initiatives at different levels: at the level of immediate interaction between citizens, experts and open data, at the level of the creation of an ecosystem to work with data and at a level that could support the institutionalisation and consolidation of the new practice.
Nicola Morelli, Amalia de Götzen, Luca Simeone

Urban Innovation Through Co-design Scenarios

Lessons from Palermo
This paper aims to contribute to current research on learning through designing for urban innovation. It provides a framework methodology for a multidisciplinary ecosystem as a participatory method developed in the context of Mobility Urban Values (MUV), an EU Horizon 2020 project (2017–2020), that addresses the issue of behavioral change towards (more) sustainable mobility lifestyle in EU cities. The paper frames the MUV method through the combination of theories on collaborative urban planning and participatory design with a background rooted on governance of public participation, as the interplay between co-creation (thick participation) and co-design (thin participation). MUV participatory method is envisioned as a learning infrastructure that engages at different levels communities, citizens, and stakeholders. This paper addresses the question on how enabling urban innovation through sensitive phases of sociological and technical components to produce learning. The conceptual background of the MUV method and the first application phase of co-creation/co-design for the old city center neighborhood in Palermo, Italy, provide lessons on the results of this approach for a future research agenda and the loop learning. While the method is adopted specifically in relation to mobility urban values, MUV method can inspire a variety of other cases questioning urban innovation through socio-technical learning.
Enza Lissandrello, Nicola Morelli, Domenico Schillaci, Salvatore Di Dio

Smart Learning Resources


Informing Informal Caregivers About Dementia Through an Experience-Based Virtual Reality Game

In 2017 it was believed that nearly 50mio people suffered from dementia. Besides the actual patients, the group that is mostly affected by this disease are informal caregivers. Informal caregivers – people without a formal education in the field of health care – can suffer from severe physical- and mental health issues due to the changing behaviour of the person with dementia. It has been shown that these can be overcome by giving the caregivers information and guidance about dementia at an early stage of the condition. In this paper we present our investigation of an interactive experience-based Virtual Reality game and how it can inform informal caregivers about symptoms of dementia. Our initial exploration demonstrates the potential that such a game holds in supporting informal caregivers.
Jette Møller Jensen, Michelle Hageman, Patrick Bang Løyche Lausen, Anders Kalsgaard Møller, Markus Löchtefeld

ReadME – Generating Personalized Feedback for Essay Writing Using the ReaderBench Framework

Writing quality is an important component in defining students’ capabilities. However, providing comprehensive feedback to students about their writing is a cumbersome and time-consuming task that can dramatically impact the learning outcomes and learners’ performance. The aim of this paper is to introduce a fully automated method of generating essay feedback in order to help improve learners’ writing proficiency. Using the TASA (Touchstone Applied Science Associates, Inc.) corpus and the textual complexity indices reported by the ReaderBench framework, more than 740 indices were reduced to five components using a Principal Component Analysis (PCA). These components may represent some of the basic linguistic constructs of writing. Feedback on student writing for these five components is generated using an extensible rule engine system, easily modifiable through a configuration file, which analyzes the input text and detects potential feedback at various levels of granularity: sentence, paragraph or document levels. Our prototype consists of a user-friendly web interface to easily visualize feedback based on a combination of text color highlighting and suggestions of improvement.
Robert-Mihai Botarleanu, Mihai Dascalu, Maria-Dorinela Sirbu, Scott A. Crossley, Stefan Trausan-Matu

What Is the Cat Doing? Supporting Adults in Using Interactive E-Books for Dialogic Reading

Interactive e-books could provide a smart learning environment by providing adults with facilitation support for encouraging children to speak. To reap benefits for the adult reader and subsequently the children’s language development, such support must be seamless to use for the reader and not impair the main experience of joint reading. This paper investigated, by means of video interaction analysis, how facilitation support can improve dialogic reading of daycare caregivers. Facilitation support consisted of providing good words and dialogic reading prompts on the top part of the screen outside the visual and textual story line of an interactive e-book. Ten caregivers with groups of two to three children between the ages of 22 and 48 months participated in the study. Caregivers in the facilitation support group used quality prompts more often than the control group. More prompting from caregivers correlated with more utterances from the children.
Stephanie Githa Nadarajah, Peder Walz Pedersen, Camilla Gisela Hansen Schnatterbeck, Roman Arberg, Hendrik Knoche

The Robbers and the Others – A Serious Game Using Natural Language Processing

Learning a new language includes multiple aspects, from vocabulary acquisition to exercising words in sentences, and developing discourse building capabilities. In most learning scenarios, students learn individually and interact only during classes; therefore, it is difficult to enhance their communication and collaboration skills. The prototype game described in this paper aims to fill this gap and improve the students’ learning skills in a smart learning environment suitable for a problem-solving game. In addition, the game is also an useful tool for teachers because of the integrated chat analysis that enables the identification of the most predominant points of view and the overall level of collaboration between participants. The game is developed as a bot on the Slack chat platform and reacts to user commands. At the end of a game round, the bot is to save the conversation transcript and send it to the ReaderBench framework for further chat analysis.
Irina Toma, Stefan Mihai Brighiu, Mihai Dascalu, Stefan Trausan-Matu

Modelling Smart Learning


Identifying Students Struggling in Courses by Analyzing Exam Grades, Self-reported Measures and Study Activities

Technical educations often experience poor student performance and consequently high rates of attrition. Providing students with early feedback on their learning progress can assist students in self-study activities or in their decision-making process regarding a change in educational direction. In this paper, we present a set of instruments designed to identify at-risk undergraduate students in a Problem-based Learning (PBL) university, using an introductory programming course between two campus locations as a case study. Collectively, these instruments form the basis of a proposed learning ecosystem designed to identify struggling students by predicting their final exam grades in this course. We implemented this ecosystem at one of the two campus locations and analyzed how well the obtained data predicted the final exam grades compared to the other campus, where midterm exam grades alone were used in the prediction model. Results of a multiple linear regression model found several significant assessment predictors related to how often students attempted self-guided course assignments and their self-reported programming experience, among others.
Bianca Clavio Christensen, Brian Bemman, Hendrik Knoche, Rikke Gade

Automated Prediction of Student Participation in Collaborative Dialogs Using Time Series Analyses

The massive student participation in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) sessions from online classrooms requires intense tutor engagement to track and evaluate individual student participation. In this study, we investigate how the time evolution of messages predicts students’ participation using two models – a linear regression and a Random Forest model. A corpus of 10 chats involving 47 students was scored by 4 human experts and used to evaluate our models. Our analysis shows that students’ pauses length between consecutive messages within a discussion is the strongest participation predictor accounting for \( R^{2} = . 7 9 6 \) variance in the human estimations while using a Random Forest model. Our results provide an extended basis for the automated assessment of student participation in collaborative online discussions.
Iulia Pasov, Mihai Dascalu, Nicolae Nistor, Stefan Trausan-Matu


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