Using technology to work creatively together in the classroom –

The discussion in the pedagogical café in the beginning of October 2021 had co-creation in its focus. For this purpose, the café hosted Laura Salo, project manager at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. To bring co-creation in focus, Laura used examples from her massive experience with integration of technologies in schools, mainly as part of the activities of Innokas network.  

This post aims to give an overview of the main themes of the café. The discussion departed from cases of implementation and the use of techniques to promote methods for STEM education. From concrete elaborations on specific uses of technology (e.g., to make a robot, to measure a change etc.), the interactions in the café set off to respond to participants’ questions. The participants were colleagues and friends of OLIVE from partner universities in Palestine (Al Azhar University Gaza and Birzeit University) and in Finland (University of Eastern Finland) and affiliated associations (e.g., Teachers Without Borders).

The participants’ bold questions set the ground for discussions about the ethical matters underlying the integration of technology into the classroom and the role of technology in society. Although the focus of OLIVE activities is on STEM education, nowadays there is a pressing need to extend the narrative beyond a tool-based orientation.  

Co-creation in learning with technology is not about technology . Well, at least, not only. 

Such narratives pose questions about a critical use of technologies and have been introduced in earlier pedagogical cafés (e.g., Online teaching and learning environments)  and posts in the OLIVE project blog (e.g., Critical thinking as a source of pedagogical renewal).  

More particularly, some themes that emerged in previous café s include:  

  • Notions of virtuality and education are mis-represented in the media. For example, a search on the web using keywords, such as online mentorship and virtual peer mentorship, results in stereotypical images. More discussions and decisions are needed for visuals that consider diversity for more fair media representations.  
  • Student engagement in online learning is not a one-way path. Including students to co-design teaching & learning programs is essential so that current needs are served and the complexity of navigating diverse contexts and levels of communication can be possible.  
  • Bold decisions are needed to include essential issues in online teaching curricula -e.g., bullying, forms of harassment, marginalization, hate speech, Covid-19. These are currently absent from Higher Education curricula. 

In addition to the main themes of the café, this post goes together with a podcast that came out of a remix of the audio version of the recording of the café.  

The remix aimed to fit the audio in an approximate 17min time frame. In addition, the purpose was to include instances of interlocutors’ interactions, thus representing the main approaches to technology that levelled up during the discussion. These ranged from more socially-grounded to more tool-based ones.  

In the remix, I used the music carpet of Laura’s video to indicate thematic shifts and transitions to questions posed by participants-speakers to the guest. Also, I mixed voice with music. This technique of mixing voice with music is a sonic metaphor for the polyphony that the overall concept of the cafe seeks to promote.  

The speakers were selected randomly, and the time sequence has changed to fit an orientation from the more general and abstract to the more specific and concrete. .  

In this way, the Co-creating with technology podcast aims to provide a glimpse into the polyphony that the pedagogical café promotes and the lively discussions that surround it. It also represents an effort to put multimodal ways of expression together to capture more elements of an event and add to the authenticity of representation.  

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