Category Archives: 2011/1-2

The changing landscape of higher education

Focusing strictly on technology trends can obscure other environmental factors that are drivers for innovation in higher education. The authors identify ten fissures in the landscape that are creating areas of potentially tectonic change.

Article originally published in ‘Educause Review’, V. 46 (2011), n. 1, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

View full Article in PDF

A cartesian critique of the artificial intelligence

This paper deals with the philosophical problems concerned with research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), in particular with problems arising out of claims that AI exhibits ‘consciousness’, ‘thinking’ and other ‘inner’ processes and that they simulate human intelligence and cognitive processes in general. The argument is to show how Cartesian mind is non-mechanical. Descartes´ concept of ‘I think’ presupposes subjective experience, because it is ‘I’ who experiences the world. Likewise, Descartes´ notion of ‘I’ negates the notion of computationality of the mind. The essence of mind is thought and the acts of thoughts are identified with the acts of consciousness. Therefore, it follows that cognitive acts are conscious acts, but not computational acts. Thus, for Descartes, one of the most important aspects of cognitive states and processes is their phenomenality, because our judgments, understanding, etc. can be defined and explained only in relation to consciousness and not in relation to computationality. We can only find computationality in machines and not in the mind, which wills, understands and judges.

©2010 Academic Journals. Article first published in ‘Philosophical Papers and Reviews’, V. 2 (2010), n. 3, pp. 27-33 and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

View full Article in PDF

Virtual dance and motion capture

A general view of various ways in which virtual dance can be understood is presented in the first part of this article. It then appraises the uses of the term ‘virtual’ in previous studies of digital dance. A more in-depth view of virtual dance as it relates to motion-capture is offered, and key issues are discussed regarding computer animation, digital imaging, motion signature, virtual reality and interactivity. The paper proposes that some forms of virtual dance be defined in relation to both digital technologies and contemporary theories of virtuality.

Article first published in ‘Contemporary Aestherics’, V. 9 (2011) as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

Fractal solids, product measures and fractal wave equations

This paper builds on the recently begun extension of continuum thermomechanics to fractal porous media that are specified by a mass (or spatial) fractal dimension D, a surface fractal dimension d and a resolution length scale R. The focus is on pre-fractal media (i.e. those with lower and upper cut-offs) through a theory based on a dimensional regularization, in which D is also the order of fractional integrals employed to state global balance laws. In effect, the governing equations are cast in forms involving conventional (integer order) integrals, while the local forms are expressed through partial differential equations with derivatives of integer order but containing coefficients involving D, d and R. This procedure allows a specification of a geometry configuration of continua by ‘fractal metric’ coefficients, on which the continuum mechanics is subsequently constructed. While all the derived relations depend explicitly on D, d and R, upon setting D = 3 and d = 2, they reduce to conventional forms of governing equations for continuous media with Euclidean geometries. Whereas the original formulation was based on a Riesz measure – and thus more suited to isotropic media – the new model is based on a product measure, making it capable of grasping local fractal anisotropy. Finally, the one-, two- and three-dimensional wave equations are developed, showing that the continuum mechanics approach is consistent with that obtained via variational energy principles.

Revised version of the article first published in ‘Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences’, V. 465(2009), n. 2108, pp. 2521-2536,
Received 26 April 2011

View full Article in PDF

Complexity leadership in transdisciplinary (TD) learning environments: a knowledge feedback loop

The conception that leadership is the activity of individual actors is challenged by a more dynamic approach that regards leadership as processes that influence organizations. This influence is a catalyst in the creation of new knowledge especially in environments where innovation is a key characteristic. The purpose of this paper is to suggest a model grounded in the complex adaptive systems (CAS) within transdisciplinary (TD) settings and to highlight the dynamic mechanisms that allow for emergent new knowledge informed by complexity leadership theory (CLT). The theoretical model provided presumes i) a context of TD; ii) leadership as an agentic process; iii) entanglement as a fundamental leadership function in CAS; iv) multi-level interventions; and v) a proposed knowledge feedback loop that serves as a driver for continual renewal to the adaptive system.

Article first published in the ‘International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research’, V. 5, n. 1 (2010), as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

View full Article in PDF

A study on the relationship between six-years-old children’s creativity and mathematical ability

Creativity is defined as a totality of processes and a way of attitude and behavior which exists in every child to a different extent. Every child is creative owing to their nature and their perspective on life. Offering children creative environments, especially during early childhood education, affects their mathematical abilities and supports their creative thinking. The aim of this study is to investigate whether children´s creativity and mathematical abilities vary with respect to their gender and whether there is a relationship between creativity and mathematical ability. The study population includes six-year-old children attending independent kindergartens affiliated with the Ministry of Education in Ankara city center. The sampling consists of 80 six-year-old children in total, attending Sevgi Kindergarten, which was chosen randomly from among the kindergartens in the population. Data were gathered by using several instruments. These included a ‘General Information Form’ prepared by the researchers to gather information about the children, ‘Torrance Test of Creative Thinking – Figural Form A ‘to assess children´s creativity, and the ‘Test of Early Mathematics Ability-3 (TEMA-3)’ to assess children´s mathematical ability.
While t-test was used to determine whether children´s creativity and mathematics scores differed with respect to gender, Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient was used to analyze whether there was a relationship between creativity and mathematical ability. The results showed that children´s creativity scores differed significantly with respect to gender, but not their mathematics scores. Also, it has been found that there is no relationship between the creativity and mathematical ability of children.

Article first published i’International education Studies’, V. 4 (2011), n. 1, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,

View full Article in PDF

Added value of teaching in a virtual world

The lack of ICT use in teaching is a predominant issue in secondary schools throughout Europe. The AVATAR project (Added Value of teAching in a virTuAl world) provides an opportunity for both teachers and students to benefit from ICT skill development, social learning opportunities and a resource to help revive the traditional classroom environment, adding value to the learning process. V-learning actually promotes learning-by-doing that stimulates different learning styles and increases the level of student engagement in different subject matters through technology, discussion groups and labs.
This article describes how the project contributes to enhance the level of ICT use in education by providing secondary school teachers with relatively new methodological and pedagogical tools. Virtual worlds can be used as an innovative teaching tool that motivates and engages pupils and at the same time enhances their learning by incorporating a collaborative learning, a learning through reflection and a learning by doing approach. Virtual worlds offer opportunities for teachers to have radically different ‘lived experiences’ of educational systems and thus seemed to be the ideal vehicle for exploring alternative models of education.

Problem solving and creativity in engineering: conclusions of a three year project involving reusable learning objects and robots

The necessity for creative problem solving skills within the sciences and engineering are highlighted in benchmark and policy statements as essential abilities. None of these statements, however, offer any guidance on how these skills might be fostered, let alone ossessed
This paper presents findings from the second cycle of an action research project to develop a dedicated creative problem solving module for first year engineering undergraduates. In the module problem based learning (PBL) techniques have been used with Lego Mindstorm NXT robots to develop creative problem solving skills. The focus of the module has been on developing process skills as opposed to the simple methodical solving of routine problems. Process skills have been introduced and mediated by the use of reusable learning objects (RLOs) within a virtual learning environment (VLE). Separate RLOs have also been used to develop skills in using the robots.
The action research cycle has been informed by a parallel project involving interviews designed to explore the perceptions of students, academics and professional engineers of creative problem solving. Phenomenography has been used as the main research tool.
Student feedback through online questionnaires, focus groups, classroom-based observation and interviews indicates that the module, and its means of delivery, has proven successful in improving creative problem solving skills. It also highlights the value of developing process skills within a practical and motivational environment.

© The authors. Article first published in the ‘Engineering Education: Journal of the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre’, V. 5, n. 2 (2010), as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

View full Article in PDF

Advancing large interactive surfaces for use in the realworld

Interactive surfaces are only just beginning to break into the market, and they still do not offer the advanced functionality demonstrated with many lab prototypes. The path from a prototype system to a finished product for use in real-world scenarios is a long one, and many obstacles must be overcome. The design of an interactive multi-touch table had to address issues like optical recognition, hardware design, and ergonomics. This paper describes in detail the construction of a large, robust multi-touch table called mrT (mixed reality Table). It will show how to solve major problems of the diffuse illumination technique and other challenges of constructing a large-screen, high-resolution, self-contained interactive multitouch surface that not only serves as a development system but can be deployed in the real-world. Additionally, to further motivate some of the design decisions, especially why the diffuse illumination technology was chosen, this paper will discuss related on-going research projects on the application side.

© 2010 Jens Teichert et al. Article first published in ‘Advances in Human-Computer Interaction’, V. (2010) Article ID 657937, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

View full Article in PDF

Effect of unconstrained walking plane with virtual environment on spatial learning: an exploratory study

We have integrated the treadmill-style locomotion interface, called the unconstrained walking plane (UWP), with virtual environment (VE) to enable non-visual spatial learning (NSL). This setting allows for a new type of experience, whereby participants with visual disability can explore VE for NSL and to develop cognitive maps of it. Although audio and haptic interface has been studied for NSL, nothing is known about the use of locomotion interface for supporting NSL. We report an experiment that investigates the efficacy of UWP for NSL, formation of cognitive maps, and thereby enhancing the mobility skill of visual impaired people (VIP). Two groups of participants – blind-folded sighted, and blind – learned spatial layout in VE. They used two exploration modes: guided (training phase) and unguided (testing phase). In unguided exploration mode, spatial layout knowledge was assessed by asking participants to perform object localization task and target-object task. Results reveal that the participants have benefited by the learning, i.e. there were significant improvements in post-training navigation performance of the participants.

©CIS Journal. Article first published in ‘Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences’ V. 1 (2010), n. 1 Reprinted with permission

View full Article in PDF

Management and Panchtantra: a door ahead to wisdom in corporate world

When we think of innovation and creativity in India the first thought coming into our mind is the giant software Industry which through its cutting edge technology has created an aura in the global market.
But there is more which Indian legacy has in store, for the corporate world. India is having a rich heritage filled with fables and epics. In the today´s competitive world where uniqueness is the cue it becomes very important to understand the learning´s of this rich heritage and implement them in day to day functioning.

Received: 29 April 2011
Revised: 20 May 2011

View full Article in PDF

Effects of the tutor and of the recovery period on exchange dynamics in the forums of an e-learning course

A very important aspect of the ‘collaborative’ learning model is the interaction in the discussion Forum within e-learning platforms. Actually in this space participants can send their contributions (posts) thus solving their problems and questions, they express comments and increase their knowledge through their personal experiences (constructivist model). The figure that plays a major role in this area is the tutor who acts as the animator and facilitator of group interactive processes. This paper reports on the outcome of a quantitative analysis on the influence of tutor´s activity and ‘recovery periods’ on exchange dynamics in the forums of participants within a case study of a two-month e-learning course organised by MAIB.

Received: 22 October 2010
Revised: 17 November 2010

View full Article in PDF

The future of “Geisteswissenschaften“ between Germany and France: talking with Pierre Monnet

Is there a logic of history? Is there, beyond all the casual and incalculable elements of the separate events, something that we may call a metaphysical structure of historic humanity, something that is essentially independent of the outward forms – social, spiritual and political – which we see so clearly? (Oswald Spengler, Der Untergang des Abendlandes, 1918. English translation. The Decline of the West, 1926)

View full Article in PDF


Added value model of collaboration in higher education

An important factor for developing quality multimedia materials is that future developers should know the learning preferences and applicable strategies of potential students in depth and should also be able to look critically on the products developed by others and to be able to evaluate the added value of their own and others contributions. This paper describes our teaching strategy using an online collaborative methodology with added value based on: (a) generating student profile, (b) online knowledge building and (c) evaluation strategy. The applied methodology integrates e-learning preferences of different learning style dimensions and takes into consideration students´ expectations in learning situations as well as their background knowledge and skills. Knowledge building was realised by means of oral presentations and discussions and finalised within the online learning environment. Developing critical thinking and monitoring this learning progress was carried out by self-evaluation and peer-evaluation of one´s own products and those created by others and final evaluation required summed performance to be divided among students upon negotiated merits.

Article first published in ‘Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects’, V. 6 (2010), pp. 203-215. Reprinted with permission of the Informing Science Institute

View full Article in PDF

Street artists in a virtual space

Information and communication technologies have great potential for knowledge dissemination, effective learning and the development of more efficient education services. The Information and communication systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process.
The present paper will give a general overview of a new integrated learning methodology that combines an e-learning platform and a 3D virtual world and that aims at encouraging students participation as well as creative teaching and learning. It will show how this new methodology has been applied through the project ST.ART in the European partner schools. The learning takes place within technology-supported community of learners involved in the creation as well as consumption of content.

View full Article in PDF

Digital Storytelling to promote reading in secondary schools: the READ IT project

Università  degli Studi ‘Guglielmo Marconi’ presented the READ IT project ‘Training teachers to make READing fun through digITal storytelling’ during the 4th International Conference on Digital Storytelling ‘CREATE-SHARE-LISTEN’ held in Lillehammer, Norway, on 5-7 February 2011. (…)

View full Article in PDF

Latest news form GUIDE Association

After five years from its foundation, GUIDE Association is constantly enlarging its field of action through different initiatives and strategies.
The main reference points for the GUIDE community are the international meetings which offer participants coming from all over the world the possibility to share and exchange ideas on the latest research results obtained and experimented in the field of e-learning and its branches, and to define the new strategic development guidelines during the Association General Assemblies.