LATINA International Summer School took place in 2008 under the training department Library and Learning Centre (LATINALab) in Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Technology, Art and Design at the heart of Oslo academic district.
It was created with the aim of teachers, students and professionals involved in the educational process successfully fitted with the conceptual knowledge and technical and social tools to operate in the digital world.
The participants are expected to be ready for a three-week intensive teacher training, based on the present state and development of post-industrial society.
Consequently, emerging trends in ICT, while taking into account traditional and new pedagogical theories and facts about the historical, economic, organizational and socio-technical changes. LATINA International Summer School is based on project work and interaction of individuals in flexible and diverse groups.
As a rule, free software is used. Access to resources, construction, management and maintenance is performed on laptops, tablet PCs and mobile phones. Generated materials are published and freely available for non-commercial purposes. LATINA International Summer School takes place in two rooms equipped with a digital whiteboard, laptops and iPads, and video conferencing equipment for synchronous and asynchronous learning.
The program manager of the International Summer School LATINA and LATINALab were Professor Helge Hǿivik and instructor and consultant Associate Professor Tord Hǿivik. The participants of the LATINA International Summer School (17 teachers, managers, designers and librarians) come from eight countries (Canada, China, Latvia, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Uganda). It varies depending on the level of pedagogical and technological knowledge and experience and cultural environment.
Besides the continuous implementation of the program at its headquarters in Oslo, LATINALab is hosted by the University of Helsinki, Gaza (Palestine), Kampala (Uganda) and in China.
LATINALab conceptual principles and starting-points
Production, dissemination and use of knowledge in society today has a greater role than ever before in history.
LATINALab is part of the global knowledge economy (knowledge economy). It respects and practices the principles inspired by classic and modern models and concepts of learning and knowledge. It combines individual and group learning process at different levels from the small groups up to learning processes at the global level. It is based on experience and respect for the arguments. LATINALab grown principles of deep learning, and encourages the development of teaching experience in a continuous transformation in the learning process and inventive forms of learning.
In a more pragmatic sense, editor or teacher in LATINALab faces two main problems: how to build an interface that is readable and easy to use in many devices and screens, and how to collect, organize and store all the content that students and teachers need in its context. To these questions is industry and educational profession responded with a number of software solutions and organizational principles that will greatly affect the way will be teaching and learning in the future.
The knowledge economy and open educational resources
Lectures, imaging materials, curricula have been so far the property of the teacher or the institution. Today, the companies invite you to share the property. Those who do that and their supporter’s represent the OER movement.
LATINA International Summer School is treated as OER – open educational resource and is part of the flexible activities MOOC (Massively Open Online course-ware).
All materials created for and during the LATINA International Summer School are available online and open to the knowledge economy. The knowledge economy requires innovative individuals and groups. In the knowledge economy, knowledge is simultaneously the result and input in the production. When you look at knowledge as a production input, we are very far from the academic culture, where knowledge is seen as a value in itself.
For example LATINAChronicle (blog) is based on the principles of OER movement. Teachers and participants of the LATINA International Summer School shares their learning processes in the public and not in the protected space. For teachers, this is a new experience. Student blog gives them new insight into the ways of learning.
Overall, the LATINA International Summer School has a learning environment with two sets of blogs for communication, storage and learning. At the regular publication of the blog, participants develop the ability and habit of reflection and analysis of daily events and problems. Store their own work, and document processes. Posts are often reflections on the events from the environment such as lectures, reading, discussion, testing concepts, descriptions of new relations, preservation of information and resources.
The heterogeneity of the participants
LATINA International Summer School addresses participants from different countries, cultures and experiences. The group of participants is much more heterogeneous than is usual in the regular study programs regardless of age, language and level of digital skills. On the heterogeneity of participants accelerate the change and facilitate work in digital terms.
LATINA International Summer School goal is that each participant progresses for two to three levels of depth of knowledge in relation to the initial knowledge and that teachers structured and processed participants is as intense and deep learning. Both teachers and participants at the LATINA International Summer School explores untouched areas as the program changes each year according to the needs of the knowledge economy and technology trends.
At the LATINA International Summer School the boundaries between students and teachers are often blurred. The teachers are still “major,” but in a different way. They are responsible for planning and infrastructure, the introduction of new tools and concepts to practical support and guidance and for the daily management of the school.
Participants are actively involved in the production, presentation, and generate feedback and storing these. Participants manage conceptual aspects of expression, and connecting them through shared means of expression, which includes a rich set of knowledge structures and content, formats, standards and conventions, mechanisms and metaphors for the search, production, storage and dissemination of knowledge.
The main mechanisms for the integration of the learning process are group products and activities, such as posts on LATINAChronicle, oral discussion and evaluation in the classroom, demonstration projects, and demonstration of procedures, short presentations (Pecha Kucha), digital stories, feedback and intensive use of online tools.
Learning environment and digital infrastructure
Education in the digital environment requires technical infrastructure. LATINALab has available multiple servers and personal equipment for each participant (laptop, iPad, mobile phone) and WiFi connection between them. One or more devices are connected to the interactive whiteboard (touchscreen, Smartboard), TV screen and video projector.
They use the software, which is free (web-based, cloud-based, multi-media oriented). Software, regardless of the source / install, can be classified into two groups: local tools installed and SAS tools (Software as a Service).
Technology itself is not enough until its possibilities are not properly understood, positively accepted, developed and designed in practical processes and content. Designer of learning processes and programs must coordinate between the components and their relationships (regardless time, spatial, technological, linguistic and coordinated with teachers and learners skills). Their job has to be effectively documented, repaired, modified and updated and neutral tested.
LATINA International Summer School chronologically
LATINA International Summer School weekly theme completes the educational and social concepts, models and theories. Every day of the week has the detailed timetable of theoretical and practical lessons, project work, evaluation and guest lectures, and includes digital, physical and social range of resources, tools and tutorials.
All participants were ready to arrive in Oslo. Before arriving, we get the password for access to LATINAChronicle blog, we post our profiles (CV and photo). We examined the reading materials about the selected topic and we posted the essay to blog. The essays are collected in an e-publication.
First week: physical, social and virtual environment
The first day, after the ceremonial opening of the summer school, we learned about temporary learning environment – physical, social and virtual. Getting to know contained a personal presentation of the participants and LATINALab staff, a review of physical facilities and resources, walk through the structure of the website and check the calendar. We have established social relationships and technical learning environment. On the virtual space LATINAChronicle we discuss personal learning needs, objectives and expectations, and we contributed content to a common knowledge base.
Continuation of the first week was focused on the training of storytelling and visualization of these.
In today’s society, storytelling combines tradition, creative expression and technological opportunities. Participants were rehearsed rhetoric, storytelling, develop skills to create the context for the development of the story and learn about the techniques of storytelling, pedagogical, ethical and aesthetic criteria.
The concept of a story in digital environments covering a broad range of digital formats designed from a unique perspective (web-based stories, interactive stories, and hypertext narrative computer games) as well as the rich possibilities of technology and systems to share stories. Digital stories can be used in the educational process as an individual or group expressive medium in conjunction with the themes of the curriculum and can be made available to all interested subjects.
To perform the tasks we used WordPress, Google Suite (Gmail, Search, Reader, Calendar, Docs, Translate, Picasa Web Album), Wikipedia, Picasa, Photostory and VideoPad.
Second week: re-mediations and repositories
The second week focused on the concept re-mediations and repositories in new media. During the short theoretical lectures we deal mainly with publishing metaphor as diary (blog), textbook (e-book) and newsletter (e-zine). We looked at them from the technical side, located in the cloud as a warehouse. We realize there may be ways to gain space, store and expanding our learning materials.
New technologies playback and storage have enabled that we can be broadcast live and store online own lectures and other presentations. The contents are drawn from publicly available sources and own (photographic and video documentation resulting in Oslo). Tasks were prepared in Flash or iSpring remediated and implemented in conjunction with interactive whiteboard technology and Adobe Connect.
LATINAChronicle has successfully enhanced, with new content and reflections.
In the background of current tasks, we designed the theme, structure, methods and goals of the final tasks – our learning event, which we will present in the third week.
Third week: learning from experience to design teaching
In the third week, we focused exclusively to the learning event. In the creation of concepts and techniques were used theories and technologies that we have discussed in the first two weeks. We have also benefited from technology, design, presentation and storage of knowledge.
The predominant problem was how to learn from our own learning processes and how to turn them into structured curricula.
After two intense days of practice, we performed a series of learning events. Each event had to be planned and implemented taking into account modern forms of learning supported by learning materials in digital form. We all worked together and learned from these events. After each learning event, the evaluation was held under the guidance of a teacher who gave feedback according to different criteria on how the event was planned and executed.
The last day we have established a collective look at the new digital world and performed evaluation. We developed the form and criteria for evaluation, answered questions and analyzed the results. Participants were very positive and evaluated the LATINA International Summer School with high scores from all aspects.
Activities outside the LATINA International Summer School
In the afternoons the university organized a number of high-quality guided tours of cultural and natural attractions in Oslo and the surrounding area. The positive atmosphere was extended to the spontaneous multicultural activities (the original Chinese tai-chi exercises in the morning, Scandinavian fitness in the school gym, Netherlands cycling, exotic picnic in parks, Berber’s drinking tea tradition in the evenings and enjoying the diverse musical range in clubs).
LATINA International Summer School ended with a gala award of diplomas and social gatherings in the central area of the University, but only in a physical sense. Common themes that unite us continue informally on Facebook. Knitted links and crossed paths established after twenty short days and twenty bright nights will this autumn start a major impact on each of us at different point of the compass and distant ends of the world.