Centre of Educational Technology
In the Centre for Educational Technology we mainly work on the following topics:
- educational technology,
- inquiry-based learning,
- responsible research and innovation,
- new learning paradigm,
- learning analytics,
- educational data mining,
- augmented reality and
- inclusive education.
In the case of the first three topics we are responsible for teaching, research and development at University of Tartu (UT).
Our centre is open for collaboration in all the mentioned topics. Therefore, we kindly ask to contact with the head of the centre Professor Margus Pedaste (margus.pedaste [ät] ut.ee, +372 515 6095) or with the coordinators of the topics.
Educational Technology is coordinated by Associate Professor Mario Mäeots (mario.maeots [ät] ut.ee).
Margus Pedaste (margus.pedaste [ät] ut.ee) coordinates the university-wide collaboration in the Teacher Education Competence Centre Pedagicum in the development team on digital competence. Our main focus is on assessing and improving digital competence. We develop assessment instruments for university teachers and students (ESF competence centre project) and for students of comprehensive schools (project financed by SA Innove). Our special focus is on developing competence on learning analytics in collaboration of the Centre for Teacher and Higher Education and Institute of Computer Science. This is financed from ERF ASTRA programme. Our main goal is to provide a coherent system for developing digital literacy in the teacher education curricula at the university. For that we provide a general course and several subject specific courses (subject teachers, educational leaders, adult educators, etc.) and competence specific courses (information and data literacy, communication and collaboration skills, digital content creation, etc.). In 2017 we started with a new international MA programme Educational Technology (see http://ut.ee/edutech, Programme Director Emanuele Bardone). On the same topics we provide in-service courses mainly to teachers.
Inquiry learning topics are coordinated by Leo Siiman (leo.siiman [ät] ut.ee). This topic has its roots from the previous research work of the group members: Margus Pedaste and Mario Mäeots defended their doctoral theses on this topic and they have been involved in developing several learning environments to support inquiry approach (see http://bio.edu.ee, http://golabz.eu, http://arkportal.eu). We are partners in the European Commission financed projects Ark of Inquiry and Next-Lab that link inquiry-based learning with educational technology. The first one is a 7th Framework project, where we are the coordinators of the consortium (coordinator Margus Pedaste). The second one is Horizon 2020 programme project that is coordinated by Twente University in the Netherlands (coordinator Ton de Jong) and that is conducted at the UT together with the Centre for Teacher and Higher Education. In order to disseminate the ideas about inquiry-based learning we also run in-service courses and teach these topics to pre-service teachers. Our ideas derive mainly from the inquiry cycle that is published in the journal Educational Research Review with an open access: Phases of inquiry-based learning: Definitions and the inquiry cycle. We are happy that it has been for almost two years the most downloaded article of this journal with a high impact factor.
Responsible research and innovation
Responsibe research and innovation (RRI) is a topic coordinated by Emanuele Bardone (emanuele.bardone [ät] ut.ee). This is a horizontal theme in the research and development policy of the European Union. This topic is also one in the Ark of Inquiry project.
New learning paradigm
New learning paradigm is the focus of the educational policy in Estonia (see Eesti elukestva õppe strateegia 2020) that links several ideas about up to date learning and teaching approaches. In the Centre for Educational Technology this topic is mainly in focus through integrating digital solutions for learning and teaching but also more broadly in supporting learning processes in schools, universities, kindergartens and in general in the society. Our view is introduced in the YouTube video (in Estonian). This topic is at the centre coordinated by Margus Pedaste who coordinated together with the head of the Centre for Teacher and Higher Education - Äli Leijen - the general competencies development team of the UT teacher education competence centre Pedagogicum and a project for defining, assessing and improving general competencies in secondary schools in Estonia.
Part of our research activities include the design and implementation of learning analytics approaches for monitoring, mirroring and guiding. The aim of this research line is to support the practice of stakeholders by providing adaptive feedback, recommendations and by scaffolding self-regulation and self-reflection. Stakeholders in this context are the students, the instructors, the administration and program directors - or any entity that has a decision-making role and responsibilities - in higher education institutes. This topic is at the centre coordinated by Irene-Angelica Chounta (chounta [ät] ut.ee) together with Margus Pedaste and Danial Hooshyar.
Educational Data Mining
Educational Data Mining (EDM) is an emerging field focusing on developing methods that mine educational data to understand the behavior of students, and the settings which they learn in. The application of EDM techniques to educational data , in many different ways, provide instructors and students with useful insight into their learning process so they can take appropriate actions and decisions which will eventually improve learning achievement and lead to an improvement of academic success. These include offering feedback, generating recommendations, prediction of learning difficulties, offering personalized learning, etc. This topic at the centre is coordinated by Danial Hooshyar (danial.hooshyar [ät] ut.ee), Yeongwook Yang (yeongwook.yang [ät] ut.ee), and Margus Pedaste (margus.pedaste [ät] ut.ee">margus.pedaste [ät] ut.ee).
We are also interested in opportunities augmented reality and virtual reality provide for education. We are currently involved in an Erasmus+ project EL-STEM (Enlivened Laboratories within STEM Education), in partnership with educational institutions from Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Finland and Portugal. The aim of the project is to motivate students to choose STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies & careers and to enhance them to improve their performance in courses related to STEM education through integrating AR technology in the educational process. More information about the project could be found on website http://elstem.eu/. Our team has been also partnering with the Information Technology Foundation for Education in Estonia (https://www.hitsa.ee/) in AR and VR topics. Currently, we are compiling an overview about augmented and virtual reality for the report on technological trends in education. The local coordinator is Margus Pedaste.
Inclusive education is a new topic for our centre, coordinated by Margus Pedaste. According to the agreement made in a development seminar of the Institute of Education that topic will be covered in collaboration of all structural units of the institute. We see our role mainly in supporting inclusive education using digital tools for integrating all learners. We are eager to contribute in way that allows every learner (in the kindergarten, school, university, and adult education) to feel him/herself well if s/he could learn together with all other learners (if s/he has a special need or among his/her peer students are with special needs).