Intro

4th International Conference on Smart Learning Ecosystem and Regional Development – Project and design literacy as cornerstones of smart education

Rome 2019, 22-24 May

After Timisoara (East), Aveiro (West) and Aalborg (North), the forth edition of the SLERD conference will be hold in Rome to cover all four cardinal points of the old continent.  As for the previous editions, SLERD 2019 – that is co-organized by ASLERD,  in collaboration with ITD-CNR, Quasar Design University, ISIA Rome, and the University of Rome Tor Vergata SPFS Dept. with the endorsement of the PhD program in Cultural Heritage, Learning and Territory – will be happy to welcome researchers and practitioners from all over the world involved in the development of Smart Learning Ecosystems, as engines of social innovation and  territorial development.

At the core, the adjective smart comprises terms like intelligent, purpose oriented, supportive, artful, clever and the like. Thus, smart does not necessarily includes the usage of technology (neither does it exclude technology!).

Smart referred to learning ecosystems in ASLERD and SLERD contexts, thus, does not simply means “technology enhanced” (to include expert systems or AI). The smartness is a more complex multilayered construct related to the wellbeing of the players operating in the ecosystems, that hopefully are also in relation with the territory (see Declaration of Timisoara, the wikipedia page of ASLERD, the proceedings of the previous SLERD conferences published by Springer (Aveiro, Aalborg) and the special issues (N.16, N.17, N.20, N.27, N.31, N.35 and N.39 in preparation) devoted to SLERD by IxD&A journal). Smartness is affected by the improvement of any relevant aspects of the learning processes and ecosystem functioning, especially if connected with territorial development and social innovation.
Technologies are mediators. Hopefully they should be included but they are not a “sine qua non”.

The achievement of the learning ecosystems’ smartness is a process that need a long term vision, multidisciplinary competences, an attitude to understand people and contexts and to mediate point of views, a dynamic resilience to keep on track to achieve, step by step, the foreseen goals: in short a design literacy from which to make emerge projects and processes capable to reify them, all aimed at achieving a people centered smart education, social innovation and territorial development.

 

INVITED KEYNOTES

Ante Runnquist (Nacka Municipality)

Bridging the gap between reality and vision

When we reshape or create new learning environments we need to adress both existing pedagogical practices and our desired development of them, great projects adress the gap between reality and vision. -Many projects (most?) have very narrow gap, that are based on the assumption of status-quo, ”visionary” projects often present a very wide gap. Both scenarios are problematic, for different reasons. During this session at SLERD we discuss an approach that enables projects that are both visionary and rooted in existing pedagogical practices. Hint: In order to bridge the gap we need to integrate the development of culture, pedagogy and design. During the session you will get to know some recent projects, successes and fails, and learn to use some useful tools for communication and management of learning environment projects.

Daniela Selloni (Politecnico di Milano)

Educating the next generation of social innovators

This contribution is about the connection between design research and education in the field of social innovation. In the last years, as researchers within the POLIMI DESIS Lab, we organised the service design studios held within the Master Degree in Product-Service System Design as a part of our action-research projects. These studios, in which we mainly teach service design and co-design methods and tools, were characterised by a strong connection with the local context, including a deep dive in specific neighbourhoods of Milan, activities such as citizen engagement and involvement of important stakeholders, such as the Municipality of Milan. Named “Hacking Public Services”, “Job Design”, “City Service Hubs” and “A resilient city”, these studios represented an opportunity to experiment with students alternative ways of organising the daily life in the city of Milan, simulating within the protected environment of education new possible modalities in which social innovation can occur.

• Mihai Dascalu (University Politehnica of Bucharest)

Enhancing learning environments by means of analytics to study models of comprehension  

Reading and writing are complex cognitive processes through which learners acquire new information and consolidate prior knowledge. Virtual Learning Environments have started to gain an increasing adoption and the integration of advanced Natural Language Processing techniques greatly facilitates an adequate contextualization and an in-depth analysis of learner text productions, covering multiple layers from lexicons, syntax, semantics, and even discourse structure. Our aim is to introduce comprehensive and multi-faceted text analyses capable of assessing and predicting learner comprehension in a wide range of learning scenarios, involving both reading of new resources, as well as writing different essays or summaries. With regards to reading, we introduce an automated model of comprehension (AMoC) capable of simulating potential ways in which learners conceptualize texts in terms of both text-based information, as well as inferred knowledge modeled using different semantic models. While relating to writing tasks, we present a multi-dimensional and multi-lingual textual complexity model that can be easily customized to assess writing quality in various scenarios. As a particular use case, serious games are being employed more and more frequently, and our aim is to integrate NLP technologies in order to enhance the learning process through games that require text productions and are centered on vocabulary acquisition, comprehension and collaboration.