To make an impact – Research Council Seminar

Lars Vavik, Thomas Arnesen and Hege Myklebust represented “Learning in the 21st century” at the Norwegian Research Council’s seminar, “To make an impact”, Thursday and Friday (13-14.June) and met with the PIs, researchers and PhDs from the other projects which are part of the Council’s PRAKUT-programme. The seminar focus was on how and in what ways do the projects hope to make an impact on classroom practices – decidedly a worthy topic to consider! The first day was spent listening to the experiences of researchers and teachers who participated in the previous research programme. The Lade project headed by Prof. Postholm NTNU received much attention both because of the successful manner in which it was carried out, but also because of the difficulties involved in sustaining the positive impact after the end of the project period. The teachers at Lade expressed the need to initiate a new project dedicated to how to develop quality lessons in technology-rich environments. Perhaps a future research partner for “Learning in the 21st century”?

Prof. Ingrid Carlgren (University of Stockholm) initiated the proceedings day 2 with a lecture on the gap between research and practice in education, and how this gap is seen as either a problem of implementing research findings or as a problem of lack of relevant research. As a response to this problem she called for more ‘clinical’ research in education in which research questions emerge in the classroom as a consequence of experienced knowledge gaps, and are pursued according to the rigorous demands of research. She proposed the Japanese ‘lesson’ or ‘learning studies’ as a possible way forward (see more at Afterwards, there were group discussions among members of different projects about plans and visions pertaining to making an impact.


Students’ voices in the Nordic countries

The large-scale student survey was primarily designed to collect data which could help us answer the question: What are students own thoughts and perceptions about the relationship between their new media practices and education? Focus group interviews with students and teachers were carried out to provide a basis for the construction of the questionnaire, and further refinement was needed after each of the three pilot tests. We ended up with a questionnaire consisting of 120 items divided between 10 “constructs” in addition to background variables. Some of the constructs were drawn from established batteries (PISA study in particular).

The construction of the student survey and its translation into Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish was carried out autumn 2012, and the distribution of questionnaires, and collection and punching of data took place January-May 2013. So far 3400 students from the Finnish, Swedish-Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian populations have answered, and the first tentative data analyses are carried out as we speak (12.June 2013). The invaluable help of our Swedish and Finnish partners need special mention. The distribution and collection of questionnaires was primarily carried out by Kati Lindèn (Swedish-Finnish students), Kari Kosonen (Finnish students) and Erika Gillblad (Swedish students). We could not have managed without the close cooperation with our steering committee members professor Erno Lethinen (University of Turku) and professor Per-Olof Erixon (University of Umeå), and our partner professor Liisa Illomäki (University of Helsinki). To aid us in the more advanced data analyses, head of module 1, professor Eyvind Elstad (University of Oslo) has acquired the help of his colleague, professor Knut-Andreas Christophersen (University of Oslo). The first findings from the survey will be presented for a full Steering Committee at the meeting in Munich 28.August 2013.

Professor Eyvind Elstad - Head of module 1

Professor Eyvind Elstad – Head of module 1

Co-PI, PhD-candidate and coordinator Thomas Arnesen

Co-PI, PhD-candidate and coordinator Thomas Arnesen



London meeting continued

Important work was also carried out in relation to module 3 when Gavriel Salomon (PI) ( met with Sigurd Sandvold and Martin Sjoen. Their starting point is to use facebook to connect groups of students with different national backgrounds to discuss topics such as prejudice and tolerance in relation to e.g. the issue of immigration. Classes from schools with large immigrant populations will be set in contact with classes from schools deemed stereotypically “Norwegian”, and an established survey from peace studies in Israel will be used to tap the 10.graders attitudes towards each other, before, and twice after, the intervention. The main objective is to try out and evaluate one way to use social media as a means to authenticate work with value based educational objectives and expand its reach beyond the confines of the classroom. The intervention will take place in September-November 2013.

professor Gavriel Salomon

Professor Gavriel Salomon


Productive London meeting

The meeting which took place in London the 27.-30.May 2013 saw the further development of the Position Paper as Gert Biesta, Gavriel Salomon, Lars Vavik and Thomas Arnesen discussed the conceptual basis for “Learning in the 21st century”. The main issue was how to conceptualize the relationship between in and out-of-school learning in such a way that it can be used to identify educationally beneficial combinations/interactions on the basis of which a more generic typology could be developed. The empirical examples are primarily drawn from the “Learning bridges” project headed by professor Kristiina Kumpulainen at the University of Helsinki, the “Connected learning” project ( headed by professor Ito (, and professor B. Barron’s research on “Learning ecologies” (, as well as new empirical studies such as Hege Myklebust’s work on the need for argumentative writing in the digital age. Some main developments include the exclusion of the ‘bridge’ metaphor to conceptualize the relationship between in- and out-of-school learning since it carries with it too many assumptions as to the desirability of bridging in the first place.

Gert Biesta at London meeting

Gert Biesta at London meeting