Greetings from Columbia

Hi there, at University of Duisburg-Essen (and in the rest of Europe):

Columbia University is great – in every sense: The so called “Mizzou” (University of Missouri) comprises about 35.000 students. And that is just a part of a whole system of several universities around Missouri (comparable with our UAMR). This so called “University of Missouri System“ comprises about 75.000 students and a staff of 17.000 people, as well as roundabout 6.000 professors teaching and doing research within about 25 different faculties. Furthermore, the University of Missouri System comprises a network with a strategic healthcare system, multiple research parks and incubators, agricultural research stations and a guest Network of small business and technology development centers, extension centers, telehealth network sites and so on.

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The best aspect about “Mizzou” however are the “Mizzou-Tigers”, which play in the highest division of collegiate American Football. I was able to see them play on their opening game of the new season.

Americans are (somehow) crazy: Obviously they cannot play soccer, and even worse: they cannot brew beer at all. American students receive in comparison to Germany quite a lot, but however, they also have to pay about 20.000 dollars tuition fees a year. Although they get a lot for it in return, it is quite a lot of money for a German observer.

The faculty of education at Mizzou consists of six departments, one of them is occupied with STEM and lead by our famous networker professor Johannes Strobel (see picture taken in the library of the department).

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Meanwhile, I had the time and the possibility to make some bibliographies and I found out, that in the whole USA there are roundabout 60 departments (e.g.: professors) who are focused upon STEM. In comparison to Germany, this is quite a lot. This is due to the fact that in every federal state of the US STEM is an integrated part of the curriculum, at least at the primary and secondary I level. Here, Germany can learn quite a lot from that. Although I have learned, that the overwhelming part of the American scientific literature is only to find within the university itself. That means, you need an account to get the Information you want. But if you have an account, most of the literature you have found is immediately online to receive – which is great. Here are the United States much more progressive than our German system, which is clearly stronger focused on printed scientific literature.

By doing some bibliography, I also found out, why it was that difficult to find some literature concerning VET and CVET in Germany: Whereas in international standards VET and CVET (Vocational Education and Training and Continuing vocational education and Training) is quite usual, since 2009 they have been referring to the term CTE (Career Training and Education). This however comprises within a completely new educational concept not only VET and CVET, but also academic pathways, which they try to include systematically within the vocational career pathways. This bridge between vocational and academic career pathways seems to be somehow comparable with those courses of study; we call “Duale Studiengänge” in Germany. This is very interesting, because the reasons for this educational reform were the same as in Germany: First permeability within the education system and second equal opportunities for all, especially for those, who belong in any way or for any reasons to the disadvantaged students. Seen from this point of view, the main problem of CTE/VET in the USA is caused by the same reason: The social prestige of CTE/VET is much lower than the social prestige of – for example – an academic education career. Thus, they try to strengthen the CTE sector to give the socially disadvantaged students a chance for (even higher) education.

To put it in a nutshell: It is possible to make very interesting research, to find new partners for doing research projects, but the basic problems within the education system and within the social stratification among the USA as a State are comparable to those in Europe and especially to those in Germany.

Something however, is not comparable, and that is the weather: We are having (at the beginning of September) nearly 35 degree celsius and a humidity of 80%; and that is the main reason, why I am finishing this blog now.

Happy to see You all again in Essen and to see you all next month in October during our next meeting.

Blog by Prof. Dr. Dieter Münk

Posted in Missouri 2017, USA | Leave a comment

Living in Delft

Yes, folks. This will be a blog post with no citations or other scientific stuff. It´s just about living in Delft! For those of the colleagues, who will stay at TU Delft in the future, I would like to share some experiences.

Depending on the duration of your stay, you can choose between staying in a hotel and renting a flat. In the past I made quite good experiences with booking.com or airbnb.de. The following websites might be a good starting point to search for alternatives, especially to find an apartment for sub tenancy:

Döner
Döner Box

After your arrival there might come up questions like “Where to eat?”, “Where to shop?” or “Where to go out?”.

Let us start at the Delft campus. You will find there the Döner Company. It is located directly at the beginning of Mekeleweg near to the TU Delft Aula (location in google maps). There you can get fries, salad, pide, döner etc. and all for an affordable price. I chose the big döner box (extra spicy!) for less than 5 Euro and I was never disappointed. Interesting is the fact, that you find the name “Döner Company” with “ö” but also Doner Company with “o”. The students name it with “o” and I guess it is because in the Dutch language there is no “ö”. Language can be very interesting, can it not?

OK, let us go from the campus to the city of Deft. There, I recommend to plan a stay in the Bierfabriek in Delft (location in google.maps). Not only are the home-brewed beers, but also their grilled chicken good reasons to visit this place.

Bike lane
Bike lane in Delft

Another nice place was Umai, japans grill & sushi restaurant in Delft (location in google maps). From the outside it seems to be small and unimpressive but if you are inside of it, it is bigger than you might expect. Important advice: The All You Can Eat Menu can take about 1,5 – 2,0 hours. So, be there latest as two hours before they close! There are also many other alternatives, but in the case you do not want to eat every day in a restaurant, you can also buy your food in one of the local supermarkets. There are several and you can find nearly every company there (open this view in Google maps for a map with supermarkets around TU Delft).

As I already wrote, it makes sense to have a bike in Delft. Either you bring your own or you rent one. Another alternative is to buy a used bike. But this is only meaningful if you are there for more than two or three months. Calculate the break even between renting and buying depending on the time you stay. The bike paths are quite good in general.

The network of bike paths is exceptional, compared to Essen for instance. But be aware, at this bike paths there are also “bromfietsen” (mopeds) allowed. And they ride them quite fast. Additionally you have to share the lane with scooters for disabled and also with cargo bikes. To sum up, there is quite lot traffic on such a bike lane and you have to ride your “fietsen” (bike) carefully between the others. Advice: Always use a bicycle lock! The rate of bicycle theft is relatively high. So, enjoy your stay.

 

Blog by Dr. Christian Karl

Posted in The Netherlands, TU Delft | Leave a comment

CETE Enhanced Progress for Online Auction Game

Some of you may know my paper “Investigating the Winner’s Curse Based on Decision Making in an Auction Environment” (in: Simulation & Gaming Issue 47 (2016) No. 3, p. 324 – 345 ISSN: 1552-826X; 1046-8781). If not, have a look and of course cite it as often as you can :-). So, why do I mention this paper and what is the connection to my CETE-Exchange at TU Delft? First, I have to talk about the basics of this research. The majority of  bidding models focuses on the mark-up decision. Despite a large body of literature, particularly related to the construction industry, these bidding models largely ignore human behavior. The aim of this research was two folded. Firstly, I wanted to contribute to the potential use of business games to study the results of auction behavior in a construction business environment (games as a research tool). Results of this can be employed in industry context as well as in educational context. The second aim was to investigate the winner’s curse and its effects on individual companies and the market at all. The methodology for this study was rooted in game theory. The reasoning which leads to the winner’s curse is explored through a behavioral multi-actor experiment. For this, I developed a database-driven, online multiplayer auction game which served as a laboratory experiment (for details refer to this web page).

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My workspace at TU Delft

Due to the fact, that the used auction environment is based on the common bidding method for construction projects; the ‘reverse’ auction low-bid method, I wanted to investigate bidding behavior in different auction settings. It could be the second-price sealed-bid auction (Vickrey auction) or the descending price auction (Dutch auction). During the use of the online simulation I realized, that if I would like to focus solely on studying the auction behavior and to address this in educational contexts, the rest of the game would be unnecessary, e.g. the components that are needed to manage the company in a competitive environment as well as to manage different construction projects. Therefore, a reduction is strongly recommended.

Since 2015/16 I was not able to invest further efforts in this direction. Nevertheless, I developed a basic concept of an auction game together with Prof. Dick Teach in 2012 during my stay at the Georgia Tech Center for International Business Education & Research, which has been a really good exercise for further developments in my construction simulation game (Dick mainly inspired me to conduct research on auctions and decision making processes). And now the circle closes. The discussions with colleagues during my CETE-exchange and the pleasing coincidence that Dick also participated in the ISAGA 2017 has encouraged me to work further on this concept.

Now comes the nerdy part of the story :-) During two nights I worked further on the existing parts of the online trading game in that far, that it is possible to place bids for several goods. Additionally, traders have a stock and they have stock costs for each good (nothing fancy, but functional). Why so fast? I had to be quick, because I wanted to discuss this first rough version with Dick in any case while he is attending the conference. And I can tell you, the discussion was splendid. We talked about additional implementations and how we could use different auction types. The game play will be very fast and thrilling for the participants. Within one study group we will be able to conduct a variety of games with different auction types. Further, because of the simplicity of the game, it will be possible to use it on different educational levels, professional, academic as well as in vocational education and training. Honestly, the game is not ready yet to be played with students, but without the support of the CETE-network this concept would have been most likely still in my drawer.

Besides other things, I also worked on this project during my stay at TU Delft. So, I hope to find enough time to work on this project and to bring it into classes of several vocational schools in the future and also to work on a joint publication with Dick. Let´s see what happens. By the way, a day has 24 hours plus the night. :-)

 

Blog by Dr. Christian Karl

Posted in The Netherlands, TU Delft | Leave a comment

ISAGA 2017 – Design Workshop for inclusive Simulation Games

During my CETE-Exchange I was invited to the ISAGA 2017 conference in Delft. There, I conducted a design workshop for inclusive simulation games which is also a critical topic in technological education. To give you a quick introduction: Inclusion in educational environments is an approach to educate students with special needs. Latest since the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which calls on to ensure an inclusive education system at all levels, inclusion became an emerging field in schools, universities as well as in vocational education and training.

Design Thinking Process
Design thinking process

Inclusion, in contrast to other approaches like integration, rejects the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities. Hence, students with special needs spend most or all their time with non-special needs students.

Within my research I already investigated the status of inclusion especially in the field of construction (ref. Inclusion in Apprenticeship (IncluAp) and held a presentation at the conference Hochschultage Berufliche Bildung 2017). Due to the fact, that students should work and learn together in a common, joint community, it would be meaningful, to combine inclusion with games as experiential learning activities in an innovative instructional practice in inclusive classrooms. This should lead to multiple benefits:

  • Encouraging the insight for the needs of the classmates.
  • Building a benevolent community that supports collaboration within the class.
  • Promoting positive behavior support mechanisms.
  • Improving peer-relationships by structuring learning around cooperative activities.
  • Motivating students with and without special needs.
  • Increasing engagement and practice to review and to demonstrate their learning results.

Depending on the purpose, the action orientation of a game can also address different learning styles of the students within a variety of instructional activities.

I rember that
“I remember that …”-exercise

During the workshop the participants worked interactively on the design of a concept for an inclusion game which could be implemented as a card game, a board game, a classroom game etc. within their own professional setting (the workshop took 180 minutes). The overall concept of the workshop was embedded in a 6-step (rapid) design thinking process:

  1. Empathize (developing an understanding about inclusion and the involved parties),
  2. Define (summarizing own experiences and expectations),
  3. Ideate (generation of a range of creative ideas),
  4. Prototype (building a conceptional model of an inclusion game),
  5. Test (prototypical application),
  6. Implementation (full use in own teaching/ learning context).

During the conference we worked on the first 4 steps.

In phase 1, the beginning of the workshop, I gave a brief introduction about inclusion and gaming. After this in phase 2, the participants had to use the beginning of the sentence “I remember that …” as a basis to talk about their own experiences and expectations as a fundamental basis for the following interaction in phase 3.

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3-12-3 method

To support the generation of ideas, I introduced in general some creativity techniques (e.g. brain storming, lateral thinking, six thinking hats, 5 Whys). To achieve a fast creativity process we used the 3-12-3 method to generate a pool of aspects (3 min. individual action), develop basic concepts (12 min. group action) and to present responses to discuss those (3 min. with the whole group).

During phase 4, we worked all together interactively on a joint concept. I introduced different aspects like the purpose of the game (new learning, practice, behavior, review or assessment), addressee of the game (students, teachers), learning styles (visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic), instructional activity (whole group activities, partner or small group activities or individual activities) etc.

Furthermore, technology is becoming an additional factor which is currently in discussion within inclusive education. Especially, for learners with special needs technology can provide further access to the curriculum through computer, tablet, audio/visual equipment or assistive devices. Therefore, technology can play various roles in inclusive classrooms, too. Nevertheless, the group decided to develop a card based game which will be easy to use and to reproduce. Addresses are 10-12 year old pupils. Interesting was the fact, that the participants decided to use the topic of “foods” as a substitute and first point of contact with cultural differences. The card game should be an opener for further discussion with the aim of not forgetting the variation in understanding immigrants.

The game process was defined that way, that every child should draw a card with a specific food on it and sort it to one of the following three stacks: a) I like it, b) I don´t like it, c) I don´t know. Afterwards they have to explain and to discuss their decision. After some rounds the facilitator should transfer in the debriefing of the game, the food related discussion to the cultural level. At the end of the interaction in phase 4 the concept was presented and discussed. After the workshop I invited the participants to customize the concept to their needs and to test it in their profession as a prototypical application (phase 5).

game concept
Game concept

Based on experiences in my own studies and also on discussions with professionals from the field and other experts (e.g. had the chance to work in a workshop with Frederik Pferdt, Chief Innovation  Evangelist from Google who visited our university) I have seen, that there is (still!) a strong need for increasing creativity especially in engineering education. This is something, that is quite often a more or less “soft” topic and educators are not willing to invest time in this. They are mostly focused on professional/ technical issues. This is in most of the cases, hopefully due to time restrictions (?). To close this gap, I decided to design an interactive and experiential course aimed to increase creativity in technical education focused on construction content. Parts of the catalog of methods that I collected, I am testing in my game design workshops. And it is just amazing how enthusiastic and dynamic the participants – especially those who had obviously reservations at the beginning – work on new concepts and what results we get after workshops that last only 90 or 180 minutes.

 

Blog by Dr. Christian Karl

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Visiting TU Delft – The Arrival

Thanks to the CETE network, I was able to realize a short stay visit for two weeks at Delft University of Technology ideas and to get valuable advice. Due to my fields of research I chose the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) as my host. But before going in some details, here are some interesting facts about the University. TU Delft was founded by King William II of the Netherlands in 1842. It started as the Royal Academy for the education of civilian engineers.

TPM entrance
TPM entrance

This is quite similar to the campus of the University of Duisburg-Essen which was build on the former State Engineering School of Construction Essen (Staatliche Ingenieurschule für Bauwesen Essen, more information here). TU Delft´s motto is “Challenge the Future” and this is obvious in many ways on the campus.

Faculty and students (rd. 20.000) are working in a strong relationship with the industry as well as with ministries and authorities. TU Delft has also three Nobel Laureates. From this perspective, my expectations of  this visit and also the demands on myself were very high.

After a drive of round about two and a half hours I arrived at my new work space for the next two weeks, the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM). The research of TPM focuses on large scale socio-technical systems, such as infrastructures for transport, energy and telecommunication by combining insights from the engineering sciences with insights from the humanities and the social sciences.

Especially the topics of modeling, simulation and gaming are very interesting for me and my research in the cross-section of technology and education. For this purpose, TPM has the game lab in which they develop board as well as digital games for research and education.

gamelab
gamelab @ TU Delft

TPM has a worldwide known and recognized expertise in this field of research. Due to this, TPM hosted the 48th International Simulation and Gaming Association’s conference (ISAGA 2017) from 10th to 14th July 2017 in which I participated with a design workshop for inclusive games .  After my arrival I was introduced to the team and participated directly in the ISAGA conference. Besides getting to know new interesting contacts I also met highly known people. The atmosphere was professional as well as collegial as it would be at a class reunion.

At the end of my first day I checked into the Hampshire Hotel. And here comes an important advice: If you book a hotel and it says they have parking lots available, be sure, that the car can stand there all (!) the time. Due to the close distance I came by car and took my bike with me. Hey, what did you expect? I am traveling to the Netherlands :-) My plan was to leave the car at the parking lot of the hotel during my stay and to use my bike to get around. But here comes the BUT! At the hotel, which was a good choice at all, it is not allowed to leave the car parked the entire day. It is fine to park the car at night and up to approximately 8:30, but after that tourist buses are using the parking lot. Because of that, all the other cars have to leave.

Now, what are the alternatives?

1. Come by plane or train.

What? That is not for me.

2. Come by car and leave it in the garage across of the hotel.

This might be an alternative. Why not? I tell you why not … for each full day you have to pay 15 Euro. So, paying more than 200 Euro just for leaving the car there is way too much for me.

3. Come by car and leave it at the campus

Yes! That is a real alternative. Compared to other universities I visited, TU Delft has parking lots for free. At Berkeley for instance every parking lot, in the garage or at the street must be paid for.

So, what to do now? Check in, leave the bike in the trunk of the car, drive in the morning by car to TPM, leave the car there and take the bike out of the trunk. There you go!! It could not have been cheaper.

By the way, ask at the Hotel if they have a “fietsen huis” or “fietsenstalling” (bike shed). In my case, I had to ask for a key and was able to put my bike over night in such a shed. Way better than leaving it outside.

 

Blog by Dr. Christian Karl

Posted in The Netherlands, TU Delft | Leave a comment

Ph.D. Colloquium University of Cambridge & University of Duisburg-Essen

The Colloquium

We arrived on the 18th of May in Cambridge. “We” in this context means the two Ph.D. students of the University of Duisburg- Essen Victoria Adenstedt and Annika Gooss and myself, Helena Spyrou, the student assistant of Professor Mammes study group, who was invited to protocol the trip.

Ph.D Colloquium 1        H. Spyrou

The purpose of our short business trip was the CETE Ph.D. Colloquium at the University of Cambridge, to be more specific in the Faculty of Education, which is located next to Homerton College. It took place on the 19th of May. It is an important part of CETE to support the research of the young academics, since they are the future of Technology Education.
In the morning, we walked along the Hillsroad untill we stood in front of a modern building with a curved architecture but still having a traditional touch, because its face is covered in wood.

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Bill Nicholl welcomed us and showed us the conference room in which we met Professor Mark Winterbottom and his Ph.D. student Beth McGregor. The atmosphere was friendly and cooperative and as the colloquium begun Professor Ingelore Mammes, who could not attend, was called via skype to take part in the meeting.
The three Ph.Ds. begun to hold their lectures, Annika Gooss was the first. Her lecture was titled “Intergruppenverhalten von Jungen und Mädchen beim technischen Problemlösen”, Beth McGregor followed with hers “Thinkering- Science Lessons” and Victoria Adensted lectured about “The technological self-concept of primary-pupils”. Mr Nicholl, Prof. Mammes and Prof. Winterbottom made notes during the lectures to give constructive critique in the following discussion. I protocolled the whole meeting.
After the meeting was over we went to have a late lunch with Ms McGregor. In the relaxed ambience of the Homerton cafeteria we spoke about the different systems of receiving a doctor´s degree, holding lectures and doing research. It was refreshing to get a look on the educational system in different universities from another perspective.

Homerton College

Experiencing Cambridge

It was Ms Gooss´s first time in Cambridge as well as mine, so we were lucky to have Ms Adenstedt with us who had done a Ph.D. exchange to Cambridge before. She showed us around the colleges and the city, which basically only consists of colleges. It was inspiring to see historic places like the Eagles Pub in which Watson and Crick discussed about the structure of the DNA, to have a look on Darwin’s notebook in the natural history museum, to stand in front of Newton´s apple tree or walk by the building in which Stephen Hawkings office rooms are placed. With a look on the Royals Family it was interesting to see the Trinity Hall College from which Prince Charles earned his bachelor degree. On the 20th we booked a guided tour through the city which was beautiful. We were lucky, on this Sunday were the disputations of the doctoral theses and we got to see all the Ph.Ds. in their traditional robes with their proud parents by their sides. We visited the chapel of King´s College, but missed the world famous choir before we head off to the airport.

It was very helpful for the Ph.D. students to meet with other CETE members for suggestions to their researches and for me it was a pure motivation to see the beauty of an old university city and also to do a bit of networking.

By Helena Spyrou

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Living and working in Cambridge

It is unbelievable but my exchange to Cambridge is almost finished and I will already leave in a couple of days. Time flew fast and I gathered a lot of experiences and got insights into the University of Cambridge, the people living here and also into the surroundings!

I spend my working hours at the Faculty of Education in Hillsroad, North-West from the city centre. It is a nice building with lots of windows and open spaces. Bridges are linking the right and left side office floors. Thus, you are not only getting the feeling of freedom physically, but it literally helps you to get an open mind. The office where I spent most of my time is on the third floor on top of the building – a worthy place for technology education.

Very often I have also been sitting in the beautiful library of the Faculty of Education. It is no dark and dusty place stuffed with old books like one could imagine thinking of such an old and famous university. No, it is bright and spacious and invites you to let your thoughts wander as well as to focus on intensive literature research. Both very important aspects to foster the quality of your research!

But the best thing about this library is the library expert team. They always help you with nearly every question you have (questions concerning the IT support could of course be better answered from the equally friendly IT team next door).

Living in Cambridge means not only living with all the tourists visiting Cambridge every day being impressed by the city and its sights as I have been during my exchange; it also means living with lots of students populating the streets and pathways of the city riding their bikes and consulting Google maps to find the right way to their seminars.

During my weekends I travelled around the near surroundings to get to know the country, its residents and their customs. London was an attractive destination with all the sights and monuments! But also Audley End is one of the nicest towns in England and definitely worth visiting. Between March and October you can visit its interesting manor house and get impressions about life in past centuries. Absolutely worth doing!

So I will enjoy my last days staying in Cambridge before going back home to Germany to the routines of daily university life.

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Now it`s getting historical! Welcome to the University of Cambridge

Cambridge is not only a town with a University but also a University with a town. Whoever is walking through the many small lanes of this city will ingest the history with every step – the University is everywhere. Cambridge will be my home for the next three months to do research projects and to write articles together with colleagues Bill Nicholl, Marc Winterbottom and Ian Hosking in context of our CETE-network. Three months is really not a long time but long enough to figure out a good accomodation and to get familiar with the surrounding area.

Arrival in Cambridge is easy. The residents are used to be surrounded by tourists with their cameras and guides as well as thousands of university students from other countries or visiting professors from all over the world who are learning, teaching and doing research at one of the famous universities of the world. One of the famous? – The residents would say it is the most famous university of all. They are very proud of their heritage. Only the university with the O. is also accepted (Oxford). Although you have to keep in mind that the University of Cambridge´s primary colour is a lighter shade of blue, hence the residents of Cambridge refer to Oxford as, ‘‘the others come from the dark side…!“

The best way to get to know why the residents are so proud of their University is to book a guided tour offered by the tourist information office. I did not regret the two hours tour.  Guided by Sybilla (the wife of the master of the Corpus Christi College – quasi-insider) as Cambridge can only be understood by standing in the courtyard of a college or smelling the atmosphere of a buildings, such as the famous college dining halls that are literally hundreds of years old.

Already the strucure of the university is totaly different from German ones. To study or teach at the University you have to be a member of one of the 31 Colleges. The University is then a quasi umbrella, where all the Faculties and Insitutes are responsible for teaching and research.

As a quasi social backbone of the University, the Colleges are responsible for the accomodation and supply as well as student tutorials and general welfare. Thus, there is a certain amount of ‘kudos‘ associated with being a member of a particular college.

One day I walked trough Cambridge to get familiar with the University and was surprised by many male and female students walking around Cambridge with their parents. After my guided tour I do now know that this were the so-called ‘‘Volvo-Days“ where parents pick-up their children from their respective boarding schools at the end of term.

So, as you can see Cambridge has many traditions and standards and it will be a great privilege for me as a visiting professor to get to know more about the structure and administration of one of the most successfull universities in the world.

Ingelore Mammes

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Summer School at University of Duisburg-Essen

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The first CETE Summer School took place from 20th June until 22nd June 2016 at the University of Duisburg-Essen. 50 participants from seven different countries took part, professors, young academics as well as master students came together to exchange and expand their knowledge and experience about technology education.

The first day started about noon with a welcome and opening by Prof. Dr. Münk and Mrs. Günther (University of Duisburg-Essen), followed by the first keynote speech held by Prof. Dr. de Vries about the link between STEM education and technology education. He pointed out that STEM education may be the key to raise the status of technology education, which still struggles with a negative image.

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Afterwards Dr. Prüfer chaired the forum in which participants from universities, the Association of German Engineers, the Essen Chamber of Commerce and Industry and schools discussed the connection between science, industry and school against the background of technology education. The day finished with an informal meet & greet in the foyer, to give the participants the possibility to get to know each other.

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Tuesday started with the second keynote by Prof. Dr. Max (University of Luxembourg) that presented different inquiry-based learning processes via tablets before the participants could choose between several sessions with topics about e.g. technology education in different educational levels. The social event in the evening led the members to the “Phänomania Erfahrungsfeld”, which is an exhibition for experiencing science, especially physical phenomena. The exhibition is positioned at the Zeche Zollverein area, which has been an UNESCO world heritage since 2001.

During the Summer School the members repeatedly came together in the Networking Café to talk about their work or experiences they made in the workshops or sessions.

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The final day startet with a keynote speak from Prof. Dr. Marra. She talked about the importance of collaboration in STEM learning and presented two online environments to support meaningful collaboration. After that the participants could choose between several workshops e.g. Research of Technology Education in Primary School or Challenge and Responsibility of an Education Concept through the Social Challenge of Mobility. The participants dealt with subjects as HTML5 Animations, eye tracking methodology or problem solving learning with Fischer-Technik.

The Summer School ended with a conference dinner nearby the university, so the participants had the chance to compare notes about the workshops and experiences of the last three days.

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“Hinc lucem et pocula sacra” – Welcome to the University of Cambridge.

What an amazing opportunity to go to the University of Cambridge. Some of the brilliant minds in history have graduated from this university. But there is a misunderstanding – there is no “University of Cambridge”. There are 18,000 students studying in 31 Colleges and 150 Departments, Faculties, Schools and other institutions. However, this confederation of Departments, School, Faculties and Colleges are organise by a central administration team. The University of Cambridge is rich in history. It is one of the world’s oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known world-wide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges.

History of an extraordinary town

When you are staying in Cambridge it is impossible to not seeand hear from the rich history of this former small village. This considerable town exists since at least 875. The town took its name from the bridge across the river Cam – “CAM-BRIDGE”. The town was always an important trading centre with a number of other religious institutions, two hospitals and a castle on the north side of the bridge. In 1209, scholars taking refuge from hostile townsmen in Oxford migrated to Cambridge and settled there. By 1226 the scholars were numerous enough to have set up an organisation, represented by an official called a Chancellor, and seem to have arranged regular courses of study, taught by their own members. King Henry III took the scholars under his protection as early as 1231 and tried to ensure that they had a monopoly on teaching. The teaching took the form of reading and explaining texts; the examinations were oral disputations in which the candidates advanced a series of questions or theses which they disputed or argued with opponents a little senior to themselves, and finally with the masters who had taught them. Some of the masters, but by no means all, went on to advanced studies in divinity, canon and civil law, and, more rarely, medicine, which were taught and examined in the same way by those who had already passed through the course and become doctors. The doctors grouped themselves into specific faculties. The earliest College was St Peter’s or ‘Peterhouse’, founded in 1284. Michaelhouse, Clare, Pembroke, Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall, Corpus Christi, King’s, Queens’ and St Catharine’s followed during the next 100 years. Three late foundations, Jesus, Christ’s and St John’s, emerged from the dissolution of small religious houses before 1520 and, like the King’s Hall, provided for younger scholars as well as ‘post-graduates’. In 2009, after a long history, the University of Cambridge reached a special milestone – 800 years of people, ideas and achievements that continue to transform and benefit the world. Celebrating the best of Cambridge’s rich history and looking forward to the future, the University reflected on the myriad achievements and world-changing ideas born within its walls, from the establishment of the fundamentals of physics to the discovery of the structure of DNA; from the transformative thinking of great Cambridge philosophers, poets and artists; to the groundbreaking work of its many Nobel Prize winners.

Maybe you ask yourself – where does she know all these things from?  . . .  Well I took part at one of those many punting tours across the Cam. I enjoyed a fantastic view of the world famous Cambridge College ‘Backs’ from the comfort of a traditional Cambridge Punt. I had a special view of King’s College Chapel, the Wren Library at Trinity College and the Mathematical Bridge
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It was fun and I can recommend a punting tour warmly to everybody who will visit Cambridge!

 

Living and working in Cambridge

During my exchange I work at the Faculty of Education. The Faculty of Education from the University of Cambridge is located in the McIntyre Building next to Homerton College. The building was opened in 2005 and it was named the Donald McIntyre Building in 2009, after Donald McIntyre a Professor and former member of Faculty. The design of the new building is very modern, open and includes a wonderful new library – in which I work most of the time.

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My UK-CETE colleagues invited me to take part in some lectures for PGCE Students. PGCE courses prepare graduates to teach – especially in D&T (Design and Technology). The courses are taught in partnership with local schools with trainees spending 120 days of the course working with teachers and children across the East Anglia region and 60 days based at the Faculty. Prof. Dr. Greta Defeyer, a psychologist from the Northumbria University, was invited to one of those courses, too. Together with the students we talked about creativity and how it could be possible to measure it – especially in school-projects? How could criteria “capture” creativity? What kind of lessons / materials allow children to be creative? It was a unique lesson and I plan to include some of these exercises into my own lectures as well.

During the week I was also allowed to take part in one of the DOT-team meetings. DOT is a research project – Designing Our Tomorrows (DOT). Bill (our UK CETE-member) is co-investigator of this EPSRC Funded Research Project in collaboration with the Engineering Design Centre (Engineering Department in Cambridge), Royal College of Art (Henry Hamlyn Centre, London), and Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI) of Loughborough University. We talked about the material and how children have to be creative when they are working with it, about the social problems that children are confronted with and have to find solutions for.

After Bill and all the others worked so long on the DOT-boxes, they wanted a feedback from teachers, who have to work with the material in the future. For this reason they invited 5 teachers from local schools to test the material and give a feedback. All those teachers are teaching D&T in their schools but have different backgrounds: one of them studies industrial design, one engineering and another design & art.

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Bill and his team (including Dr. Ian Hosking – an Advisory Board member of CETE) listened very carefully. We discussed more or less important details of the DOT-boxes, like: size of the worksheets, color or no color for the worksheets, should the material and worksheets are collected in a book or not . . . As you can see my first weeks were full of interesting courses, meetings and new experiences. I hope I can remember all the ideas I have for my own lectures.

Since I started my exchange in Cambridge I recognised that this town and its students are very international. At my first dinner-party I talked to people from France, Belgium, Netherland, Switzerland as well as Spain and of course England too. It was a wonderful evening: listing to and speaking with all these languages and hearing from their experiences. It is unbelievable for me that the first two weeks of my exchange are already over. So many things happened and I did not recognise that time has gone by so fast.

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