67 research outputs found

    Empowerment of women through an innovative e-mentoring community platform: implications and lessons learned

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    This article presents an overview of an e-mentoring community platform that intends to promote women’s empowerment. Women face the so-called glass ceiling effect, the barrier that keeps them from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements. We aim to eliminate the stereotypical profile of women as excluded from economic, political, and professional life and promote women’s empowerment, equality, and social coherence. To this aim, we aspire to develop Womenpower, an innovative e-mentoring community platform that intends to link women mentors and mentees in the areas of academia, business, and healthcare. Given the nature of this endeavor, there is a need to approach the development of the e-mentoring platform as a horizontal process and democratize the design, allowing for different perspectives of stakeholders to be heard and determine the design decisions. This article delineates the approach adopted for democratizing the design process and maximizing intended users’ involvement in the development process. Finally, we conclude with implications for researchers and practitioners in Community Informatics and recommendations for promoting the participation of women in the fields of academia, business, and healthcare

    Empowerment of women through an innovative e-mentoring community platform: implications and lessons learned

    Get PDF
    This article presents an overview of an e-mentoring community platform that intends to promote women’s empowerment. Women face the so-called glass ceiling effect, the barrier that keeps them from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements. We aim to eliminate the stereotypical profile of women as excluded from economic, political, and professional life and promote women’s empowerment, equality, and social coherence. To this aim, we aspire to develop Womenpower, an innovative e-mentoring community platform that intends to link women mentors and mentees in the areas of academia, business, and healthcare. Given the nature of this endeavor, there is a need to approach the development of the e-mentoring platform as a horizontal process and democratize the design, allowing for different perspectives of stakeholders to be heard and determine the design decisions. This article delineates the approach adopted for democratizing the design process and maximizing intended users’ involvement in the development process. Finally, we conclude with implications for researchers and practitioners in Community Informatics and recommendations for promoting the participation of women in the fields of academia, business, and healthcare

    Designing for Inclusiveness in EdTech Projects: the Case of the European University of Technology’s XR VR Team

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    This paper will present the case of the XR VR project team within the European University of Technology (EUt+). The team is tasked with developing an extended reality (XR) virtual reality (VR) approach to help students and staff overcome language and cultural barriers in international mobility. The aim of the project ultimately is to enhance the experience of physical student mobility and to ensure international opportunities for students are more inclusive. As research on the problem is still in progress, the team found themselves constructing their own understanding of designing for inclusiveness in the project. This paper presents the case through a qualitative case study methodology involving reflective journals of project participants, a focus group discussion and documentary analysis connected to the project. The findings from the study show how the understanding of ‘inclusiveness’ is constructed through social interactions and consequently how designing for inclusiveness in digital projects in education is a journey influenced by evolving meanings. Our study makes important contributions to the students with disability literature and technology in education literature

    From Speaking Skills to Virtual Mobilities: Challenges of VR Technologies in Communication from the European University of Technology

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    Within the vision of the European University of Technology (EUt+), a University Alliance of 8 European partners, augmenting a Mobility Friendly Plan through a virtual worlds approach, helps prepare students to overcome communication, language and cultural barriers. Such virtual environments can allow students to be immersed in the academic environments of the destination location, creating spaces for team building, collaboration, and creative activities. In the context of effective social interaction, communication and language learning become key pillars. Technological means that develop key competencies and abilities in such immersive environments, should be tackled. The current paper describes three uses cases of VR environments from the European University of Technology Alliance, implemented with the purpose of facilitating communication skills to overcome language and cultural barriers. The application of various technology levels, from prototype-based to customization of existing platforms is analyzed, under a TAM adoption assessment, to identify common challenges that may accompany the development of a shared VR campus, intended for effective communication, while providing the students a feeling of comfort, safety and confidence

    Analysis of foreign language teachers ´attitudes towards digital teaching in the European Union Countries

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    In the present era, both learning and teaching, including foreign language learning (FLL) and teaching, are being radically influenced by a massive implementation of digital technologies. The purpose of this study is to analyze foreign language teachers’ attitudes towards the use of technologies in foreign language teaching across Europe and to identify clear implications for their efficient implementation. The methodology of this study includes a mixed-method research design (quantitative and qualitative) with a survey conducted with altogether 234 foreign language (FL) teachers from different universities across Europe. The results clearly show that FL teachers generally have a positive attitude towards the use of technologies in their classes and that they frequently use them in their teaching since they can make students more engaged in learning a foreign language. In fact, the FL teachers have always been at the forefront of innovative approaches to teaching and learning. In spite of this, they admit that they would welcome more professional support from the management of their home institutions and demand training in the use of new technologies. The results of the research also indicate that special attention should be paid to the lack of personal contact, students' reactions, and the expression of emotions, which is difficult and almost impossible to achieve through the use of digital media. These findings are unique since they aim specifically at current FL teachers´ attitudes and needs across Europe and can be utilized by stakeholders and FLL course designers. Moreover, they can also be extended to a larger scale, i.e., the global levelThis study was supported by COST Action CA19102 project ‘Language in the Human-Machine Era’ (LITHME

    Using social technologies in computer assisted language learning: development of a theoretical and methodological framework

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    The use of social technologies in language learning is becoming more widespread. Although theoretical and methodological frameworks exist for the use of these technologies for language learning, their applicability is still unclear. To fill this void, the current thesis sets off to explore the theoretical framework of Papert’s constructionism as a pervasive theoretical paradigm on which the use of social technologies in CALL can draw upon. In the paper the progress achieved in the current thesis is outlined, as well as the future action plan

    The development of a constructionist learning model for social technologies

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    The rapid popularity of social technologies has led to a wide spread of research studies conducted in formal and informal contexts demonstrating a wide range of their benefits in teaching and learning. Yet, the burst of studies exploring these technologies confronts with two threads with regard to their theoretical and pedagogical alignment. Firstly, a substantial number of studies is not aligned to a theoretical framework; whereas the implementation of Web 2.0 technologies in classroom settings calls for better task-technology alignment. The conundrum raised is that, whilst students increasingly engage with these tools in their everyday lives, there is still lack of Web 2.0 practices that draw on the specific features of these tools and align them with educational goals under well-designed activities. With this in mind, this dissertation brought forward a three-year intervention, employing constructionism as an overarching theoretical framework, and unpacking the potential of social technologies as instructional tools that support social construction of artifacts by groups of language learners. The leading research question of this dissertation is “How can constructionism ground and expand the use of social technologies as social constructionist tools in learning?”. Constructionism is a theory of learning, teaching, and design, which can be summarized in the conviction that learning occurs more effectively when learners understand the world around them by creating meaningful artifacts that can be probed and shared. In an attempt to infuse elements of constructionism in the use of social technologies, group of learners were assigned a task for social construction of an artifact using social technologies in three different Computer-Assisted Language Learning settings To understand the use of social technologies through the lens of constructionism, the process that students adopted and the way technology and context fostered this process were analyzed. The implementation of the intervention made feasible the identification of (i) core dimensions of social technologies as social constructionist tools; (ii) actions that capitalize the manifestation of constructionism within social technologies (iii) teacher‟s and students‟ role within social constructionist tools; and (iv) features of different social technologies as social constructionist tools. The main component of this dissertation is the constructionist model that demonstrates the core dimensions of social technologies as social constructionist tools, with actions held for the social construction of an artifact; and a set of instructional design elements that encloses the theoretical understanding of the classroom whilst groups of learners use social technologies for constructing an artifact. The Social Constructionist Classroom (SCC) yields an environment rich in objects-to-share-with, following an artifact oriented task design and fostered through synergetic alliance of multiple social technologies, whilst moving beyond classroom walls. As a result, the findings of this dissertation provide an in-depth understanding of how social technologies can be used for facilitating groups of learners to socially construct a shared artifact. Moreover, through the analysis of different types of social technologies, a new arena for using social technologies is deployed, offering insights for multimedia designers, interface architects, instructional designers, and practitioners towards a new culture of educational tools.Complete

    Virtual reality in language learning: a systematic review and implications for research and practice

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    The increasing popularity of Virtual Reality (VR) has provoked scholars’ and educators’ interest to explore its potential as a learning environment for various fields of education. Along this line, several literature reviews have analysed and synthesised the educational use of VR; however, scholar activity is lacking a recent review of VR on a specific field of interest such as language learning. Thus this paper delineates the contour of scholarly literature on VR as an emerging technology in language teaching and learning. Using 17 high-impact journals and conferences in the fields of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Educational Technology as a source, 26 scholarly manuscripts were retrieved from 2015 to 2018, analysed and synthesised under the following foci: (a) technologies used, language learning settings and duration of educational activities; (b) benefits and limitations from using VR as an educational tool in the language classroom; (c) future research directions regarding the educational use of VR based on the reviewed literature. This paper argues that VR is an invaluable tool in the language classrooms but entails challenges regarding its technical configuration, as well as its pedagogical grounding. The study concludes with some discussion and implications for researchers and practitioners

    Gender-sensitive tools and materials for women empowerment in STEM: a systematic review with industrial and instructional recommendations and implications

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    This systematic literature review aims to collect and uncover the various types of tools and materials available—digital and traditional—for tackling gender equality in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Considering the various facets of gender-equality, this review provides an overview of different tools and materials used in the wider academic and industrial community for supporting or empowering women to enrol or remain active in STEM fields. Published manuscripts between 2001 and 2021 were searched electronically with an eye to retrieve the relevant published literature on the topic. Traditional and digital gender-sensitive tools and materials were identified, classified and described together with their benefits and drawbacks. This review demonstrates the variety of gender-sensitive materials and tools employed in higher education institutions to empower women to enrol and remain active in the field of STEM. Industrial and instructional design recommendations were drawn from the review as well as implications for professionals and researchers
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