The SESAME Colloquium

The SESAME Colloquium offers talks on a variety of subjects related to the learning sciences.

Unless otherwise noted, in-person talks are given on Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30 pm in room 4500, Berkeley Way West (2121 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94704). When talks are given remotely or in hybrid format, a Zoom link is included in the emailed announcement.

Contact sesame.colloquium@berkeley.edu to be added to our mailing list.

Videos of many past talks may be found on our Colloquium YouTube channel.

January 26, 2023: Özge Hacıfazlıoğlu

Cultivating Resilience and Balance In Times Of Uncertainty: Stories Of Faculty Members and Academic Leaders

Özge Hacıfazlıoğlu

UC Berkeley School of Education

Abstract

This talk presents accounts of three complementary papers that investigated topics of balance and resilience in the lives of faculty members and academic leaders.

The first paper is a comparative study that examines the experiences of women leaders in Turkey and the US. It argues that the theme of balance in leadership appeared to be the most influential driving force in women leaders’ stories. It further shows that balance in leadership is associated with balance in two areas: balancing private and professional life, and balance in research, teaching, and leadership (Hacifazlioglu, 2010a). Academics who aspire to become academic leaders experience a number of changes as they move into administration. New academic leaders find themselves immersed in a transition that demands personal development and creates new learning settings. The followup study reveals that initial challenges felt and experienced during the transition stage are similar in both countries. The theme of transition to academic leadership involved the following three subthemes: entry to the academic leadership and adjustment; fit with the institution; and maintaining balance, overcoming resistance, and interpersonal relations. Academic leaders appeared to overcome the initial challenges they encountered through the following strategies: communities of practice, mentor and role models, and leadership training (Hacifazlioglu, 2010b).

The second paper focuses on the excessive practices of entitlement in higher education institutions and investigates the ways in which faculty wellbeing can be cultivated in challenging times. The dilemma of entitlement features in most faculty members’ stories, especially those in leadership roles. The paper shares accounts of faculty members who resigned from their current institutions due to the adverse effects of excessive entitlement on their wellbeing (Doyran and Hacifazlioglu, 2021).

The third paper shares stories of academic administrators traversing in waters of uncertainty during Covid-19. I was part of a team of scholars from Istanbul, Gaziantep, and Berkeley who, once the Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed, began to collect stories of academic leaders from two cosmopolitan cities that are home to different cultures and nationalities, Istanbul and Gaziantep. These narratives revealed the ways in which academic leaders sought to strike a balance between existing policies and the urgent issues they were facing, while also building resilience in dealing with layers of uncertainty that the pandemic made more complex. While for some the decisions they took and implemented and the strategies they created helped to mitigate uncertainty, for others the higher education context became foggier. We felt it important to inform our institutions of our findings, suggesting ways to improve academic leaders’ working conditions so they could become even more effective leaders during crises (Hacifazlioglu, Kuyumcu, Kalkavan and Cheung, 2022).

This research has given me, as a scholar and a leader in higher education, hope and courage to lead in times of change and uncertainty, and it has provided a compass in teaching and leading. The talk is expected to bring insights for the faculty members navigating waters of change and uncertainty, whilst nurturing their souls as scholars, leaders, and teachers.

About the speaker

Dr. Özge Hacıfazlıoğlu is currently a visiting professor at the UC Berkeley School of Education. She has recently served as a professor and a vice rector at Hasan Kalyoncu University in Turkey. She holds a doctorate in Educational Administration and pursued her post-doctorate education at Arizona State University.

Dr. Hacıfazlıoğlu has always been one of the leaders in promoting school faculty collaboration. She has been involved in projects focusing on improving the lives of migrant children and their families in marginalized contexts in different parts of the world. Her research can be categorized under four headings: Higher Education Leadership; Teacher Education, Principal Preparation, and Communities of Practice; Marginalized and Underrepresented Populations; and Doctoral Education.

Dr. Hacıfazlıoğlu is delighted to reflect upon her experiences as a leader scholar of the PLI and LEAD programs and the PhD program in School Psychology, and to contribute as one of the members of communities of practice at UC Berkeley School of Education.

Dr. Hacıfazlıoğlu has been the outreach coordinator on International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) Executive Committee since 2017.

February 2, 2023: Margus Pedaste

Digital competence and learning in Estonia – a country that is well known as one of the best in Europe according to digital readiness and PISA results

Margus Pedaste

University of Tartu, Institute of Education

Abstract

Estonia is a small country in Northern Europe where flexibility in the education system and autonomy of the schools and teachers has led to good results. Estonia ranks first in Europe according to both the Index of Readiness for Digital Lifelong Learning and the PISA results. This talk will focus on how kids learn in Estonia and how their digital competence enables technology-enhanced learning. In this context, I also present data about teachers as agents of change in the learning process.

This presentation is largely tied to the research project DigiEfekt funded by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. In this project we have developed a framework to describe the use of digital learning materials, building on a review of current theoretical models and research studies as well as observations and interviews in schools in Estonia. I will additionally introduce and discuss frameworks of digital competence for learning and digital competence for teaching.

Data about students and teachers help identify clusters of learners and teachers as well as the challenges for further improvement of the technology-enhanced learning process. The results distinguish four profiles of learners as well as four profiles of teachers. The learner profiles are Beginners, Casual users, Creators, and Programmers. The teacher profiles are described according to their main practices and goals of integration of digital technology in the classrooms: Introducing, Facilitating, Motivating, and Deepening.

This new framework of digital competence for teaching highlights the needs to study educators’ decisions about using digital technologies in the learning process for the purpose of promoting equity and inclusion of the learners. The framework distinguishes basic, contextual, and transformative competences. The innovation of the framework lies in the dimension of transformative competence, which consists of creative adaptation of digital technologies in professional contexts and ethical and responsible use of digital technologies. I show how critical ethical and responsible use of technology should lead to better equity and inclusion in education.

About the speaker

Professor Margus Pedaste is currently a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley School of Education working in Professor Linn’s group. At the University of Tartu (Estonia) he is Full Professor of Educational Technology at the Institute of Education of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He leads the Centre for Educational Technology and is also head of Pedagogicum, which is a consortium of all faculties for coordinating teacher education at the University of Tartu.

His teaching and research focus on improving learners’ digital competence and inquiry skills, as well as on educational technology in supporting teaching and learning. He has led or participated as a principal investigator in several international research and development projects to support students’ learning, teachers’ professional development, and teacher education reform in Estonia. He is an associate editor of the journal Educational Research Review. He is also the national educator for the Advanced Trauma Life Support program in Estonia and a member of Tartu Rotary Club.

February 16, 2023: Ane Bjerre Odgaard, Roland Hachmann, Stig Børsen Hansen, Niels Bonderup Dohn, Nina Bonderup Dohn

Designing for situated computational thinking with computational things

Ane Bjerre Odgaard (1), Roland Hachmann (1), Stig Børsen Hansen (1), Niels Bonderup Dohn (2), Nina Bonderup Dohn (1)

(1) Center for Learning Computational Thinking, University of Southern Denmark (SDU); and (2) Danish School of Education, Aarhus University

Abstract

In this talk we present our ongoing research project, Designing for situated computational thinking with computational things. Building on research within situated learning, the project questions the widespread assumption that Computational Thinking (CT) consists in abstract, general, transferable skills that can be trained in one subject and reapplied in unmodified form to others. Instead, the project takes its outset in an understanding of CT as situated and embodied and asks as its main research question:

Research question: How can philosophically consistent and pragmatically useful pedagogical designs for CT be developed which take situativity into account and support learners in transforming their situated CT skills across contexts?

We investigate this question through a set of subprojects focusing on embodied learning and the use of “computational things,” that is, tangible, physical artefacts using algorithms. The subprojects are aimed, on the one hand, at providing a consistent conceptualization of CT as situated and embodied, and on the other, at empirically investigating how to design for the embodied learning of situated computational thinking at all educational levels. We shall present research on pedagogical designs from preschool, primary school and upper secondary school, focusing on whether and how CT integrates with play, transforms school subjects, and motivates for participation.

About the speakers

Ane Bjerre Odgaard is Postdoctoral researcher at University of Southern Denmark and Senior Lecturer at University College South Denmark. Her research focuses on Early Childhood Educational activities with CT at the intersection between technology use and play, https://portal.findresearcher.sdu.dk/en/persons/ane

Roland Hachmann is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at University of Southern Denmark and Senior Lecturer in technology and Learning at University College South Denmark. His research covers educational research, Didaktik, and computational literacy. https://rhachmann.com

Stig Børsen Hansen is an associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark. Originally trained in philosophy of logic, his interests include themes in philosophy, such as technology, language and philosophy of science and their relevance for the learning sciences. https://portal.findresearcher.sdu.dk/da/persons/stbh

Niels Bonderup Dohn is Associate Professor in Science Education at Danish School of Education, Aarhus University. His research focuses on motivation, interest and subject-didactics within science education, https://pure.au.dk/portal/en/persons/niels-bonderup-dohn(1f32b535-2877-475c-8cfc-d2c02d01df1f).html.

Nina Bonderup Dohn is a Professor of Learning and ICT, Head of the Center for Learning Computational Thinking, and Senior Fellow at Danish Institute of Advanced Study at SDU. Her research focuses on situated knowledge, designs for learning with ICT, and computational thinking, https://portal.findresearcher.sdu.dk/en/persons/nina.

March 9, 2023: Keisha Varma

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Keisha Varma

University of Minnesota, Educational Psychology

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March 16, 2023: TBA

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March 23, 2023: Moshe Barak

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Moshe Barak

Department of Science and Technology Education, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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April 27, 2023: Jennifer Higgs

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Jennifer Higgs

University of California, Davis, School of Education

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If you have questions about the Colloquium series, please contact sesame.colloquium@berkeley.edu.