A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend and present at #EdMedia2014 in Tampere, Finland. I was thrilled to visit Finland because I had heard so much about their exceptional educational system and I wanted to know how it translated to their educational technology practice. Also, I wanted to learn more about the Finnish culture. When I was working on my undergraduate degree I had several Finnish friends that had come to Emporia State University for a one semester exchange program. It was very neat to hear them speak Finnish and to learn about their country. One last factor that made me excited to attend the EdMedia2014 conference was the international nature of the meeting. I attended EdMedia in 2010 when it was hosted in Toronto, Canada and I enjoyed meeting colleagues from so many different countries.
The conference this year was hosted at the University of Tampere in the city of Tampere which is about 2 hours northwest of Helsinki. It is a beautiful city with very friendly people. That same kind of friendly environment was shown by our host at the University of Tampere. When I arrived at the registration desk I was greeted by the “minions.” The conference minions were students from the University of Tampere who were volunteering in registration and providing directions to all conference participants.
My presentation was on the first day of the conference so immediately after registration I proceeded to look for the room where I would have my presentation so I was not rushing before my session. After finding the room for my presentation I decided to have some lunch. The cafeteria of the university was in the building where the conference was held so it was a popular place for lunch. I was fortunate to sit in a table with a colleague from Japan and another one from South Africa. We started sharing information about our research interest. We already knew it but our conversation reminded us that educational technology issues have no geographical boundaries.
After lunch, it was time for my session. The session was very well attended, which is important because you want to know that others are interested on your research topic. The titled of my presentation was: Measuring Cognition in CBI using an EEG: A Review of the Literature. If you click the link it will take you to the Prezi of the presentation (you can also visit my “publications” page if you would like access to a full version of the paper). After the session, during the Q&A part of the presentation, I received several interesting questions and some session participants shared very useful information on the topic (conferences, journal articles, etc.). I sat through various sessions that afternoon including presentations related to self-publishing, student portfolios, social media, etc. That evening the EdMedia organizers had prepared a nice event for all conference attendees. The event was a reception in the Old City Hall. It was a beautiful building. There was food, wine, and music.
The second day of the conference started early. There was a keynote presentation. The topic of the keynote was learning analytics. After the keynoted there was a post presentation discussion for those interested on the topic. It was nice to have that informal conversation with the presenter — we should have this type of discussions in other conferences. I made sure to mention to a few of our attendees that there was a recorded webinar that my colleague Min Kyu Kim and myself had facilitated as part of the AECT RTD Division Webinar Series (wooohoo!). The rest of the day included several presentations related to design-based research and other topics of personal interest as well as a poster session with range of educational technology topics. Again, it was very interesting to see the research related to educational technology on a global scale.
Some time during the conference, I stopped by the table were the University of Tampere was showcasing their research projects. Some of their projects included workshop for technology integration and mobile learning. However, the majority of their research related to open education resources and accessibility to research data (I guess you could call it “open research”). It was nice to see this type of initiative and to learn about their application of open educational resources. I also had the opportunity to learn about a their efforts to design and develop physical environments that promote informal learning and social interaction flow. As a tour, some of the attendees visited the Oasis Room, which is a room open to all students and staff. As I mentioned it is a space in which informal learning should occur. I also think that it uses some play-based approach because in the room there are lots of fun activities the students can use during play time.
I truly enjoyed presenting and attending EdMedia2014. I met colleagues from different regions of the world that are doing great research. Also, there is good and important research happening in Finland. We will definitely see more in the literature coming from this and other Scandinavian countries.