ICALT 2022
Keynote Speakers



Educational engineering as a research method for designing and evaluating multimodal learning environments
Josef COLPAERT, University of Antwerp, Belgium

TBASummary of presentation: Engineering, defined here as “the strategy to apply when not enough knowledge is available” is an adequate method for helping teachers to make the best possible decision when confronted with situations or contexts they are not prepared or trained for. Educational engineering is about formulating and validating the best possible hypotheses based on theory and on practical experience. The most adequate level to apply this approach is on the level of the learning environment to be designed for a specific context.

Designing a learning environment is not just about choosing and integrating the best possible pedagogical model, evaluation technique or technological tool, but about spreading the learning process over instruction, autonomous learning, coaching and collaborative learning in a fully-fledged multimodal learning environment. The added value of a technology is then defined as the extent to which the functionalities required for creating this environment match the affordances of a particular technology.

Design is about the three A’s: Application (of accepted theories and models), Adaptation (to specific learners and contexts) and Approximation (the cyclic-iterative redesign based on implementation and evaluation). The product of design is always polymorphous: it will always depend on the learner, the teacher, the learning goals and the context. Design can be considered research to the extent that it focuses on the process: the targeted learning effect depends more on our decisions than on the product features.

Biography: Jozef Colpaert teaches Instructional Design, Educational Technology and Computer Assisted Language Learning in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Antwerp. He is editor-in-chief of Computer Assisted Language Learning (Taylor and Francis) and organizer of the International CALL Research Conferences. His ongoing research lines focus on transdisciplinarity, multimodal learning environments, natural language decoding, and motivational task design. He is currently working on the empirical and theoretical validation of Educational Engineering, a novel instructional design and research method.


Learning analytics in social learning environments
Elvira POPESCU, University of Craiova, Romania

TBASummary of presentation: Learning analytics (LA) is a growing research area, which aims at selecting, analyzing and reporting student data, finding patterns in student behavior and displaying relevant information in suggestive formats; the end goal is the prediction of student performance, the optimization of the educational platform and the implementation of personalized interventions. Despite its increasing popularity, LA has been applied less in the context of social media-based environments; hence in this talk I will focus especially on research in social learning analytics area. In particular, I will explore academic performance predictors, students’ collaboration patterns and the community of inquiry supported by social media tools in the context of a social learning platform that we developed. I will share our experience with several methodological approaches: i) network analysis (based on social relations); ii) process-oriented analysis (based on action logs and pattern detection); iii) content-oriented analysis (based on learner created artefacts) – aiming to provide a more comprehensive learning analytics perspective.

Biography: Elvira Popescu is a Full Professor at the Computers and Information Technology Department, University of Craiova, Romania and the Head of the Research Laboratory in Computers and Information Technology. Her research interests include technology-enhanced learning, adaptive educational systems, learning analytics and computer-supported collaborative learning. She authored and co-authored over 100 publications, including two books, journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers. She received several scholarships and awards, including five best paper distinctions. She serves as associate editor for three journals (including IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies), member of five other journal editorial boards, as well as conference chair and program committee chair for numerous conferences. Prof. Popescu is also the Vice Chair for the IEEE Women in Engineering Romania Section Affinity Group and a board member for the IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology and the International Association of Smart Learning Environments. She is also a Distinguished Speaker in the IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Visitors Program.


Resolving the technology paradox in education
Shankar MARUWADA, EkStep Foundation, India

TBASummary of presentation: Does technology create a digital dividend or a digital divide? The landscape of education in India presents complex and multidimensional challenges, primarily due to a growing population, the corresponding increase in the demand for education and the socio-economic & geographical diversity of the country. Any digital solution that seeks to address the problem of education in India has to solve for 240M+ children, 20 languages of instruction, 9.4M teachers and 60 boards of education. How are such obstacles to be taken on? As the world moves to a “digital first” approach to most activities, how do we design digital solutions to address such societal-scale challenges? In countries like India, where the gulf between the affluent and the not-so-affluent is wide, can digital solutions even provide answers? Are there examples we can learn from?

In my session I will be discussing the route adopted by India’s Ministry of Education to solve for this technological paradox and the “building block” approach which powered DIKSHA, the national platform for school education. DIKSHA is powered by Sunbird digital building blocks created by the EkStep Foundation. Digital building blocks enable a ‘system of solutions’ that are interoperable and can plug-and-play across each other, enabling a vast and seemingly unconnected ecosystem of solution creators to effectively coordinate their efforts towards large-scale problem solving across diverse context-rich solutions. A building blocks approach allows an ecosystem to build context-specific solutions (for e.g teacher training modules) while leveraging standardized solution components (algorithms & protocols) and complements (digital instructors). As an ecosystem builds new building blocks, all participants benefit through reuse and cross-leverage, leading to a ‘winners-share-all’ dynamic.

Biography: Shankar Maruwada is Co-founder and CEO of the EkStep Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation which has enhanced access to learning opportunities for 200 million children across India. The Foundation has developed a set of configurable, extendable, modular building blocks under the Sunbird umbrella which are designed for population scale problem solving , are free to use and open sourced under MIT license. Sunbird has been recognised as a Digital Public Good by the Digital Public Goods Alliance and is part of the DPG Registry. Shankar was earlier the Co-founder and CEO of FourthLion Technologies; Head – Demand Generation and Marketing at Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI); and Co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer of Marketics Technologies (now a part of the WNS Group). Shankar is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Kharagpur.