Earlier this month, I was at InterMedia, Universitetet i Oslo for a meeting of the Nordforsk Network, Teaching Problem-based Learning in Virtual Learning Environments: Scaffolding Critical Reflection. The Nordforsk Network is coordinated by the University of Aalborg, Denmark and with participants from four Nordic countries. An interesting distinction for those of us from North America is that “Nordic” refers to Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, whereas “Scandinavian” refers to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

The 2011 Nordic Skiing World Championshipswas held in Oslo, so there were a lot of winter festivities in which to take part the first night we were there. There were Munch The Screamice sculptures, an outdoor skating rink, traditional Norwegian food stands, tents of hand-crafted goods (Norwegian colourwork knits), lots of flag waving, Helly Hansen outdoor gear, etc. on the main strip just by our hotel. Pretty neat!

The meeting itself was a great opportunity to meet colleagues in the Nordforsk network and the Lecturers, including Gerhard Fischer , whose talk I missed at the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous 2009 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At the time, Tatiana was 4 months old and though she was very cooperative and slept through much of the Pinpointing Pivotal Moments workshop, she fussed too much for me to take her into Gerhard’s keynote. It was a pleasure to be able to spend time talking to Gerhard about our work on the NEXT-TELL project and to get some advice on our academic trajectory. Gerhard’s ideas on cultures of participation really resonates with me because I think it’s really important to help teachers build the capacity to contribute to designs of CSCL tools. It’s a transition I’d like to scaffold, to support teachers to become designers of CSCL tools rather than to be consumers of these tools.

In terms of scaffolding, I’ve often mulled over whether teachers should fade the scaffold or not with regard to my thesis research on KF scaffolds. I remember talking about this as far back as at a symposium at SITE 2005 in Phoenix in which Niki Davis was the discussant, and the other presenters were Therese Laferriere, Mary Lamon, and Clare Brett. Gerhard’s conceptualizations favour not fading the scaffold and embraces distributed intelligence (Pea, 1993). Very interesting, because it really changes the way we think about instructional scaffolding.


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