Our point of departure in the project reported in this paper is that learning activity is an activity producing or activity transforming activity (Engeström 1987). Besides conducting research on artefact-mediated interaction, the aim of our Technology and Learning Lab (TELL) is to find out how to use existing technology to produce or transform activities, and thereby promoting expansive learning. In our work, we take for granted that in all learning activities, there is a need for three kinds of mediating artefacts - conceptual, technical-material, and organisational. The aim of the TELL lab is to support design of these kinds of artefacts. In the paper we will focus on the technical-material artefacts, at the same time as we attempt to pay due attention to their relations to appropriate conceptual and organisational artefacts. Technical-material artefacts that are being explored at TELL are: - Development of modules, so called ”learning objects” that may be used in distance learning. (Learning objects are objects to learn from, but we prefer to see them used as tools for learning.) - ”Research objects” which may be shared with students and thus be used in higher education. (In our case they always consists of video or audio recordings, primarily aimed for research.) - ”Talks with researchers” (CHAT researchers or close to). This means that we form a kind of virtual community with our colleagues and our students. The latter get access to the voices and opinions of our research colleagues, and we are able to expand on their themes (at least partially) later on, because we are working within the same theoretical tradition as they are. (These ”Talks” may be used as ”learning objects” but preferably they are used more creatively.) - Artefacts to be used in ”Blended” courses, i.e,, a mix of campus and distance courses that now are being offered at Blekinge Institute of Technology. It can be one of the artefacts mentioned above, but we explore if there are artefacts that for the distance students may compensate for the non-access to campus meetings and at the same time may be used of the campus students, e.g. to foster the written culture that sometimes is weak at campus. - Experiments with platforms for distance learning (open source, e.g. Moodle, The International Fifth Dimension Course Maze). TELL as a tool-producing tool aims at construction artefacts (conceptual, organisational, and physical-material) in order to promote the activity of learning.
Seville, Spain, 2005.