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Trialogical approach to network in many ways

I had my first contact with the trialogical approach when listening Kai Hakkarainen’s lecture in 2011; he is one of the creators of the model. After that, I asked PhD Hanni Muukkonen to give a workshop in our school 2011 about the modern concepts of learning. The trialogical approach seemed exactly what should be done in upper secondary. At that time it was, however, difficult to find out what kind of collaborative knowledge creation could be used for something real in upper secondary studies.

When Liisa Ilomäki and Minna Lakkala had a workshop in our school in which we designed a teaching entities following a designing template, the trialogical approach became somewhat clearer. We succeeded to plan, step by step, an entity of several subjects focusing on the phenomenon of human rights, and later on, we also created a collaborative environment into Blogger, which was thought to be used and filled in during the courses. In Blogger ( ), the collaborative knowledge creation appeared as sharing of experiences between the courses and the blog made it also possible to share to everyone in the school. When I then had the possibility to see in KNORK Final conference 2016 the various implementations of various schools and teachers, the trialogical approach started to seem as a natural way of learning and teaching

I decided to apply trialogical approach and phenomenon-based learning for an applied course of voluntary work, which is organized once a year. In the topic, cross-fertilization between students and organisations of voluntary work is natural, especially because the students get to know the real volunteers and activities in various organisations and they themselves also participate in the voluntary work and not only search information in the Internet. I had already previously built a network of volunteers in organisations and, based on students’ wishes, I also created more contacts so that students could choose the organization they were interested in.

According to trialogical approach, my aim was to intensify the sharing of information and experiences between students by using digital tools and to create a longitudinal process of working for understanding the connection between voluntary work and human rights. The aim was that the outcome would be available to all students. Now that I conducted the process for a second time (in 2016), I also dared to take in to use collaborative writing tools, such as Answergarden ( ) and Padlet (, which we successfully used for collecting ideas and thoughts about the elements of good life and the human rights which support these elements. Students also collected collaboratively information into Google Presentations ( about organisations  which look after those people and grounds of life in which human rights have become under threat. In the end of the course we collected all experiences into that presentation. I asked students’ outcomes to be linked into Fronter (a learning environment used in our school) and these were presented to the whole student group.

The Human rights –blog did not activate students well enough because they were not given author rights and I had to link students’ outcome and collect the contents of the course. During the first implementation we collected Facebook-photos from various events but even that remained mainly my task. I could not demand that students have a Facebook account.

For the second implementation I created an own blog for the course. Students wrote individually or in pairs what they had experienced and learned. The blog appeared useful in the way that students could share experiences of events in which only some of them participated. Students could also upload pictures from Dropbox to be published in the blog.

In my course, sharing to others came true almost as by accident as the students wanted to share what they had learnt by organizing first-aid “control points” in our school, by inviting asylum seekers to school, and by opening the blog to anyone: students wanted to have a link into the blog in the virtual journal of our schools. In addition, students and I, too, shared the experiences also in the individual social media accounts. So this is how the cross-fertilization took place in the course also at this level. In future, I would like to find new cloud services which would serve my needs even better. I would like to found such an environment where we could build our common thinking and collect information and experiences of various voluntary work organisations, and the final outcome would be an overall picture in which one could investigate details more in depth.

The advantage of participating in KNORK project has definitely been the inspiration and support in reflecting and developing own work. Brainstorming and peer help with the other teachers who participated in KNORK in our school has been natural, and we have inspired each other for further development of ideas. University researchers’ critical questions have encouraged to thing the issues through a theoretical model and approach. Already during the first year of the KNORK project I understood what I could develop in my voluntary course and what of these insights I could transfer to all my other courses. Now I have developed longitudinal working processes in all my courses, and I have adopted actively digital tools and many kinds of cloud services to them. The trialogical approach has started to seem the best direction. To have meaningful learning, there should always be participatory independent and collaborative knowledge search and creation for some further use.

Anu-Elina Väkeväinen, teacher of psychology, religion and media, Helsingin Medialukio

Anu-Elina on the right. The picture is from a major national conference of Interactive technology in education in April 2014. The other teacher is Pia Kovalainen from Vantaa Vocational College Varia.


Happy KNORK researchers in sunny Helsinki

In May 23.-24. Klas Karlgren came to work  with the researchers in University of Helsinki.  So much research done related to KNORK! We talked about the research deliverable and started to write it, and we talked about a special issue of KNORK studies. The aim is to get it done during this year. Also some new ideas for articles and conference presentations were discussed. Nice plans, now we just need to get these done!

Researchers in the fotos: Klas Karlgen, Minna Lakkala, Hanni Muukkonen, Sami Paavola and Auli Toom.



Helsinki (1)

KNORK in a Finnish technology & education conference

KNORK outcomes were presented in ITK conference, the major Finnish conference about digital interactive technology in education. About 1 500 people participate every April in Hämeenlinna, Finland, to see and hear news about digital technology, to network, to get inspiration and ideas and simply to learn about technology in teaching and learning. For us participants  it is an extraordinary event because the participants come from various fields: we are teachers, principals, technology developers, researchers and people from administration. The spirit of the conference is creative and progressive, maybe because all people want to promote the use of technology and new ideas in general – so our KNORK approach to knowledge work and new competences fit well in the program.

Finnish KNORK partners – University of Helsinki, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Helsinki Upper Secondary School of media arts – together with Vantaa Vocational College Varia (a school which has had a lot of collaboration with KNORK) had an own exhibition stand, a small room, where we had posters of the project and computers available to show the digital outcomes, such as Re-Use Library and teacher training package. So two days in the conference we spoke, spoke, spoke but talking with visitors was really fun! It was impossible to say how many people visited our stand but 41 visitors evaluated the outcomes and left their contact information to get materials from KNORK. Quite good result! And even more: many of these wanted to have collaboration with KNORK partners in the future, e.g. for teacher training. This is how KNORK continues its life even after the project end!
Examples of the feedback in our questionnaire:

  • Really inspiring and fresh approach;
  • You have done great job and a lot of useable outcomes;
  • Collaboration (suggestion) for teacher continuing education.


Pictures of the presentation space.
Building the room computer Hannu and Liisa Three ladies WP_20160414_006 WP_20160414_010


Intensively using collaborative learning, team work and close cooperation between secondary school and the university we at TUS and TUES reach visible results with great achievements and recognition at the EU level. We are the champions (it was such song) at the largest global line trace type robot competition “Renesas MCU Car Rally 2016”

Preparing for the competition was an excellent learning opportunity for teams from TUS and TUES to work in collaboration on common tasks developing a functioning model rally car that included sensors and a microcontroller. The challenge for the teams was to build a self-guided car from a supplied kit of components and to optimize the hardware/software performance so to win the race against other peers.

We are happy to announce that we are the winners of the MCU Car Rally 2016, which took place on 25th February at embedded world exhibition in Nuremberg. All together 24 teams from 16 universities all over Europe comprising 120 students, supported by 20 professors, participated. The competition targets European University students, but our Secondary School TUES team, supervised by university assistant, was qualified for the finals and took 6-th place beating around 100 university students.

1st Place:    Team NEUTRINO, Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria
6th Place:    Team TUES, Technology School “Electronic Systems”, Bulgaria

This video from organizers shows the 2nd European Renesas MCU Car Rally held on 25th February at embedded world 2016 in Nuremberg. Watch the finals and the awards ceremony.

The interviews with the winners were shown in National TV channels and published in many newspapers in Bulgaria. All these emphasize that this great achievement happened because of strong team work in close university-school collaboration.


Renesas Competition
Renesas Competition

Bulgarian Team
Bulgarian Team

Winners-TUS Students
Winners-TUS Students, Bulgaria

Winners-TUS Students, Bulgaria
Winners-TUS Students, Bulgaria

TUES Student Team
TUES Student Team

TUES Team Car
TUES Team Car

The KNORK Seminar and Teachers’ Workshop

The KNORK seminar and teachers’ workshop took place from 1-4 February 2016 in the educational sports center of the Technical University of Sofia, situated at the Semkovo resort in Rila mountain, Bulgaria.

The seminar was attended by 25 participants, including university lecturers from several Departments of TU-Sofia, teachers from Technology School Electronic Systems (TUES), researchers from Bulgarian Academy of Science, as well as 40 secondary students from TUES.

The seminar focused on KNORK outcomes and especially on results of application of Trialogical Learning Approach (TLA). These were illustrated by presenting several pedagogical cases carried out in Bulgaria in secondary and higher education on different topics and subjects. Benefits of using collaborative knowledge creation with rich use of digital cloud technologies, applying project based collaborative learning and using university learning approaches in secondary schools were considered. The exchange of teacher experience was supported by discussion with TUES students, already passing courses with trialogical design principles in their education. Their opinion and feedback were very positive and useful for teachers and lead to many questions from other secondary students which will use such approach.

After seminar the teachers’ workshop was conducted with teachers and researchers interested in applying and improving collaborative knowledge creation practices and digital competences in secondary and higher education as well as in research institutions. Participants were not only from Electronics Department, but from Departments of Programming, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Physical Education and Sport, secondary teachers of foreign languages, communication systems, computer networking, school principle and researcher from the Space Research and Technology Institute of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The KNORK objectives, the TLA, the application of Trialogical Design Principles were considered. Cloud technologies and their use in collaborative knowledge creation were discussed. The group work was conducted for designing pedagogical scenarios with adoption on new TLA for school and university coursed.

KNORK Teachers Workshop
KNORK Teachers Workshop

KNORK Students Seminar
KNORK Students Seminar

KNORK Students Seminar
KNORK Students Seminar

KNORK Students Seminar
KNORK Students Seminar


Our way to say Thank You and Good Bye to the wonderful participants in the KNORK Conference held in Rome a few days ago.

It was a gorgeous experience!

A concrete chance to go trialogical and see and touch teachers’ efforts to innovate learning and the results they have when applying the TLA in their courses. Thanks again to all of you for your contribution and enthusiasm.

It was a pleasure for the Italian Unit (Sapienza and Bari) to organize and hold the Conference!


KNORK International Conference

The KNORK project team is glad to invite you to attend the international conference on Trialogical Learning Approach  (TLA) for collaborative knowledge creation. 
The conference is addressed  to teachers, researchers, headmasters and all persons interested in improving collaborative knowledge creation practices and digital competences in secondary and higher education. 
The Trialogical Learning Approach will be illustrated both from  a research and practice perspective by experts from KNORK partner organisations and countries, including pedagogical cases carried out in Bulgaria, Finland, Italy and Sweden, and a poster session. 
The conference will take place on Tuesday 12th January 2016 at 13.30 in Rome, Italy at La Sapienza University Faculty of Medicine and Psychology 
You have 2 ways to participate in the conference
·         virtually, following the live webcast at

·         or at presence, by attending the full conference in Rome, 78 via dei Marsi – Department of Social and Developmental Psychology ( 

Presenting KNORK Outcomes at the National Forum “Opportunities for the development of e-education in Bulgaria”

The event is organized in the partnership of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, Rector’s Council and BAIT (Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies), which is the biggest, most representative and influential branch organization in the sphere of information and communication technologies in Bulgaria.

The event is very wide forum of exchanging views and ideas about VISION FOR VAST IMPLEMENTATION OF ICT IN EDUCATION IN BULGARIA. The target audience was more than 500 persons of the whole country: teachers from secondary schools, university lecturers, experts from ministry of education, heads of business companies, representatives of education commission in the Parliament, rectors of Universities, and heads of foreign companies in the ICT sector and education. Among official guest were Minister of Education, Head of the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria, Member of the European Parliament and eSkills for Jobs Аmbassador, Chair of the Managing Board of BAIT, Founder and Managing Partner of Solytron SD, Senior Manager of  Oracle Academy etc.

Discussed topics were:

  • Reform in education according to the national and European Commission priorities
  • Financing of secondary and higher education at national and European level
  • Educational content according to the business requirements
  • Preparing the young professionals for the labor market
  • The growing demand for ICT professionals
  • Collaboration between the business and universities

Tania Vasileva (TUS) and Stela Stefanova (TUES) were invited speakers concerning topics “Integration between universities and secondary education” and “Implementing University approaches in secondary professional education”

Е-learning_conference in Bulgaria
Е-learning_conference in Bulgaria

The feedbacks of participants after discussion are given graphically below:

Tania e-conference average score Stela e-conference average score

Tania Vasileva e-conference average score         Stela Stefanova e-conference average score

Tania: average score 5.41, very useful 50%, relatively useful 45%, useful 5%

Stela: average score 5.37, very useful 47%, relatively useful 42%, useful 11%

It is hard to chance practices – or is it?

In KNORK we strongly aim to changes in teachers’ pedagogical practices. The change process of working practices is always quite hard, not only for teachers but for all of us; daily routines are so comfortable even if not always trendy. Like old shoes, which you know that you should not anymore use in circulation but every now and then you do that.

For teachers such comfortable practices serve also as a proof of students’ learning because the practices have “always” worked well. In KNORK the means for supporting teachers to change the pedagogical practices are trialogical workshops: workshops in which teachers talk about their courses in a structures way. The structure is based on the trialogical principles; e.g. first to talk about what is the collaborative object of activities for students’ work and learning.

After several workshops with teachers of universities, vocationals schools and upper secondary schools we have noticed that it works. The changes are seldom something revolutionary new, they usually are more like taking a few steps forward and the reflecting the outcomes, but the direction is forward. In a recent article (see; Lakkala, Toom, Ilomäki & Muukkonen) we presented results of university teachers’ pedagogical designs after teacher workshop and some consulting discussions. Althought the results are from higher education, the practical experiences indicate a very similar process in upper secondary and vocational schools.

In Rome, in the Final Conference at 12.1.2016 we will present results of several courses in the participating organisations. It is really interesting to see how we have managed, what are the changes like and do the design principles need modification.

In the photo, teachers of Medialukio started their change process by integrating research type of activities in chemistry, physics, and biology. The new entity was called Energy in ecosystem.

medialukio opet

Students, Computers and Learning: Making The Connection- OECD Report

The recently published OECD Report “Students, Computers and Learning: Making The Connection”  is food for thought for researchers, teachers and public authorities. The data collected and analysed by OECD in this report, in fact, reveal that “countries which have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT) for education have seen no noticeable improvement in their performances in PISA results for reading, mathematics or science”.

Someone maybe was surprised by reading that “Students who use computers moderately at school tend to be somewhat more skilled in online reading than students who rarely use computers. But students who use computers very frequently at school do a lot worse in reading, even after accounting for students’ background”.

But this is something that we already know: Increasing the use of ICT tools and computers at school is not “per se” the solution to improve the level of proficiency of students. ICT should be integrated into effective teaching and learning environments, and teachers  and pedagogy are still the key elements for an effective learning.

The report also highlights  disparities between advantaged and disadvantaged students in digital reading  – which are very similar to the differences in the traditional reading test, despite the vast majority of students using computers whatever their background.

This it to say: to reduce inequalities in digital skills, we need to improve equity in education first.

More info