A very successful workshop: CCSTED 2013

After the success of the first edition, organized in September 2012, in Sinaia, Romania, this year, the second edition of the International Workshop on Creative Collaboration through Supportive Technologies in Education – CCSTED 2013, as a Dissemination Seminar of the CoCreat project, has come in conjunction with a traditional conference which aims at investigating, comparing and describing the relations, encounters, intersections, confluences, mutual influences and/or parallels between the Nordic and Baltic Sea areas and the Black Sea region: the Fourth International Conference on Nordic and Baltic Studies of the Romanian Association for Baltic and Nordic Studies – “Empire-building and Region-building in the Baltic, North and Black sea areas“. The wonderful city of Constanţa, Romania (situated at the Black Sea coast), through the efforts of the colleagues from the Ovidius University of Constanţa, hosted the Conference plenary sessions and its sections, where 88 participants from 3 continents (AmericaAsia and Europe) presented the results of their researches. Also, the participants benefited of the opportunity to have in the middle of them, important people coming from the diplomatic missions of Nordic and Baltic countries: Her Excellency Ulla Väistö, the Ambassador of Finland, Bucharest, His Excellency Marek Szczygieł, the Ambassador of Poland, Bucharest, Mr. Herman Baskår, Counsellor / Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Norway, Bucharest, Mr. Mihkel Metsa, Counsellor / Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Estonia, Warsaw, Mr. Laurenţiu Lazăr, Honorary Consul of Norway, Constanţa.


One special session was dedicated to the CCSTED Workshop, which had a specific target oriented on how to support creative collaboration through various technologies, at different levels of education. As it was already decided from the previous edition, the workshop proposed to the participants to make known the current research on computer supported collaborative learning topics, leading towards the meaning of various learning environments which can support the creative collaboration process.

8 papers were presented at the workshop – part of them underlined the results gained in the CoCreat Project (using of mobile technologies in creative and collaborative storytelling, managing the time in computer-based creative collaboration, experiencing the students’ challenges in virtual collaborative courses). But also, the other papers came with a real value on the Workshop topics, enriching the context and coming as a real opportunity for the final discussions (increasing the learning group creativity within computer supported collaborative learning, considering human memory simulation and e-learning technology for brain-based learning education, experiencing different software tools for class discussions, involving robotics for enabling the classroom creativity, using the inquiry based Science Education environment for raising the students’ creativity).


At the end of the Workshop, fruitful discussions were held, marking important feed-backs from the participants, with a great potential for the following period in terms of collaboration and cooperation. The participants (including the members of the diplomatic missions) were rewarded with promotional CoCreat project materials, including t-shirts and special mugs!

Here are some conclusions concerning the Workshop, made by an “external” critical participant, Prof. Pompiliu Alexandru (Valahia University Târgovişte): “I was extremely impressed that this Workshop came exactly to solve some major problems that I am facing for a while related to the educational efficiency of the technological supports. Having a humanistic training, I often consider scientific fields as terra incognita – and today we see that in the very core of Sciences, various specializations and disciplines are self-sustaining in such a way that creates some fractures of understanding between scientists. But the Workshop was a real revelation, treating in intelligible way problems related to innovation and creativity.

In fact, all the proposed solutions and assumptions which are suggested during the Workshop seem to me quite convincing. The shaft of the presented solutions remains innovation and creativity. In other words, if a dialogue between disciplines is no longer leading us to a noticeable change in our behavior, then creating together and being creative will produce more effects than the dialogue. Exchange of ideas and dialogues, are already included in the act of creativity. So, we give a useful direction to technology. Multidisciplinary experiment gathers us in an authentic act of communication, not only simulates the communication. Doing something together is more than saying something together. Many of the workshop presentations have amply demonstrated this fact. The entire set of discussed issues and its solutions are focused on education. Communication, creativity, and finally education – those are the terms that should be redesigned and reinstalled into action in order to achieve the desired effect in changing the young people. If a specialist in the humanities manages to attend an educational project which aims to achieve performances in Sciences, then we can talk about multi-disciplinary in the true sense of the word. Technology is the environment in which today we no longer feel alienated or disconnected from certain models of reality interpretation.”

The Workshop was presented in mass-media, having a clear impact at the dissemination level, also for the interested colleagues who could not attend it.

As main organizers of the Workshop, the CoCreat team from Valahia University Targoviste would like to thank for the whole support, to the participants, to the steering committee of the CoCreat project, but also to the colleagues from Ovidius University of Constanţa and Conference organizers, mentioning that all the participants expressed their willingness to participate at the third edition, in 2014.

// Assoc. Prof. Gabriel Gorghiu – Valahia University Targoviste, Romania


CCSTED 2013 in May 24-26th

Second International Workshop on Creative Collaboration through Supportive Technologies in Education – CCSTED 2013 will be organized in Constanta, in May 24-26 in connection with The Fourth International Conference on Nordic and Baltic Studies of the Romanian Association for Baltic and Nordic Studies.

For more information, visit the workshop webpage: http://ccsted13.ssai.valahia.ro/.

// CoCreat

A successful workshop at ICWL2012

After more than one year, the wonderful resort of Sinaia hosted again a CoCreat Project event. This time, beside a dedicated afternoon session of the Project trans-national coordinating meeting, the main event was the Dissemination Seminar, organized as a specific Workshop – 1st International Workshop on Creative Collaboration through Supportive Technologies in Education – CCSTED 2012 – in the frame of the 11th International Conference on Web-based Learning – ICWL 2012, a remarkable annual conference which reached in the past various locations from 3 continents (Asia, Australia and Europe). The number of participants was impressive: 70 researchers, specialists and university teaching staff from 35 countries attended the Conference and the related Workshops.

The general topic of the CCSTED Workshop was oriented on how to support creative collaboration through various technologies, at different levels of education: pre-primary, primary, secondary, university and adult education. The workshop concentrated around current research on computer supported collaborative learning topics leading towards the meaning of a learning environment which can support creative collaboration process.

10 papers were presented at the workshop, most of them emphasizing on the experience and results obtained in the CoCreat Project. The main paper subjects were oriented on the illustration and evaluation of the collaborative spaces which has been achieved in the project. In the end of the workshop, a Panel related to Technology in Support of Collaborative Learning – Challenges and Perspectives was held, as a concluding moment for the discussions revealed during the presentations.

Some valuable conclusions related to the Workshop and its location, were expressed by Prof. Jocelyn Wishart (University of Bristol):

“Sinaia is a small and narrow city built on the steep side of a pass through the Carpathian Mountains. The houses remind you of Swiss chalets though with their turrets and ironwork balconies and other embellishments have many Gothic overtones. Some looked as though they belonged in fairy tales however the workshop itself was set firmly in the 21st Century with its emphasis on collaboration and creativity brought about through the use of web based technologies.”

The workshop audience heard presentations from eight speakers from countries across Europe on the ways in which collaboration during creative projects had been facilitated on-line and the challenges involved. Having in view that the most of the presentations came from the LLP CoCreat project participants, the initial results clearly indicate the need to prepare carefully for creative collaboration. Students need first to be confident both in their ability to communicate with each other and to use the technologies involved so that they can share their ideas and build a common understanding of the creative task. When students are confident in using the software, and have the time to experiment, having both construction tasks and visualizations such as in 3D Virtual Worlds, appear to help support collaborative creativity.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion (a Panel) with an audience that included both students and professors that addressed several of the issues challenging the production of creative collaboration amongst students identified by the presenters. A point I noted in particular was that students’ past experience of education as individually assessed and known content based makes it difficult for them to change tack for these kinds of projects however, the students in the audience noted that the possibility of contributing to changes in the way they are taught was exciting and stimulating for them. Their teachers need to be prepared, confident and competent though.”

As main organizers of this Workshop, the CoCreat team from Valahia University Targoviste would like to thank for the whole support, to the participants, to the steering committee of the CoCreat project, but also to the ICWL 2012 Conference organizers, mentioning that there is an important expectation that the Workshop will be organized as a second edition in 2013.

Assoc. Prof. Gabriel Gorghiu – Valahia University Targoviste, Romania

Social Media in Education -workshop


I presented three of our collaborative spaces and what have we learned yesterday in Kuusio-project’s “Social Media in Education” -workshop. Here are the slides, but unfortunately they are only in Finnish.




// Tommi Inkilä, University of Oulu, Finland

CoCreat EAPRIL workshop

The EAPRIL conference in 2011 provided a variety of formats for presenters, and the CoCreat team chose to respond to the invitation to “discuss a theme or research question from an out-of-the-box perspective”.

a schematic representation of the trends, and brief notes of the material that each group presented on the future world, scenario for education and/or the issues that emerged during their discussions (click to enlarge)

Approximately 26 people joined the 45 minute workshop, which began with a brief introduction to futures thinking methodology known as scenario building (more information can be found at the Horizon Scanning Centre at foresight.gov.uk). The process typically takes months of team work and involves research into current trends and careful thinking about the future impact and level of certainty of each trend identified. Working from a set of trends to scenarios describing future possibilities is the next stage, often done by chosing two trends, treating them as axes which are used to divide conceptual space into quadrants. A plausible future world is developed for each quadrant, and, after developing a detailed description of that world, scenarios for possible futures for a particular business or other economic or social activity  can be drawn up.

In a fast-paced version of this methodology, four groups collaborated to create future scenarios for learning in four plausible future worlds. The trends chosen to distinguish the four worlds from one another were of two types: a technological trend and a social trend. The technological trend related to interface design and the social trend related to the focus of assessment in education. After lively discussion, each group took two minutes to present their creation to the others.

photo from the workshop

// Sarah Eagle, University of Bristol, United Kingdom