[publication] The Missing Link to Computational Thinking

Congratulations to my PhD-student who did his first publication about a literature research to computational thinking. His work got published right now in Future Internet, enjoy the great reading.

After a lengthy debate within the scientific community about what constitutes the problem solving approach of computational thinking (CT), the focus shifted to enable the integration of CT within compulsory education. This publication strives to focus the discussion and enable future research in an educational setting with a strong focus on the Austrian circumstances and the goal to allow wide international adoption later on. Methodically, a literature review was conducted to gain knowledge about the current strands of research and a meta study to show the diversity of proposed and materialized studies. Three main questions were answered, establishing that CT as an idea is rooted in scientific literature dating back to the 1980s and grew in popularity after Wing introduced the concept to a broader audience. A number of authors contributed to the current state of the field, with the most cited review coming from Grover and Pea. The challenge to integrate CT in curricula around the world was met by many experiments and case studies but without a conclusive framework as of yet. Ultimately, this paper determines that expert integration is a blank spot in the literature and aims to create a strong, inclusive path to CT education by inviting practitioners.

[Full article @ journal’s homepage]
[Full article @ ResearchGate]

Reference: Pollak, M.; Ebner, M. (2019) The Missing Link to Computational Thinking. Future Internet 2019, 11, 263.

[publication] Insights into Learning Competence Through Probabilistic Graphical Models #tugraz #research

We contributed to this year „Third IFIP TC 5, TC 12, WG 8.4, WG 8.9, WG 12.9 International Cross-Domain Conference (CD-MAKE 2019)“ with a publication titled „Insights into Learning Competence Through Probabilistic Graphical Models„.


One-digit multiplication problems is one of the major fields in learning mathematics at the level of primary school that has been studied over and over. However, the majority of related work is focusing on descriptive statistics on data from multiple surveys. The goal of our research is to gain insights into multiplication misconceptions by applying machine learning techniques. To reach this goal, we trained a probabilistic graphical model of the students’ misconceptions from data of an application for learning multiplication. The use of this model facilitates the exploration of insights into human learning competence and the personalization of tutoring according to individual learner’s knowledge states. The detection of all relevant causal factors of the erroneous students answers as well as their corresponding relative weight is a valuable insight for teachers. Furthermore, the similarity between different multiplication problems – according to the students behavior – is quantified and used for their grouping into clusters. Overall, the proposed model facilitates real-time learning insights that lead to more informed decisions.

[Proceedings online @ Springer]

[Draft @ ResearchGate]

Reference: Saranti, A., Taraghi, B., Ebner, M., Holzinger, A. (2019) Insights into Learning Competence Through Probabilistic Graphical Models. In: Machine Learning and Knowledge Extraction. Third IFIP TC 5, TC 12, WG 8.4, WG 8.9, WG 12.9 International Cross-Domain Conference, CD-MAKE 2019, Canterbury, UK, August 26–29, 2019, Proceedings. pp. 250-271

[publication] From refugee to programmer? A framework for a collaborative coding program for higher education institutions

Our article about „From refugee to programmer? A framework for a collaborative coding program for higher education institutions“ got published in the Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning.


The purpose of this paper is to share the lessons learned in teaching programming skills to refugees during a time when circumstances were changing quickly and constantly and the needs of the target group were not well known.

The integration of refugees poses serious challenges for the hosting society’s education system. A large number of refugees can put a strain on all kinds of public resources, and difficulties with differences in languages, previous curricula, falling behind due to having to spend time outside of education, and psychological traumas have to be expected. In response to the refugee crisis and in order to manage mass migration, the adaptive nature and rapid development of civic approaches can contribute to overcoming some of these challenges. To evaluate the impact of civic approaches, the authors have paid attention to refugees{code} an Austrian coding school for refugees which was developed by the civic community and which shows great potential in terms of providing rapid, innovative and adaptive kinds of educational support for refugees, as well as helping to combat the lack of programmers in the Austrian job market.

As the great potential that initiatives like refugees{code} have for education, there are also substantial challenges. As we learned from the first course, course completion rates were very low. Therefore, it is important to build an infrastructure and a learning environment around the course. This learning environment includes providing mentoring and support, creating spaces where participants can learn. It was also found that having a pedagogically trained staff who is sufficient in the English language, too, is necessary to cater to a heterogeneous group. Also varying teaching strategies according to the needs and skills of the learner is necessary. One of the issues that confronts projects like refugees{code} is also receiving legal status. The collaboration with universities and colleges can be greatly helpful because they are already familiar with the structure of public authorities as well as with heterogeneous groups. Initiatives like refugees{code} are agile and flexible and know how to take advantage of that. The authors conclude that bringing successful education to heterogeneous and culturally different groups is multi-faceted. It is not something any individual organization or project can do; it can only be the result of a system of different actors working together with traditional educational institutions.

This research study reports on two courses of programming for refugees and seeks to offer practical advice for further research and for the implementation of such courses into the educational system. Therefore a framework is proposed which should be taken into account in case of doing similar work.

[article @ Journal’s Homepage]

[article @ ResarchGate]

Reference: Wolf, D., Ebner, M. (2018) From refugee to programmer? A framework for a collaborative coding program for higher education institutions, Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIT-09-2017-0024

[publication] Learning analytics to improve writing skills for young children – an holistic approach #LearningAnalytics #iderblog

Our publication about „Learning analytics to improve writing skills for young children – an holistic approach“ has been published in the Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning.


Due to the important role of orthography in society, the project called IDeRBlog presented in this paper created a web-based tool to motivate pupils to write text as well as to read and to comment on texts written by fellow students. In addition, IDeRBlog aims to improve student’s German orthography skills and supports teachers and parents with training materials for their students. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

With the aid of learning analytics, the submitted text is analyzed and special feedback is given to the students so that they can try to correct the misspelled words themselves. The teachers as well as the parents are benefiting from the analysis and exercises suggested by the system.

A recent study showed the efficiency of the system in form of an improvement of the students’ orthographic skills. Over a period of four months 70 percent of the students achieved a significant reduction of their spelling mistakes.

IDeRBlog is an innovative approach to improving orthography skills combining blogging and new media with writing and practice.

[Article @ Journal’s Website]

[Article @ ResearchGate]

Reference: Nina Steinhauer, Michael Gros, Martin Ebner, Markus Ebner, Anneliese Huppertz, Mike Cormann, Susanne Biermeier, Lena Burk, Konstanze Edtstadler, Sonja Gabriel, Martina Wintschnig, Christian Aspalter, Susanne Martich, (2017) Learning analytics to improve writing skills for young children – an holistic approach, Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, Vol. 10 Issue: 2, pp.143-159, https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIT-07-2017-0013

[publication] 1×1 Trainer with Handwriting Recognition

Our publication about „1×1 Trainer with Handwriting Recognition“ got published in the International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM). We described our successful app, which has been firstly announced already here.


Nowadays, computers and mobile devices play a huge role in our daily routines; they are used at work, for private purposes and even at school. Moreover, they are used as support for different kinds of activities and task, like for example, learning applications. The interaction of these applications with a computer is based on predefined input methods, whereas a touchscreen facilitates direct input via handwriting by using a finger or a pen. This paper deals with the invention of a mobile learning application, which is supposed to facilitate children’s learning of simple multiplication. The aim of this paper is to collect the data of children’ experiences using interactive handwriting on mobile devices. In order to gain this data, a school class of the school “Graz-Hirten” was tested and afterwards for evaluational purposes interviewed. The results of these usability tests have shown that children perceived handwriting via finger on screen as quite positive.

[Full text @ ResearchGate]

[Full text @ iJIM]

Reference: Rabko, M., Ebner, M. (2018) 1×1 Trainer with Handwriting Recognition. International Journal of Mobile Technologies (iJIM). 12/2. pp. 69-79. https://doi.org/10.3991/ijim.v12i2.7714

[publication] Distance Learning and Assistance Using Smart Glasses #tugraz #smartglass #AugmentedReality

Our newest research on „Distance Learning and Assistance Using Smart Glasses“ got published within a special issue, called „Challenges and Future Trends of Distance Learning„.


With the everyday growth of technology, new possibilities arise to support activities of everyday life. In education and training, more and more digital learning materials are emerging, but there is still room for improvement. This research study describes the implementation of a smart glasses app and infrastructure to support distance learning with WebRTC. The instructor is connected to the learner by a video streaming session and gets the live video stream from the learner’s smart glasses from the learner’s point of view. Additionally, the instructor can draw on the video to add context-aware information. The drawings are immediately sent to the learner to support him to solve a task. The prototype has been qualitatively evaluated by a test user who performed a fine-motor-skills task and a maintenance task under assistance of the remote instructor.

[Full Article @ Education Science Journal]

[Full Article @ ResearchGate]

Reference: Spitzer, M.; Nanic, I.; Ebner, M. Distance Learning and Assistance Using Smart Glasses. Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 21.

[publication] 360 DEGREE VIDEOS WITHIN A CLIMBING MOOC #imoox #research

Our publication at this year CELDA 2017 conference titled „360 DEGREE VIDEOS WITHIN A CLIMBING MOOC“ is now online available.


In this research study a course, combining both computer-supported and face-to-face teaching using the concept of blended learning, has been designed. It is a beginners climbing course called „Klettern mit 360° Videos“ (climbing with 360° videos) and the online part has been implemented as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). This research study presents the background of the course, the course concept, the course itself and the results of the evaluation. To measure the difference between the pure online participants and the blended learning participants the MOOC has been evaluated independently from the blended learning course. It should be mentioned that all participants (whether pure online or both) evaluated the course in a positive manner. The use of technology enhanced learning realized by the concept of blended learning proved to be a well-suited method for this course setting. Furthermore, many advantages of computer based learning, blended learning and 360°-videos have been reported by the participants.

[Full Paper @ ResearchGate]

Reference: Gänsluckner, M., Ebner, M., & Kamrat, I. (2017). 360 Degree Videos Within a Climbing MOOC. 14th International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2017). D. G. Sampson, J. Spector, D. Ifenthaler, & P. Isaías (Eds.). IADIS Press. pp. 43-50. ISBN: 978-989-8533-68-5

[presentation] 360 Degree Videos Within a Climbing MOOC #imoox #research

Markus presented our research results titled „360 Degree Videos Within a Climbing MOOC“ at this year CELDA conference in Portugal. Here are his slides:

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[ijet, journal] Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning Vol. 12 / No. 07 #ijet #research

Issue 12(07) of our journal on emerging technologies for learning got published. Enjoy the readings as usual for free :-).

Table of Contents:

  • Multimedia Teaching Platform Design for Urban Planning Course Based on Information Entropy
  • Exploration of An Open Online Learning Platform Based on Google Cloud Computing
  • An Online Interaction Mode for International Trade Practice Course under Network Environment
  • Design and Analysis of Online Micro-course of Garden Architecture Design Based on CPC Model
  • Mobile Teaching of Digital Mapping Based on the WeChat Official Account Admin Platform
  • Construction of Multimedia Teaching Platform for Community Nursing Based on Teaching Resource Library Technology
  • Mobile Multimedia Classroom Construction for Rhythmic Gymnastics Based on APT Teaching Model
  • Design of 3D Animation Special Effects in Animation 3D Modeling Teaching Based on QFD Theory
  • Construction of xAPI-based Multimedia Interaction Technology in Architectural Design Teaching
  • Teaching Mode of Mechanical Design Course based on Simulation Analysis Technology
  • Application of Practical Curriculum for College Specialty of Economic Management under TPACK Framework – Taking “Enterprise Operation and Decision Simulation System” Curriculum as an Example
  • Research on Teaching Method of Mold Course Based on CAD/CAE/CAM Technology
  • Investigation and Analysis of College Students‘ Cognition in Science and Technology Competitions
  • Construction of Interactive Teaching System for Exercise Training Based on Education Video Resource Push Technology
  • Exploring the Convergence of the Mobile Learning Mode in Network Environment and the Traditional Classroom Teaching Mode

[Link to Issue 12/07]

Nevertheless, if you are interested to become a reviewer for the journal, please just contact me :-).

[vocast] On Using Interactivity to Monitor the Attendance of Students at Learning-Videos #tugraz #research #edmedia

Because we are not able to attend the ED-Media conference 2017 in Washington this year, we are doing our presentations virtually. The last of four talks is about „On Using Interactivity to Monitor the Attendance of Students at Learning-Videos„:


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