Opening of the TLU Research lab EDUSPACE and end of CEITER project

On Friday, 25 September at 15:00 the virtual opening of EDUSPACE, a technology-supported learning and teaching research laboratory at TLU will take place. This event will also mark the end of the five-year CEITER project. The EDUSPACE laboratory has created a good basis for the further development of the activities that have grown out of the CEITER project. Event is also part of TLU Virtual Science Week.

The laboratory was established in cooperation with the TLU ERA Chair CEITER international research group, whose important work direction, the EDULAB model together with the digital toolbox supporting it, forms the growth platform for educational innovation together with the creation of the necessary conditions. In addition to physical equipment, the research laboratory also brings together know-how for the sustainable and evidence-based implementation of innovations.

During the event, you can get acquainted with various research and implementation projects using EDUSPACE equipment and infrastructure, which are aimed at different levels of education.

At the early childhood education level, you can explore the mobile laboratory of RMER robotics and STEAM equipment, a manufacturer of STEAM teaching aids in England. In addition, all interested parties are welcome to try out the Estonian-themed augmented reality game created in cooperation with the start-up company Mobi Lab and to participate in an ongoing research project on the use of robots in autism therapy.

STEAM K12 digital study material for four different school levels is aimed at general education, which supports the sustainability of natural resources – come and find out more about the possibilities of integrating them into your internships. In addition, the start-up company Futuclass will present virtual reality games for learning chemistry developed in a co-creation project between the School of Digital Technologies at TLU and the Education and Youth Authority. The School of Natural Sciences and Health at TLU has shown exciting hands-on experiments in making teaching more interesting. In several doctoral dissertations, collaborative learning is studied using learning analytics.

At the higher education level, we share initial research findings and advances in the development of the interleaved learning model, and we invite a machine-sighted robot to peek and teach the robot hand to write. There will be more surprises!

Event will be broadcasted live on the YouTube channel of TLU and on the Facebook.

Developing School-University Partnerships through Co-Creation – Teacher’s Innovation Laboratories

On 9 June, the robotics and STEAM training course for 50 teachers of early childhood education (started in January) was completed. At the final event of the training, new and exciting educational robots were also tested in the EDUSPACE Lab.

The training followed the Innovation Laboratory (Innolab) approach, which is part of EDULAB method. Innolab is a long-term teacher professional development program that recognizes the importance of school-university partnership, employs collaborative inquiries and transfer of ownership through co-creation practices. An important goal is to support the adoption and scaling of the educational innovation in classroom settings. Read more about Knowledge Appropriation in the Teacher’s Innovation Laboratory.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, half of the contact days took place in Zoom. As educational robotics is a hands-on experience, robots were sent to the learners’ homes. Explore more about experiences of 50 kindergarten teachers and how teachers managed to apply their new knowledge when working with children even when their workplaces were shut down: Robotics Education During and After the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an assessment of the course, all participants introduced their best learning designs they co-created during the Innolab. Some of these designs will be uploaded to the digital learning resources repository as good examples for other teachers.

Innolab2  Innolab
Testing new and exciting educational robots during 9 June final event
Photos by Margit Sellik

Short overview of conducted and planned Innolabs:
– Designing and inquiring the teaching and learning in STEM-subjects (finished)
– Teacher’s Innovation Lab – co-creative teaching practices (finished)
– Teacher’s Innovation Lab- IoT Devices in Learning Process (finished)
– Designing and Inquiring Child Centered Teaching and Learning: Robotics in Kindergarten STEM Studies (finished)
– Designing and Inquiring Child Centered Teaching and Learning: Robotics in Kindergarten and Primary Education STEM Studies (finished)
– Teacher`s Innovation Lab – Co-designed Teaching Practices for Innovative Math Classes (finished)
– Designing, Implementing and Inquiring Learning Supported with Technological Solutions in STEM-Subjects (starting in Aug 2020)

Innolab courses are funded by National Funding for School Innovation & Teacher Training (INNOVE, European Social Fund).

Read more about the school-university partnership model EDULAB method, developed by Tallinn University scientists (including CEITER team).

Web-Based Learning ABC Experience Cafes – Ethical Issues in E-Learning

The lecturers from Lifelong and Non-Formal Learning study area in the School of Educational Sciences in Tallinn University in cooperation with the team of the research laboratory for learning and teaching supported by EDUSPACE technology have joined their forces to support other university faculties in COVID-19 crisis situation by Zoom distance learning ABC. The aim is to share ideas and offer practical help in conducting e-learning.

During March to May 2020, the team is conducting one experience café (on Wednesdays) and publishing one guide each week to help organize webinars and e-learning efficiently and thoughtfully. Under discussion have been several topics. For example, establishing contact and increasing involvement; learners’ feedback, lecturer development and co-teaching; learners’ recommendations for lecturers; teamwork.

On 13 May, CEITER analyst in Data Management and Research Ethics Anu Tammeleht shared the views and advice on the ethical issues. In conclusion she says: “E-learning is in the border of ethics/morality in everyday life and research ethics – being a good person and doing the right thing academically. We should always consider, and also make transparent, the reasons for recording the videoseminar – if the teacher and the learner benefit from it, then it should be done. If we use it solely for control, it should not be used. Still, I don’t think we should waste a ‘good crisis’ and learn from opportunities it provides us with – I see a lot of potential in improving e-learning with videoseminars.”

The following is short overview about advice related to the ethical issues in e-learning.


  • You can identify a learner online by name, sound and image. This is the personal data of the learner. If the learner has provided information about himself/herself on the basis of which he/she can be identified in the video recording, the learner’s (oral) permission must be obtained to share the video recording or use it for research purposes.
  • If the learner has a good reason to be anonymous in the recorded video, this must be allowed. Anonymity means using a pseudonym instead of your name. Using someone else’s name instead of your own name is identity theft.
  • Sometimes it may be necessary to have video and audio turned on throughout the learning activity. Inform students in advance so that they can use the appropriate space and technique.


  • Inform the learner if active co-creation is planned during the studies (group work or other active learning activities). In most cases, group work is not recorded and therefore the learner loses this part of learning when watching the video recording.
  • When sending a link to a video meeting or recording to a learner, specify (if necessary) that this link is only for participants in a specific study group. If you notice students in your webinar who should not attend, ask them to leave or remove them from the room.
  • When conducting online contact studies, your presence as a lecturer must be ensured in high-quality. Make sure your internet connection, camera, computer and microphone are working and you have the opportunity to use a room where there are no distractions. Recommend the same to learners.


  • The recording helps the teacher to analyze the learning process and gives the evidence of student presence. If you plan to use the content of the recording in research, inform students in advance. Initiative to record can come also from students.
  • Make the recording process transparent. Agree with the participants the different environments that allow you to record different parts of a video call: video, chat, good whiteboard content.
  • Agree on what will be recorded, when it will start and end and where it will take place. Make sure that compliance with the storage obligation is assured.

Here you can see the video recording of the 13 May café:  Web-Based Learning ABC (sixth part) – Ethical Issues in E-Learning (in Estonian)

All Web-Based Learning ABC experience cafes video recordings and materials (in Estonian) are available here and here.

Estonians are building the school of tomorrow – article about CEITER international research team in Tallinn University (published in Research in Estonia)

Beginning of March, CEITER team members were interviewed to talk about how TLU international team has researched the best way how to teach people. ERA Chair and Professor Learning Analytics and Educational Innovation Tobias Ley gave an overview of how they started by looking at what happens in workplaces and how since 2015, his research focus has shifted to Estonian schools. Head of the TLU Centre for Educational Technology and CEITER team member Senior Researcher Kairit Tammets looked back and talked how they began by observing how teachers used digital materials in the first place. Although gadgets were often used to replace the old methods, they didn’t give additional value for the students.

Article points out the EDULAB model, developed by CEITER research team, to make learning more sustainable, scalable and evidence-based. As well as Teacher Innovation Labs, during which secondary school math teachers learn to use robots in math lessons, smartphones in outdoor activities and make the most of other digital resources. Math teacher Veronika Grigorjev (who has been teaching math during past 18 years) also shares her experience in participating Teacher Innovation Labs trainings and points out how pupils are now making more associations, not just learning formulas for each test. All of these methods, new approaches and results have been developed and achieved through collaboration and co-creation. At the moment, more than 200 teachers and 2000 students have been involved in EDULAB activities.

Article concludes with the notion how at the end, trusting actually makes all the difference. Technology itself, without people and building trust, cannot help us much. We need people and teams, who know how, when and why to use technology. Scientists can support teams in this transformation and not only the schools and education, but also other organisations operating in different fields.

Read the full article: Estonians are building the school of tomorrow

Based on article Estonians are building the school of tomorrow written by Marian Männi in Research in Estonia

CEITER team past 4 years research in Educational Innovation acknowledged with Estonian National Research Award 2020

On 23rd February 2020, Estonian National research awards 2020 were presented in Tallinn at the hall of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.

In the field of social sciences, CEITER team was awarded. The research group is an interdisciplinary team that has been established at Tallinn University (TLU) at the School of Educational Sciences and the School of Digital Technologies. The group has received funding through an EU ERA Chair project CEITER (Cross-Border Educational Innovation thru Technology-Enhanced Research) in 2015 and led by ERA Chair Professor of Learning Analytics and Educational Innovation Tobias Ley. The rest of the team awarded: Katrin Poom-Valickis (Professor of Teacher Education at the School of Educational Sciences), Mart Laanpere (Senior Research Fellow in Educational Technology at the School of Digital Technologies), Terje Väljataga (Senior Research Fellow in New Learning Environments and Technologies at the School of Educational Sciences), Kairit Tammets (Senior Research Fellow in Educational Technology at the School of Digital Technologies), María Jesús Rodríguez-Triana (Senior Research Fellow in Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining at the School of Digital Technologies), Luis Pablo Prieto Santos (Senior Research Fellow in New Learning Environments and Technologies at the School of Educational Sciences), Paul Seitlinger (Senior Research Fellow at Cognition and Social Interaction in Learning at the School of Educational Sciences).

The main research problem addressed is whether and how the introduction of technologies contribute to innovations in education on all levels in an evidence-based way. There is a current lack of models that sufficiently look at this problem in an integrated way. From an Educational Science point of view, the group researches different types of technology-supported student-centered and collaborative learning scenarios, such as the use of smart phones in science education or the use of interactive digital learning resources in mathematics. Researchers with a background in Computer Science focus on new methods and tools for teachers to collaboratively produce learning designs, collect data from the classroom or on the school level. Researchers from the area of Psychology relate the data that is collected in the learning process to basic psychological functions like working memory or creative cognition.

CEITER-team_members© Jaanus Lensment

ERA Chair Prof. Tobias Ley said the whole team is very proud of the reputable award and this is definitely a significant acknowledgement to the work done during past years. “I am especially happy the committee decided to award multidisciplinary team, as interdisciplinary research is not very often acknowledged. This award is an evidence of how research can help guiding the society towards innovation,” says Ley. He pointed out this huge acknowledgement is at the same time also a confirmation of need to continue the work done with teachers, students and schools in developing Estonian education together. Read more in Estonian here and here.

CEITER_group_pic© Jaanus Lensment

Photo: Annika Haas / Republic of Estonia Government Office

CEITER EDULAB spring conference 2020: Co-creating Educational Innovations for a Technology-Rich Environment in May 2020 in TLU (postponed to 2021)

Tallinn University (TLU) and Information Technology Foundation for Education (HITSA) in collaboration with Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (MofER) and University of Tartu (UT) are organising EDULAB spring conference 2020: Co-creating Educational Innovations for a Technology-Rich Environment held in TLU on 6-7 May 2020. Conference is preceded by a policy forum focusing on Artificial Intelligence (AI) role and impact in education on 5 May, led by MofER.

During the past four years, TLU so far the most voluminous international educational innovation project CEITER, led by Prof. Tobias Ley, has been together with teachers and schools co-creating new ways to implement educational innovations and research in a technology-rich environment. During the conference, you’ll see and hear how new ways were elaborated and experiences participants had in co-creation processes. On the 6th May, EDUSPACE Research Lab for Teaching and Learning, will also be opened. Lab has been created during the project in collaboration with various stakeholders and all participants have an opportunity to check the lab out through practical STEAM workshops.

Conference opening speech is by Keith Devlin (Stanford University), followed by some more international experts from the field. Furthermore, HITSA is conducting workshops for teachers and lecturers on digital competences, gaming, personal studytracks etc. Likewise, UT learning analytics team, TLU Centre for Educational Technology and TLU Centre for Innovation in Education school culture team will also organise workshops to introduce novel approaches in implementing innovations in classroom as well as supporting school development processes. Conference is concluded by a panel discussion looking into the future among researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

Conference is seen as a good starting-point for expanding novel learning and teaching methods in co-creation with diverse stakeholders. It can be viewed as a yearly meeting place, where teachers, lecturers, researchers and other stakeholders share their experiences in creating and implementing innovations.

Registration with a more detailed agenda will be opened on 2nd March. If you would like to get notification when the registration is opened via email, write your email address here. See you during the EDULAB spring conference in Tallinn in May 2020!

Teacher’s Innovation Laboratory (TIL) and introducing EDULAB model

An article “Co-Creating Learning Designs in Professional Teacher Education: Knowledge Appropriation in the Teacher’s Innovation Laboratory” by CEITER team members Janika Leoste, Kairit Tammets and Tobias Ley was published in the international journal Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A). The article is about co-creation approach in making technology-enhanced learning sustainable.

Many projects that have started with great enthusiasm will be closed quickly after the project’s financing ends, and there will be no permanent impact although the projects had demonstrated their suitability in improving education.

“In our opinion this situation is caused by insufficient engagement of teachers into developing innovation-related learning methods and teaching practices. We examined the co-creation related social practices of two different teacher professional development programs. Based on our results we recommend a TPD program that would help improving the adoption of technology-enhanced learning practices in classrooms,” said Junior Researcher and CEITER project analyst Janika Leoste.


Modules of the TIL Teacher Professional Development Program


Suggested timeline for TIL

The EDULABs model was also introduced in November at the eApril 2019 conference in Tartu. View the interactive presentation here.

Introducing EDULAB model during eApril in TartuIntroducing EDULAB model during eApril in Tartu

Research Seminar “Educational Innovation & Leadership” – PhD Presentations

CEITER and Future School Programme research groups have initiated regular research seminars for PhD students from the area of educational innovation and leadership. The research seminar will give PhD students the chance to present their planned or conducted research and receive some critical feedback. Also a purpose is to raise awareness of the research being conducted in this area.

The series of presentations were opened on 5 November by Janika Leoste who talked about the topic The Influence of Technology Enhanced Teaching and the Ways to Implement it in School Practice. An Example Based on Robot-Supported Math Teaching in Basic School. Presentation was based on Janika Leoste’s Thesis Problem, Research Questions, Hypotheses and Design.

Robomath presentation by Janika Leoste_1
Presentation by Janika Leoste

Overview was followed by questions and discussion among 25 doctoral students and researchers from Educational Sciences and Digital Technologies research fields. Main topics brought up were meaningful learning and using technology in classroom, researcher’s bias, declarative and procedural knowledge, different type of influences (researcher-teacher-student).

Robomath presentation
Robomath presentation 

Research Seminar “Educational Innovation & Leadership” – PhD Presentations will be held once or twice a month until spring. Next topics will be presented in 10 and 17 December.

Photos by Signe Reinumägi

Celebrating 100 Years of Teacher Education with a Conference “Everyone Can Study to Become a Teacher” in TLU

18th October 2019 marked the 100th anniversary of the day the students of Tallinn Teachers’ Seminary first started their studies. Celebrating 100 years of teacher education, TLU School of Educational Sciences with partners held a conference “Everyone Can Study to Become a Teacher” on 24th October.

Conference started with opening speech by Rector of TLU Professor Tiit Land followed by opening speech by Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps. Then Professor Kirsi Tirri from University of Helsinki congratulated neighbors and collaboration partners reaching to an important milestone. She emphasized Teaching as a Moral Profession and presented purposeful teacher as a goal of teacher education to promote learning for the future. Next in the agenda was a joint presentation by Tallinn University professors Eve Eisenschmidt and CEITER team member Katrin Poom-Valickis about current trends in teacher education, and the role of the school in teachers’ development. They concluded saying the ways of becoming a teacher as well as the ways of learning have changed, and everyone can become a teacher!

Before lunch Past, present, and future of the teacher profession were under discussion and after lunch students discussed Learners’ view of education, learning, and the future. Afterwards, Maria Kütt, Director General of the HR Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke on the subject “What and why are we learning? Changes in the labor market and future learning” from the angle of the employer in particular. Her presentation was followed by two discussions about  What and what do we learn? Changes in the labor market and learning for the future and The Future of Teacher Education – What can we do to keep competent teachers in our schools?

Conference ended with reception and opening ceremony of the memorial plaque of educational scientist Viive-Riina Ruus. As well as awarding Tallinn Art Gymnasium with Educational Innovation Award for integrating non-formal education into everyday teaching and learning activities through hobby lessons in I-III study stages.

Photo gallery (by Piret Räni)

Bringing Technological Innovations into Classroom – the School-University Partnership Model EDULAB

Janika Leoste (Tallinn University, CEITER)

One of the greatest challengers of the modern education is rapid technological progress. Different channels bring a constant flow of technological innovations to schools and teachers, forcing them to continuously choose usable ones. Choosing is not easy. It is not enough to have new digital educational tools, teachers have to be able to use and integrate them into daily teaching. While schools are eager to obtain these tools, they often don’t reach the level of everyday teaching. Usually this is caused by the lack of relevant training and materials that would give teachers enough context, knowledge, experience and confidence to start using these educational tools.

Implementation and meaningful use of technological innovations in classroom are major bottlenecks in modern educational practice. It is a field that awaits for (productive) co-operation by researchers and practitioners.

The scientists of Tallinn University have developed a school-university partnership model EDULAB that helps implementing innovative technological teaching methods into practice. In its essence EDULAB is an incubator that supports the practices of teaching, learning, innovation and research. The initiative for founding an EDULAB may originate from the university or a school and it would usually be financed by science development projects. All involved stakeholders are bonded by EDULAB into a community of practice.

At the beginning of co-operation, or at the creation stage, the initiative group consisting of school managers, teachers and scientists will select a method or approach that is innovative in Estonian education. The selection is preceded by thorough analysis of international experience and existing research work. The learning designs and materials that are adapted to the needs of Estonian educational systems are created in this stage.

Next, a stage of testing innovative teaching method and materials with students will take place. For example, a teacher can organize a demonstration lesson or project day that is built around the innovative method. This lesson or day is observed by other teachers and researchers who also use questionnaires and interviews to collect immediate participant feedback. Through such a lesson or project day the teacher gains an experience and understanding about the possibilities of using the innovative method or approach in classroom.

If the use of the innovative method was justified then it is time to bring the innovation into daily teaching activities. In this stage of expansion and dissemination the data collection continues with the purpose of understanding the long term influence of the method or approach. The goal is to make the method smoother for widespread use and to have enough data for creation of sustainable implementation model.

In the stage of ensuring sustainability, the educational innovation becomes a part of school’s everyday practice. The university will step back and sustainability is maintained by the community consisting of teachers and school managers.

In conclusion, we need more educational innovations to become implemented in the everyday practice of schools. This requires more school-university co-operation for preparing teachers to implement educational innovations and providing schools with security of getting help when needed. The EDULAB model is a promising initiative to be followed when implementing technological educational innovations. For more information take a look at EDULAB webpage or download the flyer. For additional info, please also take a look at article Estonia at the forefront of educational innovation in Europe.