Prep21 researcher visited the University of Melbourne

Prep21 researcher, Dr. Johanna Pöysä-Tarhonen from the University of Jyväskylä visited Assessment Research Centre (ARC) of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne during 27.-30.11.2018. The visitation was targeted to work on joint publications and plan for future activities. Recent research on collaborative problem solving by Jyväskylä team was also presented in the ARC research seminar.

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Prep21 participating the 25th International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE 2017) Christchurch, New Zealand, 4.-8.12.2017

Prep21 researcher, Dr. Johanna Pöysä-Tarhonen, on behalf of Jyväskylä team, was presenting a paper concerning technology-enhanced assessment of collaborative problem solving skills at the 25th International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE 2017) Christchurch, New Zealand. The paper is a joint publication with Prof. Esther Care and Drs. Nafisa Awwal from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Pöysä-Tarhonen, J., Care, E., Awwal, N. & Häkkinen, P. (2017). Case-based portraits of contrasting micro-interaction processes during online assessment of collaborative problem solving. In W. Chen et al. (Eds.) (2017), Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Computers in Education (pp. 146-155). New Zealand: Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education.

Available at: ICCE2017 Proceedings

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Prep21-symposium: Finnish teacher education students’ 21st century skills

Prep21 researchers held a symposium about Finnish teacher education students’ 21st century learning skills in the FERA (Finnish Educational Research Association) conference in Rovaniemi in December 1st.

The symposium included three presentations: 1. a longitudinal study of teacher education students’ strategic skills and collaborative learning dispositions (Anne Virtanen et al.), 2. process-oriented studies observing and supporting teacher education students’ strategic and collaborative skills in authentic learning situations (Jaana Isohätälä et al.), and 3. a longitudinal study of teacher education students’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (Jari Kukkonen et al.)

Highlights of the presented:

  • Students’ self-reported strategic skills and dispositions toward collaboration were relatively high, but their dispositions toward collaboration grew weaker over the first three years of teacher education.
  • Students could be divided into profiles: some having both high strategic skills and collaboration dispositions, some having both low strategic skills, and most in between. During their studies, the students with lower skills and collaborative dispositions transitioned to more average profiles, but also the ones with high strategic skills and collaboration dispositions transitioned to more average profiles.
  • In collaborative learning situations, the students showed evidence of basic skills of collaborative learning, but rarely engaged in argumentation or evaluating their learning.
  • A theory-based macro script supported students’ strategic interactions and their discussions of socio-cognitive and socio-emotional challenges during collaborative learning, but groups sometimes failed to use the script effectively.
  • Students perceived having fairly good pedagogical knowledge but relatively poor technological knowledge. Women’s perceptions of their technological knowledge were significantly lower than those of men.
  • Students technological pedagogical content knowledge developed during teacher education studies. Also, students’ intentions of using ICT in teaching grew stronger.

Prof. Kati Mäkitalo-Siegl opening the symposium


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New study: Socio-emotional processes during student teachers’ argumentation

Our new study titled “Striking a balance: Socio-emotional processes during argumentation in collaborative learning interaction” is available online in Learning, Culture and Social Interaction. The paper highlights that skillful argumentative interaction cannot be taken for granted even in Finnish pre-service teachers’ collaborative learning. However, the case analysis of collaborative argumentation highlights what socio-emotional elements should be considered when promoting argumentation in students’ interaction. The abstract of the study is below and the full article is available here.

Productive interaction in collaborative learning requires a balance of engaging in high-level cognitive processes while sustaining socio-emotional processes that are favourable to this, but researchers often neglect to study both these aspects, with the relations between the two. This study focused on cognitive processes—namely, knowledge-based argumentation—and socio-emotional processes in student teachers’ (N = 19) collaborative learning interaction during an environmental science course. Firstly, we broadly examined the quality of the socio-emotional processes and the frequency of argumentation in the video-recorded collaboration (22 h). Secondly, we conducted a micro-level analysis of the socio-emotional processes during argumentation in a case group. The findings showed that all groups sustained a favorable social climate, but, apart from the case group, mostly failed to engage in argumentation. However, the micro-level analysis illustrated how the members of the case group were able to reason together while sustaining a favorable socio-emotional climate. Their interaction was characterized by the tentativeness of argumentative claims, consideration of divergent claims, and moderate tension relaxation expressed through a wide set of communicative means. The findings highlight that the cognitive and socio-emotional processes are highly intertwined and neither one can be overlooked when studying and promoting argumentation in collaborative learning.

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New research assistant

Sara Ahola started as a research assistant in the Prep21 team at the beginning of September 2017.  She will be working in the project together with Sanna Järvelä, Piia Näykki and Jaana Isohätälä. Sara is studying her third year in Education Programme in the University of Oulu. Her major is educational psychology. Sara’s tasks as a research assistant include helping out with data analysis.

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How do teacher education students monitor their collaborative learning?

We’re happy to introduce a new article by the PREP21 team (Piia Näykki, Jaana Isohätälä, Sanna Järvelä, Johanna Pöysä-Tarhonen, and Päivi Häkkinen). The study, titled “Facilitating socio-cognitive and socio-emotional monitoring in collaborative learning with a regulation macro script – an exploratory study”, examines how student teacher activate their strategic learning skills in collaborative learning. Particularly, the study focuses on groups’ socio-cognitive monitoring (e.g. monitoring content understanding) and socio-emotional monitoring (e.g. monitoring socio-emotional challenges) in a setting where the students’ collaborative learning was supported with a macro script.

Read the abstract below and the full paper through this link:


This study examines student teachers’ collaborative learning by focusing on socio-cognitive and socio-emotional monitoring processes during more and less active script discussions as well as the near transfer of monitoring activities in the subsequent task work. The participants of this study were teacher education students whose collaborative learning was supported with a designed regulation macro script during a six weeks environmental science course. The script divided the group work into three phases, namely: the orientation phase, intermediate phase, and reflection phase. The script was put in use by prompting questions that were delivered to the students on tablets. Question prompts instructed groups to plan their collaborative processes, and to stop and reflect on the efficiency of their strategies and outcomes of their learning process. The data were collected by videotaping the groups’ face-to-face work and analysed by focusing on verbalised monitoring interactions. More active and less active script discussions were differentiated in terms of the length and the quality of discussion. The results show that the macro script was used more thoroughly at the beginning of the group activities for orientation than for coordinating the progress or reflecting on the performance. Active script discussions involved more monitoring activities, especially providing socio-emotional support. Once socio-emotional support was stimulated in the more active script discussion, it tended to follow-up during the task work. It can be concluded, that the groups appropriated the script differently in different situations and with varied success. The implications of facilitating socio-cognitive and socio-emotional monitoring in collaborative learning are discussed.

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New publication: TPACK updated to measure pre-service teachers’ twenty-first century skills

A new publication by the PREP21 team in the University of Eastern Finland is available. The article, published in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, discusses an updated instrument to evaluate pre-service teachers’ skills related to technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). The article introduces a new TPACK questionnaire, the TPACK-21 questionnaire which is grounded on twenty-first century skills. The study also reveals that pre-service teachers generally felt a need for some support in all elements of the TPACK, but the technology-related areas were found to be the weakest.

Reference to the article: Valtonen, T., Sointu, W., Kukkonen, J., Kontkanen, S., Lambert, M., & Mäkitalo-Siegl, K. (2017). TPACK updated to measure pre-service teachers’ twenty-first century skills. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(3), 15-31.

Read the full paper here:

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A New Postdoc Researcher

Prep21 team got a new researcher when Tuomo Virtanen started working at the beginning of this year. Tuomo is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. His main research interests are lower secondary school students’ engagement with school, classroom interactions, and structural equation modeling. Tuomo Virtanen defended his thesis Student Engagement in Finnish Lower Secondary School ( in October 2016. Tuomo will carry out statistical analyses in the Prep21 project.

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A New Team member

Kaisa Manninen started as a research assistant at the beginning of year 2017. Kaisa will be working in Sanna Järvelä’s team in the University of Oulu together with Piia Näykki, Jaana Isohätälä and Heidi Filppa. Kaisa is studying her third year in Primary Teacher Education in the University of Oulu. She also has completed a bachelor’s degree from Agriculture and Forestry in the University of Helsinki. In the Prep21 project Kaisa will help with management and analysis of the Prep21 data.

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Open positions: Post-doctoral researcher and research assistant (12 months)

A one-year post-doctoral researcher position is available in the Learning and Educational Technology Research Unit (LET), University of Oulu, Finland. We are looking for a researcher who is qualified and interested in contributing  to the Prep21 project (Preparing Teacher Education Students for 21st Century Learning Practices. Ways of thinking, ways of working and tools for working). We are especially looking for someone who would like to join co-authoring our empirical articles and start working with 2-3 own empirical articles together with the PREP21 team members.

Keywords: Learning sciences, TEL, CSCL, collaborative learning, self-regulated learning, mixed methods, video observation data, self-report data, longitudinal data

The LET team is also looking for a research assistant (50 % of normal weekly hours) to help with management and analysis of the Prep21 data. The research assistant position is also 12 months.

Please contact: Sanna Järvelä (sanna.jarvela (a)


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