First thesis using weSPOT: ICT and Entrepreneurship – new paradigms…

Congratulations to Karine Souza who passed her PhD viva last friday – 19th of December.  She was a visiting PhD researcher from University of Minho Portugal supervised by Dr. Bento Silva and by Dr. Ale Okada during her visit at the Open University UK. In KMi, Karine has been participating in the COLEARN – open research network since 2013. She collaborated to the European project weSPOT by developing a co-inquiry on entrepreneurial learning with students and lecturers in Portugal and Brazil. Her work contributed to one of the weSPOT pilots on “School of the Future” – new educational approaches.
Her thesis "ICT & Entrepreneurship: new paradigms and apprenticeships of young entrepreneurs and their technological innovations” investigates three issues:
1.    Network changes and its impact on the economy (e-economy sector, especially creative economy);
2.    Educational innovation in mobile and ubiquitous territories;
3.    Entrepreneurship education and skills for Co-entrepreneurship.

The Doctoral Examination Committee included Dr. José Pacheco, Dr. Bento Silva, Dr. Maria João Gomes and Dr. Lia Oliveira, from University of Minho Braga Portugal; Dr. Fernando Costa from University of Lisboa Portugal, Dr. Gladis Falavigna University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil and Dr. Ale Okada from the Open University UK.
Karine highlights entrepreneurial education as a relevant approach for guiding  young people to lead their project themselves, seeking for opportunities and transforming their reality. With these purposes, she worked with young people (high school/ secondary students) who created projects for connecting entrepreneurship and ICT and reflecting on social impact in their communities.
These young colearners from Brazil started online synchronous and asynchronous interaction in 2011. Their community expanded with participants from Portugal in 2012. At the beginning of 2014, these participants were invited to interact in the weSPOT online platform to co-investigate Entrepreneurial Education. Approximately 20 people (colearners , facilitators, educators, lecturers and collaborators)  contributed to a co-inquiry project in weSPOT organised by Karine from February to March 2014.   Several interfaces of weSPOT – “Working Environment with Social Personal and Open Technologies for Inquiry based Learning”, were used in this co-inquiry project:

  • Question: Why collaborative entrepreneurship in networks is relevant in the digital age?
  • Discussion: Participants included relevant references and comments about Entrepreneurial Education.
  • Mindmap: Participants mapped key skills for entrepreneurial learning from documents and discussions.
  • Data collection: Participants contributed by collecting useful images related to competences and skills from reports, books and documents.
  • FM web conference: Participants reflected on the whole process, including the uses of ICT and diverse technologies that contribute to entrepreneurial education and ubiquitous learning.
  • Conclusions: Facilitators summarised key outcomes from synchronous and asynchronous interactions in a paper presented in a conference. The principal investigator also developed a presentation in Prezi.

Some participants who have previously interacted in VLE mentioned that they found weSPOT very useful, particularly for structuring various phases of the co-inquiry, rating, voting and visualising the most popular information. All these features helped colearners to act as co-investigators and entrepreneurs, and contribute towards a meaningful co-inquiry project. 
Well done Dr. Karine Souza!

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