Living Lab for Innovative Teaching at the University of Pretoria

The Living Lab for Innovative teaching at the University of Pretoria (LLITUP) research unit aims to empower innovation in education through collaborative interdisciplinary research. LLITUP boasts a Collaboratorium that serves as the physical space for the research unit. The Collaboratorium is equipped with a multitude of different educational technologies for research and teacher development. The Collaboratorium provides workspace for teachers, lecturers as well as trainers and it aligns with blended learning principles such as promoted by the University of Pretoria as well as the different Departments of Education and Training.

The LLITUP work process combines Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and the Living Lab research paradigm into one research approach. The Appreciative Inquiry process includes the phases Dream, Design, Develop, Apply, Implement, Review and Impact. This creates the open, innovative nature necessary to address the unique challenges in Education within a Living Lab. The Living Lab research paradigm proposes Idea Generation, Design, Develop, Validation and Venture, which aligns well with the AI process, as indicated in the figure.

The LLITUP team follows this process by dreaming about innovative solutions to educational challenges in discussions with various stakeholders. The ideas generated in these dream sessions support the design of innovative educational solutions tailored for the environment where the solution is needed. Whilst staying rooted in good educational principal the team then aims to empower stakeholders to develop processes resources and skills that can be implemented in a transformed practice. Critical review in an appreciative manner helps our team and our stakeholders to determine the successes and necessary improvements in educational interventions. This process usually transpires through the writing of journal articles or dissemination at conferences, workshops, and further exploratory sessions. Everything that is learnt in the LLITUP research unit and Collaboratorium percolates into the teaching of Computer Integrated Education (CIE) modules at the University of Pretoria, ensuring an up-to-date and relevant education for the CIE teacher of the future.

The LLITUP team would like to invite companies and other stakeholders that need technologies (hardware as well as software) investigated for usability and application in the education environment, to make these technologies available to the Collaboratorium for periods of time as they see fit and as researchers agree to investigate it. Reviews of technology are shared with the educational community on multiple platforms and research results are disseminated as journal articles and at conferences, work sessions, forums and more. The LLTUP page on the UP offers the LLITUP Newsletter that disseminates reviews of the technologies, available in the Collaboratorium for all stakeholders and other interested parties.

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