|Headquarters||Rome, Lazio, Italy|
ASLERD, the Association for Smart Learning Ecosystem and Regional Development, is an interdisciplinary, democratic, professional association open to institutions and individuals. It was founded in 2015 by academics, researchers and scholars, mostly from European Institutions, with the intention of developing the work previously carried out by the Observatory on Smart City Learning (2012–2015). ASLERD is registered as a not-for-profit organisation under Italian law.
The mission of the association is to support learning ecosystems to develop their people centered smartness towards becoming incubators of social innovation and engines of sustainable regional development.
ASLERD has adopted a more people centered vision of ecosystem "smartness" that integrates the Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the Flow (psychology) theory: "Ecosystems are smart when individuals that take part in the local processes achieve a high level of skills and, at the same time, are also strongly motivated and engaged by continuous and adequate challenges, provided that their primary needs are reasonably satisfied."
Unlike the most popular models used to benchmark the performance of smart cities, in the ASLERD vision the ecosystem "smartness" is not determined by infrastructural or process and product indicators but emerges, bottom-up, from the opinions of all categories of players involved in the learning processes, as it has been shown in the case studies concerning European Campuses and Rome's Schools. In such vision the development of people centred ecosystem "smartness" is considered as a continual process that needs to be supported by participatory approaches, co-design practices and technologies.
At the first ASLERD conference, held in Timişoara, (Romania) a document, Better Learning for a Better World – Through People Centered Smart Learning Ecosystems, also known as The Timişoara Declaration, was signed on 19 May 2016 by representatives of some of the most prominent European Associations involved in the development of the Technology Enhanced Learning and of the Distance Education, including EADTU, EATEL, EDEN and IAFES The Timişoara Declaration recognizes:
- the leading role of design as driver of innovation at both organisational and didactic levels and of fostering the acquisition of a metadesign attitude by the students to prepare them as future citizens
- the need for a fully interoperable tech-sphere and phygital environments
- the social relevance of alternating school and work (Alternance Schemes and Dual Education) to restore learning ecosystems to their central place and to foster cooperation between students, teachers, families and territorial stakeholders
- the need to unlock the full potential of open forms of education
- the need for new models to benchmark the "smartness" of people centered learning ecosystems and territories
- that technologies are smart not because they are capable of replacing human reasoning but, rather because they can help towards achieving a people centred smartness, through streamlining mundane organisational tasks, and enhancing the skills of all actors involved in learning processes
The association supports good quality research on Smart Learning Ecosystems and their relevance for social innovation and regional development by fostering networking and supporting projects at regional, national and international level (mainly European). The actions develop mainly in three ways:
- Relations between Learning Ecosystems and Regional Development
- to include: understanding and models, social innovation & capital, capacity building, cultural issues, sustainability.
- Competence Development
- to include: taxonomies of horizontal competences and interplay with digital competences, educative visions, frameworks and methodologies to foster their acquisition, smart citizenship.
- Supporting Technologies
- to foster: interoperability of data and services, safety and security, privacy, trust and mediation,
ASLERD supports the development of Smart Learning Ecosystems by:
- promoting the transfer of competences, methodologies and technologies from laboratories to learning ecosystems (schools and other formal and informal learning ecosystems)
- offering free access to lectures, workshops, round tables
- promoting high-quality open access multidisciplinary publications
The European relevance of the ASLERD vision, and previously that of the Observatory on Smart City Learning, was first recognized in 2013 with the inclusion of People Centered Smart Cities through Smart City Learning among the Grand challenges of the XXI century in Technology Enhanced Learning. Recently ASLERD organized a session on "Smart Learning Ecosystems for social innovation and territorial development at "ICT2015: Innovate, Connect, Transform" (Lisbon, Portugal) promoted by the European Commission – DG Connect. ASLERD is also committed to producing further analysis and collaboration among European Associations as outlined in the Timișoara declaration. SLERD 2017 has been supported by European Platform for Adult Learning (EPALE) – Erasmus+.
Conference and workshops
Members of the association, and previously of the Observatory on Smart City Learning, have been promoting ASLERD vision by organizing workshops and panels all over the world:
- Learning with and from Smart Cities – SCiLearn 2012 @ICWL2012 (Sinaia, Romania)
- Horizon 2020: Smart City Learning @ARV2013 (Villard-de-Lans, Venors, France)
- Smart City Learning @ICALT2013 (Beijing, China)
- People Centered Smart Territories: Design, Learning and Analytics, 2013 (Bologna, Italy)
- Smart City Learning: Opportunities and Challenges @EC-TEL2014, (Graz, Austria)
- Dubai2020: Smart City Learning @ICWOAL2014, (Dubai, AE)
- Critical and Participatory Development of People Centered Smart Learning Ecosystems and Territories @Critical Alternatives 2015 (Aarhus, Denmark)
- Smart Learning Ecosystems in Smart Regions and Cities @EC-TEL2015 (Toledo, Spain)
- Learning Ecosystems as knots of the regional development (organized in collaboration with SIe-L and RUIAP), Evaluation of Learning Ecosystems: opinions and experiences (organized in collaboration with SIe-L) and Design literacy as engine of the future education panels @EMEM 2016 (Modena, Italy)
- Alternate Schemes: Models, Criticalities and Opportunities panel (organized in collaboration with CKBG and RUIAP) @EMEM 2017 Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Since 2016 the association organizes its own annual conference: SLERD. The first edition of the series, SLERD 2016 was organized by the Politehnica University of Timișoara (Romania). SLERD 2017 took take place in Aveiro, Portugal, organized by the University of Aveiro, SLERD 2018 in Aalborg, Denmark organized by the University of Aalborg and SLERD 2019 in Rome, Italy, co-organized by the University of Rome Tor Vergata, the ITD of the National Research Council (Italy) and the Quasar University of Rome. SLERD 2020 was planned to take place in Bucharest, Romania, May 25–27, organized by the Politehnica University of Bucharest. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SLERD 2020 was fully online conference format and carried out on 29–30 June 2020.
ASLERD is supporting the publication of a high-quality peer-reviewed online open access multidisciplinary journal – IxD&A – indexed among others, by SCOPUS, ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index – Web of Science) and DOAJ. Members of the association, and previously of the Observatory on Smart City Learning, have promoted several special issues published by the IxD&A journal IxD&A Open Archive :
- Smart City Learning: Vision and Practical Implementations (N.16&17)
- People Centered Smart Territories (N. 20)
- Social Behaviours and Learning in Smart Environments (N. 22)
- Smart City Learning: Opportunities and Challenges (N. 27)
- Smart Learning Ecosystems and Regional Development (N. 31)
- Citizen, Territory and Technologies: Smart Learning Contexts and Practices (N. 35)
- Smart Learning Ecosystems – Technologies, Places, and Human-Centered Design (N. 39)
- Smart Learning Ecosystems - Design as cornerstone of smart educational processes and places (N. 43)
- Tools, Pedagogical and Ludic Strategies, Co-Design supporting Smart Learning Ecosystems and Smart Education (N. 47)
From 2017 onwards, the proceedings of the annual SLERD conference have been published by Springer Science in the series Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies.
- 2017: Citizen, Territory and Technologies: Smart Learning Contexts and Practices 
- 2018: The Interplay of Data, Technology, Place and People for Smart Learning" 
- 2019: Project and Design Literacy as Cornerstones of Smart Education 
- 2020: Ludic, Co-design and Tools Supporting Smart Learning Ecosystems and Smart Education 
Support to Schools
ASLERD is strongly involved in supporting secondary schools in improving their smartness. Since its foundation, the association has been successfully implementing actions aimed at disseminating design and evaluation literacies, fostering participatory evaluation, co-design and the increase of the social capital. ASLERD has also experimented new approaches and strategies for Alternate Schemes and fostered Territorial Communities building.
ASLERD activities are steered by an elected board of people, which have a strong background in the ASLERD related topics. The board remains in office four years and is elected by all members of the ASLERD.
The present elected board of ASLERD is composed by (in alphabetical order):
• Mihai Dascalu (Politehnica University of Bucharest (office will end in December 2023)
• Gabriella Dodero (ASLERD Italia) (office will end in December 2021)
• Carlo Giovannella (University of Rome Tor Vergata – Dept. of SPFS) – elected President (office will end in December 2023)
• Oscar Mealha (University of Aveiro – Dep. de Comunicação e Arte) (office will end in December 2021)
• Matthias Rehm (Aalborg University – Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology) – elected Deputy President (office will end in December 2023)
Past members of the board that served from September 2015 till December 2017
Past members of the board that served from September 2015 till December 2019
- Giovannella C., Territorial smartness and the relevance of the learning ecosystems, ICS2 2015, IEEE publisher, pp. 1-5
- Maslow A. H., A theory of human motivation, Psychological Review 50 (4), 1943, pp. 370–396
- Czisikszentmihalyi M., Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience, 1990, Harper & Row
- Giffinger R., Gudrun H., Smart cities ranking: an effective instrument for the positioning of cities?, ACE, IV (12), 2010, pp. 7-25
- ISO 37120, http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=62436
- Giovannella C., Andone D., Dascalu M., Popescu E., Rehm M., Roccasalva G., Smartness of Learning Ecosystems and its bottom-up emergence in six European Campuses, IxD&A Journal, N. 27, 2015, pp. 79-92
- Giovannella C., Andone D., Dascalu M., Popescu E., Rehm M., Mealha O., Evaluating the Resilience of the Bottom-up Method used to Detect and Benchmark the Smartness of University Campuses, ICS2 2016, IEEE publisher, pp. 341-345
- Giovannella C., Participatory bottom-up self-evaluation of schools’ smartness: an Italian case study, IxD&A Journal, N. 31, 2016, pp. 9-18
- IAFES[permanent dead link]
- G. Roccasalva, L. Bazzanella, S. Valenti, Phygital public space approach: a case study in Volpiano, Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal – IxD&A, N. 20, 2014, pp. 23-32.
- S. Chatzichristou, D. Ulicna, I. Murphy, A. Curth, Dual Education: a bridge over troubled waters, European Parliament 2014, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2014/529072/IPOL_STU(2014)529072_EN.pdf
- Giovannella C., Baraniello V., Smart City Learning, IJDLDC, vol. 3(4), 2013, pp. 1-15.
- Calori, C., Rossitto, C., Divitini, M. (2013), Understanding Trajectories of Experience in Situated Learning Field Trips, Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal – IxD&A, N. 16, 2013, pp. 17-26.
- McCullough, M., Attention in Urban Foraging. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal – IxD&A, N. 16, 2013, pp. 27-36.
- Buchem I., Pérez-Sanagustin M.., Personal Learning Environments in Smart Cities: Current Approaches and Future Scenarios, Elearning Papers no. 35, http://openeducationeuropa.eu/sites/default/files/asset/In-depth_35_1.pdf
- Grand Challenge Problems in Technology-Enhanced Learning II: MOOCs and Beyond, https://www.springer.com/la/book/9783319125619
- Citizen, Territory and Technologies: Smart Learning Contexts and Practices, https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-61322-2
- The Interplay of Data, Technology, Place and People for Smart Learning, https://www.springer.com/it/book/9783319920214
- Project and Design Literacy as Cornerstones of Smart Education, https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789811396519
- Ludic, Co-design and Tools Supporting Smart Learning Ecosystems and Smart Education, https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789811573828