One Sky, Many Voices (OSMV), a research group from the University of Michigan, has successfully designed and works to continually refine an insightful and effective model of Internet-supported science curricula for middle-school students. Design, as a process, is an activity that requires the definition, articulation or development of multiple components such as user needs, design goals, and a potential solution in the form of a general model, to name a few. This paper highlights these key elements of design as well as the relationship between them. For example, research plays an integral role in the design efforts by One Sky Many Voices. When designing a system of elements that are intended to work together to accomplish some objective(s) (i.e., software and curriculum), an additional requirement of more global levels of expertise is discussed. To illustrate these ideas, the work of One Sky, Many Voices is introduced including their theoretical framework, research goals, design goals, resulting model and finally, a specific example of their success story, Kids as Global Scientists (KGS) '98.
While supportive features that address the needs of students and teachers are critical for the success of educational software, they are only the first step toward adoption and effective use of software in the classroom. As learning technologies gain increasing use in classrooms, designers must pay close attention to the pedagogical and logistical issues that teachers face during their enactment. This paper traces the design history of the WorldWatcher visualization software from a learner-centered to a classroom-centered framework, addressing the challenges that teachers faced during enactment and the affordances we have designed to facilitate teacher use.
Achieving the potential of technology-supported inquiry-based learning requires that designers match activity design to the affordances of technology to satisfy the requirements for learning. Inquiry activities can play many roles in the learning process including establishing a need for learning, and discovering, exploring, and applying new knowledge. In the design of the Create-A-World Activity for the WorldWatcher scientific visualization environment, we have matched the design of activities to the affordances of the technology to create inquiry activities that play each of these roles in supporting learning.
The present study describes a prototypal system for machine tools teaching in a Virtual Reality environment integrated with hypermedia. The goal is to lead students not only to understand the structure and functioning of the lathe, but also to use such a machine. To reach this, the prototype tries to foster conceptual changes in students' mental models and to increase students' control over the learning process. A series of experimental tests have been carried out to assess the educational validity of the instructional tool which has been devised. The aim of the first phase of the project was to assess whether students could use easily the virtual lathe and to verify what they learn about such a machine. The purpose of the second phase was to focus on some critical aspects of the learning process activated by using the virtual lathe in order to realize which are the instructional procedures which give the best learning outcomes.
This paper describes a research study that investigated how designers can use frames of reference (egocentric, exocentric, and a combination of the two) to support the mastery of complex multidimensional information. The primary focus of this study was the relationship between FORs and mastery; the secondary focus was on secondary factors (individual characteristics and interaction experience) that were likely to influence the relationship between FORs and mastery. This study provided useful knowledge about how we can use this feature to enhance VR and other visualization environments. Outcomes showed not only the extent to which different FORs facilitated the mastery of the abstract and multidimensional information spaces, but also provided insights into why this was the case. Three novel and meaningful findings were: (1) the bicentric group consistently outperformed the egocentric and exocentric groups, (2) the traditional pencil and paper test was biased in favor of the exocentric FOR, and (3) people exposed to the egocentric FOR had an enhanced ability to adopt this FOR when problem solving. Additionally, by examining the relationship between FORs and mastery within the context of individual characteristics and the interaction experiences, it was possible to derive a model describing this relationship in a broader context.
If a "picture is worth a thousand words," then why have attempts over the past decade to use pictures and animations to replace or supplement traditional instructional methods for teaching algorithms produced such disappointing results? The accumulated empirical evidence is mixed at best, and could easily lead one to abandon the premise that animations are powerful vehicles for effectively conveying the dynamic behaviors of algorithms. However, we report on a research project based on the premise that a rethinking of algorithm animation design is required in order to harness its power to enhance learning. The key insight is that for algorithm animations to be effective, they have to be "chunked" and embedded within a context and knowledge providing hypermedia information presentation system. The theoretical foundations of our approach, architecture of the resulting hypermedia algorithm visualization system, and empirical studies that show a significant advantage for the system over learning from text are described in this paper. We conclude with a discussion of why hypermedia visualizations may be superior to plain animations and future research plans.
This paper describes an example of an arts-based, computational learning environment: a project called "Escher's World" where students learned geometry in a "digital mathematics studio." In the Escher's World project, 12 middle-school students participated in 80 hours of graphic design activities over 4 weeks leading up to the production of a museum exhibit on visual mathematics. The paper focuses how collaborative activity, the expressive nature of design, and the digital design medium helped these students learn mathematics during their design work. In particular, the paper looks at the mechanisms through which collaboration, expression and computation support one another in the studio context. The results presented suggest the design studio is a potentially powerful model for computational learning environments in other disciplines.
While educational research and practice have found many benefits of integrative, long-term, and complex design activities, an issue of growing concern is that students might lose sight of science learning while diverting their attention to design aesthetics, collaborative management, and technology. A question is whether or not science is actually separate from these aspects; it may be that science permeates the design environment and is thus contexted within these other activities. To investigate this possibility, we followed three student teams participating in a design project for 10 weeks as they met to collaboratively plan a science software simulation. Specifically, we examined their science discussions during planning and what conversational contexts gave rise to science talk. We found that these planning sessions provided a rich context for problematizing; however, the more students focused on the fine-grained details of the simulation itself, the more sophisticated their science talk was. Results also showed that experienced designers in each of the teams played a crucial role in shaping the contexts for science talk. We discuss the implications for how design tasks might be structured in the future to provide the most productive contexts for problematizing science content and facilitating fruitful science discourse.
We describe the design and development of design diaries, a tool for scaffolding learning by design. The diaries have prompts in them to help students carry out their design related activities. We used the diaries to support life, earth and physical science problems. We will discuss how we made the prompts in the dairies progressively more specific,based on our classroom experiences, and a more detailed model of the design process.
In this paper, we discuss an integrative design for computer supported cooperative learning (CSCL) environments. Three problems that commonly arise in CSCL systems are addressed: How to achieve social orientation and group awareness, how to coordinate goal-directed interaction, and how to construct a shared knowledge base. With respect to each problem, we propose a guiding metaphor which links theoretical, technical, and usability requirements. If appropriately implemented, each metaphor resolves a problem: Virtual rooms support social orientation in small and medium sized groups, learning protocols guide interactions aimed at knowledge acquisition, and knowledge nets provide a means to represent socially shared knowledge. Theoretically, the metaphor of virtual rooms originates in work on virtual spaces in human computer interaction, learning protocols are related to speech act theory, and knowledge nets are based on cognitive models of knowledge representation. In concert, these concepts form a coherent design for learning environments. A prototype system implementing the virtual room metaphor is sketched, and further directions on how to integrate learning protocols and knowledge nets are outlined. We argue that by integrating these three metaphors a cognitively and educationally sound CSCL-environment can be achieved.
Given the cost and effort involved in investigating different methods or protocols for human collaborative learning, this paper proposes the use of software learning agents to simulate and test various protocols. Only the best performing, and thus most promising ones, would then be tested on actual human subjects. In particular, the paper presents a new form of cooperative learning, called coactive learning. After arguing that humans could be taught to learn coactively, experiments are conducted with various coactive learning schemes. The results of the experiments demonstrate situations in which machine learning agents using coactive learning can perform better than individual machine learning agents. Collaborative learning through coaction is shown to generate properties that individual learners can achieve only through computationally intensive strategies, that are not always accessible to human learners. It is suggested that human learners be trained to learn coactively using the most successful agent coacting protocols, and compared, on the same type of learning task, to individual learners and groups of learners not trained in these protocols.
This paper investigates the use of a computer-based archeological simulation in the classroom to foster discipline-based reasoning in the teaching of ancient history. The reasoning involved is defined as "reconstructive historical reasoning" having two dimensions, the epistemic dimension and the argumentative dimension. We present a case study of the hypotheses developed by a group of two students over 11 discussions during the excavation. We argue that patterns in the students hypothesizing can be linked with (1)the design of the computerized task environment and (2) the social orchestration of reasoning in the classroom discussions. We argue that this type of case study has merit for the refinement of both educational software and classroom teaching that supports inquiry-based learning.
In project-oriented courses, students often research a topic guided by a number of relevant questions and then collect and present their findings in the form of a report or a posterboard. Recently, and with various degrees of success, the web is used as an information resource. Teachers evaluating the resulting artifacts experience difficulty in differentiating between students actual understanding of the topic area and prolific copying and pasting from the web approaches. In the context of a social studies class, we explored the idea of having students build interactive web-based simulations instead of posterboards as means to gain a deeper understanding of complex issues. To build a running simulation students cannot simply paste existing pieces together. Instead, this process actively engages students by forcing them to map one kind of representation onto another. At the same time, the notion of simulation is not a trivial one. Fully appreciating the value of simulations requires time and building one requires additional effort by the students. This paper reports on the use of the AgentSheets environment in having students with no programming experience build interactive simulations that they could share through the web as part of a non-technology centered social studies course on protest and reform.
Multimedia simulation software promises to make great contributions to learning byproviding learning environments in which the student can safely participate in an authentic, challenging task with the helpful guidance of video-based tutors and coaches. However, it has proven very difficult to design educational software that is both sufficiently flexible to provide the kind of open-ended environment that will encourage learning, and sufficiently structured to be comprehensible and to allow the system to provide helpful coaching. We have confronted these challenges in the context of a reusable, subject-matter educational architecture, which we call Advise, for teaching through an analysis-and-recommendation task. This paper discusses our experience trying to improve several generations of Advise along dimensions of flexibility and structure, and offers suggestions to designers of other educational simulations. In particular, it examines a) how to structure complex tasks to provide a happy balance between structure and flexibility, b) how to communicate the task structure well enough to students that they know what they can and should do, and c) how to encourage student flexibility, so students don't fall into the common trap of following a particular task structure by rote, failing to make their own choices about how to use the environment.
In this paper we address the issue of creating goal-based learning environments in which students become fully engaged by suspending their disbelief. We attach the issue of suspending disbelief to the authenticity of the learning experience for them. We ground our thinking on authenticity in social constructivism and trace some emerging themes that have come out of our experience trying to create authenticity in such a highly designed experiences. Finally, we have suggested a promising future approach to guide the setting of authenticity in our designs.
The purpose of this study was to investigate effects of a knowledge medium (i.e., diagram function in InspirationTM) on self-explaining. We were particularly concerned with: (1) whether the use of the knowledge medium in self-explaining further improves students' conceptual understanding, and (2) what types of self-explaining activities learners engage in with the medium. Eight undergraduate students participated in the study. Four were allocated in a condition for self-explaining in a normal way. The other four were allocated in a condition for self-explaining with the knowledge medium. The students listened to three sessions of a psychology lecture on human memory, then engaged in self-explaining after each session. Their conceptual understanding was evaluated by post tests. Results showed: (1) that students with the knowledge medium manifested significantly higher conceptual understanding, and (2) that the students significantly more engaged in manipulation of different types of knowledge across different sessions. Thus, the study confirmed the effects of knowledge media on facilitation of students' conceptual understanding through self-explaining, and identified that knowledge media might have effects to make students manipulate their knowledge in a more constructive way.
Knowledge structures have typically been described from a cognitive theoretical perspective. In this study, a framework for discussing knowledge structures from a constructivist perspective is proposed. These hypothetical structures, called dynamic multidimensional schema, are based on characteristics of traditional schema, dynamic systems models, and the rhizome metaphor. Support for the definition of these structures was gathered through a preliminary qualitative study of first and sixth grade students. Identified in these children's structures were cues which prompted children to think beyond the domain, and trajectories which described the nature of the nondomain topics that the children's thoughts extended to. Seven cues and nine trajectory types were identified.
In 1996, we reported on a new approach to creating a constructivist learning environment, one that addressed both cognitive and social aspects of learning and that was based on a combination of good theory (taken primarily from case-based reasoning's cognitive model) and a compatible model of practice (problem-based learning) and that incorporated the best of several other approaches (e.g., collaborative learning). Case-based reasoning's cognitive model provided a conceptual framework for envisioning a classroom and curriculum where learning happens as a result of a series of design experiences, problem-based learning told us how to enact exemplary practices in the classroom, and case-based reasoning and its relatives (e.g., analogical reasoning, cognitive flexibility theory) provided specific guidelines for implementing practices. What was needed, we said, was experience in the classroom that we would use to debug the model we had set up. This paper presents Learning by Design (LBD), the approach to practice that we've developed over the past three years based on the guidelines put forth by CBR and PBL. We've learned many different pedagogical tools and practices for accomplishing LBD's goals. Our recent pilots also suggest several key values that must be bought into and practiced by teachers as a necessary condition for successful LBD implementation.
In this paper, we relate our efforts at designing and implementing scaffolding that highlights and allows students to take advantage of the affordances of a Learning-by-Design classroom. We began by integrating into the classroom a paper-and-pencil tool, design diaries (Puntambekar, 1997), to scaffold students' design-related activities. Our experiences with using the diaries in middle school classrooms have helped us understand that in the dynamic, complex environment of the classroom, not all of the scaffolding can be provided with any one tool. Scaffolding needs to be distributed across the various agents that play a role in learning (for example - the teacher, peers and software and paper and pencil tools). We found that a system of scaffolding is required which integrates the activities that students have to carry out.
The Critical Issues Forum (CIF), designed for high school students and teachers, is a critical thinking curriculum model that integrates computer technology. Teacher and student teams seek solutions for current real world concerns through a collaborative, distance learning process. The teams enhance their use of computer technology by developing skills in web page development, concept mapping and Internet research. Participant efforts are consolidated via e-mail and a web-based curriculum. The teams interact with electronic mentors through the web site's question submission area and ongoing dialogue page. Student work is published on the CIF web page and the teams participate in a culminating multi-media activity. The CIF Program is based on a curriculum model that can be utilized for a variety of topic areas. The presentation will include a demonstration of a multidisciplinary curriculum model that integrates effective educational components (constructivism, Socratic dialogue, critical thinking, collaborative environments, standards and benchmarks), computer technology, assessment, and community building. Attendees and presenters discuss the successful application and evaluation of the model in education. Attendees leave with an understanding of the model, how to facilitate the acquisition of telecommunication skills needed to conduct electronic research, and how to incorporate their own topics into the model.
This paper presents a theory and model of planning for the use of technology in K-12 schools. There is a need for such a model because current school technology planning efforts are often devoid of context, and lead to poorly conceived arrangements of technology that are not supportive of learning and curriculum. This problem has immediate consequences for the Learning Sciences, as we seek appropriate contexts in which to conduct our research or "scale up" proven practices from research. An appropriate process of planning for technology in schools is therefore an important stepping stone to large-scale reform efforts. Examples of the proposed process in action at an urban K-8 school are presented to illustrate the model and its potential.
The application of network technologies has forced dramatic restructuring and rethinking of several institutions, such as international and domestic business, industry and medicine. Parallel transformations of K-12 schools have been dramatically less pronounced, in part, we believe, because of a lack of a widespread, working model of effective technology for today's schools. This paper outlines ten suggestions for widespread adoption and adaptation of technology-rich, educationally sound, science education programs for 4th-9th graders. Our suggestions come from the work of the One Sky, Many Voices research team over the past six years, as we scale our programs to tens of thousands of simultaneous learners coordinated throughout the world.
Research conducted during the last 25 years has shown that parent involvement is important for children1s learning, attitudes about school, and their aspirations. Child academic achievement is further impacted by poverty and the educational level of the parents. Conversely, research suggests that by opening home-school communication lines and establishing learning communities that support child learning beyond the classroom, child learning can be enhanced. Based on surveys and interviews with teachers, administrator, and parents of children at- risk due to disadvantaged economic circumstances, our project identified several variables as important to parents for strengthening the home-school connection. Chief among them was the need for resources that they could use at home with specific instructions as to how to use them. This paper presents the results of two studies that demonstrated that by providing parents with technology supported materials and activities linked to anchor stories used in the classroom, the type and amont of parent-child interaction at home could be positively enhanced. The study highlighted the desire of parents to be involved in child learning and that anchored cost-effective materials and activities, along with specific instructions, can be an effective strategy to support child learning beyond the classroom.
What happens when a community that has previously had very little or no exposure to the Internet receives Internet access at home? This paper describes a project that provided television set-top Internet access devices to Latino families as part of a project to link the school and home in an inquiry-based science curriculum. The early phases of adoption of the Internet and "NetTV" devices by families are described, with special attention paid to different ways families make educational use of the Internet.
In the popular media, educational technology is almost exclusively portrayed--both by enthusiasts and critics--as an enterprise devoted to overcoming the purported limitations of the physical world. This paper argues, in contrast, that computational media are capable of enhancing the expressiveness of more traditional materials, and enumerates three design principles for computationally-enriched educational handicrafts that take advantage of the valuable characteristics of both computation and craft materials. The resulting system should (1) make possible increased complexity of constructions beyond what a designer could achieve without computational support, (2) exploit the breadth of existing computational resources that, in a sense, come "for free" with the addition of computational support, and (3) encourage the use of design formalisms as experimental artifacts, stimulating new design languages that in turn become the means through which novel, creative ideas are realized. We present two instances of this design strategy in operation. The first is HyperGami, a design tool for customized paper polyhedral models and polyhedral sculptures. The second is HyperSpider, a design tool for three-dimensional string sculptures. In each case, we follow the design process from initial conception through final construction.
This paper describes researchers' conceptions of project-based science and compares them to teachers' conceptions. In many cases, teachers' understandings of science fair projects govern their understanding of project-based science. The paper briefly discusses the organizational context in which teachers' understandings are rooted. The analysis of differences between project-based science and science fair projects provides insights into ways in which researchers' and teachers' thinking about science instruction converge and diverge. It also reveals the issues of context that researchers face as they introduce theoretically-grounded learning environments into schools. This work emerged from a study of the newly established Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools, a partnership of Northwestern University, the Chicago Public Schools, the University of Michigan, and the Detroit Public Schools, and in particular five work cirlces composed of researchers, school principals, and teachers. The work circles were created to develop and adapt challenging project-based science curricula for use by all teachers in Chicago K-8 public schools with the approporatie technological infrustructure.
Managing the complexity of project-based learning activities poses challenges for children and has spawned an interest in the development of tools to support students' learning and participation in the practices of a particular domain. Taking an alternative approach, this study investigated children as the tool makers to support their own planning performance in a software design project, situated in a long-term science intervention. Teams of students from an upper elementary science class engaged in a ten week project to design an educational simulation for younger students. They created their own project planning artifacts, given a blank planning board and a set of open-ended tools. Study results report on the similarities and differences between teams in the functional organization of their planning space and the use of artifacts displayed on boards to support project planning. We also report on changes over time in the function and use of team-generated planning artifacts as planning functions shift between physical, virtual, and social spaces. We conclude with a discussion of considerations for future tool development and for classroom practice.
Many students do not understand what representational problems a particular notation solves, thus limiting their ability to use the notation, as well as their understanding of the problem situation it applies to. Forty-six undergraduates completed a lesson designed to help them understand variance and its notation. Students in the invention group were asked to create a procedure for calculating the variance of contrasting distributions of numbers; students in the procedural group were presented with a procedure for calculating variance and asked to practice it on the numbers. Results indicate that invention students learned to reflect on the quantitative properties of distributions, and to evaluate statistical procedures in terms of their ability to differentiate those properties. Students in the procedural condition tended to evaluate a procedure simply in terms of whether or not it was like the "correct" procedure. We plan to extend this instructional method to facilitate classroom conversations and as a platform for a complementary intelligent instructional system.
In this paper we describe how a computer environment supports collaborative learning in middle-school mathematics by 1) serving as a mathematical resource in a larger activity structure--group design projects; and 2) generating opportunities for mathematical activities and student conversations. We focus on one environment, Architech@, which supports students as they design research stations in Antarctica and provides experiences with important mathematics such as the concepts of size, scale, and functions. We summarize a case study showing how a pair of students used Architech@ to develop a sense of what is a reasonable size for objects on their floor plan and a reasonable scale for their design. The case also shows the reciprocity between the activity structures in the classroom, the work in the student group, the questions from the teacher, and the technology. Keywords: classroom contexts, collaboration and conceptual change, computer-supported collaborative learning, classroom discourse processes
The goal of this paper is to describe our initial efforts at developing what we call "interactive analogies." Interactive analogies are pairs of simulations. In the attempt to answer specific problems, students interact with each simulation and map the analogous structures in each. Interactive analogies provide a complementary use of analogies and simulations; the weaknesses of one approach are handled by the strengths of the other. Analogies are useful in this regard because they allow students to draw on prior knowledge from a related domain. On the other hand, analogies do not provide feedback that helps students progressively map the structures between two domains. For example, simply telling someone that a battery is like an elevated water tank will not help most students work out the relevant similarities. Simulations provide useful feedback by allowing the student to test out possible relations. In the beginning of the paper we provide a quick overview of the strengths and weaknesses of simulations and analogies, and how interactive analogies may provide an excellent combination of the two. Afterwards, we describe an example of an interactive analogy we have developed for the domain of electrical circuits, and we describe some "telling cases" as to its usefulness. Finally, we discuss work we are currently conducting and issues we hope to address in the future.
In this paper we describe an innovative approach to the design of software support for multimedia interactive learning environments (MILEs) which enables users to construct personal narratives. We present a framework for the construction of narrative which indicates some of the underlying constituent processes and their potential scaffolds and we discuss the use of Galapagos, a CD-ROM which teaches students about Darwin's theory of evolution. This was developed to test our hypotheses about how narrative in MILEs can provide guidance and scaffolding of the task and the learners. Students using Galapagos are set a task which requires them to collaborate in the construction of an answer in the notepad facility provided by the CD-ROM; these notepads offer one representation of the emerging narratives being constructed by each group. We explore the role of narrative in learner support and highlight particular design features which we identified as effective in engaging learners, supporting meaning-making processes and eliciting effortful activity.
Computer software offers the possibility of a wealth of interactive learning experiences. These can be productive if this interactivity is grounded in a philosophy of education which fosters its potential. Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) provides such a philosophy, because it highlights the inseparability of the teaching and learning processes and emphasises the interactive nature of education. This paper describes the Ecolab software which explores the way the ZPD can be used in the design of an Interactive Learning Environment (ILE). It highlights the benefits of focusing upon the learner and ensuring her extension beyond her current ability level. The trilogy of system manipulations implemented in the Ecolab each approach control for the software scaffolding features which are available in a different way. VIS keeps control with the system and makes an explicit attempt to extend the learner. WIS gives more control to the user. It offers only suggestions about what she should try next, but allocates a level of help in line with her past achievements. NIS offers total control to the learner. An evaluation of the Ecolab has illustrated that the approach adopted by VIS promotes the construction of the most productive interactions with the majority of learners.
Teaching students the skills of planning and interpreting experiments is difficult. Students tend to focus on obtaining desired outcomes rather than on understanding causes and effects. Inquiry skills are increasingly important for students entering the health professions who may later conduct large-scale research such as clinical trials or be required to interpret the results of such research. To learn how to design and interpret the results of experiments, these students must have appropriate experiences and support to help shape the experience, model the inquiry process, and encourage reflection. Simulations offer promise for providing these experiences. One such simulation environment, the Oncology Thinking Cap (OncoTCap ) provides a comprehensive modeling workbench for cancer researchers. This tool is versatile and can be used to model clinical trials, but its functions and operation may impose excessive cognitive load for the novice. Also, novices may have little knowledge of the kinds of experimental designs used in cancer research. There are well-defined designs for clinical trials of new drugs, used at different stages of testing and for different purposes. As Baker and Dunbar (1996) note, the expert scientist often has a mental schema with slots to be filled with the items needed to determine an experimental design. Work on software-realized scaffolding suggests that communicating the design process is one way that learners can begin to construct these schemas. In this paper, we report on the design, use, and evaluation of a special purpose interface, the Phase II Trial Design wizard, to help scaffold medical students' design of an experiment to test a new cancer drug.
In this paper we present a case study of how the students' understanding and use of the Sample Space--a central aspect of probability theory--develops across two social contexts of the Probability Inquiry Environment (PIE). PIE is a computer-mediated inquiry environment designed to help middle school students learn elementary probability theory through active investigations. First, we examine the local context consisting of pairs of students working together with the simulation. Second, we investigate how the public context of whole class discussions contributes to learning. We argue that the local context of the investigation provides the opportunity for students to experience and practice separating information from noise, whereas the public context of the whole class discussion provides a forum where the student's invented mathematics is brought to consensus with that of their classmates and the normative reasoning of the domain. The findings of this research illustrates the value of complementary social contexts for computer supported, inquiry-based learning environments.
Abstract: Many students seem to approach the field of electromagnetic wave theory with everyday conceptions of central concepts such as polarization. A study on university students' understanding of the concept of polarization is presented indicating that the students have trouble with the concept because their everyday use of the term conflicts with a scientific use of the term. Most students are able to make correct predictions about polarization in familiar situations but many have trouble giving explanations of these. In certain less familiar cases the subjects give incorrect predictions but explanations that happen to correspond to the scientific ones because they seem to be unaware of the role of reflection of light for polarization. The results also imply that the subjects give more correct predictions and explanations if they are initially asked to explain polarization phenomena, and not only predict such phenomena. Moreover, in some cases some of the students showed that they had learned the scientific explanation but also showed some hesitation as to what this meant for their subjective experiences, i.e., they were unable to make predictions about their visual experiences from the explanation illustrating a gap between the scientific language game and everyday situations
We live in a society where concepts of self, family, community and "what is right and wrong" are constantly changing. Therefore there is a need for learning environments that encourage children to actively explore their identity as well as the personal and social values they live by. Computational tools have great potential to foster learning about these issues. However, there has been little research in this area. The few technological environments that exist address values as a decision-making problem and are theoretically grounded on what I call the moral reasoning approach. In this paper I propose the narrative approach, which is based on a constructionist way of learning about the connection between identity and values. The research looks at how on-line collaborative environments can become tools to think about moral and identity issues. The paper also describes an on-going research project, Kaleidostories, which looks at computer-based narrative tools to support construction of coherence between the fragmented selves and values that populate our identity. The goal is to explore how new technologies can assist in children's discovery of their own selves as well as the underlying patterns of thought and behavior that connect the worldviews proposed by different religions and cultures.
In this paper we describe our work in designing a training system for students of the subject of conceptual modeling. With situated learning as a starting point, emphasis is on the authentic practices of experienced modelers and on the language used by the modelers. We have video-recorded experienced modelers performing conceptual modeling and used it as a starting point in our design. The video-recordings are then used to create authentic scenarios emphasizing use of the language of experienced modelers. The video-recordings are also used to design apprenticeship scaffolding for the students. We also describe how we in some cases restrict the activities of the user in order to provide authenticity and scaffolding. Key words: Authenticity, conceptual modeling, language use, cognitive apprenticeship.
We investigated medical students' reasoning about a neurophysiology problem under two elicitation methods. In the first condition, subjects were given a patient case and asked to verbalize their reasoning about the problem during a think-aloud protocol (TAP) session. The second group of subjects used the computer program Convince Me (CM) to reason about the case. Subjects in both groups successfully solved the case problem and recognized irrelevant evidence as such. Although it took considerably longer for CM subjects to complete the assignment, their arguments seem more sophisticated, exhibiting trends toward (1) more alternative hypotheses for the solution, (2) more new, auxiliary, evidence to support their hypotheses, (3) more contradictory evidence and contradictory relationships, and (4) more relationships (links) per proposition (node). The Model's Fit feature of Convince Me further indicated their arguments to be reasonably coherent. TAP subjects, on the other hand, cited more total evidence in their arguments, were more likely to draw a diagram to reason about the case, and rated their method more highly than did CM subjects. We discuss these findings in the context of (a) past results, (b) issues of usability and (c) improving the match between methodology and instructional milieu.