Designed for learning

learning – teaching – research – design – technology

My Phd, made practical: “SNaP! Re-using, sharing and communicating designs and design knowledge using scenarios, narratives and patterns”

Mor, Yishay (2013). SNaP! Re-using, sharing and communicating designs and design knowledge using scenarios, narratives and patterns. In: Luckin, Rose; Goodyear, Peter; Grabowski, Barbara and Winters, Niall eds. Handbook of Design in Educational Technology. London: Routledge, (In press).

http://oro.open.ac.uk/33861/

In order to enable a culture of critical, informed and reflective design practice we need a linguistic framework for communicating design knowledge: the knowledge of the characteristic features of a domain of practice, the challenges which inhabit it, and the established methods of resolving them. Such an infrastructure must “serve two masters”; on one hand, it should adhere to the requirements of scientific rigor, ensuring that the proposed conditions and challenges are genuine and the solutions effective. On the other hand, it should maintain pragmatic adequacy, ensuring that the insights it encapsulates are readily available for practitioners to implement in real-world situations. Several representations have been proposed to this effect: design narratives (Mor, 2011; Barab et al, 2008; Bell, Hoadley and Linn, 2004; Hoadley, 2002; Linn & Hsi, 2000), design principles (Kali, 2006, 2008; Linn, Bell, & Davis, 2004; Merrill, 2002; Quintana et al., 2004; van den Akker, 1999), and design patterns (Derntl & Motschnig-Pitrik, 2005; Goodyear, 2005; Mor & Winters, 2007; Retalis et al, 2006), to name a few. The aim of this chapter is to characterise two of these forms – design narratives and design patterns, and propose a third form – design scenarios, and suggest how these could be embedded in a cycle of reflective learning design.

 

November 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Guess my X and other techno-pedagogical patterns: my EuroPLoP’08 paper

I’ve finally posted my EuroPLoP’08 paper on telearn.

One of the most successful activities of the WebLabs project was the Guess my Robot game. This game served as a model for several other activities, and eventually gave rise to a set of design patterns for learning mathematics through construction, communication and collaboration. As often happens, I was too busy with other projects to properly publish the results. I mean, I’ve published a few papers which referred to the game or its descendants, but the patterns themselves have always remained informal creatures.

The first attempt I made at collating these patterns for publication was at EuroPLoP 2008. The feedback I received there are invaluable, and encouraged me to rewrite the paper dramatically for the proceedings.  Since then, the patterns have made their way into my thesis and in the process changed again. So there are some things about the proceedings version which I obviously wish I had done differently. But there’s no end to that. It will take some time until my thesis gets processed to publications.

“publish early, publish often”, right? so here it is:


Mor, Y. (forthcoming), Guess my X and other patterns for teaching and learning mathematics, in Till Schümmer & Allan Kelly, ed., ‘Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2008)’ .

Most people see learning mathematics as a demanding, even threatening, endeavour. Consequently, creating technology-enhanced environments and activities for learning mathematics is a challenging domain. It requires a synergism of several dimensions of design knowledge: usability, software design, pedagogical design and subject matter. This paper presents a set of patterns derived from a study on designing collaborative learning activities in mathematics for children aged 10-14, and a set of tools to support them.

http://telearn.noe-kaleidoscope.org/open-archive/browse?resource=2232

http://www.bibsonomy.org/bibtex/29f1b2f14fa9ced9995e5fc803bbbb4d7/yish

Related:

Mor, Y. & Noss, R. (2008), ‘Programming as Mathematical Narrative’, International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning (IJCEELL) 18 (2) , 214-233 .

http://telearn.noe-kaleidoscope.org/open-archive/browse?resource=493

Mor, Y.; Tholander, J. & Holmberg, J. (2006), Designing for cross-cultural web-based knowledge building, in Timothy Koschmann; Daniel D. Suthers & Tak-Wai Chan, ed., ‘The 10th Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) conference (2005)’ , Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Taipei, Taiwan , pp. 450 – 459 .

http://telearn.noe-kaleidoscope.org/open-archive/browse?resource=238

Mor, Y.; Noss, R.; Hoyles, C.; Kahn, K. & Simpson, G. (2006), ‘Designing to see and share structure in number sequences’, the International Journal for Technology in Mathematics Education 13 (2) , 65-78 .

http://telearn.noe-kaleidoscope.org/open-archive/browse?resource=237

Matos, J. F.; Mor, Y.; Noss, R. & Santos, M. (2005), Sustaining Interaction in a Mathematical Community of Practice, in ‘Fourth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME-4)’ .

http://telearn.noe-kaleidoscope.org/open-archive/browse?resource=533

October 18, 2009 Posted by | design patterns, games, narrative learning | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A note on educational web communities: learning, communication and collaboration

I was invited by Prof. João Filipe Matos to contribute to a strategy paper addressing an initiative for a national portal for mathematics teachers in Portugal. I am thankful for the opportunity. My comments were written in three parts, in reposnse to questions presented by the project team. With Prof. Matos’s kind permission, I am sharing my ideas here, under a creative commons licence. Comments are most welcome.

I have tried to maintain a holistic socio-technical perspective, bringing together state-of-the-art web arts, legal ethics and social dynamics of learning in what I hope is a coherent argument.

The format represents the structure of the working drafts. Please ignore, I’ll pretify it if there’s enough interest.

Educational web communities: learning, communication and collaboration

Commentary prepared by Yishay Mor for the Project Comunidades Educativas em Rede, led by Faculdade Ciencias Universidade Lisboa

Creative Commons License Yishay Mor. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Your document is publicly viewable at: http://docs.google.com/View?id=ajkrkbg8rrwc_20cw4fwxhq

Part I: Principles and Guidelines

(3.2.2) Recognizing the nature of the adequate tools to support online communication and collaboration spaces that will take part of the Webportal

The first principle to acknowledge is that the nature of the tools needs to be defined by the nature of the activities the community wishes to engage in, and that those will change over time. Therefore, any effective design of tools which should done in consultation with the community, through a process driven by articulation of actual usage scenarios. Nevertheless, a few high-level general guidelines can be proposed upfront:

Openness, integration, synergy

Many people use popular social media services, such as facebook and twitter. These should be integrated into the portal, and seen as a way of drawing users in rather than a competition.

Multiple modes of engagement

Some users will form passionate groups, which will visit the site frequently and conduct vibrant discussions. Others will visit the site occasionally when a particular need arises or when their schedule permits. Design the interactive parts in a way that would fit the full range of users. e.g., provide facilities for email notification of new and relevant content.

The wisdom of the crowds, the judgement of the editor

Today’s web is no more a medium of passive consumption. User-generated content is now taken for granted. Users expect to be given opportunities to share knowledge, discuss issues of interest with peers, and present their work.
User contributions – be it comments or monographs – should be encouraged and highlighted in order to foster a vibrant community. Yet in order to maintain a standard of quality, a site needs to support editorial procedures. The editorial mechanism should follow the rule “publish, then filter”:

The order of things in broadcast is “filter, then publish.” The order in communities is “publish, then filter.” If you go to a dinner party, you don’t submit your potential comments to the hosts, so that they can tell you which ones are good enough to air before the group, but this is how broadcast works every day. Writers submit their stories in advance, to be edited or rejected before the public ever sees them. Participants in a community, by contrast, say what they have to say, and the good is sorted from the mediocre after the fact. (Clay Shirky, Broadcast Institutions, Community Values)

As Matt Locke notes (“Publish, then Filter” – Clay Shirky at the Edinburgh TV Festival) this approach also has financial implications.

Multiple modes of content

An effective medium of communication must support multiple modes of content, as appropriate for the conversations is it expected to contain. In particular, the design of an interactive site should observe two patterns: Objects to talk with and Narrative spaces:

Objects to talk with When we talk we point at objects. When we talk on-line we should be able to do so too.
Learning activities involve the use or construction of artefacts. When providing tools for learners to discuss their experience, either as part of the activity or at a reflective meta-level, allow them to easily include these artefacts in the scope of their discussion. If the activity is mediated by or aims to produce digital artefacts, then the discussion medium should allow embedding of these artefacts. Whatever the nature of the objects, the medium should support a visual (graphical, symbolic, animated or simulated) 1:1 representation of these objects.
In the case of the portal, this pattern entails that teachers should be able to embed the electronic resouces they use in any discussion medium provided. These would include lesson plans, moodle and LAMS sequences, youtube clips, spreadsheets etc.
Teachers, parents and learners should also be able to ember representations of non-digital resources, e.g. images of art projects.
Narrative spaces Constructing narrative is a fundamental mechanism for making sense of events and observations. To leverage it, we must give learners opportunities to express themselves in narrative form.
Provide learners with a narrative space: a medium, integrated with the activity design, which allows learners to express and explore ideas in a narrative form.
The implication of this pattern is that the portal needs to provide space for participants to describe their work in their own words. Sharing artefacts is not enough: we need to share the stories behind them.
See also Classroomdisplay , Paper20

(3.2.5) Structuring orientations for promoting a widespread use of learning platforms in different forms, not only for e-learning initiatives but also for support face-to-face classroom activities

Technological innovation offer learners, parents, teachers and learning designers new opportunities as well as new challenges. New tools allow us to do old things better, and allow us to do new things altogether. Given the current rate of innovation, and the rapid decline in the cost of technology, the limit on growth is not the capacity to produce, but the knowledge of how to do it right. This is what we call “the design divide” (Mor & Winters, 2008): the gap between those who have the expertise to develop high-quality tools and those who do not. This gap is lateral as much as it is hierarchical: new uses of technology can emerge anywhere, and thus the knowledge of how to use it is distributed globally. We are facing a challenge of sharing design knowledge in complex networks, where each one of us has a fragment of expertise – only through effective egalitarian communication can we create a coherent picture of our knowledge.
The design divide is most acute in education, where practitioners, who are already stretched by their professional commitments, are constantly facing demands to keep up with technological developments. Teachers will often find themselves as learners, acquiring technological knowledge from their peers or students. Students are operating as researchers, habitually experimenting with new tools and practices. We all need to make daily choices as to what knowledge is critical for us and how to acquire it – essentially becoming designers of our learning paths. Technology does not only offer us more power, it creates distractions, frictions and social and cognitive loads. When designing for learning – ours as well as others – we need to consider both the positive and the negative effects of the new tools at our disposal.

The new portal has a potential for empowering users to direct and enhance their educational experiences. In order to do so, it must allow them to share, discuss, and collaboratively develop a canon of design knowledge in education. It is obvious that a site like this should contain a rich and accessible repository of high-quality learning and teaching resources. But this is not enough: it should also facilitate the process of communities building knowledge of how to use these resources, and even create new ones. To do so, the portal must allow users to share their stories of educational journeys, discuss them and extract generalisable design knowledge from them. It should support the participation of educational experts, teachers, parents and students. Participants should be able to share rich multi-media accounts of the problems they face, resources they use, and the practices they employ. Such accounts can take the form of illustrated text, multi-media presentations or video reports.

The table below presents a few illustrative examples. This is by no means a comprehensive or representative list. The examples where chosen to highlight a range of possibilities and provoke thought.

http://www.e-teaching.org/ German portal offering comprehensive information on didactical, technological, and organizational aspects of e-learning at universities.
http://www.teachers.tv/ Teachers TV is the digital channel for everyone who works in schools. It is viewable on cable tv and on the internet. Registered users can engage in conversations around the resources on site, and can edit and reuse them for their purposes.
http://www.curriki.org Curriki is an online environment created to support the development and free distribution of world-class educational materials to anyone who needs them. It is based on wiki technology, but has an edit cycle to ensure content quality.
http://lamscommunity.org/ This website is the global online community for all teachers, administrators and developers that use LAMS. Within the various subcommunities, you can access the latest news about LAMS, many different discussion forums, and a repository of shared LAMS sequences.
http://patternlanguagenetwork.org/ The Pattern Language Network (Planet) project facilitates the advancement of design knowledge in education by a structured process of sharing case stories, design patterns and scenarios.
http://scratch.mit.edu/ Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art – and share your creations on the web. The Scratch website provides resources on using the language, but also allows users to share and discuss their work.
http://www.ncetm.org.uk/ UK National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.
http://weblabs.org.uk/wlplone EU funded WebLabs project platform for collaborative learning and teaching in science and mathematics.
CoMo (inactive) The CoMo project involved students and teachers in the royal veterinary school, using social software and mobile phones to support collaborative reflection. A case study of the project is available at:

http://purl.org/planet/Cases/CoMo

(3.2.6) Defining a policy of privacy and security to be implemented in the different spaces for communication and collaboration what will take part of the Webportal

Issues of digital identity are a growing concern as web technologies penetrate our lives. These have several aspects: legal, ethical, social and pedagogical. These apply to the site’s management as well as to its users. In other words, there is a set of two-way obligations which both the site managers and its users need to be aware of. As a rule, the site will apply a cautious approach to identity and a liberal one to content. This means that users personal details will be protected and only visible when and when they specify, while content will be offered under the most open and sharable licence possible.

Legal

Any published material is subject to national and international copyright laws. In order to allow effective use of the materials published on the portal, it has to define a clear licensing policy. This applies to content provided by the site owners, commercial 3rd party content and user-generated content. A more permissive policy encourages reuse, but may inhibit commercial contributions. A more conservative policy might limit the utility of the resources on site, and inhibit user contributions. Apart from the general licence and usage policy set for the site as a whole, it is best to allow contributors to set their own terms for the content they present. This is nowadays the approach taken by many sites, such as Flickr (http://flickr.com/) and SlideShare (http://slideshare.net/). The content provided by the site itself will be licenced under a creative commons non-comercial attribution share alike licence, and this would be offered as a default option for any user or 3rd party contribution.

Any site that allows users to register and participate creates a de-facto risk to the privacy of these users. This risk needs to be minimised and managed, and users should enter it with informed consent.

Any site which allows user participation risks being exploited as a platform for inappropriate content. Moderating all communications is too costly to be feasible, and therefore the sites responsibility to user contributions needs to limited to adequate response within reasonable time. Practically this entails a mechanism for reporting inappropriate content and a commitment to review such reports as soon as possible.

Special care needs to be applied to the protection of minors. The portal will apply mandatory full protection of minors’ identity. Content contributed by minors will only be shared in protected areas, accessible to their peers, teachers and parents. This content will be periodically archived and removed from public view.

Ethical

While there is a fair level of flexibility in setting a legal framework, any decision taken has ethical repercussions, and thus should not be seen as technical. Any framework of licensing, security and privacy needs to balance the needs of private, institutional and commercial players. An approach which favours the individual will be based on open licences (such as creative commons), and strict privacy and security with strong user control.

Social

Likewise, a framework with an open orientation will facilitate active communities and a culture of sharing, whereas a closed one would encourage a consumerist model.

Pedagogical

Managing ones digital identity and intellectual property are becoming essential skills for citizens of the 21st century. As a portal dedicated to education, these need to be regarded from a pedagogical perspective as well as an operational one. The social and ethical considerations in setting policies should be made visible so that users interaction with the site will become an opportunity to engage with the underlying issues. Additionally, the portal will include specific instructional materials presenting the current debates regarding intellectual property, licensing policies, privacy and identity.

(3.2.7) Defining orientations and basic norms to commercial services suppliers to follow before being able to be plug in the Webportal

In addition to the legal and technical framework implied by the policies of digital identity and intellectual property, the portal needs to set a policy regarding content formats and micro-formats. In order to ensure robustness and stability, it is important to ensure compliance with accepted web standards as defined by the W3C (http://www.w3.org/TR/tr-activity) and IETF (http://www.ietf.org/). Special attention will be given to standards related to accessibility, privacy and security. Other standards specific to educational content will be considered where relevant, such as SCORM (http://www.adlnet.gov/Technologies/scorm/) and IMS LD (http://www.imsglobal.org/learningdesign/index.html).

Additionally, the portal will support emerging “open stack” standards such as OpenID (http://openid.net/) and OAuth (http://oauth.net/) to enhance interoperability and user experience.

Any commercial partner wishing to provide content or services through the portal will be required to maintain the same standards and conventions.

Part II: Operational Framework

(3.2.2) Recognizing the nature of the adequate tools to support online communication and collaboration spaces that will take part of the Webportal

In order to ensure a cost-effective and efficient operation of the portal, we will employ an open, participatory, user-centered, agile development process:

Open
All discussions and resolutions regarding the portal design, its functionality and priorities will be conducted on a section of the site visible to all users. While it would be unyieldly to conduct the development of a portal as a fully democratic process, there is no extra cost to commiting to a fully transparent approach.

Participatory

Participatory Design (PD) is an approach to the assessment, design, and development of technological and organizational systems that places a premium on the active involvement of workplace practitioners (usually potential or current users of the system) in design and decision-making processes. (http://cpsr.org/issues/pd/)

A participatory approach sees the users of the portal as potential full partners in its design and development. The users involvement and influence on the evolution of the portal is only limited by their ability to commit time and effort. The demands of a participatory approach needs to be balanced with resource limitations and deadlines. To do this, the portal team will make use of standard open source and open content tools and techniques, such as revision control (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revision_control) and issue tracking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Issue_tracking). More important, the portal team will identify a development methodology which allows for users to engage and contribute at critical points. An example of such a methodology is IDR (Winters & Mor, 2008).

user-centered

In broad terms, user-centered design (UCD) is a design philosophy and a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of the end user of an interface or document are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. User-centered design can be characterized as a multi-stage problem solving process that not only requires designers to analyze and foresee how users are likely to use an interface, but also to test the validity of their assumptions with regards to user behaviour in real world tests with actual users. Such testing is necessary as it is often very difficult for the designers of an interface to understand intuitively what a first-time user of their design experiences, and what each user’s learning curve may look like.The chief difference from other interface design philosophies is that user-centered design tries to optimize the user interface around how people can, want, or need to work, rather than forcing the users to change how they work to accommodate the software developers approach. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-centered_design)

agile

Agile software development refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development)

An agile approach entails early releases and rapid iterations, and resonates well with the demands of openness, participation and user-centricity.

In order to facilitate rapid and cost-effective design and development under such strict requierments, it is essencial to make maximal use of prior design knowledge. Fortunatly, such knowledge is available in abdundence and high quality through various collections of design patterns. These collections will be consutled, and used as an active resource in the development process:
van Duyne, Landay and Hong: design of sites
http://www.designofsites.com/design-patterns/

Jenifer Tidwell: Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design

http://designinginterfaces.com/

Till Schümmer and Stephan Lukosch: Patterns for Computer-Mediated Interaction

http://cmi-patterns.org/

Michael Mahemoff: Ajax Design Patterns

http://ajaxpatterns.org/

Martijn van Welie’s interaction design patterns

http://www.welie.com/patterns/index.php

the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library

http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/

Tom Ericson’s interaction design patterns (a collection of collections)

http://www.visi.com/~snowfall/InteractionPatterns.html

Interface design patterns

http://www.patternbrowser.org/

Mobile UI design patterns

http://patterns.littlespringsdesign.com

UI-patterns.com

http://ui-patterns.com/

Fluid project open source design pattern library

http://osdpl.fluidproject.org/

The Pattern Language Network

http://patternlanguagenetwork.myxwiki.org/

(3.2.5) Structuring orientations for promoting a widespread use of learning platforms in different forms, not only for e-learning initiatives but also for support face-to-face classroom activities

Most people adopt new tools and practices through their participation in a community of shared interest, by imitating and consulting trusted peers. An effective portal would leverage such vernecular learning dynamics by supporting and structuring them through a set of activities and on-line tools to support them.
The portal will engender and facilitate collaborative reflection in communities of learners as a means of identifying, elaborating, advancing and dissiminating educational innovation. Communities will be given the means to self-organise and share case stories, design patterns and future scenarios. These means will include tools, techniques and facilitation, using a validated methodology such as the Participatory Methodology for Practical Design Patterns (http://purl.org/planet/Patterns/ParticipatoryPatternWorkshops).

(3.2.6) Defining a policy of privacy and security to be implemented in the different spaces for communication and collaboration what will take part of the Webportal

Technology is constantly creating new possibilities for us to express ourselves and engage in conversations. These opportunities also create new risks and complexities in terms of identity and intellectual property management. These issues are subject to current debates in technology and standards groups, such as the  W3C Social Web Incubator Group (http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/socialweb/). Futhermore, as the technology shift, so will the forces which effect privacy, security, copyright etc.
It is therefore impossible to point at a fixed specification to implement. Instead, the portal will maintain an evolving specification, and an attached protocol for dealing with issues as they arise. Any incident will also be recorded as a case study and whereupon it has general interest, communicated to the relevant standard groups.
Some examples of such case stories can be found at: http://purl.org/planet/Groups.DigitalIdentities/outputs

(3.2.7) Defining orientations and basic norms to commercial services suppliers to follow before being able to be plug in the Webportal

While commercial vendors may initially object to an open approach to educational content, a national portal has the power to set a standard and generate the critical mass needed to sustain it. Open models, and in particular Open Educational Resources, are gaining growing recognition worldwide. Adopting such an approach and co-ordinating it with similar initiatives will give the portal imidiate access to a wealth of content and experience. Commerial providers could then engane with the project on the basis of providing services rather than locked-in content.

Examples of organisations and sites commited to Open Educational Resources (OER):

UK Open University’s OpenLearn
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/
Includes an on-line course on creating OER
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3636
Hewlett Foundation’s OER programme
http://www.hewlett.org/oer
ISKME sponsored OER Commons
http://www.oercommons.org/

References

Part 2: Orientating actions to provide articulations and relations between the Web portal of Schools and the learning platforms already in place in schools (e.g. Moodle)

What strategic orientations should we provide in order to articulate the work of educational communities on Moodle platforms in schools with the national web portal?

If the articulation of the work of local educational communities is to be genuine and meaningful it needs to be driven and owned by these communities and the individuals within them. Effective articulation of the work of existing educational communities needs to engender a multitude of feedback loops. This is in contrast to linear models typical of “web 1.0″ systems. The source of power of participatory systems is in their affordance for reuse, remix and amplification of positive contributions. A linear system is one that only supports the flow of information, artifacts and ideas in one way. Such a system can serve the purpose of disseminating existing knowledge, but does little to promote the creation of anything new. A participatory system, on the other hand, allows for cyclical and spiral flows: users can access content, modulate it, and feed it back into the system. Such dynamics enable accumulation of knowledge – each user starts from where the previous one left off, and adds her own modest contribution. The aggregation of these individual contributions, as small as they may be, is more powerful than any single contributor – individual or institutional – could produce.
The distinction between linear and cyclical systems is irrespective of the source of content, and applies to bottom-up systems (“user-generated content”) in the same way it applies to top-down systems. Thus, the articulation of the work of local communities in the national portal is worthwhile only insomuch as this is done in a manner that enables feedback loops, by providing for seamless from of materials in and out of the system, and sustains lively conversations around and with these materials. To achieve such a goal, three dimensions need to be considered: the content, the social dynamics and the technical interoperability.

Content

The portal should provide for the flow of three types of content from and to the local school platforms: primary artifacts, stories around these artifacts, and expert situated abstractions of these stories and artifacts.
Primary artifacts are the objects and resources developed by practitioners to support their work. These include Moodle courses, teaching aids, curricular resources, exams, games, etc.
Each such artifact was developed for a purpose and used in a particular manner, which achieved certain results. Sharing an artifacts “life story” is perhaps even more important than sharing the artifact itself.
Both the artifact and its story are specific to a unique set of circumstances. In order for them to be useful for other practitioners in different circumstances, a degree of abstraction, or generalisation is required. This abstraction needs to rise above the original circumstances without completely detaching from them, less it loose its applicability to any concrete circumstances.
The portal should provide users with streamlined facilities to contribute primary artifacts, tell their story and extract abstractions from them.

Social dynamics

Vibrant communities are powered by complex social dynamics. In every successful social space – be it a cafe, staff room or Internet forum – we share objects and ideas, promote them, argue about them, overhear, copy, form alliances, partnerships and rivalries, and engage in a million other ways with people and the things they do. The utility of a medium for sharing content is contingent on the social dynamics it affords with respect to this content.
The first condition for the emergence of social dynamics is a sound representation of identity, groups and links. Without individuals and relations among them there is no society, and therefore no social activity. Any content brought in from local communities originates in an individual, and needs to maintain a link of attribution. Once an item is offered to the larger community, others should be able to save it for use at a later time, share it with other individuals and groups, rate it, tag it, comment on and discuss it.
The ideal of a cyclical system, which promotes reuse and re-purposing of content, seems to be at odds with the notion of identity and ownership. This tension can be resolved by maintaining a clear trail of attribution for any object in the system: where ever it build on previous resources, the link will be clearly noted and maintained with the object.
Teachers operate in a high-demand environment, their time and attention is at a premium. The initial excitement and curiosity can be leveraged to draw in an initial body of contributions, but in order to sustain interactions and contributions, participants need to see a clear benefit in their activity. The system needs to reward participation, both automatically and deliberately. Automatic rewards can include a “badge” system for active members, up-front listing of most recent, most visited and most popular contributions, and so on. Deliberate mechanisms include a front-page slot for “teacher of the week”, a personal recommendation feature and themed competitions and awards. Yet the most powerful rewards, in the long term, are intrinsic to the social dynamics: reciprocal relations in emerging communities which provide peer feedback and a “gift economy” of teaching and learning resources. The system should provide facilities and activities which would engender such dynamics.
One of the challenges of systems which host user contributions is maintaining quality standards. If such a system is successful, the volume of contributions and activity in general is such that monitoring is infeasible. To overcome this challenge, the system needs to enable, promote and support the emergence of self-regulating communities. Providing space and administrative tools for sub-communities within the system, and prioritising the work done within such sub-communities.

Technical interoperability

The guidelines regarding content and social dynamics have direct technical implications in terms of functional and user interface specification. Their success also relies on having interoperability with external systems at the core of the portal technical design. Some specific notes are provided below, but it is worthwhile providing some fundamental principles highlighted at this level.
The first principle to maintain is the provision of two-way open APIs. These APIs should support the flow of identity and content to and from the portal. They should be based on the two systems most popular in schools at the moment (e.g. Moodle and Joomla) but should not be specific to these systems (“no pet ponies”), to maintain school’s technological freedom and to support innovative tools as they emerge.
The second principle, implied by the first, is the support for mobile identity. Users of the portal will already have their identity established in their home systems, including list of resources they own or use, personal profile, etc. In order to make participation in the portal a habit, the user’s need to duplicate work should be minimised and her ability to easily move items between the local to the national space maximised. An emerging set of Internet standards and protocols makes this a viable goal.

What kind of scenarios can we imagine to articulate the local platforms with the national web portal? What phases should we recommend?

The expected scenarios fall into three categories, which also define three phases for development: personal productivity, support for existing communities, emergence of lateral communities.

Personal productivity

Individual use tends to precede social use of web systems. Providing private space for personal use allows users to familiarise themselves with the portal, gain confidence, and establish a presence before exposing themselves. This space should be oriented towards simple and practical functionalities. For example:

  • Find, file and download resources per my immediate needs.
  • Maintain a folder where I can collect resources to use in my teaching
  • Maintain an on-line backup of my materials (teaching resources, Moodle courses / teaching sequences, etc.)
  • Maintain a contact list of friends, colleagues and experts in my field

Support for existing communities

Once users are comfortable with using the portal for personal productivity, the next natural step is to use it to support their interactions in existing professional communities, such as school staff and discipline peer groups. The use of social features should flow naturally from the combination of familiar personal features and indigenous social interactions.

  • Share items from my folder with colleagues
  • Discuss my materials with trusted peers
  • Send messages to my contacts regarding materials or conversations on the portal

Such scenarios should lead to explicitly community oriented activities, such as:

  • Create and maintain a mailing list for school staff or a professional group
  • Create and maintain a shared workspace for a team developing materials together

Emergence of lateral communities

Users’ participation in the web space of their “natural” communities should make them adapt to a social mode of action, and lead them to seek, join, and formulate new communities. Such communities are likely to emerge around focused themes which are represented sporadically in the local context. For example, a specialist teacher from a small town could join a national community concerned with her field of speciality. A teacher with an interest in a particular teaching method or technology could find peers with similar interests across the country. Example related scenarios would be:

  • Search for existing communities by topic, location and other criteria
  • Join a community and its activities
  • Create a new community and promote it to relevant audiences
  • Serendipitously find new communities by following my peers’ membership, or by links from resources used or created by these communities.

What solutions and scenarios should we provide regarding interfaces between the local platforms (Moodle, Joomla) and the national web portal? What technical specifications should we suggest as necessary?

Ideally, the interface between the national portal and the local systems should allow users to:

  • Transport objects between the two in a single click.
  • Search for content on the national portal from within the local system.
  • Maintain their identity when moving from one site to the other.

Additionally, the portal should support similar functionality for popular services such as SlideShare, YouTube, Flickr, del.ico.us, bibsonomy, and twitter, and provision for any new services as they emerge.
Such requirements would seem unrealistic only a couple of years ago, but emerging social web standards and protocols make them a viable possibility.
A possible implementation of such an approach would include:

  • Support for open web / social web protocols, such as OpenID and OAuth, would allow users to link their identity in other services with the portal, and automatically or selectively import resources from other sites.
  • Support microformats for synchronisation of meta-data and content items with other sites. For example, using the rel-tag microformat (http://microformats.org/wiki/rel-tag) tags assigned to resources in other sites can be used in portal searches.
  • Support e-learning standards such as IMS-LD and SCORM for providing meta-data for portal content.
  • Support content microformats for embedding resources in portal pages. For example, a moodle course outline could be infused with XOXO descriptors to allow other systems to extract it from a portal page (http://microformats.org/wiki/xoxo).
  • Provide a simple authenticated REST API for other systems to send or request resources from the portal.
  • Provide bookmarklets and browser plugins for steamlined integration with other sites, e.g. a bookmarklet for “save this to my portal folder”.
  • Use frameworks such as OpenSocial (http://www.opensocial.org/) to streamline the development of social featrues.
  • Consider building the portal on the basis of an existing open source social web / knowledge sharing platform, such as Elgg (http://elgg.org) to reduce costs and development times.

Using such an approach would enable scenarios such as:

  • I link my slideshare account to my portal account, and have my slideshows imported into my personal folder. Then I can share and discuss slideshow with a group I am a member of.
  • I construct a course description page in my space on the portal. I start with a general description, then switch to the course page on my local moodle and click the bookmarklet “import this to portal”. The course outline is read by the system and displayed in a box on the course description page on the portal. I then switch to YouTube, and locate a clip I used in this course. I click the bookmarklet again, and the video is embedded in my course description page.
  • In my contacts page on the portal, I click “import facebook contacts”. A dialogue appears, prompting me to select which friends list I want to import. I select the lists and friends I want, and the system checks if they are members of the portal, then lets me add or invite them.

Which functionalities should we recommend to be integrated / provided in the local platforms in order to stimulate the use of those platforms in articulation with the web portal?

The requirements on local platforms should be minimal, to maximise participation. Some teachers may be located at institutions which would not have the capacity to install customisations and complex functionalities. Most of the desired interoperability functionalities can be invoked by the portal software, using knowledge of the standard organisation and format of content in popular local platforms.
Nevertheless, independent developers should be encouraged to produce plugins and modules for various platforms which take advantage of the portal APIs. These components could provide services such as:

  • Search portal content from within a local system, and import resources as needed.
  • Select and send content from a local system directly to my social connections on the portal.
  • Receive notifications on new portal content and services directly in my local dashboard / messaging system.

Notes, Links and References

IMS-LD http://www.imsglobal.org/learningdesign/
SCORM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCORM
The DiSo project: http://diso-project.org/
Insightful presentation regarding identity, sharing, and the social web: http://factoryjoe.com/blog/2009/05/18/the-open-social-web/
Microformats http://microformats.org/
The Elgg platform: http://elgg.org/
Bibsomony social bookmarking and citation service http://www.bibsonomy.org/

Part 3: Structuring orientations for promoting a widespread use of learning platforms in different forms, not only for e-learning initiatives but also for support face-to-face classroom activities

How to establish an effective and widespread pedagogical use of learning platforms as a new channel for communication, sharing and collaboration within educational communities?

Deep Embedding in Practice

Teachers are required to achieve ambitious goals under demanding conditions. One of the barriers to the adoption of new tools and modes of operation is that they are position on top of and in conflict with existing systems. If a teacher is required to use a new platform in order to share knowledge in addition to her commitments in teaching, reporting, administration and professional development, then this demand will be perceived as a chore to be diverted.
In order for it to be successful, the use of new learning platforms, and the associated practices, needs to be positioned as a way of achieving existing goals with lesser effort. The new tools and practices need to be actively adopted by all levels of the teaching institutions.
For example:

  • Teacher training should be delivered via the same platforms, and should be aligned with a participatory approach, highlighting and crediting teacher contributions.
  • Teachers should be provided with means for maintaining a portfolio of their contributions and synergistic interactions, which would be evaluated towards their professional progression.
  • School management and administraton should be provided with tools that will allow them to use the learning platforms to streamline their tasks.

Circles of Use, Place for Lurking and Protected Spaces

Newcomers to a locus of social interaction, be it physical or technological, need to adjust and observe the tacit rules of interaction before they are ready to participate. Premature exposure would lead to awkward behaviour and consequenctly to discengagement. In technologicaly-supported social spaces this problem is compounded by users lack of competence in using new tools. To overcome these obstacles, the system must afford a trajectory of gradual exposure. Users must first see immidiate advantages in using the tools for personal productivity. This mode of use will inevitably enduce familarity and confidence with the technology. Having mastered the tools for personal use, participants are then ready to engage with growing circles of peers. However, each circle needs to be clearly deliniated, to provide a sense of security. Furthermore, participants need to have an option for “lurking”See http://patternlanguagenetwork.myxwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Patterns/SpaceForLurking, or “periphiral participation” (Lave and Wenger, 1991), as a means for learning the norms and permissive forms of social interaction.

Leverage Social Dynamics

A common mistake in designing technological systems for social interaction is to assume sharing and collaboration will emerge unattended. In any community, those who have the most to contribute are also those with the highest demands on their time. As a result, new collaborative spaces often attract massive contributions of low quality. Nevertheless, it is easy to avoid such pitfalls by utilising innate features of human social dynamics. In order to encourege high-quality contributions, we need to reward them. The most effective rewards in a social environment are social reward: prestige, reputation and peer acknowledgment. A system aiming at social construction of knowledge should embody social monitoring and reward mechnisms. The obvious examples are the features dominant in any popular “web2.0″ system, such as: “friends” or “fans” counts, rating and commendations, highlighiting of popular items.

How can the use of learning platform promote the development of more innovative and transformative teaching practices and learning activities?

Eliminate Unproductive Classifications

The discourse around education and technology tends to differentiate between new and old media, hi and low tech. While these distinctions are understandable, they are not always useful. Teachers, and even more so students, utilise an ecology of resources (Luckin, 2008); they will use whatever tools at hand to get the job done. They do not constrain themselves by structural classifications of technology, as these do not reflect the nature of their learning environment or serve any functional purpose. Detaching a classroom discussion from an on-line forum is akin to segregating pencils from pens.
Effective strategies for promoting educational innovation should address available and desired ecologies of resources in a holistic manner. The use of a learning platform needs to be considered as part of a cohesive system, including classroom resources, home learning, and human actors.

Participatory Design

Teachers are the primary agents of change in any educational system: they are the only people directly interacting with students and constantly guiding their learning trajectories. Their position not only gives them the greatest power to affect learning, it also provides them with the most immediate and detailed observations of the effects of any intervention. Thus, they are also the initial source of design knowledge. Yet teachers are often dis-empowered in the process of educational design: the educational agenda, curriculum, teaching methods and tools – are all dictated from above. Even where teachers are given the opportunity to design and develop their own resources, they rarely have access to the tools that would allow them to succeed in this task.
A collaborative learning platform has the potential to redress this situation by providing teachers with an arena for design-level discussion, allowing them to experiment, consult peers and experts and critique the national-level educational strategies and detailed designs.

Collaborative Reflective Practice

Successful innovation is contingent on constant monitoring and adjustment. If we want teachers to adopt, appropriate, share and lead educational innovation – we need to provide them with mechanisms for reflecting on their practice. Such mechanism are ever more powerful when they include a social element, of peer critique and dialogue within trusted communities. The learning platform, and its framework of use, should provided opportunities for guided collaborative reflective practice, where teachers can share their experiences and learn from them together. Teachers investment in collaborative reflective practice needs to be accredited as part of their professional duty and development path.

Open Knowledge Culture

The last few decades have demonstrated the vitality and effectiveness of open source communities in producing quality innovative software. Similar models are emerging in science and education, in the form of movements for open content, open knowledge and open educational resources. Laurillard (2008) argues that open teaching is key to acheiving the ambitious goal for education in the 21st century. Open models promise products characterised by cost effectiveness, robustness, diversity and flexibility. Lessig (2007) argues that even regardless of these advantages, open models represent a crucial social and moral value. The viability and sustainability of open models relies on three tiers of infrastructure: technical, legal and cultural. The technical tier provides the means for communities to share, audit, refine and select resources. The legal tier provides the licencing structures that establish the creators’ and the community’s rights. The cultrual tier is the most elusive. Yet without accepted norms which promote sharing and respectfull critique, open models cannot thrive. As Shirky (2007) notes, the success of the open source model for software development lies with the “fork and fail” model: at any point in the development cycle, sub-communities can venture with variants of the product. Some of these variants fail, but these failures leave a trace which can be learned from. Some succeed to a degree, and the usefull ideas they produce are incorportated back into the “trunk” of development. Some succeed, and may even result in new products alltogether. However, Shirky also demonstrates why extending this principle to other domains is far from trivial. Embracing an open model means also being open and honest about mistakes, tollerating and even celebrating them – as long as they are contained, corrected and guarded against repetition.

Corollary: Teaching and Learning with Technology as a Continuous Cycle of Participatory Design Science

There is a growing acknowledgement of the need for a design science perspective on educational research, innovation and practice (Kelly et al, 2009; Lesh and Sriraman, 2005; Wittman, 1995; Mor & Winters, 2007). So far, the outputs of design science / design based research have been impressive but their impact limited. If we are striving for large-scale innovation we need to eliminate the barriers between research and practice, and engage teachers in the scientific process of educational design (Laurillard, 2008).
Doing this requires availability of the appropriate technologies, but no less important – the mechanisms for engaging and guiding teachers in such complex processes (Mor & Winters,  2009).

References

Laurillard, D. (2009), ‘The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies’, International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 4 (1) , 5–20 .

Winters, N. & Mor, Y. (2009), ‘Dealing with abstraction: Case study generalisation as a method for eliciting design patterns’, Computers in Human Behavior In Press ( Corrected Proof) .

Kelly, A. E.; Baek, J. Y.; Lesh, R. A. & Bannan-Ritland, B. (2008), Enabling Innovations in Education and Systemizing their Impact, in Anthony E. Kelly; Richard A. Lesh & John Y. Baek, ed., ‘Handbook of Design Research Methods in Education’ , Routledge, New York, NY , pp. 3-18 .

Laurillard, D. (2008), Open teaching: The key to sustainable and effective open education, in Toru Iiyoshi & M. S. Vijay Kumar, ed., ‘Opening up education: The collective advancement of education through open technology, open content, and open knowledge. Boston, MA: MIT Press’ , pp. 319-336 .

Laurillard, D. (2008), ‘Technology Enhanced Learning as a Tool for Pedagogical Innovation’, Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (3-4) , 521-533 .

Laurillard, D. (2008), ‘The teacher as action researcher: using technology to capture pedagogic form’, Studies in Higher Education 33 (2) , 139-154 .

Luckin, R. (2008), ‘The learner centric ecology of resources: A framework for using technology to scaffold learning’, Computers & Education 50 (2) , 449-462 .

Mor, Y. & Winters, N. (2008), ‘Participatory design in open education: a workshop model for developing a pattern language’, Journal of Interactive Media .

Mor, Y. & Winters, N. (2007), ‘Design approaches in technology enhanced learning’, Interactive Learning Environments 15 (1) , 61-75 .

Lesh, R. & Sriraman, B. (2005), ‘Mathematics Education as a Design Science’, ZDM 37 (6) , 490-505 .

Lessig, L. (2005), Open Code and Open Societies, in Joseph Feller; Brian Fitzgerald; Scott A. Hissam & Karim R. Lakhani, ed., ‘Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software’ , pp. 349-360 .

Luckin, R.; du Boulay, B.; Smith, H.; Underwood, J.; Fitzpatrick, G.; Holmberg, J.; Kerawalla, L.; Tunley, H.; Brewster, D. & Pearce, D. (2005), ‘Using Mobile Technology to Create Flexible Learning Contexts’, Journal of Interactive Media in Education 22 .

Shirky, C. (2005), Epilogue: Open Source outside the domain of software, in Joseph Feller; Brian Fitzgerald; Scott A. Hissam & Karim R. Lakhani, ed., ‘Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software’ , pp. 483-488 .

Wittmann, E. C. (1995), ‘Mathematics Education as a ‘Design Science”, Educational Studies in Mathematics 29 (4) , 355-374 .

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. Pea, R. & Brown, J. S., ed. (1991), Situated Learning. Legitimate Peripheral Participation , Cambridge University Press , New York, Port Chester, Melbourne, Sydney .


  1. See http://patternlanguagenetwork.myxwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Patterns/SpaceForLurking

June 18, 2009 Posted by | design patterns, Social Software | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Call for contributions: Practical design patterns for teaching and learning with technology

http://www.practicalpatternsbook.org/cfc

Call for contributions

Practical design patterns for teaching and learning with technology

A book for Sense Publishers ‘Technology Enhanced Learning’ series
Editors: Yishay Mor (London Knowledge Lab), Steven Warburton (King’s College London) and Niall Winters (London Knowledge Lab)
Series editors: Richard Noss (London Knowledge Lab) & Mike Sharples (Learning Sciences Research Institute)
Deadline:- Submissions should be sent to: submissions@practicalpatternsbook.org by July 31, 2009

Introduction
The design, development and implementation of an educational intervention often involves learners, teachers, educational designers and policy makers. To support collaboration and effective sharing of design processes between these participants, a common language is needed. One form this can take is a design pattern, which articulates sharable design knowledge in a meaningful and actionable form.
Practical design patterns for teaching and learning with technology will produce a collection of patterns across six themes:
  1. Learner centred design

    • Supporting learners to become active, self-directed and self-responsible participants in the learning process
    • Section Editor: Michael Derntl (University of Vienna)
  2. Learning as collaboration
    • Supporting content creation, communication and collaboration between learners and tutors
    • Section Editor: TBA
  3. Learning as conversation
    • Supporting learners to effectively communicate their learning process
    • Section Editor: Diana Laurillard (London Knowledge Lab)
  4. Games
    • Supporting game-based learning practices
    • Section Editor: Staffan Björk (Chalmers University of Technology | Göteborg University)
  5. Social media
    • Supporting learning using social media
    • Section Editor: Steven Warburton (King’s College London, UK)
  6. Assessment
    • Supporting effective assessment of student learning
    • Section Editor: Harvey Mellar and Norbert Pachler (Institute of Education, UK)
These patterns will be supported by case stories that illustrate a critical problem by elaborating its appearance and successful resolution within a concrete context.
For an overview of the book and further background information, please see the book’s supporting website at http://www.practicalpatternsbook.org/
Submission procedure

Authors are requested to submit co-ordinated contributions of patterns and their supporting cases. These can be individual submissions, or a joint/group submission, where person A produces the case-story, and person B provides the associated pattern. Each submission is expected to be 3,000-4,000 words in length: 1,500-2,000 for the pattern and 1,500-2,000 for the supporting case-story. We encourage the use of images (with appropriate copyright clearance) to illustrate submitted case-stories and patterns. For more details, please see the author guidelines at: http://www.practicalpatternsbook.org/guidelines.
The book will be developed in an open-content process, using a collaborative web-site. Submitted cases and pattens will be reviewed by the section and book editors, and those selected will be included in a shepherding process. During shepherding, all contributions will be openly available for comment. The section editors will iteratively work with authors to ensure quality, coherence and cohesion of the book as a whole. Authors will also be asked to comment on their peers’ contributions and identify links with their own contribution. The web-site will continue to evolve, as a companion to the book after its publication, while the book will remain an authoritative, quality controlled and professionally edited off-the shelf resource.
Important Dates
  • July 31 2009: Proposal Submission Deadline – submissions should be sent to submissions@practicalpatternsbook.org
  • October 15 2009: Notification of Acceptance
  • October 17 2009 – February 15 2009: Shepherding process under the guidance of section editors
  • December 2010: Book published
Further Questions and Contact
Please consult the FAQ page.
All enquires should be made to: enquiries@practicalpatternsbook.org
Please subscribe to http://groups.google.com/group/practicalpatternsbook-announce for future announcements

June 9, 2009 Posted by | design patterns | , , , , | Leave a comment

sweet & simple formative e-assessment

(re-posted from http://feasst.wlecentre.ac.uk/)

Powerpoint is usually condemned as the archetypal counter-example to formative e-assessment. PowerPoint doesn’t have any mechanism for collecting feedback from the audience, once you your presentation is rolling there’s little you can do to change its course.

PollEverywhere changes that. Their plugin allows you to conduct polls, collect responses by twitter or other tools, and display them as text or charts. Now all you need is a few action buttons, and you have a contingency point in powerpoint: a junction where you change your presentation path based on audience feedback.

As always, the specific technology is an illustration. You may know of other tools that do the same (and please add them in the comments). What you should take from this is the design pattern.

(HT Jane via @tryberg)

While we’re on the subject, the outputs from the formative e-assessment project’s dissemination event are available at:

http://feasst.wlecentre.ac.uk/april-28th/

And version 2 of the report at:

http://telearn.noe-kaleidoscope.org/open-archive/browse?resource=1875

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

pattern methodologies symposium @ CAL’09 tomorrow

(cross posted from http://patternlanguagenetwork.org/2009/03/23/cal0/)

Planet is hosting a symposium at CAL’09 tomorrow. If you’re in Brighton, drop in and join the discussion. Our plan is to break away from the usual talking heads format, and devote most of the time for conversation. We’ve set up a web-space for the symposium at:

http://purl.org/planet/Groups.CAL09/

Where you can find drafts of all the slideshows and a few position papers. We’ve also posted some questions for the panel discussion, and you can add some of yours – either as comments on that page or as tweets tagged #cal09ptns.

We’ve managed to bring together some of the top innovators in design pattern approaches to education and e-learning across Europe, so we look forward to be surprised and having our preconceptions challenged.

Now I should turn my attention back to the speaaker.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | design patterns | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Formative e-Assessment: theory, practice, patterns

The Centre for Work-based Learning and the London Knowledge Lab are presenting findings from the JISC-funded project ‘Scoping a Vision of Formative E-Assessment’ on Tuesday, April 28. The event will present our theoretical findings, case stories and design patterns, and will include keynotes by Dylan Wiliam and Diana Laurilard. The event is held at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London, from 10.10 – 4.00. The day is free to attend but you need to register to let us know you are going to be there. Please go to http://www.eventelephant.com/feasst to register. Please note that this event it being held at the London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald Street, London WC1N 3QS, which is a short distance from the main Institute of Education building. A programme for the day and map url are included on the registration site. If you have any queries about the day, please contact Sarah Gelcich at s.gelcich@ioe.ac.uk

March 18, 2009 Posted by | design patterns, London Knowlege Lab | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gwendolyn Kolfschoten and Stephan Lukosch: Cognitive learning efficiency through the use of design patterns

The 1st full paper for our symposium at CAL is now available for download (pdf).

When it comes to design patterns, there seem to be two types of people: born-again evangelists who would sell their mum to convince you that patterns are the cure to all your ails, and normal, decent folk who just don’t understand what all the fuss is about. In a recent conversation with Helen Sharp, I drew an analogy to Aubergines (“No! Patterns are nothing like aubergines – aubergines are yuck!”).

Gwen and Stephan are perhaps the trailblazers of a third type: they decided to apply a bit of scientific scrutiny to the claims of pattern evangelists. Using the theory of cognitive load, they ran a serious of experiments, observing the effect of design patterns on novice and expert designers. Results? “… This leads us to the tentative conclusion that the use of design patterns does not only affect the efficiency of the design effort, it also constitutes learning efficiency of novices to gain design skills and it enhances the quality of their design.

Gwendolyn Kolfschoten and Stephan Lukosch: Cognitive learning efficiency through the use of design patterns

Teaching Processes and systems in organizations become increasingly complex and dynamic. This requires managers of expert teams to quickly gain knowledge and insight outside their prime area of expertise. To transfer expert knowledge and to reuse design solutions design patterns can be used as building blocks for the development of systems and processes. The use of design patterns can increase the efficiency of design & implementation of solutions and in some cases it can enable automated implementation of design. This allows the expert to re-use components to accommodate new requirements in a more flexible way. However, the advantage of design patterns might go beyond re-use, design efficiency and flexibility. This paper argues that in addition to the benefits described above, there is a specific added value for the use of design patterns by novices to acquire design skills and domain knowledge. We propose that design patterns, due to their conceptual design, offer information in a way that enables the creation of better linkages between knowledge elements and improve the accessibility of the information in the memory. For this hypothesis we will analyze the literature on cognitive load and cognitive learning processes, and add to this three case study experiences in which novices and experts were offered design patterns to develop and implement systems and processes.

March 13, 2009 Posted by | design patterns | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

attribution bugs in the formative e-assessment report

The report I posted a few days ag0 had some serious faults in terms of links, credits and references. If you’ve downloaded it, please discard and get a fresh copy. Sorry for the inconvinience.

March 1, 2009 Posted by | London Knowlege Lab, Social Software, technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

two new publications: cases to patterns, formative e-assessment

Scoping a vision for formative e-assessment: a project report for JISC

Norbert Pachler and Harvey Mellar and Caroline Daly and Yishay Mor and Dylan Wiliam and Diana Laurillard Institute of Education, WLE, (2009)

Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. If the relationship between teaching and learning were causal, i. e. if students always mastered the intended learning outcomes of a particular sequence of instruction, assessment would be superfluous. Experience and research suggest this is not the case: what is learnt can often be quite different from what is taught. Formative assessment is motivated by a concern with the elicitation of relevant information about student understanding and / or achievement, its interpretation and an exploration of how it can lead to actions that result in better learning. In the context of a policy drive towards technology-enhanced approaches to teaching and learning, the question of the role of digital technologies is key and it is the latter on which this project particularly focuses. The project and its deliverables have been informed by recent and relevant literature, in particular recent work by Black and In this work, they put forward a framework which suggests that assessment for learning their term for formative assessment can be conceptualised as consisting of a number of aspects and five key strategies. The key aspects revolve around the where the learner is going, where the learner is right now and how she can get there and examines the role played by the teacher, peers and the learner.

Dealing with abstraction: Case study generalisation as a method for eliciting design patterns

Niall Winters and Yishay Mor Computers in Human Behavior(2009) Available online 14 February 2009 .
Developing a pattern language is a non-trivial problem. A critical requirement is a method to support pattern writers with abstraction, so as they can produce generalised patterns. In this paper, we address this issue by developing a structured process of generalisation. It is important that this process is initiated through engaging participants in identifying initial patterns, i.e. directly dealing with the ‘cold-start’ problem. We have found that short case study descriptions provide a productive ‘way into’ the process for participants. We reflect on a 1-year interdisciplinary pan-European research project involving the development of almost 30 cases and over 150 patterns. We provide example cases, detailing the process by which their associated patterns emerged. This was based on a foundation for generalisation from cases with common attributes. We discuss the merits of this approach and its implications for pattern development.

February 23, 2009 Posted by | London Knowlege Lab | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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