A couple of weeks ago Daniel Spikol visited my mLearning class. My students prepared a presentation, outlining their projects. I asked for their permission to share it with the world. Comments are very, very welcome. I promise to pass them on:
(I tried to embed the presentation, but the plugin doesn’t seem to work, so you can watch the presentation here)
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.
Mor, Y. & Noss, R. (2008), ‘Programming as Mathematical Narrative’, International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning (IJCEELL) 18 (2) , 214-233 .
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 .
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 .
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)’ .
Collective social learning – a theoretical foundation for Web 2: Valerie Brown @LKL, Friday 19 June 2009, 12:00pm – 2:00pm
|Collective social learning – a theoretical foundation for Web 2|
Friday 19 June 2009, 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Emeritus Professor Valerie A. Brown AO, BSc MEd PhD *
|Whether we are now at Web 2, Web 3 or Web 8, we can agree that after Web 1 came a surge of interoperability, user-centered design and mass collaboration. Web-based communities, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, and blogs, add up to a new cultural force. There has been little consideration of the changes this integrative cultural force brings to the ruling fragmentation of knowledge. This seminar will identify the hierarchy of knowledge structures in the construction of Western knowledge and suggest collective social learning as a synthesising framework consistent with the needs of Web 2 and above.
* Director, Local Sustainability Project, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University. Valerie works collaboratively with communities in Australia, Asia, Canada and Europe on whole-of-community change. Her latest books include “Social learning and environmental management: towards a sustainable future” 2005; “Leonardo’s vision: a guide to collective learning and action” 2008 and “Tackling wicked problems: using the transdisciplinary imagination” In press, 2009.
Gwendolyn Kolfschoten and Stephan Lukosch: Cognitive learning efficiency through the use of design patterns
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.
I’m hosting Professor Avi Berman for a talk at the LKL next week:
Avi Berman: Attempts of a Mathematician to do Research in Maths Education
Thursday 5 February 2009, 12:30pm – 2:00pm
LKL large seminar hall
The effects of teaching linear algebra involving technology-enabled feedback on pedagogical development of lecturers and on conceptual understanding of their students.
Because of logistic constraints and a long-term tradition, large-group frontal lecturing is the main form of teaching undergraduate mathematics. Unfortunately, the traditional lecture, as inspirational as it might be, does not allow many opportunities for developing students’ conceptual understanding through active learning, and supplies lecturers with limited feedback on how effective their teaching is. What the students actually learn when attending lectures remains chiefly a black box for contemporary research and little is known about the pedagogical development of university professors through lecturing. The talk will describe an effort to address this lacuna in the context of a university linear algebra course.
Avi Berman holds the Israel Pollak Academic Chair at the Technion, where he is a Professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department of Education of Technology and Science. He also heads the Israeli Society for Promotion of and Research on Giftedness. His research interests in Mathematics are Nonnegative Matrices and Spectral Graph Theory and in Education – Mathematical Giftedness and University Teaching.
Entry is free, but we would appreciate your registration for administrative purposes:
Judy Robertson has a nice story about a student from her interactive design class, who started the course with grave reservations about the use of Second Life, and added with an achievement award and a rewarding experience. She comments on the recent Guardian article and about other students’ feedback from the course. Judy notes:
I suspect there is a feeling among students that Second Life is sad. They may feel self concious about using it, or worry that they are wasting their time. In fact, after just quickly casting my eye over the module feedback forms there are some comments that the students don’t see how it helps them for employment.
SL may be sad as an social activity environment, but that’s beside the point. The question that should concern teachers and students is how good it is in terms of supporting learning.
The things I find sad are the motivation argument and the vocational one.
Saying “oh, here’s a cool environment / technology / game, maybe if we use it for teaching students won’t be so miserable” assumes that learning cannot be its own reward. I know you never said anything like that, but that is a prevalent rhetoric.
Saying “I can’t see how it will help me get a job” is the flip side of the same coin. It’s students assuming that learning is a form of misery which is aimed at preparing them for a greater form of misery (work).
Perhaps we need to make a stance here: we, as teachers, have a duty of pleasure. We should be committed to enabling our students to enjoy learning and enjoy the work that they will do in the future. We also have a duty to enjoy what we do, because otherwise we have no chance with the other two.
Last week I gave a talk on, basically, the corrections I need to do for my thesis.
Anna Sfard commented that (if I understood her correctly) “if that’s your model of narrative, then you should be able to find linguistic markers for it in student texts”
I thought yeah. And then the ol’ computer scientist in me thinks, in that case I should be able to write a parser to do it for me. i.e., instead of parsing text for Chomskian grammar, parse it for narrative structure. Then use that to determine stuff like voice, semantic sequencing, genre. Spotting shifts in these paramaters (e.g from imaginative to paradigmatic) could help identify critical learning points.
15 years ago, few learners had either mobile telephony or internet access as a reliable learning resource. Today most have both, in one 150gr device in their back pocket. The accelerated progress of technology means not just that learning is changing, but that change is changing. We – learners, teachers, researchers – have to respond to developments at a dizzying pace.
The first consequence we need to acknowledge is that the division of roles is being blurred. Teachers need to invest in continuous learning, learners can often take the role of teaching, and all are de-facto researchers: exploring and experimenting with new opportunities daily.
The second, more complex and perhaps more vital recognition is that we are all learning designers. We design learning environment for ourselves and for others by choosing the tools and their configuration, we design our curriculum, choosing which new skills and practices to acquire – and which to defer. We design learning experiences by carefully assembling tasks, tools, activities and social interactions.
These observations call for a renewed attention to learning as a design science. Herbert Simon defined: “everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into desired ones” (Simon, 1969, p 129). Hence, design science is, in a nutshell, the science of making a better world. Design science needs a language of its own. A set of “scientific instruments”, modes of capturing and sharing knowledge, and methods of establishing validity. Mor & Winters argue that design patterns and pattern languages hold a promise in this respect, and propose a workshop model for participatory development of pattern languages in education (Mor & Winters, 2007; 2008).
The Pattern Language Network project is developing a methodology, and a set of on-line tools to support it, for pattern-based design research in education. These are being used by communities of practitioners, developers and researchers to capture and share their expertise and examples of good practice as reusable design knowledge.