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Invited Papers

Daniel D Suthers, Laboratory for Interactive Learning Technologies, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, USA.

Representational Guidance for Collaborative Learning

Tuesday, 22nd July, Session Tu1, 9.00-10.00am
Session Chair: Judy Kay, University of Sydney, Australia

About the speaker

Dr. Suthers' research combines cognitive, social and technical perspectives on designing and evaluating software for learning. His current focus is on representational support for computer supported collaborative learning, with applications to secondary school science, post-secondary online learning, and professional development of educators. Dr. Suthers is an assistant professor in the Department of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Hawai`i, where he directs the Laboratory for Interactive Learning Technologies (http://lilt.ics.hawaii.edu). Dr. Suthers obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts (1979) from Kansas City Art Institute, and his M.S. (1988) and Ph.D. (1993) in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts.

Short Abstract

When people engage in conversations for learning or problem solving, they often reference and manipulate external (visual and textual) representations. Online, external representations take on additional importance because they are also the medium of communication. In this paper I highlight a few important aspects of the roles that external representations can play in the meaning-making activities of two or more participants, and how the particular representation used may influence these activities. I will draw upon my own research for examples. One line of work showed how the properties of representations used to support evidence-based inquiry can affect both discourse activities and student work. A second line of work showed that the distinction between communication tools and other representations is blurred online, with the actual discourse between participants being accomplished by actions in all of the mutable representations. These phenomena are unified by the concept of representational guidance: the constraints, visual properties, and conventions of use associated with representations should be considered in designing to guide learning activities.


Peter Reimann, Centre for Computer-supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo), University of Sydney, Australia.

Beyond Individual learning: Challenges For Supporting (Socially) Distributed Learning

Wednesday, 23rd July, Session We1, 9.00-10.00am
Session Chair: Felisa Verdejo, UNED, Spain

About the speaker

Peter Reimann is currently Professor for Education at the University of Sydney, co-directing its new Centre for Computer-supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo). He studied psychology at the University of Freiburg/Germany, where he also completed his PhD. He has worked at the Learning Research and Development Centre in Pittsburgh and more recently at in the Department of Psychology at Heidelberg University. His research interests cover a number of areas: cognitive modelling of learning processes (inductive learning, self explaining), design of instructional simulation environments, development of case-based reasoning tutors, and more recently research on supporting and scaffolding argumentation and knowledge construction in virtual learning groups.
 

Short Abstract

In this presentation, two lines of inquiry will be described that provide challe nges to the classical approach by which we think of Intelligent Tutoring Systems. Challenges arise when learners don't interact individually with a learning environment, but engage in group activities. Our work on computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is addressing the question of how groups that work in a highly self-organized manner can be supported in their interaction and learning. We have developed and analysed various ways to provide feedback and scaffolding to groups that co-operate via the Internet. Both for an asynchronous, document-oriented collaboration platform and for a synchronous, activity-oriented platform we developed partially automated feedback mechanisms intended to enhance interaction and group well-being. We tracked individual contribution behaviour as well as learners motivation. These data have been used to automatically generate visual aids, providing feedback about group members participation as well as motivational clues. A second feedback mechanism has been applied by aggregating learners problem solving discourse into a meta-document. We examined how these feedback methods based on a group's own behaviour enhanced problem-solving outcomes. Results suggest positive influences of feedback mechanisms on problem-solving as well as motivational parameters.
Treating groups as a learning unit requires tackling problems of socially distributed knowledge (grounding, transactive memory, etc.). Challenges for ITS also arise when looking at forms of learning where knowledge is not only distributed socially, but also physically. Learning in chemistry and biology laboratories constitutes a good example for situations where the socio-physical surround provides resources for learning and problem solving that are hard to reproduce in computer-simulated laboratories. Based on our own work with molecular biologists and on work by others who studied what laboratory scientists really do, I will analyse the limitations of simulating such environments in virtual forms and address the challenges involved in turning real wet labs into more effective and perhaps adaptive learning environments.


Steve Benford, The Mixed Reality Laboratory and The Equator project University of Nottingham, UK

Pack your lunch, clipboard and raincoat: we're going on a field trip!

Thursday, 24th July, Session Th1, 9.00-10.00am
Session Chair: Ulrich Hoppe, University of Duisburg, Germany

About the speaker

Steve Benford is Professor of Collaborative Computing at the University of Nottingham where he is a co-founder of the Mixed Reality Laboratory (www.mrl.nott.ac.uk) and a principal investigator on the UK's Equator project, a six year, eight partner initiative that is exploring the interweaving of physical and digital interaction to support everyday life (www.equator.ac.uk). His driving interest is to create new computer and communications technologies that can support increasingly rich and dynamic social experiences with a particular focus on new forms of learning, play and theatre. His approach to research involves staging and evaluating large-scale public experiences in collaboration with educators, artists and performers. Recent publications can be found in the ACM CHI, SIGGRAPH, Multimedia, UIST, CSCW and CVE conferences and also in Communications of the ACM and Transactions on CHI. Can You See Me Now?, a collaboration with the artists group Blast Theory, has been awarded the 2003 Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Interactive Art.

Short Abstract

A strong memory from my early school days is of a field trip to a nearby forest. We spent a day exploring the woodland, making drawings and recording observations, and later back at school the whole class created a wall display from the materials that we had gathered. My talk will explore how emerging mobile and augmented reality technologies can enhance these kinds of field-trip experiences. My core theme will be how children can use these technologies to explore a physical environment - for example, a historical or scientific site of special interest - capture readings and collect information that can then be taken back to school, collated, analysed, discussed and reused in classroom activities. Drawing on the work of the UK's Equator project (www.equator.ac.uk), I will introduce technologies that enable children to reveal and capture digital information as they explore indoor and outdoor physical environments. I will also describe new kinds of collaborative display that enable them to make further use of this information within the classroom.