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Does Using New Technology Improve Children's Learning? Andy Powell and Jess Allen.

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1 Does Using New Technology Improve Children's Learning? Andy Powell and Jess Allen

2 Do new technologies which aim to scaffold biology learning improve children's learning?

3 Scaffolding Scaffolding metaphor first used by Wood, Bruner and Ross (1976) Scaffolding metaphor first used by Wood, Bruner and Ross (1976) Scaffolding consists of an adult controlling the elements of a task initially beyond learners capacity, allowing them to concentrate on/complete only those elements within his range of competence. Scaffolding consists of an adult controlling the elements of a task initially beyond learners capacity, allowing them to concentrate on/complete only those elements within his range of competence. As the learner progresses the task proceeds to a successful outcome As the learner progresses the task proceeds to a successful outcome

4 Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) Scaffolding is associated with Vygotskys notion of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) Scaffolding is associated with Vygotskys notion of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) Interacting with more able members of a society the child can do things that it would not be able to do on its own. Interacting with more able members of a society the child can do things that it would not be able to do on its own. Learning and development occurs through the internalisation of social processes. Learning and development occurs through the internalisation of social processes.

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6 Level of Assistance It is the assistance that is often seen as scaffolding and amount of assistance is critical. It is the assistance that is often seen as scaffolding and amount of assistance is critical. Too much and the task is too easy, too little and the task is too difficult. Too much and the task is too easy, too little and the task is too difficult. The assistance should The assistance should Be of a level just outside the childs existing developmental level Be of a level just outside the childs existing developmental level Be sensitive to changes in the childs developmental level, and as the child progresses the adult should fade this help by providing less and less Be sensitive to changes in the childs developmental level, and as the child progresses the adult should fade this help by providing less and less eventually be withdrawn altogether when the child is competent. eventually be withdrawn altogether when the child is competent.

7 Scaffolding and Technology Traditional views of scaffolding focused on social interaction as the source of assistance Traditional views of scaffolding focused on social interaction as the source of assistance The focus of the last two decades research on cognitive science issues in technology design illuminated ways in which technological tools may provide the same scaffolding The focus of the last two decades research on cognitive science issues in technology design illuminated ways in which technological tools may provide the same scaffolding

8 Scaffolding and Technology 2 Reiser (2002) discusses two mechanisms to explain how software tools can improve learning: Reiser (2002) discusses two mechanisms to explain how software tools can improve learning: structure the learning task, guiding learners through key components and supporting their performance structure the learning task, guiding learners through key components and supporting their performance shape the students performance and understanding of the task in terms of key disciplinary content and strategies, thereby problematising this important content. shape the students performance and understanding of the task in terms of key disciplinary content and strategies, thereby problematising this important content.

9 Case Study 1: BGuILE

10 BGuILE Provides Biology Guided Learning Environments for secondary school children Provides Biology Guided Learning Environments for secondary school children Explorable with specially designed computer software to foster scientific enquiry and discovery Explorable with specially designed computer software to foster scientific enquiry and discovery Children working collaboratively are given biology-relevant scenarios to explore with BGuILE Children working collaboratively are given biology-relevant scenarios to explore with BGuILE

11 ExplanationConstructor 1 ExplanationContructor is a BGuILE software ExplanationContructor is a BGuILE software Computer-based science journal Computer-based science journal Students must construct scientific explanations based on environment being explored Students must construct scientific explanations based on environment being explored Students record research questions and sub-questions as they emerge Students record research questions and sub-questions as they emerge Students given explanation prompts to facilitate and link to research questions Students given explanation prompts to facilitate and link to research questions

12 Supports and improves learning through structuring Supports and improves learning through structuring Software provides a structured workspace Software provides a structured workspace Provides guidance for planning and monitoring Provides guidance for planning and monitoring Helps children articulate reasoned research questions Helps children articulate reasoned research questions Helps to see links between questions and explanations Helps to see links between questions and explanations ExplanationConstructor 2

13 Evaluation of ExplanationConstructor 1 Evaluation of BGuILE software looks at benefits provided to nature of exploration and investigation carried out by children Evaluation of BGuILE software looks at benefits provided to nature of exploration and investigation carried out by children Sandoval and Reiser (2004) analysed ExplanationConstructor applied to Galapagos environment Sandoval and Reiser (2004) analysed ExplanationConstructor applied to Galapagos environment Scenario: Population of finches on island is dropping Scenario: Population of finches on island is dropping Children must find out and explain why, considering ecosystems and other biological factors Children must find out and explain why, considering ecosystems and other biological factors ExplanationConstructor provides structured workspace to explore this ExplanationConstructor provides structured workspace to explore this

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15 Sandoval and Reiser analysed collaborative student interactions Sandoval and Reiser analysed collaborative student interactions Students guided to consider many concepts through explanation guides which may have been overlooked Students guided to consider many concepts through explanation guides which may have been overlooked Prompting sub-questions served to anchor investigation and guided further exploration Prompting sub-questions served to anchor investigation and guided further exploration ExplanationConstructor provided structure to investigation ExplanationConstructor provided structure to investigation Still allowed children to form own representations and guide and monitor own progress Still allowed children to form own representations and guide and monitor own progress Evaluation of ExplanationConstructor 2

16 Evaluation of ExplanationConstructor 5 Sandoval and Reisers analysis demonstrates how BGuILE can improve learning Sandoval and Reisers analysis demonstrates how BGuILE can improve learning Observational research is effective at uncovering observable benefits to the learning process Observational research is effective at uncovering observable benefits to the learning process However, need evaluation in terms of measurable domain- level learning gains However, need evaluation in terms of measurable domain- level learning gains Also, need comparisons to groups not using software Also, need comparisons to groups not using software Without these, difficult to say how much BGuILE improves learning Without these, difficult to say how much BGuILE improves learning

17 Case Study 2: Ecolab

18 Developed by the (Human Centred Developed by the (Human Centred Technology Group at the University of Sussex). Technology Group at the University of Sussex). Interactive learning environment that helps children aged years learn about food webs and chains and was based on the concept of the ZPD Interactive learning environment that helps children aged years learn about food webs and chains and was based on the concept of the ZPD Flexible environment in the form of a simulated ecology laboratory Flexible environment in the form of a simulated ecology laboratory The animals and plants that the child selects are put into this simulation and can be viewed from different perspectives The animals and plants that the child selects are put into this simulation and can be viewed from different perspectives

19 World View

20 Energy View

21 Web View

22 From eat/eaten by to food webs Increasingly abstract terminology Four phases of difficulty

23 Interpretation of the ZPD necessary to allow the operationalisation necessary for the construction of a design framework. Interpretation of the ZPD necessary to allow the operationalisation necessary for the construction of a design framework. The elements of adjustable assistance to the system comprise: The elements of adjustable assistance to the system comprise: Zone of Available Assistance (ZAA) applicable to that system. Zone of Available Assistance (ZAA) applicable to that system. The elements of this ZAA which meet the needs of a particular learner at a particular time comprise the Zone of Proximal Adjustment (ZPA) which system needs to make for learner. The elements of this ZAA which meet the needs of a particular learner at a particular time comprise the Zone of Proximal Adjustment (ZPA) which system needs to make for learner.

24 Does Ecolab Improve Learning? Designed using a participatory design approach and evaluated in classroom setting (Luckin & du Boulay, 1999). Designed using a participatory design approach and evaluated in classroom setting (Luckin & du Boulay, 1999). Three variations on the Ecolab theme Three variations on the Ecolab theme Vygotskian Instructional system (VIS), Vygotskian Instructional system (VIS), Woodsian Inspired System (WIS) Woodsian Inspired System (WIS) No Instructional- intervention System (NIS). No Instructional- intervention System (NIS). Aim of the VIS system is to maximise the ZAA and refine the ZPA so that it is line with the ZPD. Aim of the VIS system is to maximise the ZAA and refine the ZPA so that it is line with the ZPD. WIS and NIS implement different variations and combinations of the features in the design framework with the purpose of evaluating VIS. WIS and NIS implement different variations and combinations of the features in the design framework with the purpose of evaluating VIS. Each acts as a different type of instructional partner for the child. Each acts as a different type of instructional partner for the child. Design framework implemented within VIS, WIS and NIS evaluated to explore the hypothesis that the VIS variation of Ecolab will offer the most appropriate assistance and improve learning Design framework implemented within VIS, WIS and NIS evaluated to explore the hypothesis that the VIS variation of Ecolab will offer the most appropriate assistance and improve learning

25 30 children, aged 10-11, three different ability groups based on school assessments, three experimental groups matched for ability 30 children, aged 10-11, three different ability groups based on school assessments, three experimental groups matched for ability Written and verbal pre-test Written and verbal pre-test Used Ecolab individually for 60 mins over 2 sessions in normal classroom environment Used Ecolab individually for 60 mins over 2 sessions in normal classroom environment Post-test Post-test

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27 Problems Problems No control group No control group No comparison with other teaching methods such as a classroom discussion or reading from a text book. No comparison with other teaching methods such as a classroom discussion or reading from a text book. Small numbers of children in each group Small numbers of children in each group No clear cut result in terms of abilities suggesting that Ecolab is not yet totally effective at modelling the ZPD for all ability levels No clear cut result in terms of abilities suggesting that Ecolab is not yet totally effective at modelling the ZPD for all ability levels

28 Critique 1 BGuILE and Ecolab evaluation indicates that scaffolding technology can improve learning BGuILE and Ecolab evaluation indicates that scaffolding technology can improve learning BGuILE: increased articulation and critical consideration BGuILE: increased articulation and critical consideration Ecolab: ability to consider different perspectives and experience more complex terminology Ecolab: ability to consider different perspectives and experience more complex terminology However, evaluations insufficient in helping to conclude that learning gains will occur in every child in every classroom However, evaluations insufficient in helping to conclude that learning gains will occur in every child in every classroom This is because evaluations lack….. This is because evaluations lack…..

29 Critique 2 A non-technology control group to compare the group who have experience learning gains to A non-technology control group to compare the group who have experience learning gains to Long term measurement of learning gains to see whether effects are quantifiable over time Long term measurement of learning gains to see whether effects are quantifiable over time Unbiased, independent evaluation carried out by people other than designers Unbiased, independent evaluation carried out by people other than designers

30 Conclusion 1 Can conclude that technologies such as BGuILE and Ecolab do improve learning, though it is difficult to say how much Can conclude that technologies such as BGuILE and Ecolab do improve learning, though it is difficult to say how much However, cannot generalise this assumption across all technologies and all children However, cannot generalise this assumption across all technologies and all children Even the most perfectly designed technology may not improve learning in every child in every instance Even the most perfectly designed technology may not improve learning in every child in every instance Many contextually specific issues to consider when ascertaining whether a technology can improve learning…. Many contextually specific issues to consider when ascertaining whether a technology can improve learning….

31 Conclusion 2 Technologies must be tailored to classroom curriculum Technologies must be tailored to classroom curriculum Technology must meet specific needs and objectives of curriculum Technology must meet specific needs and objectives of curriculum Through this, can improve learning in ways relevant to childrens needs Through this, can improve learning in ways relevant to childrens needs Proper curricular activities must be implemented to allow the technology to be applied correctly Proper curricular activities must be implemented to allow the technology to be applied correctly This will allow technology to be maximally effective in improving learning This will allow technology to be maximally effective in improving learning

32 Conclusion 3 In broader sense, must consider that technologies, learners and teachers work together as a system In broader sense, must consider that technologies, learners and teachers work together as a system Cannot consider the effectiveness of technology alone Cannot consider the effectiveness of technology alone Children have own learning attitudes and expectations Children have own learning attitudes and expectations Technology alone will not change these – desire to learn must be fostered by classroom culture Technology alone will not change these – desire to learn must be fostered by classroom culture Technology such as BGuILE and Ecolab create opportunities for learning Technology such as BGuILE and Ecolab create opportunities for learning However, no guarantee that children will capitalise on them! However, no guarantee that children will capitalise on them!

33 Conclusion 4 Teachers also vital to the effectiveness of technology in improving learning Teachers also vital to the effectiveness of technology in improving learning Technology activities alone mean very little Technology activities alone mean very little Teachers must capitalise on what is learned through giving real meaning and context beyond the computer screen Teachers must capitalise on what is learned through giving real meaning and context beyond the computer screen Must facilitate classroom discourse and discussion to bring what is learned to life Must facilitate classroom discourse and discussion to bring what is learned to life Effectiveness of technology therefore depends on how teachers cultivate their use and guide the students Effectiveness of technology therefore depends on how teachers cultivate their use and guide the students

34 Conclusion 5 Demonstrates that technologies are unable to improve learning alone Demonstrates that technologies are unable to improve learning alone Required are: Required are: Good teachers Good teachers Good classrooms Good classrooms Enthusiastic children (created by the above) Enthusiastic children (created by the above) Curriculum specific tasks to apply technology to Curriculum specific tasks to apply technology to Without these factors technology alone will not improve learning Without these factors technology alone will not improve learning

35 Bringing it all together….. Using technology can improve learning in children Using technology can improve learning in children Current evaluations inadequate at saying how much Current evaluations inadequate at saying how much However, technology should not be viewed as the be-all and end-all of learning anyway However, technology should not be viewed as the be-all and end-all of learning anyway Technologies provide support in right context to influence direction and practice of learners Technologies provide support in right context to influence direction and practice of learners Technology is not a replacement for a teacher, but a tool they can use Technology is not a replacement for a teacher, but a tool they can use Should be used to shape childrens engagement with tasks and add another dimension Should be used to shape childrens engagement with tasks and add another dimension One tool alone cannot build a house One tool alone cannot build a house However, can make a vital, valid and unique contribution However, can make a vital, valid and unique contribution

36 References Luckin, R., du Boulay, B. (1999). Ecolab: The Development and Evaluation of a Vygotskian Design Framework. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. 10, pp Luckin, R., du Boulay, B. (1999). Ecolab: The Development and Evaluation of a Vygotskian Design Framework. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. 10, pp Luckin, R. (2003). Between the Lines: Documenting the Multiple Dimensions of Computer-Supported Collaborations. Computers and Education. 41, pp 379 – 396. Luckin, R. (2003). Between the Lines: Documenting the Multiple Dimensions of Computer-Supported Collaborations. Computers and Education. 41, pp 379 – 396. Pea, R. D. (2004a). The social and technological dimensions of scaffolding and related theoretical concepts for learning, education and human activity. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(3), Pea, R. D. (2004a). The social and technological dimensions of scaffolding and related theoretical concepts for learning, education and human activity. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(3), Puntambekar, S. & Hubscher, R. (2005). Tools for scaffolding students in a complex learning environment: what have we gained what have we missed? Educational Psychologist, 40, 1, Puntambekar, S. & Hubscher, R. (2005). Tools for scaffolding students in a complex learning environment: what have we gained what have we missed? Educational Psychologist, 40, 1, Quintana, C., & Fishman, B. (2006, April). Supporting science learning and teaching with software-based scaffolding. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA. Quintana, C., & Fishman, B. (2006, April). Supporting science learning and teaching with software-based scaffolding. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA. Reiser, B. J. (2002). Why Scaffolding Should Sometimes Make Tasks More Difficult for Learners. Proceedings of CSCL Reiser, B. J. (2002). Why Scaffolding Should Sometimes Make Tasks More Difficult for Learners. Proceedings of CSCL 2002.

37 Reiser, B. J. (2004). Scaffolding complex learning: The mechanisms of structuring and problematizing student work. Journal of the Learning Sciences: 13(3), Reiser, B. J. (2004). Scaffolding complex learning: The mechanisms of structuring and problematizing student work. Journal of the Learning Sciences: 13(3), Sandoval, W.A., & Reiser, B.J. (2004). Explanation-driven enquiry: Integrating conceptual and epistemic scaffolds for scientific inquiry. Science Education, 88, Sandoval, W.A., & Reiser, B.J. (2004). Explanation-driven enquiry: Integrating conceptual and epistemic scaffolds for scientific inquiry. Science Education, 88, Sharma, D. & Hannafin, M. J. (2007). Scaffolding in Technology Enhanced Learning Environments. Interactive Learning Environments. 15 (1), pp 27 – 46. Sharma, D. & Hannafin, M. J. (2007). Scaffolding in Technology Enhanced Learning Environments. Interactive Learning Environments. 15 (1), pp 27 – 46. Smith, B. K., & Reiser, B. J. (2005). Explaining behavior through observational investigation and theory articulation. Journal of the Learning Sciences: 14(3), Smith, B. K., & Reiser, B. J. (2005). Explaining behavior through observational investigation and theory articulation. Journal of the Learning Sciences: 14(3), Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The Role of Tutoring in Problem Solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 17, pp Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The Role of Tutoring in Problem Solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 17, pp References Cont.

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