Workshop on Collaborative learning as design activity
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The general themes are: interfaces supporting learning and empirical studies of active learners, and the specific theme is Wiki-inspired collaborative learning systems that combine the best ideas of visual models, end-user modifiable interfaces and collaborative inquiry environments.
Interactive learning environments invite a broad spectrum of participation. On one end of are interactive models of complex phenomena. For example in science learning, simulations of natural and artificial (mechanical, electrical, etc.) phenomena can be an effective way to represent complex relationships underlying a scientific law. On the other end, social learning environments stimulate discussion of ideas and clarification of issues by a process of collaborative inquiry, often guided by more knowledgeable people (e.g. teachers, mentors, and parents). Whereas individual learning refers to the difference between what a learner can perform independently compared to what he or she previously could perform only by guidance (“knowledge in the head”), social learning refers to what a group of learners can produce together as well as the process leading up to it (“knowledge in the world”).
Social media have enabled interactive learning environments to more fully reach the “social end” of the spectrum, whereas advances in user interface and interaction techniques for ubiquitous computing and mobile devices have improved access to and manipulation of models of scientific phenomena. It is when users become content producers and not merely consumers of information and the power and control are shifted from designated experts to a broader network of competent practitioners that the learning potential of social media will be fully realized. Thus, we feel that by combining interactive models with social sharing (or applying wiki principles to interactive learning environments) may prove invaluable in designing collaborative learning systems. In other words we aim for multiple perspectives on collaborative learning as a design activity.