The second webinar in a new eColloq Series on Cyberlearning featured presentations by Katie Headrick Taylor and Tom Moher on their research, followed by discussion. The eColloq will be chaired by Michael Hoffmann, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Supporting Public-Facing Education for Youth: Learning with Mobile and Geospatial Technologies
Katie Headrick Taylor, University of Washington, Seattle
Understanding how people use technology to collaboratively achieve new ways of seeing and learning about the world is a core issue for the Cyberlearning community. When the technologies change, so changes the nature of collaboration, and the possibilities for studying and designing for learning within collaborative working groups. This talk focuses on a genre of digitally mediated learning and teaching–“learning on-the-move” with mobile, geospatial technologies–and corresponding collaborative affordances that have yet to be substantively analyzed within our field.
I will present examples from a community-based design study, called Mobile City Science implemented in Chicago, New York, and Seattle, to demonstrate how mobile and locative technologies support public-facing education designs for youth living in underserved urban areas. By public-facing, I mean that young people were mobile through their communities, collaborating with each other and local stakeholders (e.g., shopkeepers, clergy people, residents) to identify neighborhood assets, and engaged in inquiry processes that were in real-time and elicited by place-specific observations. Participating youth used classrooms to review and analyze work accomplished in the neighborhood, and then returned to a public forum to present evidence-based recommendations for community development and preservation projects. This public-facing work put youth at the nexus of neighborhood networks consisting of school, youth-serving organizations, community centers, and residents.
Whole-class inquiry in the Classroom of Things
Tom Moher, University of Illinois at Chicago
An emerging genre of classroom learning design situates whole classes within contexts in which both engagement with simulated objects of inquiry and the construction of community knowledge around those objects require interaction with networked collections of heterogeneous personal and public, mobile and embedded, digital devices. These designs regularly involve multiple heterogeneous activities and require multiple types of stakeholder portals, necessitating the dynamic distribution of software resources during (often, weeks-long) unit enactments. Tools for configuring and managing that distribution, and accommodating varying curriculum designs and classroom technology inventories, could broaden the community of classrooms able to explore the genre.
In this talk, I will present RoomCast, an example of a configuration and real-time management system for the distribution of software learning resources in the “Classroom of Things.” RoomCast dynamically distributes page-sized software resources drawn from a curriculum-specific suite to web clients according to their portal type and the current curricular activity. Designers define the portals, activities, and resources needed in their enactments, and develop a resource distribution regimen. The talk will present examples drawn from classroom enactments to show how the framework can support multiple curriculum designs and student grouping strategies, operate within local technology constraints, and use the same base set of software resources without the need for changes to source code.