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The Rationale of M1

At the initial Project Management meeting, the objectives of the CONSTRUIT! project will be presented and discussed, the overall project plan and responsibilities will be reviewed and a provisional schedule for meetings and activities across all three years drawn up. Existing resources by way of materials and tools deployed over the last decade in teaching students how to make construals at Warwick serve as initial prototypes for the principal intellectual output O1 (an open online course comprising a curriculum - the MCC, environment - the MCE, and online resources - the MCR) of the project.

The inspiration for the CONSTRUIT! project is a pilot project, independently funded, to be set up in conjunction with a group of Computing at School (CaS) master teachers from UK schools in the period mid-June to September. This project will have as its principal goal the collaborative construction of a construal on a specific theme, viz. Donald Michie's Matchbox Educable Noughtsand- Crosses Engine (MENACE). The development of this construal will build on one of the standard existing construals that has already been developed - and extensively discussed and elaborated - using the well-established desktop version of the JS-EDEN interpreter, which will be adapted for this purpose. The objective of this pilot project is to create an exemplar to illustrate how making construals can serve to create OERs with exceptional qualities. The MENACE pilot will trace the six components of the MCC, as set out here:

  • MC1a. Principles and concepts for making construals
  • MC1b. Principles of construal comprehension
  • MC2a. Collaborative construal construction
  • MC2b. Instrumenting construals for interactive assessment and evaluation
  • MC3a. Deriving OERs from construals
  • MC3b. Other applications for making construals
(These have here been labelled and paired to reflect the way in which they will be addressed in three years of the CONSTRUIT! project.) In the MENACE project, the teachers will first be introduced to the principles and concepts for making construals, then learn techniques for construal comprehension, at which point they will be able to created shared resources for making a MENACE construal by pooling individually created fragments of construals. These resources can then be adapted and remixed freely so as to create OERs that in this context will be intended to help pupils of computing to learn to write basic functions and procedures in JavaScript. It is anticipated that some of the pupils will be able to take this collaborative process further by themselves, thereby improving the resources available for demonstrating the principles behind MENACE.

At this stage, there is little automated support for these activities, which will need to be closely supervised and supported by student tutors with expert knowledge of making construals. The limitations of the current MC instrument will be addressed over the course of the CONSTRUIT! project. Focusing on making a construal for a specific topic in this way has the advantage of illustrating many virtues of construals for which claims have been made above. The MENACE template will be used in setting up the 'Blended Mobility' activities to be specified below.

The initial TPM will be the opportunity for making many significant introductions: of the technology and pedagogy teams to their consultants; of SciFest and IGGY organisers; of Alimisi to King and Macleod; of Alimisis to Low and representatives of CaS etc. Though abundant online resources for making construals are available on the current EM website, these are not well-matched to the needs of the CONSTRUIT! project and the new website for the CONSTRUIT! project will be established by a process of curation. Many of the available resources will require refinement in the course of the project.