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Agendas for Subteams

Here are preliminary agendas relating to key topics for C5:

  • for the Virtual Workshop - Ant Harfield, Rene Alimisi, Jonny, Hamish/Jen, Russell, Phil/Jo
    • We are hoping to recruit students from Tartu, Estonia who are linked with Edumotiva via another EU project - see https://sisu.ut.ee/ict
    • Engaging with IGGY via the Virtual Workshop would be a good idea if possible
    • We hope to recruit some UK student teachers who are available for C5 only at the weekend - we would like to enable them to follow the 'making construals' aspect of the C5 programme with online support
    • There are many administrative and logistic issues to overcome if we are to ensure that the Virtual Workshop concept works out. Steve and myself have little relevant experience of this. It will be important to draw on the experience of others who've managed online courses in the past. What we can do by mid-December will clearly be quite limited, but it will important to address all the essential basic elements that are needed to enable online communication and learning in principle. Drawing up a checklist of key issues to be considered would be helpful.
  • for the new online course resources
    • the website - Rene, Manolis, Andres, Ilkka
      • There is no doubt that we need an online course with a very different ambience from the existing CS405 resources - more focused materials, more structure, less intimidating academic content etc - this suggests that we should host the online course on a different site from the EM website (pros and cons to be discussed). Note that the online course is something different from the C5 - it will still make excellent sense to host the teaching, learning and training activities that contribute to the online course 'here' on the existing EM website.
    • the technical agenda - Jonny, Elizabeth, Tim Monks, Ashley, Peter, Manolis, Ilkka
      • Tim Monks's latest development version of JS-EDEN on GitHub has had just one or two small revisions since C1. It has some excellent features that are missing from the current 'construit' variant, and we are planning to adopt it as the latest construit variant.
      • The desktop version of EDEN has some valuable qualities where potential for evaluation is concerned since histories of interaction can be readily stored and retrieved for reinterpretation 'as-if-live'. The big advantage of JS-EDEN as an online version of EDEN is that it shifts all the computational load onto the client - one disadvantage is that this makes the history of interaction much more ephemeral, as it is not recorded on the server.
      • A mundane priority is to ensure that all the relevant MC resources are easily downloadable or accessible over the web. It may be too much to expect that they can be comprehensively documented in the short time available, but progress towards that goal would be helpful. Hosting resources on an entirely separate web platform might be a good way to focus the mind in this respect. Ideally, C5 face-to-face and 'virtual workshop' participants need to be able to set up all the resources they need to get involved on their personal laptops/devices in advance of the meeting. (Consider the difficulties we encountered when trying to download tkeden and associated project resources onto laptops at C1.) Judicious curation may be a good way to simplify this task.
  • for SciFest - Ilkka, Carolina, Andres, Chris Hall and Ant Harfield
    • The theme of SciFest 2015 is "Light". It would be good to do some brainstorming / prototyping in advance of C5 to get an idea of what kind of construals might be a good basis for activities at SciFest. It may be that there are existing resources relating to the 'light' theme that can be adapted for use at SciFest. It might be good to consider ways in which participants in the Virtual Workshop could make useful contributions here.
  • for Schools - Margaret Low, Sue Sentance, Jonny, Chris Hall, Michal, Ant
    • The proposed MENACE pilot project has been the subject of discussion with Sue Sentance, Chris Hall and others over recent weeks. The commentary that was presented in part at C1 has been consolidated somewhat, and is now easier to trace through without problems. There is a whole suite of activities that is potentially supported by the construction that leads up to the embryonic MENACE construal, and C5 should give us the opportunity to assess/explore these further. Both computer science and mathematics teaching specialists can usefully be involved. There are interesting issues to be explored in response to Peter's question at C1 concerning the need in general for training in conventional programming to precede making construals. Further development of the MENACE construal is linked in my mind to the research question: just what level of conventional programming experience and expertise is necessary for a teacher to be able to participate with good understanding in building applications of the same degree of sophistication as a MENACE simulation? Sue and Chris have identified some interesting connections between the making MENACE agenda and core topics and pedagogical concerns in the 'computing at school' curriculum.
    • The question of familiarising younger students with the notions of observable, dependency and agency was raised at C1. I have been exploring the possibility of introducing these concepts in an indirect manner through a puzzle-like activity based around the JUGS construal.
  • In the course of the EM project, there has been quite of lot of discussion - and some practical work - that relates to schoolchildren. It would be good to consolidate this, and see to what extent this gives us clues about what needs to be done to improve the resources we have developed to meet the needs of school education, and what possible hypotheses about learning by making construals we may be able to target.
  • for evaluation - Emma, Rene, Carolina, Jonny, Hamish/Jen, Piet, Ilkka
    • Evaluation is an area where least has been done - primarily because the main contributors to the EM project over the years have been computer science students. The PhD theses of Harfield and Roe contain some ideas about the distinctive character of the relationshp between making construals and learning. Other possible sources of ideas are previous research proposals (cf. HEA:2013 and TLRP:2007) that have been concerned with the potential implications of giving a more central role to making construals in computing education.
    • The longer term objective for CONSTRUIT! (see topic MC2b) is to exploit the special characteristics that making construals offers where monitoring, feedback and assesment are concerned. In the first place, it's important to expose and appreciate this. Ideally, we should try to use technologies that are commonplace in education departments, but are not so widely used in computer science. This is an area of expertise where we can benefit most from guidance outside the EM group. Suggestions to be discussed include: using questionnaires, focus groups, interviews, taking video recordings and having students report salient moments in their understanding. The MC environment also contains valuable information for analysis. An 'educational game' developed in collaboration with Joseph Bada at UEF in 2009 illustrates some of this potential in a small way, and there are others to be mined from elsewhere in the EM repository.
  • IGGY involvement: Jo Thomas, Phil Tutty, Chris Hall
    • We have had several promising interactions over the possibility of engaging IGGY members in the CONSTRUIT! project. I'm hoping that we can find a way to do this, possibly by introducing them to the JUGS construal and the above-mentioned associated puzzle that I shall be posting shortly. It is clearly important to make a good first impression with IGGY, since there is no obligation for them to take further interest in the same way as they might if (like previous students of EM) they were selecting an optional course within a degree programme.