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Cafe Scientific Leamington Session 10th April 2017

"Old ways of Learning from New Ways of Making"

The achievements, challenges and prospects of a three-year (2014-17) EU Erasmus+ project (CONSTRUIT!) based in Computer Science at the University of Warwick with 6 EU partners

Steve Russ and Nick Pope, Computer Science, University of Warwick

Investing wisely in educational technology has become a huge challenge for teachers and managers at schools and colleges. This challenge is due in part to a profound duality in the use of computing to support learning. On the one hand computers, and their programs, still generally display the rigidity and the formality of machines. On the other hand people, in their learning, exhibit and need the flexibility and informality of human experience.

We shall briefly describe a long-running research and teaching project at Warwick, the Empirical Modelling (EM) Group, which could be construed as directly addressing this duality. Principles and tools were developed in EM that reflected a broader view of computing than that found in conventional programming. The thinking and methods of EM have been adopted, and given some practical exposure, in a recent EU Erasmus+ project (CONSTRUIT!).

The main part of the talk will be the story of achievements, challenges and prospects of the three-year (2014-17) CONSTRUIT! project based in Computer Science at the University of Warwick with 6 EU partners. This is a practical project developing a new way of using computing to support learning - through a practice we call 'making construals'. This is what we claim is a 'new way of making' and will be demonstrated and shared - hopefully! - through audience participation. No knowledge of programming will be assumed!

If anyone likes to bring a laptop - ideally running a recent version of Chrome or Firefox - then we hope they will be able to follow, and explore, some of the construals being shown. (Our tools are not, unfortunately, yet able to offer service on tablets or smartphones.)