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Summary of student feedback

Analysis of student diaries by Rene Alimisi (Edumotiva, Greece). The students attended an extended workshop, led by Antony Harfield in September 2015, that was based on a worksheet introducing a simple construal of the solar system. The students were reflecting on their experience of using an earlier prototype of the environment for making construals (the MCE / aka JS-Eden) which was subsequently transformed by Nicolas Pope with input from Elizabeth Hudnott and Jonathan Foss.

General remarks

  1. In general students’ replies reflect a level of satisfaction about their construal making experience. Strong aspects include the working atmosphere, the interaction with a team of experts …
  2. It seems that the students enjoyed the interaction with the Construit! team members. This was an interesting and unique experience for them.
  3. The tasks were considered as ‘difficult’. Most of the students closely link the successful completion of the tasks to the good collaboration with the Construit! team members and the support they were provided with. Collaboration with classmates was also mentioned as a vehicle to deal with the problems.
  4. There is an indication of Papert's conception of ‘hard fun’. For example Christos V. (15 years old) when prompt to refer to what did not go well and what liked the most mentions:
    • What did not go well For me the 3rd task did not go well because it was very difficult. I struggled at finding a solution and I did not submit the task on time.
    • What I like the most I liked it when we were making the figures. It was fun and enjoyable!
  5. The students were also referred to language barriers…which nevertheless did not affect their engagement in the tasks.
  6. There is also a suggestion for fewer tasks; the tasks were considered too many.
  7. There are students that closely relate their workshop experience to the engagement in programming/coding. Some of them called this as an introduction to ‘serious programming’.
  8. Some technical problems were also mentioned. These are related to JS-Eden environment that does not offer the option of saving your work and to the ICT school lab (2 students were facing problems with the keyboard).
Comments on feedback ...

1. Construals as objects-to-converse-with rather than objects that the learner constructs unaided?

2/3. Scope for collaborative learning - cf. Crook on computers in the classroom and intersubjectivity?

5. Construals as supplementing language?

6. cf. Papert exposing "the non-obviousness of what we consider obvious"

7. "Finally, we did some serious programming!" (sic)

8. Significant improvements to the MCE have been made since the first workshop: they simplify the task of editing scripts and reduce the amount of typing, they also enable work to be saved.