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Aids for Learning

MCBAGEL, our earliest learning aid, addressed the need for computational support and scaffolding collaboration and problem solving by students in a problem-based learning approach to instruction. It was an electronic PBL whiteboard with facilities for moving from work on the whiteboard to other work. In collaboration with EduTech postdocs, 1996, first pass was designed and implemented by Cindy Hmelo, second pass by Roland Hubscher.

CASE LIBRARIES FOR LEARNERS, redesign of case-based design aids to address special needs of middle-school designers. In collaboration with EduTech postdocs, 1996, designed and implemented primarily by Hari Narayanan.

CAT, case authoring tool, for students to use to organize their thoughts and present their findings as they read and analyze engineering case studies, developed by Kris Nagel, piloted in classrooms during the 1998-1999 school year.

JAVACAP, a software tool for student authoring and searching of case libraries, was implemented in support of the Learning-by-Design curriculum development project at Georgia Tech's EduTech Institute. Its case-authoring component asks students to reflect on a recent problem solving and design experience, summarize it, and present important aspects of what they've learned from it. JavaCap's case-browsing component collected a library of student-authored cases to be edited and published as exemplary cases for use as models and for learning. JavaCap was used to engage middle school students in reflection and to support collaboration, both synchronous and asynchronous. Designed by Amnon Shabo, EduTech Postdoc, 1997.

DDA (Design Discussion Area), a collaboration tool for students to share their findings, ideas, and experiences with peers in other classrooms as they were engaging in Learning-by-Design design projects. Developed by Kris Nagel. Field tested in classrooms during 1998-1999 school year.

STORYBOARD AUTHOR, for students to use to reflect back on, summarize, and articulate what they learned during a project and report what they’ve learned in stories that their peers can learn from. Storyboard Author is the descendent of JavaCAP. Developed by Kris Nagel. Piloted in classrooms during the 1998-1999 school year.

SMILE, Supportive Multi-User Interactive Learning Environment, brings together the functionalities of the other software projects, integrating them into one package. It has been developed to support collaboration and reflection during problem-based learning, project-based learning, and learning from design. The suite of tools provides support for small groups to keep records of their ideas, their experimental trials, and their criteria for success; scaffolds them through iterative cycles of understanding their challenge, proposing solutions, constructing and testing solutions, and recording and explaining results; prompts them to make coherent reports about what they've tried and the results they've gotten and to tell stories about what they've learned; supports conversations anchored to those reports across student groups, classes, or schools; and helps groups of students publish interesting reports or stories in a case library that other students can use as a design or problem-solving resource. This software combines DDA, STORYBOARD AUTHOR, McBAGEL, and CAT such that they are compatible with each other. In 1999 - 2000, it was field tested in several schools. A refined version that allows for easier navigation and with a more consistent interface was field tested in local middle schools beginning in September, 2002. This software is available broadly for middle-school use.

Last modified 21 February 2005 at 8:06 pm by Janet L. Kolodner