National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program
The Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies Program funds efforts that will help in envisioning the next generation of learning technologies and advancing what we know about how people learn in technology-rich environments. Development and Implementation (DIP) Projects build on proof-of-concept work that showed the possibilities of the proposed new type of learning technology, and project teams build and refine a minimally-viable example of their proposed innovation that allows them to understand how such technology should be designed and used in the future and to answer questions about how people learn with technology. An important issue in education is encouraging learners to engage in sustained inquiry around important content and helping them to continually refine their understandings. Technology already exists to help communities of learners (e.g., those in a class) keep track of the ideas they are generating and refining. The innovation in this project will help groups of learners make two kinds of connections: (i) between the different discussions they are having across topical areas and (ii) between the ideas they are discussing and those that groups in other classes are discussing. The project team's earlier Cyberlearning Exploration (EXP) project showed that such connections gives rise to curiosity and new learning goals as well as deeper understanding. It is expected that technology that makes these connections easier to identify will also make it easier for students to refer back to what they learned in previous years' classes and to refine their earlier understandings.
Knowledge building is the collaborative refinement of ideas by a community. The goal in knowledge building is to engage learners in sustained inquiry and progressive discourse through which ideas are continually developed and refined, giving rise to higher-level learning goals. The aim in this project is to design and build support for knowledge building across communities and across time, connecting communities into a shared field in which shared bases of knowledge co-advance with each other and across communities (e.g., across classes addressing similar issues; across years of school). Students kick off their inquiry by importing productive idea threads from other classrooms as inquiry starters, then co-review with others, access others' ideas as they move forward, and engage in live interactions with partnering communities. The knowledge building platform being developed for use across communities is called CITY (Connecting Idea Threads or Youth). Automated analysis developed during the previous Cyberlearning EXP project helps groups within a single class visualize their idea threads and thread idea threads with each other. The automated process is being extended with language processing algorithms that can identify conversations in other communities that have potential to be useful in extending a group's understanding. The project team, which includes experts in collaborative learning, computational linguistics, and self-regulation, is aiming to learn how to make the technology work across communities, to understand how to use such technology to sustain engagement with and refinement of ideas, and the qualities the surrounding socio-technical system needs to have for such sustained and distributed knowledge building to happen.
The Learning Sciences is an interdisciplinary field that draws on multiple theoretical perspectives and research paradigms, with the goal of advancing knowledge and the application of knowledge about human learning and development in formal and informal educational settings. Within the context of an international research community, it is essential to support the best young US scholars to be able to share their ideas and learn from the community, especially since junior scholars are most likely to struggle with the costs of participation. This proposal supports participation of US students and postdoctoral scholars in the Doctoral Consortium and Early Career Workshop at the annual meeting of the International Society of the Learning Sciences, which in 2015 is the Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Conference, to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden. Organizing the workshops in conjunction with the flagship conferences in the field gives the workshop participants further access to new research, other researchers in the field and prospective employers, and revitalizes the community with fresh faces and ideas.
Researchers in the learning sciences attempt to understand the nature and conditions of learning, cognition, development, and related areas of human performance, and they investigate cognition in its material, social, and cultural contexts. The intention of learning science research is to develop evidence-based claims about how people learn that have theoretical, practical, and pedagogical implications. Capacity building is a central concern within the Learning Sciences community. The International Society for the Learning Sciences has historically addressed these needs, in part, through specialized workshops held in conjunction with the Society's two major conferences, with multilateral financial support from regional research funders in the US, the EU, and Asia/Pacific regions. The Doctoral Consortium workshops host PhD students who are grappling with their dissertation research, while the Early Career workshops are designed for recent PhDs (post-docs, faculty in early tenure track, and others) who are shaping career paths. This grant provides travel support to US scholars selected through a competitive application process to participate in these events. Their work is presented for feedback in the context of the events with feedback from an international panel of expert mentors, and published in the proceedings of the conference.
Soaring above clouds, delving the ocean's depths: Understanding the ecologies of human learning and the challenge education science
The need for a deeper exploration and conceptual understanding: The critical role of creativity and collaboration in real-world learning
Sawyer, R. K. (2012). Structure and improvisation in creative teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Structures: such as algorithms, routines, procedures, scripts, checklists, and protocols for conducting instruction
Foreword by David C. Berliner (p.xiv-xvi)
Community development as improvisational performance: A new framework for understanding and reshaping practice
Farmer, E. (2005). Community development as improvisational performance: A new framework for understanding and reshaping practice. Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, 36(2), 1-14.
[Abstract] Improvisational performance is a useful tool to help practitioners and participants reshape our understanding of community development practice. This reshaping can have a dramatic effect on community building. The performance framework supports community members and community developers to create new "stages" (or environments) on which to perform new un-scripted plays that build on positive improvisational processes. These processes open up the possibility of new relationships even among former antagonists. In this approach, the community is seen as an "improvisational performance ensemble" that is always growing, always changing, and always engaged in discovering new ways to perform relationships without a commitment to a pre-conceived outcome or product. Similarly, community development professionals can take on a role more akin to theatre directors who help to set the stage so that community members can work together to be open, to welcome the unexpected, and discover new ways to build and create together. In this case study, the author describes the community development process that took place in a large housing project in Brooklyn, New York. This improvisational performance approach helped to re-ignite the creation capacity of the community to end the widespread violence that was destroying it.
The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how reshaping community development practice as improvisational performance can dramatically improve even the most challenging of community development situations.
Jnanabrata Bhattacharyya (2004) defined community development as "solidarity" and "agency" in which solidarity is defined broadly as human connectedness, and agency is defined as the capacity of human beings to act and change their environment. (This paper: how to advance the continuous creation of solidarity and agency.)
This paper tells the story of how the framework of improvisational performance created the environment in which extraordinary conversations developed among unlikely allies, a truce was negotiated, and conflict declined. These accomplishments did not happen because of any one person, but they were the result of creating a context in which all participants would improvise a new performance without knowing what the outcome would be. The value of improvisational performance is that professionals, community members, and activists can create an environment to work together to be open, to welcome the unexpected, and to lead without a commitment to a particular pre-conceived product or outcome.
Vygotsky showed that children learn by being supported to perform ahead of themselves (1987, p.213). In like manner, when adults learn something new, they have to go a little beyond themselves to learn it. More precisely adults have to create environments with others--what Vygotsky called "zones of proximal development" (ZPDs)--that make such performing and development possible. These ZPDs are the environments in which people experience the social nature of their existence and the power of collective creative activity (1987, pp. 208-209). Performance is a toll that helps us create these developmental environments.
It is useful to envision the work of community building in a similar way to that of improvisational ensemble building. Every activity in the ensemble (community) has an impact on the overall development of the ensemble (community), and everyone involved has responsibility for strengthening the ensemble (community performance). Community building is a collective, creative process--of people relating, conversing, performing, and bringing new social units into existence and at the same time, sharing a collective commitment to their sustainability; a sustainability that demands a commitment to continuous growth.
The problematic we are dealing with in contemporary culture is that we tend to see experience and respond to people as products (identities, labels, and members of a category) rather than ongoing process. We see ourselves and others as "who we are" (products) and not as simultaneously "who we are" and "who we are becoming". Yet, each of us is, at every moment, both being and becoming (Lois Holzman, 2004, p.2)
When community develops, they do so by "becoming" or going beyond themselves.
A performance is an instance of a politics of action, a circulation of power. A performance is a de-centering of agency and person through movement, disruption, action that incessantly contests, breaks, and remakes. Personal narrative and personhood are constituted in the moments of performance. Every performance becomes a way of questioning the status quo, and even as performance reproduces the status quo, it does so in novel ways, in ways special to the performer (Denzin, 2001, p.20)
Gardner, H. (1988). Creativity: An interdisciplinary perspective. Creativity Research Journal, 1(1), 8-26.
Stahl, G. (2013). Theories of cognition in collaborative learning. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, C. Chan, & A. M. O'Donnell (Eds. ), The international handbook of collaborative learning (pp.74-90). New York: Routledge.
The reading of the history of theory presented here is itself reflective of one theoretical stance among many held, implicitly or explicitly, by collaborative learning researchers.
Through history, the analysis of cognition has broadened, from a focus on single concepts (Platonic ideas) or isolated responses to stimulae (behaviorism), to a concern with mental models (cognitivism) and representational artifacts (post-cognitivism). Theories that are more recent encompass cognition distributed across people and tools, situated in contexts, spanning small groups, involved in larger activities and across communities of practice.
The history of theory can be tracked in terms of the following issue: At what unit of analysis should one study though (cognition)?
P 76 Figure 4.1 Adapted from Stahl, 2006, p. 289, Fig 14.1
Theories of individual cognition in CSCL:
Work within CSCL certainly acknowledges the importance of the larger social, historical, and cultural context. However, it often treats this context as a set of environmental variables that may influence the outcomes of individual student cognition, but are separable from that cognition. In this way, cognition is still treated as a function of an individual mind. This approach may be called sociocognitive. It acknowledges social influences but tries to isolate the individual mind as a cognitive unit of analysis by controlling for these external influence.
Followers of Vygotsky, by contrast, are considered sociocultural. They recognize that cognition is mediated by cultural factors. Yet, they still generally focus on their individual as the unit of analysis. They investigate how individual cognition is affected by cultural mediations, such as representational artifacts or even by collaborative interactions. Vygotsky was trying to demonstrate that individual cognition was derivative of social or intersubjective experiences of the individual, and so his focus was on the individual rather than explicitly on the social or intersubjective processes in which the individual was involved.
In this sense, much CSCL research investigates individual cognition in settings of collaboration. In fact, if the research is based on testing of the individual before and after a collaborative interaction and does not actually analyze the intervening interaction itself, then it is purely an analysis at the individual unit of analysis, where the collaboration is merely an external intervention measured by presumably independent variables.
Theories of community cognition in CSCL
In striking contrast to the steadfast focus on the individual as the unit of analysis is the social science perspective on social processes. Lave and Wenger (1991) borrowed Marx's approach to educational theory, showing for instance how an apprenticeship training system reproduces itself as novices are transformed into experts, mentors, and masters. Learning is seen as situated or embedded in this process of the production and reproduction of structures of socially defined knowledge and power.
Levels of description or unit of analysis in CSCL
Hakkarainen, K., Paavola, S., Kangas, K., Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P. (2013). Sociocultural perspectives on collaborative learning: Toward collaborative knowledge creation. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, C. Chan, & A. M. O'Donnell (Eds. ), The international handbook of collaborative learning (pp. 57-73). New York: Routledge.
Three basic metaphors of learning: as individualistically oriented acquisition, as participation, and as collaborative knowledge creation.
A forerunner of knowledge creation is the theory of knowledge building. Knowledge building is a pedagogical approach that is focused on transforming school classes to inquiry communities focused on improving their shared ideas understood as conceptual artifacts with the assistance of collaborative technologies (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006).
In order to elicit knowledge creation process, it is essential to build an inquiry community that structures and directs the participants' collaborative epistemic activities. Collaborative inquiry learning appears to prepresent a special kind of cultural practice that can be appropriated by learners through organizing classrooms as inquiry communities (Brown, Ash, et al., 1993; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006).
Establishing an educational learning community is essential because it carries or bears social structures and practices critical for knowledge creating approaches to collaborative learning. In order to make CL work, it is essential to create and cultivate shared knowledge practices that guide participants' activities in a way that elicits a pursuit of shared inquiry. The term knowledge practices is used by the present investigators to refer to personal and social practices related to epistemic activities that include creating, sharing, and elaborating epistemic artifacts, such as written texts (Hakkarainen, 2009). Such practice refer to relatively stable but dynamically evolving shared routines and established procedures, such as question generation, explication of working theories, search for information, and contributing notes to KF, which have deliberately been cultivated within a learning community.
One basic tenet of the knowledge creation approach to collaborative learning is that innovation and pursuit of novelty are special kinds of social practices cultivated in epistemic communities and their networks (Hakkarainen et al., 2004; Knorr Cetina, 2001). A successful learning community deliberately aims at "reinventing" prevailing practices so as to elicit knowledge-creating inquiry (Knorr Cetina, 2001, p. 178).
Knorr-Cetina, K., & Cicourel, A. V. (Eds.). (1981). Advances in social theory and methodology: Toward an integration of micro- and macro-sociologies. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. [HM 24 A33]
Sawyer, R. K., & DeZutter, S. (2009). Distributed creativity: How collective creations emerge from collaboration. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 3(2), 81-92.
[Abstract] Creativity is often considered to be a mental process that occurs within a person's head. In this article, we analyze a group creative process: One that generates a creative product, but one in which no single participant's contribution determines result. We analyze a series of 5 theater performances that were improvisationally developed in rehearsal by a theater group; over the course of these 5 performances, a collaborative creation emerged from the improvised dialogues of the group. W e argue that in cases of creativity such as this one, it is inaccurate to describe creativity as a purely mental process; rather, this case represents a nonindividualistic creative process that we refer to as distributed creativity. We chose this term by analogy with studies of distributed cognition, which are well established in cognitive science, but have not yet had a substantial impact on creativity research. Our study demonstrates a methodology that can be used to study distributed creative process, provides a theoretical framework to explain these processes, and contributes to our understanding of how collaboration contributes to creativity.
The first wave of research on creativity after Guilford's American Psychological Association Presidential address (Guilfrod, 1950); by the 1980s scholars had begun to realize that a narrow focus on the solitary individual could provide only a partial explanation of creativity, so several researchers began to explore the social and cultural dimensions of creativity (Amabile, 1983; Csikszentmihalyi, 1988), which gained inspiration from a similar shift in cognitive science from focusing on internal mental states and processes, to an analysis of how cognition is distributed across people, tools, and environments (Hutchins, 1995; Salomon, 1993).
Through the 1900s, a second wave of creativity research pursued the idea that creativity is found in collaboration and group dynamics. In the last few years, this research has resulted in several books that explore collaborative creativity (Farrell, 2001; John-Steiner, 2000; Paulus & Nijstad, 2003; Sawyer, 2003, 2006).
The 2nd wave of research has provided a new perspective that creativity is embedded in social groups, and how creative products emerge from collaborative networks.
Even studies of individual creators, when researchers focus on the social and cultural origins of their ideas, have revealed a high degree of collaboration behind their ideas (Cskiszentmihalyi, 1996; Farrell, 2001; John-Steiner, 2000).
One potential path forward is for creativity researchers to borrow methodologies and frameworks from cognitive scientists who have contributed to our understanding of distributed cognition. When cognitive processes are distributed across groups, they become visible, and scientists can observe them by analyzing the verbal and gestural interactions among the participants. Studies of distributed cognition typically use qualitative and observational methods that enable researchers to capture the real-time processes of distributed cognition. Perhaps the dominant methodology is interaction analysis--Videotaping collaborations over time, and documenting the step-by-step emergence of cognition from the contribution of each group member (Jordan & Henderson, 1995).
We use the term distributed creativity to refer to situations where collaborating groups of individuals collectively generate a shared creative product.
We are specifically interested in collaborating groups that are relatively unconstrained, such that unexpected creativity could result. We use the term collaborative emergence to refer to these group processes (Sawyer, 2003).
Collaborative emergence is more likely to be found as a group becomes more aligned with the following characteristics:
Because collaborative emergence results from interactions among participants, it must be analyzed as a discursive, distributed process. The distributed creativity perspective locates creativity in the symbolic social interactions among members of a group.
Improvised narratives are good example of collaborative emergence because they are so obviously created by the collaborative efforts of the entire group. No single speaker creates the narrative; it emerges from the give and take of conversation.
When groups of individuals work together to generate a collective creative product, the interactions among group members often become a more substantial source of creativity than the inner mental processes of any one participating individual.
Distributed creativity can occur in single encounters and across multiple encounters. In this paper, we extended the scope of the methodology by applying interaction analysis to repeated rehearsals of an improvised performance. To reveal the mechanisms by which groups are collaboratively creative, group creativity research could incorporate the methods of interaction analysis to closely analyze the processual, turn-by-turn dynamics of collaborative dialogue.
The goal of interaction analysis is to identify recurring patterns in collective behavior, and processes that result in the emergence of these recurring patterns. It roots in ethnography, sociolinguistics, developmental psychology, and conversation analysis. The central focus of an interaction analysis is the collective behaviors of a group of interesting individuals.
Interaction analysis is particularly valuable when each individual's behaviors display a moment-to-moment dependency on the behaviors of other individuals--a characteristic that we referred to above as ''contingency." In situations of contingency, one person's action at a given moment is highly influenced by the actions of their partners immediately before--such that prediction of a person's action cannot be made successfully independent of the sequence of preceding actions of others.
In collaborating creative groups, creativity is an ongoing social process, and a full explanation of processes of distributed creativity requires an empirical study of the moment-to-moment processes whereby individual creative actions result in the emergence of a collective creative product.
Standard interaction analysis procedures generally involve six steps
After step 1, 2, and 3, identified 2 types of dramatic structure that collaboratively emerged: foundational elements of narrative (character, relationship, and plot); and short segments of dialogue and action, known as bits, emerged collectively and were retained through subsequent performances.
Our findings are consistent with theoretical perspectives that emphasize that collective nature of situated social activity, perspectives that include distributed cognition (Salomon, 1993) and sociocultural theory (Rogoff, 1990, 1998).
Several prominent creativity researchers, influenced by the onset of sociocultural and distributed approaches to cognition in the 1980s, have begun to analyze the role of collaboration and context in creativity. This second wave of creativity research focuses on how novelty emerges from unstructured and improvised group collaboration. This collaborative turn in creativity research has provided us with a deeper understanding of how new things are created--not only by solitary individuals, but also by collaborative teams and social networks.
boyd, d. (2014). It's complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Author: danah boyd
About the book: http://www.danah.org/itscomplicated/
Sawyer, R. K. (2013). Qualitative methodologies for studying small groups. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, A. M. O’Donnell, C. Chan, & C. A. Chinn (Eds.), The international handbook of collaborative learning. London: Taylor & Francis.
Book in the lab