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CaMILE as a Context for a Diagnosis PBL Problem in an Educational
To explore the feasibility of using the Georgia Tech CaMILE experiences
as the basis for a PBL problem for the educational technology classes in
PBL as done in medical school differs markedly from what we are trying to
do in the cognition and instruction class. While the approach in the
cognition and instruction class may have many merits in its own right, we
claim that there are reasons to explore the creation of problems for the
educational technology context that are more similar to the types of
diagnosis problems the medical students perform. The introduction of
CaMILE into two classrooms at Georgia Tech provides set of "data" which
can be "explained" or "diagnosed" from many perspectives. As such, these
experiences have the potential to be an excellent basis for a more
traditional PBL problem for the educational technology context. The
remainder of this project will elaborate on the above claims, will
document the process of turning the general ideas about CaMILE as a PBL
problem into an actual problem complete with resources, and finally
suggest an evaluation plan appropriate to this endeavor.
Argument for the pertinence of the project:
% Introduce PBL as done in medical school - description of process,
of learning goals, and how the two match, something about research that
shows it to work well, maybe describe in terms of cognitive apprenticeship
% develop a set of dimensions describing the problem based learning
problems - as done in medical school where it works well (I have a start
of this in the back of my tutoring PBL book)
% characterize the differences between medical school PBL, our cog
and inst PBL, and the edtech discussions and projects with respect to
potential learning outcomes, cognitive skills acquired, how well the
process is supported in general, time available, etc.
% use this analysis to make hypotheses, predictions, suggestions,:
In particular use this to explore why our project idea is appropriate or
at least interesting.
% brief description of CaMILE project that depicts how it coud be
used as an explanation/diagnosis/hypothesis generation problem
% locate what we would like to do within those dimensions as well
as what we would like to explore (what are our goals, science research or
design and development of interventions within a given paradigm or both)
% Learning Objectives: Explore the space of learning objectives
that could be approached with the CaMILE experiences as a context, Select
a set of learning objectives that will be the target of the chosen problem
% Problem Presentation: Presenting the problem and the problem statement
% Activity Plan: Create a plan for how the problem would fit into
the targeted class - number of students, class periods,
% Evaluation Plan: Develop an evaluation plan (possibly including
a simulation of the problem by us).
% Resource Base: Create the resource base to be associated with
the problem (maybe on the Web) where the resource base is similar in
spirit to the "book" that PBL medical students have access to. The
following resources are among those available.. Email messages,
Questionnaires, Actual Notes, Focus Group, Context Descriptions - the two
classes, the ME4901 class, Papers written for conferences
In this CaMILE PBL problem, students will diagnoses the problem from
two aspects: technologies in education (computer, multimedia, etc.)
and technologies of education (learning theories). They are both
important components of educational technologies.
On the technology side, students learn that introduction of new
technologies is not necessarily welcome to either instructors or
learners. This is partly because that the platforms that the program
run have not been used by the learners. For example, the original
CaMILE ran on Macintosh, but the majority of the students use PC.
Another reason may be that there are alternative ways to do the same
tasks without using the new software, in this case, CaMILE. For
instance, in the Sustainable Technologies class, some instructors have
been using the World Wide Web and felt comfortable using it instead of
Usabillity also plays an important role in educational technologies. In
CaMILE, students had to spend a fair amount of time waiting for CaMILE
transferring files, which made them believe that CaMILE is not reliable.
On the learning theory side, students will learn various learning
theories, particularly, cognitive apprenticeship, collaborative
learning, and distributed cognition. In the Sustainable Technologies
class, CaMILE was introduced as a tool to facilitate collaboration.
The software allowed them to post multimedia documents so that learners
can exchange information and make comments on others' ideas. In
addition, note types helped the learners' reflection by software
CaMILE does not support any specific subjects such as ME, rather it is a
general tool. Learners will investigate differences in the roles of
general and specific tools.
Moreover, the students will learn that it takes time for educational
technologies to become effective.
Brief demo of CaMILE, summary of usage in classes, data collected, and
previous conclusions drawn.
2. The Problem:
Various researchers' opinions put forth so far suggest that CaMILE did
not effectively improve the learning environments in which it has been
tested. Provided data on the CaMILE software itself, the contexts in
which it has been used, and the students who have used it, what evidence
is there to support or deny this conclusion?
3. The Task: (diagnosis, or product)
Scan a particular section of the resources available which interests
you. Consider the following questions as you try to interpret the data
in a consistent and understandable way*.
How does this data support or not support the conclusion that CaMILE
was not effective? What conclusions do you draw about CaMILE?
* Does the data reveal any theories and assumptions about the learner and
the learning process?
Create a plan for how the problem would fit into the targeted class -
number of students, class periods,
Who: The problem would be completed by students in either educational
technology class (the issues oriented one or the design and development one).
What: The students will complete the PBL-CaMILE problem described in the
Why: The purpose of completing the PBL problem will be at least
First, the problem will introduce the ideas to be discussed
in the remainder of the class.
Second, the problem will provide a context in which students, potentially
not familiar with educational technologies, can think about the
readings and activities they themselves are doing later in the course.
Third, the learning issues that come out of the problem can drive the
remainder of the course either proactively through course revision
or reactively through forced mapping.
When: The students will complete the problem during the first week of
class. Perhaps, an extra class period will be set up so that the PBL
sessions can run their course. This should not be too difficult during
the first week of classes since things are not so hectic then.
Where: The most likely place for students to work on this problem would
be in their classroom. It might be possible (since the problem is only
slated to run for a week) to find a dedicated workspace for the students
where they could pursue the problem, leave their sheets on the walls,
leave their resources, etc (or create an online workspace). This would
permit us (the researchers) to compile a large set of resources (papers,
databases, videotapes, screen shots, questionnaires, etc.) about the
problem and leave them in the room for open access.
How: The group will be facilitated by the instructor of the course and
volunteers from our project group. If more than either people are in the
course, then the class should split into two groups so that the groups
will not be that large. If this is done, then the final stage of the PBL
process could be a presentation from the groups of their explanation as
well as their currently unresolved learning issues and how these learning
issues would help them understand this situation better.
The evaluation plan could focus on at least three levels of evaluation:
how well are students learning the concept targeted for the class, does
the addition of a traditional PBL problem at the beginning of class
improve how the class runs and how does it change the class, and does the
more diagnosis oriented problem reduce some of the difficulties
encountered in the cognition and instruction class when using
non-diagnosis problems. These three avenues of evaluation are pursued a
little more below:
% How well are students learning target concepts?
- perceptions of the instructor
- determine difficult concepts (through reading literature,
surveys of instructors, interviews, etc.) then monitor how well students
are understanding these concepts.
% Is this format for the class superior/different to other formats
- perceptions of the instructor
- could actually have two groups, one group would do the PBL
problem at the beginning of the class while the other would simple
discuss some introductory papers. Then we could watch what happens with
the two sets of students as the quarter progresses
- process issues might be important. Do the learning issues
identified during the first week help direct the class or even appear
during later discussions at all? Do the students use the software as an
example when they are talking?
% Does the "more diagnosis" oriented problem alleviate some of the
potential difficulties associated with PBL such as those encountered
during the first few weeks of the cognition and instruction class?
- value as perceived by students
- how well does the PBL done by these students match with the PBL
done in medical schools (given an assumption that the PBL in medical
schools is the one which has been tested for quality, if we are going to
generalize to the educational technology context, we need to make certain
we are taking the tested thing not some other thing)
Create the resource base to be associated with the problem (maybe on the
Web) where the resource base is similar in spirit to the "book" that PBL
medical students have access to. The following resources are among those
available.. Email messages, Questionnaires, Actual Notes, Focus Group,
Context Descriptions - the two classes, the ME4901 class, Papers written
% PBL references
% Evaluation references
% Learning theories references