Lookup “Understanding the reasons that academics use – and don’t use – endorsed and unendorsed learning technologies” by Gregor Kennedy et al. Great paper to model the use of surveys to perform factor analysis (grouping correlated survey items together) and cluster analysis (creating profiles of users).

“Classroom communication on mobile phones…” – Shun Leung Lam et al, trialed the Keepad server approach to clickers.

Also lookup the paper “A portrait of evaluation studies of learning technology innovations 2005-2010: Addressing the elephant in the room” by Caroline Steel and Cathy Gunn – great summary for HDR students about what you should and shouldn’t do when performing edtech innovation research.


Keynote excellent (recorded so can hopefully access), on Learning Analytics:

Great presentation for web-based student response system called OWL:

Paper: “Teacher engagement in Web 2.0 world: Developing your online teaching and learning Community of Practice”, Edward Flagg, Diana Ayling (excellent)


Sue Gregory gave a great presentation on theVirtualPREX project – engaging pre-service teachers in virtual world professional experience. Using role play and soon bots to develop pre-service teachers’ classroom management capabilities. Has a great list of student caricatures (tapper, cant sit still, etc). Great for distance students to practice their classroom management.

“An investigation of the learning styles and self regulated learning strategies for Computer Science students.” Al Alharbi, et al. Great talk about Silver-Felderman learning styles and self-regulated learning styles of computer science students. But didn’t really relate to student performance.

“The surprising truth about how metaphor motivates e-learners” Nagel et al. Metaphor: Embodies a concept, compact, vivid, describes the unknown, describes abstract, indicates emotion.

Authentic Learning Symposium – Helen Farley, Gregor Kennedy, Barney Dalgarno

Authentic learning: – personally meaningful, situated learning, authentic tasks (ill structured and open ended.

Gregor: Interested in these 3D rich media skins – why do we do this “People learn better when they are situation in the context in which their knowledge and understanding will ultimately be applied”.

Godden & Baddeley (1975) – people can learn better if they learn within the context in which they will need to apply the knowledge (wet learn and wet recall vs dry learn and dry recall). However does this relate to authentic learning as opposed to just recall.

Gregor: Have we as designers, taken the meaning of “situated in the context” too literally? Is the effort of developing these virtual worlds actually worth it?

Helen: Virtual Worlds on the surface are the perfect place for learning – can learn anything anytime anyway – learn nursing without killing patient. Consider four dimensions:

Types of skills and nature of knowledge to be learned – authenticity depends on types of knowledge to be learned – OK for learning language visiting France, but not OK for learning surgery.

Authenticity of the environment – for instance how many people in the environment (eg for a mass crowd gathering either religious or concert) so it is not just about the representation of the physical space.

Availability of information/sufficient complexity of the environment – Eg hospital patient in virtual world may only have typical symptoms of one disease at a time.

The learner experience – lag, slow hardware, internet dropout, navigation difficulties.

Me: Use virtual worlds when:
* Involve navigation or creation of the space, but not to develop actual motor skills
* Bring people together in a physical space that replicates actual world interaction, but not to develop their physical communication competencies

Ie use virtual worlds when we are trying to develop concepts relating to space and interaction, but not

  • Personally meaningful learning – motivation intrinsic – suits students with low extrinsic motivation
  • Situated learning – motivation extrinsic
  • Authentic tasks – motivation intrinsic

Transfer of authentic learning is possibly quite good, though Kirschner, Sweller & Clark 2006 may disagree.

Peter Goodyear from audience: Need to consider the type of knowledge of the task. Declarative knowledge is very different to tacit knowledge (to read situations is an important aspect).

Gregor: People respond to different cues differently. May want to emphasise certain cues in a virtual world in order to support learning.

Engage individuals on an emotional level – suspend disbelief

Jan Herrington: Authentic learning is a pedagogical approach that can develop conceptual thinking as though they are a surgeon (e.g.). Kirschner et al took a huge swipe at “unguided instruction” by saying it had no support, but it must, says Jan.

Me: Boils down to quality of thinking represented, inspired and shared in the learning environment. To some extend the media rich skin doesn’t matter except for the degree of motivation. A few possibilities to utilise features of virtual worlds that can’t be replicated in the real world. Trade-off is constraints of using technology.


About matthewbower

Professor at Macquarie University.
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