eScience in and beyond the classroom

This is a pre-conference space to determine what we'd like to discuss at the workshop on 4th December. Our time allocation is 1 hour 40 minutes and so to maximise that time please do contribute here in advance. Workshop information is here and on the conference website

Friday, December 08, 2006

Workshop issues

The discussion after all 4 presenters had spoken was fruitful and included the following questions and issues: (if anyone would like to add to these or expand please do)

How will you (Dawn) get round the ethics situation of needing to disguise on google earth where the girl went to collect her pollution data? We will not use ‘my route home’ and focus on school surroundings instead.

The bags bought to carry the equipment were not viewed as cool by the children – same issues as we found with Ambient Wood rucksacks, hats for GPS, and SENSE clipboards for some children.

Taking equipment home and collecting data on the journey home can make children self-conscious as it is social time, it may interfere with their usual walk or journey home. A problem with using children’s own mobiles is there are so many platforms to build for.

What specific requirements (Silvia) were there of the mobile collaborative unit? The unit needs to be very easy to walk around the equipment with whilst using, e.g. a tablet or smaller. The scientists will be engaged in supporting each other in equipment use.

Ian and colleagues found they needed to pay more attention in development of the human interaction objectives - how the users would interact with each other and link together, and what the information exchange would be. Problems had been caused by automated updates by Windows causing machine reboots. Although scheduled for middle of UK’s night, this is when people around the world were accessing the equipment. Took a long time to detect this.

What were the requirements for the visualisation tool (Hilary) for Sense and e-Science public understanding? For Sense, we started them hypothesising with paper maps to see what their skills were in using that representation. We later needed to be able to show children their collated and synchronised data easily to support their analysis annotations and to be able to understand others’ data easily. We didn’t get as far with prototype as hoped (no path trail using GPS) but it and the 3D CO / GPS map used on e-Science certainly could be understood by the children.

Can we get scientists using the data that is collected? HS: something we have thought about from SENSE and Public Understanding, setting up the experience with active input from scientists to ensure more parties benefit. Introduces more issues of data validity.

In this work, there can be issues about the kinds of schools you use – more ordinary schools rather than private (advanced thinking) schools can be easier to work with.

Why not make more use of 3D modelling and virtual environments to engage children Hilary? Yes, great idea. It does depend on projects having the skills available to create the environments but we should look into this.

Workshop photos

Dawn Woodgate talks about her practical experiences of e-Science.

Hilary Smith also presented but forgot to request a photo was taken!

Ian Grout presenting his paper on a remote access facility

Silvia Gabrielli speaking at the workshop on a multipurpose virtual physics lab

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

About Gabrielli, Hodapp & Ranon paper...

The GAN-MVL communication and groupware, remote instrument control and video capture tools clearly have great educational potential and I can see how they could support independent, self-motivated and self-directed learners.

I would be particularly interested in hearing more about how you might structure/contextualise use of these tools (video archives, e-logbooks, etc...) with less independent learners.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

About Woodgate & Stanton Fraser paper

I found very interesting many of the topics raised in the paper, in particular the discussion of the two models of science education pointed out, which I recommend authors to include in their workshop presentation.

Topics for discussion:

I think it’s very useful to consider and further discuss the list of practical issues of working in schools reported in the paper, and to capitalize on authors previous experience by confronting those issues with the requirements/constraints of eScience research projects/teams and try to envisage possible mitigation strategies to cope with them.

About Smith et al. paper

At the workshop I would like to know something more about the requirements students showed (during the two eScience projects) for data representation tools or any other application(s) supporting their creation and sharing of learning resources.

Also, I’m very interested in discussing with authors what they think could be useful methods and tools to use for eliciting and supporting teachers requirements for the creation and delivery of appropriate materials/ resources within and across ubiquitous learning environments.

Comments to Burbidge & Grout paper

Currently the design of the remote access facility seem to support more individual learning and experimentation than collaborative learning and knowledge sharing. Is this due and motivated by the specific teaching/learning requirements of the course or is the remote facility expected to evolve in the future towards support of more extended collaboration among students, as well as between students and tutors?

Are the authors interested at assessing possible differences (for learning) of the use of simulated experimental environments vs real environments (at presence or remotely accessed)?

Do they think it would be useful to support also learning scenarios where more expert (or advanced) students remotely interact with beginners and provide indications on how to carry out scientific experimentation (e.g., in the case of scaling up the system to support many courses, thus increasing the complexity of their management)?

Friday, November 03, 2006

cannot write here?

Hi, if you are having problems adding posts to this blog other than as a comment let me know, it might be I need to change permissions for you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Workshop plan

Hi and welcome to the eScience in and beyond the classroom workshop!

The conference organisers have set our workshop time as Monday, 4th December at 16:30 - 18:10. The workshop's listing in the program is here. The time is much shorter than we had expected and to maximise time available for discussion we would like workshop members to tailor the session to their needs.

It looks like there will be other delegates in the workshop session since there is no extra delegate fee for the workshop. So, it seems like we will be fitting a workshop into what is also called a 'themed track' session.

We intend to run the session so that participants will present for 10 minutes, there will be 5 minutes for questions on each paper, and this will leave a 30 minute session for discussions. We are inviting members to open up issues for discussion here for 2 reasons:

1) to give the presenters an indication of the parts they should focus their 10 minute presentation on, and
2) to give presenters a chance to indicate preferred discussion areas first before the other delegates join the group.

Please feel welcome to use this space to raise issues along the lines above. I will send the workshop papers via email for you all to start this process. It would be useful if we aim to have comments for presentation focus made by 15th Nov. to aid presenters in making their presentations.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Paper Abstracts 1 & 2

eScience, Science Education and Technology Integration in the Classroom: Some Practical Considerations
Dawn Woodgate and Danae Stanton Fraser, Department of Psychology, University of Bath
Our purpose here is threefold: to consider what might be meant by eScience in the context of school science education, to briefly review some relevant theories of learning, and to present some of the practical issues and constraints of working in schools, from our own research experience. We conclude by underlining the position that ICT is still taught as a separate ‘subject’ in most schools, rather than being fully integrated into the curriculum. Even though both teachers and students may be fully conversant users of technology outside the confines of the classroom, the apparent lack of fit between technology and aspects of the school setting and organisation remains problematic.

Evolution of a Remote Access Facility for a PLL Measurement Course
M. J. Burbidge, Lancaster University and I. Grout, Limerick University
This paper describes motivations for the further development of an existing remote access facility for use in teaching and learning of microelectronic circuit design and test principles. Initial development was based upon adaptation of ‘at presence’ material for use with an existing remote access laboratory based upon a standard internet link. The selected course material for adaptation was a PLL (phase-locked loop) circuit. Initially, the remote lab interface was developed with minimal modifications to the existing hardware and the process produced satisfactory results in terms of enhancement of the learning / teaching experience. However, it was evident that some aspects of the course material could be enhanced via appropriate modifications to the existing hardware and software framework. The goal is to work towards a blended learning infrastructure. The paper thus provides observations on the initial course development and then provides details of suggested and ongoing modifications to the material.

Paper Abstracts 3 & 4

Designing a Multipurpose Virtual Laboratory to Support Communities of Practice in Physics
Silvia Gabbrielli, Markus Hodapp*, Roberto Ranon University of Udine *University of Mannheim
Abstract: This paper reports our recent work within the EuroTeV project, aimed at designing a Multipurpose Virtual Laboratory (MVL) to support collaboration among several European institutes, working in the area of physics research. Specifically, we discuss the type of support MVL can provide to knowledge creation and sharing within its community of users. We also highlight how the digital resources available in this environment might be reused by virtual communities of learners, thus helping to bridge the gap between the worlds of eScience work and education.

Identifying Tools to Support Schools’ Collaborative Teaching and Learning
Hilary Smith, Joshua Underwood, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Rose Luckin*, Danae Stanton Fraser** University of Sussex, *Institute of Education, **University of Bath
Abstract: Integration of e-Science and Grid technologies into curriculum teaching is currently an ambitious aim for teachers and school infrastructures to organise. However, it can expose classroom learners and teachers to a wider community of specialists and interested others, enriching the classroom experience beyond the knowledge of the local teacher. This paper reflects on two practical e-Science projects that utilised mobile hand-held technologies to bring the concepts of collaborative e-Science and the Grid to young scientists. Students engaged in hands-on exploration of their surroundings, and were able to communicate with pollution specialists and with a remote classroom of children who had used similar sensors. Communication and data sharing activities in these sessions exposed a requirement for a suite of tools and technologies not currently accessible to schools. From qualitative analysis of data across these two projects, we present a collection of supporting tools to help achieve this aim and future research direction.