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

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.