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BACTAC - Blauvelt, Scharff and Carmien

Research in the Center for Lifelong Learning and Design
Grad Student, Department of Computer Science
Eric Scharff
Grad Student, Department of Computer Science
Grad Student, Department of Computer Science
10/23/2001
3:30pm-5:00pm
Glenn Blauvelt -- MachineShop: Craft and Education Technology

The term educational technology has too often come to mean either using computers to drill students in core curricula areas or to provide students with simulations of physical processes. In the latter case, students experience learning in idealized virtual environments often oblivious to how actual phenomena differ from the simulations. To further complicate matters, the money to purchase educational technology often comes from cutting hands-on activities from school budgets.

MachineShop is an integrated hardware/software system which offers an alternative approach. Intended as a tool to allow middle-school aged children to create the mechanisms for use in automata and mechanical toys, it bridges the virtual and physical worlds in a consistent fashion.

In this presentation I will talk about the problem domain and the motivation behind this research. I will then address the specific problems in this domain and offer a set of solutions (some existing, some proposed) for dealing with those problems. I will conclude with a discussion of the implications that systems of this type have for education and developmental psychology.

Eric Scharff -- The Many Faces of Web Collaboration - A Systems Perspective

The World Wide Web need not be simply a tool for information dissemination. Appropriately designed tools can help people work together, creating collaborative construction experiences. Over the past few years, we have created a number of different systems to help people collaborate in various contexts. In this talk, I will present three systems that explore Web collaboration from different perspectives. In CU WRITE, students work with writing instructors to help with the revision process. In the Behavior Exchange, people can create and share nuggets of computation encapsulated as agents. In the EDC, face-to-face collaboration is integrated with distance collaboration. This talk will discuss some of the design and implementation challenges in these collaborative systems.

Stefan Carmien -- MAPS: A Support System for the Cognitively Disabled

MAPS is a system for creating, displaying and sharing scripts running on a PDA platform that provide scaffolding type support for performing daily activities by cognitively disabled individuals. The scripts are composed of a sequence of verbal and image prompts that assist a user in performing a single task, which may be as simple as making a sandwich or as complex as using public transportation. Integral to the MAPS system is a PC-based caretaker interface for creating scripts, as well as a way to share scripts via the web.

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