WallCology: Designing Interaction Affordances for Learner Engagement in Authentic Science Inquiry

Authors: Moher, T., Uphoff, B., Bhatt, D., Lopez-Silva, B., Malcolm, P.

Publication: Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008), Florence, Italy

The broadening array of technologies available to support the design of classroom activity has the potential to reshape science learning in schools. This paper presents a ubiquitous computing application, WallCology, which situates a virtual ecosystem within the unseen space of classroom walls, presenting affordances for science learners to engage in investigations of ecological phenomena. Motivated by a desire to foster authenticity in classroom science inquiry, WallCology extends the “embedded phenomena” framework in three ways: by enabling collaborative investigations among distributed work teams, by increasing the physicality of investigation activities, and by expanding the loci of activity sites. Pilot studies in two urban classrooms provide qualified support for the effectiveness of WallCology in promoting more authentic inquiry practices, content learning, and attitudes regarding scientific investigations.

Author Keywords: Embedded phenomena, ubiquitous computing, science inquiry learning

Date: April 5, 2008 - April 10, 2008

Document: View PDF
Mobile WallScope. iButtons affixed to walls identify user’s point of observation - T. Moher

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