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Expression Widgets for Learning Environments by Marcio Galli Taboca Labs

Expression Widgets for Learning Environments by Marcio Galli Taboca Labs

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Published by: api-26000145 on Dec 01, 2009
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Expression Widgets
for Learning Environmentsby Marcio GalliTaboca Labs and FriendsThis document proposes ideas that enhances the current Web browsing experienceand allows users to participate collaboratively to build open learning resources. In thescope of this document, the term
learning session
relates to a synchronous learningevent that has a team of participants involved for a period of time. Examples of leaning sessions could be a lecture, a test for students, a discussion, users watching amovie, and more. The term
expression widgets
refers to browser enhancementtools that allows participants to create data content that can be shared and re-purposed into online documents that supports a given learning session.
This section offers a brief overview about a few areas that are considered the mainmotivation points in this proposal:
Web Quests
The WebQuest [1] model proposes that the Web itself can be used as a resourceof experiences that supports inquiry-oriented tasks. This model suggests the useof real-life online data as a means to enhance engagement and discussionsamong students. The wide aspect of the Web has the value of the unexpectedand ever changing real-life data but it also presents potential challenges as aparticipant could loose its focus. To help with this challenge, the quest modelproposes that guidelines can exist as part of the quest. These can vary fromusing tools, such as a video conference session, or guideline requests such as alist of pre-determined Web links to follow. These parameters are used tosupport participants to achieve goals towards the presented challenges. In asimilar analysis, the Mozilla Labs Design Challenges projects can be consideredas examples of quests that uses certain parameters that motivates and engagesparticipants to get involved.
Open Educational Content
The Open Textbook project [2] identifies barriers at educational institutions andthe need to raise awareness and knowledge about open educational resources.The project suggests that the strong preference of publisher's textbooks isassociated with assumptions that instructors prefers to adopt these materials.The strong culture and dependencies with traditional publishing are keychallenges for new and open learning systems. In this scenario, this projectproposes a more natural way in which users can participate and express theirinput as part of ongoing leaning events. The idea is to get participants moreinvolved in the process of content creation without a strict authoring structurethat can be confused or compared with traditional textbooks - such as textwriting. Instead, it is proposed that the content creation can be more like a freeform browsing experience and feels like the action of re-purposing Web content.The more users are involved in content creation, more likely they are to acceptthe general use of open educational resources in future learning conditions.
Social-aware Web 2.0
At educational institutions, the general use of e-learning systems may raisesecurity questions related to information security governance [3]. Governanceaspects may demand complex maintenance solutions to keep e-leaningecosystems up to date. Social Web 2.0 apps can fill certain gaps when learningsystems are not as up-to-date and when groups of individuals wants to takeadvantage of creative social systems in team-driven projects.A study about an online tutoring using Second Life [4], shows that Web 2.0applications, such as wikis, are being used as a resource for collaboration that isdefined by the community of learners. This model allows team-based externalsystems to affect interaction dynamics that could be previously set by a tutor.In the case of a game environment with strict rules, such as second life, the wikipage could well serve as a quick for quick annotations for everything else that isdifficult to do under the game rules.
Expression Widgets with JetPacks
In the scope of this project, a learning session is a synchronous session such as alecture of 1-2 hours given by a tutor. While some of the ideas can be used forasynchronous sessions, such as an assignment task that lasts one week, thesynchronous scenario seems to be a good candidate for an implementation that couldgo along with a future evaluation test program in a real class. The initial scenario is atraditional lecture with a number of learners following notes from a tutor. It isassumed that the participants are also using laptops or other types of devices wherethey can directly control a Firefox user agent with the JetPack infra-structure installed.An expression widget is defined as a JetPack-based application that lets participants touse Web content and applications as resources to create and repurpose Web data astheir expression notes, and share into a repository that represents the leaningsession. The remote repository itself should not enforce too many rules. For thisreason a wiki is recommended. Similarly to the way that a wiki page works, therepository itself should represent the conventions established by the partitipatingmembers. In some cases, the wiki could start empty, other scenarios can be testedwith a basic framework set.Jetpack infra-structure supports the direction of a free form easy to use browsing/editing experience that allows manipulation over Web-based content. As an example,a student could write in a hand book and easily put arrows to connect objects of information previously written. These expression widgets could function in a similarway and support the easy manipulation of elements from the Web or previouslycreated, or previously shared in the wiki repository.The following table enumeratesthe main capacities part of the expression widgets:CapacityDescriptionExamples, CommentsWeb Content - Re-purposeWidget code may offerinterface elements thatallow participants to re-purpose existing webcontent from pages.* Possible to getanything from the Web;* Examples are: takescreenshot, take textfrom pages, take
numbers from pages,takes mathematicalexpression from pages,takes SVG elements frompages, and more.Web Content - CreateWidgets to allowparticipants to simplecreate new content notexactly tied to existingpages on the web.* local apps dont haveURI could be a problem;* local app can performreally well;* remote input, over thewiki, can also carryreference to the JP-based script;* As an example acanvas-based drawing.While this case is notconsidered a web-basedpage, theimplementation itself canbe available using thevery same Web-basedmodel with URI.Conventions - ShareGeneral idea is to havecontent to be shared in afriendly way thatparticipant A input, whenposted to the wiki, doesnot conflict withparticipant B in terms of the wiki requirements.As an example, widgetscan be smart enough toadd content under itsseparated wiki section.Each expressionstatement should haveenough meta-data, suchas timestamp or UUID,so that re-contextualization is alsopossible .* post an item from userA in section A in the wikipage; The item has atimestamp and alsometa-data about thewidget plus data section;* the convention is partof the posted expressionstatement. Theaggregated view of itemscould represent morecomplex conventions toother widgets thatinterpret the whole data?would it be possible tore-express a wholeaggregated view of expression statements?Like sum votes[a+b+c]where a,b,c are users.* widget should post in afriendly way with the

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