Dilemma Explorer

Final Report
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth...

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The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

An Online Collaborative Metacurricular L e a r n i n g To o l

Jeremy Price T-540 Cognition and the Art of Instruction 10 January 2003

Jeremy Price

10 January 2003

T-540 Dilemma Explorer Final Report

Contents
PURPOSE.............................................................................................................................................1 LEARNING OBJECTIVES..........................................................................................................................3
DOMAIN-CENTERED OBJECTIVES....................................................................................................................................3 METACURRICULUM-CENTERED OBJECTIVES......................................................................................................................4

LEARNING CHALLENGES........................................................................................................................5 STRUCTURE OF THE INTERVENTION.........................................................................................................7 JUSTIFICATIONS...................................................................................................................................12
ACTIVITY SYSTEMS....................................................................................................................................................12 TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING...................................................................................................................................12 DISTRIBUTED COGNITION.............................................................................................................................................13 CHANGING BEHAVIOR: BAD POP ART.......................................................................................................................13 CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING ENVIRONMENT DESIGN GOALS.............................................................................................15

CRITIQUE OF THE DESIGN....................................................................................................................17 PROTOTYPE........................................................................................................................................19 SOURCES...........................................................................................................................................23 APPENDICES.......................................................................................................................................24
APPENDIX 1. APPENDIX 2. APPENDIX 3. APPENDIX 4. TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS.....................................................................................................................24 SCREENSHOTS OF THE DILEMMA EXPLORER.................................................................................................25 HELP SCREEN TEXTS..............................................................................................................................40 SHUTTLE CHALLENGER EXAMPLE: TABLE VIEW PRINTOUT..........................................................................41

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Dilemma (n.) A situation in which a choice must be made between alternative
courses of action or argument.
(American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=dilemma, October 27, 2002)

Purpose
Dilemmas permeate everyday life. It is difficult to avoid ethical, moral, or legal dilemmas in the workplace, the home, or the social gathering, and they often involve strong personalities and even more strongly held beliefs. Decisions arising from dilemmas often have important consequences. Exploring dilemmas, and then taking a stand on them, can allow the learners to create their own connections and lead to a greater appreciation of the situation (deeper understanding of the subject matter). The experience can lead to an improved readiness to deal with subsequent dilemmas, whether they are thought experiments or in the learners’ lives (sharpened critical thinking skills). Rooting lessons and activities in controversial dilemmas
The Challenger: A Dilemma Case Study On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Earth with a full crew, including a pair of civilians. Seventy-three seconds later, the Challenger exploded, taking the lives of the entire crew. Could this disaster to human life, and an event that put a damper on the American space program, have been avoided? Throughout this report, references will be made to this dilemma as an example of a real application of the Dilemma Explorer, and all screenshots found in Appendix 2 refer to the Challenger dilemma. This dilemma, adapted from The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science at Case Western Reserve University (http://www.onlineethics.org/essays/shuttle/bois.html), was presented in class by David Perkins, T-540 Cognition and the Art of Instruction, 1 October 2002.

can get learners excited about learning, increasing intrinsic motivation (NCAE, 2000). This motivation can translate into an interest in learning in general, making learning and inquiry a lifelong activity. This type of motivation is difficult to achieve when learners are just presented with the facts. The Dilemma Explorer is an online collaborative tool that allows learners to explore dilemmas in a scaffolded manner. There are excellent software packages on the market that allow for a collective construction of knowledge, notably Knowledge Forum, which can add a

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great deal to the dilemma exploration process. However, Knowledge Forum scaffolds the process in such a way to encourage divergence. In other words, it supports an environment with no outcome in mind except to continuously pile new findings, knowledge, and understandings onto an idea or question. This process can be very disconcerting to teachers with time constraints and a set amount of information to cover. Designed for middle- and high-school students and their teachers, the Dilemma Explorer online tool helps to guide learners through the inquiry process of exploring a dilemma, allows them to organize supporting material in a variety of ways helping them to focus the issues, and then encourages them to come to a conclusion and articulate their position on the dilemma. Learners have the ability to save their dilemma exploration to a database in order to work on the process in multiple sessions. Feedback from peers and teachers at all stages of the exploration is possible, challenging the learner to further critically examine the process. The Dilemma Explorer is a tool for the metacurriculum – that is, it encourages the development of higher-order thinking (Perkins, 1992: 101). Learners are encouraged to develop questions, analyze issues from multiple perspectives, articulate their position on the dilemma, and revise their stances based on new information and feedback from peers and teachers. While the Dilemma Explorer does not address any particular subject matter specifically, it can be applied to a broad range of knowledge domains. The experience with Dilemma Explorer can culminate in a variety of different performances, depending on the requirements and expertise of the learners and teachers.

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Learning Objectives
The learning objectives of the Dilemma Explorer can be divided into two interrelated subsets: domain-centered objectives (those objectives that focus on learning particular subject matter) and metacurriculum-centered objectives (those objectives that focus on developing higher-order thinking skills).
Domain-Centered Objectives

Domain-centered objectives may be different according to particular domains, but can be abstracted for the Dilemma Explorer’s purposes along the following lines:  Gaining a deeper understanding into an event, theory, debate, or concept;  Understanding the particular contexts in which an event, theory, debate, or concept is rooted;  Appreciating the implications of an event, theory, debate, or concept;  Becoming familiar with the source materials and interpretations of an event, theory, debate, or concept. Dilemmas can be utilized to introduce a multitude of specific topics or concepts. Many scientific discoveries have caused public debate and discourse – such discoveries can cause an upheaval in people’s belief systems. Examples of such discoveries include Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection, genetics and DNA, and linking greenhouse gasses to the global warming trend. The Challenger shuttle example introduces concepts in physics and chemistry by demonstrating the effects of changes in temperature on substances. Characters in most great works of literature are faced with at least one dilemma, often tied to real societal situations that may span centuries. The works of William Shakespeare can be looked upon as especially fertile ground in this regard. The study of history and civics, when reduced to its most basic discipline, can be distilled into a series of dilemmas, from nationalistic struggles to inequalities due to almost every imaginable reason. The Dilemma Explorer, due to

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its non-domain-specific nature, can support inquiry into any of these dilemmas, allowing the learner to incorporate the facts, figures, concepts, and language that are inherent in any discipline, in a manner that is meaningful and interesting.
Metacurriculum-Centered Objectives

Metacurriculum-centered objectives, on the other hand, do not deal with particularities, but instead with getting better at thinking about thinking. Such objectives can be articulated as getting better at:  Identifying dilemmas, the choices inherent within dilemmas, and the potential ramifications;  Recognizing the different points-of-view concerning dilemmas, and what motivations various parties may have in taking a particular stance on a dilemma;  Asking well-formed, probing questions that tackle the issues at the heart of the dilemma;  Finding, Organizing and Prioritizing data and information that address the questions or support or refute various points-of-view;  Articulating a well-formed stance on the dilemma;  Revising priorities and stances, based on emergent information from further research and feedback from peers and teachers, both at the conclusion and mid-stream. The Dilemma Explorer is designed for learners to become more reflective in their metacognition (Perkins, 1992: 102). As learners formulate questions, find information that address these questions, and then take a well-formed stance in a structured environment, they are encouraged to reflect on their process. The skills developed during this process apply to almost any domain of inquiry, not just science, literature, or social science. These skills can be applied to non-academic settings as well, as learners can use the same skills to analyze personal dilemmas that may be found in interactions with family, friends, or peers. It is hoped that teachers will encourage learners to use the more-structured aspects of the Dilemma Explorer less as the learners become more skilled in the dilemma inquiry process.

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Learning Challenges
There can be many challenges to implementing an intervention such as the Dilemma Explorer. Becoming a reflective thinker, i.e., thinking about one’s own thinking, can be a difficult, painful, and time-consuming progression, especially for tacit learners, learners who are not aware of their inner cognitive processes. Changing metacurricular attitudes and practices can be a frustrating and discouraging activity for both learner and teacher. Either learner or teacher may become uncertain of one or the other’s abilities and decide to simply give up. Either one may also start to feel that the motivation for improving such higher-order thinking skills is not sufficient to surmount the difficulties encountered – a simple cost-benefit analysis (especially when performed tacitly, which would favor a quick, shallow, cursory examination of a dilemma) may influence either one to surrender before significant progress is made. This challenge is especially true of entity, or mastery-oriented, learners, as opposed to incremental learners (Dweck, 2000), who have turned grappling with processes into a form of intrinsic motivation. Isolating the issues, asking well-formed questions, and finding and prioritizing appropriate information may be points of contention as well, especially for learners not accustomed to such practices. While Dilemma Explorer will be structured to help guide learners in their inquiry, ultimately success depends on feedback from the learners’ peers and teachers. The Dilemma Explorer will not be an “intelligent system,” that is, by itself it cannot recognize a well-formed question, appropriate data, or a well-supported argument. The tool cannot give feedback on the learner’s progress – only peers and teachers can provide this valuable wisdom. Thus, if peers and teachers are not willing to challenge learners, the Dilemma Explorer may serve to perpetuate bad, naïve, or unformed habits.

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The last issue is a question of transfer – will learners actually become more reflective thinkers when approaching dilemmas in their own lives, or will they see their experience with the Dilemma Explorer as a necessary assignment for school? Will the Dilemma Explorer contribute to a “deskilling,” or lessening, of learners’ critical thinking if they come to rely on it as a crutch in their decision-making and dilemma-managing processes? By redirecting the emphasis in the classroom, teachers have the ability to foster an environment in which many of these issues can be minimized or overcome. In classes where the emphasis is on learning, rather than meeting goals, students have demonstrated a higher interest in the subject matter and a higher level of cognitive engagement (Blumenfeld, Puro, & Mergendoller, 1992: 208). Based on the work of Blumenfeld et al. (1992: 213-214), the following are four overarching strategies that encourage thoughtfulness through teacher practice:  Emphasizing connections between concepts presented in textbooks and lessons and issues found in the dilemmas explored through the Dilemma Explorer, and just as important, between the dilemmas and the real world or even the life experience of the learners;  Providing feedback that encourages learners to press further into the dilemma inquiry process, and recognizing and valuing the contributions of all students rather than a select group;  Providing support through demonstrations, suggesting strategies, and encouraging collaborative work;  Allowing students to make mistakes and treating mistakes or incomplete work as part of a larger learning process. Any or all of the above may be applied to the use of the Dilemma Explorer in the classroom. While many of these strategies are inherent within the Dilemma Explorer system itself (e.g., feedback [“Sticky Notes”], collaborative work, and a scaffolded process of a conceptually complex inquiry process), much responsibility is still shouldered upon the teacher. If the teacher does not choose to address these issues, the strategies inherent within the Dilemma Explorer become superfluous.

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Structure of The Intervention
The Dilemma Explorer is a Web-based system that can be accessed over the Internet, a school-wide intranet, or even just from a particular computer with no network access if the proper Web server software is installed. All server software necessary for the Dilemma Explorer is free of charge and in the public domain. See Appendix 1 for more technical specifications.

The Dilemma

Questions Points of View

Issues

Data/ Observations

Opinions

Feedback Loop (peer reactions, teacher reactions, testing against existant information, new information)

Critical Analysis

Learner' s Stance On The Dilemma

Figure 1. Dilemma Explorer Conceptual Model

The conceptual model upon which Dilemma Explorer is based is illustrated in Figure 1. Based on this model, the learner starts the process by stating the dilemma and entering it into the

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database. For this statement of the dilemma, the learner is encouraged to give the dilemma and to articulate a summary of some of the major issues involved with the dilemma. After a summary of the dilemma has been entered, the learner may save his or her work at any point and come back to it at any time. In this manner, the learner is not forced to complete the exploration in only one sitting. The learner is then asked to develop a set of questions and enter those into the database as well. These questions will aid in the learner’s exploration process and help to focus the issues. Learners are encouraged to ask questions about any aspect of the dilemma on which he or she may want clarification, questions that critique an understanding the learner may have concerning the dilemma, or questions that hone in on the heart of the issues. After that, the learner is encouraged to enter into the database the various points-of-view related to the dilemma. A pointof-view may represent a person or group of people who have a stake in the outcome of the dilemma, who have been involved in the genesis of the dilemma, or who may in some way be affected by the process or outcome of the dilemma. For example, in the case of the Challenger space shuttle launch dilemma, some questions that a learner may be inclined to enter are: • • • What were the technical issues that may present problems with that particular launch? Why was it important to launch the Challenger on that particular day? How would a delay of launch impact the American space program and NASA?

Some points-of-view may include the engineers involved in the design, the engineers’ managers, NASA, elected officials in the Federal Government, the astronauts who would man the shuttle, and the American public in general. For both the questions and points-of-view, learners are encouraged to classify their entries based on two scales, “Magnetic Attraction” and “Putting your ducks in a row.” The “Magnetic

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Attraction” scale is a five-point scale that demonstrates how strongly the question or point-ofview relates to the dilemma itself. The “Putting your ducks in a row” scale, also a five-point scale, exhibits how much weight the learner would personally put in the question or point-ofview in taking a position or stance on the dilemma. For example, the engineers and the flight crew (in particular), may rate highly in both scales: the engineers are closely aligned with the design of the shuttle and are therefore aware of the problems and dangers that may crop up, and the astronauts can be put in danger if something goes wrong. The engineers’ managers, on the other hand, may rate highly on the “Magnetic Attraction” scale, as they act as decision makers or gate-keepers, but the learner may rate them on the low end of the “Putting your ducks in a row” scale, as the learner may perceive an underlying concern on the part of the managers for a priority other than for safety. The information gathering stage is next, where the learner is able to enter sources of information that address the issues of the dilemma from multiple perspectives. This stage is scaffolded to allow proper citation measures based on the APA format (Harvey, 1998). Learners are encouraged to cross-reference the piece of information with one or multiple questions or points-of-view, thus allowing for in-process reflection on the information by the learner. This cross-referencing feature is built in to the Dilemma Explorer itself, and a list of all questions and points-of-view are provided for the learner to select and connect with the particular source of information. For example, a memo from the engineers to their managers concerning the dangers inherent in the current O-ring design may be cross-referenced with the technical issues question and the engineers’ point-of-view. Similar to the questions and points-of-view, learners have the ability to rank information by “Magnetic Attraction and “Putting your ducks in a row.”

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The Dilemma Explorer provides learners with two ways of looking at the information they have entered. These two ways of displaying information (views) allow the learner to analyze the information visually. The first view, the Table view, presents the information presented in tables, one table each for the Questions, Points of View, Sources, and Positions. Each table can be sorted by the learner according to the various fields of information for each table. The second view, the Tree view, presents an Inspiration1-like semantic network diagram or visual concept map. On screen, it is visually similar to standing on one’s head and looking at a tree with a trunk, branches, and leaves. At the top of the screen the summary of the dilemma as entered by the learner is displayed, representing the trunk. Branching off of the summary are the questions and points-of-view, representing the branches. Next are the sources, linked visually to the questions and points-of-view to which they have been cross-referenced, representing the leaves. By allowing learners to view the information in these ways, and granting them some flexibility in how the information is organized, it is hoped that they will be able to analyze more easily the various issues, opinions, and possible outcomes of the dilemma they are exploring. They are then encouraged to articulate their own position on the dilemma, what the learner thinks should happen. The learner is not restricted to writing their position at the end of the process, but can enter a stance at the very beginning of the process, or at any time during the exploration. The Dilemma Explorer system allows learners to categorize their stances as Initial, In-Process, or Final. In this manner, learners can chart the positions they take on the dilemma and see how their positions change over time and by considering new information, more questions, or additional points-of-view that may come to light through the dilemma exploration process.

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Inspiration is a software package that allows users to create graphical concept maps in order to brainstorm and organize information. For more information, Inspiration Software’s Web site is http://www.inspiration.com/. 10

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Learners have the ability to collaborate with others – they may specify other students that have the same privileges as they do to add to and update the dilemma exploration process. In this way, learners can work in teams to explore their dilemma. Another form of collaboration is that the teacher and peers of the learner have the ability to comment on the information collected and the stance the learner takes throughout the process. These comments and feedback are referred to as “sticky notes.” The “sticky notes” feature is not an online forum or threaded message board; instead, one can actually leave a note and have it attached to a specific question, point-of-view, source, or position on the dilemma. This allows issues the learner may not have thought of, as well as the experiences of others, to be considered. Teachers also have the ability to make their comments “private,” thereby allowing the comments to be read only by that specific learner and his or her collaborative team. The learner has the option of going back and updating data, modifying questions, or honing in on a more sophisticated stance on the dilemma at any time, due to the uncovering of further information or based on feedback from peers or the teacher. It is envisioned that Dilemma Explorer would be used as supplementary to, not in place of, traditional instruction. It would fit in well with a project-based approach, where learners are responsible for investigating dilemmas in politics, social studies, science, language arts, etc., or even a cross-curricular project. Learners can then develop one or multiple culminating performances demonstrating their stance on the dilemma utilizing various media, such as a video-based public service message, a PowerPoint presentation, a Web site, or a conference poster session. This is not to say that a traditional paper is excluded as a performance, because the Dilemma Explorer can serve as a way for learners to organize and form ideas for an expository essay.

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Justifications
The Dilemma Explorer connects well with many learning theories, philosophies, and ideas. These theories include: Activity Systems, Teaching for Understanding, Distributed Cognition, Behaviorist models such as Priming and Believe-And-Do, and Constructivist Learning Environment Design Goals.
Activity Systems

Learners are encouraged to develop and hone their higher-order thinking skills. In other words, Dilemma Explorer helps learners in their journey towards getting better at questioning assumptions; gathering, organizing, and critically analyzing evidence; and, articulating and defending an argument. This type of reflective cognition is especially troublesome for those who tacitly solve problems and manage dilemmas. By learning to become more reflective in their processes, learners gain a deeper understanding and insight not only into the issues that surround formative events, but they gain an appreciation for their own critical thinking skills. It is hoped that learners will be able to therefore develop these skills so they become more complex and applicable to a larger range of situations.
Teaching for Understanding

The inquiry process by which the Dilemma Explorer guides learners is similar to the underlying processes that experts undergo when thinking about a problem and developing a management strategy or solution. Dilemmas are often laden with emotion, personalities, and strongly held beliefs, and often have important consequences. Teachers are encouraged to work with learners to uncover dilemmas (generative topics) that interest both parties. Learners are expected to take a stand on the dilemma and articulate that stand. Learners can demonstrate their position using a variety of methods, such as a video, presentation, or paper. Teachers and peers
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are encouraged to provide feedback during the dilemma exploration process. This important feedback provides the learner with an idea of his or her progress. Dilemma Explorer provides the learner with the conceptual model upon which the tool is based (Figure 1). Allowing the learner to organize information in a variety of ways, or models, supports the learning process.
Distributed Cognition

The Dilemma Explorer encourages peers and teachers to provide feedback on a learner’s progress through the dilemma exploration process. They are encouraged to prompt the learner with questions such as, what if…?, what about…?, why is ______ so? This will encourage the learner to reconsider and reflect on the evidence they have gathered in attempting to address these questions. All teachers and peers have access to the same visual data display models of the collected information that the learner has. While teachers and peers are encouraged to provide informative and constructive feedback, there is no guarantee they will. This may serve to reinforce poor or unformed inquiry skills. Models of appropriate questions can be provided. Learners may come to rely on the Dilemma Explorer when solving problems or managing dilemmas if proper scaffold removal and transfer activities do not occur. It is also important for teachers to encourage learners to develop their skills independent of the Dilemma Explorer.
Changing Behavior: BAD POP Art

While the analysis and exploration of a dilemma is an important and rich learning experience in itself, it is hoped that the Dilemma Explorer will be used to explore dilemmas that allow for student action. Beyond simply taking a position, students could be encouraged – in the spirit of the maxim “think globally, act locally” – to get involved in making their stance on the dilemma a reality in some way. This necessitates a change in behavior, from inaction to action in some form, whether it is writing letters, educating others, or organizing rallies.

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In order to facilitate this behavior change, the Dilemma Explorer draws upon two ideas in behaviorism: the Priming (the Power of Priming, or “POP”; Perkins 2002) and Believe-And-Do (“BAD”; Perkins 2002). While the Dilemma Explorer is not a strict behaviorist tool, certain aspects of it (described below) support the type of environment to allow for changes in behavior. In order for a behavior to occur, there must be sufficient priming for action. By delineating and then favoring (by assigning high ratings) various points of view and the actions these people have taken on the same dilemma in the past can prime learners through expectations. If a certain action has worked in the past, the learner may become primed for action via the precedent set by the other personalities, in other words, following their lead (observing the model). In addition, by allowing the learner to articulate his or her own point of view, the learner may become primed through hopes and fears. The learner may write that he or she hopes for a certain outcome to the dilemma, thereby priming for action to allow that outcome to occur. Since many dilemmas are steeped in controversy and emotions, beliefs may enter the process a learner undertakes on the way towards action. Inherent in the Dilemma Explorer process is the notion that learners must first convince themselves of their own stance on the dilemma. Articulating a stance on the dilemma is a method of “tell-and-do,” stating what needs to be done can lead to action. However, the delineation of questions and points of view, the interpretation of sources, and the recursive feedback loop that allows classmates and teachers to challenge the learner’s information and stances, encourages the shoring up of the learner’s “action poetry” and persuasion skills. Coupled with the priming strategies outlined above, the learner may become aware of their own defenses and primed for action to attempt to make their stance on the dilemma a reality.

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Constructivist Learning Environment Design Goals

The Dilemma Explorer can be utilized within a constructivist learning environment for reasons outlined below. This fit, of course, is contingent upon the pedagogical bent of the teacher – if the teacher adheres to a constructivist philosophy, the Dilemma Explorer can be incorporated into such a setting. Honebein (1996) delineates seven goals to which designers of constructivist learning environments should adhere, and to which the Dilemma Explorer strives to meet: 1. Provide experience with the knowledge construction process. As a metacurricular learning tool, the system allows for a broad range of topics to explore, which can be decided by negotiation between the learner and teacher. In addition, while Dilemma Explorer scaffolds the dilemma inquiry process, it allows for great flexibility in terms of actual implementation and use – the culminating performance can likewise be determined by negotiation. 2. Provide experience in and appreciation for multiple perspectives. Through the pointof-view section of the system, the Dilemma Explorer encourages learners to recognize the various stakeholders and viewpoints inherent in a dilemma. By ranking these points-ofview, learners have the ability to evaluate these different viewpoints and incorporate them into their own positions. 3. Embed learning in realistic and relevant contexts. Real dilemmas are rooted in real contexts, and those contexts depend on the knowledge domain in which the dilemma is found. The Dilemma Explorer allows learners to organize the information inherent in the dilemma in order to make sense of it and to take a stand on it. 4. Encourage ownership and voice in the learning process. With the Dilemma Explorer, learners are responsible for collecting the information, entering it into the system, and
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organizing it – Dilemma Explorer provides a framework in which this can occur. Teachers can consult and advise through direct communication with the learners or by leaving “Sticky Notes” throughout the process. 5. Embed learning in social experience. Throughout the use of the Dilemma Explorer, learners are encouraged to work with others. They may collaborate on the same dilemma inquiry. They may also leave “Sticky Notes” for each other, making suggestions and providing feedback throughout the inquiry process. 6. Encourage the use of multiple modes of representation. The Dilemma Explorer is a computer-based organizational inquiry tool – the culminating performance activity in which learners demonstrate and present their dilemma inquiry is negotiable. A teacher and learner may negotiate the actual mode in which this performance is presented. 7. Encourage self-awareness of the knowledge construction process. The dilemma inquiry process inherent in the Dilemma Explorer is transparent – learners are made aware of the various steps involved. In addition, positions can be classified as “Initial,” “In-Progress,” or “Final,” demonstrating the process by which they arrived at their conclusions.

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Critique of the Design
No intervention is perfect, especially when completed within the time constraints of one academic semester. The Dilemma Explorer is no exception. There are several areas in which the design either does not reflect the complexities of the real world or falls short of providing flexible or powerful enough tools for an in-depth exploration of a dilemma. As stated in the Introduction of this report, dilemmas in life are messy, complex situations that often involve deeply seated beliefs and strong personalities. While it is an important and educational experience to explore a dilemma logically and rationally, quantifying these emotionally situated circumstances may detract from the very human side of the dilemmas. A computer-based modality allowing learners to explore dilemmas may lead them to view dilemmas in a cold and analytical manner, ignoring the strong emotions that are often ignited in dilemmas. In addition, as in the case of the Challenger shuttle dilemma, does assigning five ducks (as in “Putting your ducks in a row”) to life-and-death decisions devalue human life? A computer or a system such as the Dilemma Explorer cannot adequately address these shortcomings; it is up to the teacher and learner to fully consider that lives, livelihoods, emotions, and beliefs may be at stake and to explore the dilemma with the thoughtfulness, care, and respect such an inquiry would require. After airing those emotional concerns, the prototype at this stage does not provide as many ways of visually organizing information as was hoped. Currently there are only two ways to display the information culled through an exploration: as a series of tables and as a “tree” (see the Prototype section of this report and Appendices 2m, 2n, and 2o). While these ways of viewing and organizing the collected data are enough to start the analysis of the dilemma in depth, it was hoped that further and more complex ways of organizing the data would be in

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place. One such idea includes the development of an automatically generated concept map, similar to the “tree view” but more like a web clustered around a central point where each piece of information can be manipulated, resized, moved from place to place on the screen, and connected to other pieces of information. Another idea includes the development of a “matrix view,” which in essence presents the learner with a blank slate. The learner has the ability to drag-and-drop the information anywhere on the screen. Both ideas would provide for much more flexibility than is currently available. Due to time constraints and the lack of the technical expertise necessary to develop such functionality, these ideas can only be articulated in this report. Lastly, as noted in the Learning Challenges section of this report, the ultimate responsibility of making the dilemma exploration process with the Dilemma Explorer a meaningful and educational experience lies within the cognitive nexus consisting of the learner, his or her peers, and the teacher. Without a strong system of feedback on the learner’s inquiry process from peers and the teacher, and a strong underlying intrinsic motivation based on a sense of importance in exploring a dilemma, the Dilemma Explorer runs the risk of becoming an assignment devoid of meaning or any connection with the learner’s world.

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Prototype
At the current time, the prototype of the Dilemma Explorer system is a fully functional implementation of the system, with the exception of the additional Help Screens, which were formulated late in the development process. Appendices 2a through 2o contain screenshots of all currently authored pages, with the exception of the teacher sign-up and sign-in pages. The text for the additional Help Screens can be found in Appendix 3. The first step of the process is for the teacher to sign up for a username and password, and to specify a password for the entire class. This password is then entered by the learner when signing up as a measure of security. This student sign-up screen can be seen in Appendix 2b. After signing up and then signing in (Appendix 2a), the learner is presented with a page (Appendix 2c, “Learner’s Main Page”) that lists all the current dilemma inquiries on which he or she is working or collaborating, as well as all of the other dilemmas on which other classmates are working. Learners have the ability to view, but not add to or change, the dilemma inquiries of classmates, and will have the ability to leave “Sticky Note” comments with feedback. Starting a new dilemma is a straightforward process. The learner is presented with a page (Appendix 2d) that asks for some overview and summary information about the dilemma. Upon saving this information to the database, the learner is presented with a “Dilemma Main Page” (Appendix 2e). Rather than funneling the learner through a linear process, this Dilemma Main Page allows learners to add and change the inquiry as information becomes available. In addition, while testing an online system for storing and organizing environmental observation data in a public school in Los Angeles, CA,2 it was found that often one class period was not enough for students to complete a complex computer-based task in full. This Main Page allows
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The author of this report did this testing in March and April of 2002 on behalf of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA. The environmental system, developed by the author for the Earth Odyssey outreach program, can be found at http://www.earth-odyssey.org/. 19

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students to come back to their work and update it as time allows, and frees the teacher from scheduling large blocks of time dedicated to the Dilemma Explorer. At this point, or at any point in the dilemma exploration process, learners have the ability to add peers they may want as collaborators or teammates (Appendix 2f). After clicking the link from the Dilemma Main Page, the learner is presented with a list of students in the same class. The learner has the ability to choose any peer he or she may want. For these chosen collaborators, this dilemma will be displayed on their personalized Learner’s Main Page (Appendix 2c). They have the ability to update, change, add to, and remove information from this dilemma, just like the originator of the dilemma exploration. From the Dilemma Main Page, learners may enter questions, points-of-view, sources and positions (Appendices 2g, 2h, 2i, and 2j, respectively) into the database. Each page asks the learner to enter information specific to the issue, and for the learner to rank the “Magnetic Attraction” (how closely the information is tied to the dilemma) and to “Put your ducks in a row” (how much weight the learner puts on the information in formulating their own position). For positions, learners may specify the position as “Initial,” “In-Progress,” or “Final,” so that they may chart their positions through the dilemma inquiry process. Learners may post an unlimited number of “In-Progress” positions. While viewing the dilemma explorations of other learners, the learner may leave “sticky notes,” or feedback, on a particular question, point-of-view, or source of information. An example of a teacher adding a “sticky note” can be found in Appendix 2k. When the link to add a “sticky note” is clicked, a new window appears requesting the title of the note and the body of the note. Teachers have the ability to select the box marked “Make Private,” which allows only the team working on that specific dilemma to view the comments. This feature may be

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especially useful if the teacher wants to critique an aspect of the dilemma exploration process without causing undue embarrassment by allowing the entire class to view the critique. Once a “sticky note” has been posted, the title appears in a list. An icon ( ) appears next to the titles of “sticky notes” that have not yet been read by the learner. In addition, this same icon appears next to items on the “Dilemma Main Page” that have unread “sticky notes” affiliated with them (Appendix 2l). Once items, such as questions, points-of-view, sources, and positions, have been added to the dilemma exploration process, their titles appear on the “Dilemma Main Page” (Appendix 2l). The learner has the ability to update any of these items at any time, as well as to add further items. When examining someone else’s dilemma exploration, the learner does not have the ability to add or change information, but can read the items in detail and add or read “sticky notes.” From the “Dilemma Main Page,” learners also have the ability to see all of their information organized in two different manners, a Table View and a Tree View, which were described in detail in the Structure of the Intervention section of this report. The Table View (Appendix 2m) organizes the information in a series of tables. The learner can sort these tables utilizing a variety of criteria. For example, the learner has the ability to sort the Questions table by the title of the questions, by how he or she may have ranked items according to the “Magnetic Attraction” scale, by how he or she may have ranked items according to the “Putting your ducks in a row” scale, or by the date and time the questions were entered into the database. The Tree View allows learners to view the information in a more freeform visual manner, either in a summarized form (Appendix 2n), which presents just the title and “Magnetic Attraction” and the “Putting your ducks in a row” scales, or a longer form (Appendix 2o), which presents the items

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in full. The learner has the ability to switch back-and-forth between these two forms. In addition, the learner can print out any of these views. In order to aid learners through their exploration of dilemmas, and to make the process more explicit, contextualized help screens will be provided. While these help screens are not yet a part of the Dilemma Explorer system itself, the text for these screens can be found in Appendix 3. The term “contextualized” refers to the idea that if the learner were entering a question and clicks on the link for the help screen, the information pertaining to the Questions portion of the dilemma exploration process would be displayed. The Dilemma Explorer was demonstrated for two professional educators3 and several classmates4. This process was very helpful, and several improvements to this iteration of the Dilemma Explorer were implemented. These changes included specifying the various stages of the positions the learner may take on a dilemma (Price), providing examples of citations for various types of sources (Reilly), and using the “ducks in a row” phrase for the duck icons (Pasatta). “Help Pages” were developed in order to facilitate the process for learners using the system for the first time, and screenshots of the Tree View page and Table View page to visually illustrate what these views represent (Cook and Simpson). These suggestions were an important part of the process and made the Dilemma Explorer a better and more useful learning tool.

3

Nina Price, Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley, Sudbury, MA, and Jody Reilly, American History teacher at the Indian Mountain School, Lakeville, CT. 4 Including Lisa Stump, Jason Pasatta, Amy Fienup, Allison Cook, and Dana Simpson. 22

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Sources
Blumenfeld, P., Mergendoller, J., & Puro, P. (1992). Translating Motivation into Thoughtfulness. In H. Marshall (Ed.), Redefining Student Learning: Roots of Educational Change (pp. 207-239). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing. Dweck, C. S. (2000). Self-Theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press. Harvey, G. (1998). Writing with Sources: A Guide for Harvard Students. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. Honebein, P. (1996). Seven Goals for the Design of Constructivist Learning Environments. In B. G. Wilson (Ed.), Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instructional design (pp. 130-143). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications. North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE). (2000). How do we “Teach with the Brain in Mind?” Teaching and Learning Collaborative Newsletter. September 2000. <http://www.ncae.org/pub/tlc/tlc0009.shtml>. Retrieved 17 November 2002. Perkins, D. (1992). Smart Schools: Better Thinking and Learning for Every Child. New York: Free Press. Perkins, D. (2002). POP Art: The Power Of Priming via the Power of Precedent. Class Handout for Harvard Graduate School of Education course T-540. Perkins, D. (2002). BAD Behavior: Believe-And-Do as the Basis for Behavior. Class Handout for Harvard Graduate School of Education course T-540.

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Technical Specifications
The Dilemma Explorer is authored in the PHP Web-based scripting language utilizing a MySQL relational database for storage and retrieval purposes. Both PHP and MySQL are in the public domain and free of charge. In addition, this system can be coupled with the Apache Web Server software, which is also in the public domain and free of charge to use. All products are available for Windows, Apple Mac OS, Linux, and Unix. The Apache Web Server is available for download at http://www.apache.org/, PHP is available at http://www.php.net/, and MySQL is available at http://www.mysql.com/. A tutorial on installing the software can be found at Webmonkey’s “PHP4 Installation Overview” (http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/00/44/ index4a.html). These products are necessary only for the server side of the system. All that is needed for the client-side (learner-side) of the system is a Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, or Opera, all of which are freely available for download from the Internet. The Dilemma Explorer was developed and tested on a Gateway Performance desktop computer with an Intel Pentium III processor running Windows XP Professional, Apache 1.3.20 for Windows32 Web Server, PHP 4.2.2, and MySQL 3.23.39. While care was taken in the coding process to make the Dilemma Explorer system as backward and forward compatible as possible, earlier or later versions of software may cause the Dilemma Explorer to malfunction. The structure of the MySQL database is illustrated below:
D il e m e x D a taba se

Appendix 1

C o l l a b o r a t io n T a ble

D il e m m a s T a ble

F eed ba c k T a ble

Lea r n er s T a ble

P o s it io n T a ble

Q u e s t io n s T a ble

S o u r c es T a ble

S o u r c e s t o q u e s t io n s T a ble

S o u r c e s t o v ie w s T a ble

T ea c h ers T a ble

V ie w p o in t s T a ble

c _id c _d il em ma id c _o th er id

d_id d_teach er id d_learn er id d_name d_short de sc d_longd esc d_datet ime

f _id f _t it le f _o nt ab le f _o nid f _f or id f _w ho ty pe f _w ho id f _f ir st name f _l as tn ame f _f ee db ack f _p ri va te f _d at et ime f _r ead

l _id l _l og in l _p as sw ord l _t ea ch er id l _f ir st na me l _l as tn ame

p_id p_dilemma id p_status p_shortde sc p_longdesc p_datetime

q _id q _d il em ma id q _d es cr ip tion q _f ac tor q _s tr en gth q _d at et ime

s _id s _d il em ma id s _n ic kn ame s _t ype s _s ou rce s _r ef le ct ion s _l ink s _f ac tor s _s tr en gth s _d at et ime

stq_id stq_sourceid stq_questio nid

s tv _id s tv _s ou rc eid s tv _v ie wid

t _id t _l og in t _p as sw ord t _t it le t _f ir st na me t _l as tn ame t _c la ss pw

v_id v_dilemmaid v_name v_description v_factor v_strength v_datetime

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Appendix 2a
Log-In Screen

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Student Sign Up Screen

Appendix 2b

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Learner Main Page Screen

Appendix 2c

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Dilemma Summary Entry Screen

Appendix 2d

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Dilemma Main Page Screen

Appendix 2e

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Add Collaborators Screen

Appendix 2f

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Question Entry Page Screen

Appendix 2g

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Point-Of-View Entry Page Screen

Appendix 2h

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Source Entry Page Screen

Appendix 2i

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Position Entry Page Screen

Appendix 2j

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Add “Sticky Note” Screen

Appendix 2k

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Dilemma Main Page After Full Data Entry

Appendix 2l

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Table View Screen

Appendix 2m

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Short Tree View Screen

Appendix 2n

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Full Tree View Screen

Appendix 2o

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Help Screen Texts
What Do Questions Have To Do With Anything?
Good, well-worded questions can help you in your exploration of a dilemma and can help you by focusing your search for information. By finding sources that address your questions, your stance on the dilemma will be that much more informed. While there is no magic formula for questions, there are a few key words you can start with:  Who: Who is involved in the dilemma, and who is affected by it, for good or for bad?  What: What is really going on with dilemma? What was happening that the dilemma occurred? What do different people think about the dilemma? What effects might the outcome of this dilemma have?  Where & When: Where is the dilemma happening? When is it happening?  How: How did the dilemma start? How might it end? How are different people affected? How might this dilemma be avoided in the future?  Why: Why is this dilemma important to explore? Why did certain events or circumstances lead up to this dilemma? Why do different people think differently about the dilemma? Why is the outcome of this dilemma important?

Appendix 3

What are “Points Of View,” and Why Are They Important?
Dilemmas do not happen in a vacuum. People cause dilemmas to occur, and dilemmas greatly affect people. A “points of view” are the perspectives of these people – the beliefs and feelings of someone who is right there in the dilemma, effecting the dilemma in some way, or the beliefs and feelings of someone who might be affected by the dilemma in some way.

Finding the Right Sources
Finding sources is an important way to explore the dilemma more closely. Look for sources that address your questions or that support or disprove the points of view you’ve come up with. Some sources might help you come up with new questions or more points of view. Just add them in. You have the ability to write in what you took away from the source Make sure you give credit where credit is due: it is important to properly cite your sources. You will be given suggestions based on APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines for proper citations.

Taking a Stance
Now it’s your turn to take a stance, or position, on this dilemma. What do you think should be done about this dilemma? What do you think should be the outcome of this dilemma? You can take stances at different points in your dilemma exploration process (“Initial,” or at the beginning, “In-Progress,” while you’re going through the process, or “Final,” at the end of the process). It may be interesting for you to see how your stance changes as you go through the dilemma exploration process.

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Space Shuttle Challenger Example: Table View Printout (FOLLOWING 5 PAGES)

Appendix 4

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