Argunaut News and Events
Argunaut presence at the ITS conference, June 2008
The 9th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS-08) took place in Montréal, Canada between the 23rd to 27th of June. Held twenty years after the first ITS conference, ITS-08 was dedicated to "looking back at what has been achieved and what is currently done, in order to face the challenges of tomorrow." Participants primarily included researchers and practitioners in the fields of Computer Science and Human Learning.
The Argunaut project team presented two papers at this conference. The papers by Miksatko & McLaren (2008) and Scheuer & McLaren (2008) both presented work on the 'Deep Loop' of the Argunaut system, in which segments of discussion maps are automatically classified using artificial intelligence, and specifically machine learning, techniques. The purpose of this automatic classification is to help teachers evaluate discussions quickly and easily. Both papers were presented during a session on 'Educational Data Mining' and were very well received, with many questions asked after the talks. Dr. Bruce McLaren presented the first paper and his student at the University of Saarland, Oliver Scheuer, presented the second paper.
Dr. McLaren and Mr. Scheuer spoke to a variety of conference participants about the work of Argunaut and demo-ed the system to interested researchers. Argunaut brochures were distributed at the main conference and in the workshop areas.
- Miksatko, J., & McLaren, B. M. (2008). What’s in a Cluster? Automatically Detecting Interesting Interactions in Student E-Discussions. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS-08), ed. by Beverly Park Woolf, Esma Aïmeur, Roger Nkambou and Susanne P. Lajoie, pp. 333-342, Montreal, Canada.
- Scheuer, O., & McLaren, B. M. (2008). Helping Teachers Handle the Flood of Data in Online Student Discussions. (Also in the Proceedings of ITS-08.)
Argunaut presence at the ICLS conference, June 2008
The International Conference for the Learning Sciences was hosted this year by Utrecht University. The theme for ICLS2008 was International Perspectives in the Learning Sciences. The conference attempted to broaden the geographical, cultural, and intellectual scope of the learning sciences community, while maintaining its focus on the innovative consideration of learning as it occurs in authentic contexts.
Argunaut members have organized a pre-conference workshop on the subject of "design workshops". This workshop focused on the relationship between technical developers, pedagogical researchers and end-users in the educational field (including teachers), in the process of developing new e-learning, e-collaboration and e-mediation tools. More details, including the slides shown during the workshop, can be found here.
Argunaut members have additionally organized and participated in a conference symposium titled "Inter- and intra-subjective planes of e-argumentation: Motivation, self-perception, expectations, and actual interlocutory behavior". The papers in this symposium presented recent research on intra-personal, non-cognitive variables and how they affect or are affected by electronic collective argumentation. The data presented were obtained from both e-discussants and e-moderators, and pertain to factors such as motivation, self-perception, role definitions and expectations. The three contributions provided information on these factors before, during and after e-discussions and help delving in the dynamics of (moderated) e-argumentation.
Argunaut members have also taken part in a conference symposium titled "Analyzing and Presenting Interaction Data: A Teacher, Student and Researcher Perspective", organized by Wouter van Diggelen, Jeroen Janssen & Maarten Overdijk. More details can be found here.
- Schwarz, B. B., Asterhan, C. S. C., Weinberger, A., Stegman, K., Fischer, F., Wichman, A., Harrer, A., & Hoppe, U. (accepted). Inter- and intra-subjective planes of e-argumentation: Motivation, self-perception, expectations, and actual interlocutory behavior. Symposium held at the 2008 International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Utrecht, Netherlands.
- van Diggelen, W., Janssen, J., Overdijk, M., Lund, K., Dyke, G., Girardot, J-J., Corbel, A.,Asterhan, C. S. C., Hever, R., Schwarz, B. B., Erkens, G., Kirschner, P. & Kanselaar, G. (accepted). Analyzing and presenting interaction data: A teacher, student and researcher perspective. Symposium held at the 2008 International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Utrecht, Netherlands.
Successful "real classroom" application of the Argunaut 0.67 pre-release in Israel and Germany, June 2008
A stable and advanced pre-release version of Argunaut (v. 0.67) became available near the end of May 2008. Minor technical issues not withstanding, this version has been successfully used in several classrooms in Israel and Germany.
The students used the Digalo and FreeStyler tools embedded within Argunaut for computer-supported collaborative argumentation and/or critical discussion in authentic lesson settings and as part of their regular curriculum, while their teachers supervised and moderated their actions via the Moderator's Interface. The participating classes were from the Elsa-Brändström Gymnasium in Oberhausen, the Wolfskuhle Gymnasium is Essen and the Ziv School in Jerusalem. Teachers and students in both countries expressed overall satisfaction with their use of the Argunaut tools.
Argunaut presence at the "Education in Israel" Exhibition, April 2008
The "Education in Israel" exhibition, which took place in the Israeli Trade – Fairs & Convention Center on the 27th and 28th of April 2008, was in essence an "education fair" in which providers of educational services and materials could present their projects, technologies etcetera to members of the education community in Israel. The visitors included school principals, Ministry of Education officials, CEOs of organizations and companies, teachers, educational researchers, parents, and more. These visitors were exposed to a variety of booths and presentations pertaining to educational needs and services in Israel. They could also take part in discussions, hear about dilemmas and conclusions of up-to-date educational research and join in an exchange of ideas and opinions between teachers, researchers and other experts in the field of education.
Argunaut team members from HUJI hired a booth in the exhibition space, which was used to showcase a special teachers' training course, during which the participating teachers were exposed to several technologies (including Digalo and Argunaut) and applied them in their classrooms.
Argunaut workshop and piloting in Colombia, March 2008
In 2007, members of Argunaut took part in a special research project coordinated by UNAD, the Colombian National Open and Distance University. The project, featuring the Digalo tool as its main technological axis, aimed specifically at supporting educational processes associated with the reincorporation of populations in extreme need: young ex-"guerrilleros" and ex-"paramilitares" which, during many years, have been out of any regular educational, social or economic framework. The project covered in a parallel fashion different geographical areas in Colombia and curricular units of various subject matters (math, science, Spanish and civic education). The tool has again proved to be useful and successful (both in the thematic learning and in the acquisition of important abilities, like a healthful discussion culture, respect and openness to others' opinions and ideas, written and oral expression, etc.).
Based on this positive experience with the Digalo tool, Argunaut members planned an Argunaut workshop followed by a pilot for the ARGUNAUT system in Colombia, again in collaboration with UNAD. The Argunaut workshop, held in Bogota for 4 days in March 2008, served as preparation for the piloting work done by members of UNAD. In this workshop, three visiting members of the Argunaut team introduced the local team to the ARGUNAUT project, trained the involved researchers and teachers in the use of the system and planned with them, in detail, the experimental work and reporting requirements of the subsequent pilot. The pilot, which took place later that month, included three researchers, four tutors (acting as discussion moderators) and more then 20 students as discussion participants. The rough data (discussion maps, video recordings, logs of various kinds as well as forms and interview summaries), together with the results of some local analyses, were made available to Argunaut members for further compilation and analysis.
Argunaut presence at the Chais Conference in Israel, February 2008
Argunuat team members from HUJI made several paper and poster presentations at the Chais Conference on Instructional Technologies, held on the 6th of February 2008, at Raanana, Israel. The conference was initiated this year – as it was the previous year – by the Chais Research Center for the Integration of Technology in Education of the Open University of for researchers and professionals. This national conference for researchers and professionals serves as a meeting place for discussion, presentation of research and exchange of opinions between researchers and other experts in the field of instructional technologies.
The Argunaut-related presentations included a focus on e-moderation of synchronous discussions, dealing with the moderator's point of view, the students' point of view and the moderator-discussant interaction. Another poster covered a special teachers' training course, during which the teachers were exposed to several technologies (including Digalo/Argunaut) and applied them in their classrooms. More information can be found here.
Asterhan, C. S. C. (2008). Direct tutor moderation of synchronous discussions: The importance of involvement and personalization. In: Y. Eshet-Alkalai, A. Caspi, & N. Geri (Eds), Proceedings of the 2008 Chais Conference on Instructional Technologies Research: Learning in the technological era. Raanana: Open University Press.
Asterhan, C. S. C., Gil, J., & Schwarz, B. B. (2008). Students' perspectives on e-moderation of synchronous argumentation. (In the Proceedings of Chais 2008.)
De Groot, R., Haim, Y., Riskin, L., & Eisenmann, T. (2008). The Teacher and the Student in an Online Learning Environment: A Model for Professional Development Training. (In the Proceedings of Chais 2008.)
Schwarz, B. B., Ben-David Kolikant, Y., & Mishenkina, M. (2008). Moderation of E-Discussion: Emergent Harmony for Learning Purposes? (In the Proceedings of Chais 2008.)