Proceedings of CSCL '99

By International Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning | Go to book overview

A System for Supporting Group Learning that Enhances Interactions

Fusako Kusunoki

Tama Art University, Department of Information Design

Masanori Sugimoto

University of Tokyo, Information Technology Center

Hiromichi Hashizume

National Center for Science Information Systems, Research and Development Department

Abstract: In this paper, we describe and evaluate a system for supporting group learning that enhances interactions among learners. To date we have constructed several systems for supporting collaborative learning. One of the aims of CSCL is to promote mutual learning through interactions and discussions among learners. Our previous experiments, however, have shown that these systems may not be so effective for supporting interactions and discussions at times. In order to enhance interactions further, a system should support externalization of each learner in an easily recognizable manner. Through such externalization, learners can actively collaborate or conflict with each other through discussions.

The proposed system integrates a board game and a computer simulation, and is used for studying urban planning and environmental problems. Each learner externalizes and represents his/her own ideas on a board game, which allows him/her to actively participate in a learning situation and to share the representations with other learners. The computer simulation helps the learners to understand the status of the town constructed on the board game.

Several experiments were carried out in a public elementary school. The results show that our system is effective for enhancing interactions, discussions and learner engagement.

Keywords: game, simulation, evaluation


Introduction

In this paper, we describe and evaluate a system for supporting group learning that enhances interactions. To date we have constructed several systems for supporting collaborative learning [ Kusunoki97)][ Kusunoki98)]. One of the aims of CSCL (Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning) [ Koschmann96)] is to promote mutual learning through interactions and discussions among learners. Our previous experiments, however, have shown that these systems may not be so effective for supporting interactions and discussions at times [ Kusunoki98)]. In order to enhance interactions further, a system should support externalization of each learner in an easily recognizable manner. Through such externalization, learners can actively collaborate or conflict with each other through discussions.

The proposed system integrates a board game and a computer simulation [ Arias97)], and is used for studying urban planning and environmental problems. Each learner externalizes and represents his/her own ideas on a board game, which allows him/her to actively participate in a learning situation and to share the representations with other learners. The computer simulation helps the learners to understand the status of the town constructed on the board game, in terms of air pollution, water pollution, etc..

We carried out several experiments with the system in a public elementary school. The experiments showed that our system is effective for enhancing interactions, activating discussions, and raises learner engagement as It increases the game sense [ Kafai95)] and authenticity of a problem [ Norman96)].


System Configuration

Overview

The system is comprised of three components: a board game, scenario cards, and a computer simulation.

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