Thinking About Thinking Through Multimedia: Undergraduate Learning with MicroWorlds (ED-MEDIA 2008)

ED-MEDIA 2008 paper: Thinking About Thinking Through Multimedia: Undergraduate Learning with MicroWorlds.

Abstract: Undergraduate education students engaged in a multimedia project using MicroWorlds displayed levels of engagement in the activity that was beyond that displayed in other assessment tasks. Students also displayed deep levels of understandings about their own learning and about their understandings of teaching and learning. This paper investigates three years of student engagement with MicroWorlds and reports that in each year students achieved high grades and reported high levels of self satisfaction. It became apparent that through this task students were thinking about their own thinking and making practical connections to theory.

ICT in children’s learning is a whole year subject in the 2nd year Bachelor of Education at the University of Melbourne. Most students were not “digital natives.” The author wanted to use MicroWorlds to develop the constructivist and constructionist pedagogical skills of pre-service teachers using ICTs.

The assignment: in 5 weeks construct a multimedia project (a story, a book, a game, etc. in MicroWorlds). Needed to have at least 4 pages and 4 major components of multimedia.

At first the students were thrown out by the vagueness of the assignment. “The idea that these students ‘had to work things out’ for themselves, was alien and threatening for some; they were not being ‘taught'”. Some students complained bitterly about the assignment for this reason.

But gradually as the students engaged with the assignment, they realised that they themelves had to complete learner-centred tasks that involved creation, exploration and self-discovery — constructivist and constructionist learning attributes — before they could one day expect to engender these qualities in their classrooms. They realised that these skills could not be taught, but only learned through practice.

This study highlights the need for effective and practical teacher training when constructivist and constructionist learning is desirable in schools.


Authors: Nicholas Reynolds, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Simulation Development by Students: An Alternative Cross-Thematic Didactical Approach (ED-MEDIA 2008)

ED-MEDIA 2008 paper: Simulation Development by Students: An Alternative Cross-Thematic Didactical Approach.

Abstract: This paper presents the cross-thematic scenario “Free fall simulation development” as a framework for activities, using the multimedia programming environment MicroWorlds Pro (MicroWorlds Pro 1.1 – Greek version and the incorporated Logo programming language). This scenario combines elements from informatics, natural sciences and mathematics, and places emphasis on the development of models, programs and multimedia applications as combined projects. The paper’s aim is to discuss the basic parameters of an effective alternative didactical approach, in the level of planning, development and implementation, as well as to support the teaching community with particular suggestions for implementation.

  • Based on Seymor Papert’s work and theory of constructionist learning.
  • Course: Multimedia networks at 3rd grade of General Senior High school in Athens. Two classes participated: 18 learners and 23 learners.
  • Educational scenario: “Free fall simulation development”: a cross-thematic scenario that draws on maths and natural sciences.
  • The students’ response to the teaching process was positive.They were engaged in the work; they experimented.

The study demonstrated the value of modeling as a way to engage learners in deep learning. Kusasa aimed for this.


Authors: Katerina Glezou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; Maria Grigoriadou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Multimedia and multiliteracies in the early elementary years (ED-MEDIA 2008)

ED-MEDIA 2008 paper: Multimedia and multiliteracies in the early elementary years.

Abstract: The widening of the concept of literacy has many implications for teachers. In this paper three classroom activities will be discussed and linked to concepts of ICT literacy and to questions of pedagogy when language, media and computing combine in the classroom. The first activities were carried out by five and six year old students exploring computer graphics and text. The other activities were used with grade 3/4 students, and involved graphics, text and sound to illustrate or explain specific contexts or situations.

The author spoke about the need for children to reflect on their use of technology to really develop higher order thinking skills. In his examples, working with an inner-city primary school in Melbourne, the teacher would guide a class discussion during or after the learners used software to create digital artefacts. To back this up this approach he quoted the paper Literature Review in Thinking Skills, Technology and Learning.

The software the kids used was MicroWorlds — constructivist learning technology.

Author: Anthony Jones, The University of Melbourne, Australia