Seeing to Understand

Using Visualizations to Understand Learning in Technology-Rich Learning Environments

Authored by: Cindy Hmelo-Silver , Rebecca Jordan , Suparna Sinha

Handbook of Design in Educational Technology

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415807340
eBook ISBN: 9780203075227
Adobe ISBN: 9781135118969


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Sociocultural and social constructivist theories of learning argue that learning is inherently social and is often situated in complex technologically mediated learning environments (Cole, 1999; Palincsar, 1998; Pea, 1993). In such environments, learning is fostered through technology related tools but also through the joint discussion of conceptions and meaning-making. Because learning results from this participation, understanding and designing technology to support the development of ideas requires analyzing data simultaneously across various sources through time. More specifically, studying learning in these environments requires understanding of how learning unfolds in context, how knowledge and strategies are constructed, and how the learning process is mediated by technological tools and resulting artifacts.

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