2010 CRC PhD Student Conference



   Semantic Adaptivity and Social Networking in Personal
                 Learning Envi...
2010 CRC PhD Student Conference



these mechanisms generate effects in a more or less predictable way. Finally, they
deve...
2010 CRC PhD Student Conference




By the end of my Ph. D. project, I hope to have built a "PLE IDE" -- a tool offering
p...
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Corneli

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Corneli

  1. 1. 2010 CRC PhD Student Conference Semantic Adaptivity and Social Networking in Personal Learning Environments Joe Corneli j.a.corneli@open.ac.uk Supervisors Alexander Mikroyannidis Peter Scott Department/Institute Knowledge Media Institute Status Fulltime Probation viva Before Starting date 01/01/10 Introductory Remarks I've decided to deal with "personal learning environments" with an eye towards the context of their creation and use. This entails looking not just at ways to help support learning experiences, but also at the complex of experiences and behaviours of the many stakeholders who are concerned with learning. (E.g. educators, content providers, software developers, institutional and governmental organizations.) This broad view is compatible with the idea of a personal learning environment put forward by the progenitors of the PLE model: "Rather than integrate tools within a single context, the system should focus instead on coordinating connections between the user and a wide range of services offered by organizations and other individuals." (Wilson et al., 2006) This problem area, which otherwise threatens to become hugely expansive, invites the creation of a unified methodology and mode of analysis. A key aim of my work is to develop such a method -- a sort of dynamic cartography. In this frame, the social roles of stakeholders are to be understood through their constituent actions. My analysis will then focus on the following question: How can mapping activity patterns in a social context help us support the learning process more effectively? Thematic Issues In order to understand patterns of interaction with data well enough to make useful maps, we must delve a bit into human sense-making behaviour. A small vocabulary of actions related to sense-making provides a model we can then use quite extensively. People look for simplifying patterns. In a countervailing trend, they look for ways to become more usefully interconnected and interoperable. To negotiate between these two types of behaviour, they identify or create "points of coordination" which provide mechanisms of control. They may do experiments, and then document how Page 12 of 125
  2. 2. 2010 CRC PhD Student Conference these mechanisms generate effects in a more or less predictable way. Finally, they developing explicit, shareable, practices which achieve "desirable" effects. Simplification, interconnection, control, experiment, motivation, and praxis -- these are the thematic issues that inform my technical investigations. Proposed Implementation Work I plan to focus on implementation is that it is an ideal place in which to refine and test my ideas about dynamic maps. My efforts will be directed largely into implementation in the following applications. * Etherpad and other related tools for live online interactions -- Data about social interactions is all interesting and potentially useful, but data about "live" social interactions is becoming increasingly available in forms that are suitable for large-scale computational analysis, and real-time use. * RDF and related techniques for data management -- Marking up complex and changing relationships between objects is standard in e.g. computer animation and computer games; it is interesting to think about how these ideas can work in other domains (e.g. to assist with learning). * Wordnet and Latent Semantic Analysis style approaches for clustering and annotating data -- There are various techniques for dividing content into thematic clusters (useful for supporting simplification behaviours needed for sense making), and for annotating data with new relationships (useful for supporting interconnection behaviours). I will explore these in various applications, e.g. applying them to the streams of data identified above. * Semantic Web style patterns for interoperability -- Content may still be king, but interfaces make up the board on which the game is played. I plan to use an existing standard for mathematical documents (OMDoc) and other API-building tools to help make the PlanetMath.org collection of mathematical resources interoperable with e.g. OU's SocialLearn platform, contributing to the development of a public service to STEM learners and practitioners worldwide. * Documentation of technical processes -- PlanetMath.org is an example of a tool that has more content contributors than coders, and more feature requests than anyone knows what to do with. Good documentation is part of making hacking easier. Towards this end, I'm planning to build PlanetComputing.org to document the software used on PlanetMath (and many other projects). Conclusion Page 13 of 125
  3. 3. 2010 CRC PhD Student Conference By the end of my Ph. D. project, I hope to have built a "PLE IDE" -- a tool offering personalized support for both learners and developers. I hope to have a robust theory and practice of dynamical mapping that I will have tested out in several domains related to online learning. Reference Wilson, S., Liber, O., Johnson, M., Beauvoir, P., Sharples, P., & Milligan, C. (2006). Personal Learning Environments: Challenging The Dominant Design Of Educational Systems. Proceedings of 2nd International Workshop on Learner-Oriented Knowledge Management and KM-Oriented Learning, In Conjunction With ECTEL 06. (pp. 67-76), Crete, Greece. Page 14 of 125

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