#AEPC2014 debrief

The Advances in Educational Psychology (#AEPC2014) conference took place this past Friday and Saturday. The conference was sponsored by APA Division 15 and was organized around four themes: principles and mechanisms of change, research to practice, technology in the classroom, and social and cultural influences on learning. I had a good experience working with more experienced peers (including Aman Yadav and old and new friends from my program) in the technology in the classroom strand. Division Read more ...
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Modeling learning: take two

I was thinking last week about modeling learning in terms of an article that argued that different "models" (behavioral, cognitive, social) help to explain different aspects of learning. That motivated me to model what I think learning is -- here's my initial result with an explanation below: Individuals have some motivation for participating in social practices. Social practices as the activities individuals do with other individuals, like playing on a team, working on a project, or Read more ...
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Modeling learning

I recently read an article by Bruner on "Models of the learner" which sparked my thinking about what a "model" is and how learning is "modeled" in theories of learning. I found it helpful to think of models of learning as simplified representations of aspects of the theories and how they are related. Behaviorist "models" of learning were useful for explaining and predicting behavior and learning, but they failed to explain and predict things not caused by stimuli. Likewise, according to those Read more ...
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Won’t you be my neighbor? Four books on the sociocultural perspective

I've been influenced by the following four books on the sociocultural perspective and thought a short post was due. The sociocultural perspective looks at learning, behavior, and development in terms of the effects of social and cultural context and practices. Bruner, J. S. (1990). Acts of meaning: Four lectures on mind and culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cole, M. (1998). Cultural psychology: A once and future discipline. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Rogoff, Read more ...
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Keeping up with the journal Joneses

Early in graduate school journals were very inaccessible to me. I did not know where to start, or what to read once I found one. Over time I started to develop my understanding of where to start and what and how to read, but did not have a way of staying on top of them with some type of regularity. I tried to subscribe to RSS feeds through the journals' websites, or to follow the journals through social media or e-mail updates. None of these worked particularly well, despite receiving updates, with Read more ...
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Eating your veggies – and reading your handbooks

Luke Rapa described in a 2012 ideaplay post some of the things research handbooks "do": Articulate the history(ies) of our discipline, demonstrating the evolution of significant ideas and scholarship over time Highlight various, and often conflicting perspectives about issues that are central to our field, while encouraging us to wrestle with any tension that remains Introduce us to new scholars, helping us learn both who the leading voices are and what those voices have to say Initiate Read more ...
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Situations, Contexts, Practices, and Activities

I asked a question on Twitter last week about the meaning of activity and practice. My question was motivated (in part) by some light-hearted tweets poking fun at the use of "trendy" terms at the ICLS conference: "Something about learning, don't ignore context, alternative frameworks / the social." *cue applause* — Alt/ICLS (@AltICLS) June 26, 2014 This design conjecture maps the trajectory of social practice within the contested becoming of mediated knowledge development. #ICLS2014 — Read more ...
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Presenting at ICLS 2014

I will be presenting "Developing mechanistic explanations of phenomena: Case studies of two fifth grade students’ epistemologies in practice over time" next week at ICLS (the International Conference of the Learning Sciences) 2014 with Christina Schwarz, Li Ke, and May Li. Here is more information on the presentation: PAPER SET: Epistemic Practices of Evidence and Modeling Engineering Center Classroom Wing 245 Developing Mechanistic Model-Based Explanations of Phenomena: Case Studies Read more ...

The social construction of the practicum (a research experience that occurs prior to the dissertation)

In my program the practicum is a research experience that occurs prior to the dissertation -- and I defended my practicum on Wednesday to my committee members Matthew Koehler, Leigh Graves Wolf, and Andrea Zellner, and my friend Spencer Greenhalgh. In one sense, my practicum was a solitary experience. In another sense, my ideas were shaped through interactions from more knowledgeable peers - especially those of my my practicum committee members - but also friends and colleagues like Spencer, Michelle, Read more ...
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