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A Framework to Structure CSCL for Pupils with Cognitive Disabilities

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A Framework to Structure CSCL for Pupils with Cognitive Disabilities
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  A framework to structure CSCL for pupils with cognitive disabilities Andreas Lingnau  Knowledge Media Research Center72072 Tuebingen, Germanya.lingnau@iwm!mrc.de Martina Bientzle "ni#ersity o$ Tuebingen72072 Tuebingen, Germany martina.bient%le@student.unituebingen.de Abstract &erbal communication is a !ey not only $or learning but also $or e#ery day li$e. 'ince one goal o$ schools $or (u(ils with cogniti#e disabilities is to  (re(are (u(ils to manage their e#ery day li$e on their own, we e)(ect that teaching (u(ils how to learn and wor! collaborati#ely by sharing tas!s, gi#e directions to each other and understand them, will su((ort this  (rocess. *n this (a(er we will (resent an en#ironment which su((orts im(licit scri(ted collaborati#e tas! sol#ing without increasing cogniti#e load. 1. Introduction There are only few systematic studies about the potential of collaborative learning for pupils with cognitive disabilities or learning difficulties. Wishart, et. al. !" showed that collaborative learning can be an effective learning method for this target group. #n general computers can be used as effective learning tools to support pupils with cognitive disabilities in ac$uisition of basic learning s%ills &" and help them to increase self'determination, independence, and integration s%ills (".#n a preliminary study )" using a collaborative software environment with a shared wor%space where two pupils had to solve a puzzle tas% we implemented a tas% designed similar to a problem solving tas% for early learners *". #n this setting puzzle pieces had to be moved to the correct position in a shared wor%space but without any restrictions which ob+ects may be manipulated by a user and how one could agree or disagree to the co'learners actions within the wor%space. We observed that not only the higher performing pupil too% the leadership and started to give directions to the other learner but that also the lower performing pupil bac%ed off from being an active and mindful contributor. -ince the pupils had to act by turns the lower performing pupil mostly +ust added one of hisher puzzle pieces from the private repository to a random position in the shared wor%space or moved a piece to a random but wrong position in the wor%space. The higher performing pupil waited hisher turn and undid this action by moving the piece to either the correct position or +ust outside the wor%ing area. Analysing these results we started to develop a more elaborated environment with floor control and a confirmation tool which allows implicit scripting of tas%s for collaborative learning /". This environment can stimulate collaboration andor accomplish and foster communication between learners with cognitive disabilities or learning difficulties. 2. Design of the framework The implementation is based on 0ree-tyler 1", an open and modular simulation and modelling tool which already provides a collaborative wor%space in a replicated architecture. 0rom our preliminary study we learned that mechanisms are necessary to prevent lower performing pupils from bac%ing off and leaving the tas% solution to the higher performing pupils. To avoid that the target group of pupils with cognitive disabilities has to handle to much activities at the same time we limited the number of ob+ects the learner has to deal with. Thus, we implemented a confirmation mechanism where both pupils had to validate the final position of an ob+ect in the shared wor%space in combination with floor control. The floor control mechanism was realised as a switch. A new ob+ect is assigned to one of the learners and the ownership is represented by different colours. #nstead of having an e2plicit moderator controlling the tas%, this is done implicitly when the learner who owns an ob+ect confirms the position where he wants the ob+ect to be placed. Thereby the other learner now has to either confirm or decline the decision which means he is implicitly as% by the system what he thin%s about the suggestion. By getting the confirm or decline buttons enabled this is an implicit information that he gets the floor and it is hisher turn now. 3ot before both learner confirm the position of an ob+ect the ne2t ob+ect appears in the private wor%space of one of the learner.The main goal is to stimulate communication and interaction between pupils with cognitive disabilities 2009 Ninth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies 978-0-7695-3711-5/09 $25.00 © 2009 IEEEDOI 10.1109/ICALT.2009.20250  which are normally unaccustomed to solve tas%s in pairs and without intervention of non disabled people. #n our preliminary study either of the learners usually overtoo% the leadership, even if both pupils where able to solve the tas% on their own. This minimised communication and one of the pupils often +ust acted by chance when heshe had turn and the other pupil solved the tas% on hisher own. The results point out that many pupils with cognitive disabilities have difficulties to coordinate learning activities in a collaborative situation on their own. The restricted communication and coordination abilities ma%e it necessary and reasonable to support the collaboration process of pupils with cognitive disabilities with technology. With our floor control and confirmation tool approach we try to avoid an unnecessary increase of cognitive load by guiding the pupils through the tas% with an implicit script but without changing or restricting the pupils familiar way of communication.The new software environment allows the implementation of an implicit script to structure the learners activity and contribution and help them to organise and coordinate the solution finding process. The software achieves a balanced effort in collaboration and tas%'related communication. By structuring the collaboration, the cognitive resources of the pupils are disburdened so that they can be more focused on the content of the tas%. . Implementation We enhanced the collaborative wor%space by two features4 floor control and a confirmation tool. To visualise the ownership of ob+ects within the floor control mode every learner has hisher own colour. The bac%ground of the private wor%space, where new ob+ects appear for the first time, is coloured with the learners assigned colour and after heshe has dragged an ob+ect from hisher private wor%space into the shared wor%space it appears with a frame in the learners colour. #n the floor control mode, ob+ects can only be moved by the owner of an ob+ect as long as heshe did not confirm the position of an ob+ect. Table 5 shows the different steps the learner are going through while they are wor%ing on one ob+ect. The possibility of having only one active ob+ect at a time is optional but for pupils with cognitive disabilities it guarantees that they concentrate on only one ob+ect and do not loose the focus.To provide control group settings for evaluation purpose and data ascertainment in studies the confirmation feature can be used without using floor control. #n this second setting the different steps to find a +oint solution vary for the two learner. #n Table ( the different steps of this modified setting are visualised. Learner 5 6yellow7Learner ( 6blue75Learner 5 dragged a new ob+ect from his private into the shared wor%space and has to confirm the position.8b+ect movable8b+ect loc%ed(Learner 5 confirmed the position. 3ow learner ( must either aree or decline the decision.8b+ect loc%ed8b+ect loc%ed/ALearner ( declined the decision of learner 59 leads bac% to 5.8b+ect movable8b+ect loc%ed/BLearner ( agreed with the decision of learner 5. 3ow this ob+ect is fi2ed and the ne2t ob+ect appears by chance in one of the learners private wor%space.8b+ect fi2ed8b+ect fi2ed Table 1: Step by step visualisation of floor control confirmation procedure. !. "valuation The design process of the collaborative floor control environment has been mainly influenced by the preliminary study and further hypothesis. Thus, a more elaborated study 5" has been done where learners from a :erman school for pupils with cognitive disabilities wor%ed in pairs on a collaborative tas%. 0or this study we adapted the furniture tas%, which has been successfully applied by Wishart, et. al. !" in a non computerised collaborative learning scenario with pupils with intellectual disabilities.#n the computerised scenario using our floor control and confirmation tool environment the pupils were placed in a face'to'face situation using pen'based interactive screens in front of each learner. 0igure ( shows the screen of one learner from a pair wor%ing on the furniture tas%. 0or the e2periment the floor control and confirmation tool was used with the test group and the confirmation tool without floor control with the control group. 51  Learner 5 6yellow7Learner ( 6blue75Learner 5 dragged a new ob+ect from his private into the shared wor%space. Both learner can now move the ob+ect around and have to confirm the final position.8b+ect movable8b+ect movable(Learner 5 confirmed the position of the ob+ect as final. 3ow learner ( has either to agree or he can move the ob+ects if he wants to decline the decision.8b+ect loc%ed8b+ect movable/ALearner ( declined the decision by moving the ob+ect to another position. This leads bac% to step 5.8b+ect movable8b+ect movable/BLearner ( areed to the decision of learner 5.8b+ect fi2ed8b+ect fi2ed Table 2: Step by step visualisation of confirmation process without floor control. We e2pected that the floor control will lead to more target oriented actions and the number of moving and declining actions will be e$ually distributed. #n the control group where learners wor%ed with the confirmation tool but without floor control we observed a similar behaviour li%e in the preliminary study ;" where one learner very often dominated the other. As an une2pected result the use of floor control did not influence the behaviour and actions of the learners in the shared wor%space.<oncerning the communication between the pupils the study showed that compared to the control group, the learners wor%ing with floor control did twice the percentage of tas%'related communication. Learners without floor control did more than double of coordinative communication then the learners using floor control. The study tends to result that floor control increased the $uality of the outcome since the pupils placed more ob+ects to the belonging room than the learners of the control group. #. Conclusion The results of our study revealed an improved tas%'related communication and a higher $uality of learning results. The floor control design allows to structure the collaboration process of pupils with cognitive disabilities because it reduces coordination in support of tas%'related communication. $. %eferences 5" Bientzle, M., Wodzi%i, =., Lingnau, A., > <ress, ?. @nhancing pair learning of pupils with cognitive disabilities4 -tructural support with help of floor control.  +roceedings o$ C'C, 200- .(" <osden, M. A., :oldman, -. ., > ine, M. -. 65&&C7. Learning handicapped studentsD interactions during a microcomputer'based group writing activity. .ournal o$ '(ecial /ducation Technology,0 617. pp. ((CE(/(. /" 0ischer, 0., Mandl, ., aa%e, F., > =ollar, #. 6@ds.7. 6(CC!7. 'cri(ting com(utersu((orted collaborati#e learning  cogniti#e, com(utational and educational  (ers(e!ti#es . 3ew Gor%4 -pringer.1" oppe, . > :assner, = 6(CC(7. #ntegrating <ollaborative <oncept Mapping Tools with :roup Memory and etrieval 0unctions. #n :. -tahl 6@d.7,  +roceedings o$ C'C 2002 . Lawrence @rlenbaum Associates, !5;E!(*.*" Lingnau, A.9 oppe, . ?. > Mannhaupt, :.<omputer supported collaborative writing in an early learning classroom. .ournal o$ Com(uter 1ssisted  earning, lac!well 'cience td, (CC/ , - , 5);'5&1;" Lingnau, A., Hentel, I., > <ress, ?. 6(CC!7. 0ostering collaborative problem solving for pupils with cognitive disabilities. #n <. A. <hinn, :. @r%ens, > -. Iuntambe%ar 6@ds.7,  +roceedings o$ the Com(uter 'u((orted Collaborati#e earning Con$erence 20073 *nternational 'ociety o$ the earning 'ciences . 3ew Brunswic%, 3F4 #nternational -ociety of the Learning -ciences, 11!'11&. !" Wishart, F.:., Willis, J.-., <ebula, =.. > Iitcairn, T. =. 6(CC!7. <ollaborative learning4 a comparison of outcomes for typically developing and intellectually disabled children. American Fournal on Mental etardation, 55(, /;5'/!1.)" Wehmeyer, M. L. 65&&)7. 3ational survey of the use of assistive technology by adults with mental retardation.  Mental Retardation , /;, pp. 11'*5. &" Hentel, I., 8pfermann, M., > =rewin%el, F. 6(CC;7. Multimedia learning and the World Wide Web4 <onsiderations for learners with a mental retardation.  +roceedings o$ 1'C**T/ , /'; Jecember (CC;, -ydney, Australia. 52
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