Ken Hay


Ken Hay is an Associate Professor at the University of Indiana Bloomington who conducts research in the area of emergent technology, cognition, learning and instruction. He develops new learning technologies (robotics, virtual reality, and web-based video) and uses a strong social-cultural theoretical base to explore, develop and research new ways to understand and learning that are enabled by these technologies. He work in science, mathematics education and teacher professional development.


Building a Wrong Model - Developing the Learning Affordances of 3D Environments

Even the most highly educated among us have and maintain profound misconceptions of the world. For example, as highlighted in the film A Private Universe (Schneps & Sadler, 1988), 21 of 23 Harvard graduates described profound misconceptions about the cause of the seasons. Studies conducted across age groups reveal that these misconceptions do not fade or disappear as students grow older; in many cases, they strengthen, become highly resilient to change and are unaffected by traditional instruction. This is because they are not simply incorrect information that can be replaced; rather they are rival models of the phenomenon that almost always include some “true” elements and in some way “work.” Traditional instruction is inadequate at confronting misconceptions because it never requires learners to confront the implications of their thinking. Understanding the implications of your thinking is a hallmark of learning the deep structure of a domain. A particularly powerful way to understanding your thinking is to “enact” your thinking through the construction of a computational model which requires the integration of facts, concepts and relationships of a phenomenon. Further, it requires you to reconcile the resulting model to the facts of the phenomenon. This talk will present software and research findings on a novel way of confronting misconceptions through the learners’ construction of “wrong” 3d dynamic models in the domain of astronomy. These “wrong” models are not simply based on the lack on knowledge, but rather are models learners have that contain “true” elements and on some level “work.” The talk will present the issues of developing the architectural and social affordances of a 3D environment that enable learners to create these types of “wrong” models and their implication for learning. Further, it will bridge the world of school-based inquiry-based learning activities to the world of interactive computer games to explore how these insights can inform game design for serious learning.

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