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The Cloudworks Team
29 July 2008

To make students aware of their assumptions on controversial subjects, ask them questions to which their answers can be displayed on a graph.

Students are often unaware of their own assumptions until they are confronted with those of others. Sometimes these differences reflect different theoretical approaches in the subject.

This activity – originally conceived to teach the relationships between learning theories and the design of educational software – starts with learners answering online a series of multiple-choice questions, such as: “In a tutorial, if a pupil makes a mistake, it is best to…” The system then produces a graph, plotting each student on two axes (in this case, from “Teaching” to “Discovery”, and from “System” to “Learner”). The teacher then pairs students who have answered differently and gets them to agree new answers, and to give a reason. Finally, the teacher debriefs and organises the students’ answers into theories. [Pierre Dillenbourg]

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