New Semester 2 Unit: Digital Making and Learning

A new semester 2 course unit, worth 15 credits, will be offered to our onsite and Distance Learning students for the new academic year, taught by Mandi Banks.

The module EDUC71242 Digital Making and Learning will explore how we learn through making with computational tools.

The module will provide an opportunity to try a number of technologies that are designed to introduce programming techniques through creative making and similarly to develop making abilities with computational concepts. Computational perspectives on learning and mind connect aspects of cognitive science, neuroscience, linguistics, psychology and biology.

This course will explore a high level view of how these theoretical connections influence the design of tools for learning, through a mix of short lectures and practical making activities where we will reflect on the relevant theories through the practice of digital making.

This will take us on a journey through the levels of computation, from physical computing, electronics and IoT (internet of things), through machine code, basic and high level programming, to game and mobile/web app design.

To do this we will use a wide range of software and hardware at an introductory level, to explore what the nature of these tools tells us about learning through computational artefacts.

The tools will include among others: Raspberry Pi, Codebug, Scratch, Greenfoot, Minecraft, StarLogo, Bubble, and MIT App Inventor. We will finally consider what underlying principles of computation might suggest, through developments in artificial intelligence, biological and quantum computing, for the future of education and learning.

The first assessment (20%) is the creation of a concept map to explore a cutting edge area of computation such as quantum computing, big data, machine learning, biological computing, computer vision and haptics (virtual reality related technologies), in terms of its possible implications for education and learning. Students will be introduced to the possibilities in the first week and select an area of interest.

The first practical session will provide space for students to explore these areas with support and set up the initial concept map using a tool of their choice that has a change history functionality, such as Coggle or Mindmeister.

Throughout the following 9 weeks, students will be asked to develop their concept map in relation to developing understanding of computation and the principles underlying these cutting edge technologies. This can be done within the practical session each week. The resulting concept map story will be submitted in week 10.

The main (80%) assessment will require students to make a digital tool (game, animation, mobile app etc.) based on the practical work we do through the course and to reflect on the process of making and evaluating the tool. The last two sessions of the course will be entirely practical workshops, a ‘maker space’ where the making of the tool can be done with support. Each student will use a research method popular in UX (user experience) and HCI (human computer interaction) known as TAP – Think Aloud Protocol to record the process. While making the tool, students will be asked to audio record their thoughts about what they are doing as they do it. They will then give the tool to a peer on the course and ask them to use TAP while they use the tool. Students will then use the audio recordings of themselves during making and their user during use to evaluate their own tool and their making process in a report of not more than 1500 words.



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