Saturday, March 29, 2008

ijCSCL Symposium at Conference of the Learning Sciences

ijCSCL Symposium 2008 -- ICLS, Utrecht

"Productive tensions in the learning sciences: Socio-cognitive and socio-cultural theory”
Co-chairs: Gerry Stahl & Friedrich Hesse

The two major theoretical orientations in contemporary learning-sciences research create a tension in the approaches of the ICLS/CSCL research community. For instance, should all cognitive phenomena and processes be analyzed as an interplay of components in a model of the individual human mind or should cognition be studied as irreducibly spread across collectivities, interactions, practices and artifacts situated in specific cultural-historical settings? Can the apparent incommensurability of the approaches be productive in stimulating critical reflection on conceptualizations and methods? Is it possible to bring the two perspectives into a productive relationship that supports collaboration on research and complementarity of results?
The symposium will consist of three half-hour segments:

Part I: A socio-cognitive analysis
An author of an ijCSCL paper representing a socio-cognitive approach to learning sciences research will make a brief presentation illustrating the power of this approach. Then a discussant will question possible limitations of the approach.

• Presenters: Ulrike Cress & Joachim Kimmerle, authors of “A systemic and cognitive view on collaborative knowledge building with wikis” (ijCSCL 3:2). Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/g509739lp56gk040/fulltext.pdf
• Discussant: Daniel D. Suthers
• Moderator: Gerry Stahl

Part II: A socio-cultural analysis
An author of an ijCSCL paper representing a socio-cultural approach to learning sciences research will make a brief presentation illustrating the power of this approach. Then a discussant will question possible limitations of the approach.

• Presenters: Ingeborg Krange & Sten Ludvigsen, authors of “What does it mean? Students’ procedural and conceptual problem solving in a CSCL environment designed within the field of science education” (ijCSCL 3:1). Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/83w585l5u442v287/fulltext.pdf
• Discussant: Baruch Schwarz
• Moderator: Friedrich Hesse

Part III: Resolution
The audience will be challenged to propose ways of bringing the two theoretical approaches together. The question will also be raised—in anticipation of the next year’s symposium—of the extent to which the design of instructional technologies and educational practices should be driven by these theories and research paradigms.

The audience is encouraged to read the two papers prior to the symposium. Springer has agreed to make these Open Access so that everyone can download them for free, even though everyone who attends ICLS can subscribe to ijCSCL as part of their registration and ISLS membership.

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