The WebLabs project (European Union, Grant # IST-2001-32200) directed by Professors Richard Noss and Celia Hoyles) explored the collaborative construction and communication of mathematical and scientific knowledge in communities of young learners (age 10-14), by designing new learning activities and the tools to support them. To this end, it employed and enhanced two technologies: the ToonTalk programming environment as a constructionist medium and a bespoke collaborative knowledge-building medium called WebReports. The technological platform used by the WebLabs projects manifests a particular educational approach. The nature of the project was such that the underlying pedagogy and the supporting technology shaped and reshaped each other. Within this context, my individual responsibilities included leading the strand of activities on number sequences and the development of the WebReports system.
WebLabs investigated mathematical and scientific concepts in three knowledge domains: Numbers, Big numbers and Infinity, Kinematics and Dynamics, and Model Systems and Randomness. A further component was Tangibles: we built an interface with physical devices together with the set of sensors and actuators capable of instantiating a two-way mapping between experiments in the real and virtual worlds.
The focus was on collaborative construction, description and interpretation of how things work. Our aim was to transform the web into a medium in which European students collaboratively construct and critique each others' evolving knowledge and working models.
Students across European sites created, shared and modified web-based reports of their understandings of selected knowledge domains as they developed during work on the carefully designed educationally powerful activities that involved building and debugging models. The webreports included working models along with multi-media descriptions, interpretations and reflections.
The technological approach of the WebLabs project consisted of two tightly related components: a programming environment for students to construct models of their ideas and a web-based collaborative environment for them to share them. ToonTalk (www.toontalk.com) was chosen as the programming platform, while the WebReports collaborative system was designed by me and developed by our team in the course of the project. The technological platform used by the WebLabs projects manifests a particular educational approach.
Weblabs project video: full (16:18min)
Weblabs project video: introduction (01:34min)Weblabs project video: constructing ( 04:45min)
Weblabs project video: sharing (07:28min)
Weblabs project video: learning (02:38min)
Yishay Mor and Evgenia Sendova. ToonTalking about Mathematics. In I. Derzhanski and N. Dimitrova and S. Grozdev and Evgenia Sendova, editor(s), History and Education in Mathematics and Informatics, Attracting Talent to Science; Proceedings of the International Congress MASSEE 2003, september 15-21, Borovets, Bulgaria, University of Latvia, Latvia, 2003. URL
Yishay Mor and Jakob Tholander and Jesper Holmberg. Designing for cross-cultural web-based knowledge building. In Timothy Koschmann and Daniel D. Suthers and Tak-Wai Chan, editor(s), The 10th Computer Supported Collaborative Learning CSCL conference 2005, 450 - 459, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Taipei, Taiwan, 2006. URL
Yishay Mor and Richard Noss. Towards a narrative-oriented framework for designing mathematical learning. proceedings of the 1st CSCL SIG Symposium, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2004. URL
Yishay Mor and Richard Noss and Celia Hoyles and Ken Kahn and Gordon Simpson. Designing to see and share structure in number sequences. the International Journal for Technology in Mathematics Education, (13)2:65-78, 2006.URL
Celia Hoyles and Ken Kahn and Yishay Mor and Richard Noss and Evgenia Sendova and Ana I. Sacristán and Gordon Simpson. The WebLabs Project: Building New Formalisms for Mathematical and Scientific Ideas. the 7th International Conference on Technology in Mathematics Teaching, Bristol, 2005.
Nicholas Mousoulides and George Philippou. Developing new Representations and Mathematical Models in a Computational Learning Environment. Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education, 1061-1070, 2005. URL
Richard Noss and Celia Hoyles and Jean-Luc Gurtner and Ross Adamson and Sarah Lowe. Face-to-face and online collaboration: appreciating rules and adding complexity. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life Long Learning,(12)5:521-540, Inderscience, 2002. URL
Ken Kahn and Eugenia Sendova and Ana Isabel Sacristan and Richard Noss. Making infinity concrete by programming neverending processes. 7th International Conference on Technology and Mathematics Teaching, 2005.
Gordon Simpson and Celia Hoyles and Richard Noss. Designing a programming-based approach for modelling scientific phenomena. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, (21)2:143-158, Blackwell Publishing, 2005. URL
Gordon Simpson and Celia Hoyles and Richard Noss. Exploring the mathematics of motion through construction and collaboration. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, (22)2:114-136, 2006. URL
Ken Kahn. ToonTalk - An Animated Programming Environment for Children. Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, (7)2:197-217, 1996. URL
Michele Cerulli and Augusto Chioccariello and Enrica Lemut. A micoworld to implant a germ of probability. 5th CERME conference - congress of European Society for Research in Mathematics Education, Larnaca, Cyprus, 2007. URL
Michele Cerulli and Augusto Chioccariello and Enrica Lemut. Randomness and LEGO robots. Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education CERME 4, 591-600, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Spain,, 2005. URL
Ken Kahn and Richard Noss and Celia Hoyles and Duncan Jones. Designing Digital Technologies for Layered Learning.. In Roland Mittermeir, editor(s), ISSEP, (4226):267-278, Springer, 2006. URL
Celia Hoyles and J B Lagrange and Richard Noss. Developing and Evaluating Alternative Technological Infrastructures for Learning Mathematics. In Jürgen Maasz and Wolfgang Schloeglmann, editor(s), New Mathematics Education Research and Practice,263-312, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2006.
Ken Kahn. ToonTalk – Steps Towards Ideal Computer-Based Learning Environments. In Mario Tokoro and Luc Steels, editor(s), A Learning Zone of One's Own: Sharing Representations and Flow in Collaborative Learning Environments, 253--270, IOS Press,Amsterdam, 2004. URL
M. Cerulli and E. Chioccariello and E. Lemut. Randomness and Lego Robots. Proceedings of CERME 4, Fourth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education 17 - 21 February 2005 in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Spain YERME day: 16- 17 February., 2005. URL
Ken Kahn and Evgenia Sendova and Ana I. Sacristán and Richard Noss. Making Infinity Concrete by Programming Never-ending Processes. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Technology and Mathematics Teaching, Bristol, UK, 2005. URL