The talk presents the EssayCritic system and discusses two recent applications (English composition teaching at HKBU and at Norwegian high school). The EssayCritic makes use of Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) to compute feedback on student essays. LSA is both a theory of text comprehension and a mathematical technique for comparing two segments of text, one input by students and the other collected and stored by domain experts (e.g. teachers). We describe the components of the system and explain the workings of LSA. Then we present findings from the Norway study (recently completed). The studies differ in that the HK trials were organized with one student per computer, whereas in Norway the students were grouped in pairs, reflecting local teaching styles. Preliminary findings reveal distinct modes of writing (writing, feedback, reflection, revision) for both settings and patterns of working in pairs in the other. Based on the findings we develop a conceptual framework for collaborative essay writing that integrates concepts from design theory (e.g. reflection-in-action) and communication theory (e.g. inter-subjectivity, common ground). Our goals are to understand and characterize collaborative essay writing as a design activity and to provide computational support for it.
<b>Prof. Tjeerd Plomp</b> (1938) is emeritus professor of education of the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands, where he served as Dean of the Faculty of Educational Science and Technology from 1982 till 1985 and as chair of the Department of Curriculum (from 1990 till 1998). He was chair of IEA, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, from 1989 - 1999. In the IEA he served as chair for the 'Computers in Education' study (Comped), the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the IEA Second International Technology in Education Study (SITES). At present he is study director of the IEA SITES2006 study, a survey of schools and (math and science) teachers on pedagogical approaches and the use of ICT in it (with data collection in 2006). His research interests are educational design and design research, international comparative research, and information technology in the curriculum and teacher education.
<b>Dr. Willem J. Pelgrum</b> was until 2005 senior researcher at the Faculty for Behavioral Science of the University of Twente in the Netherlands. His main experience is in the field of large-scale international comparative assessments. Currently he is involved in the international coordination of the IEA Second Information Technology in Education Study (SITES). He is director of the consultancy company EdAsMo (Educational Assessment and Monitoring) and he is associate professor in Comparative Education and ICT in Education at Danish University School of Education (University of Aarhus). He conducted an extensive training project (on innovative didactics) for teachers in Central and East Europe and was involved in several consultancy activities on ICT in Education (Jordan, East and South Europe). He also performed several studies for the European Commission in the areas of educational monitoring and ICT. The results of his work appeared in several books and international research journals (amongst others: Studies in Educational Evaluation, Computers in Education, International Journal of Educational Research, Prospects).
<b>Prof. Nancy Law</b> is Professor and Head of the Division of Information and Technology Studies in the Faculty of Education and the Director of the Centre for Information Technology in Education at the University of Hong Kong. She serves on the Executive Board of the International Society for Learning Sciences, the Publication & Editorial Committee of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), the International Steering Committee of the Second International Information Technology in Education Study (SITES) and was a member of the Steering Committee of the APEC Cyber Education Consortium. She has conducted numerous evaluative studies as well as research and development projects related to information technology in schools. She is currently leading the research design and reporting of SITES 2006 as a member of the International Study Consortium. Her research interests include international comparative studies of pedagogical innovations and information technology, models of ICT integration in schools and change leadership, computer supported collaborative learning and the use of expressive and exploratory computer-based learning environments.