Can Computers Teach You To Think And Care? The Modeling Debates Revisited

Updated: 10:39am, 14 Nov, 2022
12 October 2010 (Tue)
Room 101, 1/F., Runme Shaw Bldg., HKU
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The seminar is organized by CITE
and Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong

in the AIED community ask provocative questions to improve the quality of
teaching and learning across disciplines. I address Self’s question of how to
design computers that care in the context of the modeling debates. In the 90’s
Derry and Lajoie [2] posed the question "to model or not to model?" when they
described 3 camps of researchers pursuing uses of technology for teaching and
learning. The first camp modeled learning and implemented such models into
intelligent tutoring systems that could adapt to individual differences. The
second camp were the non-modelers who chose not to have the computer diagnose
errors but rather envisioned the use of technology as a cognitive tool that situated
experiences for learners in authentic contexts. Finally, there was a middle
camp that combined cognitive apprenticeship, constructivist learning, and
cognitive tools with computer-based student modeling. This last camp adheres to
the belief that computers should serve part of the cognitive mentorship
function without giving over control of the learning and assessment process to
those using the system.

Volume 2 of
computers as cognitive tools [3] was intended to bring down the camp walls by
focusing on the learning paradigms that guided the design of cognitive tools,
including information processing, constructivism, and situativity. Researchers demonstrated the value in
modeling both individual knowledge construction and learning in social
situations through the use of technology. Computer and human tutors, as well as
peers were considered as assisting in the modeling and the new guiding question
was: who or what should do the modeling? New cognitive tools were designed with
multiple forms of knowledge representation and demonstrations were provided of
how such representations could be used for assessment purposes.

A decade
later, the question is how do we engage individuals as they make rapid
decisions with technologies [4]. Modeling approaches that examine the role of
affect, emotion, and culture in medicine are described for individual and joint


J. (1999). The defining characteristics of intelligent tutoring systems
research: ITSs care, precisely. International Journal of Artificial
Intelligence in Education. 10
(3-4), 350-364.

[2] Derry, S. J., & Lajoie, S. P. (1993). A middle
camp for (un)intelligent computing. In S. P. Lajoie & S. J. Derry (Eds.), Computers as cognitive tools (pp.1 -11).
Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum

[3] Lajoie, S. P. (Ed.). (2000). Computers as cognitive tools (vol. 2): No more walls (pp. 1-430). Mahwah,
NJ: Erlbaum.

[4] Halverson, R., & Collins, A. (2006). How
information technologies weaken the identification of learning with schooling. Review and Practice in Technology Enhanced
, 1(2), 145-155.

About the speaker(s):

<p>Dr. Lajoie
is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling
Psychology at McGill University. She received her Doctorate from Stanford University
in 1986. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association as well as
the American Educational Research Association for her outstanding contributions
to research in the field of education and psychology. She is the recipient of
the Carrie Derick Award for graduate supervision and teaching.&nbsp; Dr. Lajoie is engaged in a wide array of
innovative research and scholarly activities where she applies cognitive
theories to education and training in multiple domains involving diverse
learner populations (e.g., high school, higher education). She directs the
Advanced Technologies for Learning in Authentic Settings Laboratory (ATLAS)
where she uses a theory based approach to the design of computers as cognitive
tools across disciplines. Her research is strongly interdisciplinary, using
theories of cognitive science, educational psychology, and computer science
(i.e., artificial intelligence) and the results of her research have changed
theory in practice in such diverse fields as avionics troubleshooting,
instruction and assessment of statistics, and cognitive tools for science and

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