Home | Travaux STAF | Scenario for "How It Works?" - STAF15 STAF-E

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Short Description of the Idea
Target Public
The Scenario
Goals of Activities
Implementing Tools
The Implemented Part of the Scenario
References - Bibliography - Summary

Short Description of the Idea

"How It Works?" is a multimedia project that aims at explaining Physics and generally science of everyday life based on Cognitive Flexibility Theory (CF). It will be a laboratory where physics laws will meet with applications in real life that people deal with almost everyday. But even though all of us know how to use them, only few can explain how they work and why.
This project hopes to promote learning in that area. The idea is to start with objects and look within them for scientific principles. However, this is exactly the pattern in which much of science developed: people came to understand many of natural laws by watching and studying the objects around them.
It is an attempt to convey an understanding and appreciation for the concepts and principles of physics and science by finding them within specific objects of everyday experience. Many of these objects are interesting in their own rights and their appeal will help to motivate studies of the scientific principles that govern our universe. My goals are:

So, the axes of exploitation will be:

Axes of exploitation
SimulationTheory (laws & formulas & units)Glossary
ExperimentsCheck understandingStudy of similar objects

Below, is a list of some possible candidates for this exploitation :)

Vacuum cleaners, Airplanes, Bicycles, Elevators,
Thermometers & Thermostats, Air conditioners, Automobiles, Xerographic copiers,
Computers, Radio, Television, Microwave oven,
Lasers, Cameras, CD-players, Plastics,
Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear reactors, X-rays, etc.....


Target Public

The target public will be primely students of High School but also people that they aren't afraid to admit that they don't know "How It Works"...

But seriously speaking, if I would like to speak based on experiments this multimedia instruction would be more effective to low prior knowledge and high spatial students (Interaction effects). The rest, will just find it an amusing way of learning and that's all :)


The Scenario

Welcome page "Welcome page"
The learner faces a welcome page with the caption "How It Works?", with a proper photo and underneath a short description of what exactly is this welcome page for. There would be also two lists with a kind of buttons, containing -the first one- the list with all the "machines" that are going to be explained how they work and -the other one- with the relevant fields of Physics. The aim of these two lists is to leave the choice to the learner to choose his own way of exploration and find easily what he is searching for. That means only that he is going to start learning in two ways:

Both choices will lead to the same direction then after.

Introduction page Introduction page
This, will be an extra motivation page with header a smaller gif image of the project's title and next to it a big header that declares the name of the machine the learner has chosen to explore, with three kinds of information:

The navigation from this page will be back to home page (main page of the project) and to next page (Exploration page).

Exploration page Exploration page - Activities
This page, will have a header frame with a smaller logo of the project's name and a caption with the name of the machine to be explored. Exactly below the machine's name it will be mentioned the number of page he is looking at out of total so as to see immediately if there are any more pages to explore or not.
Below this frame the rest of the window will be split vertically in two frames that each one will be an activity as below (Guided TCC):

Of course this main page will have a navigation bar that goes "home", that means to the "welcome page" or "previous/back" to the introduction page.


Goals of Activities

First of all, I chose the multimedia presentation of this project because a lot of studies have shown that multimedia instruction is extremely effective (see Multimedia effect, R. Mayer).
Now, as far as it concerns the activities:


Implementing Tools

The implementing tools will be HTML and Javascript. I chose these tools even though I have used in the past Guide and Toolbook, for the obvious reason (at least to me) that Web is a very popular access to information nowdays and it seems to be the future of hypertext and hypermedia if not the present :).
Graphics have been made with Top Draw, xv and PaintShop Pro. Audio files were recorded with Sound Recorder of Windows95 and wavrec of Linux. All HTML files have been written on Emacs. I always work under Linux and only in exeptional cases under Windows.


The Implemented Part of the Scenario

I'm thinking of implementing the whole scenario focused on the exloration of one machine that can be the prototype to implement later all the rest.
The most promising candidate seems to me to be the Internal Combustion Engine of the car. (I have to admit that being grown up in a family with father and brother car technicians there is a strong influence :)
In this example, I can easily integrate all of the above ideas for the scenario. You can have an idea of how it will look like by Clicking here.


References - Bibliography (see summary)

Jacobson M, Maouri C, Mishra P and Cohlar C.

(1995) Learning with Hypertext Learning Environments: Theory, Design and Research.
JI of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia 4(4), 321-364. Read

Nathan M and Kintch W. and Young E.

(1992) A Theory of Algebra-World Problem. Comprehension and It's Implications for the Design of Learning Environments.
Cognition and Instruction 9(4), 329-389. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Read

Sweller J. and Chandler P.

(1991) Evidence for Cognitive Load Theory.
Cognition and Instruction 8(4), 351-362. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Read

Sweller John

(1988) Cognitive Load During Problem Solving: Effects on Learning
Cognitive Science 12, 257-285. University of new South Wales Read

Francoise Poyet

(1998) Formats de présentation et complémentarité modale dans les logiciels éducatifs
Sciences et techniques éducatives Volume 5 - no3, 245-262. Read

Mayer E. Richard

(1997) Multimedia learning: Are We Asking the Right Questions?
Educational Psychologist 32(1), 1-19. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Read

Louis A. Bloomfield

(1997) HOW THINGS WORK: The physics of everyday life
The University of Virginia John Whiley & Sons, Inc. Read

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV)

The Jasper Experiment: An Exploration of Issues in Learning and Instructional Design Read

Simon St. Laurent

MIS press Refered

James Jaworski

(1997) Mastering JAVASCRIPT
SYBEX Refered

Daconta M., Saganich A., Monk E., Snyder M.

(1998) Java 1.2 and Javascript for C and C++ programmers
WILEY John Whiley & Sons, Inc. Refered

Marshall Brain

How Stuff Works! Explored

Informative Graphics Corp. (IGC) - Phoenix, Arizona

Automotive learning on-line - Automotive.com Explored

The Math Forum

Math Forum: Ask Dr.Math: FAQ Explored

John Li, Jeff Douglass, and Clay Cox

Under the hood Explored


The Adventure of Jasper Woodbury Explored

Microsoft Encyclopedia

CD-Rom ENCARTA Explored


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© Vivian Synteta (13/01/99) updated 14/03/99