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Abstract Title: Implicit Scaffolding: Blending Vygotsky with Human Computer Interaction
Abstract: Computer simulations are increasingly popular teaching and learning tools among physics educators. In this poster, we present implicit scaffolding, a theoretical framework that underlies the design of PhET simulations. This framework is based on the tool-mediated learning theory of Vygotsky and the affordance-constraint theory of Norman, a pioneer in human-computer interaction. While developed in the context of computer simulations, implicit scaffolding also lends itself well to non-computer-based learning tools, such as lab equipment or textbooks. We will demonstrate the use of implicit scaffolding with cases of middle school students building circuits using both a simulation and real equipment. 6th grade students were readily able to build working circuits using both the simulator and real equipment with little to no instructions. Our central claim is that learning tools designed according to implicit scaffolding can "guide without students feeling guided," allowing students to feel a heightened sense of ownership and agency.
Abstract Type: Symposium Poster
Targeted Session: Adopting Theories and Methods from Outside PER

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Noah Podolefsky
University of Colorado at Boulder
Campus Box 390
Boulder, CO 80309
and Co-Presenter(s)
Katherine K. Perkins, University of Colorado