A diagrammatic language to build and share STEM teaching narratives

Dr Tina Wilson, Visiting Fellow with STRiPe (Science and Technology Research in Pedagogy) has recently had a paper published at the STEM Annual Conference 2012 at Imperial College and The Royal Geographical Society London 


The general objective of this overall work is to propose a methodology for the creation of language-neutral multimedia materials (without audio or text), which can be directly embedded in STEM courses in any language. The overall design of this project was discussed in [1]

The design was based on four stages: 1) a very explicit design of the course, mainly on the dependence of the concepts, using Compendium, 2) the careful selection of icons for some key concepts, 3) the generation of short interrelated animations, which try to identify a suitable graphic language (with both formal syntax and semantics), 4) the proposal of metadata, some internal to each animation and other external, to interrelate them. The final export of this educational package would consist of animations and their metadata, which would help facilitate re-use, and embedding within other courses.

In this paper we focus on the third stage. In the types of short animations discussed, we detected two complementary vocabularies. The first one labels the intentionality of certain scenes: presentation of a formal definition, presentation of positive examples and negative examples. The 

second marks the dependence of the concepts and their construction process: for example, if one is a specialization of a previous one, or if you are graphically emphasizing the use of a universal or existential quantification at that point in the construction of the concept.

At this stage, as the ultimate goal, we hope to achieve a semi-automatic process of generating animations. From the definition of first order logic of a concept (or other less formal descriptions), through the graphic language that is being investigated. This is a goal to be achieved. But we trust 

that this contributes to the creation and reuse of materials in the STEM area beyond existing language barriers.

[1] J.L. Fern├índez-Vindel, and T. Wilson (2011). Multilingual media components directly embeddable 
in open educational resources in science and technology. International Conference on Education, 
Research and Innovation - ICERI 2011 14-16th November 2011, Madrid, Spain.

Paper can be found at: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/stem-conference/Computing1/Jos%C3%A9-Luis_Fern%C3%A1ndez-Vindel_Tina_Wilson.pdf

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