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Classifying Interactive Features of Scientific Cognitive Tools

, , University of Western Ontario, Canada

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Honolulu, HI, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-73-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


This paper examines how interaction can support learning with visual representations in scientific cognitive tools (SCTs), where SCTs are a subset of cognitive tools that are intended to support learners in their exploration of scientific concepts and phenomena. Visual representations (VRs) encode properties of the underlying scientific phenomena using graphical symbols. VRs are often embedded in SCTs to support mental processes. Interaction can extend the communicative power of VRs and support learners in cognitive activities such as experimentation and reasoning. This paper describes eight SCTs and outlines the interactive features and techniques that are used in these tools. These features and techniques are then analyzed, abstracted, classified, and presented in the context of an expandable, descriptive framework of 12 interactions. The framework characterizes and discusses each interaction, pointing out how it can support cognitive tasks involved in learning, whether it can have potential negative influences, and how it can be implemented.


Rowhani, S. & Sedig, K. (2009). Classifying Interactive Features of Scientific Cognitive Tools. In G. Siemens & C. Fulford (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2009--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 1015-1020). Honolulu, HI, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 24, 2019 from .

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