"CTM is a new research center dedicated to the invention, critique, and understanding of transformative media practices, including gaming, social networking, creative mobility, data mining, and participatory learning.
Our work combines expertise in the design of social media, games, learning environments and communities with a deep understanding of the way dynamic media networks are used - and increasingly transformed - by audiences in their quest to learn, work, play, and participate. Projects draw from expertise in both design and the social sciences with a particular focus on ecologies of change. An emphasis on networked publics as spaces of learning forms a core perspective of The Center for Transformative Media.
Faced with an increasingly complex, participatory, and information-rich network culture individuals must learn how to engage in meaningful ways, with others, in order to gain access to information, services and entertainment. The space of the network, which spans local and global, real and virtual space, has become a primary site for engaging with the world, people, events, and ideas.
The power of the collective has become a primary strategy for managing information, solving complex problems, and building expertise. Recasting media spaces as networked learning environments will be the key to innovation within the next decade."
(Center for Transformative Media)
"Educational researchers, policymakers, and practitioners agree that educational research is often divorced from the problems and issues of everyday practice-a split that creates a need for new research approaches that speak directly to problems of practice (National Research Council [NRC], 2002) and that lead to the development of 'usable knowledge' (Lagemann, 2002). Design-based research (Brown, 1992; Collins, 1992) is an emerging paradigm for the study of learning in context through the systematic design and study of instructional strategies and tools. We argue that design-based research can help create and extend knowledge about developing, enacting, and sustaining innovative learning environments. Definitions of design experiments abound (see Bell, 2002a). We use the phrase design-based research methods deliberately (after Hoadley, 2002) to avoid invoking mistaken identification with experimental design, with studies of designers, or with trial teaching methods. We propose that good design-based research exhibits the following five characteristics: First, the central goals of designing learning environments and developing theories or 'prototheories' of learning are intertwined. Second, development and research take place through continuous cycles of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign (Cobb, 2001; Collins, 1992). Third, research on designs must lead to sharable theories that help communicate relevant implications to practitioners and other educational designers (cf. Brophy, 2002). Fourth, research must account for how designs function in authentic settings. It must not only document success or failure but also focus on interactions that refine our understanding of the learning issues involved. Fifth, the development of such accounts relies on methods that can document and connect processes of enactment to outcomes of interest."
(The Design-Based Research Collective, 2002)
1). Educational Researcher, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 5–8
"Recent years have witnessed the birth of a new paradigm for learning environments: animated pedagogical agents. These lifelike autonomous characters cohabit learning environments with students to create rich, face-to-face learning interactions. This opens up exciting new possibilities; for example, agents can demonstrate complex tasks, employ locomotion and gesture to focus students' attention on the most salient aspect of the task at hand, and convey emotional responses to the tutorial situation. Animated pedagogical agents offer great promise for broadening the bandwidth of tutorial communication and increasing learning environments' ability to engage and motivate students. This article sets forth the motivations behind animated pedagogical agents, describes the key capabilities they offer, and discusses the technical issues they raise. The discussion is illustrated with descriptions of a number of animated agents that represent the current state of the art."
(W. Lewis Johnson and Jeff W. Rickel)
"The underlying logic of contemporary on-line learning and teaching environments has been informed by a systems approach to design. Despite the considerable effort devoted to their evolution and the focus of this effort on flexible learning, on-line learning and teaching systems appear to be limited to the task of transmitting information. In her essay on the evolution of ICT-based learning environments, Rosa Maria Bottino describes this orientation as, firstly one that sits in opposition to constructivist theories, and secondly one that fails to sufficiently accommodate social interaction and practice contexts within the learning and teaching environments. Bottino goes on to critique the information transmission model of ICT-based learning and teaching systems, and suggests that approaches that privilege learners as active participants should be pursued:
'One of the major forces which has driven change has been the assumption that meanings are lost if learning is simply seen as the transmission of information. Learning is progressively considered as being based on an active exploration and personal construction, rather than on a transmissive model' (Bottino 2004).
In the current milieu of on-line learning and teaching environments, ICT architects appear to be caught in a bind between a requirement to provide generalised system features and a will to embrace contemporary educational strategies. In the light of a systems approach to design, a compromise appears to have been made that privileges administrative robustness and security over (student) agency and engagement. Baltasar Fernandez-Manjon and Pilar Sancho have further described aspects of this problem as one where 'the requirements of a commercial learning environment are too diverse to be provided by a single monolithic system' (Fernandez-Manjon and Sancho 2002). The result is that the ability for students to collaborate and maintain autonomy within such centralised systems has been limited to superficial sharing of data over networks within closed publishing contexts. Without a serious interrogation of the underlying imperatives governing a systems approach to ICT design, learning and teaching within these environments is destined to remain locked in the administrative mode."
(Simon Perkins, 2005)
2). Perkins, Simon C. (2005) "Towards a socio-constructivist approach to learning and teaching within OLT environments". In OLT 2005 Conference, September 2005.