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Notes from Bransford’s Talk

John Bransford’s Learning Sciences Guest Lecture

Book/research recommendations:

The Mind at Work by Mike Rose
Anders Ericsson (expert performance, experts resist automaticity)

Quality of Life issues –

health care, nutrition, finances, local environmental conditions (research within the LIFE Center)

Themes –

  • adaptive expertise – recognizing adaptability (when do my schemas apply?)
  • innovation
  • efficiency
  • schemas (i.e. SAT problem types)
  • constructive nature of knowing – we build knowledge out of what we already know
  • people knowledge – figure out what we need people to share to identify with and learn from

“Innovation is the sudden cessation of stupidity.” (Bransford quoted someone else)

Learning from Others

people learn better from people they know


Research in the LIFE center seems really interesting; I should go explore that area some more to see if there are “informal learning environment” ties or analogies to what I’m working on. John’s talk included appropriate videos, images, etc to illustrate his points; it’s a nice change from the boring old PPTs that have been around lately.How could we get to know our students a little better to be able to teach more appropriately in the foundations? Seems like the 504 collections activity is interesting, but maybe not deep enough. Maybe I should’ve just read those autobiographical entries in the intranet; remember the reaction Molly had to Michael’s remembering her entry.

How does “adaptive expertise” fit in with the identity/learning/networks ideas that I’m researching for my field prelim? Must be careful not to get sucked into expertise literature just yet.

What if we went all the way to virtual worlds for classes? If we build a flexible area that’s private and imports data from existing UM resources, could a virtual world complement the resources available from CTools and the Wiki in a way that lets us get to know each other better so that we can learn more effectively together? Food for thought. Teachable agents? Give the students an agent to teach through concept mapping. See how the agents do.

So, what do you think ?

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