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Supporting Learning Naturally: The Ecological Approach

Professor Gordon McCalla
Friday, 1 April, 2011 - 15:00
Forestry common room, University of Canterbury


This talk will overview my evolving perspectives on the design of environments to support learning. The basic philosophy is that such environments must be deeply aware of the surrounding context of learning . technical, personal, social, and cultural . and must be adaptive to differences in this context. This philosophy has led to the development of a framework for supporting learning called the ecological approach that allows a system to naturally evolve and change as the learning context changes. The talk will present past and current experiments in building ecological systems, and will look forward to possible future applications including the creation of a lifelong learning companion.


Gord McCalla presents at CSSEGord McCalla is a Professor of Computer Science and Director of the ARIES Laboratory at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. This term, he is an Erskine Fellow, visiting the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury. His research interests are focussed in the overlapping areas of artificial intelligence in education (AIED) and user modelling, adaptation, and personalization (UMAP). Over the years, with colleagues and graduate students in the ARIES laboratory, he has made many research contributions to both AIED and UMAP in areas such as pedagogical planning, granularity-based diagnosis, peer help systems, pedagogical agents, active learner modelling, educational recommender systems, and educational data mining. He has also been an active member of both the AIED and UMAP research communities, including being president of the AIED Society, serving as program chair of both the AIED and UMAP conferences, and serving on the editorial boards of both the AIED and UMUAI journals.

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