Adventure in AERA 2015

It has been a great opportunity for me to attend the AERA annual meeting in Chicago last week. I would like to use three key words to summarize my experience as a first timer, Overwhelming, educational, and fun!
Overwhelming is obvious, because of the over 15,000 attendees, four conference sites in different hotel, and thousands of interesting sessions. I am glad they conference provide a good app, so I can plan ahead, search for interested sessions and connected with other scholars and friends.
Educational because of all the wonderful sessions, here are a quick summary of all the sessions I have been to and learned something from:
1. Round Table session: Design Issues Regarding the the use of games and simulations for learning and assessment.
Richard Mayers was there and talked about educational games. It is new for me (Well, that is why we attend the conferences!) to know that we could use eye-tracking methodology and cognitive neuroscience methodology to determine how people learn from multimedia lessons.
There are some other scholars in this round table as well, here is the list:

  • Greg Chung: He develops computer-based assessments to measure problem solving and content knowledge in military and engineering domains.
  • Eva Baker: She is focusing the design of technologically sophisticated testing and evaluation systems of assessment in large-scale environments for both military and civilian education.
  • Arthur Graesser: Cognitive Science.
  • Eunsook Hong: Creativity, Cognition, Giftedness
  • Harry O’ Neil: Computer-based teaching and assessment of 21st Century Skills particularly adaptive problem-solving and collaboration (or teamwork) skills.

2.  New Perspectives for Serious gaming: Games that integrate making and playing for learning:
This session is more about making games rather than use games for learning, but it is also interesting. Here are some people presented under this session.

Yasmin Kafai: Digital media and learning.
Douglas Clark: Investigates the learning processes through which people come to understand core science concepts.
William Quinn Burke: New Literacies in middle school and high school classrooms, particularly programming and digital storytelling.
Shannon Campe: Bridging research and practice in K-12 education.
Jill Denner: Focus on increasing the number of women, girls and Latino/a students in computing.
Sean Duncan: Games and Learning.
Nathan Holbert: How children use intuitions about natural phenomena and scientific principles to interpret and assimilate central representations and tools found in play spaces.

  1. This is our full paper session in Computer & Internet Applications in Education SIG! under Evidence Based Technology Integration Scenarios:
    Our topic is “Exploring How Learners Use a Serious Game for Middle School Science Through Visualization”, and you can contact Dr.Min Liu about getting the presentation slides or full paper.
    There were other scholars presenting as well, including (I certainly missed some…).
    Shiang-Kwei Wang: Technology integration in learning settings, the motivational impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on learning attitude and performance.
    Jianxia Du:   The effects of social and cultural dimensions on educational technology, Including race, gender and class, issues.
    Xitao Fan: Educational research methods
    Kyungbin Kwon: Enhancing collaborative learning through group awareness tools; Improving learning outcomes and facilitating conceptual changes by providing metacognitive scaffolding such as identifying conceptual misunderstanding or prompting self-explanation activities.
    Ying-Hsiu Liu: CSCL – Blackboard, Clinic student, no significant? – sample size is too small.
    The impact of students’ gender, age, and prior online experience on group process was not significant. Group regulation and social-emotional interactions observed in computer supported collaborative learning.

  2. Round-Table: Gesture, Graphing, Tablets, Assessment, Games and Engagement
    John B Black: Basic research in cognition. Especially interested in using technologies like multi-user virtual environments, video games, TV/videos, intelligent tutoring systems and robots to improve learning, memory, understanding, problem solving and motivation.
    Andre R. Denham: Looking at the use of games within the elementary mathematics classroom as a means of improving conceptual understanding, engagement, and motivation
    During Andre’s presentation, he stated that “All games are educational, you learned something from the game”, which I highly agree! He also mentioned a interesting game called Dragonbox.
    Mieria Gutica is an interesting lady, she focused on Design, Learn and Play: Designing Engaging Educational Computer Games. I summarized some interesting points in her sharing:

– What methods are better suited for design of educational games that are engaging? – emotion interaction.-thesis.
– Piaget’s (1952) theory of cognitive disequilibrium stating that comprehension occurs when learner confront contradictions.
– Engaging factor – prensky (2001)
– Applied behavior analysis (ABA) : recording and analyzing the behavioral change, providing corrective feedback, rewards for correct performance, and negative consequences for poor performance (Linehan, Kirman, Lawson & Chan,2011)
– Cognitive interactivity or interpretative participation (Salen & Zimmerman, 2004)
– Mixed-methodologies and design-based research combining theory with experiments
Alison Lee introduced their study about Gesture Control Impacts Attention and Learning. The used the eye track technical, which is really impressive.

  1. Scaffolding Metacognition
    In this session, there are these topics:
    Scaffolding Metacognitive Processes Using Pedagogical Agents During Complex Learning with MetaTutor by Roger Azevedo, Nicholas Vincent Mudrick, etc.
    I like how they emphasize that for doing the Scaffolding meta-cognitive processes, let’s ask:
    Why, When, How, What?

Assessing Regulatory Patterns in Diagnostic Reasoning: A precursor to adaptive scaffolding by Eric G.Poitras, Susanne P. Lajoie. In their study, there are also log files, timestamps.

Scaffolding Metacognition Through Self-Created Prompts by
Maria A.Bannert, Christoph Sonnenberg, Christoph Mengeikamp and Elisabeth Pieger

Scaffolding Metacognition via “WhatsApp” in a Blended Learning Environment by Inge Molenaar, Marianne van der Kurk and Jolique Kielstra

Using Prompts to Scaffold Metacognition in Applied Problem Solving by Joerg Zumbach and
Corinna Ortler. For using Metacognitive support learning, the prompting is an interesting idea.

  1. Game Based Assessment and Learning of Argumentation Skills
    Cognitive Games for Policy Argumentation by Matthew Easterday: I looooove his presentation! Although their game looks a lot a Japanese game Ace Attorney. I am also wondering if the Intelligent tutors he mentioned would fade after a certain time. How can learner solve it by themselves? Do they need the tutor all the time? There are no enough time to ask him though. I also like his answer for the Chair’s question “who is going to purchase your educational game? they are not that interesting as commercial game, maybe only educators and teachers will buy”, “We are competing with textbok, not commercial games”.

Designing a Game-Based Assessment Around Argumentation Learning Progressions by
Yi Song, Jesse R. Sparks and Wyman Brantley from ETS. Well, they are doing fun research!

Digital Games as Laboratories: Modeling Student Development of Argumentation Skills Through Gameplay Data by Seth Corrigan, Alison Atwater. I like their Measurement Model.

Game Based Formative Assessment for Argumentation: Mars Generation one: Argubot Academy by Malcolm Bauer, Tanner Jackson. So Formative Assessment is a process. 5 formative assessment practices and their analogs in games: Leahy, Lyon, Thompson, and William (2005).

  1. Problem-Based Education SIG full paper session
    A Systematic Review of Educational Technologies in Problem-Based Learning in Health Care Education by  Jun jin and Susan Bridges

Problem Based Learning in the Mainstream: Participation of English Learners Across Content Areas by Annie Camey Kuo  from University of Washington

The Effect of Problem-based learning on student achievement and perceptions of classroom quality by Anne Horak. Forgot what’s her result, but my notes says PBL is so dis-oriented.

The Relationship between problem-based learning, epistemic beliefs, and argumentation in middle school science. by Brian R.Belland, Jiangyue Gu, Nam Ju Kim, D. Jaden Turner and D. Mark Weiss.

Problem-Based Learning Processes: Impact on Preservice Teachers’ Motivational Orientations by Bee Leng Chua, Oon Seng Tan and Woon Chia Liu. She argued that there are three key PBL process, as following:

  • Question Prompts
  • Scaffolding – use prompts, hints
  • Process of connecting: build new knowledge through individual and collective inquiry

Well, that’s all about the session I went to, two full day and really beneficial!

For my last key word, fun! Indeed, I met so many fun scholars here. Old friends from China, Previous professor, senior graduate from my current program and new collegues, etc. I enjoyed every conversation with them, and really appreciate their presence in the conference. Also, the other fun part is the Chicago’s pizza and popcorn!

Anyway, so looking forward to next year’s adventure in AERA!


Woman in the EdTech from UT-Austin (after our presentation ^_^)


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