Information and Learning Science

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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  • Reminders, reflections, and relationships: insights from the design of a chatbot for college advising

    Purpose: In the USA, 22–40% of youth who have been accepted to college do not enroll. Researchers call this phenomenon summer melt, which disproportionately affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A major challenge is providing enough mentorship with the limited number of available college counselors. The purpose of this study is to present a case study of a design and user study of a chatbot (Lilo), designed to provide college advising interactions. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopted four primary data sources to capture aspects of user experience: daily diary entries; in-depth, semi-structured interviews; user logs of interactions with the chatbot; and daily user surveys. User study was conducted with nine participants who represent a range of college experiences. Findings: Participants illuminated the types of interactions designs that would be particularly impactful for chatbots for college advising including setting reminders, brokering social connections and prompting deeper introspection that build efficacy and identity toward college-going. Originality/value: As a growing body of human-computer interaction research delves into the design of chatbots for different social interactions, this study illuminates key design needs for continued work in this domain. The study explores the implications for a specific domain to improve college enrollment: providing college advising to youth.

  • Defining perplexity and reflective thinking in a game-based learning environment

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to understand the role of perplexity in young players’ experiences within an educational videogame and how reflective thinking can help them to get out of perplexing scenarios. Design/methodology/approach: We used a constructivist grounded theory approach and the lenses of Dewey’s conceptualization of perplexity and reflective thinking to examine young players’ in-game experiences. Findings: We find that perplexity in gameplay is an experience that occurs when players encounter uncertainty about where to go or what to do next in the game. Findings reveal that while playing an educational game players engaged in two forms of perplexity – exploration-based and puzzle-based. Additionally, we unpack how players overcome these perplexing scenarios by reflecting on the information provided in the game. Research limitations/implications: While in a state of perplexity, reflecting on the in-game information aids players to think and make meaning, thus supporting learning. We provide suggestions for how to better utilize perplexity as an in-game design mechanism to encourage young players to reflect on in-game information. Originality/value: This empirical study is original in its context of studying the phenomenon of perplexity in videogames and young players’ in-game reflection experiences.

  • Bio-networking among librarians, parents, and children in a modern children’s library: a phenomenological study

    Purpose: This study aimed to understand how parents and librarians describe their lived experiences in a modern children’s library that aims to create a triad bond through the organization of multiliteracy events and activities. Design/methodology/approach: The study used a phenomenological case study approach using two semistructured interviews, the first with parents (n = 5) and the second with library staff (n = 5), to record their lived experiences in creating and attending literacy events and activities. Findings: The findings indicated multiplicities of transformative and heterotypic spaces that juxtapose different yet compatible and vicarious experiences for librarians, parents and their children. The virtual and interactive features of the library fuel children’s curiosity and creativity and afford them authentic materials through a creative blend of local heritage and technology-mediated multimodal literacies. Moreover, the librarians engage in constant program evaluation and upgrades. The library environment creates a vibrant bio-network for disseminating literacy through creativity and ingenuity and affords an affinity space for community socialization. Research limitations/implications: This study has some limitations and delimitations. The data for this study were collected during the pandemic, which affected the sample size. Moreover, the children’s views were not considered, which could broaden our understanding of the phenomena. Furthermore, the study relied on interviews as the sole source of data; other sources, such as archival data and documents, could enrich the data and increase the study’s rigor. Finally, the study is confined to only one site. Practical implications: The study found that a “living library” philosophy with an enthusiastic and attentive staff that caters to patrons’ interests draws parents and children to visit. Additionally, unexpected fun activities that occur when sufficient children are present keep them engaged and motivated to stay and learn more. The study suggests that librarians, architects, school leaders, policymakers and educators should consider how to conceptualize, design and experience a modern library space that prioritizes literacy activities and incorporates technology to inspire children’s innovations. The findings can be applied to both public and academic libraries. Originality/value: The findings from this study could provide researchers, teachers, administrators, librarians and artificial intelligence with a viable orientation to envision new ways of reconceptualizing public and school libraries to create affinity spaces for the literate community, especially in a non-western context such as the United Arab Emirates.

  • “Over 800 data points”: how coaches and athletes collectively navigate data-rich learning encounters

    Purpose: The datafication of teaching and learning settings continues to be of broad interest to the learning sciences. In response, this study aims to explore a non-traditional learning setting, specifically two Golf Teaching and Research Programs, to investigate how athletes and coaches capture, analyze and use performance data to improve their practice. Athletic settings are well known for spurring the proliferation of personal data about performance across a range of contexts and ability levels. In these contexts, interest in athletes’ experiences with data has often been overshadowed by a focus on the technologies capturing the data and their capabilities. Design/methodology/approach: This ethnographic research focuses on the data-rich experiences of golf coaches and students during two pedagogical encounters. Using Balka and Star’s (2015) concept of shadow bodies, this article explores how golfing bodies can become infused with data, creating partial representations of a lived experience that can be augmented and manipulated for pedagogical purposes, depending on the context and the individuals involved. Findings: Interaction analysis helps the authors to examine the embodied and interactional nature of coach-golfer pedagogical encounters across two sites, a local Professional Golf Association golf course and a Swing Analysis Lab. The authors also split these encounters into two episodes to identify how coaches and golfers use partial representations of their bodies to analyze performance and interpret data. Originality/value: This research suggests that as data-driven practices continue to engulf athletic settings, and teaching and learning settings broadly, emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring that athletes (learners) – from the most recreational to elite users – have an embodied understanding of their performance to improve their ability. Furthermore, this article raises questions about what data gets shared between instructors and athletes and how that data is used.

  • How do the kids speak? Improving educational use of text mining with child-directed language models

    Purpose: Most educational assessments tend to be constructed in a close-ended format, which is easier to score consistently and more affordable. However, recent work has leveraged computation text methods from the information sciences to make open-ended measurement more effective and reliable for older students. The purpose of this study is to determine whether models used by computational text mining applications need to be adapted when used with samples of elementary-aged children. Design/methodology/approach: This study introduces domain-adapted semantic models for child-specific text analysis, to allow better elementary-aged educational assessment. A corpus compiled from a multimodal mix of spoken and written child-directed sources is presented, used to train a children’s language model and evaluated against standard non-age-specific semantic models. Findings: Child-oriented language is found to differ in vocabulary and word sense use from general English, while exhibiting lower gender and race biases. The model is evaluated in an educational application of divergent thinking measurement and shown to improve on generalized English models. Research limitations/implications: The findings demonstrate the need for age-specific language models in the growing domain of automated divergent thinking and strongly encourage the same for other educational uses of computation text analysis by showing a measurable difference in the language of children. Social implications: Understanding children’s language more representatively in automated educational assessment allows for more fair and equitable testing. Furthermore, child-specific language models have fewer gender and race biases. Originality/value: Research in computational measurement of open-ended responses has thus far used models of language trained on general English sources or domain-specific sources such as textbooks. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is the first to study age-specific language models for educational assessment. In addition, while there have been several targeted, high-quality corpora of child-created or child-directed speech, the corpus presented here is the first developed with the breadth and scale required for large-scale text modeling.

  • Telepresence robots from the perspective of psychology and educational sciences

    Purpose: Telepresence robots (TPRs) are an emerging field of application and research that have received attention from various disciplines, including computer science, telehealth and education. The purpose of this study is to conduct a bibliometric analysis of publications on TPR in the Web of Science database from 1980 to 2022 to gain a better understanding of the state of research on TPRs and explore the role of pedagogical and psychological aspects in this research. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis of research publications on TPRs was made on the basis of papers published in the Web of Science database from 1980 to 2022. The following research questions were proposed: What are the main tendencies in publication years, document types, countries of origin, source titles, publication authors, affiliations of authors and the most cited articles related to TPRs? What are the main topics discussed in the publications from the perspective of psychology? What are the main topics discussed in the publications from the perspective of educational sciences? Findings: The results indicate that it is in the computer science where most of the existing research has been conducted, whereas the interest in the psychology and educational science has been relatively low. The greatest regional contributor has been the USA, whereas the effort in the European Union lags behind. Research publications in psychology in the Web of Science database related to TPRs can be grouped into three broad thematic categories: features of TPRs, degree of social presence compared to physical presence or other mediated technologies and opportunities for using TPRs. The results suggest that from the perspective of psychology, TPRs are one of the approaches that could enable greater social presence in remote communication. Most of the analysed papers in educational sciences investigated the opportunities of using TPRs in various educational fields. However, while the findings of the studies indicated significant potential of TPRs for education, their acceptance for wider use is still challenged. Research limitations/implications: The limitations of this research are that this study only analysed research papers in the Web of Science database and therefore only covers a limited number of scientific papers published in the field of psychology and educational sciences on TPRs. In addition, only publications with the term “telepresence robots” in the topic area of the Web of Science database were analysed. Therefore, several relevant studies are not discussed in this paper that are not reflected in the Web of Science database or were related to other keywords. Originality/value: The field of TPRs has not been explored using a bibliographic analysis of publications in the Web of Science database from the perspective of psychology and educational sciences. The findings of this paper will help researchers and academic staff better understand the state of research on TPRs and the pedagogical and psychological aspects addressed in this research.

  • Toward a debugging pedagogy: helping students learn to get unstuck with physical computing systems

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine how a middle school science teacher, new to programming, supports students in learning to debug physical computing systems consisting of programmable sensors and data displays. Design/methodology/approach: This case study draws on data collected during an inquiry-oriented instructional unit in which students learn to collect, display and interpret data from their surrounding environment by wiring and programming a physical computing system. Using interaction analysis, the authors analyzed video recordings of one teacher’s (Gabrielle) pedagogical moves as she supported students in debugging their systems as they drew upon a variety of embodied, material and social resources. Findings: This study presents Gabrielle’s debugging interactional grammar, highlighting the pedagogical possibilities for supporting students in systematic ways, providing affective support (e.g. showing them care and encouragement) and positioning herself as a learner with the students. Gabrielle’s practice, and therefore her pedagogy, has the potential to support students in becoming better debuggers on their own in the future. Originality/value: While much of the prior work on learning to debug focuses on learner actions and possible errors, this case focuses on an educator’s debugging pedagogy centered on the educator debugging with the learners. This case study illustrates the need for educators to exhibit deft facilitation, vulnerability and orchestration skills to support student development of their own process for and agency in debugging.

  • #BookTokMadeMeReadIt: young adult reading communities across an international, sociotechnical landscape

    Purpose: This research article presents an exploratory case study of the sociotechnical landscape of BookTok, and how young people use it to connect with others around the books they love, or those they love to hate. By observing the interplay between young people, books, and the technology (TikTok) that connects them, this study aims to explore how blending analog and digital media tools makes reading social and fun. Design/methodology/approach: The authors selected three bestsellers available in English and Danish, and BookTokers who made related videos. This study used a qualitative, ethnographic (Pink, 2021) approach to explore interactions on the app. Inductive coding (Saldaña, 2021) helped the authors identify themes, and connect to areas of inquiry. Findings: During the pandemic, TikTok and BookTok offered young people opportunities for reading engagement in social, bookish communities by using technology to promote reading in print. In doing so, their actions made reading and being a reader highly entertaining. Research limitations/implications: As an exploratory case study, this research is not generalizable. But the findings will apply to future work on reading, publishing, and connected learning in a sociotechnical landscape. Practical implications: BookTok connects print and digital formats, offering innovative possibilities for young people’s connected learning and reading promotion in schools and libraries. Originality/value: Because TikTok is a relatively new tool, and its sub-community BookTok became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, research on this topic is still in its earliest stages.

  • Reflections on adolescent literacy as sociocultural practice

    Purpose: This paper aims to discuss the concept of “literacy” within the new literacy, new literacies and library and information science (LIS) discourses. It proposes widening the prevailing LIS conceptualization of adolescent literacy, which focuses largely on information literacy in academic settings, to a broader, information practice-based, sociocultural framing that encompasses the full range of adolescents’ everyday life contexts. Design/methodology/approach: The author presents a literature review and personal reflection on a series of adolescent information activities to show the value of framing the LIS discourse on adolescent literacy within a broader sociocultural perspective. Findings: Based on the discussion, the author proposes a framework for future investigations of adolescents’ literacy practices that views adolescent literacy as fundamentally social and communicative; multiformat; multicontextual; multigenerational; and culturally situated. Originality/value: A broader sociocultural approach to the LIS information literacy discourse can lead to deeper understanding of the co-constructed and collaborative nature of adolescents’ new literacies practices. It can also enable stronger recognition of the impact of power and privilege on adolescent literacy practices. Finally, this essay shows the value of reflecting on adolescent information activities for challenging narrow views of literacy and highlights the social embeddedness of new literacies activities in adolescents’ everyday lives.

  • Representational scaffolding in digital simulations – learning professional practices in higher education

    Purpose: To advance the learning of professional practices in teacher education and medical education, this conceptual paper aims to introduce the idea of representational scaffolding for digital simulations in higher education. Design/methodology/approach: This study outlines the ideas of core practices in two important fields of higher education, namely, teacher and medical education. To facilitate future professionals’ learning of relevant practices, using digital simulations for the approximation of practice offers multiple options for selecting and adjusting representations of practice situations. Adjusting the demands of the learning task in simulations by selecting and modifying representations of practice to match relevant learner characteristics can be characterized as representational scaffolding. Building on research on problem-solving and scientific reasoning, this article identifies leverage points for employing representational scaffolding. Findings: The four suggested sets of representational scaffolds that target relevant features of practice situations in simulations are: informational complexity, typicality, required agency and situation dynamics. Representational scaffolds might be implemented in a strategy for approximating practice that involves the media design, sequencing and adaptation of representational scaffolding. Originality/value: The outlined conceptualization of representational scaffolding can systematize the design and adaptation of digital simulations in higher education and might contribute to the advancement of future professionals’ learning to further engage in professional practices. This conceptual paper offers a necessary foundation and terminology for approaching related future research.

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