Monthly Archives: October 2012

Development of Critical Thinking in Students of Elementary School through Argumentation with the Use of Computer

Yiannis VASSILIADES and Mary KOYTSELINI.

ABSTRACT

Argumentation is an essential way of thinking as it consist a central element in problem solving process, in decision-making, in shaping ideas and beliefs [1] and it is simultaneously considered as one of the key components of critical thinking [2]. In the process of argumentation an individual has to identify and examine the various alternative perspectives, ideas and opinions, to develop and to choose the best and most logical solution and support this solution with data. Therefore, argumentation is an important skill for everyday life, where, quite often, people need to evaluate alternatives and take decisions. Many studies have shown that students are able to develop argumentation but often face difficulties associated with how they construct, organize and present their arguments [3,4]. The development of argumentation with the use of specialize software such as Rationale™ [5], which helps students to create, organize and manage argument maps, may help students overcome these difficulties.

To investigate whether argument mapping, with the use of Rationale™ software, strengthens, encourages and develops argumentation skills, and if this leads to improvement of elementary students’ critical thinking, an experimental research was designed and implemented. Three sixth grade elementary classes (N=72) participated in the research for a period of four months. Two classes constituted the first and second experimental group respectively and the third class was the control group. A pre-test and a post-test was submitted to all students participated in the research in order to assess argumentation and critical thinking skills. Both tests were designed, developed and validated by the researcher. After the pre-test both teachers of the experimental groups worked on argumentation activities.

The first experimental group worked in groups of three, with one computer for each group, on argumentation activities using Rationale™ software. The second experimental group worked on the same argumentation activities and in the same way but with pencil and paper, without the use of the software. Activities used for these two groups were developed by the researcher for the purposes of the study. Students in the control group worked on argumentation activities from their Greek language books, without any specific intervention in their learning process.

The pre-test results reveal that most of the students participated in the research (66% below the base) did not acquire basic argumentation and critical thinking skills whereas the results of the post-test show that this number was decreased (47% below the base). The decrease in the amount of students that did not acquire basic argumentation and critical thinking skills was mainly due to the performance of the students of the first experimental group, which used the software. This conclusion is based on the evidence found by the comparison of pre-test and post-test means scores, which shows that there is a statistically important difference only in the first experimental group (p = 0.001 for p<0.05), that used the software, with an increase of the mean score of this group.

The research results are rather encouraging and indicate that the use of appropriate software through carefully designed activities and quality practice may promote the development and the use of argumentation and critical thinking skills. The development of argumentation and critical thinking skills should be systematically and consciously organized, through carefully selected quality activities and must be a continuous and permanent objective of every teaching and learning process. The results of this research revealed the need for conducting a similar research with a larger sample (N=500) and for a longer period of intervention time (one academic year). Such a research is ongoing in Cyprus elementary schools and is to be concluded by the end of this academic year.

Full Paper in PDF Document

Students as Producers and Consumers of Primary Contents Using Web 2.0 Tools

Herrera O., Mejías P., Gutiérrez C. and Matamoro R.

ABSTRACT

In most educational experiences, the students generate contents that are not the primary source of knowledge, but they are only used for evaluation, and accessed only by the course teacher. Moreover, the teachers are in charge of preparing all necessary documents for their courses, either preparing their own material or collecting information from other authors. This way of working assumes that students do not have the capability to generate quality content, which may provide support for their peers in the learning process. Therefore, we can specify the problem approached by this research as follows: content generated by students are not considered as a primary source of knowledge, mainly because the traditional paradigm sees the teacher as the only person empowered to produce knowledge. The solution presented in this research is a methodology of using Web 2.0 authoring tools that can support the learning process, delegating in the students the role of being producers and consumers of their own knowledge. This article describes two cases where students assume the role of knowledge producers to be used as a primary source of content, and as consumers of this knowledge. To implement the planned activities, a program to level the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) skills was developed. Thus, it could ensure the participation of students in each activity designed to facilitate the use of unconventional web tools in the student community.

Full Paper in PDF Document

Reflections on How Teachers and Students Learn Science Finding Practical Solutions to Solving Secondary Science Cognition Problems; Using the Ways of Knowing to Connect How Teachers and Students Learn Content in Secondary Science Education

Christine M. Yukech.

ABSTRACT

This paper includes ideas behind students thought processes the inquiry and the analysis of classroom methods. The study includes reflections from Biology and masters level science education students who were asked to complete a survey about two particular guided inquiry lessons, and the general use of resources during practice, application and processing lessons in the classroom. This research is a springboard to address cognition and its ability to help formulate practice, application, and processing skills that drive the enhancement and engagement of conceptual understanding of secondary science concepts. Students were asked to reflect on teaching with regard to resources, practice, application and process. The following ideas are also addressed in the paper; how students learn science, and ways to understand the stages of development in cognition, scientific inquiry and reasoning skills.

Full Paper in PDF Document

Business Process Modeling and Efficiency Improvement through an Agent-Based Approach

Dario RUSSO, Franco PASSACANTANDO, Luigi GEPPERT and Luigi MANCA.

ABSTRACT

A comprehensive knowledge of a company’s organizational mechanisms is a fundamental prerequisite for good management practices and effective governance, especially in the banking industry where efficiency and effectiveness have recently been becoming more and more important. This paper describes the results of a practical experience of business process improvement and change. The business modeling approach, carried out through an agent-based model, has been applied to an operational process with the aim to reduce the overlapping of the operational phases and to improve the time-efficiency. Simulation outcomes and results are discussed. (*) The views expressed here are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Italy.

Full Paper in PDF Document

Animation Visualization for Vertex Coloring of Polyhedral Graphs

Hidetoshi Nonaka.

ABSTRACT

Vertex coloring of a graph is the assignment of labels to the vertices of the graph so that adjacent vertices have different labels. In the case of polyhedral graphs, the chromatic number is 2, 3, or 4. Edge coloring problem and face coloring problem can be converted to vertex coloring problem for appropriate polyhedral graphs.

We have been developed an interactive learning system of polyhedra, based on graph operations and simulated elasticity potential method, mainly for educational purpose.

In this paper, we introduce a learning subsystem of vertex coloring, edge coloring and face coloring, based on minimum spanning tree and degenerated polyhedron, which is introduced in this paper.

Full Paper in PDF Document

Design of a New Architecture for Audioconferences Based on SIP Multicast and Genetic Algorithms

Carlos M. MORENO and Maribel  ALVAREZ.

ABSTRACT

Group services like the audioconference require a minimum level of quality of service for the adequate transmission of multimedia packets, and the improvement of signaling processes for the establishment, maintenance and release of multicast group sessions. Traditionally, the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) servers have dealt with unicast signaling and complementary support IP (Internet Protocol) multicast. The distribution patterns of the session are described on the SDP (Session Description Protocol) payload. As a consequence, the same existing drawbacks of IP multicast affect the performance of SIP-based requested audioconferences. This work proposes a new multicast architecture based on SIP extensions and genetic algorithms in a multicast manager. Such architecture supports overlay multicast. The group management functions are executed inside the multicast manager. Two testbeds were mounted to measure the joining and leaving time for both IP multicast and SIP multicast with several levels of extra load traffic from a potential group member to the source of multimedia traffic without a genetic algorithm as a first approach. The results show that the difference between the minimum and maximum standard deviation value for both joining and leaving time on the architecture proposed with SIP multicast is lower than with IP multicast for the studied scenarios. Finally, we propose a genetic algorithm and describe a case study.

Full Paper in PDF Document

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT PARAMETRIC UNCERTAINTIES IN ANTICIPATIVE ENERGY MANAGEMENT FOR DWELLINGS

Minh Hoang Le, Stephane Ploix and Mireille Jacomino.

ABSTRACT

Energy management in dwellings is addressed in this paper. The energetic impact of dwellings in the current energetic context is first depicted. The formulation of the global energy management problem of dwellings is defined as an optimization problem based on a Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) algorithm. It aims at adjusting the energy consumption to both the energy cost and the inhabitant’s comfort. The available flexibilities, provided by domestic appliances, are associated to time windows or heating storage abilities. The energy consumption in houses is very dependent to uncertain data such as weather forecasts and inhabitants’ activities. The paper focuses on the taking into account parametric uncertainties in anticipative energy management for dwellings. Robust linear programming is implemented in order to provide the robust energy allocation. Application example is given.

Full Paper in PDF Document