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Shantanu Tilak, Shayan Doroudi, Thomas Manning, Paul Pangaro, Michael Glassman, Ziye Wen, Marvin Evans, and Bernard Scott

Applications to curriculum and educational technology design

This workshop unearths the potential of applying principles of cybernetics to curriculum and educational technology design. Here, we focus on using technology-assisted learning scenarios at the confluence of education, psychology, and computer science as an asset for adults to learn the skills for critical Internet navigation; skills we argue are an integral part of life in the Information Age. The first part of the workshop begins with an introduction to what von Foerster called Gordon Pask’s first theorem (a basic framework of human-tool conversations), which was used to design classes in heuristics at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and involved project-based community and artefact development. It then describes how this approach was replicated to co-design educational psychology classes at The Ohio State University in 2022-2023 to help preservice teachers engage in metareflection about their future careers. A small group discussion between workshop participants follows to understand how tools and activities used in these classes (social media, block programming, co-authoring, podcasting) can be adapted for other subject classrooms. The second part of the workshop focuses on fine-tuning the build of educational technologies like search engines to spur concept development.

We invite volunteers to interact with our Paskian search engine, ThoughtShuffler, which uses an uncertainty regulation mechanism to organize search results for lateral reading, and present results from an experimental study showing the tool has the potential to engender higher-order reflectivity in information search. We suggest principles of cybernetics can be used to co-design sociotechnical systems and sharpen both human and machine functioning within them, presenting hopes for human adaptation to an information-saturated future.

KEYWORDS: learning, co-design, educational technology, cybernetics




Citation Data

Author(s): Shantanu Tilak, Shayan Doroudi, Thomas Manning, Paul Pangaro, Michael Glassman, Ziye Wen, Marvin Evans, and Bernard Scott
Year: 2023
Title: The Potential of Second-Order Cybernetics in the College Classroom
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Pittsburgh, USA | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404