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Learning Environments Visual Mapping



This chapter demonstrates a method of analyzing learning environments for students in the K-12 space which foregrounds the visual representations of students and the multi-dimensions of learning spaces. The method relies on collecting Visual Maps from children (their drawings of learning activities at home, school and other places), and questionnaires from their teachers (information about the class as a group) and parents (information about individual child) - to collectively inform research on children’s learning environments across settings in everyday life. Example data presented to demonstrate how this method could be used to study children’s learning environments across spaces. The data is analyzed by mapping keywords from all three sources on an Analysis Map - to generate an “at-glance” profile of each student’s learning environment. Findings from all participants then act as a basis to design guidelines for creating the most effective learning environments.
Learning Environments Visual Mapping
Sonia Tiwari & Yu-Chen Chiu
Pennsylvania State University
This chapter demonstrates a method of analyzing learning environments
for students in the K-12 space which foregrounds the visual representations of
students and the multi-dimensions of learning spaces. The method relies on
collecting Visual Maps from children (their drawings of learning activities at
home, school and other places), and questionnaires from their teachers
(information about the class as a group) and parents (information about
individual child) - to collectively inform research on children’s learning
environments across settings in everyday life. Example data presented to
demonstrate how this method could be used to study children’s learning
environments across spaces. The data is analyzed by mapping keywords from all
three sources on an Analysis Map - to generate an “at-glance” profile of each
student’s learning environment. Findings from all participants then act as a basis
to design guidelines for creating the most effective learning environments.
Learning Sciences research often studies learning in a specific learning environment, such as
formal learning environments like classrooms (Fraser, 2015), outdoor informal environments
such as parks or nature centers (Zimmerman, Land, 2014), indoor informal environments such
as museums (Falk, Dierking, 2018), personal learning environments such as social media
(Dabbagh, Kitsantas, 2012) etc. The authors argue that while it is useful to focus on a single
learning environment to study the nuances in-depth, there is also scope for other forms of
research to help generate a wholesome view of learning experiences, as the sum of its parts.
Learning environments are a complex ecosystem that encompasses the physical, social, and
cultural aspects of a learner’s life. This chapter suggests a new methodology to collect
participatory data from all stakeholders across settings in everyday life, to holistically examine
how the learning environments interconnect to generate diverse learning opportunities.
Scholars studying school climate have been interested in finding the relationships between
school climate and students’ academic performance (Berkowitz, Moore, Astor, & Benbenishty,
2017). However, more research is needed to determine which levels and dimensions of school
climate are influencing students’ learning in school. Authors suggest that the use of Learning
Environment Visual Mapping may help identify additional factors at play within school climate,
or home/neighborhood environment - that may not be apparent through conventional data
collection methods such as questionnaires, surveys or interviews alone. The LEVM method
offers children to represent their learning environments through sketches and short notes, but
also offers parents/guardians and teachers to represent their view of the learning
environments. The analysis then combines these representations to generate a more
zoomed-out view of a student’s learning environments - where their interconnectedness is
made visible.
Theoretical background
A Holistic View On Learning Environments
In the Learning Sciences, scholars have been interested in understanding what is
happening in the learning environment and how the design of the learning environment is
affecting students’ learning performance. “Learning environment” has been commonly used in
across different fields in social sciences. However, what elements are included or studied in a
learning environment vary in different fields. Sawyer (2014), in The Cambridge Handbook of the
Learning Sciences, identifies the following elements that constitute a learning environment: 1)
people in the environment (i.e., teachers, learners, and others), 2) computers in the
environment, 3) architecture and layout of the room and the physical objects in it, and 4) social
and cultural environment. Other scholars have conceptualized learning environment with the
idea of “spatiality” which focuses on how the social and the physical in a space interact with
each other to influence students’ learning (Cleveland, 2009; Monahan, 2002; McGregor, 2004;
Soja, 1989). Building upon the socio-cultural view of learning (Vygotsky & Cole, 1978), we
define learning environment with a holistic lens that takes social, cultural, and material aspects
into consideration.
We also see learning environment as expanded, flexible, and merging in terms of time
and place where learning happens in settings in addition to classroom and school but also
home, community, and other informal learning environments. With the rising interest in
bridging formal and informal learning environments, many researchers have looked into how
students acquire and bring knowledge, skills, and identities in and across spaces. Moje and
colleagues (2004), adopting the theoretical lens of Third Spaces (Gutiérrez,Baquedano-López,
and Tejeda, 1999), examined the ways in which students develop their disciplinary literacies at
school, community, home and peer group, and how students’ discourses that take place in
those spaces interact and relate with one another. Schultz and Hull (2008), in their work,
investigated students’ literacy practices in and out of school in the United States. Building upon
existing literature on learning across settings, we seek to innovate methodologies and tools
that can help study how students learn across varied environments from different perspectives.
Visual Mapping As A Research Methodology To Study Children’s Learning Environments
Bransford et el. (2006) state that we are in a “decade for synergy” in terms of education
research and the sciences of learning. They discuss how key fields such as informal learning,
formal learning, implicit learning and the brain have been mutually influencing each other and
how the relationships are important in shaping research in distinctive fields. To better study
learning that occurs across settings, some researchers have focused on advancing
methodologies that can depict a fuller picture of how individuals learn in diverse learning
environments from varied perspectives. For instance, other than traditional on-site
observation, some researchers have used technological tools such as cameras, GoPros, GPS, or
other recording devices to capture learners’ talk and interaction in one or multiple learning
settings (Barron, 2007; Falloon, 2018; Taylor, 2013) To investigate how children learn at home,
Vygotsky (1978) developed the Home Learning Environment Survey (HLE) that contains three
sections: 1) demographics section about parents’ education, ethnicity, preferred language at
home, relationship with children, 2) parent’s awareness of children’s math development, and 3)
parents describe types of activities their child engaged in the previous week - alone, with other
children, and with adults. Stimulated recall interviews (SRIs)- a technique of reviewing video
data with participants as a tool for allowing participants to view themselves and describe their
experiences from a first-hand perspectivem, is also used in studies to examine people’s
experiences in different learning spaces (Bryan, Bay, Shelden, & Simon, 1990; Lyle, 2003;
Takeuchi & Bryan, 2019).
“Visuals” are commonly used as a tool and data source in research where mapping,
photography, filming, drawing, and maps, etc. are widely applied in ethnographic or education
research studies to understand the various aspects of people’s lives (Amsden &
VanWynsberghe, 2005; Powell, 2010; Powell & Serriere, 2013). Luna Hernández (2009), for
instance, conducted an ethnography using participant-generated photos to study the lived
experience of people living in poverty. Powell (2010), on the other hand, discusses the use of
“mapping” in modern ethnographic research to understand the relationships between place,
people’s lived experience and community. In participatory research or visual ethnography,
visual/arts-based methods such as participant-created photography or drawings are often
adopted to engage children and youth in research to understand issues of interests from their
perspectives (Groundwater-Smith, Dockett, & Bottrell, 2015). In research engaging children as
co-designers of their learning environment, children’s “visual voices” are also valued in
designing learning environments through “the view of children” (Burke, 2007). Hutchison
(2011) , through her study using children-generated videos to examine children’s homework
practices in different countries, argues that visual ethnographic methods leveraging
participant-created visual representations could be a form of participatory research that allows
researchers to understand children’s experience from their points of view. Visual
representations provide different forms of data source other than paper-based assessment or
observation which have the potential to include children and youth of diverse backgrounds, and
along with discussion or follow-up interview, to interpret the meanings of the artifacts that they
create. In other research investigating youth’s mobilities and learning, “mapping” is not only an
approach for teaching children and youth spatial literacy and community issues, but also a
qualitative research tool (Amsden & VanWynsberghe, 2005; Gordon, Elwood, & Mitchell, 2016;
Leander, Phillips, & Taylor, 2010). For instance, relevant research studies have engaged youth in
using mobile technologies (e.g., Digital maps, Google Maps, GPS, etc.) and other media to map
out community collective experiences, histories, and social issues located within the
environment they live in (Rubel, Hall-Wieckert, & Lim, 2017; Santo, Fergyson, & Trippel, 2010).
Through mapping activities, researchers and youth are able to identify key community issues
and reflect on personally-relevant experiences situated across spaces and can engage in
conversations and actions that build deeper community understandings and opportunities for
social change (Santo, Fergyson, & Trippel, 2010). By using children-produced maps outlining the
environments that they live in, researchers are able to examine the relationships between
physical environments, spatial elements,, social values and personal experience. Maps, in this
case, can serve as a powerful representation tool to obtain a more multi-dimensional picture of
children’s learning environments.
Thus, with our interest in understanding where, what, and how children learn in their
everyday spaces, we adapt visual representations and mapping practices used in prior
scholarship in ethnographic and qualitative research to develop a holistic approach combining
visual mapping with learning environment surveys to better look into what the learning
environment looks like for each individual child from multiple dimensions.
Methodology and Data Instruments
We propose using visual mapping as the primary instrument and questionnaires as
supplement data to depict children’s everyday learning environments. Here are the three
instruments that we use to collect information on children’s overall learning environments: 1)
Child’s visual map of their learning environments, 2) Learning environment survey for teachers,
and 3) Learning environment survey for parents/legal guardians.
Data Collection
Visual Map:
Students (Grade 4+) are provided with a Visual Map in class, and asked to draw stick
figures or any other images representing their learning activities in 3 settings : Home, School,
Other places. The purpose of having students draw the Visual Maps is to understand students’
learning environments from their perspectives and experiences. Students are also asked to
write keywords or simple annotations next to their drawings to explain the gist of their ideas.
Teachers or researchers will be on site to give instructions on the task and help clarify questions
if needed. To facilitate the visual mapping activities, teachers or researchers are provided with
some prompts to guide students on recalling their learning experiences within those spaces.
Possible prompts include:
Where do you learn in school/home/other places?
What do you usually learn/do in those spaces?
Who are also present in those spaces?
What kinds of technology or materials do you use when learning in those
Figure 1 is an example template for the Visual Map. After the students finish their
drawings, each student is asked to briefly explain the drawing. Their responses are recorded
and are used along with their drawings for data analysis.
Task: Draw the most important people, technology/tools, learning activities, and spaces (your
room/class etc.) within Home, School and Other places you visit frequently. Try to draw
ACTIONS (people doing something, not standing still).Also add a few words to describe your
Your Home
Your School
Other Places you love to visit (for example: museum/ grandparents’/ summer camp/ scout
club etc.)
Figure 1.
Visual Map template
Learning Environment Questionnaire For Teachers:
In addition to the Visual Maps collected from children, questionnaires will also be
collected from teachers to understand classroom environment, technology and other learning
resources in class, learning activities that take place in classrooms or other spaces in school. The
responses will be used to supplement the analysis of the Visual Map created by students. Figure
2 below is an example survey for teachers.
Learning Environment Survey for Teachers
Part 1. General information on teacher’s teaching
Q1: What subject do you teach in school? ________________________
Q2: How long have you been teaching?
Less than a year
1-5 years
6-10 years
10+ years
Q3: How would you describe your school location?
Q4: What grade(s) do you teach? _______________
Q5: How many students (average) do you teach in a class?
More than 30
Part 2. Learnings spaces in classrooms
Q6: Please briefly illustrate or describe how you arrange the learning spaces in your
classroom. (e.g., How do you arrange tables, chairs, or other resources in your classroom?
Where do you sit/stand while teaching?)
Q7: Please briefly describe the typical structure of a lesson that you would have in your class.
(i.e., What are some typical activities you would have when teaching a class?)
Q8: What learning tools/technologies are often used in your teaching and students’ learning
in the classroom? (choose all that apply)
Videos/ photos
Audio text
iPads or computers for students to use
Some learning platforms/websites online
Q9: How would you describe your teaching style and the learning atmosphere in your class?
Part 3. Learning spaces in other spaces in school
Q10: Based on your observation, what do students do during class breaks?
Q11: Based on your observation, where do students usually hang out during class breaks?
(can be spaces in or outside the classroom)
Q12: Based on your understanding, what are other learning spaces in school that students
usually go to?
Figure 2.
Example Learning Environment Questionnaire for Teachers
Learning Environment Questionnaire For Parents :
In addition to children’s perspectives on their learning environments, we also use the
help of parents to capture how and what students learn at home or other environments
outside of school. To collect individual data about student demographics, architecture of
home/child’s room, technologies and other learning resources at home, social and cultural
environment at home, neighborhood and their culture at-large. Figure 3 is an example
questionnaire for parents.
Learning Environment Questionnaire for Parents
Part 1. Demographic information
Q1: What is your relationship with the child
Other legal guardian:_______________
Q2: How would you describe the location of your home?
Q3: What is your occupation? ____________
Q4: What is the highest degree or level of school you have completed?
Elementary school
High school
Vocational/technical training
Bachelor’s degree
Master’s degree
Professional degree
Doctorate degree
Q5: What is your age?
Q6: What are the family members that live in the household?
Q7: How many children do you have? What are their respective ages?
Q8: What is the preferred language at home?
Q9: Please select the racial/ethnic identity that you think best describe you and the child:
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Hispanic or Latinx
Asian, Hawaiian or Pacific
American Indian or Native
Biracial or multiracial
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Hispanic or Latinx
Asian, Hawaiian or Pacific
American Indian or Native
Biracial or multiracial
Part 2. Children’s learning at home
Q10: Where does your child usually do homework/study at home?
Living room
Child’s own bedroom
Dining room
Q11: Do you or your partner do schoolwork with your child?
Yes, seldom
Yes, sometimes (1-2 days a week)
Yes, often (more than 3 days a week)
Q12: Which family member(s) interact with or participate in the child’s learning the most?
Q13: What are other learning spaces for your child at home, and what
resources/technologies do these spaces have?
Q14: What are some other learning activities your child does or you do with your child at
home? (Can be school or non-school related. Choose all that apply.)
Watch educational videos
Play educational games
Story time
Play toys
Q15: What do your family do in your leisure time?
Q16: How would you describe your parenting style?
Q17: How would you describe your child’s personality?
Q18: Please describe the types of activities your child did in the previous week. (i.e., what did
they do? Did they do it alone or with other children/adults?)
Part 4. Children’s learning in other places
Q19: Does your child participate in any after-school activities?
Q20: If you respond yes to Q19, What types of after-school activities does your child
participate in? (Choose all that apply.)
Community service:________________
Q21: If you respond yes to Q19, how often does your child engage in after-school activities?
Once a week
Twice a week
Three times a week
More than three times a week
Figure 3.
Learning Environment Questionnaire for Parents
Data Analysis
Analysis map
We generate a wholesome view of the learning environment across settings for each
student, by adding keywords to an Analysis Map, categorizing observations in 4 categories that
define a Learning environment - people, technology, architecture, culture
The learning environment includes
people in the environment (teachers, learners, and others)
technology in the environment
architecture and layout of the room and the physical objects in it
social and cultural environment.
We also observe the type of learning activities that occur in each setting, to better
understand how the environment can support them:
Visual (spatial): using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
Aural (auditory-musical): using sound and music.
Verbal (linguistic): using words, both in speech and writing.
Physical (kinesthetic):using your body, hands and sense of touch.
Logical (mathematical): using logic, reasoning and systems.
Social (interpersonal): prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
Solitary (intrapersonal): prefer to work alone and use self-study.
The types of learning activities are ranked as (1) primary, (2) secondary, (3) tertiary.
Analysis Map for Learning Environments
Sample data
Sample data of drawing exercise by a 4th grade student (Figure 1
) suggests that at home, this
student has access to resources such as chromebook, the Discovery channel on TV, Khan kids
on an iPad or phone type mobile device, books and people such as mother/grandmother and a
pet dog. Drawings of the school suggest a seating arrangement where students face each other,
there’s a projector and bookshelf. The student also points out play at the playground dome.
Other places this student learns is at a natural history museum, craft fair with wood-working
demonstration, cub scout, nature etc.
Figure 1
. Sample data of drawing exercise for 4th grade students
After comparing data from drawing exercise, teacher and parent questionnaires, the Analysis Map for
this student looks like this (Table 1). The researchers were able to identify key insights from multiple
data sources, and organized the information in an easy to read format. For this particular student, we
see that although the home environment is very liberal, the school environment by contrast is more
strict and has fewer technology resources than home. The
Mother and
father (higher
ed), dog
ipad, tv,
Own room,
small study
reading nook,
toy shelf
Laid back,
informal, few
rules, self
gets help
from dad for
reads story
with mom
(1) social,
(2) solitary
(3) physical
Round tables
and chairs
facing each
science lab,
hall, corridors
short recess,
emphasis on
STEM, poor
emphasis on
(1) Logical,
(2) Verbal,
(3) Physical
, cousins
d, tolerant
(1) social
(2) physical
(3) visual
Table 1.
Analysis Map for Learning Environments - Student A
Implications and Future Research
The authors hope that by using Learning Environment Visual Mapping method, it would be possible to
get a summarized at-glance view of the interconnected nature of a student’s learning environment. The
process of data collection is designed in a non-linear way, meaning the three data sources (1) Visual Map
(drawing exercise for students) (2) Questionnaire for teachers, and (3) Questionnaire for parents - can all
be collected simultaneously or in any order. Each of the three data sources not only bring in diverse
perspectives, they also offer additional clarification to each other’s learning experiences. For instance, a
child’s drawing revealing visits to an art festival, combined with the parent’s interests in traveling and
attending art and craft festivals - may give us an insight into how interests from the home environment
carry over to activities in the school and neighborhood. It may also be possible to study how the
limitations in one environment can be made up for in other environments. For instance, a child who has
fewer technological resources at school may have access to more resources at home.
There are a few challenges that may be experienced with LEVM method, such as reliance on
researcher’s prompts for the Visual Map exercise with children. Children may not fully comprehend
what to draw, or may have limited drawing skills. The authors recommend to offer alternative keyword
descriptions for children who may not be comfortable drawing. The other challenge is organization of
the data, as there are three sources of data for every student. As the number of participants increase, it
may become challenging to maintain an organized documentation. The Analysis map may not accurately
capture the truth of the learning environments, as the researchers are relying on keywords. Authors
recommend maintaining additional descriptive notes to support their keyword assignment. For example,
a researcher may rank “social learning” as primary type of learning in “other” section, however, it may
differ from one environment to another (grandparents’ place, public library, community center, etc. are
all examples that are currently represented by the same “other” category.) It may then be helpful to use
a specific learning environment for comparison, such as to create a separate row for community center,
or public library etc. which are relevant to the participants.
In the future, these insights may be used to generate data visualizations for educators and researchers
to take into account the diversity of learning environments, and match their teaching with naturally
occurring learning opportunities for the students. Teachers may have access to an LEVM Analysis Map
for each student, and the ability to generate a cumulative map for the entire class. The teacher may
then choose to make use of the people/technologies/architecture/culture of these environments to
support learning across settings. For eg. for a class where majority students have elderly members in the
family - may utilize intergenerational learning opportunities, or classes where all students have access to
mobile devices at home, may be assigned interactive homework using mobile technologies. Similar
insights may be used at a district, state or national level - where the average of several profiles could be
used to update policy level decisions. For example, districts where “logical” learning is constantly falling
in the tertiary level of the Analysis map across all settings, may be intervened with better resources or
alternative ways of teaching and learning, in order to support student learning.
The authors hope that LEVM method will be tested and challenged by many researchers and evolve over
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Full-text available
Peer collaboration in schools can be a locus for negotiation of power and cultural norms. Set in the context of ethnically and linguistically diverse urban schools, this study discusses the possibilities and limitations of utilizing video-mediated interviews to reveal multiple voices. Our research method is based on video-recorded peer-to-peer interactions wherein a small group of students engaged in mathematics tasks, as well as video-mediated interviews with individual students while watching the video of themselves engaging in group work. Using the theoretical framework of ideological and sociohistorical nature of voice and figured worlds, our analysis revealed the ideologies and sociohistorical norms that influenced the ways in which the students collaborate with their peers. Based on our analyses of the video-mediated interviews, we raise awareness of potential conflicts that could affect the generation and development of ideas through collaboration. We also discuss ways to use video-mediated interviews as a methodology to interrogate the norms underlying collaboration among students in school settings.
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This paper presents a set of spatial tools for classroom learning about spatial justice. As part of a larger team, we designed a curriculum that engaged learners with three spatial tools: 1) an oversized floor map, 2) interactive GIS maps, and 3) participatory mapping (PM). We anauze how these tools supported learning, using Elwood and Mitchell’s (2013) notion of political formation (similar to van Wart, Lanouette, and Parikh, 2016). Political formation includes politicization with respect to individual experiences of exclusion or unequal access, viewing inequities or injustices from collective perspectives, and creating shared, political knowledge. The floor map fed conceptual understandings of the map as a representational text and served as the terrain for an embodied activity to support proportional reasoning about inequitable distributions of resources. The data-rich GIS maps and their zoomability allowed for coordinating across multiple variables to connect patterns in inequities to other social processes. The PM enabled learners to make discoveries about, connect, and share beyond the individual classroom, counterstories from people in the lived streets of their neighborhood. In aggregate, this set of spatial tools produced a complex, hybrid view of the city’s space, which contributed to learners’ political formation.
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Criticisms have been levelled at e-research that limited knowledge has been produced helpful for guiding educators in using digital tools more effectively for teaching and learning. This issue has become more acute with the emergence of mobile devices that enable learners to transition across different learning spaces and times. Traditional data methods are challenged to adequately capture the dynamic and collaborative exchanges occurring in flexible, technology-saturated environments, such as Bring Your Own Device or innovative learning environments (ILEs). This article details the development and use of an innovative digital data system in a series of studies exploring elementary students' learning using iPads in two ILEs in a New Zealand school. It explains the system, and evaluates its efficacy for capturing data representing use of the devices across learning spaces and tasks. While the system was highly effective, a number of barriers to its use existed. Ethical challenges were also encountered, and difficulties experienced managing and working with the volume of data produced. Although yielding high-quality data, it is up to individual researchers to assess for themselves the pros and cons of using a system such as described in this article, given the resources and time at their disposal.
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As digital technologies become ubiquitous in many places, scholars of civic engagement, youth and political life, and geographic education have explored the potential of teaching critical and spatial thinking through digital technologies. This paper examines interactive digital mapping as a technology environment for teaching and practicing critical spatial thinking, in relation to civic engagement. From this participatory and dialogic mapping project with teenage girls in Seattle, Washington, we develop a conceptualization of critical spatial thinking that emphasizes how social and spatial processes intertwine to generate societal inequalities and show how this learning informs students’ social and spatial civic responses. We show how interactive digital mapping pedagogies offer students an opportunity to develop awareness of what happens in their urban geographies, but also how and what they might do to intervene.
This essay examines the role of public education in the process of place-remaking that relies on a false separation between teaching and issues of race, politics, and power. I construct a historical case study of my hometown that presents a counter narrative, presented by students, of race and legacy in the context of a public school and the surrounding community. Building upon a walk-as-method approach, I illustrate the confluence of historical, racialized narratives that are discoverable at the scale of the city but invisible within the walls of the school. I conclude with an in-progress professional code of ethical teaching and research practice for the learning sciences. These commitments are intended to support and protect students (and all young people in our communities) from bearing sole responsibility for critical stances based on their identities and histories-in-place.
Reading and writing stand front and center in a digital age. Yet the digital turn has yet to permeate schools in anything approaching transformative ways. In no area is this more evident than literacy education, where 20th century reading and writing practices are still the coin of the realm. We argue that literacy practices that occur outside of school, which are now largely digital, have outstripped long-held understandings of what literacy can be. If literacy in formal educational contexts, like schools, is to flourish, it must reach a rapprochement with the digital textuality that is part and parcel of twenty-first century communication. It must also embrace an ethical turn, recognizing the important role that contemporary literacy practices play in civic and democratic action. After reviewing the major theoretical traditions that have shaped research on the relationships and borders of literacy in and out of school, we introduce more recent perspectives that focus on the nature of textuality and authorship in a digital age, such as multimodality and design, and perspectives concerned with changing political and social contexts, including “super diversity” and local-global relationships. We preview what we believe will be the dominant influence on literacy and literacy pedagogy in the near-term future, and that is the global, as our world grows simultaneously smaller via digital connectivity and more divided via ideological and economic disparities. We suggest that literacy educators and researchers, both those whose focus is school-valued forms and those who celebrate youth-centered production of a range of types of texts out of school, should redouble their efforts to craft conceptions of literacy and to support instances of literacy practice that position youth to work to solve local and global problems and to become ethically alert and audience-sensitive communicators, as well as to develop their personal capacities for meaning making.
The learning sciences is an interdisciplinary field that studies teaching and learning. Learning scientists study a variety of settings, including not only the formal learning of school classrooms, but also the informal learning that takes place at home, on the job, and among peers. The goal of the learning sciences is to better understand the cognitive and social processes that result in the most effective learning and to use this knowledge to redesign classrooms and other learning environments so that people learn more deeply and more effectively. The sciences of learning include cognitive science, educational psychology, computer science, anthropology, sociology, information sciences, neurosciences, education, design studies, instructional design, and other fields. In the late 1980s, researchers in these fields who were studying learning realized that they needed to develop new scientific approaches that went beyond what their own disciplines could offer and to collaborate with other disciplines. The field of learning sciences was born in 1991, when the first international conference was held and the Journal of the Learning Sciences was first published. By the 20th century, all major industrialized countries offered formal schooling to all of their children. When these schools took shape during the 19th and 20th centuries, scientists didn’t know very much about how people learn. Even by the 1920s, when schools began to grow into the large bureaucratic institutions that we know today, there was still no sustained study of how people learn. As a result, the schools we have today were designed around commonsense assumptions that had never been tested scientifically: Knowledge is a collection of facts about the world and procedures for how to solve problems. Facts are statements like “the earth is tilted on its axis by 23.45 degrees” and procedures are step-by-step instructions like instructions on how to do multi-digit addition by carrying to the next column. The goal of schooling is to get these facts and procedures into students’ heads. People are considered educated when they possess a large collection of these facts and procedures. Teachers know these facts and procedures, and their job is to transmit them to students.