After participating in the Jasper symposium, a few themes, understandings and questions have arisen in my mind.
First, I can’t help but note that our ETEC 533 section has not been terribly critical of Jasper and its educational outcomes. I only recall finding one reference to data that shows improvements in student mathematics (“Results” n.d.). What Jasper appears to address is capturing student interest in math. While the designers of Jasper write about authentic and improved problem solving (“The Jasper experiment,” 1992), I don’t recall reading literature that supports this.
Jasper is framed in a true Problem Based Learning structure, with many aspects of distributed cognition and activity theory. The intent to harness social learning and activity theory is emphasized by projects subsequent to Jasper, such as SMART models and STAR.Legacy (Pellegrino & Brophy, 2008). In terms of Jasper, technology allows for a very complex problem to be presented to a classroom, in a context rich way that could not be afforded to younger students through text. I don’t believe that Jasper utilizes social aspects of technology to anywhere near the capabilities of today’s tools. While Jasper, or some of its follow-up projects, seem to have used some global communications, they are very rudimentary to what can be done now. Today’s classroom could strongly leverage a Jasper type tool into a collaborative problem solving technology. From this, the one aspect that I think could be drastically improved upon the Jasper series is social collaboration for distant and global classrooms.
I had the motivation and resources to build a video delivering math or science course/unit/curriculum, I think I would base it around some environmental issues. As well, I would make it interdisciplinery. Ideally it could be held as a singular course, perhaps as an option/replacement to BC’s Apprenticeship and Workplace Math. Such a course could be rationalized in terms of math outcomes, as well as supporting the current Science 10 curriculum. I believe such a course could be engaging as Jasper was, and definitely the global communication and collaboration aspect could become an integral part of the course.
Pellegrino, J. W., & Brophy, S. (2008). From cognitive theory to instructional practice: technology and the evolution of anchored instruction. In D. Ifenthaler, P. Pirnay-Dummer, & J. M. Spector (Eds.), Understanding Models for Learning and Instruction (pp. 277-303). Boston, MA: Springer US. Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/content/m3563k3525387xm1/export-citation/
Results. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2012, from http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/projects/funded/jasper/results/result.html
The jasper experiment: an exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. (1992). Educational Technology Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80. doi:10.1007/BF02296707