Wednesday Keynote: Classroom Usability
Abstract: Imagine you are a teacher and you found a nice simulation for your physics class tomorrow: how will you exploit it ? Will you start of a short introductory lecture, even if it may spoil the discovery process ? Will students use it individually or in pairs? Will you ask them to write hypotheses on the blackboard before running experiments? Will ask different teams to compare their results ? Will you end up with a lecture ? The learning outcomes for your learners partly depends upon the quality if the simulation, but to a larger extent, they depend on the quality of the whole scenario. A teacher is like a conductor who has to articulate individual, team and class-wide activities, some of them with digital tools and other without. He has to support the discovery process of learners with the simulation but also to manage time, discipline, motivation and many other constraints of classroom life. Does the simulation facilitate this orchestration ? If it expects that all learners complete activity 1 in order to run activity 2, can the teacher still move to the second despite missing data due to time constraints? If it takes 5 minutes to user to connect and log in, it means the teacher is loosing 10% lesson time. Designing technologies that are usable by individuals is a necessary but not a sufficient condition, they also have to be usable at the classroom level.