Friday, April 23, 2010


When i design Ejs applets and i found that i wrote this a while back, thought it will be good to share with the world and for myself to reflect on.


Before exploring the actual design principles on e-learning, a brief description on how people learn, will bring coherence to the building and implementing of technologies for learning tools.
Principles of learning in constructivist thinking (Hein 1991)
Here are principles of learning that we can think about in our roles as educators and designers of learning environments.
1.   Learning is an active process in which the learner uses sensory input and constructs meaning out of it. Active learner (Dewey 1966) stressing that the learner needs to do something; that learning is not the passive acceptance of knowledge which exists "out there" but that learning involves the learner engaging with the world.
2.   Constructing meaning is mental, so activities need to engage the mind through sensation of seeing, hearing and feeling. 
3.   Learning involves language: the language we use influences learning.
4.   Learning is a social activity: our learning is intimately associated with our connection with other human beings, our teachers, our peers, our family as well as casual acquaintances, including the people before us.
5.   Learning is contextual: we do not learn isolated facts and theories in some abstract ethereal land of the mind separate from the rest of our lives. We learn in relationship to what else we know, what we believe, our prejudices and our fears.
6.   One needs conceptual framework or knowledge to learn: it is not possible to assimilate new knowledge without having some structure developed from previous knowledge to build on.  The more we know, the more we can learn. Therefore any effort to teach must be connected to the state of the learner  and provide path(s) into the subject for the learner based on that learner's pre-existing knowledge (Bransford, Brown et al. 2000).
7.   It takes time to learn: learning is not instantaneous. For significant learning we need to revisit ideas, ponder them try them out, play with them and use them. If you reflect on anything you have learned, you soon realize that it is the product of repeated exposure and thought. Even, or especially, moments of profound insight, can be traced back to longer periods of preparation.
8.   Motivation is a key component in learning. Not only is it the case that motivation helps learning, it is essential for learning. Unless we know "the reasons why", we may not be very involved in using the knowledge that may be instilled in us.

Design principles in development of e-tools for learning
The following e-learning design frameworks were visited in the attempt to craft the design principles for effective e-lessons.
Implementing the seven principles: technology as lever (Chickering and Ehrmann 1996), e-learning evaluation framework ‘FREEDOM’ (Schank 2002) , Student centered design (Jonassen and Land 2000) are references used.
Human computer interface and general usability design guidelines refer to guides from  (Norman 2002).
0. Motivation to learn& Engage Bybee's (1997)
A good course supplies motivation or builds upon motivation that is there in the first place. (Schank 2002). Students will not learn anything even from the best course if they cannot see how and what they will learn apply to them.
1. Learning by Doing & Intentionally& Explore ( Karplus )
Learning by doing is replicated in e-learning, through simulation allows exploration, enables students to observe things for themselves. The failures of expectation (Schank 2002) when using the simulation, serves to surprise the student causes an attempt to revise the knowledge base by seeking explanations. By change their input variables in the simulation, this allow instant and real time resulting changes, promoting more thoughtful analysis and build deeper understanding of the phenomena and encourages exploration and enables inquiry.
2. Active Reflective Techniques & Think & Interpret & Elaborate (
They must discuss about what they are learning, writing reflectively about it, relating it to past experiences, and applying it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.
3. Language Used
Appropriate language such as English and the respective mother tongues language may be suitable choice. Simple use of the languages should cater to the learners’ level of language proficiency.
4.  Social & Collaborative learning& Explain ( Karplus )
Frequent student-instructor contact in and out of class is an important factor in student motivation and involvement. Technology can provide for joint problem solving and shared learning environment to augment face-to-face contact in and outside of class meetings (Chickering and Ehrmann 1996). Learning is enhanced when it involves pair work or team effort among students.
5. Contextual + Authentic learning
Contextual learning occurs in close relationship with actual experience, allowing students to test academic theories through real world applications (Legislatures 2007). Situated cognition (Jonassen and Land 2000) suggests learning always take place in a specific context. Thus, any understanding or meaning making residue in a context, and not some abstracted notion.
Contextual learning can take the forms of problem-solving scenario, anchor teaching in students’ diverse life-contexts, employ authentic assessment etc. Relating the learning to significant real-life scenario/problem, with conflicting perspectives, can set powerful learning challenges that drive students to not only acquire information but sharpen their cognitive skills of analysis, synthesis, application, and evaluation.
6. Addressing pre-existing knowledge
One perspective on this is, what are the suitable scaffolds that are in place, are they just in time, to assist in the learning?  After the learner has gained more expert experience, the environment allows for scaffolds to fade out. 
7. Practice in reasoning & Extend or Application ( Karplus )
There are cases for practice in the steps to form the ideas mentally (Schank 2002). Since not every series of steps to perform (scriptlet) will be intrinsically rewarding, you can motivate by linking it with the results of a bad performance or put it in a fun context. One way to do that is to let people see how each scriptlet melds to create successful performance (e.g., in baseball, catching, deciding, and throwing are not very interesting in themselves, but combining them to throw out a home run can be interesting).

Instructional Design Model
There is a need to deploy an instructional systems design when developing the e-learning resource, to bring out the intended learning outcomes. The Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate (ADDIE) model (Strickland 2007) is a generic and simplified instructional systems design (ISD) model suggested for use. The following are key ideas in the model. 
Analyze phase, the instructional problem is clarified, the goals and objectives are established, and the learning environment and learner characteristics are identified.
Design phase is where the instructional strategies are designed and media choices are made.
Develop phase, materials are produced according to decisions made during the design phase.
Implement phase includes the testing of prototypes (with targeted audience), putting the product in full production, and training learners and instructors on how to use the product.
Evaluation phase consists of two parts: formative and summative. Formative evaluation is present in each stage. Summative evaluation consists of tests for criterion-related referenced items and providing opportunities for feedback from the users.
With principles of learning in constructivist thinking revisited, design considerations are suggested as above, to bring about engaged learning. Adoption of the ADDIE instructional design model can bring out the intentions of the e-learning design principles. Designers are encouraged to use e-learning assessment criteria ‘FREEDOM’ (Schank 2002) in Appendix A.
Future work
The driver for improving any form of e-learning is feedback from the students.  Technological advancement in community forum has made in possible to involve the students, teachers and designers, in free exchange of ideas to improve the e-learning. Embracing feedback from students and users can mean taking time to improve the quality of existing e-learning, at the expense of number quantity of resources, targeted by earlier commitments. One way to harness Web 2.0 (O'Reilly 2005) mechanism in the development and evaluation process in creating tools for learning is to share the source files in public domain, seeding the community of practice in harnessing technology in education in Singapore.   
 By:       Wee Loo Kang

Bransford, J., A. L. Brown, et al. (2000). How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, D.C., National Academy Press.

Chickering, A. and S. C. Ehrmann (1996). "Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever." AAHE Bulletin(October): 3-6.

Dewey, J. (1966). Democracy and education : an introduction to the philosophy of education. N.Y, Free Press.

Hein, G. E. (1991). Constructivist Learning Theory. Museum and the Needs of People, CECA (International Committee of Museum Educators) Conference, Jerusalem Israel.

Jacobson, M. (2004). From human-computer interactions to science of learning based design: E-learning principles for 21st century learning. . Seoul, Korea: Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency.

Jonassen, D. H. and S. M. Land (2000). Theoretical foundations of learning environments. Mahwah, N.J., L. Erlbaum Associates.

Legislatures, N. C. o. S. (2007). "Education." Issue Areas > Labor & Employment > Contextual Learning  Retrieved 29 August, 2007, from

Norman, D. A. (2002). The design of everyday things. New York, Basic Books.

O'Reilly, T. (2005). "What Is Web 2.0 Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software."   Retrieved 30 August, 2007, from

Schank, R. C. (2002). Designing world class e-learning : how IBM, GE, Harvard Business School, and Columbia University are succeeding at e-learning. New York, McGraw-Hill.

Strickland, A. W. (2007). "ADDIE model of instructional systems design."   Retrieved 29 August, 2007, from

Appendix A: Seven assessment criteria ‘FREEDOM’ (Schank 2002)
Failure (of expectations) A good course must enable failures that surprise the
Course must put students in a situation where they are entertaining predictions
Failure of predictions based upon existing knowledge causes an attempt to revise the knowledge base by seeking explanations
Structural change must be created in memory: we must experience something that makes us look at things in a new way.
We learn little by listening: what we learn in this way can be repeated but does not become part of our processing apparatus

Reasoning A good course encourages practice in reasoning
To learn to reason, we must practice reasoning in task specific situations
Not just a matter of learning procedures: it is much harder to learn what to do when those procedures fail or when there are no rules that fit the situation
Learning to figure things out for oneself

Emotionality A good course must incite an emotional response in the student
Emotions are one of the fundamental bases of memory: we remember what we care about.
Course designers need to get emotionality tied to content in some way through:
• A powerful demonstration (images and other media)
• A powerful reaction to doing something (in the courseware)
Less emotional subjects: introduce the human dimension to the problem situation

Exploration A good course promotes exploration and enables inquiry
Learning through exploratory talk
Conversation is the root of learning: we learn in conversation because we have a role to play in sustaining the conversation.
(Active) listening requires matching what was said to what we know; a matching failure primes the learner for acquisition of new knowledge
Exploration through interaction with simulation world objects
Support examining the world in sufficient detail to be able to arouse learner curiosity

Doing A good course encourages practice in doing
Doing is what learning is all about: physical, mental, and social forms of doing
Traditional courses are mostly a kind of preparation for doing in the future that never takes place
A good course should be about preparing students to do something, having them do it, then having them reflect on how well they did it, and prepare to try again.

Observation A good course allows students to see things for themselves
Primary criterion that matters is memorability that can be achieved through (task-related) observation
Courses that provide observations that need to be dealt with and analyzed are those that will cause students to think about what they have seen

Motivation A good course supplies motivation or builds upon motivation that is there in the first place
Students will not learn anything in even the best course if they cannot see how what they will learn applies to them
If we need to teach something that is not inherently motivating to know, then we should embed it within something that is motivating to know.
Motivation is an integral part of memory: aim to have students come away with their memories permanently altered.

Appendix B: Pedagogical Dimensions of E-Learning
Attached are Table adapted from (Jacobson 2004) for reference on the continuum of pedagogical dimensions of e-learning.
Pedagogical Dimension   E-Learning
Delivery-centered Paradigm   E-Learning
Learner-centered Paradigm
Learning Mechanism   Showing and Telling   Learning-by-Doing
Role of Technology   Delivery of Content and Evaluations   Cognitive Tools, Scaffolding Learning, Providing Feedback, Non-linear Access to Information Sources, and Supporting Collaboration
Type of Content   Didactic Written Texts and Multimedia Lectures Covering Factual Information   Realistic Texts and Multimedia Cases, 2D and 3D Simulations and Virtual Worlds, Dynamic Computer Models
Role of Student   Passively View or Receive Content   Actively Engaged in Problem Solving, Projects, and Collaborative Activities
Control   Technology   Learner
Learning Outcomes   Achievement on Objective Memory Tests of Factual Information Retention   Ability to Solve New, Often Open Ended Problems, Performance Assessments
Table adapted from (Jacobson 2004).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Multimedia in Physics Teaching and Learning MPTL 14

I was looking through the website again to align myself with Physics education research
The 7 tracks give me a good sense of the multimedia in physics education

T1: Integrating MM in Physics Teaching/Learning Paths and the role of MM and computer resources, as Java applets, to promote innovative teaching.
T2: Design and use electronic material: textbooks, learning-objects, Java applets, MM tools and Physlets.This is my interest area!
T3: Active learning strategies with MM for education and teacher training: interactive learning, inquiry methods, problem solving, real time measurements and modeling to overcome conceptual knots in physics learning.
T4: MM for learning the basic concepts of science in primary and secondary school and teacher education.
T5: Web-environments, Internet portals, Internet on-line services for physics teaching and learning.
T6: Designing and using MM and ICT in physics lab and remote lab.
T7: MM materials and tools for evaluation of learning outcomes.

Some of Easy Java Simulation related papers

Wolfgang Christian, Physics Department, Davidson College, Davidson, USA1
Francisco Esquembre, Mathematics Department, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain2
Bruce Mason, Homer L. Dodge Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Univ. of OK, Norman, USA3

Wolfgang Christian, Physics Department, Davidson College, Davidson, USA1
Francisco Esquembre, Mathematics Department, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain2
Bruce Mason, Homer L. Dodge Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Univ. of OK, Norman, USA3

Wendy K. Adams, Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309

Bruce Sherwood, Ruth Chabay, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

 me & Professor Christian Wolfgang creator of the Physlets

 me & Professor Francisco Esquembre (Paco) creator of Easy Java Simulation

didn't get to take photo with Professor 黃福坤 Fu-Kwun Hwang


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Research Problem

A real good resource for  Research Problem

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Scientific visualization & Multimodal interaction in Science Education

picture taken from
Professor John K. Gilbert, The University of Reading and King's College London.

Research interests

  • The ‘nature of science and technology’, as portrayed in science education, with special reference to the roles of models and modeling, at all levels of the formal education system.
  • Science communication, with special reference to learning in non-formal settings, including science and technology centres, the media, literature of all types.
  • The role of visualization in the teaching and learning of science.
Looking forward to learning more about  Scientific visualization & Multimodal interaction in Science Education.
I did a little gogling and found and to provide a comprehensive and defining understanding on these 2 topics.

Scientific visualization (also spelled scientific visualisation) is an interdisciplinary branch of science according to Friendly (2008) "primarily concerned with the visualization of three dimensional phenomena (architectural, meteorological, medical, biological, etc.), where the emphasis is on realistic renderings of volumes, surfaces, illumination sources, and so forth, perhaps with a dynamic (time) component".[2]

In my own remixed applets, there is many examples of scientific visualization.
Ejs Open Source Ideal Gas Model based on Kinetic Theory of Gas with Molecular simulation and statistical histogram

Ejs open source Magnetic Field due to moving charges & current java applet with vector fields and scalar fields ( scatter field is possible but i didn't add it here yet)


Two major groups of multimodal interfaces have merged. The first group of interfaces combined various user input modes beyond the traditional keyboard and mouse input/output, such as speech, pen, touch, manual gestures, gaze and head and body movements.The most common such interface combines a visual modality (e.g. a display, keyboard, and mouse) with a voice modality (speech recognition for input, speech synthesis and recorded audio for output). However other modalities, such as pen-based input or haptic input/output may be used. Multimodal user interfaces are a research area in human-computer interaction (HCI).
The advantage of multiple input modalities is increased usability: the weaknesses of one modality are offset by the strengths of another.

What a delightful encounter with the singapore thought leader blogger creator Kinmun LEE

I am a BIG fan of the popular blogger and podcast
Keep up the GOOD work!!

By the way, I use your podcast to share with my not so internet savvy parents and in-laws, and we all enjoyed the humor.
The interface links are fantastic cause the Iphone plays the Download MP3 and the [iTunes] allows syncing through the PC or Mac.

Thanks for sharing your perspectives on current affairs on sg and world events. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Use of Google Form or Spreadsheet (in combination with NetLogo learning environment or Ejs applet) to promote Self directed & collaborative e-learning by LEE TL

A masterful teacher LEE TL's implementation of e-learning by using tools revisited during the ICT Mentor Program.

Use of Google Form or Spreadsheet (in combination with NetLogo learning environment or Ejs Open Source Ideal Gas Model based on Kinetic Theory of Gas YouTube Video) to promote  self directed & collaborative e-learning on Kinetic Theory of Gases (Physics) by LEE TL 2010.

Example of Use Google Form to easily collect students group's response to e-Activity

Example of  Use Google Doc to create activities to guide the students group's e-learning tasks. Of course Google Sites or Wikispaces can be other suitable e-spaces.

To view the answers:

What is Self-Directed Learning (SDL)?

Self-directed learning (SDL) involves initiating personally challenging activities and developing personal knowledge and skills to pursue the challenges successfully (Gibbons, 2002).

For students engaged in self-directed learning, there will be:
  1. Ownership of Learning- Yes during this e-learning lesson during curriculum time while the teacher is on PD program endorsed by the school, the students take charge of what to learn.
  2. Management and Monitoring of Own Learning-Yes, since the teacher is on course, the students are trusted to go to the computer lab and experience the e-activities designed by the teacher.
  3. Extension of Own Learning-Yes, the applet has designed Maxwell distribution of speeds and coefficient of restitution concepts not in the syllabus, students can decide to explore more on them or find them out on the internet.

Picture taken from

What is Collaborative Learning (CoL)?

Collaborative learning (CoL) is where students work in pairs or groups to solve a problem or to achieve a common learning objective (Barkley et al., 2005).

For students engaged in collaborative learning, there will be:
  1. Effective Group Processes, Yes, the group work allows students to discuss after submitting their answers
  2. Individual and Group Accountability of Learning, Yes, when the lesson is in a positive social context and they are on task. 

Picture taken from

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ejs open source simple harmonic motion java applet SHM virtual lab

Updated my 1st applet since 2006 days.
visit for the actual applet :)

Ejs open source simple harmonic applet SHM for inquiry learning virtual lab
spring mass easy java simulation on simple harmonic physics applet with options for pre university A level physics made by lookang.

remixed From an EJS manual example from D:\EasyJavaSimulation\Ejs3.46_070428\Ejs\Simulations\_examples\Manual\Spring.xml and D:\EasyJavaSimulation\Ejs3.46_070428\Ejs\Simulations\_examples\Manual\SpringAdvanced.xml by Author : Francisco Esquembre
follow the tutorial on spring mass system allows this virtual lab to be created by lookang.
Thanks to Francisco Esquembre, Fu-Kwun Hwang and Wolfgang Christian for your guidance.
many options: simple harmonic motion forced oscillation of course, another best java physics applet, by teacher for teachers.
creative commons attribute!
older versions

Simple Harmonic Motion Model

The EJS simple harmonic motion Model shows a mass m situated at the end of 2 springs of length l = 2.0 m of negligible massThe motion is restricted to one dimension, the horizontal. (We choose a coordinate system in the plane with origin at centre of the mass-spring system and with the X axis along the direction of the spring). The floor is assumed to be frictionless.

Four Plots vs t shows
1 displacement (in m) versus time (in s).
2 velocity (in m/s) versus time (in s).
3 acceleration (in m/s^2) versus time (in s).
4 energies (in J) versus time (in s).

Three Plots vs X shows

5 velocity (in m/s) versus displacement (in m).
6 acceleration (in m/s^2) versus displacement (in m).
7 energies (in J) versusdisplacement (in m).

Users can examine and change the model if they have Ejs installed.

free oscillations

A simple harmonic oscillator is an oscillator that is neither driven nor damped. Its motion is periodic— repeating itself in a sinusoidal fashion with constant amplitude, A. Simple harmonic motion SHM can serve as a mathematical model of a variety of motions, such as a mass on a spring.

For simplicity, we assume that the reaction of the springs to a displacement dx from the equilibrium point follows Hooke's Law, F(dx) = -k dx , where k is a constant which depends on the physical characteristics of the spring.

This, applying Newton's Second Law, leads us to the second order differential equation

d2x / dt2 = -k/m (x-l),

where x is the horizontal position of the mass from the from the origin centre of the springs.
This is similar to what is commonly describe in SHM as
a = - ω2x
a acceleration
w omega is angular velocity of SHM
x displacement of object in SHM from the equilibrium position

• Simple harmonic motion

1. Run the simulation with b = 0 (no damping) and X driver = 0 ( no driver amplitude). Explore the various sliders to make sense of the sliders. Describe the motion of these free oscillations with reference to acceleration and displacement. Describe and relate to other examples of simple free oscillations.
2. Investigate the relationship of the displacement, velocity and acceleration versus time by exploring the Plot vs t checkbox to reveal the graphical display of the experimental view of the setup. Describe, with graphical illustrations, the changes in displacement, velocity and acceleration during simple harmonic motion.
3. Explore the terms amplitude, period, frequency, angular frequency and phase difference in the virtual laboratory by looking for the hints in the virtual lab. Play with the sliders and make sense of these terms used commonly in SHM.
4. Explore and record the period, T in terms of both frequency, f and angular frequency, ω. Select the 'expert' checkbox and look for the values of f and ω in relations to T.
5. The equation a = –ω2x is the defining equation of simple harmonic motion. Select the Plot vs X checkbox and record down the graph. Why is the equation is correct? Explain the negative sign and meaning of ω in terms of k and m.
6. The equation v = vocosω t can be used to describe the graph of v versus t (select checkbox Plot vs t and check v) Why is the equation is correct? Under what conditions is the equation valid?
7. The equation v = ±ω Math.sqrt ( xo2 - x2 ) can be used to describe the graph of v versus x (select checkbox Plot vs x and check v) Why is the equation is correct? Under what conditions is the equation valid?
8. Explore degree of damping and the importance of critical damping by varying the slider of b. Design and record down how the values of b affects the graph of displacement vs time. Hint: The graph of energies vs time would be of interest in describing the effects of damping.
9. Explore the amplitude and frequency of the driving force (Fdriver) and it effects on the motion of the system.