Talk Announcement

Bob Lawler will present an SDP Education Technology Seminar,
Tuesday October 20 at 12 noon
in the 4th Floor Large Conference Room, 6/471.

Exploring Everyday Learning Using Video Case Studies
Robert W. Lawler, Visiting Scientist, BBN Technologies


Common sense knowledge and language interaction are important to thinking. How do children learn common knowledge such as whether or not one thing fits inside another depends on its size, shape, and orientation? How do children learn what words refer to and how do they learn to communicate?
Case study is the method of choice for seeing how everyday learning occurs in a natural context. Throughout a ten-year period, I collected information on the learning of three of my children. Their behavior and its context were captured on videotape. Some of the materials involve the children, between the ages of 5 and 8 years, playing with Logo programs on computers. The largest video collection began as an infant study and followed that child for six years, both with regular video sessions and with a journal of associated observations. There are 225 half hour videos in this study together with about 750 vignettes on her experiences and learning.
This talk will focus on the themes and interactions of the infant study and the design and organization of those materials for exploration and analysis. Video samples from the corpus will be a major part of the presentation. I will introduce the web site through which the materials will soon be made accessible.

Bob Lawler earned a doctorate at MIT for studies in AI, Psychology, and Education, working with Professors Marvin Minsky, Susan Carey, and Seymour Papert. Now an Emeritus Professor of Purdue University, he has held visiting positions at MIT, Harvard, Exeter, and the University of Geneva. He is a Lifetime International Fellow of the Archives Jean Piaget.
He spent many years outside the academic world, working as an IBM system engineer for nearly a decade before his doctoral studies. Later he was Associate Director of the New York Logo Center, senior researcher at the World Center for Computers and Human Development in Paris, an associate of Oliver Selfridge at the GTE Fundamental Research laboratory, and an NAS Senior Research Fellow at the Army Research Institute. He was a visiting scholar at Apple, and a visiting researcher at UNESCO.
His has written six books and numerous articles. Professor Sheldon White, former Chairman of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University wrote in review that Lawler’s book “Computer Experience and Cognitive Development” is “the finest single study of children’s learning we have.” At home, Bob raised and educated four children, whom you will meet through the video corpus samples.

Wallace Feurzeig, Principal Scientist
BBN Technologies 10 Moulton Street Cambridge, MA 02138

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