SenseMaker is a software tool developed as part of the KIE project that helps students figure out the relationships that exist between a number of different Web resources. As they investigate pieces of Internet evidence, students organize the items from the Web into categories (or frames) in Sensemaker. The SenseMaker they construct can be an argument they use as part a debate project or as an organization of different resources during a design project. SenseMaker helps students understand and use the diverse range of information found on the Web. Source: http://www.kie.berkeley.edu/sensemaker/ With SenseMaker, students sort evidence according to their relevance to particular problems and their position in scientific debates.
In the picture: In The How Far Does Light Go? Debate, students use SenseMaker to sort out many data supporting different sides of the debate. Later in the project, students are assigned a position and must defend it in a class debate.
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
Carry out debates about complex, multidisciplinary issues to help students productively identify issues and open questions
Context of Use:
SenseMaker is a software tool that can be used by students who are organizing evidence from the Web. Students usually use SenseMaker in pairs, but it could also be used by individuals or larger groups of students. In current projects in the WISE library, SenseMaker is used in science inquiry projects, but it could also be useful in other subject areas. WISE environment, SCOPE (SCOPE Science Controversies On-line Partnerships in Education)
See this paper for demonstrated benefits of this feature: Bell, P. (1997). Using argument representations to make thinking visible for individuals and groups. In R. Hall, N. Miyake, & N. Enyedy (Eds.), Proceedings of CSCL 97: The Second International Conference on Computer Support for CollaborativeLearning, (pp. 10-19). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Available online at http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/cscl/papers/bell.pdf.
Whole class collaborative debate about a well-specified topic where students can exchange ideas and revisit interpretations reveals substantive issues and counter-arguments.
Linn, M. C., & Hsi, S., 2000. Computers, Teachers, Peers: Science Learning Partners. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.