The multimedia notebook windows provide teachers (and curriculum developers) with an editable, linkable authoring environment in which to author WorldWatcher activities. Notebooks can link to datasets, data menus, resource folders, and other notebook windows. Users can create their own notebook windows or use existing ones (see notebooks.jpg).
Applications for notebook windows:
- Student worksheets
- Tutorials and demos
- Menus of activities
- Records of student work
- Advice and professional development
- Help documentation
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
Many teachers have a difficult time integrating open-ended scientific inquiry tools such as WorldWatcher into a classroom task setting. WorldWatcher notebooks provide an adaptable medium for linking instruction with software features by enabling teachers to guide student inquiry in an open-ended environment.
Context of Use:
Curriculum developers have used the notebooks to create WorldWatcher activity guides. Teachers have used the notebooks to create or customize their own guides. Notebooks have been used to create student worksheets, tutorials and demos for students, teachers, and new users, menus of activities, and help documentation.
Early user testing of WorldWatcher with teachers revealed significant challenges in organzing and supporting student work with the tool. Not only did notebook windows provide teachers with a device with which to guide student investigations; they also proved to be a powerful professional development tool (in that teachers relied on sample notebook activities for their own familiarization). The development of notebook windows was the key catalyst for WorldWatchers spread to classrooms nationwide.
Brown, M. and Edelson, D. (1998). Software in Context: Designing for students, teachers, and classroom enactment. ICLS 98:International Conference on the Learning Sciences, Atlanta, GA, Charlottesville, VA: AACE.