Thursday, February 27, 2014

Recap of Fall 2013 Events!

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #1: Following Up Think Aloud Studies 9/18/13
Dr. Sigmund Tobias, an eminent research professor at UAlbany, and doctoral student Fei Chen have been conducting research on cognitive readiness to deal with the unexpected.  Fei presented results of a “think aloud” study which was investigating the cognitive processes involved in adapting to unexpected events.  Preliminary results suggest that internal cognitive checking and persistence in problem solving might be key cognitive processes in dealing with the unexpected.  The brown bag provided a forum for students and faculty to learn about this research area and then discuss how to follow up think aloud studies with more experimentally oriented research.


Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #2: Research and Educational Technology 10/16/13
Dr. Tobias returned for our second brown bag along with Dr. Fletcher from the Institute for Defense Analysis to discuss the impact and effectiveness of educational technology.  More specifically, the research focused on computer tutors and learning.  Educational technology allows for more individualization of education at a lower cost.  After comparing the cost to increase math achievement by 1 standard deviation, it was cheaper to implement computer based instruction than extending the school day or reducing class size.  Digital tutoring leads to students attempting more problems at every difficulty level with greater probability of success.  Cost projections showed that implementing digital tutoring could save millions of dollars over time.



Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #3:  The Three Paradigms of Gifted Education 11/20/13
At our final brown bag of the fall semester, Dr. Dai posed three questions:  What is the state of gifted education in the US?  How do we develop programs and services that are theoretically coherent, practical, and viable?  What issues need to be resolved through research and consensus building?  A history of gifted education was presented along with the three paradigms of gifted education:  1) the gifted child paradigm, 2) the talent development paradigm, and 3) the differentiation paradigm.  


Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Fall Outing: Apple Picking and Picnic at Thacher Park 10/20/13
On Sunday, October 20, 2013, we spent the afternoon apple picking at Indian Ladder Farms followed by a picnic at Thacher Park.  

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Social Event: “Race to Nowhere” Movie Night 11/8/13
We watched an educational documentary on November 8, 2013 called “Race to Nowhere” followed by an informed discussion about personal experiences with homework and school in the United States and other countries.  Also discussed was how schools and society put a lot of pressure on performance in and outside of school and how there is a need to redefine success in society.  This was a fun and informative event!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dr. David Dai Gives Talk at RPI


On Wednesday September 11, 2013 our department’s Dr. Dai gave a talk as part of the Cognitive Science Colloquium at RPI entitled “When Expert Knowledge Is Not Enough:  From Low Roads to High Roads.”  He talked about the nature of expertise and how the current expert-novice comparison paradigm has limitations.  Instead of viewing expertise as between subjects (i.e. what novices don't have vs. what experts do have) we should think of it also as within subjects (i.e. how experts act in different situations).  Expertise isn't static.  Dr. Dai argues that in order to become a "super-expert" one must be adaptive.  The flexibility of adaptive expertise provides a conceptual advantage due to a variety of exogenous and endogenous factors.  For example, people are faced with a continuum of problems ranging from high regularities to high irregularities, high probability and low probability events, and time pressure--exogenous factors.  They also are affected by the set effect (once something is established it frames our thinking), foreclosure of a problem space (you think there's only 1 pathway when there really are multiple), and bounded rationality and cognitive uncertainty--all endogenous factors.  Adaptive expertise is "slow" and based on controlled processes, self-correction and optimization.  In comparison, routine expertise is "fast," based on well-structuredness of a domain and proceduralized knowledge.  We must find a balance in managing this efficiency (routine expertise)  vs. flexibility (adaptive expertise) trade off.  Dr. Dai then discussed several research ideas on how to use the game of "Go" as a venue for studying adaptive expertise based on previous research by Chase and Simon (1973), Reitman (1976) and Hu (2011).  The proposed designs included priming patterns, eye-movement tracking and think alouds, within subjects (simple vs. complex, time limited vs. time unlimited) and between subjects (skill level) comparisons, and presenting a series of typical and "atypical" positions while measuring event-related potentials and duration of deliberation to detect anomalies and find out what makes experts pause and think.  By studying how people play and make decisions in this game, we can begin to see how adaptive expertise works.  This line of research may ultimately help us understand the nature of expertise as a situated and dynamic interplay of representation and reasoning, of fast pattern-based recognition and intuitions and slow analytic thinking and meta-level control, of knowledge encapsulation and functional flexibility, and of developed expertise and fluid intelligence.