Digital Education seminar: Quantitative Ethnography
David Williamson Shaffer, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
Friday October 14th 2016
Venue: Paterson's Land 1.26, Holyrood Campus
The ability to teach and assess the development of complex thinking skills is crucial for 21st century educational research. In the age of educational games and the Big Data they generate, we have more information than ever about what students are doing and how they are thinking. But the sheer volume of data available can overwhelm traditional qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Quantitative Ethnography is a set of research methods that weave the study of culture together with statistical tools to understand learning—a way to go beyond looking for arbitrary patterns in mountains of data that games and simulations generate, and begin telling textured stories at scale.
This talk provides an overview of the science of Quantitative Ethnography, and a preview of two key tools that researchers can use to assess complex thinking in games and simulations. The first tool is Epistemic Network Analysis, a network modeling technique for modeling learning in Big Datasets. The second is nCoder, which supports the development and validation of codes—both automated codes and inter-rater reliability in traditional hand coding procedures.
About the speaker: David Williamson Shaffer is an internationally recognized expert on teaching and assessing 21st Century skills through educational games. He is best known for the development of Virtual Internships for students in high school and college and for corporate training and assessment, as well as his work using quantitative ethnography to measure complex thinking. Dr. Shaffer is a highly sought-after speaker, teaching a course at the University of Wisconsin on making effective presentations. He is currently a Professor of Learning Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Game Scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Before coming to the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Shaffer was a teacher, teacher-trainer, curriculum developer, and game designer, including work with the Asian Development Bank and US Peace Corps in Nepal and as a 2008-2009 European Union Marie Curie Fellow. His Ph.D. is from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His best known book is How Computer Games Help Children Learn.