The impossible optimization problem
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Science and technology education seeks to restructure -- i.e engineer-- the most complex system we know of (the brain), in a way that it incorporates the most complex intellectual capabilities developed by our species (science, technology and mathematics). This is a very challenging engineering problem. Making the problem even more challenging, the reengineering of the cognitive system needs to occur as the brain is going through the extremely complex biological process of development and maturation. Finally, the reengineering of cognition is not direct -- it is mediated by a range of social and other external systems, such as the curriculum, teaching and teachers, textbooks, the classroom, policy, social/economic frameworks, and numerous other factors. Research in science and technology education seeks to optimize this reengineering of cognition, by developing and testing ways to make this complex social engineering process more efficient and smooth. This talk will present one approach to tackle this impossible optimization problem, focusing on Learning Sciences, a recent approach to science and mathematics education research. It will also demo some systems our group has designed to help students gain better competence over formal representations used in science and mathematics.
- R & P Seminar