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Nagashima Receives Award at AECT 2020

screenshot of the intelligent tutoring system for algebra


Tomohiro Nagashima, HCI Ph.D. student, received the “Nova Southeastern University Award for Outstanding Practice” at the 2020 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) International Convention this week.

The award recognizes a graduate student who has designed exemplary instructional materials.

Nagashima’s winning materials are associated with two of his recent papers, “Pedagogical Affordance Analysis: Leveraging Teachers’ Pedagogical Knowledge to Elicit Pedagogical Affordances and Constraints of Instructional Tools” and “Enhancing Conceptual Knowledge in Early Algebra Through Scaffolding Diagrammatic Self-explanation.” The papers were published at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) in June, 2020.

Nagashima, Professor Vincent Aleven from the HCII, and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Psychology developed Pedagogical Affordance Analysis (PAA), a novel, user-centered method for understanding and identifying pedagogical affordances and constraints of instructional tools.

They applied their PAA to inform the design of an Intelligent Tutoring System for middle school algebra students.

The system uses an instructional strategy called diagrammatic self-explanation to teach students how to solve equations while promoting conceptual understanding of the procedures through visual representations called tape diagrams.

The Intelligent Tutoring System dynamically provides the visual representation of each equation as a way to scaffold students to conceptually understand how equations and equation transformations can be visually represented. An animation of the system is below.

Their classroom study found that the scaffolded diagrammatic self-explanation enhanced conceptual knowledge for students who did not have prior knowledge of formal equation-solving strategies. 

Nagashima, along with the other awardees, gave a virtual talk about their work during the ACET conference on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.