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[P2] London Mental Models Group

This multidisciplinary research group was led by the late Joan Bliss of King's College London and involved staff in science, mathematics and history education, but also in language, cognitive psychology, educational computing, expert systems and artificial intelligence.
When Aug 31, 1986 to
Aug 30, 1990
Where London
Aim: To discover new perspectives on the mental models of learners with regard to their use of technology as a tool for developing such models.
Reflection: The group provided me with a regular and powerful discourse to engage with in relation to the role of computers in learning and in particular analysing the nature of modelling and simulation software and its potential for learning.
Contribution: I participated and contributed ideas to seminars considering models of learning with technology. My part: 5% (Project led by the late Professor Joan Bliss)
Orginality, impact and importance: The work to integrate an educational approach to technology, learning, artificial intelligence and mental models was unique, recognised by an Economics and Social Research Council grant for the 'Tools for exploratory learning' project (Bliss & Ogborn 1989) and peer-reviewed publications. It had impact on the design of new modelling software and importance in raising the level of debate at an early stage in the maturation of technology in education amongst the educational research community in London.
Evidence: Joan Bliss' obituary (Ogborn 2011) contains testimony to the significance of this group.

The group's members were from King's College London, the Institute of Education, Imperial College London and Kingston Polytechnic and met monthly.

The common ground was Education, with specific focus on modelling cognition to inform more generally issues of learning and teaching in an information technology setting.

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Lewis Carroll describes a fictional map that had:

"the scale of a mile to the mile."

A character notes some practical difficulties with such a map and states that:

"we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well."
— Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, Lewis Carroll, 1893

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