Christophe Bansart, Research and Development Director
KDetude EdTech company, https://kdetude.com, Paris - France
During this JSXGraph conference, we would like to talk about how we have implemented JSXGraph into our product, and how it could participate to democratise pedagogical activity design. Then we could design in real time few simple pedagogical activities using JSXGraph components.
1. Product context
Nowadays, creating and adapting pedagogical activities in STEM is a difficult task for teachers. The reason for this is that there are no easy to use authoring tools to create interactive and randomised activities. Therefore, teachers are coerced into reusing existing resources as they are, without being able to adapt them to their learners' needs.
With regard to learners, resources available today are mainly based on a deductive approach: theory is presented first, and then, learners are asked to apply it. The issue is that a scientific mindset require learning to follow the opposite approach. As Galileo and Marie Curie Skłodowska have proven experimentation precede theory. We deeply convinced that learners should experiment and train to induct theory, as scientists do.
Based on these observations, our company KDetude, strives to bring computational thinking to teachers’ creativity to make learners succeed. To achieve this, KDetude is developing Eleda (Experiment, Learn with Dynamic Activities), a unique educative STEM ecosystem. It offers schools' and teachers' communities the ability to make randomised, and multilingual STEM activities with building blocks, as known as NoCode approach. As such, learners can train without limits, and develop their critical thinking and scientific mindset. Eleda wants to make teachers the “makers” of their online pedagogical activities.
Our solution Eleda offers :
- A new generation of authoring tool for teachers: just as the Scratch building blocks system does, we want to offer teachers the opportunity to easily design randomised activities through blocks. Computational thinking and Makers spirit fuel all domains and education is being following suit. In the end, one activity made by a teacher can generate an infinite number of problems to solve, allowing their learners to experiment endlessly with STEM.
The authoring User Interface (on the left side the building blocks, on the right side the result)
- A new generation of pedagogical activities: learners receive smart and tailor-made feedback to figure out why they have not succeeded. Thus, learners experiment until they understand underlying concepts and become comfortable with them.
- A “makers” multilingual community: an open community to share, adapt, reuse activities among “makers”.
Thus, the geometry interactive library has to follow simple rules to be integrable into blocks :
- Library should accept procedural code approach. We need to draw element one by one as we plug block one by one.
- Library should allow producing geometric figures and graphics as well.
- Library should be European and respectful of GDPR rules.
- Library should be MITor equivalent license based to be compliant with the rest of our commercial products.
JSXGraph check all these criteria and we have decided to use it as our main interactive geometry library.
3. JSXGraph implementation
- In a first stage, we have implemented through blocks, basic geometric elements, as points and lines then we have drawn them in a default JSXboard. In order to respect our initial goal to make it simple for teachers, we keep the idea of a default board for drawing figures and graphics.
(three blocks that represent basics geometrical objects and a elementary activity which draw a point in a default Board)
- In a second step, we have improved the JSXGraph related Blocks to implement more complex drawings in the same board. To achieve that, we have implemented a board block with few principal settings.
(A board block named Graph, with its geometrical elements nested)
- In the third step, we have implemented additional JSXGraph elements. We have also added to the JSXGraph related blocks several general geometry blocks to compute for instance area and perimeter of a figure or compute Euclidean distance between two points.
Finally, to test and stress our JSXgraph Blocks system implementation we have developed complex activities that carry out many JSXGraph elements mixed with other kind of blocks. One of these examples is the “What time is it?” activity which targets primary school learners to train them to read time on a clock. Another relevant example is the “Graphical identification of a function’s derivative” which targets secondary school learners and train them to recognise derivative properties through graphics.
3. Further developments
Eleda public beta stage has been opened since September 2021. During this public beta, we count on teachers' feedback to improve and add features in our application. The final goal is not to replicate all JSXGraph features into blocks, but curate essential functions that could help designers to implement STEM activities in a simple way. To achieve that, we hope designers and teachers will be keen to share their insights and needs in order to democratise interactive geometry activity design through blocks.