- The primary mechanisms of scaffolding include structuring the learning task and problematizing the work.
- Hypertexts, like the LibreTexts, provide non-linearity and interactivity.
- How students use online materials is inherently different than a book read cover-to-cover; hypertext can provide the context that a narrative could provide.
Scaffolding complexes provide a beneficial structure that aids in the learner’s ability to learn new information, as well as accomplish more difficult tasks by giving directionality to learning.
As you implement new scaffolding techniques inside LibreTexts, here are some things you may want to consider:
- Scaffolding should problematize work. Problematization is the process in which the student is challenged to recall material, either through quizzes, tests, worksheets, etc. In the short term, this is more difficult for the student. However, in the long term, student learning outcomes are improved. The trick is to find a balance, where the student is challenged in their work, but not over-challenged to the point where they are unmotivated, frustrated, and unproductive.
- Effective scaffolding should structure tasks logically. The structure of a task should be compatible with lesson plans and assignments, such that the progression of material makes sense. This will help learners maintain direction as they are working their way through new material. In LibreTexts, this can be done through the use of hypertext, as well as guided lesson plans.
- Hypertext extensions are also incredibly beneficial in the learning process (Hui, 2018). Hypertext enables users to navigate quickly between different pages, as well as access specific information that may be beneficial in the learning of specific material.
|An example of scaffolding|
Take some aluminum foil. Cut it in half. Now there are two smaller pieces of aluminum foil. Cut one of the pieces in half again. Cut one of those smaller pieces in half again. Continue cutting, making smaller and smaller pieces of aluminum foil. It should be obvious that the pieces are still aluminum foil; they are just becoming smaller and smaller. But how far can this exercise be taken, at least in theory? Can one continue cutting the aluminum foil into halves forever, making smaller and smaller pieces? Or is there some limit, some absolute smallest piece of aluminum foil? Thought experiments like this—and the conclusions based on them—were debated as far back as the fifth century BC.
John Dalton (1766-1844) is the scientist credited for proposing the atomic theory. The theory explains several concepts that are relevant in the observable world: the composition of a pure gold necklace, what makes the pure gold necklace different than a pure silver necklace, and what occurs when pure gold is mixed with pure copper. This article explains the theories that Dalton used as a basis for his theory:
Law 1: The Conservation of Mass
"Nothing comes from nothing" is an important idea in ancient Greek philosophy that argues that what exists now has always existed, since no new matter can come into existence where there was none before. Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794) restated this principle for chemistry with the law of conservation of mass, which "means that the atoms of an object cannot be created or destroyed, but can be moved around and be changed into different particles." This law says that when a chemical reaction rearranges atoms into a new product, the mass of the reactants (chemicals before the chemical reaction) is the same as the mass of the products (the new chemicals made). More simply, whatever you do, you will still have the same amount of stuff (however, certain nuclear reactions like fusion and fission can convert a small part of the mass into energy.
The law of conservation of mass states that the total mass present before a chemical reaction is the same as the total mass present after the chemical reaction; in other words, mass is conserved. The law of conservation of mass was formulated by Lavoisier as a result of his combustion experiment, in which he observed that the mass of his original substance—a glass vessel, tin, and air—was equal to the mass of the produced substance—the glass vessel, “tin calx”, and the remaining air.
Figure 2.1.1: Image of the wood courtesy of Ehamberg and Stannered on Wikimedia Commons, available under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license. Image of ashes courtesy of Walter Siegmund. Image as a whole constructed by Jessica Thornton (UCD).
4. Create an agenda page to organize complex material. Dr. Zsofia Vörös et al. (2011) found that it is important to provide high-level content organizers that help guide the learner through the various hypertexts. This takes shape in the form of the agenda page, pictured below. This supplements the scaffolding, as it helps guide the learner through the material in an effective manner.
Agenda for a class
Agenda for today’s class (80 minutes)
- (20 minutes) Review Pre-class assignment
- (30 minutes) Matrix Representation of Vector Spaces
- (30 minutes) Practice Example