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How Much Can An Interface DO?!?

This is Noel Rappin's point. Do any of our current interfaces support task switching? How much of all this does LCD have to do to be LCD?

Let me elaborate on this. My OO design tool BOOST (see DEVICE and BOOST) could potentially have the following learning goals.

  1. Learning object-oriented design
  2. Learning object-oriented programming
  3. Learning generic design skills
  4. Learning generic modeling skills
  5. Learning metacognitive skills

Obviously, it will share the load of the last three items with any number of other programs that the student might use (at least in a ubiquitous learning technology world, right?). How much responsibility does any one program (or any one interface) have to solve all the worlds problems?

I think that this relates to the black-box/glass-box issues that Cindy Hmelo and I talked about at ICLS'96. There we made the claim that everything that you want students to learn about should be glass-box scaffolding – you can look in it, you can change/adapt it, you can see how/why you were being helped. Other things should be black box scaffolding – never fading, never tweakable, always there. The idea is that not everything has to be learnable by everyone all the time.

To address DEVICE and BOOST specifically, anyone using your tools must do all those things. But are they all learning goals all at the same time? And do you have to support learning in all of them? I think that it's cool to say "Those last three are black-box. Get it from elsewhere or just use my menus (whatever). But that's not my learning focus."

Rephrasing the question: What MUST the Interface do to be LCD?