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Proceedings of The Fifth International Conference on E-Learning and E-Technologies in Education (ICEEE2016), Malaysia 2016

The Concept of Self-Adaptive Integrated Web Based Learning Environment for


STEM
Akira Nakamura, Tomoshige Kudo and Keita Nishioka
Kanazawa Institute of Technology, Math. and Science Education Research Center
7-1 Ohgigaoka, Nonoich, Ishikawa 921-8501 Japan
n.akira@neptune.kanazawa-it.ac.jp, kudo@neptune.kanazawa-it.ac.jp
and knisi@neptune.kanazawa-it.ac.jp

ABSTRACT
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics) is structured knowledge which has a
correlation among elements of STEM knowledge.
We already developed mathematics web site and
successfully visualize knowledge structure of
mathematics through network graph drawing. We
are trying to scale up from mathematics to STEM.
That is, we are starting to build a web based
learning environment which integrates web pages
containing elements of STEM knowledge by
connecting with each other through hyperlinks. This
web structure is suitable for searching and browsing
web pages. Learners can grasp the correlation
between elements of STEM knowledge easily and
then understand STEM deeply by browsing
integrated web materials. Consequently, learners
are able to learn STEM subjects efficiently and
effectively according to their ability and curiosity.

KEYWORDS
STEM, Knowledge Structure, Network Graph,
Hyperlink, Adaptive Learning, Web Based Learning

1 INTRODUCTION
The acronym STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics) has started to be
used in the United State of America since early
2000s [1]. Nowadays the use of the acronym
STEM has become popular all over the world.
Many countries focus on STEM education in
order to develop their countries and survive in
the global competitive world. Therefore, there
are many researches related to STEM education.

ISBN: 978-1-941968-37-6 2016 SDIWC

For example, integrated STEM education is


very useful to improve learning attitude. [2-4].
On the other hand, learning by searching plays
an important role after the appearance of google
[5], especially in informal learning. As
searching is a very personal activity, keyword
search is a very useful tool for self-adaptive
learning. But there are some problems. The
information found by searching tends to be
fragmentary information, which is not sufficient
to understand deeply.
In this paper, we present the concept of selfadaptive integrated web based learning
environment for STEM which make STEM
learning efficient and effective.
2 KNOWLWDGE STRUCTURE OF STEM
2.1 Correlation among STEM knowledge
Generally speaking, technology is the
applications of science and mathematics, and
engineering solves the problems of human life
by using technology. Therefore, knowledge of
science,
technology,
engineering
and
mathematics are linked each other and construct
knowledge structure of STEM. Figure 1 shows
the image diagram of correlation among science,
technology, engineering, and mathematics. In
order to learn engineering and technology, we
need to understand mathematics and science
related to them. Acquisition of knowledge
structure is the key to have a deeper
understanding and proficient problem-solving
ability. High performing learners construct

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Proceedings of The Fifth International Conference on E-Learning and E-Technologies in Education (ICEEE2016), Malaysia 2016

knowledge structure through the learning


process by themselves. The low performance
learners do not have enough ability to make
links among knowledge or do not have
sufficient knowledge to construct the
knowledge structure. We consider that
visualizing integrated knowledge structure of
STEM is useful for learners to support making
links and learning engineering efficiently and
effectively.
Engineering

Technology

Mathematics

Science

Fig.1 Correlation among science, technology,


engineering, and mathematics

2.2 Method for Constructing Knowledge


Structure
Hyperlinks on the website are created to refer to
other information. Therefore, hyperlinks in web
based learning site are useful tools for
constructing knowledge structure since the
directions of hyperlinks indicate the correlation
between two knowledge units that the tow
knowledge units have a strong connection and
the knowledge described on the web page
linked from the other web page is more basic as
compared with the knowledge on described on
the other web page.
2.3 Knowledge Structure of Mathematics
We have been engaging in research for
constructing a knowledge structure of
mathematics. The accomplishment of our
research is described as follows. We have been
developing e-learning website of mathematics

ISBN: 978-1-941968-37-6 2016 SDIWC

for more than 10 years, which has about 2


thousand pages and is available on the internet
[6]. The website consists of two parts which are
mathematical knowledge part and exercise part.
In mathematical knowledge part, we design the
e-learning website in a specific manner.
Mathematical knowledge is divided into
elements which have one mathematical topic.
We allocate each elemental mathematical
knowledge to one page. Since knowledge is
built from some more basic knowledge, we
create hyperlinks from selected texts on web
page to another web page as reference in an
ordinary way. As a result, the complicated
hyperlink structure is constructed in our web
site. We realized that this hyperlink structure
among web pages containing mathematical
knowledge is similar to the mathematical
knowledge structure. We tried to visualize the
knowledge structure of mathematics by using a
network graph of hyperlink structure of our
mathematical web site [7, 8]. A hierarchy of
mathematical knowledge is also successfully
calculated by using characteristic of hyperlinks
that the directions of hyperlinks are from web
pages whose contents are advanced to other
web pages whose contents are basic [9]. We use
the Gephi which is open source software for
creating network graph drawing. We developed
crawler software with PHP and MySQL to
make the network data for Gephi. We display a
network graph drawing on a web page by using
the JavaScript GEXF Viewer for Gephi under
the MIT license. Figure 2 shows the developed
network graph of mathematical knowledge
structure. Node labels are title of a web page,
which are translated from the original language
to English by machine translation. We can
intuitively
know
the
importance
of
mathematical knowledge by the size of nodes
of network graph and the other knowledge level
of mathematics by the color of nodes. Figure 3
shows the selected knowledge and knowledge
which are linked to it or are linked from it. We
can understand what the knowledge consists of
and what the knowledge applies to in one
glance. Learners are able to learn mathematics
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Proceedings of The Fifth International Conference on E-Learning and E-Technologies in Education (ICEEE2016), Malaysia 2016

efficiently and effectively by using the network


graph.

knowledge structure of mechanical engineering.


Circles, squares, triangles and pentagons
indicate a unit of knowledge described on a
web page. Arrows indicate interrelation among
units of knowledge, which start from applied
knowledge to basic knowledge (hyperlinks
between web pages).

Mechanical
Engineering

Fig.2 Network graph drawing of mathematical


knowledge structure

Mechanical
technique

Physics

Mathematics

Fig.4 Schematic image of knowledge structure of


mechanical engineering
Fig.3 Selected knowledge and its related knowledge

2.3 Constructing Knowledge Structure of


STEM
We have already constructed knowledge
structure of mathematics and have been
increasing mathematical knowledge on a
continuous basis. We are starting to scale up the
knowledge structure of mathematics to STEM
region in the same manner. Now we are
constructing the knowledge structure of
physics, which is connected knowledge
structure of mathematics. We have a plan to
stack the knowledge structure of mechanical
technique and mechanical engineering on the
basic knowledge of mathematics and physics.
Figure 4 shows a schematic image of

ISBN: 978-1-941968-37-6 2016 SDIWC

Figure 5 shows an example of concrete serial


connection of knowledge related to mechanical
engineering. Learners can grasp the correlation
among units of STEM knowledge. They can
know the engineering knowledge consist of
basic knowledge of mathematics and physics.
Conversely, they can know how the basic
knowledge of mathematics and physics are
applied to engineering.
Learning STEM effectively and efficiently in
web based learning environment strongly
depends on GUI (Graphical User Interface).
Data of hyperlink structure enable to produce
any new GUI which we want by programing.
Therefore, constructing integrated web pages
with hyperlinks is the most critical thing in

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Proceedings of The Fifth International Conference on E-Learning and E-Technologies in Education (ICEEE2016), Malaysia 2016

creating an
environment.

excellent

STEM

learning

Moment of force

We proposed concept of self-adaptive


integrated web based learning environment for
STEM, which has knowledge structure among
science,
technology,
engineering
and
mathematics. Therefore, learners can grasp the
correlation between elements of STEM
knowledge easily and then understand STEM
deeply by browsing integrated web materials.
Learners are able to learn STEM subjects
efficiently and effectively according their
ability and curiosity.

Vector product

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Vector

This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI


Grant Number 16K0113700. We appreciate the
student staff who engaged in developing our elearning site.

Design of plate spring


EulerBernoulli beam theory
Bending moment

Coordinate system
Fig.5
Example of connection among units of
knowledge

3 SELF-ADAPTIVE LEARNING
Searching is a popular way of learning. We
interviewed twenty students of our college.
Most of the students answered that they usually
search it in the Internet rather than in the library
when they encounter what they cannot
understand in solving mathematics problem.
After reaching our web site learners make their
own learning path according to their purpose
and curiosity. They can do self-adaptive
learning. In fact, about 80% of visitors to our
site come from search engines [10].
We can obtain the access log data on keyword
and how learners make their own learning paths
on our website. We are able to know what
subject learner would like to learn by keyword
they entered in the search box and what
knowledge they are interested in or want to
learn by analyzing learning pass, i.e. access log
data.

REFERENCES
[1]

[2]

[3]

[4]

[5]

[6]

[7]

3 CONCLUSION
[8]

ISBN: 978-1-941968-37-6 2016 SDIWC

J. Breiner1, S. Harkness, C. Johnson and C. Koehler,


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Proceedings of The Fifth International Conference on E-Learning and E-Technologies in Education (ICEEE2016), Malaysia 2016

Conference
(9th
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