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David Williamson Shaffer: Quantitative Ethnography (Workshop)

Date: Tuesday, 7th November 2017
Time: 09:30 AM
Location: CIC Ideation Studio, UTS Building 22

Learning in the 21st century means thinking in complex and collaborative ways that are situated in a real world context. This workshop introduced participants to Quantitative Ethnography, a set of tools for modelling complex thinking. A central premise of Quantitative Ethnography is that learning is a process of enculturation in which students learn to make relevant connections between skills, concepts, and practices in a domain. Quantitative Ethnography models the structure of these connections in large- and small-scale datasets, and log files of many kinds, including games and simulations, chat, email, and social media. By modelling patterns of connections in discourse, Quantitative Ethnography can help researchers quantify and visualise the development of complex thinking.

This interactive workshop provided an overview of Quantitative Ethnography, outlining some of the ways it has been used to analyse learning, with an emphasis on the conceptual and practical issues of data management, coding, and modelling. Participants were invited to share their projects and data to explore how Quantitative Ethnography would apply to their work.

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About Professor David Williamson Shaffer

125318_DWSDavid Williamson Shaffer is an internationally recognised expert on teaching and assessing 21st Century skills through educational games. He is best known for the development of Virtual Internships for students in high school and college and for corporate training and assessment, as well as his work using quantitative ethnography to measure complex thinking.

Dr Shaffer is a highly sought-after speaker, teaching a course at the University of Wisconsin on making effective presentations. He is currently the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Game Scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Before coming to the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Shaffer was a teacher, teacher-trainer, curriculum developer, and game designer, including work with the Asian Development Bank and US Peace Corps in Nepal and as a 2008-2009 European Union Marie Curie Fellow. His Ph.D. is from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of How Computer Games Help Children Learn (New York: Palsgrave MacMIllan, 2006) and Quantitative Ethnography(Madison, WI: Cathcart Press, 2017).