The Symphony2 Software Infrastructure for Constructing Scaffolded Work Environments

C. Quintana, C. Wells, and E. Soloway (USA)


Education, scaffolded work environments, software infrastructure


With many educational approaches encouraging learners to engage in wide-ranging practices such as science inquiry, educational technologies need to provide learners with diverse sets of tools and broad kinds of support (or scaffolds) so they can fully engage in these complex practices. Engaging in a complex practice means having to plan, perform, monitor, and manage a range of responsibilities, activities, tools, artifacts and information. While there are many individual scaffolded tools to support learners with individual activities, we are now exploring the development of broader integrated tool sets for learners—scaffolded work environments (or SWEets)—that give learners the necessary functionality support they need to do complex work. Because of the complexity involved with SWEet development, we are developing the Symphony2 SWEet Infrastructure, which consists of core management and metacognitive services, a mechanism for flexible software integration, and a specification mechanism for developing customized “scaffolded workspaces” to help learners engage in different activities. The goal of Symphony2 is to provide developers with a platform they can use for developing SWEets that address different practices and learner audiences.

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