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Visual Design in the Classroom: Learning through design with digital video tools

Knowledge Exchange Lab


2007- open-end


German Science Foundation (DFG), KMRC


In this project we investigate constructivist "learning through design" for history learning and German language arts lessons in school-based education. Based on prior empirical research (e.g. Zahn, Pea, Hesse et al., 2005) we developed a specific learning unit, where students collaboratively create a video-based webpage on a historical topic ("Berlin Airlift in 1948"). To do so, they use a digitized version of a historical newsreel ("The Berlin crisis") and an innovative video tool (e.g., WebDiverTM, Pea et al., 2004, a collaborative tool developed at the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning, Stanford University, CA, USA). The learning unit was investigated concerning important determinants of successful learning: preconditions of the students, situative factors in class, video tool support and instructional guidance by the teacher. As a result of this project we developed a unit for teacher education, which was successfully realized in practice and was accredited in 2010 by the Institut für Qualitätsentwicklung/Hessisches Kultusministerium (Institute for Quality Development at the Ministery for Education in Hessen, Germany).



  • Pea, R., Mills, M., Rosen, J., Dauber, K., Effelsberg, W., & Hoffert. E. (2004, Jan-March). The DIVER™ Project: Interactive Digital Video Repurposing. IEEE Multimedia, 11(1), 54-61.
  • Zahn, C., Pea, R., Hesse, F. W., Mills, M., Finke, M., & Rosen, J. (2005). Advanced digital video technologies to support collaborative learning in school education and beyond. In T. Koschmann, D. Suthers, & T.-W. Chan (Eds.), Computer Supported Collaborative Learning 2005: The Next 10 Years (pp. 737-742). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Zahn, C., Krauskopf, K., Hesse, F.W., & Pea, R. (2010). Digital video tools in the classroom: How to support meaningful collaboration and critical advanced thinking of students? In M. S. Khine & I. M.Saleh (Eds.), New Science of Learning: Cognition, Computers and Collaboration in Education (pp. 503-523). New York: Springer.
  • Zahn, C., Krauskopf, K., Hesse, F.W., & Pea, R. (2009). Participation in knowledge building “revisited”: Reflective discussion and information design with advanced digital video technology. In C. O'Malley, D. Suthers, P. Reimann, & A. Dimitracopoulou (Eds.), Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Practices: CSCL2009 Conference Proceedings (pp. 596-600). New Brunswick, NJ: International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS).
  • Stahl, E., Zahn, C., Schwan, S., & Finke, M. (2006). Knowledge acquisition by designing hypervideos: Different roles of writing during courses of "new media production". In L. Van Waes, M. Leijten, & C. Neuwirth (Eds.), Writing and Digital Media (pp. 77-88). Oxford: Elsevier.