Crime Scenes: cultivating colleagueship and enabling connectivist learning
A cross-Faculty collaboration has brought together five academics from a variety of disciplines at De Montfort University (DMU), resulting in a novel project that inspires year 8-12 students to learn collaboratively and apply their mathematics, physics and other classroom learning in a practical context. The exercise centres around the collision of a real motor vehicle on campus at DMU and a realistic injured manikin. Along the way students have to question a witness, measure skid marks to calculate speed and collate additional forensic evidence to enable them to identify the cause of the crash. An animated film finally shows the cause of the accident – texting while driving. Ainsworth’s six different levels of explanation that can and should be evoked to understand learning with animation  are explored as part of this paper, namely a) expressive, b) cognitive, motor and perceptual, c) affective and motivational, d) strategic, e) metacognitive and f) rhetorical. An animation can enhance reality and engage with cognitive processes to help learning and in our project is the last piece of the jigsaw that embeds the student’s incremental acquisition of knowledge to tie together the pieces of evidence, identify a suspect and ultimately solve the crime. The ‘hands on’ initiative was initially developed for a TeenTech event in April 2014 and hosted at the University. Since then, more than 200 school pupils along with visitors at three university-wide open days have participated in this practical challenge. Collaboration with local police Crash Scene Investigators (CSI) and Artistic Make-Up and Special Effects (AMSE) students from a Leicester college helped to increase the authenticity of the project. It has proven especially effective as a way to enthuse and motivate pupils identified as disengaged from education and demonstrates the importance of connective knowledge requiring an interaction. Downes posed ‘Is the knowledge being produced the product of an interaction between the members, or is it a (mere) aggregation of the members’ perspectives?’ . We have observed that a different type of knowledge is indeed produced when student learners interact as a network to solve a crime and concurs with one of Siemen’s principle of connectivism, namely that the ‘ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill’ . We will discuss the successes and challenges raised by the collaborative project, and consider the numerous nodes and connections in our network as well as future developments and potential wider implications.  Ainsworth, S. (2008). How do animations influence learning? In D. Robinson & G. Schraw (Eds.), Current Perspectives on Cognition, Learning, and Instruction: Recent Innovations in Educational Technology that Facilitate Student Learning. pp 37-67: Information Age Publishing.  Downes, S. (2007). An Introduction to Connective Knowledge, Media, Knowledge & Education – Exploring new Spaces, Relations and Dynamics in Digital Media Ecologies. Proceedings of the International Conference held on June 25-26, 2007.  Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, Vol. 2 No. 1.
Citation:Bassford, M., O'Sullivan, A., Crisp, A., Bacon, J., Fowler, M. (2015) Crime Scenes: cultivating colleagueship and enabling connectivist learning. Proceedings of the 22nd Association for Learning Technology Conference 2015, held 8-10 September 2015, University of Manchester.