From Social Algorithm to Pedagogical Application: Some Implications for Educational Software

D. Pratt (South Africa)


Modelling, courseware, composition, design, algorithms.


Educational software geared to literacy development is too often based on what computer programs can do rather than on any deep-level consideration of the social process involved or how social processes are learned. As social psychology suggests that young people learn social behaviour by means of social algorithms, it is suggested that designers of educational software should consider identifying the algorithm involved as a basis for effective program design. Apart from resulting in versatile courseware, following this process means that the program structure itself can be made to reinforce the algorithm to be learned. This innovative educational design process is demonstrated by showing how a writing tutor program was designed around a composing algorithm underpinned by a deep structure of communicative functions. The resulting application could then be used flexibly in a variety of different educational contexts because the commonalities and variables in composing had been established.

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