Skip to main content

A diagrammatic language to build and share STEM teaching narratives

Dr Tina Wilson, Visiting Fellow with STRiPe (Science and Technology Research in Pedagogy) has recently had a paper published at the STEM Annual Conference 2012 at Imperial College and The Royal Geographical Society London 


The general objective of this overall work is to propose a methodology for the creation of language-neutral multimedia materials (without audio or text), which can be directly embedded in STEM courses in any language. The overall design of this project was discussed in [1]

The design was based on four stages: 1) a very explicit design of the course, mainly on the dependence of the concepts, using Compendium, 2) the careful selection of icons for some key concepts, 3) the generation of short interrelated animations, which try to identify a suitable graphic language (with both formal syntax and semantics), 4) the proposal of metadata, some internal to each animation and other external, to interrelate them. The final export of this educational package would consist of animations and their metadata, which would help facilitate re-use, and embedding within other courses.

In this paper we focus on the third stage. In the types of short animations discussed, we detected two complementary vocabularies. The first one labels the intentionality of certain scenes: presentation of a formal definition, presentation of positive examples and negative examples. The 

second marks the dependence of the concepts and their construction process: for example, if one is a specialization of a previous one, or if you are graphically emphasizing the use of a universal or existential quantification at that point in the construction of the concept.

At this stage, as the ultimate goal, we hope to achieve a semi-automatic process of generating animations. From the definition of first order logic of a concept (or other less formal descriptions), through the graphic language that is being investigated. This is a goal to be achieved. But we trust 

that this contributes to the creation and reuse of materials in the STEM area beyond existing language barriers.

[1] J.L. Fernández-Vindel, and T. Wilson (2011). Multilingual media components directly embeddable 
in open educational resources in science and technology. International Conference on Education, 
Research and Innovation - ICERI 2011 14-16th November 2011, Madrid, Spain.

Paper can be found at:

Popular posts from this blog

Experiments in teaching Neural Networks

Excel Based

More details available at including links to the code.

All views and opinions are the author's and do not necessarily reflected those of any organisation they are associated with. Twitter: @scottturneruon

Social Analysis of Publications

The Computing staff's network of co-authors, at the University of Northampton, based on the University's  research repository NECTAR - on 12th November 2016. The data goes back to 2010.

The data was analysed using the software VOSviewer - free software for visualising networks. Differences in colours represents, the clusters of publications with those authors picked out by the software. The relative size of the circles is the relative number of publications listed; so for the two biggest circles/hubs it relates to 55 and 34 publications in this time period. Some relatively new authors, to the University but not to research, explains some of the 'islands' and the number of publications within it - it only reflects publications whilst at the University of Northampton.

To dig a little deeper, going to  look at the two biggest 'hubs' through their NECTAR records, so potentially going …

Computer lecturer’s research helps improve the next generation of technology

Taken from: A computing lecturer at the University of Northampton, who is researching into how the efficiency of our everyday devices, such as mobile phones, can be improved, has been awarded the best paper at two recent conferences. Dr Michael Opoku Agyeman has written several journal papers focusing on how the next generation of technology can meet the ever increasing demands from consumers. He was invited to present his work at the 19th Euromicro Conference on Digital System Design in Cyprus and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ 14th International Conference in Paris. Part of his research concentrates on whether several processing elements can be incorporated on a single chip, known as System-On-Chip, to improve the efficiency and speed of the computing systems that we use every day, from mobile phones to video-game consoles and even medical equipment…