Friday, November 24, 2006

Convince Me

See comments for review.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

WHAT IS CONVINCE ME?

Convince Me is a computer program designed to guide users in developing critical thinking skills. The program, in essence, allows users to better understand the process of informal and formal reasoning by visually mapping out relationships between thoughts and ideas. Essentially, the program looks very similar to a concept map; however, it is much more complex. Users are asked to analyze the relationship between "hypotheses" and "evidence"—and further users are able visualize the logical thinking process—being able to differentiate whether evidence supports or refutes the hypothesis. Further, users are able to rate the believability of their arguments

Jonassen describes Convince Me as a domain independent "reasoner's workbench" that supports argument development and revision and provides feedback about how coherent arguments are based on theory of explanatory coherence (Ranney & Shank, 1998) (198).

PEDAGOGICAL GOALS & GRADE LEVEL

Pedagogically, the program serves as a good modeling or scaffolding tool for users who have difficulty grasping persuasive or argumentative reasoning. The target audience is users who are new to the concept of scientific reasoning or critical thinking, as some studies suggest that the distinguishing characteristics of data and theory are vague. (Patricia Schank, SRI International, http://www.soe.berkeley.edu/~schank/convinceme).

HOW IT WORKS

The program asks people to categorize thoughts as either "evidence" or "hypotheses", and then asks users to rate the believability of their evidence—therefore, allowing the program to judge the "strength" of the argument. For example, users could enter in a hypothesis such as "Writing with a pen is better than writing with a pencil." Users could support or refute their hypothesis with evidence statements, including "to write with a pencil, it must be sharp." Once the user is finished inputting their hypotheses and evidence, the user can rate the believability of his/her argument—and further rely on ECHO (the computer software) to provide feedback.

WHAT IS ECHO?

The Convince Me computer program cannot interpret the meaning of what is entered into the program. However, ECHO software, a model based on the "theory of explanatory coherence" (TEC), assesses the quality of arguments on their believability. " We have found that ECHO usefully predicts how people evaluate hypotheses, evidence, and other propositions regarding various situations." (Patricia Schank, SRI International, http://www.soe.berkeley.edu/~schank/convinceme).


EASE OF USE
The program is difficult to navigate and use--and it is not "Mac-friendly."


SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Convince Me is a Java program, beta software, for generating and analyzing arguments. The program is not MAC compatible.


HOW MUCH DOES THE SOFTWARE COST?
Free software is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/convinceme.


Applicable articles:
http://www.soe.berkeley.edu/~schank/convinceme/papers/RanneySchank1998.pdf
http://www.soe.berkeley.edu/~schank/convinceme/papers/brmic/brmic.html
http://www.soe.berkeley.edu/~schank/convinceme/papers/asis/asis.html