Issue 3 - November 2009

Welcome to Educational Designer #3

This issue of Educational Designer introduces a new type of contribution - the "extended response" that Paul Black has written to Alan Schoenfeld's piece in ED2 entitled "Bridging the cultures of educational research and design".

We encourage readers who feel moved to make a substantial response to a published piece, not on the scale of a full paper, to offer it to us. (This first example began life as part of the review process but clearly needed publishing). If accepted, we will then offer the author of the original paper the chance to comment - in this case Alan Schoenfeld felt nothing further was needed.

After this third issue, I am delighted to say that Susan McKenney will be resuming the editorship in full. Daniel Pead as Design Editor and I, as Chair of the Advisory Board, will continue to work with her. I have enjoyed my part in launching Educational Designer but I am pleased to relinquish the reins.

Hugh Burkhardt
for the Editors

On Strategic Design

Hugh Burkhardt
Shell Centre for Mathematical Education
The University of Nottingham, UK

This paper develops the concept of “strategic design”, the design implications of the interactions of a product with the whole user system, and relates it to other aspects of design. It describes some examples of poor strategic design that occur frequently, and some cases where effective strategic design has been important in the large-scale impact of an ambitious educational innovation. From these, the paper then seeks to infer some principles for strategic design. It is aimed at the three major constituencies of ISDDE: designers, design team leaders, and the client-funders that often commission their work. The hope is that sharpened awareness of the importance, and the challenges, of strategic design may help to increase the impact of good design as a whole.

Burkhardt, H. (2009) On Strategic Design. Educational Designer, 1(3).
Retrieved from:

The Actor’s and Observer’s Point of View: A geometry applet as an example

Nisa Figueiredo and Frans van Galen, Freudenthal Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands
Koeno Gravemeijer, Eindhoven School of Education, Netherlands

When designing mathematical educational tasks, a designer tries to anticipate how students will react. Students, however, may look at a task in a way that differs much from how teachers or instructional designers look at it. In relation to this, one speaks of the difference between the actor’s and the observer’s point of view. In this article, we elaborate on this distinction, outlining a theoretical and empirical perspective on the differences between these two points of view. To do so, we use the data from a small scale teaching experiment with a geometry applet that we had designed.

Figueiredo, N., van Galen, F., Gravemeijer, K. (2009) The actor’s and observer’s point of view: A geometry applet as an example. Educational Designer, 1(3).
Retrieved from:

A Designer Speaks: Glenda Lappan and Elizabeth Phillips

Michigan State University, USA

The need to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics has been a focus of attention in the US over our entire careers. There have been waves of national interest in mathematics education that have attracted mathematicians and mathematics educators to the work of improving K-12 mathematics education. Today we will focus our remarks in two areas, our own curriculum development work including the story of how we came to engage in and accomplish the work and our comments on the challenges we face in future work to improve mathematics teaching and learning. We expect that many of the challenges we see are also challenges for mathematics education worldwide.

Lappan, G., Phillips, E. (2009) A Designer Speaks. Educational Designer, 1(3).
Retrieved from:

In Response To: Alan Schoenfeld

Paul Black
King’s College London

This is an extended response to Schoenfeld, AH. (2009) Bridging the Cultures of Educational Research and Design. Educational Designer, 1(2).

“The view that I want to present is that Alan Schoenfeld’s paper opens up a very important debate in a challenging and incisive way, but that both the foundation and the range of the argument need further development.”

Black, P. (2009) In Response To: Alan Schoenfeld. Educational Designer, 1(3).
Retrieved from:

ISSN 1759-1325