Ton de Jong - Biography#

Ton de Jong is full professor at the University of Twente (the Netherlands) and specializes in inquiry and collaborative learning (mainly in science domains) supported by technology. The focus of his research is on cognitive processes underlying inquiry learning and collaborative learning, on identifying impasses that learners experience and on the design and development of software tools that help remedy these shortcoming of students. His theoretical work focuses on inquiry learning processes and developing models for inquiry learning. The basic technologies that are developed in de Jong's work to support inquiry learning are simulations, games, and modeling tools. Supportive measures are cognitive scaffolds such as tools to produce hypotheses, set up experiments, analyze data and monitor and plan the inquiry or modeling process. In de Jong’s research these technological developments are always tested empirically in real classroom settings using (quasi-) experimental designs Process data (log-files, student created products, and chats) are used to adapt learning environments and create a personalized learner experience. New developments focus on the use of highly interactive multi-touch (iPad) interfaces for learning.

Ton de Jong was coordinator of seven EU projects and several national projects. Many of these projects have not only extended theories of (inquiry) learning but have also resulted in products that are used in education world wide. The SimQuest software, for example, has been translated into multiple languages (including Swedish, Italian, and Vietnamese), and the simulation-based learning environments created with SimQuest are distributed by several commercial publishers in the Netherlands. The KM Quest game for learning about knowledge management is used in many places in Europe. In the ZAP project interactive simulations for psychology were developed. ZAPs are sold worldwide by W.W, Norton (NYC); total sells now accumulate to over 60.000 copies. For ZAP and SimQuest he has won a number of international prizes. Currently he is coordinator of the 7th framework Go-Lab project, a large 13.5 million euro project on learning with online laboratories in science domains.

de Jong published close to 200 journal articles and book chapters. He is associate editor for Instructional Science and the Journal of Engineering Education and is on the editorial board of seven other journals. He has published papers in Science on inquiry learning with computer simulations (2006) and virtual laboratories (2013). In 2013 he won the Inquiry Based Instruction prize (issued by Science) for an application of learning of ecosystems (biology). His 1998 article in Review of Educational Research (co-authored with Wouter van Joolingen) is one of the most frequently cited studies in instructional technology (up-to-date Web of Science lists over 300 citations for this work).

Ton de Jong has been invited to give keynotes and invited presentations to research organizations and professional associations worldwide, including sessions in the United States, Germany, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, and the Sweden. As a member of the organizing or scientific committee he has contributed to many international conferences such as ICLS, CSCL, ICALT, ICCE etc.

Ton de Jong is initiator of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) SIG on “Computer Supported Inquiry learning.” In the Netherlands, he has been the director of the national research school for educational science (ICO). Under his leadership, this school was recognized by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The ICO research school brings together more than 100 researchers and 100 Ph. D. students and offers a training program expressly developed for doctoral students.

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