Dr. Toshio Mochizuki Visits GSE to Advance Research in the Learning Sciences

Dr. Toshio Mochizuki moved with his family from Japan to New Jersey to spend his yearlong sabbatical collaborating with Dr. Clark Chinn, Professor at Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE).

Mochizuki was intrigued by Chinn’s research on epistemic cognition when Mochizuki was studying critical reading support software. Soon after the two were introduced in 2012 at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences, they began discussing common interests and exploring areas of possible collaboration.
Mochizuki is an Associate Professor in Educational Technology and the Learning Sciences at Senshu University in Tokyo, Japan. He was offered the opportunity to complete his first sabbatical after working at the university for seven years. Mochizuki embraced the opportunity to research epistemic cognition with Chinn and his team at the GSE. He is also participating in meetings of the Promoting Reasoning and Conceptual Change In Science (PRACCIS) research group directed by Chinn and Dr. Ravit Golan Duncan, Professor at the GSE.
Chinn and Mochizuki are researching how individuals enhance their comprehension and integration of multiple documents when the materials include conflicting information. The research examines how people understand, evaluate, and integrate that information, and how instruction can strengthen these abilities.
They are currently examining how to enhance students’ ability to manage and resolve conflicting information on a specific scientific topic – dieting strategy – a topic on which information found on websites is frequently in conflict. They are working on instructional strategies to help students better manage this conflict and to evaluate and integrate information effectively from conflicting sources of information.  
“For example, lay people who read a document supporting a low-carb diet and another supporting a low-fat diet should not simply combine information from both documents uncritically,” noted Mochizuki. “But if they analyze the two documents carefully, ideas that are common to multiple documents will emerge, and students can find ways to reconcile some of the claims that seem at first to be contradictory. They can also develop better ways to resolve direct contradictions considering evidence for claims in addition to the quality of sources.  All of these processes are difficulty for people, even graduates of four-year undergraduate programs, and we are searching for better instructional approaches to support them.”
Mochizuki received his Ph.D. in educational technology from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Tokyo, Japan. His research focuses on fostering perspective taking in a variety of learning contexts by using information technology such as visualizing relationships among ideas in documents or in conversations as students participate in online collaborative learning environments. In his dissertation study, Mochizuki used Correspondence Analysis, a text-mining technique, to create visuals that show the relationships between users and keywords. These visuals show how users contribute to online discussions, how actively users discuss various topics, and the frequency of keyword usage.
A recent study investigating critical reading software used concept maps as a visualization technique. His “eJournalPlus” software allows a user to underline or mark critical words and phrases in e-documents and to make arguments or concept maps by dragging & dropping the underlined sentence to the map; students can depict and edit the logical structure of ideas using available shapes and can add their comments to the map.
Mochizuki, his wife, and two young children will return to Tokyo in August 2016. He is trilingual and can speak Japanese, English, and Spanish.
Visit the GSE’s YouTube Channel to view Mochizuki’s brown bag presentation “Fostering and Reflecting on Diverse Perspective-Taking to Prepare Student Teachers through Dialogic Simulation,” which is about a research project focused on promoting development among preservice teachers.