Arguing online : expectations and realities of building knowledge in a blended learning environment
Nykvist, Shaun S. (2008) Arguing online : expectations and realities of building knowledge in a blended learning environment. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.
The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has now become all pervasive in society. There is now an expectation that educators will use ICT to support teaching and learning in their classrooms and this position is evident in many curriculum documents and educational policies where the aim is to provide each child with access to ICT. Consequently, and to realise this expectation, it is imperative that the focus on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education shifts beyond learning about ICT to a focus that is aligned with the pedagogical learning experiences in which students can be immersed. There is a need for deep knowledge building to occur in these environments for our students to be active participants in a society where new technologies are constantly emerging. Hence, there is a need for learning environments that are flexible and respond to the needs of these new students and can adopt new technologies where necessary. In order to explore such an environment that encourages the development of knowledge building, an argumentative framework is necessary. The purpose of the study described in this thesis was to identify argumentation as a process of knowledge building and determine if it occurs in an online discussion forum, which is situated in a blended learning environment. This blended learning environment is typical of many classrooms and is where there is a combination of traditional face-to-face activity with online collaboration. In the case of this study, it is situated within an upper secondary private girls school located in a metropolitan area. The classroom under investigation demonstrates a blending of traditional pedagogy, that of dialectical reasoning and argument, and new technology, through an online discussion forum. The study employed a research design methodology over a six week period, while the analysis was based on an existing social argumentation schema and a new customised schema. As part of the analysis, descriptive statistics were used to determine the students' activity within the online discussion forum and to ascertain how this varied accordingly when certain criteria were changed. This was consistent with the cyclic approach of design research. Pedagogical recommendations were presented which demonstrated the importance that appropriate scaffolding and the role of the teacher plays in the successfulness of a forum. The study also recognised the need for purposeful teaching of argumentation as a process of knowledge building and the need for starter statements that are personally motivating to the students and are authentic and relevant. Argumentation and consequently knowledge building were evident in the findings, though were constrained by the habituated practices of schooling. Similarly the notion of community, while evident, was constrained by the time- and space- dependence of the school environment.
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|Item Type:||QUT Thesis (PhD)|
|Supervisor:||Nason, Rodney& Lloyd, Margaret|
|Keywords:||asynchronous communication, blended learning, knowledge building, argumentation, scaffolding, community|
|Divisions:||Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research|
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
|Institution:||Queensland University of Technology|
|Deposited On:||11 Feb 2009 12:01|
|Last Modified:||29 Oct 2011 05:51|
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