Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Learning a sense of community online

19.06.2007
Children and their teachers are already benefiting from online learning communities such as the Oracle Education Foundation's Think.com, but there is a real opportunity for richer learning with such systems that is yet to be tapped.

Elizabeth Hartnell-Young of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Nottingham and freelance statistician Karen Corneille of Victoria, Australia, writing in the International Journal of Web Based Communities, describe how they have taken Think.com as a case study and investigated how a free, password-protected online community can support children's learning.

"We found that many children engaged readily with the site," says Hartnell-Young. Even those children with less developed ICT skills benefited from interacting with others. She adds that, "educators played a powerful role in mediating learning, managing the communities, setting guidelines for participation, and linking students with outside experts." Such online communities are not yet mature enough to provide a fully rich learning experience, however, the researchers add.

As part of their assessment of the online learning community, the team defined the process of learning as not simply rote learning of events and objects but the creation of knowledge products, including information, principles and theories. Building knowledge obviously underpins learning.

The researchers also point out that modern teaching does not simply involve a teacher imparting knowledge to students but a more creative process in which teachers lead students and help them build knowledge. Such a process still needs boundaries but is more of a partnership with student and teacher essentially "learning" together. Such online communities have a long way to go to reach their full potential for Learning, however, they add.

Translating the concepts of teaching, learning, and knowledge building to an online community is no simple task. The Web is a disparate mix of useful, informative, entertaining, misconstrued and malicious material. The boundaries provided by a protected online learning system allows teachers to mediate the learning process in a secure and safe way, the researchers explain.

The team set out to find instances of how Think.com, as an example of an online learning community, helps the learning process. They assessed how such a system encourages a range of "digital" literacy, through enabling students to create their own material, and cases of interaction and collaboration between users in different learning tasks.

"As evidence of digital literacy, we considered individual students' pages," Hartnell-Young explains, "and the range of text, files and images with which they filled these pages." The team also investigated whether a sense of identity and audience existed and the kinds of social skills developed by users on message boards and voting. They also sought examples of joint tasks where groups worked together within a school, between different schools, and even internationally.

They found that the best way that teachers and facilitators could help students reap the rewards of using an online community is by encouraging their active engagement by designing accessible and provocative online activities, managing access to useful resources and, most of all, asking relevant and thought-provoking questions that challenge the students. "Teachers need to play an active role in encouraging student voice and ensuring that students can create and identify quality content," Hartnell-Young says.

For their part, as students start to share their pages and engage more widely within such a community, they can get positive feedback from fellow students and their teachers as well as benchmarking their own efforts against those of others.

Jim Corlett | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk
http://www.sciencebase.com

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Tile Based DASH Streaming for Virtual Reality with HEVC from Fraunhofer HHI
03.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Heinrich-Hertz-Institut

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New insights into the information processing of motor neurons

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Healthy Hiking in Smart Socks

22.02.2017 | Innovative Products

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>