There is no denying that the information technology revolution of the late twentieth century has arrived. Whilst not equitably accessible for many, others hold high expectations for the contributions online activity will make to student learning outcomes. Concurrently, and not necessarily consequentially, the number of science and technology secondary school and university graduates throughout the world has declined substantially, as has their motivation and engagement with school science (OECD, 2006). The aim of this research paper is to explore one aspect of online activity, that of forum-based netspeak (Crystal, 2006), in relation to the possibilities and challenges it provides for forms of scientific learning. This paper reports findings from a study investigating student initiated netspeak in a science inspired multiliteracies (New London Group, 2000) project in one middle primary (aged 7-10 years) multi-age Australian classroom. Drawing on the theoretical description of the Five phases of enquiry proposed by Bybee (1997), an analytic framework is proffered that allows identification of student engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration and evaluation of scientific enquiry. The findings provide insight into online forums for advancing learning in and motivation for science in the middle primary years
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