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Shared deictic referencing in online mathematics discourse. Paper presented at the 27th Urban Ethnography in Education Research Forum

By Murat Cakir, Johann Sarmiento and Gerry Stahl


Abstract. Recent research on the impact of new communication and information technologies stress the transformation that new forms of mediated interactions are having on the ways that teenagers, especially, participate and make sense of different aspects of their lives, including education. The Virtual Math Teams (VMT) project is an NSF-funded research program that investigates the innovative use of online collaborative environments to support effective K-12 mathematics learning. The ethnographic case study presented here explores the sustained interactions of five virtual teams of teenagers distributed across the U.S. as they engaged in mathematical problem solving throughout a series of four successive sessions online. In particular, our ethnomethodological analysis highlights the “member methods ” displayed and developed by these teams in their collective sense-making. More specifically, we concentrate our analysis on the deictic referencing methods used by the participants as they collaboratively construct and evolve a space of mathematical objects, reason about them, and constitute their own sense of collectivity. We explore implications for understanding learning and interaction of virtual teams and online communities, as well as for designing effective activities and supports for them

Year: 2006
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