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Arguing to learn: Supporting interactive argumentation through Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

By E.L. Munneke-de Vries


Interactive argumentation gives students the opportunity to learn because it allows them to produce, explicate, articulate, verbalise their opinions and arguments, and construct and/or reconstruct knowledge through disagreement. However, argumentation can also be very difficult and needs support at several points. This dissertation aimed to answer the question about how certain different characteristics of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) environments affect interactive argumentation. In four studies secondary school students collaboratively discussed the problem of genetic modification in dyads using different representational tools and computer mediated communication. Students' interaction processes during collaboration were analysed to address how they contribute to broadening and deepening the discussion. The last study took into account the epistemological beliefs of students. Results showed that argumentative diagrams and communication by chat can help students to broaden and deepen their discussion. However, despite this support of different characteristics of CSCL, discussions can still be improved. Students often interpreted the task of arguing to learn as arguing to debate, which is inhibiting learning instead of exhibiting learning processes. Along with this results showed students do not solve their controversies and quickly agree to avoid conflicts. More training and support is needed to guide social processes during collaborative learning in such a way that students feel save to argue together

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, interactive argumentation, computer-supported collaborative learning
Publisher: Utrecht University
Year: 2008
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