Bodong Chen

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Notes: Oshima, J. (1998). Differences in Knowledge-Building Between Two Types of Networked Learning Environments



Citekey: @Oshima1998

Oshima, J. (1998). Differences in Knowledge-Building Between Two Types of Networked Learning Environments: An Information-Flow Analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 19(3), 329–351. doi:10.2190/YLLX-M9CW-15X9-BJJ9


Interesting work comparing S-CSILE with D-CSILE. A probable indication of pedagogical transition from intentional learning to KB and also tech transition from CSILE to KF.

Coding schemes are also interesting – revealing an earlier differentiation of referent vs. problem-based knowledge which gets less discussed in later literature.


The main purpose of the present study was to examine how elementary school students improve their scientific discourse on a computer-networked database environment called “Computer-Supported Intentional Learning Environments (CSILE).” (p. 1)

utilizing different system configurations: single-note based (S-CSILE)vs. discussion-note based @-CSILE). Tracking files automatically recorded by the system were used for an analysis of students’ learning activities. Results showed that system affordance specially designed for joint written discourse in D-CSILE significantly facilitated students’ joint knowledge-transformation activities as well as maintained each individual’s activity to pursue her own agenda. Importance of such a system affordance was discussed from the perspective of distributed cognition. (p. 1)

this paper sounds quite unique: tech evolution of KF and KB’s connection with distributed cognition. (p. 1)

’ h o concepts for developing computer-supportedenvironmentsin recent research are collaboration and media-richness (p. 2)

Computer-support has been said to make students’ collaboration more flexible and free from physical and temporary limitations. In particular,computernetworked environments are expected to create an asynchronous type of communication in addition to regular synchronous communications. (p. 2)

role of technology (p. 2)

Media-richness plays another critical role in developing computer-supported learning environments. Students should be able to manipulate and share with others their knowledge by representing it in a variety of ways. (p. 2)

If our purpose of the development of learning environments is to lead students to engage in authentic learning activities, we need a process-oriented methodology for the assessment rather than product or performance-oriented assessments. In this study, I attempted to create a methodological framework to analyze students’ learning activities in computer-supported learning environments by describing their activities from the perspective of knowledge-building,andexaminingstudents’interactionwithalearningenvironment system from the perspective of distributed cognifion. (p. 2)

Authentic Classroom Activity as Knowledge-Building and Computer Support for Knowledge-Building (p. 2)

As Bereiter and Scardamalia [7, 81 argued, what is missing in traditional classrooms is students’ engagement in activities of generating ideas superior to previous ones through their discourse. (p. 2)

Recent studies in cognitive science suggest that other types of knowledge which we mostly rely on in performing our activities in the world are situated in contexts where we act to attain specific goals [9]. (p. 3)

Rather, the activities themselves should be regarded as our expertise [lo, 111. In the sense of expertise as process, Bereiter and Scardamalia propose that students’ authentic learning should be described as their engagement in knowledge-building [ 101. Knowledge-building is an activity in which students are involved in collaboratively constructing knowledge based on their own problems through coordination of their own knowledge and new knowledge coming into them. In this activity, students are not only engaged in passively internalizing knowledge, but also externalizing knowledge as object for further advancement of their shared knowledge in their immediate community (i.e., their classroom). Thus, “authenticity” for students in the classroom is not only that they can learn something new within appropriate contexts, but also that they can engage in productive activities in which we as a society are continuously advancing our knowledge. (p. 3)

“Computer-Supported Intentional Learning Environments (CSILE)” is designed to support students’authentic learning activitiesasknowledge-building [8, 10, 121. First, the framework of the writing process is supported in such a way as to have learners use a “knowledge-transforming” strategy rather than “knowledge-telling” strategy [131. (p. 3)

Second, the framework of learning as problem-solving is emphasized. In CSILE, students can indicate the status of their thoughts in their notes such as “problem,” “what I already know,” and “new learning.” (p. 3)

Further, some particular metacognitive thoughts can be made explicit in their notes. This potentially facilitates metacognitive reflection on what knowledge they do not have, compared with their knowledge represented in the database. Thus, learners can make use of CSILE as a tool for controlling their executive process of learning. (p. 3)

role of technology
enacting supports for control of executive process of learning (p. 3)

Third, because of the community database feature, a type of asynchronous collaborative learning is possible in addition to the regular synchronous (p. 3)

In the first year, twenty-nine students used a version of CSILE, “the single-note CSILE (S-CSILE),” in which they reported their thoughts on a study topic, electricity, in their individual text or graphical notes. Hence, the database was a compilation of such individual notes. Students organized and advanced their own and others’ thoughts by commenting on the notes and linking related notes [ 161. In the second year, twenty-seven students used another version, “the discussion-note CSILE (D-CSILE),” in which they reported their thoughts on a study topic, force, through collaborative written discourse on their shared problems in discussion notes [17] in addition to regular individual notes. (p. 4)

Information-Flow as a Frameworkfor the Analysis of Human-Computer Interaction (p. 4)

Distributed cognition, a recently developed concept, assumes human beings as part of a more global information processing system rather than as independent information processors [18, 191. Knowledge and mental resources for the global system are widely distributed across people and available tools. (p. 4)

From the perspective of distributed cognition, Perkins proposed a new level of analysis of human mind, cognition US information-flow [21]. He defined person-plus-surround as a unit of analysis of cognition, and focused on information-flow in the person-plus-surround system. Here, the focus of the analysis is no longer on how subjects’ internal structures are constructed, but rather on how subjects work in the global system. (p. 5)

Perkins suggested the following information-accesscharacteristics of the system: (p. 5)

Knowledge When the global cognitive system functions in a task, various types of knowledgeareused,fromcontent-specificknowledgetohigher-orderknowledge such as monitoring and planning. In the present study, we focus on different types of descriptive knowledge in the database. Representation How knowledge is represented is another important aspect. Because CSILE is mainly driven by written discourse, we focus on the written form of knowledge. Retrieval Although desired knowledge is represented in the system, we cannot always access it in a contextually appropriate way. Studies have shown: 1) that experts usually learn necessary knowledge and skills in a problem-based situation so that they can easily access the necessary knowledge in their work, e.g., [22]; and 2) that authentic problem-based learning in a meaningful context can prompt learners’ acquisition of knowledge which can be later retrieved in an appropriate way, e.g., [23]. Here, we focus on how learners use their own and others’ knowledge represented in the database in advancing their progressive discourse. Consfrucfion “Construction” means the system’s information processing, such as assembling pieces of represented or retrieved knowledge. Recent studies on eflects with intellectual technologies [24] showed that computer support which allows learners to conceptually manipulate their represented knowledge improves the learners’ reflective processes in problem solving and helps them acquire higher levels of understanding, e.g., [25]. Here, we focus on two different planes of collaborative learning in which students engage in their learning in CSILE. (p. 6)


Measuresfor Information-AccessCharacteristicsin CSILE (p. 8)

The solo-plane is a constructive arena where students develop their own understanding. Students’ activity in the solo-plane was examined by analyzing change in their written discourse from their own preceding discourse. The joint-plane is another arena where students contribute to the development of understanding in the classroom community. Activity in the joint-plane was examined by analyzing change in students’ written discourse from others’ preceding discourse, and students’commentarieson others’discourse. (p. 8)

Knowledge (p. 8)

Students’ written discourse of graphics in each note was divided into units of ideas, then each unit was categorized as one of three types of knowledge items: referent-centeredknowledge,problem-centered knowledge, and reflective knowledge. (p. 8)

The problem-centered knowledge is process-oriented information, such as casual mechanisms which have potential to facilitate students’ understanding [26]. (p. 8)

Retrieval (p. 8)

one knowledge item to another were identified: 1) howledge-widening, and 2) knowledge-deepening. Knowledge-wideningmeans that a new knowledge item develops by assimilating information in a preceding knowledge item. Knowledgedeepening means that a new knowledge item develops by accommodating information in a preceding knowledge item. (p. 9)

Commenting is another measure for us to examine how students retrieved others’ knowledge to contribute to the development of their classroom knowledge. Because of small-sample problem, students’ commentaries were categorized on the basis of their potential of contribution as follows: 1) knmledge-widening oriented, 2 ) ktwwledge-deepening oriented, or 3 ) information-based (p. 15)


Differences in System Affordances (p. 19)

The results in this study suggest that it is difficult for students to manage their progressive discourse in a simple note-database such as the S-CSILE,and they need a clear space such as discussion notes to keep problems in their minds, then collaborate with others. By providing students with interpersonal discourse spaces, the D-CSILEmight prompt students’ cognitive process of progressive discourse as follows (p. 19)

Second, in the joint-plane, by providing students with opportunities to write collaboratively on the same problems, discussion notes might promote progressive discourse in several knowledge-transformingways. In the D-CSILE, students naturally engaged in knowledge-transformingactivities in the joint-plane of collaborative learning through coordination among different students’ ideas, i.e., transformation of others’ knowledge rather than their own knowledge. (p. 20)

interesting discussion
interesting discussion connecting D-CSILE with important concepts such as ZPD, distributed cognition (people-plus), and then CoL. It might be fair to say that KB as a pedagogy is in its infancy at that stage — because its distinction with other approaches (e.g., CoL) is unclear and discussion heavily draws upon other concepts (e.g., distributed cognition)?
Also interesting that the discussion of referent vs. problem-based knowledge appears less in later literature. Wondering what might have triggered the difference. (p. 20)

From the perspective of a sociocultural approach to human development and learning [33-351,the transition provides educators with certain possibilities for efficient intervention. As vgotsky [33]suggested in his genetic law of human development, the intermental plane of development is the origin of intramental development. Joint-activities with others, mediated by sociocultural tools, create various learning opportunities for children, i.e., zones of proximal development. In discussion notes, students were involved in their joint activities with peers, creating various zones of proximal development.The database existed as an arena which represented students’ intermental plane of development. Thus, this arena has potential for helping educators to get involved in students’joint activities as expert learners who supervise students’peer activities. (p. 20)

From the perspective of distributed cognition, the transition from the S-CSILE to the D-CSILE is interpreted as follows. In the D-CSILE, the classroom changed its structure from a compilation of student-plus to a students-plus. As Perkins suggested in his notion of distributed cognition, a total cognitive system in which multiple persons collaborate with each other is a real-life distributed cognitive system,“people-plus”developedbasedon“person-plus”[21].Thesamenotionis included in Engestriim’s triangular model of general activity [12]. (p. 20)

This change in the activity system suggests a distinct educational implication; the importance of building a “community of learners” [ 101. “Community of learners” research suggests that school might be able to produce its maximum power as an educational institution by changing their system from “the traditional transmission model of knowledge from teachem to students,” to a “community of learners” in which every student can manifest hidher expertise and contributetoknowledge building in the classroom [37].The results in the research partially support the proposition that students’ activities at a community level lead them to higher conceptual progress. (p. 21)