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ERIC Number: EJ1020204
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
Building a Student-Centred Learning Framework Using Social Software in the Middle Years Classroom: An Action Research Study
Casey, Gail
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, v12 p159-189 2013
This article discusses the development of the online spaces that were used to create a learning framework: a student-centred framework that combined face-to-face teaching with online social and participatory media. The author, as part of her Doctoral research study, used action research as a mechanism for continual improvement as she redesigned many curriculum projects for her thirteen Middle Years' classes, over an eighteen-month period. This article discusses part of this research study and specifically documents: 1. the complexity found within the tools and spaces of the selected social software, and 2. the continual review, through the action research cycle, in building the student-centred learning framework, and the consequent implications these had on the learning design. The study uses a theoretical framework that values students as active participants in the learning process and sets up an environment where students can provide supportive feedback, and even assessment, to their peers. Through the open nature of social and participatory media, a peer-to-peer modelling process was possible, where students could learn from the posts of others. In looking closely at the tools that enable peer-to-peer interactions to take place, this article highlights the challenges in utilising the dynamic nature of social media and the structural processes needed to support students in becoming active participants in their learning and the learning of their peers. This article discusses the research study in three phases, and in each phase it provides two exam-ples of teacher projects. In doing so, it presents screen clips of the online project as well as a structural diagram showing the analysis of the interaction within the project. The complexities and issues dealt with through the action research process are also highlighted. In describing this exploration, the article looks closely at the unique qualities that social software offers teaching and learning. It investigates many of the social tools such as "My Page", Blogs, Groups and Discussion Forums. It also identifies the search tools and mechanisms that social sites offer in supporting the structural organisation of user-generated content in such a dynamic environment. When considering the tools and mechanisms within social sites, it does appear that social media has the potential to alter how learners access information and knowledge, as well as how learners interact with the teacher and their peers. Through identifying and analysing the different social media spaces, the author was able to document the complexities involved in social sites and the range of options within the individual spaces. This highlighted the importance of the information retrieval mechanisms within such sites. Through dissecting and analysing, the author became better informed as to the flow of student participation and interactivity within her class projects and was more able to construct a learning environment that provided students with individualised learning spaces. This was achieved through the use of blogs and each student's "My Page". Structurally, these were able to support personalised feedback from both peers and the teacher and were easily accessible for student assessment and the final reporting processes to parents. It was found that Groups and Discussion Forums were ideal for posting teacher project instructions and for student generated interest groups, as well as other interactions that were not likely to contain more than ten posts. It was clearly documented, within the research data, that when posting curriculum projects within potentially dynamic social sites, a high importance must be given to how the project will be structured and accessed. In this study, this helped to avoid students becoming lost (disorientated within the site), distracted or engulfed in confusion and information overload.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A