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ERIC Number: EJ854612
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0360-1315
An Analysis of Students' Spontaneous Computer-Mediated Help Seeking: A Step toward the Design of Ecologically Valid Supporting Tools
Puustinen, Minna; Volckaert-Legrier, Olga; Coquin, Daniele; Bernicot, Josie
Computers & Education, v53 n4 p1040-1047 Dec 2009
This study analyzes middle school students' spontaneous mathematics-related help-seeking behavior, in view of making ecologically valid recommendations for the design of supporting tools or "help systems". Our aim was to investigate the content of students' help-seeking messages--Are there different forms of help-seeking messages and do they evolve with age? We used the archives of a French forum that provides students with free individualized help in mathematics. The data consisted of 206 messages sent by French middle school students over a period of 42 months. The constituent categories of the messages were identified. The results showed that not all middle school students use the same help-seeking "format". Compared to sixth graders, ninth graders wrote messages containing more constituent categories, i.e., they provided the online expert with more kinds of information. A detailed analysis of the categories further showed that older students' messages more often contained explicit help requests and contextual information than did younger students' messages. Thus, the messages of the oldest students (age 15) were both cognitively more understandable and socially more acceptable than those of the youngest students (age 11). The interpretation of these findings and their implications for designing help systems are discussed. (Contains 3 tables and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Sequential Tests of Educational Progress