Catching Up, CSCL, and Comps

Catching Up

So much has been accomplished since my last post about the Common Knowledge Alpha launch!  Since then, we’ve launched Common Knowledge Beta and subsequently, a 9-week enactment of Common Knowledge Solar in 2 grade 5/6 classrooms, as a major component of the EPIC project’s year 2 classroom interventions.   I’ve also done 2 presentations at AERA 2013 (San Francisco, CA, USA), and co-presented a webinar (with Jim my supervisor – Prof. Jim Slotta) to graduate students at Beijing Normal University and 3 other universities in China.  These events have been somewhat monumental in my academic journey, and they each deserve their own post (which I’ll have to do some other time).

CSCL & Comps

More pressing deadlines are nipping at my heels:

  1. CSCL 2013 presentations (workshop & short paper presentations)
  2. My comprehensive exam (7000 word literature review) – affectionately known as “comps”

Yesterday, I read 3 Gerry Stahl papers, in preparation for the “Across Levels of Learning: How Resources Connect Levels of Analysis” CSCL pre-conference workshop I’m attending. Funny thing is, Gerry Stahl (respected scholar and a workshop organizer) offered me a time slot to present my work and have discussion/feedback about it (I had only asked to attend, not present at this). So of course I’ll take it – what an honour, right? I have to make 1 slide (due tomorrow) for this workshop presentation.

His 3 papers speak to what Jim  was saying about my dissertation work at our recent meeting – that my work doesn’t quite fit with scripting and orchestration literature, and that I should focus on KB discourse and KB practice. A bit surprising to hear, since one of my main interests and analysis focuses has been to look at how teachers orchestrate online and offline classroom discussions to facility community progress in collective/collaborative inquiry.  Anyway, in Stahl’s 3 papers (and what this workshop is about), he says that “a central research issue for CSCL” is how does collaborative knowledge building take place? He also says we need to understand how individual cognition and societal institutions affect small-group meaning-making processes.

Looking at Levels of Learning and How They’re Interconnected

Gerry Stahl points out there are 3 planes in which learning, cognition, and knowledge building can be analyzed:

  1. individual learning
  2. small-group cognition
  3. community knowledge building

Stahl says we need to understand how these planes interconnect, and he’s particularly interested in the conceptual connections between these planes. This brings me full circle back to what Jim was saying at our recent meeting – that the Knowledge Community and Inquiry (KCI) model doesn’t address:

  1. how discourse informs the knowledge base, and
  2. how learners use the shared collective knowledge base to decide what to do next

Stahl suggests looking at “interactional resources” – how are these generated/modified as a result of their interaction with individuals/small-groups/community. To my mind, “interactional resources” in my case, would be the Common Knowledge (CK) notes themselves. The CK tablet UI would be personal inquiry spaces, the CK interest group “Knowledge Boards” would be small-group shared inquiry spaces, and the CK “Common Board” displayed on the classroom’s SMARTBoard would be the community shared inquiry space.

Still playing with these ideas (mostly because I have to figure out what to put on this 1 slide – which Gerry Stahl has scripted to have the following headings):

  • Main claim
  • Illustrative resource
  • Supporting data
  • Current status

My main struggle right now is what to put for “Main Claim”.  I think this is also really pivotal for my comps and dissertation work, so this workshop prep is very timely :).

If you’re interested, here are my Researchr notes from those 3 Gerry Stahl papers:

  • Stahl, G. (2012). Traversing planes of learning. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 7(4), 467-473. Springer.
  • Stahl, G. (2013). Learning across levels. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 8(1), 1–12. Springer.
  • Stahl, G. (2013). Transactive discourse in CSCL. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 8(2), 1–3. Springer.