Exploring Quadrilaterals in a Collaborative Computing Environment
Kevin San Lai, University of California, Davis, United States
University of California, Davis . Awarded
I developed a collaborative computing environment, in which each student controls a point in a geometric space, so that a group of four students collectively forms a quadrilateral. I used the van Hiele theory as a framework in designing the learning environment and in investigating students’ learning. The general idea is that students progress from their initial understanding of shapes as gestalt figures to recognizing the shapes’ components and the relationship among the components to understanding the hierarchical relationships among the various shapes. From the study, I found that the tools mediated different kinds of interactions among the group members, that the environment supported the students’ process of collaborative learning, and that different configurations of participants, tools, and tasks led to different individual learning outcomes. In my analyses, I used the notion of appropriation to explain how students took up from one another ways of using the technological tools and of talking about geometric concepts in the collaborative environment. When the students did not attain a shared focus of attention, they were not able to appropriate others’ approaches of using the technology or of explaining geometric concepts. In one particular group, although individuals might have had been able to benefit from the learning environment, when the coordination among the group members fell apart, not all the members were able to benefit. On the other hand, a group which demonstrated good interaction—listening to one another, sharing a same focus of attention, engaging in coordinated actions—was able to benefit as a whole and did better overall on the individual assessments.
Lai, K.S. Exploring Quadrilaterals in a Collaborative Computing Environment. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Davis.
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