Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Arthur Camins

    Arthur Camins

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2016 | 03:04 p.m.

    Jianwei,

    I think viewers might be interested in how students use the idea thread representations you showed within and across classrooms. How is this tool used in interaction with face-to-face discussion, for example?

    Thanks,
    Arthur

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 10:17 a.m.

    Thanks for your question, Arthur. ITM is used to review and structure unfolding lines of research evident in student online discourse over an extended period of time. Rich f2f interactions are stimulated for this review of the online discourse space. We frame such interactions as metadiscourse (meta-talk about the ongoing talk/discourse) for reflective structuration of collective knowledge practices. The reflective metadiscourse focuses on high-level questions such as: what are we researching? (framing shared objects of inquiry) what progress has been made? (plotting idea threads and synthesizing progress) what deeper issues needed to be addressed? by whom? (ongoing planning)

    You may find specific analysis of the metadiscourse in these papers: Zhang, J., Chen, M.-H., Chen, J., & Mico, T. F. (2013). Computer-Supported Metadiscourse to Foster Collective Progress in Knowledge-Building Communities . In N. Rummel, M., Kapur, M. Nathan, & S. Puntambekar (Eds.), To See the World and a Grain of Sand: Learning across Levels of Space, Time, and Scale: CSCL 2013 Conference Proceedings Volume 2 (pp.197-200). International Society of the Learning Sciences. http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/wpsite/wp-content/up...

    Zhang, J., Chen, M.-H., Tao, D., Lee, J. Sun, Y., & Judson, D. (2015). Fostering Sustained Knowledge Building through Metadiscourse Aided by the Idea Thread Mapper. Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2015). International Society of the Learning Sciences. http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/wpsite/wp-content/up...

  • Icon for: Elissa Milto

    Elissa Milto

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2016 | 09:29 p.m.

    Hello,
    I’d love to hear more about the classrooms that have used this tool. Has your team facilitated the work or have you partnered with teachers and they have led its integration in the classroom. Also, it would be interesting to hear one example of students going back to their work a year later.
    Thanks,
    Elissa

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 10:56 a.m.

    Hi Elissa,

    We are conducting multi-year design-based research in collaboration with teachers from three school sites. Our research team met with the teachers regularly to co-design and reflect on the classroom processes of collaborative knowledge building. The process of ITM-aided reflection and metadiscourse varies; a basic summary can be found at http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/wpsite/?page_id=265 under Classroom Use: ITM-Aided Metacognitive Conversation.

    Yes, the cross-year and cross-cohort build-on is most interesting and exciting. For example, two Grade 5/6 classrooms studying human body systems are given access to a “Super View” (workspace) that contain “Super Notes” (journeys of thinking synthesis ) from the previous classrooms that summarized the deep questions asked and “big ideas” learned. Some of the old Super Notes topics overlap with the current students’ focus; the questions and ideas from these notes trigger deeper learning and idea connections among the current students. One of the previous Super Notes talked about allergies, which haven’t come to the current classrooms’ focus yet. Reading and talking about this Super Note serves as a springboard for a new line of research in the current class.

    We also have a few good examples of students revisiting their own work from previous years for refreshed interest and deepened/expanded inquiry. For instance, a grade 4 classroom started their knowledge building about light by revisiting their grade 3 online posts about how worms sense light and how light helps living things.

  • Icon for: Elissa Milto

    Elissa Milto

    Facilitator
    May 20, 2016 | 01:38 p.m.

    Thanks for the additional details. It sounds very promising.

  • Icon for: Meixia Ding

    Meixia Ding

    Associate Professor
    May 16, 2016 | 09:50 p.m.

    Hi Jianwei, Your study is interesting! In my project, I plan to conduct an online teacher forum between US and Chinese teachers during which, teachers will watch the selected video clips of their international peers. They will then pose comments/questions. My goal is to facilitate true conversations/interactions. What kinds of online platform may you suggest? Any ideas that may be extended from your project? Thank you.

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 11:07 a.m.

    Hi Meixia. Thanks for sharing your project too. It sounds like a great idea to engage teachers from different cultures to co-analyze classroom videos and engage in reflection and discourse. For the discourse to be productive, you may consider how the discourse will sustain and deepen beyond specific vide cases to look into core principles, processes, and strategies of learning. While the discussions are organized around the video cases, teacher reflection and discourse will sustain and connect as unfolding threads of ideas focusing on how students learn/thinking and how we teach. I think this is critical design challenge. You must have surveyed many possible online discussion tools already. I’ve been using Knowledge Forum, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebgi-NnjSak. If you decide to use KF, we may connect later for possible use of Idea Thread Mapper (ITM) as a discourse mapping and analysis tool. Best wishes with your project!

  • Icon for: Meixia Ding

    Meixia Ding

    Associate Professor
    May 18, 2016 | 11:13 a.m.

    Thank you so much Jianwei. I will first do some homework on Knowledge Forum & ITM. If you don’t mind, I may contact you later for your advice. Thank you for great suggestions!!!

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 12:02 p.m.

    Sure. Look forward to hearing about your findings!

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Co-Principal Investigator
    May 17, 2016 | 07:36 a.m.

    This is fascinating, and I am eager to find out more about the discourse mapping tools you are using, which seem to be embedded in a rich investigative pedagogy. I hope you have written some of this up (I’ll check your website)!
    I am curious about what the students do to create the representations, that is, does the system do some analysis (e.g. matching terms etc. ) to create or propose threads or headings for the map, or do the students read the messages and select their own threads, or both?
    What ages of children have you used this with? Have you tried it with adults?

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 11:30 a.m.

    Thank you, Brian for your interest and questions.

    You may find a few papers from this project at http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/wpsite/?page_id=73

    ITM integrates a set of automated analysis tools, including (a) topical modeling tools, which help students to retrieve major topics of discourse from their classroom’s online posts, with top keywords and most “topical” sentences retrieved suggesting major objects of discussion and main ideas shared; (b) contribution type analysis: In collaboration with Carolyn Rosé at CMU who developed LightSIDE, we incorporate auto-analysis of major discourse contributions such as questioning, theorizing, using evidence, referencing sources, etc. © Idea complexity analysis (under development). These automated tools mean to support, not to replace, students’ own review and reflection on the inquiry focuses and progress.

    Our current research focuses on Grade 3-6 students. But I imagine that ITM can be used by older learners too, probably more easily.

  • Icon for: Sarah-Kay McDonald

    Sarah-Kay McDonald

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 10:31 a.m.

    Thanks very much for sharing this info on your project, Jianwei — very interesting! I would love to learn more about the process by which idea threads are generated. (E.g, what types of initial training &/or ongoing support do participating students receive to assist them in specifying epistemic objects of particular interest, or creating new threads or linkages among existing ones?) I’d also be very interested to learn more about the metacognitive meetings, and the scaffolds that support them. Looking forward to learning more as the Video Showcase conversation unfolds – thanks, Jianwei!

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 11:48 a.m.

    The process of ITM-aided reflection and metadiscourse varies from classroom to classroom depending on the specific needs of students and time available. A basic summary can be found at http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/wpsite/?page_id=265 under Classroom Use: ITM-Aided Metacognitive Conversation.

    For a classroom using ITM for the first time, the teacher typically gives a quick tour through the process of creating and mapping idea threads. Young students pick up this very quickly! The major support and scaffolding is more about high quality reflection. The metacognitive meetings are organized around three major high-level questions to review and structure the community’s discourse: what are we researching? (identifying objects of inquiry), are we making progress? ( reviewing contributions related to each object), how can we deepen our research (and by whom)? (summarizing deeper issues and work needed) Teachers facilitate discussions about what counts as a “juicy” topic/object of inquiry, what kind of online notes/posts offer deep questions and ideas, which threads of inquiry are strong or weak based on the visualizations. The discussions about these core epistemic issues serve to develop clear expectations and shared norms to guide and structure the ongoing participation of students.

  • Icon for: Arthur Camins

    Arthur Camins

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2016 | 04:16 p.m.

    This seems to be a tool to get students to be more reflective about their own thinking as well as that of others– key ingredients for argumentation. This a departure from current practice in many classrooms. What are you learning about the PD challenges of helping teachers and students to make this shift?

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 12:52 p.m.

    Yes, PD is critical to the classroom changes that are needed to create knowledge building communities in which students take on collective and mutual responsibility for their collaborative work as well as personal learning. We handle PD through summer workshops, regular meetings (biweekly/monthly), and ongoing support. What we learned is that for the long-term inquiry-based knowledge building work (beyond a few lessons), PD needs to be more principle-based, and less procedure-focused. In the beginning of a school year, no one can predict what inquiry activities should take place in December, Jan, Feb, because what inquiry work will be needed depends on what questions and ideas that the students generate in Sep, Oct, and Nov. Teachers need to get the key ideas (e.g. student-driven inquiry, knowledge-building discourse, deep understanding, collective responsibility) and the implied changes. Based on the key ideas/principles, they will monitor and reflect on how the classroom work as it unfolds and seize on critical opportunities to foster deeper thinking and discourse. This principle-based approach to working with teachers for classroom innovation is elaborated in this paper: Zhang, J., Hong, H.-Y., Scardamalia, M., Toe, C., & Morley, E. (2011). Sustaining knowledge building as a principle-based innovation at an elementary school. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20 (2), 262–307. http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/papers/Zhang_2011JLS...

  • Icon for: Erica Jablonski

    Erica Jablonski

    Graduate Research Assistant
    May 22, 2016 | 04:27 p.m.

    Hello Jianwei,
    It sounds as though your combination of student-directed inquiry and technology use has been very engaging for participating students. It is impressive that you have also developed a structure to support teachers integrate both inquiry and technology into their classrooms, each of which can generate apprehension in some teachers. I would be interested to know how you identified teachers willing to commit to this ambitious endeavor and participating teachers backgrounds in terms of prior use of inquiry and/or technology.
    Thanks, Erica

  • Icon for: Jianwei Zhang

    Jianwei Zhang

    Presenter
    May 22, 2016 | 10:22 p.m.

    Hi Erica, you asked a critical question. I have the blessing to work with a laboratory school in Toronto (with Marlene Scadamalia’s team) for almost a decade, and have engaged two schools in Albany, NY in the last four years. After collecting basic info about the schools’ practices and styles, I first talked to the principals to engage their interest in inquiry-based collaborative learning with technology, and talked possible teachers who may be interested in this research. With their support, set up initial and then follow-up meeting with the teachers. Knowing the schools early on and open communications with the principals and teachers are very important.

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