An approach to distributed collaborative science learning in a multicultural setting
Dorado, Alicia Martínez
de Verjovsky, Janet Paul
Guzman, Maria Luisa
Waldegg, Guillermina C.
PublisherDepartment of Educational Sciences, University of Cyprus
Place of publicationCY - Λευκωσία
SourceCBLIS Conference Proceedings 2003 Volume I: New Technologies and their applications in education
Google Scholar check
MetadataShow full item record
There is growing interest among educators in studying communities of learning and practice, particularly those supporting a social construction of knowledge through collaboration assisted by information technologies. We are currently investigating one such community in the context of high-school science. Researchers, graduate students and high-school teachers and their students, from schools and universities in Canada and Mexico, set out in fall 2000 to work on the general topic of integrating concepts in science school subjects. Once a “prototype” community is established, it becomes a “terrain” where different aspects can be studied: how do collaborative technologies work, what knowledge production and representation processes occur, what do the products of knowledge construction show and, very importantly, what characteristics of the community can be generalised for the establishment of other, self-sustaining (as opposed to externally supported) communities. The set up of the proposed “prototype” distributed science learning community was therefore an essential yet far from trivial first step. This was done in two stages: a pilot phase, in Winter-Spring 2001, and a full-implementation stage in the 2001-2002 year. Over 250 students are participating in the current year. The research efforts are focused on aspects of motivation toward science, scientific careers and IT; science process skills; cultural factors influencing performance on this kind of distributed collaborative approach; and teacher appropriation of the approach. This article focuses on the process of setting up the community and the lessons learned.