Computer-Mediated Discussions within a Virtual Learning Community of High School and University Students

Computer-Mediated Discussions within a Virtual Learning Community of High School and University Students

Tamara L. Jetton (Central Michigan University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-120-9.ch040
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A university education professor and a high school English teacher redesigned the curricula of their classrooms, so their students could participate in a literacy project that focused on computer-mediated discussions of literature. The goal of the project was to develop both the technological literacies of these students and the more traditional literacies in the form of reading and writing skills. The Book Buddy Project afforded the author the opportunity to create a virtual learning community in which high school and university students incorporated the traditional literacies of reading and writing within a virtual environment that facilitated communication, collaboration, and learning with text.
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Interactive Literacy Environments

The advent of information and communication technology (ICT) has led to substantial changes in classroom organization, curricula, and pedagogical practices (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999). Teachers have begun to organize their classrooms and design curricula so that their practices include more collaborative pedagogy in which teachers and students interact with the technology, and students interact with one another and students outside the confines of the classroom. Emerging evidence finds that students’ engagement and motivation increased as they participated in interactive software and hardware such as the Interactive White Board (Harrison et al., 2003; Passey et al., 2003). Students also reported that they appreciated the range of resources available and the multi-media capability of the interactive technology (Hall & Higgins, 2005). Other studies have found that interactive technology enhances the attention of the students and the pace of the lessons (Wood & Ashfield, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Book Buddy: Two people who read books and respond to one another about the content of the books.

Collaboration: People interacting with one another to achieve a goal.

Virtual Learning Community: A community of people who are interacting with one another through technology to learn.

Learning Environment: A place where people gain knowledge.

Literacy: Reading and writing as a form of communication.

Interactive Literacy Environments: People reading and writing to each other.

Asynchronous Discussions: People interacting through writing online at different points in time.

Computer Mediated Discussion: People who interact through writing on e-mail, discussion boards, and online chats.

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