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Title: Meta-Communication Widgets for Knowledge Building in Distance Education
Authors: McLean, Robert S.
Issue Date: Dec-1999
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
Citation: McLean, R. S. (1999). Meta-Communication Widgets for Knowledge Building in Distance Education. In Hoadley, C. M. & Roschelle, J. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Computer Support for Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 1999 Conference. Palo Alto, CA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: "Knowledge Building" is a theory of learning, which emphasizes the collaborative construction of knowledge by a group of learners. Students develop their understanding through sustained inquiry that pursues collective goals of understanding; it is driven by student questions and explanations, in self-directed small groups. Although it can be practiced without computer support, computer software such as Knowledge ForumTM is designed to support such collaborative learning. "Widgets" are software user interface elements that display information and allow the user to manipulate the information display or to accomplish some task. This paper suggests specific classes of widgets that might help learners better attain knowledge building objectives, by distinguishing between the substance of knowledge building and the "meta- communication" which surrounds its development. Widgets designed according to knowledge building principles may help facilitate and articulate this meta- communication component of knowledge building. This is particularly so in distance learning, where the meta-communication usually cannot occur outside the system, as it could in a face to face environment.
Appears in Collections:CSCL 1999

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