06 SES 03, Digital Media in Science Education
Parallel Paper Session
In 2006 the European Parliament and Council recommended eight key competencies for lifelong learning, amongst which are: communication in mother tongue; mathematical and basic competences in science and technology; digital competence; and, learning to learn (Official Journal of the European Union L 394 of 30.12.2006). In this vein, research has shown that writing is an effective and powerful mechanism for learning mathematics (Elig, 1977; Ganguli & Henry, 1994). Writing facilitates the crystallization of ideas by promoting reflection, synthesis and the internalization of concepts (Goldberg, 1983). With the introduction of Web 2.0 technologies in classrooms, wikis may emerge as a pedagogical tool of choice to submit written reports. A wiki is a website that enables visitors to create/edit the contents of pages collaboratively with other users. While wikis employ no formal referees to check the validity of their content (Forte & Bruckman, 2006), they embody the essential components of a successful community of practice delineated by its virtual presence, production of valuable content and democratic interactions between its members (Schwartz, Clark, Cossarin & Rudolph, 2004). Due to its low technological barriers and its ability to improve asynchronous communication, wikis offer a cost- effective, dynamic environment for knowledge building and student engagement under conditions that promote cooperation rather than competition (Fu & Beaumont, 2010; De Pedro et al, 2006).
This paper reports on an empirical study which aimed to investigate whether the mode of written communication (paper versus wiki) differentially impacts learning and motivation in the context of a first Linear Algebra course given at a two-year urban English College in Quebec, Canada. In this experiment, students were required to collaborate on three projects, each highlighting the role a fundamental concept plays in a contemporary application (e.g., Markov Chains in Google’s PageRank algorithm).
Control group students wrote and submitted their projects on paper, while experimental group students created wikis. It was hypothesized that by facilitating student collaboration, students in the wiki environment would acquire better understanding of course material and experience increased motivation. Learning benefits were determined by a qualitative analysis of student projects, while a survey administered at the beginning and end of the experiment served to capture changes in three dimensions of motivation: external regulation; introjected; and, intrinsic.
Elig, J (1977). Writing as a Mode of Learning. College Composition and Communication, 28, 122-128. De Pedro, X., Rieradevall, M., Lopez, P., Sant, D., Pinol, J., Nunez, L., et al. (2006) writing documents collaboratively in Higher Education (I): Qualitative results from a 2-year project study. Congresso Internacional de Docencia Universitaria e Innovacion (Internation Congress of University Teaching and Innovation), Barcelona: July 5-7 Retrieved January 2012 from http://uniwiki.ourproject.org/tiki-download_wiki_attachment.php?attId=98&page=Uniwiki-congresso Forte, A. & Bruckman, A. (2006). From Wikipedia to the classroom: exploring online publication and learning. Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Bloomington, IN. Ganguli, A. & Henry, R. (1994) Writing to Learn Mathematics: An Annotated Bibliography. A research grant report submitted to the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Writing, Technical Report Series No. 5 Goldberg, D. (1983). Writing into the Mathematics Curriculum. The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal , 14(5), 421-424. Official Journal of the European Union L 394 of 30.12.2006 Schwartz, L., Clark, S., Cossarin, M. & Rudolph, J. (2004) Educational wikis: Features and selection criteria. International review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 5(1). Retrieved January 2012 from www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/163/244 Su, F. & Beaumont, C. (2010). Evaluating the use of a wiki for collaborative learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(4), 417 – 431. Vallerand, R. J., Pelletier, L. G., Blais, M. R., Brière, N. M., Senécal, C. B. & Vallières, E. F. (1992). The Academic Motivation Scale: A measure of intrinsic, extrinsic, and amotivation in education. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52, 1003-1019.
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