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Fostering Authentic, Sustained, and Progressive Mathematical Knowledge-Building Activity in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) Communities

Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education
Publication Date
  • Communication
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics


Eliciting high-level mathematics symbolizing and communicating from students engaged in mathematics communities of practice has been found to be a challenging problem. In this article, we report on a study where 21 grade six female students engaged in model-eliciting problem-solving with collective discourse mediated by Knowledge Forum® Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) software achieved the kind of progressive knowledge-building activity that until now had not been achieved in CSCL-mediated mathematics communities. During the course of the study, the students engaged in knowledge-building discourse about and iteratively improved their models for ranking the cities of Canada in terms of livability. The success achieved in having the students engage in this knowledge-building activity was attributed to the contexts provided by the model-eliciting math problem and to contexts and scaffolds for knowledge-building discourse provided by Knowledge Forum® during the construction and iterative revisions of the math models.

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