Proceedings of CSCL '97: The Second International Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning, December 10-14, 1997, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

By Rogers Hall; Naomi Miyake et al. | Go to book overview
Figure 10. Discussion embedded within student page. Note the following: 1. The discussion has a problem or issue associated with it. If the discussion is not locked, the problem can be edited. 2. Each contribution to the discussion is automatically numbered and appended to the end of the discussion. The author of each contribution is automatically identified. 3. New entries are entered into the text field and appended when the Update Discussion button is pressed.

Supporting collaboration

Collaboration is supported in Zebu through shared creation and editing of pages and projects. Students with privileges to participate together in a project can create pages and edit any of the pages within the project, or any of the objects within the pages, thus a project is a shared space for the creation of representations. Communication between students is possible within Discussion objects that can be included in any page (see Figure 10). The discussions can be valuable for supporting discourse between students about the topics they are studying. In Zebu, the environment for constructive discourse is tightly integrated with the tools for resource- based activities.


Conclusions

Zebu is an educational groupware technology which facilitates the use of standard WWW software for collaborative project-based learning. It shows promise in helping teachers and students overcome some technical and practical, educational problems inherent in WWW-based technologies, allowing them to more fully realise the potentials of the WWW as a technology for collaboration in education.

Initial testing of a prototype of the Zebu system was carried out during the previous school year. Other projects which were conducted with the prototype included "BookTalk," a project for students to share and discuss reviews of books they had read, a creative writing project--"Monstres"--carried out by grade 1/2 French immersion students, and a joint project between a grade 3/4 and a grade 5/6 class to study tree species and habitats in British Columbia. Currently Zebu is being used at a variety of sites ranging from grade 1 to 12. Use of the Zebu software at these sites is being investigated in terms of the technical and educational challenges discussed above.


Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the teachers and students at Port Moody Secondary School in Port Moody, BC for their participation in this research. As well, we thank the members of the Development and Educational Support teams at MC2 Learning Systems for their support of this work. Parts of this research were supported by the Science Council of British Columbia.


References

Bellamy, R. K. R. ( 1996). "Designing educational technology: Computer-mediated change". In B. A. Nardi (Ed.), Context and consciousness: Activity theory and human- computer interactions, (pp. 123-146). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Berners-Lee, T., Cailliau, R., Luotonen, A., Nielsen, H. F., & Secret, A. ( 1994). "The World-Wide Web". Communications of the ACM, 37(8), 76-82.

Bork, A. ( 1992). "Learning in the twenty-first century interactive multimedia technology". In M. Giardian (Ed.), Interactive multimedia learning environments: Human factors and technical considerations on design issues, (pp. 2-18). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Brown, A. L. ( 1994). "The advancement of learning". Educational Researcher, 23(8), 4- 12.

Brown, A. L., Ash, D., Rutherford, M., Nakagawa, K., Gordon, A., & Campione, J. ( 1993). "Distributed expertise in the classroom". In G. Salomon (Ed.), Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations, (pp. 88-110). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, J. S. ( 1990). "Toward a new epistemology for learning". In C. Frasson & G. Gauthier (Eds.), Intelligent tutoring systems: At the crossroad of artificial intelligence and education, (pp. 266-282). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing.

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