Jun 012012

Authors: Ella L.F. Fu & Carol K.K. Chan

This study examined how primary and secondary school students engaged in constructive use of authoritative information and investigated their relationships with improvable ideas in inquiry threads in knowledge-building discourse. According to Scardamalia (2002), the constructive use of authoritative sources refers to the importance of staying in touch with the state-of-the-art in a field of knowledge, and having a critical stance toward it. We conjectured that more constructive use of information in a thread was related to improvable ideas. The constructive use of information for improvable ideas is especially important in the knowledge society, where routine tasks are to solve new problems and create new ideas. In knowledge-building classrooms, students need to realize information needs and bring information into their community actively; moreover, information is not only an object to be learnt, but to be improved, and it should be used to refine students’ ideas, explanations, and understanding of the world.

From our observation, students’ asynchronous discourse is commonly fraught with subjective opinions and objective facts, which represent that students may have difficulties using information for collaborative inquiry-based learning. We try to develop some understanding about the current practice of the constructive use of authoritative sources on Knowledge Forum.

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