Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ECER 2008 - Social software for reflective dialogue

Live blog from a session at ECER 2008.

Presentation from Carina Granberg, Umea University, Sweden

The full title of the presentation is Social software for reflective dialogue – is there any trace of reflection and dialogue in the students’ blogs?

Student assessment included the requirement to make at least two entries. The presenter is interested in internal and external dialogue. She sees reflection as essential for learning but requires a deeper level of reflection - not just on content but on the process and even the premise. The students tended to agree that reflection involves internal reflection but see the value of external dialogue - to talk through what they are thinking with fellow students. Two thirds prefered face to face dialogue seeing it as more social and faster. However a third valued the thinking time written responses allowed.

[Running out of power - may add more later. :-) - DM Update: More added!]

Two groups were studied. One saw reflection purely in terms of completing the assignment. They did bare minimum and discussion was very linear. Other group saw reflection in a much broader sense - to do with learning rather than just for the assessment. Their discussion was much more complex and they appreciated blogging as a tool that helped encourage reflection.
Both groups were equally unfamiliar with blogs and similar ICT skills.

[Trick of course to encourage group B behaviour in group A students! - DM]

In a subsequent blogging exercise, the tutor took part in the discussion and challenged students to reflect further. Also didn't set quantity of responses but asked for quality instead. The researcher therefore confirmed the importance of an active eTutor/eMentor in creating a positive, educationally valuable, blogging experience for students.

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