Student and Team Agency in VMT

  • Elizabeth S. CharlesEmail author
  • Wesley Shumar
Part of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series book series (CULS, volume 11)


Agency is inherently a central concern for constructivist education. CSCL researchers need to think about the effectiveness of online learning environments in terms of how they encourage student groups to take active control of their learning activities. This chapter draws on the anthropological, psychological and sociological traditions and their concept of agency in order to consider the relationship between individual and group agency and to understand the differing constraints on interaction in classrooms and online. It then investigates agency in sessions of mathematical discourse in the VMT chat environment. Our empirical discourse analysis displays instances of significant agentic behavior and our theoretical review suggests that there are structural features to the VMT online environment that encourage agentic behavior on the part of students, individually and as a group. This has important implications for understanding learning and for designing pedagogic activities.


Epistemic agency group agency structuration habitus positioning 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational ResearcherDawson CollegeDawsonCanada
  2. 2.AnthropologyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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