Material Conditions of Collaborative Knowledge Construction: The Case of Monoplant

  • Anders I. MørchEmail author
  • Hani Murad
  • Jo Herstad
  • Sjur Seibt
  • Morten Kjelling


Monoplant is a prototype of an educational construction kit that provides teachers and secondary school students with hands-on experience on plant biology. We present the design rationale of Monoplant and report on its 3-week deployment in a high school classroom. The students (N = 14) used Monoplant to solve a photosynthesis assignment requiring them to compare the growth of two plants (one exposed to natural light and another to artificial green light). We used a qualitative approach to collect and analyze data, with observation, video recording, and interaction analysis as the main methods. The students worked in groups, and we video-recorded the verbal and nonverbal interactions of one group (N = 4). The two plants and Monoplant’s visualizations of the plants’ growth, together with the textbook, were the resources that the students used when solving the assignment. These material conditions provided an explorative design space for students’ collaborative learning, and many hypotheses were raised during the hands-on activity with materials and representations. Furthermore, we suggest an emergent practice based on our findings, in which teachers, and not only students, need maker spaces for creating material conditions for students’ domain-specific collaborative knowledge construction.


Collaborative inquiry Collaborative knowledge construction Curriculum-driven vs. self-driven learning Design-based research Empirical analysis Material conditions Monoplant Photosynthesis Participatory design Physical context 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders I. Mørch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hani Murad
    • 2
  • Jo Herstad
    • 2
  • Sjur Seibt
    • 2
  • Morten Kjelling
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of InformaticsUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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