Learning Science Through Online Threaded Discourse



Taking the approach of knowledge building (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1999), 793 students from six primary schools in Hong Kong were engaged in interschool asynchronous online threaded discourse through Knowledge Forum (KF), a computer mediated communications platform designed to facilitate knowledge building and to explicate students’ role as intelligent agents in the learning process. This paper aims to investigate the knowledge building and participation patterns using KF in online threaded discourse and to explore their relationship to student perceptions on learning. Data collection included student KF discourses, teacher and student interviews, KF system logs and pre-and-post activity questionnaires. The results demonstrate that online discourse can broaden the basis for learning and teaching science and help in advancing knowledge in different ways, and indicate four patterns of online participation and their relationship to student perceptions and academic performance.


online discourse knowledge building learning community science education primary education computer mediated communication information and communication technology curriculum innovation learning culture pedagogy 


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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Information and Technology StudiesThe University of Hong KongHong Kong

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