Computerized use of thinking journey mode of instruction as a means to enhance classroom argumentation and listen to students' egocentricity and change of students' conceptual understanding
Schwarz, Baruch B.
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The combination of the computerized Digalo (Schwarz & de Groot, 2007) as a graphical tool for representing argumentative moves in on-going e-discussions and the Thinking Journey (TJ) mode of instruction (Schur and Galili, 2009, Schur et al. 2009) were used. TJ enables students to get various perspectives on considered scientific concept. The teaching provides cognitive scaffolding for the learner in discussion on the presented visualized situations (pictures, video-clips, models etc). Students' curiosity is encouraged by pondering questions, guiding students' exploration and construction of the target knowledge which emerges from generalization of various perspectives. The Digalo application was used to provide an electronic medium for sustaining collective argumentation. Thirty-two Grade 8 students from two junior-high schools participated in the study, which was conducted as a part of regular lessons in science. All students were requested to participate in small groups synchronous e-discussions on the concept of day/night along the TJ scenario. Results showed conceptual learning of the scientific concept. One could see that TJ interactions in the computerized version allowed students to mediate efficiently to their peers. The visibility of evidence in the TJ interactions used for the discussions lessened the egocentricity level since evidence and collective discussion was made part of the individual's cognitive space. By doing so, students could elaborate superior mental models. And indeed, we found a correlation of r=6.06 between egocentricity and mental model. One can consider that this result can be explained from the specific way in which TJ mediated interactions are constructed to enable students to observe phenomena from a variety of perspectives and to connect scientific concepts with observation of specific environments. Integrating between the argumentation idea and the Thinking Journey mode of instruction, enabled to establish focused mediation situations that enabled students to experience meaningful conceptual learning.