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The Organization of Collaborative Math Problem Solving Activities across Dual Interaction Spaces


Collaboratively investigate geometric patterns made by sticks. Original pattern (Session 1) ... the 3rd stage of the hexagonal pattern, yet they used it as a resource ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Organization of Collaborative Math Problem Solving Activities across Dual Interaction Spaces

The Organization of Collaborative Math Problem
Solving Activities across Dual Interaction Spaces
  • Murat P. Cakir, Alan Zemel, Gerry Stahl

  • Dual interaction spaces
  • Combination of two quasi-synchronous online
    communication technologies
  • (e.g. text-chat and a shared workspace)
  • Popularly used in many CSCL applications

Traffic Simulator (Jermann, 2002)
Epsilon (Soller Lesgold, 2003)
Belvedere chat (Suthers et al., 2003)
The VMT Chat Environment
Message to message referencing
Explicit Referencing Support
Chat Scrollbar
Whiteboard Scrollbar
awareness messages
Research Questions
  • What are the affordances of dual interaction
  • How do participants coordinate their actions
    across dual interaction spaces?
  • How do actions performed in one space inform the
    actions performed in the other

Hexagonal pattern (Session 3)
  • Source of excerpts
  • A team of 3 middle school students
  • Qwertyuiop, Jason, 137
  • Third session (3/4)
  • 4 excerpts that sequentially follow each other
  • TeamC.jno
  • 5/16/06 708 726
  • Math Task
  • Collaboratively investigate geometric patterns
    made by sticks

Original pattern (Session 1)
Excerpt 1 Co-construction of the stick-pattern
just a grid?
Great. Can anyone m ake a diagram of a bunch of
  • The whiteboard affords an animated evolution of
    the shared space that makes the visual reasoning
    process manifested in drawing actions explicit
  • can be a very important interactional resource
    for mathematical sense making

Excerpt 2 Where is the hexagon?
wait can someone highlight the hexagonal array
on the diagram? I dont really see what you mean
so it has at least 6 triangles?
in this, for instance
  • Bringing relevant mathematical objects referred
    by indexical terms such as hexagonal array to
    other members attention often requires a
    coordinated sequence of actions in both spaces
  • Participants use explicit and verbal references
    to guide each other about how a new contribution
    should be read in relation to prior content

Excerpt 3 Persistence Mutability of
It might be easier to see it as the 6 smaller
Like this?
so should we try to
Input side length output triangles
  • Mutability of contents
  • Object-oriented design of whiteboard allows
    subsequent modifications, which is not a
    possibility for already posted chat messages
  • Persistence
  • Chat area grows linearly, and its contents
    gradually scrolls off
  • Chat messages are likely to refer to visually
    (and hence temporally) proximal messages, and
    objects visible on the whiteboard
  • Whiteboard objects remain on the shared visual
    field until they are removed
  • This qualifies the whiteboard as the more
    persistent medium as an interactional resource,
    (although both spaces are technically persistent)

Excerpt 4 Figurative use of representationsdurin
g problem solving work
  • The drawings on the whiteboard have a figurative
    role in addition to their concrete appearance as
    illustrations of specific cases
  • The particular cases illustrated as concrete,
    tangible marks on the whiteboard are often used
    as a resource to investigate and talk about
    general properties of the mathematical objects
    indexed by them.
  • The groups drawing represents the 3rd stage of
    the hexagonal pattern, yet they used it as a
    resource to investigate the properties of the nth

  • Actions performed on both interaction spaces
    constitute an evolving historical context
  • What gets done now informs the relevant actions
    to be performed next, and what was done
    previously can be reproduced/modified depending
    on the circumstances of the ongoing activity.
  • As the interaction unfolds sequentially, the
    sense of previously posted objects may be
    modified or become evident.

A methodological question
  • How to systematically pick an excerpt?
  • This is more challenging than it sounds!
  • Each excerpt is embedded in a broader
    interactional context
  • Some postings are hard to make sense of without
    access to the broader content
  • E.g. Qwertyuiop each polygon corresponds to
    2-sides thing we did last time does not work for
  • How to decide upon the length of an excerpt?
  • Micro-level analysis focuses on sequences of
    postings that span a few minutes
  • Problem solving chats span around 2hrs
  • Some groups discussed the same problem in
    multiple sessions
  • How can we get to the macro-level organization of
    collaborative problem solving activities without
    loosing the interactional perspective?

Thank you for your attention
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