From Handheld Collaborative Tool to Effective Classroom Module: Embedding CSCL in a Broader Design Framework


Roschelle, J., Rafanan, K., Estrella, G., Nussbaum, M., & Claro, S. (2010). From handheld collaborative tool to effective classroom module: Embedding CSCL in a broader design framework. Computer & Education, 56 (3), 1018-1026.


The field of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) includes designers who emphasize effectiveness, measured via experiments, as well as designers who emphasize context and conduct qualitative research on teaching and learning practices. We conjectured that these two different emphases could be fruitful combined in a research and development process aimed at producing effective CSCL practices. We explored this possibility in a project that adapted a CSCL tool from Chile to serve as the basis of an effective 3-week classroom module for primary school mathematics in the United States. To go from tool to module, we addressed curricular fit, training materials, pedagogical guidance, formative and summative assessments, and logistical support. In conducting the project, we found that effectiveness and contextual research could be conducted simultaneously and yielded complementary insight to this design process, which enabled our project to rapidly move from the base tool towards complete classroom modules. An experiment we conducted after our design iterations showed that students who used the modules learned more about the target content, fractions. A retrospective analysis of our design process suggests that the Integrative Learning Design framework is useful for organizing the complementary components of effectiveness and contextual research in our design process.

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