Connecting the links : socio-constructivism, historical thinking and online discussion forums




Blankenship, Whitney Gordon

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This qualitative interpretive research study of students participating in online discussion forums explores how the socio-constructivist nature of online discussion forums fosters the development of historical thinking. The study also focuses attention on the development of the historical understandings of students as they participant in online discussion forums in particular significance, empathy and agency. Set within the context of discussion forums and framed by socio-constructivism and historical thinking, the study uncovered what it means for students to “do history” and how students construct their own historical narratives as they interact with their peers online. Data collection included transcripts of online discussion forums, interviews with participants and the collection of other related artifacts. Findings suggest that the online discussion forums facilitate socio-constructivism in the classroom by providing students with extended opportunities to engage with their peers ideas and assumptions. Additionally, the findings also conclude that students understanding of significance, empathy and agency are related to their interactions with both the official and unofficial curriculums and the temporal and physical proximity of examples to students lived experiences.



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