CITIC: A NSF Cyberlearning DIP Project (2014-2018)

CITIC_S

(image by Norina Zhang)

Title: Connecting Idea Threads Across Communities for Sustained Knowledge Building

Sponsored by National Science Foundation through its Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies program (IIS #1441479)

Dates: September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2018

Amount: $1,342,537

PI: Jianwei Zhang

Co-PI:  Mei-Hwa Chen (Computer Science, UAlbany), Feng Chen (Computer Science, UAlbany), Carolyn Rosé, (Carnegie Mellon University), Marlene Scardamalia (University of Toronto)

 

Project Overview

Classroom innovations to cultivate creative work need to engage students in sustained inquiry and progressive discourse by which ideas are continually developed and refined, giving rise to higher-level goals. Fostering sustained inquiry within each community requires a larger social infrastructure that connects the communities into a shared field. This project will test multilevel designs to foster sustained, progressive discourse over time across a network of communities that co-advances a shared base of knowledge, supporting progressive idea improvement in each community.

Our previous NSF-sponsored project has created Idea Thread Mapper (ITM): a collective knowledge mapping tool to trace and visualize threads of ideas growing in extended online discussions (see http://tccl.rit.albany.edu:8080/ITM).  This project will expand ITM to provide automated support for students to review idea threads (lines of inquiry) emerged from their ongoing discourse and selectively publish productive idea threads to a cross-community networking platform: Connecting Idea Threads of Innovative Communities (CITIC) (http://tccl.rit.albany.edu:8080/CITIC)

To test multilevel interaction designs enabled by CITIC and its automated tools, we will conduct design-based studies in a network of elementary classrooms studying core scientific topics. Supported by the designs, students can:

  • kick off their inquiry by “importing” a set of productive idea threads from previous classrooms, as inquiry starters;
  • co-review idea threads emerged from their discourse as the inquiry proceeds;
  • access relevant ideas from other communities, as resources to enrich and catalyze knowledge-building discourse; and
  • engage in live interaction with international partnering classrooms to investigate problems of common interest (e.g. climate change).

Data sources include pre- and post-tests, reflective essays, online discourse, idea threads and related interactions recorded in CITIC, classroom videos, and interviews. Student advancement of collective knowledge will be assessed through automated analysis to trace idea contributions within and across the evolving idea threads; content analysis of online discourse focusing on progressive questions and ideas; and social network analysis of who, both individual and community, has viewed and built on/adopted whose ideas. Tracing idea threads and related terms used within each community and across CITIC will help elaborate multilevel interactions essential to sustained knowledge building.

 Intellectual Merit

Enabling sustained, progressive inquiry over time across social levels and communities represents a significant challenge. This research will create CITIC as a macro-level platform for cross-community knowledge building that integrates automated analyses. Instead of single-layer sharing of raw online discussions between different communities, this research will elaborate a multilevel emergence approach: Members of each community engage in focused inquiry and contribute to their community’s discourse space. As progress is made, they identify major threads of ideas addressing various focal problems, each involving a group of members that is pre-organized or opportunistically formed. Reviewing and clustering and re-conceptualizing the diverse idea threads, as a community, helps to define/redefine the community’s goals and diffuse knowledge advances. Productive idea threads are further published to CITIC for cross-community sharing and sustained build-on of ideas. Analyses of the multilevel interactions will produce conceptual insights and design knowledge needed to sustain knowledge building across social levels.

Broader Impact

To prepare students for careers in a knowledge-based society, schools need to cultivate collaborative inquiry-based practices by which knowledge-creating communities expand our society’s knowledge. Students need to engage in sustained inquiry and discourse by which ideas are continually developed, refined, and built upon. This sustained, progressive trajectory of inquiry is rare in classrooms, but it is achievable. This project will create technological infrastructures (CITIC) and designs to support such sustained trajectory of inquiry in each community and further extend it to an international network of classrooms that co-investigates problems of global importance. CITIC will be open source and support interoperation. CITIC’s growing database of idea threads, each with progressive questions and ideas, will become a helpful resource for new teachers to understand and facilitate students’ disciplinary thinking and for diverse students to apprentice into collaborative knowledge building practices that are essential to 21st century careers.

Publications 

Zhang, J., Bogouslavsky, M., & Yuan, G. (2017). Cross-Community Interaction for Knowledge Building in Two Grade 5/6 Classrooms. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2917). International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Tao, D., Zhang, J., & Gao, D. (2017). Reflective Structuration of Knowledge Building Practices in Grade 5 Science: A Two-Year Design-Based Research. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2917). International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Tao, D. & Zhang, J. (2017). How Did a Grade 5 Science Community Co-Construct Collective Structures of Inquiry? In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2917). International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Tian, Y., & Zhang, J. (2017). Student-Directed Sustained Inquiry in a Grade 5 Community Featuring Opportunistic Collaboration. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of American Educational Research Association (AERA 2017), April 27 –May 1, 2017, San Antonio, TX.

Tao, D., Zhang, J. (2017). Reflective Structuration of Sustained Deep Inquiry in a Grade 5 Classroom. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of American Educational Research Association (AERA 2017), April 27 –May 1, 2017, San Antonio, TX.

Tao, D., Zhang, J., Chen, X. (2017). Multilevel Reflections to Co-Frame Epistemic Objects of Inquiry for Sustained Knowledge Building Over a School Year. Poster to be presented at the Annual Meeting of American Educational Research Association (AERA 2017), April 27 –May 1, 2017, San Antonio, TX.

Zhang, J. (2016). Connecting Idea Threads for Sustained Inquiry and Discourse. 2016 NSF video showcase “Advancing STEM Learning For All: Sharing Cutting Edge Work and Community Discourse,” May 17-23, 2016, http://videohall.com/p/770

Chen, B., & Zhang, J. (2016). Analytics for Knowledge Creation: Towards Agency and Design-Mode Thinking. Journal of Learning Analytics, 3(2),  139–163.

Vokatis, B., & Zhang, J. (2016). The Professional Identity of Three Innovative Teachers Engaging in Sustained Knowledge Building Using Technology. Frontline Learning Research: An Official Journal of EARLI, 4 (1), 58-77. 

Chen, J., & Zhang, J. (2016). Design Collaborative Formative Assessment for Sustained Knowledge Building Using Idea Thread Mapper. In: Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2016). Singapore: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Tao, D., Zhang, J., & Gao, D. (2016). Co-generation of Pragmatic Structure to Support Sustained Inquiry over a School Year. Paper presentation at the Annual Meeting of American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.

Gagnon, P., Kirk, S., Zhang, J., and student representatives (Leah Dannehy, Drake Gilliam, Makayla Mackey, and Giuliana Vivenzio). (2016). Inquiry-Based Science in Grade 5: Students as Knowledge Builders. Presentation given at the Board Meeting of GuIlderland Central School District, Feburary 2016.

Hod, Y., Charles, E. S., Ben-Zvi, D., Zhang, J., et al. (2016). Future Learning Spaces for Learning Communities: New Directions and Conceptual Frameworks (A symposium). In Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2016). International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Judson, D. (2016). Teacher Noticing Associated with Responsive Support of Knowledge Building. In Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2016). International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Tao, D. & Zhang, J. (2016). “If you don’t tell us, how can we know what we are supposed to do?” Knowledge Building Summer Institute: Multi-Level Knowledge Innovation Networks. Singapore.

Zhang, J. (2016). Interconnecting the Knowledge Spaces of Different Communities for Sustained Knowledge Building. A presentation given in the Invited Closing Keynote Panel “Challenges and Opportunities for Research and Design of Future Learning Spaces,” The 11th Chais Conference for the Study of Innovation and Learning Technologies. Open University of Israel.

Tao, D., Zhang, J. , & Huang, Y. (2015). How Did a Grade 5 Community Formulate Progressive, Collective Goals to Sustain Knowledge Building Over a Whole School Year? In O. Lindwall & S. Ludvigsen (Eds.), Exploring the material conditions of learning: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (Vol. 1, pp. 419-426). Gothenburg, Sweden: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Zhang, J., Chen, M.-H., Tao, D., Lee, J. Sun, Y., & Judson, D. (2015). Fostering Sustained Knowledge Building through Metadiscourse Aided by the Idea Thread Mapper.  In O. Lindwall & S. Ludvigsen (Eds.), Exploring the material conditions of learning: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (Vol. 1, pp. 166-173). Gothenburg, Sweden: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Collaborators

Dr. Carol Chan and Dr. Jan van Aalst (University of Hong Kong), Dr. Kai Hakkarainen (University of Helsinki and Turku University), Dr. Siwei Lyu (University at Albany), Dr. Alandeom Oliveira (University at Albany), Dr. Chewlee Teo (Educational Technology Office of the Ministry of Education, Singapore), Dr. Yanqing Sun (University at Albany).

Partners

  • Dr. Jackman Institute of Child Study (JICS) Laboratory School, University of Toronto
  • Guilderland Elementary School (Guilderland Central School District)
  • Slingerlands Elementary School (Bethlehem Central School District)