HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 20 no. 2 (2011)

Beyond Group Collaboration: Facilitating an Idea-centered View of Collaboration through Knowledge Building in a Science Class of Fifth-graders

Huang-yao Hong

Discipline: Education



This study investigated the effects of knowledge building pedagogy and technology (i.e., Knowledge Forum, KF) on students’ collaborative competencies and their views on collaboration over 18 weeks. Participants were 52 fifth graders from two science classes (n=26 for both the experimental and control classes). Data mainly came from students’ online activities recorded in a KF database and pre-post interview regarding students’ views on collaboration. Findings indicated that engaging students in knowledge building enhanced students’ collaborative competencies; they became more socially interactive and were able to collaborate more opportunistically beyond pre-determined, fixed groups. Moreover, it was found that engaging in knowledge building also broadened students’ view of collaboration, enabling them to see collaboration not just from a task-driven, group-based perspective, but from a more emergent, idea-centered perspective. Implications for science instruction were discussed.