Designing for cross-cultural web-based knowledge building

Mor, Yishay; Tholander, Jakob and Holmberg, Jesper (2006). Designing for cross-cultural web-based knowledge building. In: 10th Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Conference (CSCL 2005), 30 May - 4 Jun 2005, Taipei, Taiwan, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 450 - 459.

Abstract

This paper describes the iterative design of a web-based collaborative workspace used in educational practice, called WebReports. The system's unique feature is that it allows participants to discuss mathematical and scientific concepts using programmed animated and interactive models of their ideas. Rather than focusing on the specific features of the collaboration tool, we analyze it as part of a constructionist activity system. We describe the context in which the system was developed and used and compare our approach to previous research in the field. Further, we then present two scenarios which demonstrate the system in action. Following that, we attempt to map our cases to an activity theory framework. We highlight several issues in the process of the systems' development, where the contradictions between the WebReports system and other elements in the activity system shaped its design, and comment on several issues which go beyond the activity theory framework.

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