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Handout for:

Belland, B. R., Kim, N. J., Weiss, D. M., & Piland, J. (2017, May). Impact of using a generic argumentation scaffold in two successive PBL units on different topics. Paper presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX.

Overview of CAREER Grant

In this project (see project summary on NSF site), I study how middle school students come to construct evidence-based arguments, and how technology (computer-based scaffolding) can help them in this process. The content area in which we work is science. This project entails activities in three major strands: theory-building, design, and empirical research.

Project Team

Brian Belland, Principal Investigator

Brian Belland

Nam Ju Kim, Graduate Student

Mark Weiss, Graduate Student

Jacob Piland, Undergraduate Student

National Science Foundation Logo

Theory-Building

My theory-building goals include

  • Determine how and why middle school students use and are impacted by computer-based argumentation scaffolds (for a publication related to this goal, please see Belland, B. R., & Drake, J. (2013). Toward a framework on how affordances and motives can drive different uses of scaffolds: Theory, evidence, and design implications. Educational Technology Research & Development, 61, 903-925. Available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11423-013-9313-6
  • Development of theory and measure of transfer of scaffolded skills (for a publication related to this goal, please see Belland, B. R. (2011). Using the metaphor of distributed cognition to conceptualize the transfer of scaffolded problem solving skills. Educational Psychology Review, 23, 577-600Available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10648-011-9176-5)
  • Development of a theory of how to embed motivational support into computer-based scaffolds (for a publication related to this goal, please see Belland, B. R., Kim, C., and Hannafin, M. J. (2013). A framework for designing scaffolds that improve motivation and cognition. Educational Psychologist, 48(4), 243-270. Available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2013.838920
  • Development of a theory of how to balance context-specific and generic scaffolding, as well as computer-based and teacher provided scaffolding (for a publication related to this goal, please see Belland, B. R., Drake, J., & Liu, Z. (2011). The role of affordances and motives in explaining how and why students use computer-based scaffolds. Proceedings of the 11th Annual International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, 529-531. Athens, GA: IEEE. Available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ICALT.2011.162
  • Development of a theory of dialectical argumentation scaffolding

Scaffold Design

The current version of the scaffolds, called the Connection Log, are based on a conceptual framework you can read here. At the core of this framework is the persuasive model of argumentation (Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca, 1958).

To make the Connection Log even better, I plan the following design revisions:

  • Iteration 1: Object oriented programming revision and add teacher control panel (done Fall 2011)
  • Iteration 2: Refine scaffolding model and redesign based on empirical findings (done)
  • Iteration 3: Develop version based on dialectical model (Kuhn, 1991)
  • Iteration 3: Improve transfer affordance

Empirical Studies

There will be five empircal studies, with goals including examination of:

  1. Impact of scaffolds on argument quality and argument evaluation ability, and scaffold use (Done; for a publication related to this goal, please see Belland, B. R., Gu, J., Armbrust, S., and Cook, B. (In press). Scaffolding argumentation about water quality: A mixed method study in a rural middle school. Educational Technology Research and Development. Available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11423-015-9373-x
  2. Teacher scaffolding after professional development (Done; for a publication related to this goal, please see Belland, B. R., Burdo, R., and Gu, J. (2015). From lecturing to scaffolding: One middle school science teacher's transformation. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 26(3), 263-289. Available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10972-015-9419-2
  3. Influence of scaffolds on epistemic beliefs (Data collected; analysis ongoing)
  4. Transfer of scaffolded skills