Title: Supporting learning communities for children on Think.com

Authors: Elizabeth Hartnell-Young, Karen Corneille

Addresses: Learning Sciences Research Institute, The University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Rd, Nottingham NG1 1GA, UK. ' 204 Old Eltham Rd, Lower Plenty, Victoria 3093, Australia

Abstract: This paper considers the extent to which the free, password-protected online community environment of the Oracle Education Foundation|s Think.com supports children|s learning. Using an interpretive approach, we analysed the uses of the environment within a broad frame of digital literacies, social interaction and facilitated collaboration, in order to identify potential for, and instances of, learning. We found that many children engaged readily with the site to display a range of digital literacies and to communicate with others, and that teachers and facilitators played a powerful role in mediating learning, managing the communities, setting guidelines for participation, and linking students with outside experts. There is, however, scope for richer learning which is yet to be developed.

Keywords: children; online communities; learning communities; Think.com; web based communities; digital literacies; social interaction; facilitated collaboration; child education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2007.014079

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2007 Vol.3 No.2, pp.183 - 197

Published online: 18 Jun 2007 *

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