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Talking and Working in an On-line Chat: A Conversation Analysis of a Web-based Professional Development Chat AECT Dallas – November 2002 Joan M. Mazur.

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Presentation on theme: "Talking and Working in an On-line Chat: A Conversation Analysis of a Web-based Professional Development Chat AECT Dallas – November 2002 Joan M. Mazur."— Presentation transcript:

1 Talking and Working in an On-line Chat: A Conversation Analysis of a Web-based Professional Development Chat AECT Dallas – November 2002 Joan M. Mazur Paula L. Jones University of Kentucky

2 A Conversation Analysis (CA) of an Web Chat Used for Teacher Professional Development Background: On-line chat used for two years by MS teachers participating in a content academy for PD Met 1 week F2F in summers Met 2x during year for Follow-up Chat used voluntarily for Follow-Up in Year 1, required in Year 2. Our Analysis focuses on the Year 1 chat (2000).

3 Conceptual Framework for the Study Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1999) Social Learning Theory Rooted in Participation Humans are social beings Knowledge is a matter of competence with respect to valued enterprises Knowing is a matter of participating in the pursuit of such enterprises. Meaningful experience and engagement are the goals of learning

4 SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY Community Meaning Identity Conceptual Framework for the Study: Model of Social Learning as a Community of Practice (p.5) Practice Learning as doing Learning as experience Learning as becoming Learning as belonging

5 Conversation Analysis Defined Conversation: People talking together Transcripts or recordings of episodes of naturally occurring interaction. Rooted in Ethnomethodology (study of everyday, natural practices from sociology), Doing Conversation Analysis (2000), Paul ten Have Foundational Concepts from Speech Act Theory (Austen, 1966) – Speech is Action

6 Characteristics of the CA Paradigm Interpretative, not Positivistic CA takes a Specimen Perspective (Sampling: Specimen not ‘Factist’) Local, Situational, Not Generalizable Analysis is inductive, researcher takes a posture of “unmotivated looking” (Psathias, 1995, p. 45)

7 Conversation Analysis CA Research Design Should include four phases Obtaining natural interactions Transcribing tapes Analyzing selected episodes Report the research found

8 The Online Chat: Year 1 Participation totally voluntary, 16 regular participants Teachers introduced to Web-based chat during Fall Follow Up Chat began in October ended in May Teachers and a University Academy Presenter participated in the chat Scheduled a weekly time for chat (evening)

9 Obtaining natural interactions The chat archives accumulated as a result of a scheduled chat by volunteer participants each Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. The typed “talk-in-interaction’ was generated by the actual participants

10 Transcribing tapes Tape transcription, per se, is not necessary because of the archived chat logs However, the logs are ‘cleaned’ for names, lines are numbered, and the data is formatted in order to facilitate a CA New techniques are needed for on-line chats that have text, not recorded speech

11 Analyzing selected episodes The specimen selected was : – The ‘Pizza Pirate’ discussion We examined how each of the following occurred via the talk-in-interaction Turn taking Topic Shifts Mapping multiple threads (Conversation Map)

12 Findings Topic Shifts and What they Tell us… What signals a shift? a person entering the chat (in this chat all conversation stops and everyone greets an entrant, regardless of whether or not s/he talks Question regarding classroom activities (question regarding what’s happening in classroom results in talk about math in classrooms)

13 SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY Community Meaning Identity Conceptual Framework for the Study: Model of Social Learning as a Community of Practice (p.5) Practice Learning as doing Learning as experience Learning as becoming Learning as belonging

14 Findings Relating Topic Shifts in the Talk to a Community of Practice Topic shift to greeting – engenders a sense of belonging (community, learning through belonging) Topic shift using question to math work (practice – learning through doing and meaning- learning as experiences) Thus, through an analysis of conversation we see how talk is normative in establishing and maintaining participation and social learning in community.

15 Findings Turn-Taking Questions regarding math content directed to RD – acknowledgement of expertise (Identity – participants sense of ‘becoming’ a certain kind of participant) Legitimate peripheral participation (Identity, through joining the chat, but not actually chatting, participants can be acknowledged but not required to engage based on limited expertise – a role for lurking within the community context)

16 Findings Conversation ‘mapping’ is a useful graphical representation for CA Represents multiple threads not characteristic of face to face conversations Enables social network analysis Who is talking to who? Density of conversation

17 Implications for Further Research As the promise of online communities of practice for professional development and other kinds of professional contact emerge using on-line chats or other digital forums for discourse, Conversation Analysis offers one tool to examine how talk-in-interaction affects social learning

18 Implications for Further Research Modifications to more traditional CA are needed to be applicable to virtual conversation which arguably differs along key dimensions such as (technology affecting turn taking, using typed text to ‘talk’ Definitions and clarifications regarding what constitutes virtual conversation etc are needed.

19 References Have, P. ten (1991c). 'Talk and institution: a reconsideration of the 'asymmetry' of doctor-patient interaction'. In: D. Boden & D.H. Zimmerman, eds. Talk and social structure: studies in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. Cambridge: Polity Press: Have, P. ten. 1991d 'User routines for computer assisted conversation analysis'. The Discourse Analysis Research Group Newsletter, 7/3 (Fall): 39 Heath, C. (1997). The analysis of activities in face to face interaction using video. In: D. Silverman, ed. Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice. London: Sage: Heritage, J.(1996). Conversation analysis: methodological aspects. In: U.M. Quasthoff, ed., Aspects of oral communication. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter: Heritage, J., 1997 'Conversation analysis and institutional talk: analysing data'. In: D. Silverman, ed. Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice. London: Sage:

20 References Levin, J., Kim, H., Riel, M. (1990). Analyzing instructional interactions on electronic message networks. In L. Harasim (ed.) Online Education. New York: Praeger. Pomerantz, A., B J Fehr, (1997). Conversation Analysis: An approach to the study of social action as sense making practices‘ In: T. A van Dijk, ed., Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction. London: Sage: Psathas, G. (1995) Conversation analysis: the study of Talk-in-Interaction. Thousand Oaks: Sage Schegloff, E.A. (1996). Turn organization: one intersection of grammar and interaction. In: In: Ochs, E., E.A. Schegloff, S.A. Thompson, eds., Interaction and Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Wenger, E. (1999). Communities of Practice,. New York: Cambridge University Press.


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