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Title:The Collaborative Information Behavior of Middle School Students in Online Learning Environments: An Exploratory Study
Author(s):Zhou, Nan; Agosto, Denise E.
Subject(s):collaborative information behavior
computer-supported collaborative learning
Abstract:The emergence of social computing systems such as blogs and online communities is shaping people’s way of working, learning, and interacting with others. Teenagers and preteenagers are leading the transition “to a fully wired and mobile nation” (Lenhart, Madden, & Hitlin, 2005). A growing body of research indicates that today's young people, often referred to as the Millennial Generation or as “digital natives" (Prensky, 2001), are heavy users of social computing media and that much of their information seeking and socialization takes place via Instant Messaging (IM), text messaging, blogs, wikis, email, and the World Wide Web (DeBell & Chapman, 2006; Harris, 2005; Lenhart, Madden, & Hitlin, 2005; Rideout, Roberts, & Foehr, 2005). Although the study of human information behavior (IB) is a rapidly growing subset of library and information science research, most IB research has focused on studying individual behaviors. We need to understand better how people “need, seek, give, and use information” (Fisher et al, 2006) in groups and in the context of online communities that use social computing technologies as well. At the Virtual Math Teams (VMT) project (, we are studying how middle school students work on math problems together and how they create and maintain online communities. As part of the VMT’s larger research agenda, this study explores how students collaborate on math problem solving in online learning environments and looks into how they identify and address their information needs during this process.
Issue Date:2008-02-28
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-03-10

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