Essay On Bulletin Boards As Dialogic Constructivism

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Bulletin Boards as Dialogic Constructivism for Learners

The advent of technology in the classroom has brought many new acronyms into teachers' lexicon: MOOs, MUDs, VREs, as well as chats and Discussion boards. Such technology, when students are loosed upon it, decenter the teacher and empower the student. Such a transition is firmly grounded in the ideological work of Friere who admonished that learning requires that students create knowledge and not be mere "receptacles for received knowledge." Discussion Boards, particularly, extend the notion of "classroom discussions" into a realm much more inclusive, and often more beneficial for students. Such peer learning aims to "sharpen academic skills…and enhance subject matter mastery by promoting …show more content…

Conversants can "reread a proposition," (Freiermuth 193) allowing more time for both reading, making meaning, and constructing a response. This is a distinct advantage for non-native English speakers, especially when interacting with native speakers. One student commented on using the technology saying, "we could write our whole idea and finish it and the idea was not gone because another student would talk about something before it was finished" (Sutherland-Smith 33). Research into second language writing clearly demonstrates that writing in a second language is measurably more difficult than in one's first language: Second language writing is "more laborious, less fluent, and less productive" (Silva 200). Because bulletin boards are asynchronous (i.e. not in immediate real time), ESL contributors are on a more even footing with their native-speaking peers in contributing to the meaning construction of the students' knowledge. Further, Freiermuth reports that "interactants do not have to worry about outside factors that interfere with listening and speaking," (Freiermuth 193) presumably, including accent, intonation, and other phonological cues.

When instructors pose "rich questions and allow students to assume ownership for discussions" (Howland & Moore 192), these technological bulletin boards contribute to, as one student stated, discussion which is "more thoughtful and in-depth" than the classroom …show more content…

In fact, by use of technology such as the bulletin board, "learners articulate what they have learned as it relates to their prior knowledge" (119). This technology makes tangible, as text, the dialogic process whereby each strand of knowledge occurs in "conversation" with each prior posting and each subsequent posting.

Further, bulletin boards make real the dialogic reality of writing and of reading. Each bulletin board posting can be considered an "utterance" in Bakhtin's terms, and it holds a place in a dialogue. Within the Bakhtinian paradigm, every utterance is issued as a reponse to something previous, and similarly, every utterance epxects a response: the listener is not merely passive but actively assimilates or challenges the preceding word" (Dentith 38). It is this social sense which makes bulletin boards especially valuable. The diallogue that is the bulletin board is inherently responsvie. Consequently, by "uttering" on the bulletin board, knowledge is truly constructed by the students.

For the teacher unfamiliar with the tools of discussion board technology, a rich list of discussion board services has been gathered by Bikowski and Kessler (30) from which a few extracts are offered here:

· -free online forum intended

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