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IC Cluster Peer Review of Wiki Pages: French Culture

The French Culture wiki is interesting and, for the most part, clearly written. The experimental design is easy to understand (quite an accomplishment with a text-only description). I must admit that I have some difficulty in processing the DV descriptions. A concrete example (or two) might help the reader in processing the abstract descriptions, especially if one is lacking background in cultural research approaches.

As of November 24, 2006, the French Culture wiki is missing two sections: “Background and Significance” and “Explanation.” I’m sure these are in-progress and it is admirable that findings are included. However, a potentially bigger problem from the PSLC perspective is that the French Culture wiki doesn’t make use of PSLC terminology. Nor does it clearly communicate a connection to (or fit within) the existing PSLC theoretical framework. From what is written, it also is not easy to clearly place the project within the Interactive Communication cluster. It would probably help to specify the nature of the “attention-focusing techniques” and to identify the source of the communication (Is it the communication between characters in the films? Or the communication acts performed by the student in response to those “attention focusing techniques?”)

The attention-focusing aspects of the French Culture seem reminiscent of a recent discussion (led by Kurt) at the practice talks for the upcoming BOV visit. I don’t remember the full context of this discussion, but it seems that a number of projects are focused on transitioning students from weak, superficial, or misleading information to deeper, more relevant information. An example is Natasha Tokowicz’s second language project (trying to reduce “L2-->L1-->Conceptual Knowledge” paths in favor of more direct “L2-->Conceptual knowledge” paths. Similarly, in the “Contiguity” project that I (Kirsten) am conducting with Vincent Aleven, we are using a variety of scaffolds to get students to attend to (and form connections between) deep and meaningful knowledge components instead of relying on superficial strategies that result in weak and incorrect knowledge. My guess is that we should think about how we can capitalize on these connections among the projects.

I’ve heard Amy talk about this project a few times – I think this is really interesting work and it looks like a very productive project. My overall recommendations are to think about:

  • 1) the nature of the attention-focusing techniques, specifying (even at a high level) how they might relate to the PSLC theoretical framework.
  • 2) the project’s fit within the IC cluster, specifying the relevant communication focus and how it might inform the IC cluster goals
  • 3) concrete examples that might make the abstract descriptions of DVs more interpretable.