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Keywords:

  • adolescent culture;
  • argumentation;
  • computer-supported collaborative learning;
  • digital natives;
  • discourse genres;
  • educational technology appropriation

Abstract

We present an analysis of a longitudinal case study whose aim was to understand the processes of integration of a face-to-face and networked collaborative learning technology and pedagogy into a secondary school history-geography classroom. Students carried out a sequence of argumentative tasks relating to sustainable development, including argument generation, sharing and elaboration, debate using a computer-mediated communication, and organization of arguments in a shared diagram. Students' interactions and diagrams were analysed in terms of degree and quality of argumentativity, as well as catachresis (‘getting round’ the software to perform a non-prescribed task). Results run counter to positive systems of ideas and values concerning collaborative learning and its technological mediation in that the scenario did not meet its pedagogical aims, having to be abandoned before its planned end. We discuss possible explanations for this ‘failure story’ in terms of the articulation between everyday, technology-related and educational discourse genres, with their associated social milieux, as well as the social structure of the classroom. The relevance of these aspects for future attempts to integrate such technologies is discussed. In conclusion, we discuss a vision of learning that takes into account students who do not accept to play the educational game.