News

Using the computer lowers the threshold for communicating in class

Computers and mobile devices also enable new ways of participating in classroom activities.

Researchers of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT explored how an anonymous discussion forum used via the mobile phone impacts the behaviour of 12- to-13-year-old students in class.

The research showed that computer-mediated communication frees students to express themselves without the need to consider the social relationships currently prevailing in their class.  Computers and mobile devices also enable new ways of participating in classroom activities, and they can be used to reshape the rules of traditional social interaction.

The interviews highlighted both the opportunity and the obligation to form independent opinions.

'We found that anonymity enabled discussion that, more than regular classroom discussion, allowed for multiple voices and enabled the students to express themselves more freely, as they were not constrained by existing social relationships. The interviews highlighted both the opportunity and the obligation to form independent opinions,' explains doctoral student Matti Nelimarkka.

The students experienced the introduction of the discussion forum as a positive thing. They said that their classmates had helped them learn new perspectives to the themes addressed. The teacher, too, viewed the discussion forum in a positive light: through it, the students had provided answers that would not have emerged in a regular classroom discussion.

Anonymous discussion also has its risks, such as inappropriate behaviour. In previous studies conducted among university students, the proportion of inappropriate messages has ranged between 20 and 50 per cent. With primary school students, the percentage was approximately 25%. We interpret this to mean that anonymity did not lead to an exceptional level of inappropriate behaviour in this group.

Link to the article: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ir226mw40oxvhll/ACM_group_2014.pdf?dl=0 

Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, a joint venture between the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, examines the opportunities of computer-mediated communication in situations where the participants are located in the same space also physically. The research, published in the ACM Group Conference, is part of the Learning Solutions programme funded by Tekes.

Further information

Matti Nelimarkka

[email protected]

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Read more news

Dr. Swarnalok De and logos of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Aalto University and MMD group
Research & Art Published:

Dr. Swarnalok De receives a one-year grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation

Awarded for research on the development of wearable healthcare sensors for autonomous health monitoring of the aging population
The magnetic properties of a material can affect how it interacts with light.
Press releases, Research & Art Published:

A new optical metamaterial makes true one-way glass possible

Researchers have discovered how to make a new optical metamaterial that would underpin a variety of new technologies.
Mikko Alava ja kolme muuta tutkimusryhmän jäsentä kuvattuna teknisen laitteen äärellä.
Research & Art Published:

Significant grants for science from the Finnish Cultural Foundation

A total of thirty individuals and research groups from Aalto University received grants from the Finnish Cultural Foundation for science and art. Professors Harri Lipsanen and Zhipei Sun and their team, were awarded a large grant to develop electronic components mimicking the structure and function of the human brain. Among the grantees is also Professor Mikko Alava, whose team is developing water-resistant foams as substitutes for plastic using AI-based methods.
Photo
Research & Art Published:

Overview of Aalto's open access publications 2023

90 % of Aalto's scientific journal articles published in 2023 are available open access.