SCAFFOLDING FOCUSED DISCUSSION THROUGH ON-LINE DISCOURSE

N. Moning, G.C. Siew Yeng

Ilmu Khas Teacher Education Institute (MALAYSIA)
The internet has provided a new avenue as provider of information for the past decade. With the introduction of the Web 2.0 application, the internet now has a dual role: as a source of knowledge and as a medium for information sharing. One of the important features in this application is the interactive webpages such as the blog, wikipedia, wikispaces and many more. With this comes its potential as a channel for educator to enable learning beyond the classroom. This study examined the use of the wikispaces as a platform for scaffolding academic writing. A wikispaces site was created for the Foundation Course students in a Teacher Education Institute in Malaysia to discuss various content areas in Social Studies. Initially, the main purpose was to create an avenue for students to discuss and express their ideas and thoughts in the subject. However the site then became a roundtable of discussion amongst its members. After 3 semesters students’ posts were analysed and three main themes emerged from these postings. Focus group interviews were then administered based on the top five most frequent posts of each theme. The interviews were also aimed to find out students’ perception of the wikispaces as a platform for academic discussion beyond the classroom. The site proved to be more valuable and having good potential as innovative scaffolding to assist students in academic writing.