This article examines the discourse of 10 groups of children during text-based online discussions. Analysis of the discourse in the discussions showed that 8 different rhetorical moves, or argument stratagems, were used by most groups of children, whereas 3 other stratagems were used by 1 group. The use of argument stratagems snowballed; that is, once an argument stratagem emerged in a discussion, it tended to spread to other children in the Web group, and the likelihood that it would occur again remained high over the course of the discussion. Most stratagems began to spread when initiated by other children but not when introduced by the adult moderator. Children were eager to participate and displayed a high rate of participation in discussions with Webmates from distant classrooms. These findings suggest that collaborative online discussions may provide an effective instructional medium for promoting children's learning of reasoning strategies and thinking skills.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology