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Title: Out of school support for gifted and talented learners : an exploration of online discussion forums
Author: Kaur, Juss Rani
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 8973
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis explored the potential of engaging gifted and talented learners in an online community of inquiry promoted by the use of asynchronous discussion forums. It employed a mixed-method, case-study approach where non-participant observation of online interactions and focus group meetings with the tutors contributed to the qualitative analysis of how the members realised participation in the forums. Quantitative analysis of membership data and online questionnaire responses revealed member characteristics of the sample members and patterns of active (vocal and silent) participation. Analysis was inductive and interpretive, informed by an original synthesis of the theoretical perspectives of two theories: the online learning theory suggested by Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2000); and the cognitive and affective domains for learning skills, proposed by Bloom et al. (1956) and Krathwohl et al. (1964). Content analysis of over 3000 messages posted or read by approximately 4500 members revealed community-based and ability-based characteristics that enabled the group to deal with social stigma, co-construct knowledge and promote meta- learning skills. The study concluded that participation in online discussion forums held the potential to address several of the needs identified by research for gifted learners: The need for the company of like-minded and similar ability peers; the need to develop higher order thinking skills; and the need to become independent learners. In this online network, the gifted learners could receive communal support from other members and tutors who acted as 'mentors' and role models for honing interpersonal and thinking skills such that they were motivated to pursue their interests to their full potential.
Supervisor: Furlong, John ; Ellis, Viv Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Educational technology ; Education ; Effect of technological innovations on ; Electronic discussion groups ; Gifted children ; Internet in education ; Case studies