Chatting about the sixties


By Jannet van Drie and Carla van Boxtel, published 23rd November 2010

Chatting about the sixties: using on-line chat discussion to improve historical reasoning in essay-writing

An article about essay writing may not seem the most obvious choice for an issue of Teaching History devoted to creative thinking. Yet, as Christine Counsell so richly demonstrated in her work on analytical and discursive writing, the process of crafting an argument is a highly complex and creative challenge. Students are required not merely to recall and list, but to select and justify their choices, to design and arrange a pattern, weaving together the threads that carry their argument with the evidence that best substantiates their claims. Here Jannet van Drie and Carla van Boxtel systematically explore the ways in which these processes can be supported by on-line collaboration, and the use of various forms of visual display. The value of their work lies particularly in the rigour with which they test claims about the ways in which the use of computer technologies and processes of visual representation can support genuinely historical reasoning.

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