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RE: CHAT and virtual communities...

Okay, I should probably speak up here. I think Kirk Sluder's and Susan
Herring's chapters are interesting for examining chat. These chapters
are clear in explicating particular methods that are not richly steeped
in theoretical commitments, although I would argue that methods are
rarely if ever a theoretical. In contrast, in my chapter and some
others, instead of using a particular method for analysis, I adopt two
theoretical frameworks as different lenses for characterizing
participation (the notion of dualities, as well as Activity Theory). I
find this not without challenges, for translating a theoretical
framework into a methodological process is a goofy process. I wonder how
Yrjo felt as he watched people translate Activity Theory (conceptualized
as the triangle) into a methodological tool. I for one have benefited
from such a translation but is it reasonable? Not sure. Anyway, I think
that in answering Mike's initial question, analyzing chat in communities
involves both using "research methodologies" as well as "theoretical
frameworks." Not sure if this was useful but thought I would enter the

Sasha A. Barab, Associate Professor
Learning Sciences, Instructional Systems Technology & Cognitive Science
Indiana University
School of Education                    ph: (812) 856-8462
Room 4066, 201 N. Rose Ave.     fax: (812) 856-8333
Bloomington, IN  47405               mail:          sbarab@indiana.edu

It takes courage to face the world with compassionate attention, to 
be candid about the injustices we understand, and to probe those we 
do not. We try, stumble, and try again. Consciousness is a daily walk. 
(Claudia Horwitz, 2002)
-----Original Message-----
From: del Valle, Rodrigo Tomas 
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 4:15 PM
To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
Subject: CHAT and virtual communities...


In the midst of these two interesting discussions on math education and
electoral maps I just want to "amend" my post on CHAT and virtual
communities... Jim Rogers just helped me to realize that when Mike asked
about chat approaches to virtual communities he was not referring to the
online tool but to CHAT as in Cultural Historical Activity Theory...   I
wasn't familiar with the acronym... I guess that's part of my legitimate
peripheral participation  :-)  on this list...  To be honest I was
surprised to see a question so focused on a tech tool on this list... 

Any way, there are a couple of chapters on Sasha's edited book that use
activity theory, especially based on Engestrom to examine virtual
communities. I assume this is close enough to CHAT...

Chapter 3 -->.  Sasha Barab, James MaKinster (Hobart & William Smith
Colleges), & Rebecca Scheckler (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University). Designing System Dualities: Building Online Community.  

Chapter 5 --> Mark Schlager and Judi Fusco (SRI International). Online
Teacher Communities: Technology Snake-Oil or Powerful Catalysts for
Professional Development?

Chapter 8 --> Jim Hewitt (University of Toronto). An Exploration of
Community in a Knowledge Forum Classroom: An Activity System Analysis. 

Chapter 14 --> James Gray and Deborah Tatar (SRI International).
Sociocultural Analysis Of Online Professional Development: A Case Study
Of Personal, Interpersonal, And Community Aspects. 

Rodrigo del Valle - rdelvall@indiana.edu
IST Doctoral Student
Center for Research on Learning and Technology
LTTS Staff http://ltts.indiana.edu
School of Education
Indiana University