UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Computers and content-based language learning Hooper, Hugh R.


Can a computer database be used to augment a content-based approach to developing academic discourse? This document reports on the integration of these three areas in student tasks in a unit of work (biology) taught by a content teacher and a language specialist to a class of grade 7 students in a Vancouver elementary school. The objectives of the study were 1) to investigate the connections between biology content, the academic discourse of classification and a computer database, and 2) to identify if each area was in fact related to the knowledge structures of classification and description. The research method focussed on, ethnographic observations, interviews and recordings of the students and the teachers as they worked through the unit. Analysis of the findings seems to suggest that there are connections between biology content, academic discourse of classification and a computer database, and that each area is related to the knowledge structure of classification and description. This finding further suggests that student tasks at the computer have the potential for developing academic discourse and the learning of content. This potential may deserve further investigation by both teachers and researchers.

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