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Tensions between Cognitive and Social Presence in Blended K-12 Classes: Conflicts and Techniques for Alignment

Tensions between Cognitive and Social Presence in Blended K-12 Classes: Conflicts and Techniques for Alignment
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Author(s): Beth Rubin (Miami University of Ohio, USA) and Ron Fernandes (DePaul University, USA)
Copyright: 2016
Pages: 12
Source title: Revolutionizing K-12 Blended Learning through the i²Flex Classroom Model
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Maria D. Avgerinou (American Community Schools (ACS) Athens, Greece) and Stefanos P. Gialamas (American Community Schools (ACS) Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0267-8.ch003

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Abstract

This chapter takes the perspective of the teacher as the leader of a blended K-12 classroom, working to create a community of inquiry. There is an inherent tension between the teacher/class leader encouraging social presence, while simultaneously maximizing cognitive presence and higher order thinking for students. Teachers differentiate among students in order to maximize learning for students of different ability levels, which can create either intentional or accidental groups that develop a sense of identity and hold different perceptions of the class and the teacher. The reduces social presence within the class by encouraging inter-group differentiation, which impedes the free and open inquiry needed for high levels of cognitive presence for all students. The use of social media to enhance the relationships and trust among all students, as well as the use of alternative groupings, are potential solutions that enhance class-level social presence and contribute to higher levels of learning for all.

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