Publications

2017
Asterhan, C. S. C., & Bouton, E. (2017). Teenage peer-to-peer knowledge sharing through social network sites in secondary schools. Computers & Education , 110, 16-34. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The promise of social network technology for learning purposes has been heavily debated, with proponents highlighting its transformative and opponents its distracting potential. However, little is known about the actual, everyday use of ubiquitous social network sites for learning and study purposes in secondary schools. In the present work, we present findings from two survey studies on representative samples of Israeli, Hebrew-speaking teenagers (N1 = 206 and N2 = 515) which explored the scope, characteristics and reasons behind such activities. Study 1 shows that these can be described best as online knowledge sharing, that is: the up- and downloading of knowledge and knowledge sources to social network-based peer groups. Findings were replicated in study 2 to further support the claim that school-related knowledge sharing is common and widespread and entails different types of knowledge. Findings from study 2 furthermore show that sharing is mainly motivated by prosocial motives, as well as expectations for future reciprocation. Sharing is predicted by individual differences, such as gender, collectivist values, mastery goal orientations and academic self-efficacy. Relations between competitive-individualist values and sharing are more complex, and are, among others, moderated by expectations for future benefits. Implications for educational practices and for learning are discussed.

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Schwarz, B. B., Rosenberg, H., & Asterhan, C. S. C. (2017). Teachers, students and social network sites (in Hebrew). In Breaking down barriers in education? Teachers, students and social network sites (pp. 5-22) . Tel Aviv: MOFET books. english_abstracts
Ophir, Y., Asterhan, C. S. C., & Schwarz, B. B. (2017). Unfolding the notes from the wall: Adolescents' depression manifestations on Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior , 72, 96-107. Publisher's Version pdf
Rosenberg, H., Ophir, Y., & Asterhan, C. S. C. (2017). Building adolescent resilience: Teacher-student social network communication in times of political violence (in Hebrew). In Breaking down barriers? Teachers, students and social network sites . Tel Aviv: MOFET books.Abstract

In this multi-method study, we examined the extent and nature of teacher-student communication on Social Network Sites (SNS) during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, from students and teachers point of view. Corresponding with the literature on adolescent SNS usage, participants in the current sample were found to be frequent users of SNS. During the war, a time of major stress, this extensive usage even increased further. The first step of the study indicated a large scope of teacher-student communication in times of war. Based on student reports, we found that more than half of the adolescent participants communicate with their teachers via SNSs during the war (mainly through WhatsApp); and that the main purpose of this communication was to lend and receive emotional support. Moreover, the majority of participating adolescents expressed their appreciation of this communication and believed it to be helpful. From the students’ point of view, the study revealed five distinct themes of emotional support on SNS during the war: caring, reassuring, emotional sharing, belonging, and distracting. From the teachers’ point of view, it was evident that teachers: (a) recognize their central psychosocial role in times of war and appreciate the opportunities that arise from SNS communication to deliver emotional support to their students, (b) dedicate their efforts to monitor distress through SNS, and (c) maintain norms of civilized and sensitive discourse. Techers also engage among themselves in moral discussions regarding the advantages and risks of SNS communication with students. The implications of these findings may include the creation of specialized training program for teachers, which will support their efforts in times of crisis.

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Ophir, Y., Asterhan, C. S. C., & Schwarz, B. B. (2017). If these Facebook walls could talk: Detecting and treating teenage psycho-social stress through social network activity (in Hebrew). In Breaking down barriers? Teachers, students and social network sites (pp. 181-198) . Tel Aviv: MOFET books.Abstract

For better or for worse, online social networks have become adolescents’ new town square. Teenagers and young adults use SNS technology for various social activities, but most notably for selfpresentation, emotional self-disclosure and frustration ״venting, maintaining and creating social relations and affiliations, and even sharing learning materials. In popular media outlets, the negative effects and danger of SNS usage on teenagers’ social life are often highlighted (e.g., online bullying, sexting, privacy invasions, and procrastination). In the present chapter, we offer a complementary, novel approach for research on the relation between SNS use and psychological well-being: Since teenagers’ online SNS activities are logged and preserved, access to this information allows us to unobtrusively watch, monitor and learn about different facets of adolescents’ social and personal lives. We present first findings of a research program, that specifically focuses on detection of adolescents’ psycho-social distress, based on their SNS activities. We triangulate data obtained from expert judgments, interviews and self-report questionnaires, as well as computerized language processing methods. Finally, we offer a brief review on online counselling psychology and the various venues open to adolescents who seek emotional support via social networks.

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Bouton, E., & Asterhan, C. S. C. (2017). Sharing learning materials through social networks (in Hebrew). In Breaking down barriers? Teachers, students and social network sites (pp. 53-76) . Tel Aviv: MOFET books.
Rosenberg, H., & Asterhan, C. S. C. (2017). What's App, sir? Teachers and students in WhatsApp groups (in Hebrew). In Breaking down barriers? Teachers, students and social network sites (pp. 77-101) . Tel Aviv: MOFET books.Abstract

The instant messaging application WhatsApp enables quick, interactive multimedia communication in closed groups, as well as one-on-one interactions between selected group members. It has become one of the most popular applications, and is regularly used by both teachers and students for personal and group communication. In the present study, we explore student perspectives on the phenomenon of WhatsApp ״classroom groups״ ,in which both teachers and students from a particular classroom interact with one another in closed groups. Our methodology combines interviews and focus groups with students aged 13-18 (N = 88). The findings reveal that WhatsApp has become a central channel of communication among Israeli school communities, and is used for organizational purposes (sending and receiving updates and managing learning), as well as a means for teachers to enforce discipline. Students view favorably many of WhatsApp׳s characteristics: Easy access, its communal nature, privacy boundaries (low exposure to personal profile information), the written, mediated communication format, and the simplicity and ease of switching from group to one-onone communication formats. Students also recognized limitations, specifically the potential of communication overload, and challenged existing teacher beliefs concerning their ability to monitor and affect student interactions in social media. Finally, we report on the central role of parallel ״sans-teacher״ WhatsApp classroom groups, as ״back stage״ discourse arenas that accompany the ״front stage״ activities in class and in the ״official״ classroom WhatsApp group.

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2016
Asterhan, C. S. C., & Schwarz, B. B. (2016). Argumentation for learning: Well-trodden paths and unexplored territories. Educational Psychologist , 51. Publisher's VersionAbstract

There is increasing consensus among psycho-educational scholars about argumentation as a means to improve student knowledge and understanding of subject matter. In this paper, we argue that, notwithstanding a strong theoretical rationale, causal evidence is not abundant, definitions of the objects of study (argumentation, learning) are often not well-defined, and the variance in research methods is large. In this article, we systematically review the available research evidence by mapping it on the Argumentation For Learning (AFL) research framework, which specifies the different antecedents, dialogue characteristics, and learning outcomes of argumentation. In doing so, we identify claims that are supported with substantive empirical evidence and demonstrate which questions are still open to further empirical examination. We also uncover several promising, relatively unexplored venues for future research.

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Ophir, Y., Rosenberg, H., Asterhan, C. S. C., & Schwarz, B. B. (2016). In times of war, adolescents do not fall silent: Teacher-student social network communication in wartime. Journal of Adolescence , 46, 98-106. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Exposure to war is associated with psychological disturbances, but ongoing communication between adolescents and teachers may contribute to adolescents' resilience. This study examined the extent and nature of teacher-student communication on Social Network Sites (SNS) during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. Israeli adolescents (N = 208, 13-18 yrs) completed information about SNS communication. A subset of these (N = 145) completed questionnaires on social rejection and distress sharing on SNS. More than a half (56%) of the respondents communicated with teachers via SNS. The main content category was 'emotional support'. Adolescents' perceived benefits from SNS communication with teachers were associated with distress sharing. Social rejection was negatively associated with emotional support and perceived benefits from SNS communication. We conclude that SNS communication between teachers and students may provide students with easy access to human connections and emotional support, which is likely to contribute to adolescents' resilience in times of war.

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Nussbaum, E. M., & Asterhan, C. S. C. (2016). The psychology of far transfer from classroom argumentation. In The psychology of argument: Cognitive approaches to argumentation and persuasion (pp. 407-423) . London: College Publications.Abstract

Certain classroom programs that engage students in argumentive discourse over an extended period of time have been shown to result in far transfer effects in other disciplines.  For example, argumentation-rich teaching in science classes or mathematics has resulted in higher student achievement in English Language Arts. In this chapter, we review previous explanations for these effects rooted in theories of development, argumentation schema, ACT-R theory, motivation, and situativity.  We then extend these accounts by proposing that in these programs, students discover and practice “proactive executive control strategies.”  These strategies involve intentionally activating or inhibiting a certain cognitive process, such as protection from interference.  The acquisition and strengthening of these strategies has been used to explain far transfer effects from working memory training to tests of fluid intelligence, based on a cognitive architecture proposed by Taatgen (2013).  We propose that similar processes may be at work in argumentive learning environments.  For example, when one is considering someone else’s counterargument, one has to protect the mind from interference by one’s own argument, and then switch attention back to one’s argument to advocate or evaluate it.  Our account is consistent with those explaining far transfer effects from the generation of general production rules (Koedinger & Stampfer, 2015) as well as the acquisition of conceptual agency through participation in conversations that matter (Greeno, 2006).  Our theory also has the advantage, however, of uniting various levels of cognitive analysis, from the micro to the more molar.

2015
Tsovaltsi, D., Greenhow, C., & Asterhan, C. S. C. (2015). When friends argue: learning from and through social networks site discussions. Computers in Human Behavior , 53, 567-569. pdf
Asterhan, C. S. C., & Hever, R. (2015). Learning from reading argumentive discussions in Facebook: Rhetoric style matters (again). Computers in Human Behavior , 53, 570-576.Abstract

We explore the potential of learning from reading discussions in social network settings. Undergraduates were asked to read an argumentive discussion between students of a closed, course-related Facebook group. The discussion revolved around a social-economic-ethical, ‘hot’ topic of debate and contained several links to online resources in support of the discussants’ opinions. Based on previous research on argumentive discourse style, two different online discussions were created to reflect either a disputative or deliberative discourse goal, while controlling for all other verbal content. Students in a control condition only received the links to the same online resources, without the discussions. Following the reading phase, declarative knowledge on the topic was significantly lower in the disputative discourse condition, but no differences were found between the deliberative argumentation and the control condition. Reading behavior measures (time-on-task, time spent reading the online information resources, number of online information sources, time spent reading the discussion) could not account for the differences in knowledge performance. A program for future research is outlined to explore the effects of learning through reading discussions, the role of argumentive style, and the affective and cognitive processes underlying them.

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Resnick, L. B., Asterhan, C. S. C., & Clarke, S. N. (2015). Introduction: Talk, teaching and learning. In L. B. Resnick, C. S. C. Asterhan, & S. N. Clarke (Ed.), Socializing intelligence through academic talk and dialogue (pp. 1-12) . Washington, DC: AERA. pdf
Asterhan, C. S. C. (2015). Introducing online dialogues in collocated classrooms: If, why and how. In L. B. Resnick, C. S. C. Asterhan, & S. Clarke (Ed.), Socializing intelligence through academic talk and dialogue (pp. 205-218) . Washington, DC: AERA. pdf
Resnick, L. B., Asterhan, C. S. C., & Clarke, S. N. (2015). Socializing intelligence through academic talk and dialogue . Washington, DC: AERA. Publisher's VersionAbstract

From the back cover: Socializing Intelligence Through Academic Talk and Dialogue focuses on a fast-growing topic in education research. Over the course of 34 chapters, the contributors discuss theories and case studies that shed light on the effects of dialogic participation in and outside the classroom. This rich, transdisciplinary endeavor will appeal to scholars and researchers in education and many related disciplines, including learning and cognitive sciences, educational psychology, instructional science, and linguistics, as well as to teachers, curriculum designers, and educational policy makers. Table of contents:  http://www.aera.net/Portals/38/docs/Publications/Books/Resnick_vii-ix.pdf

 

Asterhan, C. S. C., & Rosenberg, H. (2015). The promise, reality and dilemmas of secondary school teacher-student interactions in Facebook: The teacher perspective . Computers & Education , 85, 134–148.Abstract
We report on a multi-method study that seeks to explore if, how and why secondary teachers use Facebook (FB) to interact with their students. Issues of privacy, authority, and even abuse have fueled socio-political debates on the desirability of teacher-student FB contact, leading some authorities to curtail or even prohibit such contact. Proponents of harnessing Web 2.0 and Social media technology for learning purposes, on the other hand, have emphasized the many potential advantages for formal and informal learning. However, there is little empirical research on the scope, the nature and the purposes for secondary school teacher-student contact through social network sites. The present study makes a first step in this direction, by triangulating teacher survey data (N = 187) with in-depth teacher interviews (N = 11). Findings from both data sets show that teacher-student FB contact comes in different forms and serves a range of purposes, which fall into three main categories: Academic-instructional, psycho-pedagogical and social-relational. Advantages, dilemmas and limitations of FB contact with secondary school students are identified.
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Asterhan, C. S. C., & Babichenko, M. (2015). The social dimension of learning through argumentation: Effects of human presence and discourse style. Journal of Educational Psychology , 107 (3), 740-755.Abstract

In spite of its potential for learning, and in particular knowledge revision, productive argumentation on science concepts is neither easily elicited, nor sustained. Students may feel uneasy critiquing and being critiqued, especially on complex science topics. We report on a controlled study that tested the role of two potential factors that may either relieve or aggravate some of these concerns: the partner’s argumentive discourse style (disputative or deliberative) and belief in interaction with a human or a computer agent. Learners interacted in scripted, computer-mediated interactions with a confederate on their understanding of a scientific concept they had just studied (i.e., diffusion). They were led to believe they were either interacting with a human peer or with a conversational peer agent. The peer confederate’s verbal behavior was scripted to evoke argumentative discourse, while controlling for exposure to conceptual content and the type of dialogue moves, but differing in argumentive discourse style (disputative or deliberative). Results show that conceptual understanding of participants in the deliberative discourse style condition was higher than that in the disputative condition. Furthermore, even though previous studies have reported that the belief in human interaction benefits learning in consensual interactions, the opposite was found to be true in a setting of disagreement and critique: Higher conceptual learning gains were found for belief in interaction with a computer agent, compared to with a human peer. Implications for theory as well as instructional design are discussed.

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2014
Asterhan, C. S. C., Schwarz, B. B., & Cohen-Eliyahu, N. (2014). Outcome feedback during collaborative learning: Contingencies between feedback and dyad composition . Learning & Instruction , 34 (4), 1-10.Abstract
The role of outcome feedback in collaborative learning settings has received little empirical attention. We examined whether outcome feedback improves learning gains in singleton and dyadic learning conditions, while specifying different dyadic pairing options. In a randomized experiment, 496 ninth-graders solved challenging tasks that required fully developed proportional reasoning to be solved correctly. Based on individual pretest performance, each student was assigned to one of three levels of proportional reasoning competence (Wrong1, Wrong2 and Right) and randomly assigned to either work alone or with a (Wrong1, Wrong2 and Right) peer. Half of the dyads and singletons were given the opportunity to empirically test their solutions and received outcome feedback from an objective testing device. The results indicated that when collaboration is considered as a general condition, learners in dyads and singletons profited equally from outcome feedback. When different dyadic compositions are specified, however, the combination of collaborating with a ”Right” partner and receiving outcome feedback proved to be particularly powerful. Outcome feedback did not improve learning in any of the other conditions. Furthermore, and contrary to the “two-wrongs-make-a-right-effect”, interaction between two different “Wrong” students did not yield larger gains than other pairing options. The outcomes are discussed in light of existing theories and research.
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2013
Asterhan, C. S. C. (2013). Epistemic and interpersonal dimensions of peer argumentation: Conceptualization and quantitative assessment. In M. Baker, J. Andriessen, & S. Jarvela (Ed.), Affective learning together (pp. 251-272) . New York, NY: Routledge, Advances in Learning & Instruction series. pdf
Asterhan, C. S. C., Schwarz, B. B., & Cohen-Eliyahu, N. (2013). Conceptual change in proportional reasoning: Effects of collaboration, own/partner reasoning level and hypothesis testing. M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society . Austin, TX: The Cognitive Science Society. pdf

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