Investigation of the “Convince Me” Computer Environment as a Tool for Critical Argumentation about Public Policy Issues
Stephen T. Adams, California State University, Long Beach, United States
Journal of Interactive Learning Research Volume 14, Number 3, ISSN 1093-023X Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC
The Convince Me computer environment supports critical thinking by allowing users to create and evaluate computer-based representations of arguments. This study investigates theoretical and design considerations pertinent to using Convince Me as an educational tool to support reasoning about public policy issues. Among computer environments designed to support argumentation, Convince Me is unique in that it computes a measure of an argument's coherence and presents this information to users as feedback. This measure is based on the ECHO computational model, a connectionist implemenation of the Theory of Explanatory Coherence. The study seeks to better understand this coherent argumentation measure by comparing it to other measures including a measure of the stability of one's views and the number of statements in an argument. Ten 17-year-old students and one scientist used Convince Me to create arguments about policies designed to ameliorate global warming; they also participated in pre- and post-intervention surveys and interviews. Positive correlations were found among the coherent argumentation measure, measures of stability, and number of statements in an argument, and these findings raise considerations for designing educational activities with Convince Me. A debriefing interview's results illustrate further considerations, including the role of the user's stance towards the software.
Adams, S.T. (2003). Investigation of the “Convince Me” Computer Environment as a Tool for Critical Argumentation about Public Policy Issues. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 14(3), 263-283. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
© 2003 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)