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Visualizing Argumentation: Software tools for collaborative and educational sense-making



About the book: Computer Supported Argument Visualization is attracting attention across education, science, public policy and business. More than ever, we need sense-making tools to help negotiate understanding in the face of multi-stakeholder, ill-structured problems. In order to be effective, these tools must support human cognitive and discursive processes, and provide suitable representations, services and user interfaces. Visualizing Argumentation is written by practitioners and researchers for colleagues working in collaborative knowledge media, educational technology and organizational sense-making. It will also be of interest to theorists interested in software tools which embody different argumentation models. Particular emphasis is placed on the usability and effectiveness of tools in different contexts.
Yang, J. T. D. (2003). Book review: Visualizing Argumentation Software Tools for Collaborative and Educational Sense-
Making (Editors: P. Kirschner, S. Buckingham-Shum, and C. Carr). Educational Technology & Society , 6(3), 86-88 ,
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Visualizing Argumentation Software Tools for Collaborative and
Educational Sense-Making
(Book Review)
Jin Tan David Yang
Associate Professor
Department of General Literacy
National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan, ROC
Book Details:
Visualizing Argumentation Software Tools for Collaborative and Educational Sense-Making
Editers: Paul Kirschner, Simon Buckingham-Shum, Chad Carr
Springer, London,
242 pages softcover
2003, ISBN: 1-85233-664 1-1
Our world is a combination of chaos and order. In the orderly world, we can handle it easily by computer
software algorithms. Conversely, in the chaos world such as teaching/learning in a classroom, discussing a
paper in a research group, and so on, we cannot specify all the whole processes before we do it because those
cases are wicked instead of well-defined problems in terms of organizational landscapes. To resolve wicked
problems in an organization, collaborative problem solving, conversations, and teamwork are designed for
generating new knowledge or getting a consensus. In other words, how to get those participants get consensus
through interactions or argumentations on the locality or on the web, we need visually technology tools to
connect all stakeholders together in the cyber space for making sense discussions.
It is not a sudden issue, but a long argument history on visualization in collaborative work. Recently, the nature
of visualization in collaborative on the web is a kind of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) to deal
with those wicked problems ahead of our society. The CSCW emphasizing on augmenting social activity is
similar with the central problems for HCI that dealing with users to face the social-technical gap. It is generally
accepted that CSCW stakeholders appear to be an effective way for organizations to handle wicked problems
and to share knowledge outside of the traditional structural boundaries. This book presents the existing CSCW
case studies and argue s that the challenge of the social-technical gap creates an opportunity to refocus CSCW as
a new research orientation.
Reviewing the past literature, four stages is worthwhile to be categorized as follows :
1. Concept map: Novak (1972) has pursued a program of work on concept mapping as a tool for high school
and university students to construct, reflect on and discuss their conceptions of a domain with peers and
tutors. After 30 years, there are many positive empirical studies to verify how the concept map makes the
structure of arguments explicit to facilitate consensus by reducing the differences between an expert and
novices like students. In constructing the Object-Oriented program, the Unified Modeling Language (UML)
has been used as visualized software tools that describe a set of workflow for many years. Workflows are
such things as requirements gathering, use case modeling, analysis, design, implementation, testing, and
deployment in the software construction. Each workflow typically requires several workers to complete.
2. Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC): Through the CMC that focused on asynchronous textual
interactions (rather than visualizations), the pleasures of physical space are hard to be preserved, but the
efficiencies of reaching across distances with telecommunications can be reached in a collaborative group.
To some extent, the CMC tools with whiteboard also offer visualization for group collaborative work.
3. Computer Supported Argument Visualization (CSAV) as tools for facilitating argumentation: many tools
have been designed for resolving wicked problems provided by gIBIS (graphical Issue Based Information
System). These tools can enable people to augment their intellectual capacities by manipulating externalized
concept structure . Toulmins graphical argument structure has been most cited in CSAV. In science
education, many options might be proposed by different schools once science phenomena are identified.
Then gIBIS can be used as visual tool among all participants.
4. In the CSCW application on the web today, the MSN Messager is a well-suited platform for carrying out a
variety of multimodal HCI experiments. In the near future, hand gesture recognition, speaker detection and
tracking, and non-verbal discourse cue recognition components will be added for a more natural HCI
environment. With more sophisticated computer vision algorithms and HCI tools, the CSCW tool s like the
MSN Messager will become an indispensable application of ubiquitous computing.
Clearly written and well organized in this edited book, the purpose of Argument Visualization is to enlighten
human intellect by creating collective intellect through dialogues as well as by fostering sense -making learning
among participants. In this book, readers can find two features special:
1. Most technological support concerns building collection environment rather than enhancing ways to use
them. This book provides many cases to show how a CSCW tool should be used and how particular
implementations such as legal issues.
2. While CMC systems are just to allow people enough communicative suppleness; but lack much support for
sharing information, roles, and other social policies. The CSCW technical mechanisms (e.g., floor or
session control) should offer the flexibility required by social life. To date, the social-technical gap still
exists and is wide. This book is to e xplore, understand, and hopefully ameliorate this social-technical gap.
Book Content
The remaining parts of this book review, I would like to summarize the theme of content of visualization chapter
by chapter. There are two parts in the book. Part I gives the foundations. The theme of the foundation comes
from visualization as human intellectual augment. In contrast, Part II focuses on application in a variety of real
In chapter 1, two articles are mentioned by two scientists - Vancouver Bush (1945) and Douglas Engelbart
(1962). Bush envisioned a near future system based on his historical literature review on science development
and laid out the framework for enabling people to augment their intellectual faculties by manipulating
externalized concept structures . Then the wicked problems have been fully discussed. Those problems
motivated the development of gIBIS as a medium to encourage the open deliberation of issues since gIBIS
allows the explicit representation of the underlying assumptions and argument structures.
In chapter 2, why do people think differently about an object? It is very hard to get consistent agreement in a
social group since there are many misconceptions in peoples minds. One might view an object from content,
format of content, or operator of content. They use their existing concepts to interpret what they sense in their
world. Therefore, to resolve those coordination problems needs multiple agents in terms of cognitive and
communicative demands. In this chapter, Computer-Supported Argumentation Visualization (CSAV)
environment is firstly explored.
In chapter 3, two CSCW net-meeting systems have been introduced. They are Belvedere and Allaire forum. The
former provides synchronous form of argumentation. Conversely, the latter offers asynchronous or indirect form.
Additionally, the TC3 (Text Composer, Computer Supported & Collaborative) environment is conducted as
experimentation design. Four independent variables are Control, Diagram, Outline, and Advisor. The research
results show that the experimental groups that supported by Diagram, Advisor, and Outline (DAO) are more
structured in their direct communication than that of the control group. It means that the planning tools by DAO
stimulate a more structured dialogue.
In Chapter 4, the real application has been extended to legal argumentation rather than scientific proofs. A study
by Moshman and Geil (1988) provides clear evidence for cognitive value of collaborative learning. The research
gives the reason why people need to work collaboratively. Also, CSAV supports the organization and
representation of reasoning skill, enabling students to organize their oral and written argumentation process by
re-use legal knowledge.
In Chapter 5, it focuses on enhancing deliberation through CSAV. Three key concepts are introduced
sequentially. Firstly, the definition of deliberation is a form of thinking in which we decide where we stand on
some claim in light of the relevant arguments. Secondly, CSAV can enhance the critical thinking in terms of
deliberation processes. Finally, group deliberation via argument visualization contributes substantially to the
quality of group decision support system (GDSS).
In Chapter 6, original IBIS was developed in the early 1970s as a tool to support planning and policy design
process. The case study reports on 10 years of continuous usage of Dialog Mapping by a group of approximately
50 users in the environment Affairs division of Southern California Edison (SCE). Also, some principles for
introducing dialog mapping into a new organization are summarized. Actually, you can download the QuestMap,
providing some hypertext and groupware features, with free charge from website to resolve a complex task by group dialogs or
collective intelligence.
In Chapter 7, two key ideas in this chapter are (a). Linking visual sense-making and dialogue for fostering
collective intelligence is a shared activity or a process of collaborative inquiry; (b). How to be a successful
facilitator to foster collective intelligence is summarized. Also, several case studies that illustrate how many of
facilitating dimensions can coexist for a single group or within a specific project setting.
In Chapter 8 and 9, e-mail, electronic discussion groups, and electronic chat rooms have facilitated the
development of communities of practice-- a group whose members regularly engage in sharing and learning,
based on their common interests during the past few years. Now MSN software like messenger or net-meeting
with the popularity of ADSL offers a better environment for CSCW than ever before. The prediction of
infrastructure for navigating interdisciplinary debates in this chapter has pointed out that web-based CSCW will
be come sooner in terms of paradigm shift.
Finally, I would like to quote the claim in the preface of this book as follows,
The age of mind refers to the shift in focus from the production and availability of information and its
associated technology, to concerns about how people utilize that information, the barriers and challenges
they face in accessing and interacting with information, what they do with information, and how it enables
them to get on with their lives.
Indeed, this book presents its pioneer role in the CSCW research, and gives visions on the application of CSAV .
The experiences from case studies in this book will be highly valuable for any reader who is interested in
information technology, computer-in-education, psychology, HCI, knowledge management, computer
engineering, or policy makers.
... These four purposes are not mutually exclusive. In a number of studies (Carr, 2003; Dwyer et al., 2012; Easterday, Aleven, Scheines, & Carver, 2009), a GOCAA served the first and second purposes to support the development of argumentation skills. Dwyer et al. (2012) conducted a study in which 74 undergraduate psychology students were allocated to conditions in which the infusion of a graph-oriented, computer-assisted e-learning environment was either present or absent. ...
... Additionally, the visual representation also facilitated the sharing of cognitive load by providing support for lower level of argumentation and afforded the students with more resources for higher level of argumentation. With the general positive impact of a GOCAA on argumentation skills, several studies (Carr, 2003; Easterday et al., 2009) have explored the potential of a GOCAA to develop content knowledge. The findings were mixed. ...
... students: (a) students who were asked to analyse a problem presented as text only; (b) students who were provided with an additional premade causal diagrams; (c) students who were provided with a GOCAA they could use to actively construct a diagram from the text. Scores on the transfer test were markedly better for students in the third condition. Carr (2003), however, had contrary findings indicating that a graph-oriented, computer-supported environment is not necessarily better than traditional methods in promoting learning outcomes. In Carr's study, second-year law students in a treatment group worked in small groups of three to four students on legal problems while having access to a GOC ...
The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore how seventh graders in a suburban school in the United States and sixth graders in an urban school in Taiwan developed argumentation skills and science knowledge in a project-based learning environment that incorporated a graph-oriented, computer-assisted application (GOCAA). A total of 42 students comprised the treatment condition and were engaged in a project-based learning environment that incorporated a GOCAA. Of these 42 students, 21 were located in the United States and 21 were located in Taiwan. A total of 26 students comprised the control condition and were engaged in a project-based learning environment without the GOCAA. Of these 26 students, 15 were in the United States and 11 were in Taiwan. In each country, verbal collaborative argumentation was recorded and the students' post-essays were collected. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted for each measure of science knowledge about alternative energies. The results showed a significant treatment effect for the outcome of scientific explanation among U.S. students, while among Taiwanese students, a significant treatment effect on scientific facts was observed. A one-way ANOVA was additionally conducted for each measure of argumentation skills and a significant treatment effect on counterarguments and rebuttals was observed among the U.S. students, while in Taiwan, a significant treatment effect on reasoning and rebuttals was observed. A qualitative analysis was conducted to examine how the GOCAA supported students' development of argumentation skills in different countries. This study found distinct argumentation patterns between the U.S. and Taiwanese intervention teams. Additionally, a distinct gender difference in the use of evidence and division of labour was noted when the Taiwanese teams were compared with the U.S. teams, which may be explained by cultural differences. This study concluded that, in both the United States and Taiwan, a project-based learning environment incorporating a GOCAA was effective in improving students' science knowledge and developing their scientific argumentation skills.
... This pilot study proposes the design and evaluation of a new methodology termed "group analytics (GA)", as applied to the complex injury prevention problem in Canada [12,13]. The proposed GA methodology builds upon the Delphi method [14][15][16][17] and advances the paired analytics (PA) methodology [18,19]. The paired analytics methodology is an approach that relies on the collaboration of two analysts, the visual analytics expert (VAE) and the subject matter expert (SME) to reach the intended analytical goal using a specific visualization tool. ...
... The paired analytics methodology is an approach that relies on the collaboration of two analysts, the visual analytics expert (VAE) and the subject matter expert (SME) to reach the intended analytical goal using a specific visualization tool. Group analytics extends the pair analytics methodology to incorporate multiple subject matter experts (SMEs) who interact with each other and with the visual analytics expert (VAE) in a co-located social setting, to solve a given analytical task using a selected visual analysis tool [19][20][21]. The objective of this study is to present the GA method as a way to capture and understand the collaborative visual analysis process among multiple stakeholders and its impact on addressing injury prevention problems and making informed decisions. ...
... Previous similar studies confirmed current results [19][20][21][31][32][33][34][35][36] and showed that interactions among a group of participants using a visualization aid tool enhances their coordination and collaboration, which in turn improves their problem solving and decision-making processes. In our study, advancing the injury problem-solving process relied heavily on the interactions between SMEs, as well as communication with VAE, to refine and customize the iAID visual display, so as to reflect the needs and preferences of SMEs. ...
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Background : Accurate understanding of complex health data is critical in order to deal with wicked health problems and make timely decisions. Wicked problems refer to ill-structured and dynamic problems that combine multidimensional elements, which often preclude the conventional problem solving approach. This pilot study introduces visual analytics (VA) methods to multi-stakeholder decision-making sessions about child injury prevention;Methods: Inspired by the Delphi method, we introduced a novel methodology-group analytics (GA). GA was pilot-tested to evaluate the impact of collaborative visual analytics on facilitating problem solving and supporting decision-making. We conducted two GA sessions. Collected data included stakeholders' observations, audio and video recordings, questionnaires, and follow up interviews. The GA sessions were analyzed using the Joint Activity Theory protocol analysis methods;Results: The GA methodology triggered the emergence of 'common ground' among stakeholders. Thiscommon groundevolved throughout the sessions to enhance stakeholders' verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as coordination of joint activities and ultimately collaboration on problem solving and decision-making;Conclusions: Understanding complex health data is necessary for informed decisions. Equally important, in this case, is the use of the group analytics methodology to achieve 'common ground'among diverse stakeholders about health data and their implications.
... To address these assessment challenges, a new field, known as "Learning Dashboards" has emerged, which embraces learning analytics and educational data mining [3,4,5]. These dashboards help users to interactively explore and understand data sets through analysis and visualisation techniques. ...
... The learning analytics community continues to actively investigate approaches that support the exploration of learning activities by different stakeholders. With the increase in the use of educational technologies and the advancements in the areas of learning analytics and educational data mining, a new field, commonly known as "Learning Dashboards" has emerged to help make sense of data sets in learning and education [3,4,5]. A variety of visualisations such as bar charts [8], pie charts [9], histograms [10], box plots [11], radar graphs [12], and skill meters [13] have been adopted to show the achievements of students for independent (stand-alone) topics. ...
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The effective design and delivery of assessments in a wide variety of evolving educational environments remains a challenging problem. Proposals have included the use of learning dashboards, peer learning environments, and grading support systems; these embrace visualisations to summarise and communicate results. In an on-going project, the investigation of graph based visualisation models for assessment design and delivery has yielded promising results. Here, an alternative graph foundation, a two-weighted hypergraph, is considered to represent the assessment material (e.g., questions) and their explicit mapping to one or more learning objective topics. The visualisation approach considers the hypergraph as a collection of levels; the content of these levels can be customized and presented according to user preferences. A case study on generating hypergraph models using commonly available assessment data and a flexible visualisation approach using historical data from an introductory programming course is presented
... Previous research has found that CSCA can facilitate constructing, representing and sharing arguments in diverse formats ( Noroozi et al., 2012;Scheuer et al., 2010). Similarly, CSCA environments are considered important instructional tools to scaffold and structure students' argumentative learning (Jeong & Lee, 2008), promote in-depth discussions (Andriessen, Baker, & Suthers, 2003), and in consequence facilitate in-depth understanding and the construction of productive arguments (Buckingham-Shum, 2003). In addition, CSCA systems make possible the scaffolding of important discourse and argumentation processes (Jeong & Lee, 2008). ...
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Results of research on intentions and effects of first- and second-order argument scaffolding of computer-supported collaborative argumentation competence development and domain-specific knowledge acquisition are ambivalent. A systematic review of research in secondary and higher education (SE and HE) has been conducted to clarify and synthesise these intentions and effects, thereby differentiating between communication type (synchronous–asynchronous) and group size. Empirical research with pre-post-test designs was included only. Using specific search terms, 527 articles were found; 19 of these met pre-set selection criteria. Results indicate that HE studies intended to foster argumentation knowledge and domain-specific knowledge acquisition (i.e. knowledge construction), and reported significant effects for both types of knowledge. SE studies, however, intended to foster argumentation behaviour and domain specific knowledge acquisition (i.e. learning by doing), and showed significant effects regarding the latter only. HE studies predominantly used asynchronous, and SE studies synchronous communication. Choice of group size was not explicitly justified.
... They all have the same root: Issue-Based Information Systems (IBIS) [16]. IBIS has been designed to support and to document decision processes, but it is now used to organise knowledge and justification ( [14] presents a set of case studies and commentaries on how IBIS is used in practice). All the notations coming from IBIS have in common to try to capture the rationales behind the decisions taken during a design process, as well as the different alternatives that have finally failed. ...
Conference Paper
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The result of productive processes is commonly accompanied by a set of justifications which can be, depending on the product, process-related qualities, traceability documents, product-related experiments, tests or expert reports, etc. In critical contexts, it is mandatory to substantiate that a product’s development has been carried out appropriately which results in an inflation of the quantity of justification documents. This mass of document and information is difficult to manage and difficult to assess (in terms of soundness). In this paper, we report on the experience gained on two industrial case studies, in which we applied a justification elicitation approach based on justification diagrams and justification pattern diagrams in order to identify necessary and sufficient justification documentation.
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The purpose of this paper is to explore and compare learners’ critical thinking and interaction during an asynchronous online discussion when peer- or instructor-facilitation was provided. Current literature on online discussion reveals a controversy between peer facilitation and instructor facilitation regarding their strengths and weaknesses. However, the effect of peer-facilitation on critical thinking learning outcome has not been clearly discussed. Situated in a graduate-level program evaluation course, the learners engaged in a debate using a scenario-based case on ethical decision-making. A content analysis of discussion using the Cognitive Presence framework and a social network analysis revealed a significant difference between peer-redirected group and instructor-redirected group in their cognitive presence as well as in interaction dynamic upon receiving the redirection message. Based on findings regarding cognitive presence level, interaction dynamic and perspective change on the debate topic in each group, a peer-facilitation approach is more effective for fostering critical thinking and collaborative discourse.
The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore the effect of within-gender and cross-gender team argumentation on seventh graders’ science knowledge and argumentation skills in a computer-assisted learning environment in the United States. A total of 58 students were engaged in the collaborative within-gender team argumentation process (the treatment condition), while 46 students were engaged in the collaborative cross-gender team argumentation process (the control condition). Verbal collaborative argumentation was recorded and the students’ post essays were collected. There were no statistically significant differences in science knowledge between the treatment and control conditions either for the combined set of students, or for females and males considered separately. For the combined set of male and female students, MANOVA indicated no statistically significant within-gender/cross-gender team argumentation differences in argumentation skills. Similarly, no significant within-gender/cross-gender team argumentation differences were observed among females. However, this study found a marginally significant difference in argumentation skills between male students in the within-gender team argumentation (treatment condition) and male students in the cross-gender team argumentation (control condition). A qualitative analysis was conducted to examine how the computer-assisted application supported students’ development of argumentation skills in within-gender and cross-gender team argumentation. Female teams, regardless of within-gender or cross-gender team argumentation, demonstrated balanced participation in the construction of argumentation maps in the application. Male teams in within-gender team argumentation (the treatment condition) demonstrated unbalanced participation in the construction of argumentation maps in the application.
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We all seem to have a sense of what good and bad arguments are, and there is a long history—focusing on fallacies—of trying to provide objective standards that would allow a clear separation of good and bad arguments. This contribution discusses the limits of attempts to determine the quality of arguments. It begins with defining bad arguments as those that deviate from an established standard of good arguments. Since there are different conceptualizations of “argument”—as controversy, as debate, and as justification—and since arguments in each of these senses can be used for different purposes, a first problem is that we would need a large variety of standards for “good” arguments. After this, the contribution focuses in particular on proposals made in the literature on how to assess the quality of arguments in the sense of justification. It distinguishes three problems of assessment: How to determine (1) whether reasons are acceptable, (2) whether reasons are sufficient to justify the conclusion, and (3) how to identify arguments in real-world speech acts and texts? It is argued that limitations of argument assessment result from unavoidable relativism: The assessment of many—if not most—arguments depends on the epistemic situation of the evaluator.
This paper examines the collaborative use of visual argument maps in the context of argument production in organizations. Argument maps are highly multimodal, as their use involves the combination of diagrams, text elements, as well as spoken statements. In this theoretical piece, we apply a Collaborative Dimensions framework to argument maps that can be used to better design, understand, evaluate, and use argument maps in collaborative settings for decision making purposes. Specifically, our conceptual framework – derived from interdisciplinary perspectives – takes into consideration how the visual dimensions of argument maps have a bearing on the social interactions of people involved in a complex argumentation process. We posit that cognitive dimensions of argument maps need to be enriched with additional communicative and collaborative dimensions in order to foster a more widespread adoption of argument mapping in organizational decision making. In our socio-visual approach to argument mapping, we thus distinguish the following seven dimensions: Visual Insight, Outcome Clarity, Directed Focus, Perceived Finishedness, Visual Appeal, Content Modifiability, and Collaboration Support. We illustrate the use of the framework as an evaluation tool and analyze three different approaches to argument mapping with the help of the seven dimensions. In this way, the framework can be used to improve collaborative argument mapping. Our contribution thus lies in proposing an interdisciplinary and theoretically grounded set of factors to augment the quality of argument maps, both from a process and a results perspective. In this manner we hope to contribute to the theory of argumentation through the rich notion of “collaborative dimensions,” as well as further the practice of collaborative argument production through a more reflective and systematic use of interactive argument visualization.
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ZET Bu çalışmanın amacı fen bilgisi öğretmen adaylarının teknoloji destekli argümantasyona yönelik görüşlerini tespit etmektir. Nitel araştırma yöntemlerinden tek araçsal durum çalışması kullanılan bu çalışmada dört adet açık uçlu sorudan oluşan teknoloji destekli argümantasyon görüş formu ve demografik bilgi formu ile veriler çevrimiçi olarak toplanmıştır. Katılımcılar Türkiye'deki 35 farklı üniversitede fen bilgisi öğretmenliği 3. sınıflarında okuyan 182 öğretmen adayıdır. Verilerin analizi içerik analizi ve betimsel analiz yöntemiyle yapılmıştır. Araştırmanın bulguları öğretmen adaylarının argümantasyon ortamlarının yararlarına, teknoloji destekli fen sınıflarının yararları ve sınırlılıklarına ve ayrıca teknoloji destekli argümantasyon ortamlarının önemine yönelik farklı görüşler bildirdiklerini ortaya koymuştur. Bulgular tartışılarak teknoloji destekli argümantasyon eğitimlerine yönelik önerilere yer verilmiştir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Teknoloji destekli argümantasyon, fen eğitimi, fen bilgisi öğretmen adayları ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to identify the views of preservice science teachers on technology-supported argumentation. In this study, we used single instrumental case study approach and data were gathered using an online technology-supported argumentation views form consisting of four open-ended questions and demographic information form. Participants were 182 preservice teachers in their third year of science education program, studying at 35 different universities across Turkey. Content and descriptive analyses were used to analyze data. The findings of the research have indicated that the preservice teachers have different views about the benefits of argumentation environments, the benefits and limitations of technology-supported science classes, and the importance of technology-supported argumentation environments. The findings are discussed and the recommendations for technology-supported argumentation training given.
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