A Summary of Research Exploring Hard and Soft Scaffolding for Teachers and Students Using a Multimedia Supported Learning Environment
The purpose of this paper is to summarize and synthesize findings from a line of research investigating the potential of scaffolding for supporting student inquiry about ill-structured social problems. Specifically, we implemented a problem-based, student-centered instructional unit (Decision Point!) with 11th grade general history students in our partner teachers’ classroom on three separate occasions. In this paper, we use data obtained from these implementations to address the following questions: Can we design scaffolds to assist students with engaging in ill-structured content more deeply so that they can perceive the complexity of ill-structured problems?; Can scaffolds assist students with considering alternative perspectives and arriving at problem solutions?; Can scaffolds assist students with handling the cognitive demands required of disciplined inquiry?; How can we support teachers in providing more effective soft scaffolding for students?