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Designing tools to facilitate teacher-led discussions in the digitalized school.

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Textbooks have in recent years lost their supreme position in Norwegian teaching, and are today supplemented with texts retrieved from the Internet and other computer-based resources. This development has created a situation where students increasingly need to make sense and integrate information from different types of texts, often having to deal with contradictory information presented though different modalities. For students this is a learning situation that is especially challenging, and that seems to intensify differences between individuals. Research has highlighted the importance of teachers using classroom discussion to help students make sense of the information they encounter individually. But it is a major challenge for teachers to relate whole-class discussion to students’ individual computer-based activities.

Motivated by these contemporary challenges, I will describe studies in which my colleagues and I, together with teachers, have designed new technologies to include students on-going interpretations (represented in microblogs) into whole-class, teacher-led discussions. The blogs, written by students on tablets, can be projected on to a large screen/whiteboard. This sharing allows teachers to guide their students’ construction of knowledge productively. Microblogging is increasingly popular (i.e. Twitter) and is a format that has the potential to encourage participation, even of students who may not otherwise be active in class. The results show that even though some of the students did not use the microblogs, the technology-supported whole-class discussion encouraged the learning of even reluctant bloggers.

This talk is part of the Psychology & Education series.

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