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Learning to collaborate – collaborating to learn

Karen Littleton talk at CALRG 09

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
18 May 2009

Leverhulme project –children’s computer-based problem solving

  • Are two heads better than one?
  • Impact of gender and ability pairing?
  • Features of dialogue associated with learning outcomes?
  • Interested in talk and joint activity

Spoken language andnew technology project

  • Observed primary school kids talking when they worked together in small groups at the computer in computer settings
  • Over 50 hours of recording, analysis showed that a lot of the talk was not effective

Exploratory talk

  • Is talk in which the tentative expression and evaluation of ideas are collective enterprises
  • Is talk in which partners engage critically but constructively with each other’s ideas
  • Relevant info is offered for joint consideration
  • Proposal may e challenged and counter-challenge

Thinking together

  • Use of exploratory talk to help students work more effectively in small groups
  • Series of talk-based lessons to enable this; kids develop a set of ground rules and shared respect and responsibility
Simple technologies can be used to great effect, if the use is pedagogically informed. 


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