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IET TCM session on The Talk Factory: Supporting 'exploratory talk' around an Interactive Whiteboard in primary school science

4 May 2010
Jennie Lee Building Main Ambient Lab Ground Floor

IET Technology Coffee Morning

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Lynda Davies
14 April 2010

Previous research has found that although students are frequently asked to 'discuss X together', their interactions are often ineffective (Galton & Williamson, 1992).  This is because students often fail to understand how to talk together (Dawes, Mercer & Wegerif, 2004).

The aim of the study presented here was to design and evaluate software-the Talk Factory (TF)= aimed to support the use of exploratory talk (Mercer, Wegerif & Dawes, 1999) in key stage 2 science.  Four classes in a UK primary school participated in the study.  In this paper we report the outcomes of our intervention on the quality of students' talk in a whole class setting.

Our data suggests that the TF is a tool that can be used to teach students how to talk effectively together by representing characteristics of exploratory talk.  In addition, is a tool that can help teachers to model exploratory talk and analyse the talk that has gone in their science lessons in real time.  We illustrate effective ways of using the TF to encourage the use of exploratory talk.  We consider the extent to which the TF lessons were successful and suggest future areas to be explored in a later study.

Presenters: Professor Eileen Scanlon; Dr Lucinda Kerawalla; Marilena Petrou; (IET)

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