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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

Digitalised Dialogues Across the Curriculum: design-based interventions for developing 21st century skills

Alternative title: Digitale dialoger i skolefag: intervensjoner for støtte til læring i det 21 århundre

Awarded: NOK 12.2 mill.

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Project Period:

2016 - 2022


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The Digitalised Dialogues Across the Curriculum (DiDiAC) project builds on a collaboration between researchers from the University of Oslo?s Department of Education and the University of Cambridge?s Faculty of Education. The goal for this research project was to develop and enhance classroom dialogues by using Talkwall to ?Think Together.? The methods used for developing a dialogical pedagogy were adapted from two research-based resources: 1) the Thinking Together program, which was developed at the University of Cambridge, and 2) the microblogging service Talkwall, which was developed in collaboration with the teachers at the University of Oslo. Talkwall is a freely available responsive web application that can be accessed at The first and second phases of the project involved a collaboration between researchers, teachers (n?=?20) and technology developers in the UK and Norway. A total of 423 students, aged 11?13 years, participated in the project. The last phase involved a distribution of resources and opt-in studies with different partners in the school sector. Based on feedback from and evaluations of the first two phases, we distributed the revised project resources to a larger number of practicing and student teachers in both countries. The Talkwall service was upgraded in relation to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and a login was set up with Feide in Norway; the educational resources are now more closely integrated with the service. Talkwall now also includes an opportunity to add content and links (via Twitter cards) so that teachers can create and share lesson plans with their colleagues. In response to COVID-19, guidance on using Talkwall to support remote teaching (for both K-12 and higher education) was provided. Talkwall also contains a lot of high-quality materials developed for schools; see Through the DiDiAC project, we have developed a more nuanced understanding of the dimensions that constitute a digitalised classroom. We can provide teachers with new insights on working with students to increase dialogues and productive interactions by utilising digital technology, e.g. microblogging. Our empirical analysis reveals that short blogs assist in joint remembering and ensuring attention over time in class dialogues. Microblogging ? in our case, Talkwall ? provides an additional collective space for ideas to be considered, discussed, adopted, revised and/or rejected. This semi-permanent, provisional and hybrid ?dialogic space? helps widen and deepen class dialogues when combined with talk rules that consistently emphasise listening, building on and reasoning. Together, these approaches are expected to enrich the potential for participation across knowledge domains and thus assist student learning. So far, 26 journal articles and eight book chapters as well as three PhD theses and seven master?s theses have been produced. Podcasts and several press articles targeting the school sector have also been released. Notably, the DiDiAC project has received two dissemination prizes.

The DiDiAC project has developed new insight into the complexity of enhancing active participation and quality in classroom dialogues. The project has focused particularly on the use of microblogging, i.e., the posting of short messages in a shared digital environment. The Talkwall microblogging service was developed to a scalable and mature product with resources for teachers. In response to COVID-19, guidance on using Talkwall to support remote teaching for K-12 and higher education was provided. Project results have been communicated to bachelor, master, PhD programs, and teachers in training at the University of Oslo and at the University of Cambridge. Project results have been disseminated widely and a total of 26 journal articles and eight book chapters have been produced, more articles are in progress. Notably, the project has received two dissemination prizes. Three PhD students have handed in their theses, and seven master theses have been completed.

Today's students bring a wealth of experience with digital tools to the classroom and learn in increasingly digitised schools. Yet research suggests that teachers lack a pedagogy that takes into account a digitised classroom and helps students develop 21st-century skills, such as evaluating and integrating knowledge and sharing their own views and knowledge. DiDiAC will meet these needs by developing knowledge and models in collaboration with teachers in real classroom settings for how students learn in contemporary contexts in Norway and UK. DiDiAC builds on a long-standing collaboration between research groups at University of Oslo and University of Cambridge. In Norwegian and English secondary schools, the research team will conduct design-based interventions drawing on a dialogic classroom strategy (the Thinking Together approach) and technology developed at the University of Oslo (the micro-blogging tool TalkWall, available online in English and Norwegian). The research team will also conduct a longitudinal follow-up study in Norway with teachers who participate in the initial intervention. Recognising that pre- and post-intervention data alone cannot explain how learning occurs, the DiDiAC project combines measures of 21st-century skills with detailed analysis of video recorded classroom interactions over time. By studying classroom interactions within knowledge domains, DiDiAC will develop insight into both how students develop both generic and domain-specific 21st-century skills. This will include assessment strategies and tools showing how students contribute and interact using micro-blogs in subjects. Project results will be communicated to teachers in training at the two Universities and disseminated widely by The Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education and the National Digital Learning Arena (NDLA).

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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren