DiDiAC – Digitalised dialogues across the curriculum

Associate professor Ingvill Rasmussen, University of Oslo

In this session, I will present the research project DiDiAC being undertaken by the University of Oslo and University of Cambridge (2016-2020) funded by the Norwegian Research Councils program FINNUT. The project is investigating how micro-blog-supported classroom dialogues (using Talkwall) and elements of the ‘Thinking Together’ approach can contribute to the development of secondary school students' collaboration and critical thinking within three core domains (language, social science and natural science).

Research has highlighted the importance of teachers using classroom discussion to help students make sense of the information they encounter and to create a productive classroom culture for learning. But it is difficult for teachers to follow what their students are doing online and we know that oral discussions and collaboration is challenging for students. Teachers tend to assume that students know how to collaborate and talk together, but these are skills that need to be taught.

The DiDiAC project is drawing on design-based approaches with teachers working as co-researchers. Schools in Norway (n=5) and England (n=2) are taking part with approximately 400 students involved. Data collection includes qualitative (e.g. observations, video, interviews) and quantitative (e.g. metadata, measuring collaboration/critical thinking, social network/semantic analysis) approaches.

I will present the empirical research that we are currently undertaking in the DiDiAC project in Norway and the UK, and I will show the use of Talkwall. Developed by the University of Oslo, Talkwall is a microblogging tool for engaging students in collective classroom interaction through posing and sharing of short messages to a shared ‘wall’ (e.g. large screen/projector). These messages can be interactively arranged, supporting the immediate visualisation of ideas.