Classroom Dialogue and Learning

Dr Victoria Cook, Dr Louis Major, Dr Sara Hennessy with Farah Ahmed, Elisa Calcagni and other colleagues from the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research Group (CEDiR) | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Combining dialogue and digital technology

Research into the interaction between Classroom Dialogue and digital technology is a burgeoning field of study. Much of the research undertaken on the influence of digital technology on productive Classroom Dialogue is informed by a sociocultural perspective (Major, Warwick, Rasmussen, Ludvigsen & Cook, 2018) introduced previously. Dialogue and digital technology may interact to enhance learning in several ways; for example, it may facilitate the use of dialogue to scaffold understanding, or it may facilitate exposure to, and building upon, other people’s ideas (Major et al., 2018). A variety of different digital technologies have been discussed in the research literature, including interactive whiteboards, microblogging tools, applications, wikis or purpose-built software (Major et al., 2018). Productive Classroom Dialogue may be enhanced through specific features of the technology, such as the ability to externalise ideas (Lipponen, 2000) or to store, modify and revisit ideas to support students’ developing understanding (Mercer, Hennessy & Warwick, 2010). In addition, research has shown that dialogic use of digital technology may have a positive effect on the classroom atmosphere (Bouhnik & Deshen, 2014) whilst also improving learner motivation and engagement (de Silva, Chigona & Adendorff, 2016).


Bouhnik, D., & Deshen, M. (2014). WhatsApp goes to school: Mobile instant messaging between teachers and students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 13(1), 217–231.

de Silva, C. R., Chigona, A. & Adendorff, S. A. (2016) Technology integration: Exploring interactive whiteboards as dialogic spaces in the Foundation Phase classroom. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 15(3), 141–150.

Lipponen, L. (2000). Towards knowledge building: From facts to explanations in primary students’ computer mediated discourse. Learning Environments Research, 3(2), 179–199.

Major, L., Warwick, P, Rasmussen, I., Ludvigsen, S. & Cook, V. (2018). Classroom Dialogue and digital technologies: a scoping review. International Journal of Educational Research.

Mercer, N., Hennessy, S., & Warwick, P. (2010). Using interactive whiteboards to orchestrate Classroom Dialogue. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 19(2), 195–209.