Discourse, Dialogue and Technology Enhanced Learning
Dialogue is an important learning tool: through dialogue we share our experiences and understanding; construct new meanings and relationships and help transform ourselves, our families, communities and cultures. As educators and educational researchers we need to understand how dialogic processes work and how we facilitate them. It is by understanding how language affects us and how we use language to encourage, empathise, inquire, argue and persuade that we come closer to understanding processes of change in ourselves and our society.
Our information and communication technologies provide us with ever more varied tools through which to dialogue. Networked communications are enabling rapid changes in who has the ‘power to be heard’ and to participate; yet the skills to use these tools, the skills of ‘digital literacy’ are still evolving. This book argues that whilst many of these skills have been discussed since the time of Aristotle, new media are also causing us to rethink our definitions of discourse and dialogue and how its structure and function interact to create meaning for participants.
Most researchers in Education will find themselves interpreting some form of data in the form of words; whether these words be explanations, conversations, narrations, reflections, debates or interviews and whether they are conducted through digital media or face-to-face.
Researchers have the difficult task of interpreting discourses; the multiple meanings and perspectives they contain, the interaction between voices in the dialogue and also between the researcher and the researched, including (hidden) intentions and absent voices. Discourse, textual or spoken, is therefore central to researching education. Each chapter of the book focuses on the ways in which alternative levels of discourse analysis provide tools for the researcher, enabling insights into the way language works in learning and teaching practice and in wider society.