The role of exploratory talk in classroom search engine tasks

Knight, Simon and Mercer, Neil (2015). The role of exploratory talk in classroom search engine tasks. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 24(3) pp. 303–319.



While search engines are commonly used by children to find information, and in classroom based activities, children are not adept in their information seeking or evaluation of information sources. Prior work has explored such activities in isolated, individual contexts, – failing to account for the collaborative, discourse-mediated nature of search engine use, which is common in classroom contexts. This small-scale study explored the established ‘typology of talk’, – particularly ‘exploratory talk’, – in a classroom search context. We found that the most successful pupils were those who engaged in the most exploratory talk. This finding has practical classroom implications: the collaborative nature of search and potential of collaboration and discourse should be exploited in search-based tasks. This study also indicates a rich area for future research.

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