How computers can help children think together about texts

Mercer, Neil; Wegerif, Rupert; Dawes, Lyn; Sams, Claire and Fernandez, Manuel (2007). How computers can help children think together about texts. In: Kinzer, Charles and Verhoeven, Ludo eds. Interactive Literacy Education: Facilitating Literacy Environments Through Technology. New York, USA: Routledge, pp. 245–267.



This chapter is based on recent and continuing research by the authors in British primary schools. A sociocultural account of human learning and development is one that gives particular attention to the roles of language, social interaction, and culture in shaping ways of thinking. A sociocultural perspective on education accords great significance to the formative influences of dialogue between teachers and learners. Some of the Thinking Together lessons are related to literacy development and include group-based activities concerned with the children’s understanding of narratives. Of course, computer-based tasks are sometimes timed, with users being encouraged to respond as quickly as possible. It can be programmed to require that children provide some response before being allowed to continue; it can offer alternative, nonlinear routes of progress, remind children of relevant information, and provide feedback on their responses.

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