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Online talk in a New Zealand primary-school context

Belinda Whyte, Maree Davies, and Aaron Wilson

The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature and understanding of online talk in a New Zealand primary-school context. This research consisted of a small-scale case study of the #NZReadaloud, a pre-existing literacy programme, over 6 weeks in mid-2020. A private online group on the education platform Edmodo was established where 14 students and four teachers participating in the study could discuss a text being read aloud in their classrooms. These discussions, along with eight follow-up interviews, were analysed to seek patterns and draw conclusions about the nature of online talk in this context. A key finding from this study showed that online talk was well liked by teachers and students, but that this did not translate into greater amounts or a more interactive style of participation. Allocated time for explicit teaching and modelling of how to talk online is important. Data from this study could be used in future research or as background when planning online literacy discussions.

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