From recreation to reflection: Digital conversations in educational contexts

Cathy Burnett, Paul Dickinson, Jim McDonagh, Guy Merchant, Julia Myers, Jeff Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The Teacher Training Agency's recent drive to increase flexibility in Initial Teacher Training provision in the UK has prompted a growing interest in distance learning. A number of Higher Education providers are now using new technology and new forms of communication in their course delivery. Among the various forms available, synchronous online chat, usually associated with social or recreational interaction, has attracted little attention in the research literature. This medium requires new approaches and skills as participants struggle to make meaning in multi-stranded conversations. Building on previous studies that have explored the innovative use of language in recreational chat, this study focuses on student discussions in the context of educational chat. It explores how student teachers can use this electronic environment to discuss educational issues, and in so doing, gain experience of the communicative potential of new media. Analysis of the ways in which these students use language in this environment is followed by some initial thoughts about the potential of synchronous chat as a medium for learning within an educational context. This paper identifies key elements in the organisation of educational chat and provides insight into the strategies used by participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-167
Number of pages19
JournalL1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • CMC
  • Collaborative learning
  • Synchronous chat
  • Teacher training


Dive into the research topics of 'From recreation to reflection: Digital conversations in educational contexts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this