Adopting educational robotics and coding to open dialogic spaces in lower secondary education

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Giuseppe Ritella
Fedela Feldia Loperfido
Gianfranco De Giglio
Antonietta Scurani
Maria Beatrice Ligorio


This article explores how the adoption of educational robotics, cloud-based animation software, and simplified visual programming software can provide valuable opportunities for dialogic interaction and learning. The potentialities of this type of activity are often overlooked in dialogic investigations. Based on empirical illustration, we discuss how open-ended educational tasks involving the creation of material-digital artifacts can promote the expression of the students’ voices and the emergence of a dialogic space in which both human and non-human Others, as well as chronotropic dynamics and materiality, play a crucial role. To provide a polyphonic account of the dialogical processes detected, we analyzed excerpts from two group interviews with seven lower secondary school students (aged 11-12) and excerpts taken from meetings with their teacher. Our qualitative analysis shows that the technology-mediated activity provided valuable opportunities for opening a dialogic space in which the students could express their own voice in interaction with both human and non-human Others. The material world (including the virtual materiality of computer-generated objects) seems to play a twofold role. First, the resistance of the virtual and material objects can contribute to the opening of a dialogical space between the child and the world; second, the chronotopic relations seem to have an impact on the dialogic learning process. These are valid opportunities for educationally relevant dialogic interaction. They should be cultivated and supported to further advance the pedagogical value of educational robotics and coding.

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Ritella, G., Loperfido, F. F., De Giglio, G. ., Scurani, A., & Ligorio, M. B. (2022). Adopting educational robotics and coding to open dialogic spaces in lower secondary education. Dialogic Pedagogy: A Journal for Studies of Dialogic Education, 10, DT41-DT58.
Special Issue: Digital technologies supporting dialogical education


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