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Analysing Episodes

Below is an example of a learning episode that we selected. This is a group of Year 5 pupils (aged 9 & 10) who are working on placing organisms within a food chain.

Other formats available:

High Quality Flash Video

iPod Video (H.264)




Teacher Participation

The teachers and researchers on the project took part in an iterative process of selecting episodes of interest from the classroom videos, sharing and reviewing these and gradually building a sense of their significance. Our initial criteria for selecting 'learning episodes' were: (a) direct use of, or reference to, the IWB by the children (b) some evidence of science-related activity (interpreted to include conceptual and procedural aspects of the given scientific topic) (c) some dialogue and other interactions between the children (d) where relevant, involvement of factors and processes previously identified as relevant to collaborative IWB (e.g. group structure).

Episode Analysis

The analysis of these episodes was used to make inferences about the relationships between pupil activity and talk, IWB affordances and science learning. We focussed on features that are known to be strongly associated with children's learning and knowledge building, such as looking for features of 'exploratory talk' (Mercer, 2000). We then tested our developing hypotheses about the productivity of the children's group discussions at the IWB against evidence from an analysis of whole lessons and from cross-lesson analysis. We followed up emerging themes and questions about talk and learning, searched for counter-examples, and finally decided on general foci for systematically searching the full data set: i.e. 'scientific talk'; non-verbal communication; motivation, emotion and engagement; bodily orientation and movement in physical space; engaging or confusing tasks; relationship between target group and whole class.