The Kidlink Dialog

Why a dialog?

We think that a dialog may contribute to foster:

  • Critical thinking skills - Analyzing peer and media influences, attitudes, values, social norms and beliefs and factors affecting these
  • Decision and problem solving skills - Information gathering skills. Evaluation of future consequences of present actions for self and others. Determining alternative solutions to problems. Reflective thinking about the effectiveness of choices. Analysis skills regarding the influence of values and attitudes of self and others on motivation.
  • Negotiation/refusal skills - Learn to convince, and conflict resolution. Assertiveness skills. Refusal skills.
  • Cooperation and Teamwork skills - Expressing respect for others' contributions and different styles. Assessing one's own abilities and contribution to the group. Sharing ideas, accepting differences, following directions, staying on task, recording ideas.
  • Interpersonal communication skills - Expressing feelings; giving feedback - without blaiming, and dialogueing to understand. Answering in own words, in own pictures, or a combination of words or pictures, so that their message comes loud and clear.
  • Self-validation - Reviewing thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions, and recognizing that they may be different from another's perceptions, and accepting that multiple views can still be valid.
  • Advocacy Skills - Influencing skills and persuasion. Networking and motivating.
  • Empathy - The ability to feel what another person feels. 


What is a dialog between students? (Pia's thought)

There is a  dialogue when students interact with each other. When students work with the awareness that other students as they, are working on the same project to produce the same activities. And the mere exchange of these activities, made visible in Kidspace and possibly created by themselves in a personal page, is already a precondition for a future true dialogue. It's much more simple and easy to establish a dialogue if you have something of concrete (Image, acrostic, family tree, dove of peace, poema diamante or a written text, eec) about you can talk. Comments below kids' pages have just this feature: allow close observation and / or reading and then write appropriate comments . Good and clever observations are important for the writing process.  We can not expect that today's students use the space Kidlink to talk freely about their interests because at present there are many sites that allow you to meet without feeling like controlled by adults. But we can hope that they, through sharing in the activities, they are encouraged to make new friends and to deepen their knowledge and dialogue. But trivial comments with only a word or a "Wow" is not dialogue.and is of no use.

How to get a dialog

  1. Kidspace: Students publish their work and other students give feedback about the work. His can be done in Kidspace. But we wonder if the students (and teachers) are really interested to create pages to publish their work and if they are interested in writing and receiving feedback from peers. and doing these things BY THEIRSELVES.
    The advantage of this type of dialogue is that the other students can see the comments and participate with other comments. But then, if you have created interest, nothing prevents you to learn more about a dialogue with the private email or chat
  2. Email: Students exchange emails during a project and write emails to each other.
  3. Snailmails: Students send snailmails to other students.
  4. Skype: Students met in chats like Skype

How to support your students dialogue

In "Kidspace", the dialogue is done by students when they interact with each other by inserting comments in the pages of their partners with the approval of their teachers, or by talking in Skype.

  • Teachers have to encourage their students to visit the pages of their partners in the project. On the bottom of each Kidspace page you can click on the nickname of the page's author.
  • Students  have to use the option [Add Comment] in order to a success of the project and to leave public messages in their partners'pages.
  • Sometimes comments can be very trivial, with only a word like e.g. "Cool" or "Wow"... but kids should be helped to built better relationships with a more structured dialogue. Look at Conversional writing - colloquial tone at Dialogue Teory.
  • Students can dialogue by chat too. For each project is possible to organize a moderate chat in Skype where students involved in the project can talk.
  • Teachers can support their students'work, by writing in their pages comments with suggestions to improve what they do or to encourage

Let your students have dialogue and give time for this. The project will profit from it! 

Read more

  • Dialogue theory
    About successful I-thou dialogues, involving students and avoiding contextual misunderstandings.
  • Netiquette - online conduct 
    About some basic rules our students must understand and follow.
  • Classroom work
      • Studying project dialog issue proposals
      • Talking about netiquette
      • Collaborative work
      • How to write questions
      • How to answer
  • Dialog planning
      • Scheduling topics of the dialogue
      • Fixing times for each topic
      • Which tools for the dialogue?
  • Communication protocols
    • Electronic
      • Kidlink nodes
      • Kidlink chat
      • Skype chat
      • Google Hangouts 
      • Google docs
      • Email
      • Protected Facebook groups
  • Other forms
    • Snail mail

Good Sources

  1. Martin Buber - Dialog ue
  2. Communication protocols