Mediation: From Dialectic to Dialogic

Part of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning book series (CULS, volume 7)

Chapter 2 introduced the idea of an ontological interpretation of dialogic which was summed up in the phrase: ‘dialogue as an end in itself’. In this chapter that idea is applied to criticize and develop one of the most influential accounts of mediation by technology in teaching and learning. I begin by pointing out that Vygotsky, who is often referred to in the same sentence as Bakhtin as a ‘dialogic’ thinker was, in fact, a dialectic thinker. His dialectic account of the mediation of thought and learning by tools, an account developed and applied to the role of educational technology by Wertsch and others, is very different from Bakhtin’s dialogic account of the mediation of thought and learning by the voices of others. Wertsch’s version of Vygotsky’s account gives technology a direct role in cognition and in teaching and learning and producing a vision of education as learning to use cultural tools. By contrast my version of Bakhtin’s account locates thiskind of learning within the larger context of learning to engage more deeply in learning relationships and in learning dialogues. The ‘mediating’ role of technology is redefined as an indirectly supportive role, resourcing, expanding and deepening learning dialogues between people and between different perspectives.


Educational Technology Graph Paper Proximal Development Cultural Tool Dialectical Thinking 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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