Using playful dialogues will train students’ skills in improvised thinking and communication as well as help them develop competences in creative learning and understanding (Grant, 2010). Playful dialogues has the potential of becoming laboratories for students’ thinking and ways of communication and expressing themselves to peers, teachers, and external partners and experts. Playful dialogues invite students to take part, to engage themselves, and to reflect critically on what they learn.





See One -Benefits and potentials of Online Dialogues
  • The playful dialogue
  • Why dialogues online
  • Some implications when taking dialogues online
  • Reading and watching videos on the subject
  • Exploring a presentation with examples of using online dialogues
  • Taking a quiz
  • Writing reflections in your Reflection journal
  • Doing dialogue cards as recap of what you learnt
  • Understand how playfulness relates to dialogism and dialogic pedagogy
  • Have reflected on how dialogues online can open up to new learning and teaching possibilities and potentials
  • Know how the concepts of netiquette, the body and online fatigue and stamina may impact online dialogues

The playful dialogue

The aspect of playfulness is closely related to dialogism (Shields & Edwards, 2005), in contrast to monologism, in three important ways.

Firstly, students become aware of the ‘play of perspectives’, where many different views on the same topic emerge, and where the students’ themselves need to make up their own mind and arguments in relation to what they believe to be true and important. Playing with perspectives, standpoints and worldviews through dialogue have the potential of exploring and experimenting with the world and our thinking in open-ended and critical-creative ways. We play with perspectives to gain a deeper understanding of the world and our thinking.

Secondly, students become motivated and energised by the ‘deep play’ of the learning dialogue, where they are invited not just to form an opinion on a cognitive level, but to engage fully as persons with feelings, aspirations, hopes and dreams.Being in dialogue with others, rather than receiving information through lectures, books or screencasts, demands that we respond to what we hear, put forward our own perspectives and engage with the thoughts and ideas present before us. Dialoguing has the potential of engaging us in deep play with each other in ways that make a new collective 'us' appear that connect us to each other and the world.

Finally, playful dialogues are in themselves playful and open-ended with no immediate clear and fixed point of arrival or goal. When dialogues are unleashed in digital forums in a playful manner, they take new shapes, find new platforms, and engaged and empower students in important ways (Bengtsen, Mathiasen, & Dalsgaard, 2015; Bengtsen & Nørgård, 2018). We cannot know in advance where the dialogue will take us or what we will gain from it. We find ourselves thrown into it as we enter into dialogue with one another, and we must together discover what knowledge, ideas and learning that lies within the dialogue. In this way, playful dialogues have the potential of making new ideas, insights, knowledge and perspectives appear and hold the potential of connection us to each other and transforming us as learners.


Why dialogues online

Utilising the technology of video conferencing systems gives you the ability to create playful dialogues online and in ways that would otherwise not be possible. Video conferencing systems such as Skype, Google Hangout, Zoom or Face Time allows you to connect with people all over the world and have playful dialogues with them in a range of different ways. Using video conferencing systems as a learning environment allows you to meet and interact with several, and external, correspondents and partners at the same time, who are located in different places while seeing them and talking to them in real time. This approach is different from simple video calling and telephoning, which is normally one-to-one video (or audio) communication.

As experts have pointed out dialogues online open up for new learning and teaching possibilities and potentials:

You can also check out this article from Prometheanworld to find more inspiration on why educators should use online dialogues and how some educators are already using it.

Some implications when taking dialogues online

Hosting online dialogues by video-conference systems have been debated for over a decade now. Often the lack of social cues and body language has been foregrounded as the most challenging aspects of this form of communication. Whereas the discussion earlier on has been on whether online dialogues could substitute for face-to-face dialogues (see e.g. Bengtsen & Jensen, 2015), the discussion today focuses more on how these two different modalities may complement each other and have strengths and limitations individually. Potential challenges, which should, however, be reflected and facilitated include:


As one of the founding researchers into online dialogues in clinical settings (counselling and therapy) John Suler (2004; 2008) points out, some people change their attitude and behaviour when communicating online. This is especially dominating, when you cannot see the other person, but it may also take place in video-settings. This reaction has been termed the ‘disinhibition effect’ (Suler, 2004) and basically means that we may be prone to a less attentive and well behaved (also morally) manner of communication, when we are not in the immediate physical presence of the other person. This calls for a clear and explicit ‘netiquette’ (Anthony & Nagel, 2010), which should be explained and facilitated by the teacher or the group/meeting leader. There may be manners of conduct, which needs to be addressed explicitly, even though it may not be so in physical settings. Also, it may be a good idea to discuss how to greet each other, when meeting up online for the first time, how to introduce oneself, and how to give room to everybody, when you cannot always immediately see if anyone is trying to contribute to the discussion.

What is NETIQUETTE? What does NETIQUETTE mean? NETIQUETTE meaning, definition & explanation

Ten Rules of Etiquette for Videoconferencing


Fatigue and online stamina

If you are not used to communicating with people in online video forums, it may feel more exhausting and draining compared to face-to-face dialogues. When technology was still rather new this aspect was brought forward in the work of Goss and Anthony (2003). However, when becoming more relaxed and experienced with being present in video-conferences, this feeling usually disappears, and also, as shown by Suler (2004), for some people communicating online may actually feel less draining and demanding than physical face-to-face dialogue.  However, you need to be aware of if your communication partner expects you to maintain eye contact (with the screen) all the time, or if it is OK to leave and come back, which is widely used in longer group seminars and project teams in online education. Here, going away to fetch some coffee or food, take care of children or pets, go to the bathroom or move from one room to another might be normal as the world intervenes in the dialogue in different ways. These disruptions might actually be leveraged as potentials to draw the world into the conversation and make it come alive, become more personal or make the other feel more present

Computer Fatigue problems

How to avoid strained eyes from staring at digital screens

The body

Even though many new and different opportunities arise with video-conferencing, the absence of the physical body in a tangible and sensing way does influence the dialogue. In some ways, it may remove distractions otherwise present with regard to gender, age, and ethnicity – but on the other hand, the absence of such defining qualities of who we are, may make it difficult to perceive and manifest personality and online presence. Especially pointed out by researchers into the phenomenology of the body (Friesen, 2011; Manen & Adams, 2009) the absence of the body in video-conferencing may lessen the feeling of authenticity and humaneness in the online interaction. This might be somewhat countered by establishing a shared place in the video conferencing by sharing pictures, chatting and working together in the same 'third space' as well as drawing in and talking about the physical place where the different participants are located by showing one another around in the room, introducing family members or pets, talking about pictures, books or the whether and so forth. Finally, it is important to make sure everyone is visible to one another through having the video on so a bodily presence is established and maintained throughout the dialogue. 

Body Language: The Key to Your Subconscious | Ann Washburn | TEDxIdahoFalls

Use Body Language to Rock Your Next Presentation - Stanford Graduate School of Business

Body language, the power is in the palm of your hands | Allan Pease | TEDxMacquarieUniversity

Reflection points

Before moving from the See One Why' section to the 'See One How' section of this unit take some time to reflect in your reflection journal on a couple of central considerations before setting up an online dialogue:

  • Who would you like to engage in an online dialogue with? Experts from academic or professional contexts, teachers from another institution or course, students from similar or different backgrounds, citizens from the local community, or someone else?
  • How would you like to invite the world into your teaching or your teaching into the world through online dialogue? Do you want to connect your student or your classroom to the outside world by opening it up or do you want to get external partners and the world into you classroom by inviting them in, or something else?
  • What will you do to avoid the disinhibition effect, online exhaustion and counter the absence of the body in the online dialogue?