A Pedagogical Framework For Digital Tools

digital toolsAs a consequence of society’s digitization it becomes increasingly important to use technology in education, in primary as well as in secondary education. Students must achieve a number of digital literacies and competences that can enable them to succeed in a world where digital tools are a natural part of everyday life.

In order to ensure that students acquire the necessary digital literacies and competences, and to ensure that they can critically think, it is important that they are presented with a range of digital tools and gain an understanding of the tools’ capabilities.

This places high demands on the teacher. As a teacher it can be difficult to keep up with the new digital opportunities, and it can be hard to assess which digital tools students should be presented to, and in which contexts it is appropriate to use them in education.

The pedagogical framework of eDidaktik.dk can form the basis for an assessment of whether a digital tool is suitable for use in different forms of teaching.

The framework is based on a distinction between a monological, a dialogical, and a polyphonic form of teaching. The three forms of teaching can be distinguished by their different perceptions of how learning takes place, and by their different perceptions of the relations between subject matter, teacher and student. By considering which form of teaching one wants to practice, one may, on the basis of the pedagogical framework, assess whether it would be appropriate to use a specific tool in teaching.

The theoretical background of the monological, the dialogical and the polyphonic forms of teaching is presented here, and it is shown how the relations between subject-matter, teacher and student are different in each of the three forms of teaching.

The monological form of teaching

The monological form of teaching is based on L. Wittgenstein‘s idea that the teacher is the expert within a language game, and that teaching is to be seen as the teachers communication of her expert knowledge to the student. Learning is the student’s acquisition of this knowledge.

Prior to the classroom teaching the teacher defines clear learning objectives, and chooses the subject matter, that is to be worked with in the classroom. The subject matter is selected, so it distributes the quantity of information to the student, which the teacher believes is relevant to him in relation to the given topic. Along with the teacher’s instruction of the student, the subject matter’s distribution of information is to ensure, that the student learns what, the teacher has planned for him to learn.


After teaching the teacher will be able to compare the student ‘s learning outcomes with the learning objectives that she has defined before the teaching begun.

Particularly distributing and intermediary tools are relevant within the monological form of teaching, where the transfer of information to the student is a key element. In connection with the evaluation of student learning outcomes, closed tasks and tests are also relevant in this form of teaching.

The dialogical form of teaching

The dialogical form of teaching is based on J. Dewey’s idea, that the student has an inherent basis of knowledge, which can be developed through interaction with the outside world and by solving problems. Learning is seen as the student’s development of this inherent basis of knowledge.

The teacher chooses a subject matter, which could make it possible for the student to experience what is relevant and to define and solve authentical problems. In the learning situation, the student choses to work with the parts of the subject matter, that he finds relevant, and he uses this part of the subject matter as a basis for solving the problem. If there is not enough help to get from the subject matter in relation to solving the problem, he makes contact with the teacher, who will then act as a supervisor.


The student’s learning outcome from a dialogic teaching can be tested through case assignments and simulations, where the student can show, that he can use his gained experience within different contexts.

Especially tools that support students’ problem oriented work are relevant within the dialogical form of teaching, where the student’s gaining of experience is the key element. Also simulations and more advanced learning games can be relevant in this form of teaching.

The polyphonic form of teaching

The polyphonic form of teaching is based on K.E. Løgstrup idea that knowledge is created through an equal exchange of many different individuals’ perception of the world. Learning is the student’s participation in this exchange.

The teacher and student jointly select the subject matter that is to be worked with in the classroom. They are equal in this process, just as they are in their subsequent efforts to process the subject matter and produce common knowledge within the field.


The learning outcome cannot easily be measured within a polyphonic form of teaching, but others can subsequently test the validity of the knowledge created in the community of practice, which contributes to the accumulated knowledge within the field.

Especially tools that support equal collaboration and the production of common knowledge are relevant within the polyphonic form of teaching, where the equal collaboration on production of knowledge is a key element.

I hope you will find the pedagogical framework useful in your process of assessing digital tools for your teaching.