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Dialogic Education in the Internet Age

Epistemic Qualities of Search Engines

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Denmark, permitting the internet in exams - a different model for educational assessment

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This section is adapted from Knight (2011)[1]

In Denmark ‘The aim of the examinations and tests to measure student knowledge, skills and competencies (EQFI 23 April 2008) in relation to the targets that have been created from prior instruction’ (Undervisningsministerie (Ministry of Education) & Afdelingen for Gymnasiale Uddannelser (Department of Secondary Education), 2010, p. 5)[i] In June 2009, ‘more than 1000 students were writing exams with Internet access’ (Undervisningsministerie(Ministry of Education) & Afdelingen for Gymnasiale Uddannelser (Department of Secondary Education), 2010, p. 22). To meet this aim, students in some subjects have been given access to most internet websites (although not those which could be used to communicate with other students). This is a natural extension of Danish examinations which allowed access to a variety of media for some timenow. For example in Danish language exams, access includes,

new types of texts made possible by the enclosed CD. These are videos (television interviews, TV news clips, webfilm, short film), audio (radio debate, rap) and webpages….The aim is that the Danish student subject to thistype of tasks may seize the opportunity to work with a broad material field and not be bound to printed fiction texts. So one can also relate, for example, analysis of a political speech, an excerpt of a documentary, or as in the exam kit – a movie clip. (Undervisningsministerie (Ministry of Education) & Afdelingen for Gymnasiale Uddannelser (Department of Secondary Education), 2010, p. 17). It is believed that these examinations providing a good basis for assessing student achievement of theDanish subject’s academic goals. And more than ever, this type of examination may evaluate the student’s ability to:

  • Analyze and evaluate primarily non-fiction in all media*Analyze, interpret and contextualise primarily fictional texts in all media*Demonstrate knowledge of and relate to the modern media environment, including the ability to analyze and evaluate texts, communicative significance and the media’s role in communication*Navigate and select information in screen-based texts with an academic focus

Within mathematics, many students search on the web as an alternative to references in textbooks. The Internet is also used to check the upshot of tasks on websites that will calculate the input size, but without the necessary documentation so thatthey cannot form the basis for the script itself, but simply check the results obtained (Undervisningsministerie(Ministry of Education) & Afdelingen for Gymnasiale Uddannelser (Department of Secondary Education), 2010, p. 18). Thus in Denmark, students are expected to have a certain degree of ‘knowledge-that’ – a level which is suitable to assist their tasks. They also must use a rather high level of ‘knowing-how’ – to manipulate data andprocess it effectively, as well as meta-cognition, to synthesise and manipulate information. This is a higher level thancan be allowed for in any countries which restrict access to external props; in Denmark, questions will be asked on particular texts, but the range may be larger than here and the use of wider material by the best candidates will bestrongly encouraged, where it is largely impossible in more restricted countries. Note also that, the ‘checking’ behaviour in the penultimate paragraph (above), indicates the exercise of a kind of meta-cognitive strategy. The student must know how to do the calculation, but if the skill is not appropriately integrated, may wish to check their answers – a behaviour which we may, at least in some circumstances, wish to encourage.

The above section is adapted from Knight (2011)[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Knight, Simon. “Knowing My Extensions: THE IMPLICATIONS OF EXTENDED MIND FOR OUR CONCEPTION OF KNOWLEDGE AND ITS ASSESSMENT – DO I ‘KNOW’ MY EXTENSIONS?” Master’s, Institute of Education, University of London, 2011.