Michael BakerResearch Professor

Repères biographiquesShort Biography

Michael J. Baker is a tenured Research Director/Professor in Language Sciences of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS: www.cnrs.fr). He currently works in the Social and Economic Sciences department of Télécom Paris, the French national graduate school for telecom engineering. He carries out interdisciplinary research (psychology/language sciences) on analysing dialogues in group learning, design and creativity situations, often involving technology mediation, focussing on constructive argumentation and the role of emotion.

He is currently co-director of the research group on uses of technology, participation and democratisation of innovation, within the CNRS lab “Interdisciplinary Institute on Innovation”, which groups together the social and economic sciences departments of three engineering schools: Télécom Paris, École Polytechnique and École des Mines.

After studies in philosophy and psychology at the University of Durham (1st class honours, 1982; University Scholar, Gabbett prizes in philosophy, psychology), in music at the University of Huddersfield, then a PhD in cognitive science at the Open University (1990), he was awarded the habilitation à diriger des recherches in psychology in 2004 (a post-PhD degree required for a full professor position) for research on knowledge elaboration in dialogue.

Michael Baker has been visiting professor at the universities of Stockholm/KTH and Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

He directed research teams on interaction and cognition within language sciences research labs in Lyon (ENS, ICAR) and Paris (LEAPLE, Sorbonne ; MODYCO, University Paris Nanterre) before joining Télécom Paris in 2008.

Activités : enseignement, recherche, projetsActivities : Teaching, Research, Projects

Research aims

Michael Baker’s main research aim is to understand (analyse, interpret, model) the processes by which knowledge emerges from dialogue and the conditions that favour constructive/productive communicative, social interaction.

This is pursued in diverse “epistemic” situations, i.e. those that have been specifically organised (by society, by the researcher) for knowledge co-elaboration. These include situations for learning, training, creativity, collective writing and co-design of innovative products,  in small groups.

Many of the situations under study involve computer-mediated interaction, in two main cases:

  1. interactions in online epistemic communities, such as wikipedia (cf the book Innovation et participation. Approches critiques, Presses des Mines, 2018) ;
  2. interactions in CSCL (Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning) environments, specifically designed and developed within large projects financed by the European Union,  IST (Information Societies’ Technologies) programme (cf. see the book Arguing to Learn: confronting cognitions in computer supported collaborative learning environments, Kluwer, 2003).

Within this general framework, the following specific themes are explored:

  • analysing argumentative interactions (cf. the book Dialogue, Argumentation and Education, Cambridge University Press, 2017)
  • analysing the interactive circulation of affect (cf. the book Affective Learning Together, Routledge, 2013)
  • group creativity
  • intercultural variations in characteristics of small group interactions
  • the role of touch in social interaction

Michael Baker is an active member of the following research communities:

  • dialogue analysis
  • pragmatics
  • argumentation studies
  • computer-supported collaborative learning
  • psychology of interaction
  • collaborative design

Current projects (2020)

Teaching and PhD (co-)direction (2020)

  • Masters courses on “Collaborative Learning and Technology Mediation”, Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UMPC, Paris 6), Université Clermont-Auvergne

Doctoral students supervised (2020)

  • Jaana Isohätäla (Université d’Oulu, Finlande)
  • Robin Héron (Télécom Paris)
  • Nathalie Labrousse (Université Paris Descartes)

Member of editorial board of research journals

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