An investigation of cooperative work with a computer program by Year 3 children

Topel, Dell P. (Dell Priscilla) (2000). An investigation of cooperative work with a computer program by Year 3 children Master's Thesis, Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author Topel, Dell P. (Dell Priscilla)
Thesis Title An investigation of cooperative work with a computer program by Year 3 children
School, Centre or Institute Graduate School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2000
Thesis type Master's Thesis
Supervisor M. C. Carss
Total pages 224
Collection year 1991
Language eng
Subjects 330000 Education
330100 Education Studies
Formatted abstract
This study investigates the social interactions occurring between pairs of Year 3 children within a LogoWriter computing environment. Two projects were undertaken. In Study, A eight children working in pairs for 10 half-hour sessions over ten weeks were given diagrams o f actual LogoWriter printouts with brief written instructions to reproduce on the screen using LogoWriter commands. These children had already had eleven weeks of working together with their partner on LogoWriter. It was anticipated that the children would reveal what they were thinking as they performed the tasks. This did not happen, so Study B was undertaken. In Study B four children without any prior knowledge of LogoWriter worked in pairs for 10 half-hour sessions over ten consecutive school days. They were given written instructions for projects to be constructed on the screen using LogoWriter commands. Also the teacher/investigator involved herself by asking prespecified questions in an attempt to have the children verbalise their thinking as they performed the tasks. Single sex pairs were used in both studies.

All sessions in both studies were recorded on videotape amounting to 30 hours of videotape. The videotapes were transcribed and the interactions were coded for task performance, seating position, keyboard control, verbal conflict, physical conflict, proportion o f exchanges, planning, computer input, discussion of LogoWriter, pleasure statements, "fooling around", asides, expressions of camera awareness, awareness of time, interactions with other classmates and interruptions. The pairs of students in each of the studies were compared with the other pair(s) in that study. Results revealed very different partnerships in each of the studies. In Study A the social context that the pairs established with each other had much more influence on the performance of the task than their prior level of academic achievement. The qualities of social interaction within the pair did not always reflect the level of task achievement. There was a lot of contention regarding controlling the keyboard which was shared in several different ways, some of them collaborative. There was verbal conflict over completing the task, control of the keyboard and standover tactics. Physical conflict was mainly over keyboard control. The number of verbal exchanges varied between pairs and it fluctuated across sessions in some pairs more than others. Planning was not an observed strength in any of the pairs.

In Study B the children discussed the LogoWriter program as they performed the tasks but did not give reasons or state in detail what they had done or intended to do. The children often became annoyed when their partner questioned them. At times they even ignored the teacher's questions. They did not want to be interrupted. The children resisted planning as they considered it a waste of time.

While the studies initially sought evidence of thinking or cognitive skills, the data were not able to support analysis of this. However, the studies indicate that verbal exchanges are generated when children work together in pairs, but these exchanges are not always beneficial in performing tasks. The children in both studies displayed proficiency in using LogoWriter commands to manipulate the turtle on the screen to perform the given tasks in spite of competing for physical control of the keyboard.

Keyword Social interaction in children
Computers and children

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - Open Access
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Created: Tue, 10 Mar 2015, 15:26:35 EST by Ms Christine Heslehurst on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service