Young children's collaborative interactions in a multimedia computer environment.
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
This paper reports on a study that investigated the collaborative interaction patterns exhibited by 5-year-old preprimary children in an educational computer environment. A case study method was used in one preprimary centre in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia, to examine the patterns of collaborative interaction among young children whilst engaged, in dyads, with the computer within a naturalistic classroom environment. A total of 243 interactions were identified and classified into 16 interaction patterns. Factors facilitating and inhibiting collaborative interaction were identified as: developmental appropriateness of the software; preexisting computer competency and attitude towards computer; mutual friendship between collaborators; children's social goals; appropriate structure of enjoyable learning environment; mutual understanding of turn-taking system; and nonisolated physical settings. In effect, this study shows that early childhood educators would be in a better position to integrate the computer into their classroom and to promote positive prosocial interaction among children whilst engaged with the computer, if it were to be afforded the same status as other traditional early childhood learning materials and activities.