About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2548-2554
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain

PEER INTERACTION IN MIXED AGED GROUPS: A STUDY IN THE COMPUTER AREA OF AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTER IN PORTUGAL

M.P. Figueiredo, A. Figueiredo, B. Rego

Polytechnic Institute of Viseu (PORTUGAL)
The study was developed as a teacher-research project during initial teacher education – Masters degree of Early Childhood and Primary Education, in Portugal. It analyzed the interactions between children of 3 to 6 years old, during the use of the computer as a free choice activity, confronting situations between peers of the same age and situations between peers of different ages. The focus of the analysis was the collaborative interactions. This was a qualitative study.

Children could choose the computer, amongst other interest areas, and work for around 45 minutes in pairs. In the computer, children used mainly educational games. During four weeks, the interactions between the two children were audio recorded. Field notes and informal interviews to the children were also used to collect data. Eleven children were involved in the study with ages ranging from 3 to 6 years old. Baseline data on children’s basic computer proficiency was collected using the Individualized Computer Proficiency Checklist (ICPC) by Hyun (2005). The recorded interactions were analyzed using the types of talk offered by Scrimshaw and Perkins (1997) and Wegerif and Scrimshaw (1997): cumulative talk, exploratory talk, disputational talk, and tutorial talk. This framework was already used in a study in an early childhood education context in Portugal by Amante (2004).

The results reveal differences in computer use and characterize the observed interactions. Seven different pairs of children's interactions were analyzed. More than a third of the interactions were cumulative talk (35.7%), followed by exploratory talk (28.6%), tutorial talk (21.4%) and disputational talk (14.3%). This is coherent with the results from Amante (2004). Comparing same and mixed age pairs, we observed that cumulative talk is the more present interaction (over one third), but in same age pairs this is followed by exploratory talk (same 35.7%) whereas in the mixed age pairs it is tutorial talk that has the second largest percentage (33.3%). The pairs formed by the children were very asymmetrical in terms of age and computer proficiency. This lead to the more tutorial interactions, where one children showed the other or directed him/her on how to play.

The results show that collaboration is present during the use of a computer area in early childhood education. The free choice of the children means the adults can only suggest pairing suited to specific interactions between the children. Another way to support children in more exploratory talk interactions could be by discussing the way the older children can help the younger ones beyond directing or correcting their work.
@InProceedings{FIGUEIREDO2015PEE,
author = {Figueiredo, M.P. and Figueiredo, A. and Rego, B.},
title = {PEER INTERACTION IN MIXED AGED GROUPS: A STUDY IN THE COMPUTER AREA OF AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTER IN PORTUGAL},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {2548-2554}}
TY - CONF
AU - M.P. Figueiredo AU - A. Figueiredo AU - B. Rego
TI - PEER INTERACTION IN MIXED AGED GROUPS: A STUDY IN THE COMPUTER AREA OF AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTER IN PORTUGAL
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 2548
EP - 2554
ER -
M.P. Figueiredo, A. Figueiredo, B. Rego (2015) PEER INTERACTION IN MIXED AGED GROUPS: A STUDY IN THE COMPUTER AREA OF AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTER IN PORTUGAL, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 2548-2554.
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