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Pairing and Gender Effects on Children's Computer-Based Learning

Karen Littleton, Paul Light, Richard Joiner, David Messer and Peter Barnes
European Journal of Psychology of Education
Vol. 7, No. 4, SPECIAL ISSUE: INTERACTIONAL LEARNING SITUATIONS WITH COMPUTERS (DECEMBER 1992), pp. 311-324
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23422290
Page Count: 14
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Pairing and Gender Effects on Children's Computer-Based Learning
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Abstract

This paper reports an experimental study in which one hundred and twenty 11 and 12 year olds worked on a computer based problem solving task couched in an adventure game format. Previous results with this type of task (Blaye, Light, Joiner, & Sheldon, 1991) indicated marked facilitative effects of working in pairs, both on children's paired performance and on their subsequent individual performance. In this study all children were pre-and post-tested individually. For the intervening practice session subjects were assigned at random to work alone or in single- or mixed-gender pairs. Pairs showed a significant advantage over individuals, but this advantage was not carried over to individual post-test. Gender differences were also attenuated relative to previous results. The findings are interpreted in terms of detailed characteristics of the experimental design (in particular the presence of other children even in the 'individual' condition) and reduction of gender stereotyping in the software.

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