The mediating effect of task presentation on collaboration and children's acquisition of scientific reasoning

Dorothy Faulkner, Richard Joiner, Karen Littleton, Dorothy Miell, Linda Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


Investigated differences in collaborative problem solving activity between pairs of students working around a computer or with physical apparatus, and related differences to the development of scientific reasoning. 98 9-10 yr old students were placed into either same- or mixed-ability pairs according to individual pre-test performance on a scientific reasoning task. These pairs then worked on either a computer-simulation or a physical version of a chemical combination task. Results show that type of presentation mediated the nature and type of collaborative activity. Mixed-ability pairs working around the computer talked proportionally more about the task and management of the task, had proportionally more transactive discussions and used the record more productively than children working with the physical apparatus. Type of presentation also mediated learning. Students in same-ability pairs who worked with the physical apparatus improved significantly more than same-ability pairs who worked around the computer. It is concluded that these findings show the importance of tools for mediating collaborative activity and collaborative learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-430
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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