A study of the effects of computer use on the social interaction behaviour of Malaysian children in the pre-school classroom

Razali, Mahani (2006) A study of the effects of computer use on the social interaction behaviour of Malaysian children in the pre-school classroom. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The purpose of this research was threefold: 1) to study peer interactions at the computer; 2) to study the interactions of the teachers with the children and analyse the impact of those interactions on the children’s social behaviour; 3) to explore teacher’s beliefs, views and knowledge about computers use in four Malaysian pre-schools.  Qualitative research was employed using a multiple case study approach based on constructivism.  Data were obtained primarily through non-participant observations, interviews with principals, teachers and children and documentations.  The results indicated that children exhibited a considerable amount of positive social interaction behaviour while playing with the computer.  For the purpose of the study the researcher only concentrated on a specific set of behaviour using the Children Social Interactions Behaviour checklist.

This study indicates that computer activities with teacher facilitation helped promote social interaction between children.  Teachers who observe carefully are likely to see that children who may seem to be minimally and only superficially involved with their peers at the computer are actually learning by carefully observing their peers’ success navigating developmentally appropriate software.  Computer experts are valuable assets to the classroom.  Computer centres that encourage collaboration and cooperation make important contributions to the development of a community of learners and children growing cognitive, fine motor, and social competencies.  However, this will not necessarily happen just because the computer is present in the early childhood education setting.  Teachers must be conscious of the kinds of learning interactions they would like to occur in the context of computer use (including between adults and children, or between children), and adopt pedagogical strategies to support these situations.

From the case studies, it is also clear that the role of adults is vital in the computer centre and two types of teacher behaviour occurred.  One was a passive role in which the teacher was only involved in computer use when she was asked by the children.  The other type of teacher behaviour was in an active role that included being a technical helper, a conflict mediator and a tutor.

This study also carries several serious implications for teachers and parents.  First and most important, it highlights the rich social environment offered by computer usage.  Second, gender variation was seen in the frequency of computer use, with boys using the computer more than girls.  Third, given the right directions, children are capable of resolving their own conflicts. Teachers, therefore, need to be careful about when they intervene and how much help they offer.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Pollock, Maggie
Date of Award: 2006
Depositing User: Mr Toby Hanning
Unique ID: glathesis:2006-3955
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2013 10:13
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2013 10:13
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/3955

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