Computers and Collaborative Creative Writing in the Primary Classroom

E. Vass (UK)


computer-supported collaboration, creative writing, case study


A case study is reported investigating the nature of paired talk and the role of computers in collaborative creative writing activities. Drawing on contemporary neo-Vygotskian theory, it explores how computers mediate joint creative writing activities and support processes central to writing. This forms a phase of a larger research project studying the beneficial effects of friendship pairing and the role of the computer tool in the development of creative writing skills. The ongoing collaborative creative writing episodes of eight 8 year old children were observed during a two-week long literacy project in the IT suite and in the literacy classroom of their school. To investigate the impact of shared computer use through the analysis of paired talk, a ‘functional model’ was employed, developed specifically for the context of paired creative writing. Shared computer use was found beneficial for the collaborative restructuring or reshaping of the composed texts. However, the turn-taking strategy the children invariably adopted when sharing a computer proved to hinder joint content generation. Although this is a small-scale study, these findings have strong implications for future research. Future studies need to explore ways in which computers can be used to facilitate the sharedness of creative thought.

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