Analysis of collaborative e-mail use on the language acquisition of pre-school children aged 4 and 5
Kathryn D. Abel, Stevens Institute of Technology, United States
Stevens Institute of Technology . Awarded
Pre-school literacy and efforts to improve it are a major concern in the educational community. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of e-mail use on the English language acquisition of pre-school aged children. E-mail was exchanged by similarly-aged children through a facilitated project with two pre-schools, one from New York City and one from New Jersey. This dissertation examined the effects of collaborative e-mail writing on children from these two differing locations (urban and suburban) over a four- to ten-month period. The samples consisted of both native and non-native speakers of English, and were mainly comprised of four and five year olds. The children exchanged e-mail with similarly aged students in classes at a different school. Students were pre- and post-tested with the traditional measures used by some of the schools involved. Given the desire of educators to improve the ability of the country's young people, this study was undertaken with the expectation of demonstrating a trend toward enhanced language acquisition through the use of e-mail as measured by tools already in place at the schools involved.
Pre-testing was done on both the control and treatment groups. The pre-test data showed that the treatment and control groups started out at the same level with no significant differences between them in regard to gender, handedness, age, ethnicity or overall pre-test score in regard to these demographic characteristics.
A hierarchal regression was performed to control for prior knowledge. Results of the grouped post-testing showed that there was a significant difference between the language acquisition of the treatment and the control groups. The improvement in language acquisition for the treated pre-schoolers was significantly greater than that of the control children. Interactions with age and gender were also examined but were not found to be significant.
Abel, K.D. Analysis of collaborative e-mail use on the language acquisition of pre-school children aged 4 and 5. Ph.D. thesis, Stevens Institute of Technology.
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