Ways Digital Scaffolds Are Used During Collaborative Problem Solving in the Preschool Classroom

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Title:
Ways Digital Scaffolds Are Used During Collaborative Problem Solving in the Preschool Classroom
Physical Description:
1 online resource (203 p.)
Language:
english
Creator:
Baralt, Anna C
Publisher:
University of Florida
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Ed.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching and Learning
Committee Chair:
DAWSON,KARA MARIEHOPKINS
Committee Co-Chair:
CRIPPEN,KENT J
Committee Members:
PACE,BARBARA G
SMITH-BONAHUE,TINA M

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Subjects / Keywords:
digitalgames -- digitalscaffolds -- earlychildhood -- ipads -- preschool -- problemsolving
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
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Curriculum and Instruction thesis, Ed.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

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Abstract:
This descriptive mixed-methods study examined the ways preschool dyads use scaffolds built in to the digital game Rush Hour® when problem solving.  Twelve dyads of students played the game during learning centers within the natural classroom environment.  Findings reveal preschool children use demonstration, reduction in degree of freedom, and frustration control scaffolds to reduce frustration and extend time spent problem solving.  The use of digital scaffolds helped facilitate game play about 1/3 of the time. In-depth analysis of video recordings and student interviews reveals overall tool use was more non-verbal than verbal, more personal than collaborative, and mostly intentional.  Children identified as mid-level problem solvers used tools the most, and the demonstration scaffold (Solve) was used by the most number of dyads.  While Solve provided some help, overall, it was found to be developmentally inappropriate for the age group of this study as the speed of the demonstration was too fast paced and the number of moves to be remembered too many. Further analysis looked at the ability level of preschool dyads to determine in what ways ability level might impact how digital scaffolds are used during problem solving.  Of the twelve dyads participating in this study, six were paired with same-ability partners (Class A) while six were paired with mixed-ability partners (Class B).  Significant differences in how the two classes used digital scaffolds were found.  Mixed-ability dyads displayed more help seeking behaviors by using more digital scaffolds (4:1).  Same-ability dyads completed more puzzles, solved puzzles more efficiently, and displayed more collaborative behaviors. This study is significant in that it provides insight into how early childhood educators can use gaming applications with built-in digital scaffolds within developmentally appropriate practice to promote problem solving.  It confirms the important role teachers play in partnering students during collaborative work and affirms the need for teachers to explicitly teach students how to use help tools.  Finally, it reminds teachers that they must critically examine all aspects of digital games including built-in help tools before integrating them into their classrooms.
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
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This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Anna C Baralt.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local:
Adviser: DAWSON,KARA MARIEHOPKINS.
Local:
Co-adviser: CRIPPEN,KENT J.

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UFE0046171:00001


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1 WAYS DIGITAL SCAFFOLDS ARE USED DURING COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING IN THE PRESCHOOL CLASSROOM By ANNA C. BARALT A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR TH E DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013

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2 2013 Anna C. Baralt

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3 To my husband, Bill, and children, Cai and Lilianna, for their patience and encouragement; t o the rest of my family and friends who supported me along my journey, thank you; a nd to my dear friend and colleague, Dawn Weinman, whose unwavering faith in me saw me through to the end

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to gratefully acknowledge the Director and faculty of the Early Childhood Center as well as the children and families who participated in this study This capstone project would not have been possible without the emotional support and guidance of members from the University of Florida Ed ucation Tech nolog y Cohort 2 as well as my mentors Kara Dawson and Swapna Kumar. Thank you to my committee members Kent Crippen, Barbara Pace, and Tina Smith Bonahue for your insightful comments and direction

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5 T ABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................ 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ........................... 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ...................... 10 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................... 13 Developmentally Appropriate Practice ................................ ................... 13 Definition ................................ ................................ ......................... 13 Role of Play ................................ ................................ ..................... 14 Role of Technology ................................ ................................ ......... 15 Potential of Touch Devices ................................ ................................ .... 16 Problem of Practice ................................ ................................ ............... 16 Capstone Description ................................ ................................ ............ 19 Purpose ................................ ................................ ........................... 19 C ontext ................................ ................................ ............................ 19 Research Design ................................ ................................ ............ 20 Limitations ................................ ................................ ....................... 21 Significance of Research ................................ ................................ ....... 21 Supporting Developmentally Appropriate Practice .......................... 21 Potential of Digital Scaffolds ................................ ........................... 22 Ability Groupings ................................ ................................ ............. 24 Organization of the Study ................................ ................................ ...... 25 2 BACKGROUND ................................ ................................ ..................... 28 Developmentally Appropriate Practice ................................ ................... 30 Definition ................................ ................................ ......................... 30 Role of Play ................................ ................................ ..................... 32 Technology Embedded within DAP ................................ ................. 33 Historical Perspective of Technology Use ................................ ....... 33 Theoretical Framework Supporting iPad Use in the Preschool Classroom ................................ ................................ .......................... 35 Cognitivism and Information Processing Theory ............................. 35 ...................... 37 Summary of Research on Handheld Devices ................................ ........ 39 Evaluating iPad Features Through the Literature ................................ .. 40 Overall Design ................................ ................................ ................ 41 Touch Screen ................................ ................................ .................. 43 Screen Size ................................ ................................ ..................... 47

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6 Mobility ................................ ................................ ............................ 48 Display Orientation ................................ ................................ .......... 51 Applications ................................ ................................ ..................... 51 Other iPad Features ................................ ................................ ........ 53 Potential of iPads for Learning. ................................ ....................... 53 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................. 56 3 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ......... 58 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ .......... 59 Categories of Scaffolding ................................ ................................ ...... 61 Peer Scaffolding in Computer Environments ................................ .. 62 Scaffolds in Technology Enhanced Learning Environments ........... 64 Cognitive scaffolds ................................ ................................ ... 65 Affective scaffolds ................................ ................................ ..... 66 Technical scaffolds ................................ ................................ ... 66 Embedded versus non embedded scaffolds ............................. 67 Digital scaffol ds within Rush Hour ................................ .......... 67 Summary of Research on Digital Scaffolds ................................ ........... 69 Early Childhood Context ................................ ................................ 69 Elementary/Middle School Context ................................ ................. 71 High School Context ................................ ................................ ....... 73 Gaps in the Literature ................................ ................................ ...... 73 The Role of Help Seeking Behaviors ................................ ..................... 74 Collaborative Problem Solving ................................ .............................. 78 Summary of Research on Ability Groupings ................................ .......... 80 Mixed Ability Partnerships ................................ ............................... 80 Same Ability Partnerships ................................ ............................... 83 Gaps in the Literature ................................ ................................ ...... 85 Game Based Learning ................................ ................................ .......... 85 Benefits of Digital Games ................................ ................................ 86 History of Digital Games ................................ ................................ 87 Types of Games ................................ ................................ .............. 88 Qualities of Good Games ................................ ................................ 90 Assessment of Digital Games ................................ ......................... 91 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................. 92 4 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ .................. 93 Research Questions ................................ ................................ .............. 93 Background on the Researcher ................................ ............................. 94 Context ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 94 Curriculum and Planning ................................ ................................ 95 Learning Space and Daily Activities ................................ ................ 95 Participants ................................ ................................ ............................ 97 Task ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 98 General Procedures ................................ ................................ .............. 99 Introduction De velopment ................................ ............................... 99

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7 Game Introduction to Students ................................ ..................... 100 Game Play ................................ ................................ .................... 100 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................. 101 Data Collection ................................ ................................ .................... 103 Game Statistics ................................ ................................ ............. 103 Observations and Video Recordings ................................ ............. 104 Field Journal ................................ ................................ ................. 106 Informal Interviews ................................ ................................ ........ 106 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ...................... 109 Research Question 1 ................................ ................................ .... 109 Quantitative analysis ................................ .............................. 109 Qualitative analysis video recordings ................................ .. 110 Qualitative analysis interviews ................................ ............. 112 Qualitative analysis field journal ................................ .......... 113 Research Question 2 ................................ ................................ .... 113 Quantitative analysis ................................ .............................. 113 Qualitative analysis ................................ ................................ 114 Trustworthiness of Study ................................ ................................ ..... 114 Credibility ................................ ................................ ...................... 115 Transferability ................................ ................................ ............... 116 Dependability ................................ ................................ ................ 116 Confirm ability ................................ ................................ ................ 117 Limitations ................................ ................................ ........................... 118 5 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ............................ 120 Research Question 1: In What Ways Do Preschool Dyads Use Digital Scaffolds When Playing the Problem Solving Game Rush Hour ? .. 120 Overall ................................ ................................ ........................... 120 Demonstration Scaffold (Solve Tool) ................................ ............ 123 Verbalizations surrounding use of Solve tool .......................... 124 ................................ 125 Successive use of the Solve tool ................................ ............ 126 Reduction in Degree of Freedom Scaffold (Hint Tool) .................. 127 Verbalizations surrounding use of the Hint tool ...................... 128 Repea ted use of Hint tool ................................ ....................... 129 Missing the Hint ................................ ................................ ...... 129 Frustration Control Scaffolds (Next, Prev, Reset, Undo Tools) ..... 130 Next and Prev tools ................................ ................................ 130 Undo and Reset tools ................................ ............................. 131 Previous experience with Rush Hour ................................ .... 132 Research Question 2: In What Ways Does the Ability Level of Preschool Dyads Impact How Digital Scaffolds Are Used When Playing the Problem Solving Game Rush Hour ? ................................ ............... 133 Overall ................................ ................................ ........................... 133 Previous Experience with Rush Hour ................................ .......... 135 Demonstration Sca ffold (Solve Tool) ................................ ............ 135 Reduction in Degree of Freedom Scaffold (Hint Tool) .................. 138

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8 Frustration Control Scaffolds (Next, Prev, Reset, Undo Tools) ..... 139 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ............... 140 6 CONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ .................. 141 Preschool Students Use Digital Scaffolds ................................ ........... 141 Digital Scaffolds as Frustration Support ................................ .............. 143 Same Ability vs. Mixed Ability Dyads ................................ .................. 144 Level of Help Pro vided ................................ ................................ .. 145 Level of Collaboration ................................ ................................ ... 145 Level of Problem Solving ................................ .............................. 146 Need for Age Appropriate Digital Scaffolds ................................ ......... 147 Implications for Educators ................................ ................................ ... 149 Ensuring Developmentally Appropriate Apps ................................ 149 Intentional Planning ................................ ................................ ...... 150 Process vs. Product ................................ ................................ ...... 151 Future Research ................................ ................................ .................. 151 Summary ................................ ................................ ............................. 154 APPENDIX A STUDY INTRODUCTION LETTER ................................ ..................... 156 B PARTICIPANT CONSENT FORM ................................ ....................... 157 C CHECKLIST FOR GAME INTRODUCTION ................................ ........ 158 D INDIVIDUAL DYAD OBSERVATION FORM ................................ ....... 159 E SUMMARY FORM ................................ ................................ ............... 160 F INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ................................ ................................ ... 167 G DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS FOR CLASS A (SAME ABILITY DYADS) ................................ ................................ ............................... 179 H DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS FOR CLASS B (MIXED ABILITY DYADS ................................ ................................ ................................ 181 I PERMISSION TO USE IMAGES ................................ ......................... 183 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............ 186 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ........ 203

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9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 Organization of capstone project ................................ ....................... 27 3 1 Functions of scaffolding as defined by Wood, Bruner & Ross (1976) 61 3 2 Summary of digital scaffolds within the problem solving game Rush Hour ................................ ................................ ................................ 68 3 3 Main genres of digital games (Gros, 2007) ................................ ....... 89 4 1 Participant demographics ................................ ................................ .. 97 4 2 Summary of review and coding procedures ................................ .... 111 5 1 Number of puzzles solved by each dyad along with total scaffolds use for each group ................................ ................................ ................. 1 32 5 2 Problem solving efficiency between Class A and Class B ............... 134 5 3 Total number of puzzles solved by Class including those solved with and without help ................................ ................................ .............. 134

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10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 ............... 30 4 1 Screenshot of Rush Hour game and help tools ............................... 99 4 2 Mixed methods research design for capstone project ..................... 103 4 3 Screenshots of game statistics captured after each puzzle is completed and after 10 minutes of game play ................................ 104 5 1 Summary of digital scaffold use by tool ................................ ........... 121 5 2 Analysis of tool use based on level of interaction, level of collaboration, intent behind actions, and level of help provided ...... 122 5 3 Behaviors surrounding the use of the Solve tool during game play 123 5 4 Behaviors surrounding use o f the Hint tool during game play ......... 127 5 5 Behaviors surrounding use of frustration control scaffolds (Next, Prev, Reset, and Undo) during game play ................................ ................ 130 5 6 Comparison of digital scaffolds across classes ............................... 133 5 7 Comparison of uses of Solve between classes ............................... 136 5 8 Use of Solve tool by ability level across both classes ..................... 137 5 9 Use of Hint tool between Class A and Class B ................................ 138

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11 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for th e Degree of Doctor of Education WAYS DIGITAL SCAFFOLDS ARE USED DURING COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING IN THE PRESCHOOL CLASSROOM By Anna C. Baralt December 2013 Chair: Kara Dawson Major: Curriculum and Instruction This descriptive mixed methods study examined the w ays preschool dyads use scaffolds built in to the digital game Rush Hour when problem solving Twelve dyads of students played the game during learning centers within th e natural classroom environment. Findings reveal preschool ch ildren use demonstration reduc tion in degree of freedom and frustration control scaffolds to reduce frustration and extend time spent problem solving The use of digital scaffolds helped facilitate game play about 1/3 of the time. In depth analysis of video recordings and student interviews reveals overall tool use was more non verbal than verbal, more personal than collaborative, and mostly intentional. Children identified as mid level problem solvers used tools the most, and the demonstration scaffold (Solve) was used by the most number of dyads While Solve provided some help, overall it was found to be developmentally in appropriate for the age group of this study as the speed of the d emonstration was too fast paced and the number of moves to be remembered too many.

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12 Further analysis looked at the ability level of preschool dyads to determine in what ways ability level might impact how dig ital scaffolds are used during problem solving. Of the twelve dyads participating in this study, six were paired with same ability partners (Class A) while six were paired with mixed ability partners (Class B) Significant differences in how the two clas ses used digital scaffolds were found. Mixed ability dyads displayed more help seeking behaviors by using more digital scaffolds (4:1) Same ability dyads completed more puzzles, solved puzzles more efficient ly, and displayed more collaborative behaviors This study is significant in that it provides insight into how early childhood educators can use gaming applications with built in digital scaffolds within developmentally appropriate practice to promote problem solving It confirms the important role t eachers play in partnering students during collaborative work and affirms the need for teachers to explicitly teach students how to use help tools. Finally, it reminds teachers that they must critically examine all aspects of digital games including built in help tools before integrating them into their classrooms.

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13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The last ten years has seen an increased call for ubiquitous computing in education via one to one laptop programs and handheld devices such as the iPad (Berson & Berson, 2010; Chatel, 2005; Couse & Chen, 2010; Johnston, Adams, & Cummins, 2012; Zevenbergen, 2007). These devices are seen not only as ways to promote technological literacy but also as learning tools with the capacity to increase student achievement (Clements & Sarama, 2003 ; Fishburn, 2008; Staudt, 2005; Johnston et al. 2012) The majority of current research on computers and other technology tools is related to the K 12 environment. Little attention has been paid to their potential role in the preschool se tting focused on children ages three to five years, especially in how they support collaborative problem solving and peer learning (Kamil & Intrator, 1998; Lankshear & Knobel, 2003; McC arrick & Li, 2007; Yelland, 1999 ). Developmentally Appropriate Practi ce Definition Since 1986, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has helped define high quality early childhood programs serving children from birth to age eight through its developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) framewor k (NAEYC, 2009). The principles and guidelines outlined in the which children gain specific concepts, s kills, and abilities in a sequential fashion, as well as constructivist views that learning is an active process in which learners build or construct new ideas or concepts based upon previous knowledge and

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14 experiences (Schuh & Barab, 2008; Vygotsky, 1978). Both of these views promote play as the primary vehicle of engagement in the early childhood classroom and confirm the instrumental role classroom teachers play in planning and preparing the learning environment to foster developmentally appropriate expe riences (Epstein, 2007; Johnson, Christie, & Wardle, 2005). It is the intentional teacher who purposefully plans learning experiences based on developmental stages, individual needs, and an understanding of the social and cultural contexts shaping childre environment (Berk & Winsler, 1995; Copple & Bredekamp, 2009; Epstein, 2007; NAEYC, 2009). The intentional teacher looks not only at how to teach but also thinks about what to teach (Epstein, 2007). Role of Play Play is the means by which children learn new concepts through exploration and problem solving, express individual thoughts and ideas, and connect with others (Johnston et al., 2005). There are many types of play such as motor, object, collaborative, and symbolic, each with its own benefits to development (Johnston et al. 2005; NAEYC, 2009). Computers and technology tools such as the iPad offer new play possibilities, which can benefit development, when used appropriately (Johnson & Christie, 2009; NAEYC 2009; NAEYC, 2012; Wright & Shade, 1994). As with any material or instructional tool introduced into the preschool classroom, teachers must first, developmental stage, and se cond, determine what benefits are derived by its use

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15 (Allen & Blake, 2010; Chiasson & Gutwan, 2005; Clements & Sarama 2003; Haugland, 2000 ; NAEYC, 1996). Role of Technology In 1996, NAEYC recognized computers as learning tools that can be used to complim ent traditional hands on learning activities such as art, blocks, musical explorations, and dramatic play when embedded within in a DAP framework (NAEYC, 1996). Fifteen years later, NAEYC along with the Fred Rogers Center Media, revised the 1996 technology statement because young children are being shaped by everyday interactions with technology and digital media (Berson & Berson, 2010). The need to ensure technology is developmentally, individually, and culturally approp riate and meaningful in this digital age of digital natives is more pressing than ever (Fleer, 2011; Palfrey & Gasser, 2008; Prensky, 2001 b ; Prensky, 2010; Zevenbergen, 2007). The NAEYC position statement recommends: Early childhood educators provide a ba lance of activities in programs for young children and that technology and digital media be recognized as valuable tools to be used intentionally with children to extend and support active, hands on, creative, and authentic engagement with those around the m and with their world. ( NAEYC, 2012, p. 11) technological and media literacy, specific recommendations for early childhood technology beyond computer centers in the classr oom were made. These include the use of handheld devices with touch screens, digital and video cameras, electronic books (e books), digital storytelling, and video conferencing as ways for children to express creativity, participate in language experience s, and document learning (NAEYC, 2012).

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16 Potential of Touch Devices Touch technologies, such as the iPad, are of particular interest to early childhood educators at this time. These devices, when embedded in developmentally appropriate practice, can expan d play opportunities currently offered in early childhood classrooms (Geist, 2012; McManis & Gunnewig, 2012; NAEYC, 2012). Preliminary studies indicate the simple gestures needed to operate the touch screen are a more natural and direct way of interaction for young children (Geist, 2012; Hourcade & Hansen, 2009). The tactile interface is easy to use, and in line with how children learn through touch and exploration (Buckleitner, 2010; Chiong & Shuler, 2010; Couse & Chen, 2010; Geist, 2012; Lu & Frye, 1992 ; Yu, Zhang, Ren, Zhao & Zhu, 2010). The portability and size of the iPad allows students to be mobile, providing opportunities to extend exploration into many different contexts (Chen, Tan, Chee Kit, Zhang, & Seow, 2008; Figg & Burson, 2005; Geist, 2012; Ng & Nicholas, 2009 ). This mobility also allows students to seek support from teachers and peers as needed (Fritz, 2005). Finally, the many educational apps available on the iPad offer students the ability to work at their own pace on tasks structured t o meet individual learning goals, as well as explore and play games that offer collaborative opportunities to think critically and problem solve (Banister, 2010; Geist, 2012; Hisrich & Blanchard, 2009). Problem of Practice based ev planning of technology related learning experiences in the preschool classroom so they are open ended, promote discovery, and encourage problem solving

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17 (Epstein, 2007; Lieberman, Fisk, & Beily, 2009; NAEYC, 2012). Additi onally, these learning experiences need to be developmentally appropriate, built on the natural ways young children play and learn best (Lieberman et al., 2009). Therefore, during the 2011 2012 school year, the researcher conducted a qualitative study to examine the social interactions and scaffolding behaviors exhibited by preschool children when using the iPad to play the problem solving game Rush Hour Twenty two random dyads (pairs) were observed playing the sliding block puzzle game during learning centers in the natural classroom environment. Analysis of video and audio transcripts showed student dyads sharing one iPad exhibited more scaffolding and collaborative behaviors than students sitting side by side with two iPads, while students working si de by side with two iPads displayed more positive social talk. An unexpected finding emerging from the study was related to how some students used the built in help tools within the game Rush Hour such as the Hint and Solve buttons, as a means to complet e a puzzle. What was noteworthy about these behaviors was how many students figured out how to use these tools on their own through exploration or by observing and communicating with his/her partner rather than through direct instruction from the classroo m teacher. These observed behaviors are in line with the theory of constructivism, which proposes children learn through assisted discovery while engaged in talk and collaboration with others (Schuh & Barab, 2008; Vygotsky, 1978). These behaviors also pr ovide insight into the help seeking process. Learning how to independently seek help is an essential life skill that contributes to both social and c ognitive development ( Gall & Schieb, 1985). Help seeking also serves as a

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18 strategy for sel f regulated lea rning ( Gall, 1981; Puustinen, 1998). As it appears built in help tools have the potential to serve as scaffolds and extend thinking, further investigation into how these digital game tools can foster problem solving and promote collaborative play in the preschool environment is needed (Aleven, Stahl, Schworm, Fischer & Wallace, 2003; Hung, Yu, Chang & Cheng, 2012; Karabenick, 2011; Sun, Wang, & Chan, 2011). Collaborative play is the means by which students learn to take turns, negotiate with peers, problem solve, share their points of view and make decisions with others (Johnson et al., 2005). Additionally, opportunities for teach friends, and create rules for cooperation development (Epstein, 2007, p. 15). The examination of different strategies for creating collaborative partnerships when using iPads is needed to provide empirical data specific to best practices related to promoting cognitive, social, and language development with these handheld tools. The majority of research related to preschool dyads in collaborative problem solving found throughout the literature is not specific to problem solving in a technology related play context nor do es it capture preschool students in authentic child centered settings (Azmitia, 1988; Holmes Lonergan, 2003; Johnson Pynn & Nisbet, 2002; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985; Perlmutter, Kuo, Behrend, & Muller, 1989; Ramani, 2005; Ramani, 2012; Verba, 1998).

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19 Capston e Description Purpose The purpose of this research study was to examine the ways preschool children use digital scaffolds or tools built in to problem solving games on the iPad, such as Rush Hour in naturalistic settings. In addition to identifying how the use of iPads and problem solving applications (apps) fit into developmentally appropriate practice, this capstone examined how student dyads with different problem solving abilities used digital scaffolds in daily learning centers during the school day The following research questions guided this capstone project: Research Question 1: In what ways do preschool dyads use digital scaffolds when playing the problem solving game Rush Hour ? Research Question 2: In what ways does the ability level of preschool dyads impact how digital scaffolds are used when playing the problem solving game Rush Hour ? Context This capstone project was conducted in two Junior Kindergarten (JK) (age 4/5) classrooms in the Early Ch ildhood Center (ECC) of a college preparatory school with a total enrollment of 27 students. Each class was randomly assigned to one of two conditi ons by flip of a coin. Participants in one class (n=12) were matched with same ability partners (high high, middle middle, low low), while participants in the second class (n=12) were matched with mixed ability partners (high low, middle low or high middle). The ability groups, established by the classroom teachers, were created based on anecdotal records, obs ervations, and ratings from academic progress reports. Three students were excluded from the study. One student did not have parental consent to participate. Two

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20 students, who were repeating the JK the previous yea r utilizing the game Rush Hour Research Design As the purpose of this study was to capture what is happening in the natural classroom setting as preschool children work with the game Rush Hour on the iPad, a descripti ve research design with a mixed methods framework was utilized. A review of journals within the field of educational technology finds a nalyzed in controlled settings (Knupfer & McLellan, 1996, p. 1196). The simple examine what takes place in educational settings without focusing on extraneous variables that canno t be easily controlled (Knupfer & McLellan, 1996). Sandelowski (2000) also acknowledges the comprehensive nature of descriptive Quantitative data via game stati stics built into the Rush Hour game and researcher observations was collected first to summarize data related to game play including the frequency with which students used digital help tools when playing the game Rush Hour variances between how differen t tools were used, and the ratio of puzzles c ompleted with and without help. Qualitative analysis of the video recordings along with informal interviews of each partnership after game play looked more closely at the intent or why behind student actions (C reswell, 2009). Further analysis of both sets of data looked at differences in

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21 behavior between homogenous (same ability) and heterogeneous (mixed ability) partnerships. Limitations The size of this study is small (n=24), and the sample used is one of con venience. Therefore, the results are specific to the private preschool program described in the Context section above and described in greater detail in Chapter 4. Findings are most applicable to other preschool programs similar in size. It may also be d ifficult to generalize findings from this study to other preschool programs with different student demographics and/or academic programs not grounded in DAP. Nonetheless, the study offers insight into how young children use scaffolds built into digital ga mes during collaborative problem solving. Significance of Research Supporting Developmentally Appropriate Practice The ever changing technology landscape is transforming how people live their lives and communicate with each other and the world around the m. Technology has also become ubiquitous in the lives of young children (Banister, 2010; Berson & Berson, 2010; Prensky, 2001 b). Technology tools and interactive media such as the iPad are finding their way into early childhood classrooms, and teachers a re being challenged to utilize these tools to enhance learning (McManis & Gunnewig, 2012). Unfortunately, these same teachers often have little to no training or support on how to fit their use into best practices and rely on anecdotal information to help with integration (Shifflet, Toledo, & Mattoon, 2012). While anecdotal information plays an important role in helping educators feel more comfortable with technology use in their classrooms,

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22 empirical research in the early childhood context is needed to e nsure technology and media tools are used effectively and appropriately (NAEYC, 2012). Like NAEYC, Lieberman et al. (2009) call for more theory driven research on digital media for young children, acknowledging many digital media and games are not developm suggest research teams be comprised of game designers as well as game large numbers of children to identify long how learning with digital media transfers to other learning activiti es and settings (Lieberman el al., 2009, p. 282). Hong, Cheng, Hwang, Lee and Chang (2009) (2005 ) recommends the criteria used to evaluate digital environments follow the same criteria as other early childhood learning environments. Developmentally appropriate digital environments need to be active and user friendly, supportive of social interaction s, and should offer opportunities to explore, experiment, make decisions, and problem solve. Additionally, quick feedback as well as make digital games a powerful tool for le arning (Cooper, 2005, p. 298). Potential of Digital Scaffolds A prevalent behavior noted during game play in the preliminary study was related to the students using built in tools such as the Hint, Solve, Reset, and

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23 Next buttons as a means to complete a pu zzle. These help tools can be viewed as digital or technical scaffolds with the potential to support students during game Gunnewig, 2012, p. 21). In an interview with classr oom teachers, they considered the use of these help tools as a negative behavior of game play, examined from the perspective of constructivist learning these tools can serve as scaf folds to support and extend student learning. Research related to the impact of digital scaffolds in games on problem solving behaviors is emerging in the literature. Sun, Wang, and Chan (2011) sixth graders played a digital Sudoku game (Sun et al., 201 1, p. 2118). Hung, Yu, Chang, and Cheng (2012) looked at digital scaffolds when elementary school children played a geography puzzle game on a multi touch display. Their pr e test/post 37). Bottino, Ferlino, Ott, and Tavella (2007), in their longitudinal work with second graders usin g computer games, found software features such as backtracking tools and tips were supportive in helping students construct strategies while problem solving. While these findings demonstrate the potential of digital scaffolds to support learning, developme ntal differences between school aged children and preschool children along with how different ages approach learning tasks must be considered. As more and more digital games are used in the preschool

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24 classroom, research is needed to better understand how digital scaffolds w ithin games can support problem solving behaviors with young children. Ability Groupings Ability grouping, the process of grouping students in groups by skill or achievement, is a recognized strategy for pairing students during collaborative problem solving activities across educational contexts (Azmitia, 1988; King, Staffieri, & Adelgais, 1998; Light & Littleton 1998; Schmitz & Wimskel, 2008, Slavin, 1987 ) S everal studies within the literature are specific to the early childh ood classroom (Azmitia, 1988; Cooper, 1980; Fawcett & Garton, 2005; Johnson Pynn & Nisbet, 2002; Ramani, 2005). Most of these studies suggest mixed ability groups (dyads in which partners are at different cognitive levels) learn at a greater rate than sam e ability groupings (dyads in which both partners are at approximately the same cognitive level) but the findings between the different mixed dyad combinations (low h igh, low middle, middle high) are not consistent. A voice supporting equal ability peers in preschool problem solving tasks is Ramani (2005). In her study of four and five year old peer dyads completing a child driven building task with cardboard blocks, she found preschool children benefited by working with a peer of equal ability. What makes her study different than those cited above is the play like setting in which her findings occurred Ramani did not look specifically at ability groups but rather focused on the condition in which children collabo rated together. Homogenous dyads constructing in a more playful condition built more complex and complete

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25 buildings and participated in more communicative behaviors than those groups working in a more adult guided building environment. Findings regarding best practices in creating dyads during collaborative problem solving lean heavily toward the creation of mixed ability groups Yet, it cannot be assumed these findings will be replicated in a technological play environment where digital scaffolds can po tentially change how students problem solve and interact with each other as well as the game. It must also be noted that the majority of findings regarding mixed ability groups took place in experimental settings rather than in more natural classroom sett ings such as Pynn and tutoring and joint problem solving in different dyadic compositions, including those related to age, skills, social statuses, and tutoring abilities and helping behaviors can be displayed by young children. Therefore, it is important to look at the ways preschool students use digital scaffolds in different dyad configuratio ns to help shed light on which method best supports learning with problem solving games on the iPad in the natural preschool classroom. Organization of the Study This study is o rganized into six chapters ( Table 1 1). Chapter 1 provides an introduction to technology use through a developmentally appropriate framework in the preschool classroom and discusses teacher interest in using touch technologies, such as the iPad, to support learning with young children. The chapter also presents the problem of pract ice driving this study, provides a

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26 description of the capstone project including its limitations, and highlights significant areas of research. Chapter 2 provides an in depth evaluation of iPads specific to the preschool context to better understand how t hey can be integrated into the daily curriculum in developmentally appropriate ways. Chapter 3 presents literature related to game based learning, problem solving, and the potential of digitals scaffolds to support collaborative learning supporting this s capstone project utilizing mixed methods. A description of the context, digital game, and participants is included along with the methodology for data collection and analysis. trustworthiness. Chapter 5 discusses findings related to how young children use digital scaffolds built into the game Rush Hour to support collaborative problem solving while Chapter 6 provides a con clusion and suggests avenues for future research.

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27 Table 1 1. Organization of capstone project Chapter Title Summary 1 Introduction Introduction to how iPads apps can be used to support collaborative problem solving in the preschool classroom along with a n overview of the capstone project. 2 Background Context specific to technology within a developmentally appropriate framework. Evaluates iPad features through the literature related to computers and mobile devices. 3 Literature Review Examines how preschool students can use digital games during play to develop collaborative problem solving skills through a constructivist theoretical framework. 4 Methodology Describes the context of the study and includes a description of data collection procedures and data analysis. 5 Findings Presents findings related to the capstone study regarding how digital scaffolds built into the Rush Hour game support collaborative problem solving. 6 Conclusion s Reflects on the findings of this study and their impact on f uture research.

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28 CHA PTER 2 BACKGROUND The purpose of Chapter 2 is to provide a contextual background for examining how the iPad, with its touch interface and educational apps, can be integrated into the preschool curriculum. The chapter presents the unique learning needs of young children, re views the research related to technology use in a developmentally appropriate preschool curriculum, and examines current practices utilizing handhelds and touch technologies. For the purpose of this review, early childhood is defined as the period of development from birth to age eight while preschool is defined as a learning environment for children ages three to five years. Mobile devices are defined as small, portable computers that allow anytime, anywhere access. Mobile devices utilizing a stylus are referred to as handhelds within the literature while mobile devices using a touch interface are called touch devices. Technological advances in the last half century have drastically changed how people live, work, and communicate (Deal, 2008; Druin, 2 009; Fleer, 2011; Palfrey & Gasser, 2008; Wohlwend, 2010). Technology has become omnipresent in the lives of young children too (Banister, 2010; Berson & Berson, b ; Zevenbergen, 2007). The saturation of mobile digital devices such as smart phones, MP3 players, and tablets means technologies are embedded in the everyday lives of young 2007, p. 1). Using the term

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29 contemporary experiences of children from the 21 st century when defining cu rrent In 1979, Russian American psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner recognized the powerful role external environments play in shaping child development. While the immediate physical environment in which children live is critical to learning, they are also influenced by different activities and experiences, many over which they have no control. These various systems interact with each other and have the potential to affect the child, both positively and negatively (Bronf nested framework to demonstrate how the child is embedded i n these different contexts ( Figure 1 1 ). This framework is particularly relevant in showing how the entrenchment of technology and digital media within our culture is shaping our values and beliefs, ultimately impacting our children and how they learn from the world around them (Berson & Berson, 2010). media can who have access and can fully participate and those who cannot (Zickuhr & Smith, 2012) This divide is apparent when we think globally of those countries in the developing world. It is less apparent in our schools, where many school children have access Here the problem is not access but participation A therefore lack the necessary skills to effectively pa rticipate. This includes technical skills, social skills, media literacy skills, and an understanding of the rules that guide participation (Jenkins, 2006). Schools can play an important role

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30 in bridging this gap by promoting positive experiences with di gital technologies into the daily curriculum (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008). Figure 1 1. Developmentally Appropriate Practice Definition Since 1986, the National Association for the Education of Young C hildren (NAEYC) has played an instrumental role in defining high quality early childhood programs serving children from birth to age eight through its framework, developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) (NAEYC, 2009). Subsequent position statements on c urriculum, assessment, professional development, cultural diversity, media, and technology have also helped guide early childhood practitioners in creating learning environments responsive to the social,

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31 emotional, physical and cognitive development of you ng children (NAEYC, 2009). DAP is built upon three key tenets grounded in the work of Jean Piaget Sociocultural Theory. 1. Meet children where they are, both individually and as a group, by und erstanding learning and development and how they vary with age and developmental level (Copple & Bredekamp, 2006; NAEYC, 2009). 2. Identify challenging, achievable goals and help individual children meet them (Copple & Bredekamp, 2006; NAEYC, 2009). 3. Consider what is age, individually, and culturally appropriate for each child (Copple & Bredekamp, 2006; NAEYC, 2009). Piaget believed young children move through fixed stages of development where they build a system to organize the world around them. S tudents assimilate similar objects and events or modify their mental structures to accommodate new ideas. Learning is always under construction and takes place through active manipulation of the world around them (Piaget & Inhelder, 2000). Children learn by exploring a variety of concrete materials, most often through play experiences (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009; Piaget & Inhelder, 2000). Agreeing with Piaget, Vygotsky believed students form their own knowledge and that learning should correspond with the c level but did not believe this learning occurs in a vacuum (Vygotsky, 1978). Learning is also a social activity, and social and cultural factors are especially critical to the development of thinking and language (Vygotsky, 1978). He also promoted play as the primary vehicle of engagement for young children and discussed the instrumental role of classroom teachers in preparing the learning environment (Johnson et al. 2005). It is the early childhood educator who plans

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32 experiences ba sed on developmental stages, individual needs, and an of the school environ ment (Berk & Winsler, 1995; NAE Y C 2009). Role of Play Play is at the heart of the DAP framework facilitator for learning and development across domains and reflects the social 33). As a fundamental part of the early childhood curriculum, play is the avenue by which children learn new concepts and make sense of their world through exploration, express individual thoughts and ideas, and interact with others (Isenberg & Quisenberry, 2002; Johnston et al. 2005). Through play, children their symbolic and problem as well as develop oral language skills and social competence. There are many types of play such as physical, motor, social, pretend, symbolic, and constructive, each with its own benefits to development (Johnston et al. 2005; NAEYC, 2009). Computer and other technology tools also offer play possibilities that can enhance social, motor, emotional, and cognitive development when used appropriately (Clements, 1987; Haugland, 1992; Johnson & Christie, 2009; Wright & Samaras, 1986). Of course, as with any material or instructional tool introduced into the preschool classroom, teachers must first, ask if the tool is developmentally appropriate and consistent with the and second, determine what benefits are derived by its use (Allen & Blake, 2010; Chiasson & Gutwan, 2005; Clement s & Sarama, 2003; Haugland, 2000 ; NAEYC, 1996).

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33 Technology Embedded within DAP In 1996, NAEYC released its first position statement related to computers in the early childhood classroom. The key message of the statement proposes technology tools be used alongside traditional manipulatives and play materials such as sand and water, blocks, puzzles, play dough, arts and crafts, and dramatic pla a viable option to enhance learning and development when embedded in DAP. In 2012, NAEYC, supported by the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning longer the only technology available to young children, the updated statement broadens the concept of technology to include interactive media and asserts intentional use. Other key positions relate to the need for ongoing research and professional d evelo pment, focused attention on digital citizenship and equitable access, and special considerations for technology and media use with infants and toddlers. Historical Perspective of Technology Use Most research on computers and other technology tools is rela ted to the K 12 environment. Little attention has been paid to their potential role in the preschool setting focused on children ages three to five years (Kamil & Intrator, 1998; Lankshear & Knobel, 2003; McCarrick & Li, 2007; Yelland & Masters, 2007). T his lack of research is due in part to a long standing debate amongst

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3 4 educators, parents, and physicians about the possible negative effects of technology use. Concerns related to computer use and young children cover the four developmental domains cogni tive, social/emotional, motor, and linguistic development. Threats include repetitive stress injuries; potential for obesity due to sedentary activity; visual strain from flickering and glare on the computer screen; reduced social skills due to isolation from peers; behavior issues related to reduced social skills; and language delays from limited social interactions (Alliance for Childhood, 2004; Cordes & Miller, 2000; Cuban, 2001; Elkind, 1996; Healy, 1998; Miller, 2005; Pendleton, 2001). Empirical and theoretical literature has shown, however, that computers and technology tools engage young children (Chang, Mu llen & Stuve, 2005, Ng & Nichols, 2009 ; Trella, Barros, & Conejo, 2008); can help them learn (Fritz, 2005; Ketamo, 2002; Murphy, DePasquale, & Mc 2011); foster early literacy skills (Fishburn, 2008; Kuhlman, Danielson, Campbell, & Topp, 2006; Lieberman et al., 2009) encourage positive social interactions between peers (Heft & Swaminathan, 2002; Kumtepe, 2006; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985; Tsantis, Bewic & Touevenelle, 2003); and promote peer scaffolding (Ahmad & Assim, 2003; Freeman & Somerindyke, 2001) when used in developmentally appropriate ways. Contemporary views are moving away from the use o r not use debate as they recognize the relevancy of technology in the lives of young children (Chatel, 2005; Edwards, 2005; Parette, Quesenberry, & Blum, 2010; Schomburg & Donohue, 2009; Van Scoter, Ellis, & Railsback, 2001). According to Edwards

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35 (2005), learning within the early childhood educational context is arguably akin to denying the role it plays in their socio cultural experiences outside the tors need to make professional judgments and utilize technology as instructional tools to enhance learning and development while paying close attention to pedagogy and appropriate practice (Tsantis, Bewic, & Thouvenelle, 2003). Allen and Blake (2010) reco mmend educators (p. 143) to ensure balanced, appropriate use while using touch devices in the preschool classroom Theoretical Framework Supporting iPad Use in the Preschool Classroom During the preschool years, all learning is interdependent (Tomlinson & Hyson, 2009). Development and learning in the cognitive domain is affected by the development and learning taking place across the soci al, linguistic, and physical domains and vice versa (Tomlinson & Hyson, 2009; NAEYC, 2009). It is this connected learning which guides educators in developing programs that meet the developmental needs of children across the cognitive, social/emotional, m otor, and linguistic d omains (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009 ; NAEYC, 2009). Therefore, two theories help outline how touch technologies such as the iPad can be used in the preschool classroom information processing theory driven by sociocultural theory rooted in constructivism. Cognitivism and Information Processing Theory Cognitivism focuses on the mental processes of language, problem solving, and concept formation. Learning is a conscious, active process of

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36 ners use their memory and thought processes to generate (Ro binson, Molenda, & Rezabek, 2008 p. 25 26). Cognitivists look at how problem solving skills and higher mental function s change and grow over time as children take in, organize, use, and retain information (Schuh & Barab, 2008 ). The cognitive information processing theory uses the metaphor of the e memory system (Lohr & Gall, 2007). Information is first registered through the senses as the brain responds to external stimuli. Information then moves through the memory channel, from working memory to long term memory. Working memory is where inform ation is internally processed and problem solving occurs. Once information is processed it is transferred to long term memory, where information is permanently stored and available for future use (Ro binson, Molenda, & Rezabek, 2008 ). representation capacities, reasoning skills, classification abilities, attention, Sustained play experiences with hands on materials such as puzzles, blocks, games and manipulatives are cognitive activities that help build these capabilities as well as develop mathematical skills in areas such as number and operations, geometry, spatial relationships, and measure ment (Tomlinson & Hyson, 2009; NCTM, 2012). The use of iPads and educational apps in the classroom can provide additional opportunities for students to explore mathematical concepts,

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37 engage in problem solving through digital games and puzzles, and work on spatial skills as they manipulate virtual shapes and objects. Constructivists believe children create meaning by buil ding upon previous experiences. The acquisition of knowledge is a learner centered, hands on process where students construct new ideas or concepts and fit those ideas and concepts into their existin g knowledge (Schuh & Barab, 2008 ). Construction of knowledge takes place during play as children learn through exploration, manipulation of objects and materials, and imitation at their own developmental pace (Johnson et al. 2005). Hands on exploration of the learning environment and its materials through problem solving as well as opportunities for creative expression are keys to learning ( Bodrova & Leong, 2005). Vygotsky (1978) believed students construct their own knowledge and that believe this learning occurs in a vacuum. Learning is a social activity, and Vygo and language opportunities play in shaping thinking (Berk & Winsler, 1995; Vygotsky, 1978). Adults or other more knowledgeable children can help extend students beyond current lev els of performance by aiding and guiding them through the learning process This concept is known as the zone of proximal development (ZPD). As the learner becomes more comfortable and demonstrates competence with new or advanced concepts and skills, sup port by adults or more knowledgeable others is gradually withdrawn (Berk & Winsler, 1995; Vygotsky, 1978).

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38 Studies have shown collaborative computer use by young children can foster the critical social interactions needed for cognitive development as reas oned by Vygotsky (Heft & Swaminathan, 2002; Kumtepe, 2006; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985) as well as provide opportunities for students to support their peers through scaffolding (Ahmad & Assim, 2003; Freeman & Somerindyke, 2001; Fritz, 2005; Lee, 2009). Thro ugh these collaborative exchanges, students talk about their actions, ask for information, learn to take turns and cooperate. These social interactions increase the use of language, which Vygotsky ma, 2003; Hisrich & Blanchard, 2009; Johnson & Christie, 2009; Robinson, 2003; Shute & Miksad, 1997; Thurlow, 2009) and influences what individuals think as well as their behavior (Berk & Winsler, 19 95, p. 22). Of course, teachers play a critical role in preparing the learning environment to ensure activities meet the developmental needs of all children and in supporting children by asking questions, giving suggestions, modeling actions and providing the necessary guidance to extend the development process (Chang, 2001; Haugland, 2000; Heft & Swaminathan, 2002; Nir Gal & Klein, 2004; Vygotsky, 1978). The multitude of apps available on the iPad provide opportunities for teachers to meet the varied ind ividual differences found in the typical preschool classroom. Apps targeting specific skills or those with various built in levels can development. Additionally, there are many wa ys to enhance language experiences through apps specific to phonemic awareness, rhyme, and

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39 vocabulary development. Audio and electronic books can be used as additional tools in building a language rich environment. Finally, video and audio recording feat ures of the iPad can be utilized by children during their play and used to engage children in digital storytelling, which can enhance language development. Summary of Research on Handheld Devices Literature related to the use of handhelds (stylus based mob ile devices) in education has emerged over the last ten years. Much of the literature is anecdotal in nature but several studies from various educational contexts suggest there is potential for these technology tools to increase motivation (Chang et al., 2005; Couse & Chen, 2010; Kuhlman et al., 2006; Magagna McBee, 2010); engage students in their learning (Chen at al. 2008; Couse & Chen, 2010; Fishburn, 2008); increase cognitive skills (Fishburn 2008; Ketamo, 2002; Magagna 2004; Ng & Nicholas, 2009 ); foster collaboration (Figg & Burson, 2005; Fritz, 2005; Kuhlman et al., 2006) and Fraser, 2004). Additionally, these studies showed the stylus was easy to use (Couse & Chen, 2010; Fishburn, 2008; Magagna McBee, 2010) and the small screen size of the handheld not an issue for young children (Chang, 2001). Only two studies specific to handhelds in the preschool context were identified in the literature (Cou se & Chen, 2010; Geist, 2012; Matthews & Seow, 2007). Couse and Chen (2010) examined the use of stylus based tablets by three to six year olds to determine if these technological tools align with early childhood curriculum standards set forth by NAEYC a nd the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Using a mixed method approach,

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40 electronically drawn self portraits produced on tablets with a stylus were compared to traditional drawings made with crayons. Utilizing assessment tools comm only used to measure fine motor development such as the Draw a Man Test, Couse and Chen (2010) determined the student drawings were consistent between the two platforms The authors cite the work of Matthews and Seow (2007) who also explored electronic pa children ages 2 to 11 They found the stylus a better tool than a mouse for young ws & Seow, 2007, p.255). Drawings are one way early childhood children represent their thinking, thus it is essential the tools they use enhance this experience. While these findings are descriptive in nature and limited to two small samples (n=41; n=12) these studies serve as a starting point for the examination of iPads in the early childhood curriculum since the iPad and stylus based tablet share the same interface and a similar input device. Evaluating iPad Features Through the Literature Each year the research organization New Media Consortium looks at current technology trends with potential to impact teaching and learning learning focused institutions over the nex of The Horizon Report digital media continues to rise in importance Much of this rise can be attributed to the proliferation of mobile devices like the iPad (Johnson, Smith, Willis, Levine, & Haywood, 2011). interactive touch interface, access to thousands of educational apps, built in

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41 functionalities and connectivity to the Internet via a wireless network are driving educators to consider their use in the classroom (McManis & Gunnewig, 2012). In this section, possible benefits and potential threats of iPad use in the some of these benefits and risks mirror those in the literature related to computer use, handheld use with a stylus input, and research on other touch surfaces as only two studies to date have been identified specific to iPads in early childhood classroom (Bebell, Dorris, & Muir, 2012; Geist, 2012). Others are related specifically to design features o f the device and software design principles associated with potential applications. Finally, some are suggestions from articles in non refereed journals, which are anecdotal in nature, but provide insight into how educators are currently exploring iPads ( Banister, 2010; Ostashewski & Reid, 2011; Waters 2010). Overall Design In his book, The Design of Everyday Things Norman (2002) proposes the function of a device is directly related to its design. If a device is designed well, it will provide natural s ignals that will help dictate how it is to be used. The better the signals or properties, called affordances, the easier the device is to use. proposed the concept of affordances (G provides a general guideline on how visual perception leads to action and how these actions dictate the ease with which objects are actually used (Gibson, wing that knobs are for turning, switches are for flipping, levers are for sliding, and buttons

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42 in regards to using iPads includes intuitively knowing the slide bar is for unloc king the device, the square button icons are for selecting apps, and other shapes such as arrows within apps are for left and right movement. As young children are non readers, these natural affordances of the iPad help facilitate its use with little to n o technical support (Geist, 2012). Of course the affordances of the iPad do not automatically extend to the apps loaded on the device. Teachers will need to critically evaluate the interface nts of cognitive et al. 2005, p. 25). Features such as icon size and spacing, text placement, graphics, and navigation tools must be evaluated for each individual application (Lieberman et al. 2009; Revelle, 2009). Related to size and spacing, Chiasson & Gutwin screen items In their qualitative study of th ree and four year olds, Romeo, Edward, McNamara, Walker and Ziguras (2003) compared the mouse and keyboard with a touch screen attached to a computer, paying particular attention to fine motor issues specific to the touch screen. Students became more com petent with the touch screen over time as they learned how to use their fingers to select, drag, and move objects, but researchers noted difficulties due to design that impacted s important in ensuring young children have success with a touch interface

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43 (Romeo et al., p. 335). This study demonstrates young children can use a touch interface easily and he lps advise the selection of potential iPad apps used in the classroom based on developmentally appropriate design features. Touch Screen typical of the preschool classroom as it has tools and apps with their fingers is supportive of the constructivist theory of children learning best by building knowledge thorough disco very and exploration. The touch interface supports active inquiry and provides a tool more advantageous to the fine motor needs of young children (Lu & Frye, 1992; Wood et al. 2004). Apps with simple interfaces, which utilize single touch or click gestu res, are especially beneficial to students with weak motor skills (Chiasson & Gutwan, 2005). Chiong & Shuler (2010) and Geist (2012) found children as young as two could easily use touch tablets with little to no help. Revelle (2009) believes the touch interface is easier for young children to use, especially when tapping is the primary method to operate the device and apps. Potential issues with the touch interface include the need to touch and lift versus touch and hold (Revelle, 2009). Young childre n may apply too much pressure, which impacts how the device and application will work. The need to pinch and slide simultaneously with two fingers may present challenges for children with weaker fine motor skills as well. Apps requiring tap, release and slide movements are easier (Chiong & Schuler, 2010; Geist, 2012; Revelle, 2009). Cooper also discusses how touch interfaces utilizing simpler movements

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44 students with special needs (Cooper, 2005, p. 296). In the earliest study examining touch interfaces with preschool children, Lu and Frye (1992) observed the amount of time children took performing four different tasks utilizing both a mouse and touch screen. Twelve children w ere observed selecting objects as well as selecting and moving objects to a specified place by dragging and then releasing the object. The children required less time to complete the activities on the touch screen as compared to the mouse. Children had m ore trouble coordinating the operation of the mouse button with movement than when utilizing their finger, although errors arose when children made multiple touches on the touch surface. In addition, students initially had lose contact with the object they were moving (Lu & Frye, 1992, p. 424). When interviewed, the students were divided in which device they liked best, but 10 of the 12 students agreed the mouse was harder t o use. Lu & Frye (1992) commented on the connectedness of the touch interface with the actual action being completed, which is also noted throughout later literature (Chiasson & Gutwan, 2005; Couse & Chen, 2010; Druin, 2009; Geist, 2012; Hourcade & Hansen 2009; Revelle, 2009). They found there was a greater physical connection with object manipulation with a touch interface than with the indirect input of the mouse, which is more inline with how young children learn (Piaget & Inhelder, 2000). Yu, Zhang, Ren, Zhao and Zhu (2010) conducted a qualitative pilot study to evaluate how a vertical multi touch screen would support multi user learning

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45 while playing interactive games with eight kindergarten students in China. A vertical multi touch display (42 inch wide screen) was placed on a table at drag, opportunities to compete against each other as well as collaborate on gaming body parts such as arms (Yu et al., 2010, p. 372) While this large scale touch device used in this pilot study is very different in size than the iPad, f indings related to how students found the touch interface easy to use are relevant to this review. Simple gestures, such as click and drag, are most appropriate for young children and should be checked when selecting apps. Wood et al. (2004) also noticed usage issues related to body part placement in their observations of 80 preschoolers using four different computer input devices (mouse, EZ ball, touch pad and touch screen) to play educational computer games While the touch screen was the best interfac e when dragging static objects to targets, the mouse and EZ ball were better in activities requiring the tracking of objects This appears to be partly due to the location of the arm blocking part of the vertical screen obstructing objects from the childr The mouse, EZ ball, and touch pad were located on a horizontal table surface away from the monitor, which did not obstruct the view of the screen. While this study indicates the mouse and EZ Ball were easier for students to use, it supports the touch interface for simple tasks, especially for young children with less defined motor skills. Chiasson & Gutwan (2005) suggest text should be placed above objects rather than below objects when designing software to

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46 minimize such issues It should als o be noted the horizontal interface of the iPad as opposed to the vertical interface used in the cited studies may not pose these same problems Further investigation would be needed to determine if arm een is used. In a two iPad over five months. This allowed Geist to observe spontaneous use of the device in a variety of settings both in and out of the home. He then observed 20 children in two university lab preschool programs. Findings from both environments were consistent. First, young children could easily use the device with little to no assistance and the touch interface was a natural way for students to interact with technology ( iPads do things that they were not directly children were much more independent using the iPad than when using interface and design. Overall, studies showed time to complete tasks wit h a touch interface was shorter than with traditional input devices such as the mouse and keyboard (Lu & Frye, 1992; Wood et al. 2004) and found simple gestures could be used to accomplish tasks (Wood et al., 2004; Yu et al. 2010) Issues related to unw anted contacts with other body parts (Yu et al. 2010) and multiple touch errors (Lu & Frye, 1992), along with time needed to adjust to the sensitivity of the interface (amount of pressure for the touch and speed of finger movement) were

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47 identified but fou nd to decline quickly (Geist, 2012; Hourcade & Hansen, 2009; Lu & Frye, 1992; Yu et al. 2010). This research also provided insight into design qualities such as icon placement and icon size, which can cause user errors (Romeo et al., 2003). Overall, the studies found the touch interface easy to use and inline with the developmental fine motor needs of young children. Screen Size The studies found in this review related to handhelds utilized smaller devices with screens less than half the size of the iPa d interface. Except for viewing Web sites with significant amounts of text, children had no issues interacting with the small size. Chang et al. (2005) found young children could easily manipulate a stylus on handheld devices. In their small qualitative study of four kindergarten students, they set out to determine if lack of motor coordination would impact how students used personal digital assistants (PDAs). Four NotePad. Students had no issues managing the limited screen space. Kuhlman, Danielson, Campbell & Topp (2006) describe the use of handheld computers (Palm Pilots) by 17 first grade children during pre writing activities. Sample activities included creating indivi dualized, personal spelling brainstorming ideas with pictures and words, and using the memo pad for to the writing task with handhelds as a pre writing tool, all first graders students also used graphic organizer software and drawing software to

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48 brainstorm. Students had no trouble cr eating bubbles and links to organize their ideas in a pre writing brainstorming session on the small interface Researchers also found drawings and charts created by the children detailed and easy to read. Mobility which the technology is accessible students to seek support from teachers and peers as need ed throughout the classroom setting, and as no special furniture is required, the iPad can move from center to center, whether it be at a table, on a cushion in the reading corner, or the circle rug on the floor, with ease. It can also be used outdoors, e xtending learning outside of the classroom walls. While other devices such as laptops offer this portability, the iPad is a better choice for young children due to its light weight (1.33 pounds) and long battery life (eight to ten hours ), which can last a n entire school day (Apple, 2011). Fritz (2005) conducted an ethnographic study to investigate how 21 first grade students used handhelds for collaboration. Through interviews, students remarked learning how to use the new tool and the mobility of the devices were important in helping them share and work with peers from around the classroom, not just those sitting near them Through additional observations and collection of student artifacts, she concluded students learned new content while using the d evices and collaborating with their peers, as well as practiced technology skills related to state standards. Eighty five percent of the students said handhelds

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49 helped them learn with 54% citing specific concepts learned. Assessment of learning artifacts confirmed these interview findings. Figg and Burson (2005) shared examples of how handhelds in elementary and middle school classrooms complemented other activity structures already in place within the learning environment. Reviewing the work of teache rs participating in the Palm Education Pioneers (PEP) evaluation study, they cited across the curriculum as the biggest benefits to the use of handhelds. Students used handhel ds in science labs to help document observations and predictions and to record their understanding of scientific concepts during data collection. Figg and Burson (2005) stressed handheld technologies are most powerful when m (p. 133) in which children can dictate when and how they are used Chen et al. (2008) investigated the use of handhelds as cognitive tools to facilitate inquiry based learning among primary students on a field trip exploring the environmental issues of reduce, reuse, and recycle. A total of 480 students from six schools participated in the study over a two week period. An increase in learning of 33% was documented between pre and post tests Researchers foun 249). Increase in motivation along with improved organization was also noted as benefits to using the handhelds. Ng and Nicholas (2008) conducted a qualitative study over ten months on

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50 Through both observations and student and teacher interviews, they found increased student engagement, promotion of good behavior, and personal ownership of the students over their learning. The students used the devices instinctively and were very willing to share and help others. Teachers liked the interactive potential of the devices and t seen as a real advantage by the students because of their ability to take them Ng & Nicholas, 2008, p. 476). The multimodal aspect of the tools was also seen as beneficial. The small screen size was noted as an issue for some of the activities such as viewing Web pages but special tools such as the audio recorder and notepad were beneficial to students with low literacy skills. While this study is not specifi c to the preschool context, its findings support the use of iPads as a way for teachers to engage students in their learning as well as a means to differentiate instruction and provide individualized learning experiences. Geist (2012) found the mobility of the iPad enhanced the ability to teachers utilizing multimedia features such as videos and educatio nal apps within learning centers to provide a richer, more concrete experience for the children. in need ed based on student questions and inquiries as well as provide access to

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51 While the mobility of the iPad is considered one of its best features, it ma y also present limitations. The preschool classroom is a busy, often loud place. The noise level of the classroom may prompt children to complain they cannot adequately hear apps compelling teachers to use headphones with the devices. This may be applic able in some situations, such as when a student is listening to an e book, but overuse of headphones can impact the potential for social interactions, a worry of many educators (Alliance for Childhood, 2004; Cordes & Miller, 2000; Elkind, 1996; Healy, 1998 ; Miller, 2005; Pendleton, 2001). Display Orientation iPads offer the ability to adjust the viewing screen to an angle comfortable for each individual child. Studies show a horizontal display is easier to read than a vertical one and eye strain can be red uced if the screen is ten to twenty degrees below the horizontal plane of ; Pendleton, 2001). Stands, such as the Big Grips Frame built specifically for young children, not only offer a protective case with an easy grip for little hands but can help set the display at an appropriate viewing angle (KEM Ventures, 2011). However, until additional long term research is conducted, concerns related to visual strain from flickering screens, glare from fluorescent lights in the clas sroom, and eye strain related from staring too long without taking breaks as well as posture issues related to where the devices are used are still valid concerns (Cordes & Miller, 2000; Healy, 1998; Pendleton, 2001). Applications The thousands of apps cur rently available for download, along with access to the Internet, offer educators increased options to personalize instruction

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52 (Chiong & Shuler, 2010; Geist, 2012). Apps utilizing various instructional strategies such as demonstrations, stories, interacti ve questioning, explorations, and challenges can be used (Lieberman et al. 2009). In addition, iPads allow both students and teachers to easily create custom content. These are important features of the iPad as individualization is a key component of de velopmentally young children should use few menus and sub menus and minimal text, and a visual interface with icons and pictorial clues is more appropriate (Chiasson & Gutwan, 2005; Chiong & Shuler, 2010; Inkpen, 1999; NAEYC, 2012; Revelle, 2009). Chiasson & Gutwan (2005) have catalogued an extensive list of design principles to guide educators when selecting software based on how children naturally learn zed into three main areas: cognitive, applied to the selection of apps for the iPad. Cognitive apps need to meet the different developmental needs of its users with audio and vide o clues, provide feedback to guide children through learning new concepts, and expand in complexity to support children as they gain understanding. They also remember how to ac to physical development, Chiasson & Gutwin (2005) agree with the research that direct input devices such as touch interfaces are appropriate tools for young children iPads are tangible and offe rs students the opportunity to manipulate

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53 objects in a different way than indirect devices. Finally, apps need to keep children interested, allow them to set the pace, and facilitate social interactions. Other iPad Features There are several other feat ures on the iPad that can help support its use in a developmentally appropriate preschool program. The iPad display can be changed into 34 languages and keyboard characters, which allows for customization for non English speaking students or enrichment in teaching new languages. Security features such as adding a passcode lock to limit access and turning off content features such as Internet access or apps featuring videos, help educators keep children safe and prevents accidental access to inappropriate material. In addition to the potential apps that can be downloaded to the device to in camera, video capabilities, and recording features makes it an all in one device. Potential examples of developmenta lly appropriate practices (both student and teacher driven) utilizing these features include: Using the camera to photograph constructions in the block center. Video recording students at work or play to aid in assessment. Recording stories for playback in a literacy center, or recording student stories or reflections to share with families. Utilizing the camera and video conferencing software to expose children to different people and cultures. Potential of iPads for Learning. The purpose of introducing new teaching tools and strategies into the classroom is with the hope learning will be impacted in a positive way. While the majority of studies located on mobile devices demonstrate power in motivating students, fostering collaboration, and contextualiz ing learning, they are less clear

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54 about the impact on cognitive development. Some studies have emerged showing mobile devices can help lower performing students make academic gains (Ketamo, 2002; Kuhlman et al. 2006) and increase understanding of new con cepts (Bebell, Dorris, & Muir, 2012; Fishburn, 2008; Fritz, 2005; Chen et al., tcomes (Magagna McBee, 2010). Hourcade and Hansen (2009) discuss the potential of multi touch displays to support learning across the curriculum. Their article is anecdotal in nature, but argues how the touch interface allows children to manipulate objects in a similar way to physical objects. Their suggestions for the touch display as a natural way to tr ace shapes and letters, practice handwriting, manipulate puzzles, make shapes out of other shapes, sort objects, and play digital musical instruments are examples of developmentally appropriate practices. Kuhlman et al. (2006) noted handhelds motivated str uggling first grade writers. In their study, handhelds were integrated into everyday writing experiences and used as a supplemental learning tool to other literacy activities. The new tools motivated the students to participate more actively in brainstor ming sessions, which increased their use of vocabulary in final writing products. Ketamo (2002) also found students with lower skills benefited the most from using handhelds. His small study of six year olds learning geometry concepts through leveled gam (p. 2) after use. Fishburn (2008) set out to determine if there is a difference between students who use a mobile reading device and those who receive traditional

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55 reading instruction in a kindergarten classroom. Using a causal comparative research design, 292 kindergarten students from four schools in Delaware along with 14 teachers participated in the final study. The students were evenly split between the treatment and non treatment groups. Five subtests from the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS ) were used as pre and post tests. The highest gains were found in the areas of phonemic awareness, vocabulary, word fluency and comprehension. In addition, girls significantly outperformed the boys in word fluency. The most significant finding was rel ated to the amount of time the devices were used. Higher gains were related to higher mobile device usage. Unlike Fishburn, Magagna and post between the group using the handheld devices and the group not using the handheld devices" (p. 94). Using a mixed methods approach, four classes of kindergarten students were evaluated in two schools over the course of four months Two classes used handheld devices for literacy activities, while two classes did not A total of 92 students participated While the handheld group did not show increased gains over the traditional group, it was concluded handhelds could be used as tool to compliment instruction. Prel iminary results from the first large scale integration of iPads in the United States also suggest iPads can be used as a tool to compliment learning but the statistical significance of this relationship is still unclear (Bebell, Dorris & Muir, 2012). iPad s were introduced into eight kindergarten classes over nine

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56 kindergarteners (n=129 iPad; n=137 comparison) participated from six elementary school in Maine. The researchers utiliz ed three different pre and post Academic Assessment (CPAA), and Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement (OSELA)) to gauge learning Students in both the iPad group and control group (Bebell et al., 2012, p. 1). When looking at OSELA scores, they were significantly higher for the iPad group, es pecially on the subtest measuring phonemic awareness Chapter Summary The rapid influx of mobile technologies is changing how young children live and learn Preschool educators acknowledge this quick pace and its impact on their students but are often u nsure of how to use technology meaningfully for teaching and learning in ways that are developmentally, individually, and culturally appropriate. Initial research on mobile learning through the use of handheld devices is positive across all developmental domains. Although research on handhelds in the preschool context is limited, findings from elementary classrooms indicate handhelds increase motivation, engage students in their learning, foster social interactions and peer collaboration, and promote the development of new technology skills. Additionally, young children have found the small size of handheld screens and input via stylus appropriate for use. Emerging reports on iPad use indicate they can be used like other developmentally appropriate learni ng activities such as blocks, puzzles and

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57 games, painting, playing musical instruments, and dramatic play and have the potential to support learning through a cognitive constructivist framework guiding developmentally appropriate practice. A watchful, bal anced approach to iPads in the preschool classroom can reduce potential risks while affording opportunities to support the overal l development of young children.

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58 CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEW Utilizing a constructivist framework, this literature review evaluates how peer and digital scaffolds are used to support collaborative problem solving in the preschool classroom. The connection between help seeking behaviors and scaffolding is discussed as are strategies for partnering young children to promote ef fective collaboration The benefits and challenges of game based learning are also presented. Studies have shown technology use by young children can foster positive social interactions, promote cognitive and linguistic development, and support collaborat ive problem solving in the early childhood classroom (Ahmad & Assim, 2003; Clements & Sarama, 2003; Freeman & Somerindyke, 2001; Heft & Swaminathan, 2002; Hisrich & Blanchard, 2009; Kumtepe, 2006; Lee, 2009; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985; Robinson, 2003; Shute & Miksad, 1997; Thurlow, 2009). NAEYC supports technology and media use as a means to foster social connections and shared learning and recommends computers and other technology tools be located in the main instructional area of the classroom with room f 46). Anecdotal evidence shows students prefer to work with a partner when using technology (Clem ents, 1987; Cooper, 2005; Epstein, 2007; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985) and these interactions provide many opportunities for peer supported and scaffolded learning to occur (Ahmad & Assim, 2003; Freeman & Somerindyke, 2001; Heft & Swaminathan, 2002; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985;

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59 Sharma & Hannafin, 2007). Introducing digital games into the early childhood curriculum is one way to promote collaborative problem solving. Theoretical Framework The theory of constructivism serves as the foundation for this capstone st udy. Constructivists, such as Jean Piaget, believe learning is student centered, and support children as builders of their own cognition through active discovery of the world around them (Berk & Winsler, 1995; Piaget & Inh elder, 2000; Schuh & Barab, 2008 ) Students acquire new ideas or concepts through personal experiences, and then fit those notions into their current knowl edge system (Schuh & Barab, 2008 ). For young children, play is the vehicle for knowledge construction as it allows them to explore, manipulate objects and materials, and test their thinking at their own pace, in their own way (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009; Johnson et al. 2005). Opportunities for problem solving are also critical to the knowledge construction process. Like other construct ivists, Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1978) believed students shape their own knowledge, and concurred learning not believe this learning occurs in isolation (Vygotsky, 1978). Vygotsky expanded the ideas of Piaget by looking more closely at how social interactions and collaboration impact learning. Vygotsky found adults or other more knowledgeable children play an important role in the learning process by aiding and gu iding learners, stretching them to exceed what they can do independently. This concept is known as the zone of proximal development (ZPD).

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60 developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult ge the 1992, p. 26). Scaffolding behaviors are unique to each learning context, but there are three characteristics that always exist, the interaction(s) must be collaborati scaffolding is gradually withdrawn as the learner becomes able to complete the tas k alone (Yelland & Masters, 2007 ; Wood & Wood, 1996). Influenced by Ross (1976 ) were the first to use the term scaffolding in reference to tutoring as a means to support increased cognitive performance by young children (Davis & Miyake, 2004). chil ages three to five respond to different types of assistance while problem solving including direct intervention, verbal correction, and verbal directions when building a wood pyrami d with blocks. They found scaffolding behaviors by a tutor decrease as students get older and the youngest students require the greatest amount of assistance via direct intervention or showing of how to complete a task. They also found that the type of s caffolding behavior used by a tutor shifts as young children get older from showing (direct instruction and modeling) to telling (reminders and suggestions) (Davis & Miyake, 2004; Wood et al ., 1976;

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61 Yelland & Masters, 2007 ). Wood et al. (1976) identified six different forms of scaffolds, each with its own function within the scaffolding process, including recruitment, reduction in degrees of freedom, direction maintenance, marking critical features, frustration control, and demonstration ( Table 3 1). Table 3 1. Functions of scaffol ding as defined by Wood, Bruner & Ross (1976) Scaffolding Function Description of Function Recruitment Engages student in the task and ensures there is objective(s). Reduction in degree of freedom Simplifies the task by reducing the number of moves or acts required for a solution. Direction maintenance Keeps the child focused on the task and moves them progressively forward as he/she experiences success. Marking critical feature s Makes note of task features to bring attention actions as a means to improve the problem solving process. Frustration control Reduces the amount of stress or fear exhibited by a child while working through a task. Demonstration Models the process of completing a task either partially or completely with the hope the child will try again. Categories of Scaffolding While the initial work of Wood et al. (1976) was specific to tutoring interactions bet ween adults and young children, research concerning the scaffolding process within different contexts is also present within the literature (Lajoie, 2005). Research related to peer scaffolding and collaborative problem solving in early childhood contexts emerged in the 1980 s (Azmitia, 1 988) with scaffolding specific to computer or technology enhanced learning environments (TELEs) emerging soon after (Sharm a & Hannafin, 2007; Pea, 2004). More s to include different tools and resources that can be used by students when working

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62 independently to solve problems and moves beyond the idea of scaffolds serving solely as cognitive tools (Brush & Say e, 2002; Yelland & Masters, 2007 ). Peer Scaffolding in Computer Environments Scaffolding is also noted within the literature by student dyad interactions in the preschool and elementary classroom in many learning situations including computer contexts. These behaviors, both verbal and non verbal, include poi nting out important details, showing how to complete a task, proposing a suggestion, giving direct instruction, and providing encouragement (Ahmad & Assim, 2003; Ellis & Rogoff, 1982; Heft & Swaminathan 2002 ; Hyun & Davis, 2005; Sharma & Hannafin, 2007; V erba, 1998). Differences in the types and amounts of scaffolds provided changes depending on the age of the individual providing support, the age of the student receiving the support, and the task itself (Reise r, 2009; Yelland & Masters, 2007 ; Verba, 1998 ; Wood et al., 1976; Wood & Wood, 1996 ). Many of these behaviors are noted by Ahmad & Assim (2003) in their small study of student dyads (5 year olds) in a K uala Lumpar preschool. Data were collected via observations and videotape as children worked on t he computer and through interviews regarding interactions within the dyads. partner (23%), providing information (19.8%), giving explanations (10.3%), suggesting ideas (3.7%), and correcting a peer (1.2%). Ellis and Rogoff (1982) examined how scaffolding strategies differ between adults and elementary children. While they concluded adults are better op

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63 p. 734). They found elementary children use demonstration or modeling the most via physica verbal behaviors were also more prevalent in peer interactions than verbal ones. The behaviors noted by Ellis a nd Rogoff (1982) are also found in the literature related to scaffolding during computer play in the preschool classroom (Ahmad & Assim, 2003; Freeman and Somerindyke, 2001; Heft & Swamanithan, 2002; Lee, 2009; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985). In one of the fir st studies related to computer use, problem solving, and peer interactions rel ated to young children, Muller and Perlmutter (1985) investigated how social interactions differ when children work at the computers as compared to working on a jigsaw puzzle. T hey discovered increased peer support while children worked together on the computer to complete problem 1 985, p. 177). Likewise, Heft and Swaminathan (2002) found children very comfortable asking neighboring peers for assistance when working at a computer center. During direct observations, children commented on their work and the work of peers, imitated st udents working next to them, and asked questions on how to complete tasks. As with older students, expert and novice roles emerge when preschool students work with peers on the computer. Freeman and Somerindyke (2001) mediated cognitive

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64 by side, some students took on the role of expert. Peers subsequently turned to these experts for guidance and support, even calling to the expe rts for assistance as helped the less competent child by explaining procedures and pointing to the (p. 304) in the classroom setting. Likewise, Pange & Kontozsis (2001) o bserved the emergence of more knowledgeable others assisting their peers with little or no computer experience in kindergarten classrooms in Greece both in learning how to use the mouse and in understanding how to operate the software. Scaffolds in Techno logy Enhanced Learning Environments Many aspects of scaffolding in TELEs are similar to scaffolding strategies observed in face to face interactions. Just as experts match scaffolds to meet a scaffolds. But unlike face to is often determined by the learner in TELEs rather than by an expert, especially when the scaffolds are built in. Learners must not only know about the existence of scaffolding tools built in to programs and apps but must also know how to use them as tec hnology tools are not always capable of providing appropriate scaffolds based on the developmenta l needs of a learner (Kim & Hannafin, 2011; Sharma & Hannafin, 2007). Learning how to use scaffolds is an important help seeking behavior that needs to be fostered by the teacher.

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65 roviding just in time help and are most often provided by teachers and peers. These scaffolds are dynamic and adjust to each individual (Molenaar, Roda, Boxtel, and Sleegers, 2012). In contrast, hard scaffolds, also called static scaffolds, are fixed sup ports that are same for all students (Molenaar et al., 2012). These types of scaffolds are not un & Hannafin, 2007, p. 30). Hard scaffolds are the most prevalent form of scaffolds in TELEs, especially in the simple games and apps used by preschool children. Cognitive scaffold s In their wor k, Yelland and Masters (2007 ) looked at scaffolding strategies used with and by young children in technologically based contexts. They found cognitive scaffolding was used to build understanding of concepts and procedures and considered this knowledgeable other supports the individual learner by modeling, questioning, explaining, cueing, and providing feedback (Lajoie, 2005; Rosenshine & Me i s ter, 1992; Wood et a l., 1976; Yelland & Masters, 20 07 ). Cognitive scaffolding typically occurs when teachers or peers provide direct support, but some games are designed to provide prompts or questions that can guide students while they work.

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66 Affective scaffolds Affective scaffolding relates to those str ategies, which provide encouragement and positive feedback, and are tied to the emotions and feelings of the learner (McManis & Gunnewi g, 2012; Yelland & Masters, 2007 ). This type of scaffolding is also referred to as motivational scaffolding within the l iterature and would be considered a type of soft scaffold (Brush & Saye, 2002; Lajoie, Teachers can p rovide affective scaffolds by staying close to children as they work with technology. Software programs and apps can also provide affective scaffolds through feedback, music, and visual displays during game play. Technical scaffolds Yelland and Masters ( 2007 ) define a third type of scaffolding specific to understanding and problem so 2007 p. 6). Examples of technical scaffolds include an instructional video at the beginning of a computer game showing how to use specific keystrokes to operate the game, hint tools built within games to help students solve a puzzle, or computer progra ms that automatically adjust their difficulty based on student responses so Gunnewig, 2012). There is great potential for built people interact with a task an

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67 much literature recognizing students need direct instruction on how to use these tools effectively (Reiser, 2004, p. 280). Embedded versus non embedded scaffolds According to Clarebout and Elen (2009 ), h ard scaffolds within digital environments can come in two forms: embedded or non embedded. Embedded bout & Elen, 2009 p. 390). An example of an embedded scaffold is feedback automatically generated during game play. Non embedded support scaffolds require action on the part of the learner. This means the tools are used as needed or on just in time. E xamples of non embedded tools include hints or access to additional information such as graphics or videos that are requested by the learner during g ame play (Clarebout & Elen, 2009 ). Digital s caffolds within Rush Hour The digital game Rush Hour has si x built in tools available to students with various functions to facilitate game play (Table 3 2) All of the tools are considered non embedded digital scaffolds. Two of the buttons, P rev and Next allow students to move within a game level to find easie r or mor e challenging puzzles. The Undo button takes away the last move made and can be pressed repeatedly as it remembers every move since the start of the game. The Hint button provides a single clue each time it is pre ssed. The Solve button solves the puzzle (a play by play sequence of the steps from the beginning) and then resets the game so it can be played again. The Reset button sets the vehicles back to their original position and resets the move counter to zero.

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68 When examined through a constructivist lens and the work of Wood et al. (1976), the Hint button has the potential to serve as a reduction in degree of freedom od et al., 1976, p. 98). The Next P rev, Undo, and Reset buttons can serve as frustration control scaffolds to reduce stress or fears related to not com pleting puzzles, while the Solve button has the potential to serve as a demonstration nd in the literature to be especially effective tools for young child ren ( Shute & Miksad, 1997; Wood, 2001 ). Table 3 2. Summary of digital scaffolds within the problem solving game Rush Hour Type Purpose Scaffolding Function Type of Scaffold HINT Provides a single clue each time; moves one vehicle at a time Reduction in degree of freedom Non embedded, hard NEXT Moves player to the next game within a level Frustration control Non embedded, hard PREVIOUS Moves player to the previous game within a level Frustration control Non embedded, hard RESET Sets all vehicles back to their original position; starts the game over Frustration control Non embedded, hard SOLVE Provides a step by step video of movements needs to complete a puzzle Demonstration Non embedded, hard UNDO Takes away the last vehicle moved; Frustration control Non embedded, hard

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69 places vehicle in previous position Summary of Research on Digital Scaffolds The use of support devices in TELEs has the potential to positively impact the learning process. Software and app designers are building digital scaffolds into games to help reduce player frustration, increase the amount of time spent playing, and improve overall problem solving performance. Research related to how young children use digital scaffolds is limited but studies in other contexts confirm they c an be used successfully. Patterns related to overreliance on digital scaffolds to facilitate problem solving must, however, also be considered. Early Childhood Context Some of the first technological tools used by young children incorporating digital scaf folds were electronic storybooks (e books). E books, such as the Living Book series publ ished by Broderbund in the 1990 s, have long been used in the early childhood classroom to engage students in the storytelling process and t o promote literacy skills (S hami r & Korat, 2006). E books allow children to the reader such as word pronunciations, text highlighting, text to speech options, ese features can be viewed as digital scaffolds with the potential to engage reluctant readers while supporting vocabulary development, one to one word correspondence, and the development of phonological skills. Some of these features are embedded through out the digital texts, while others are available to students upon request.

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70 Today, a multitude of interactive e books are available online and through apps built for the iPad (Anderson, 2012). In addition to e books, educational software have been used in early childhood contexts (Wright & Shade, 1994). Software for young children typically fits into two types: open ended and drill and practice and much research on software at this age focuses on the developmental effects of its use rather than on the s caffolds built into the games (Haugland & Shade, 1994). Reference is software but many checklists created to evaluate software do not explicitly look at built in tools (H augla nd & Shade, 1994). Shute and Miksad (1997) were one of the first to review scaffolding features in software used by preschool children and found their use increased language related cognitive skills. In their study comparing level of scaffolds when presc hool children use computer assisted instruction (CAI) versus traditional resources in Australia, they found software with appropriate scaffolds just as effective as traditional (adult) resources utilizing similar scaffolding structures. Specifically, they scaffolded instruction, which include full demonstration, intervention in selection and arrangement (i.e. partial demonstration), intervention by indication (i.e. hint), establishment of parameters (verbal guidance), and ve rbal encouragement. enhancing learning (Shute & Miksad, 1997). Chiasson and Gutwan (2005) reviewed research relat ed to software for young childre n and developed a catalogue of design principles specifically oriented towards their needs They discuss immediate feedback and hints as

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71 key principles of software design. Built in feedback is critical, with audio and/or t an effective readers (Chiasson & Gutwan, 2005 p 2). Chiasson and Gutwan (2005 ) also suggest feedback scaffolding and gui 3). Sarama and Clements (2007) also believe that built in prompts and hints within digital games are important for young children finding they can reduce frustration as well as build confidence. Elementary/Middle School Context Three studies specific to digital scaffolds in the elementary and middle school context have emerged in the last few years that are relevant to this review. While these studies involve older students who approach learni ng in developmentally different ways, they share many similarities with this capstone study, specifically in the functions of the scaffolding tools within the programs and how the tools are being used. In observing sixth graders playing the number puzzle game Sudoku, Sun, Wang, & Chan (2011) found non embedded digital scaffolds increased the number of total puzzles completed by students. Their study looked not only at the types of scaffolds most beneficial to students during game play (frustration control demonstration) but also the effects of these They found tools such as error checks and simple hints can reduce frustration and thus extend time students spent problem solving but did note overreliance on these types of support is possible. Sun et al. (2011) also found demonstration

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72 tools showing next steps or more detailed help aided the development of problem pes play different cautioned overuse of some scaffolds can inhibit learning problem solving principles (Sun et al., 2011, p. 2124). In a second study, Hung, Yu, Chang and Cheng (2012) studied the effect of digital scaffolds while elemen tary students played a geography puzzle game on a multi touch display. Demonstration, reduction in degrees of freedom, and frustration control scaffolds were built into the game, as was instant feedback. The demonstration scaffold was used the most and f ound to reduce the number increase learning performance, too (Hung et al., 2012). Like Sun et al. (2012) and Sharma and Hannafin (2007), Hung et al. (2012) also discussed the chall enges of finding a balance between availability of scaffolding tools and use of those tools Teachers should encourage learners to accept some degree of impeding ownership of and res Hannafin, 2007, p. 30). F inally, Bottino, Ferlino, Ott, and Tavella (2007) performed a qualitative analysis of second and fourth grade students using computer games to into games can support the development of cognitive skills. Like Sun et al. (2011) and Hung et al. (2012), Bottino et al. (2007) found scaffolding functions within games such as direct feedback, backtracking, tips, and graduation of levels can support learning but

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73 High School Context As research related to digital scaffolds is still emerging in the literature, it is importan t to take a look at literature specific to the high school context to identify any emerging patterns Like younger students, high schoolers find built in tools such as feedback and hints beneficial. Pol, Harskamp, and Suhre (2008) compared a traditional mathematics program with an interactive computer program providing both feedback and hints. The students using the computer program outperformed students in the traditional program on a post test, especially in their ability to analyze and find different solutions or approaches to problems. Their increased performance correlated to their use of embedded planning and verifying hint tools built within the game. Pol, Harskamp, Suhre, and Goedhart (2009) compared traditional (textbook based) and computer bas ed environments in a physics classroom but focused on the timing of hints during the problem solving process: before, during, or after problem solving. Students with access to hints during problem solving and examples after problem solving performed best on a post test. Gaps in the Literature As previously stated, research related to built in help tools within digital games is sparse across all contexts. As more and more digital games are used in the preschool classroom, more research is needed to better understand how digital scaffolds can potentially support problem solving behaviors in young children. While short term research is important to help educators utilize new

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74 technologies in their curriculum today, long term research is needed to help underst and how the use of digital scaffolds can assist students in generalizing acquired skills across different problem solving contexts over time Additionally, as studies from both the elementary and high school contexts caution about the potential overuse of digital scaffolds, it is important to determine if these behaviors also exist in the preschool context so that educators can find ways to help students appropriately and effectively use digital tools. The Role of Help Seeking Behaviors The appropriate an d effective use of digital scaffolds in TELEs cannot stand on its own The help seeking skills of learners using the scaffolds is directly correlated to their effectiveness While the research advises software designers provide varied, developmental, and appropriate digital scaffolds within computer games and apps, the research also discusses the need for learners to know how to solicit, secure, and use help received to solve problems on their a child can employ to cope with learning situations, one of the most important is the ability to obtain Schieb, 1985, p. 58). Help seeking is considered a powerful strategy for self regulated lea rning enabling both children and adult learners to perform independently (Karabenick, 2011; Puustinen, Volckaert Legrier, Coquen & Bernicot, 2009 ). As with the literature related to students overreliance on digital scaffolds (Bottino et al., 2007; Hung e t al. 2012; Sun et al., 2011), help seeking is not always instrumental. When students are more interested in outcomes rather than process or use help to avoid work, help seeking can be detrimental to the

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75 limited to the amount and type behaviors are instrumental (Gall, 1985, p. 67). Instrumental help can promote learning and understanding and utilizes indirect help, hi nts, a nd examples (Puustinen Volckaert Legrier, Coquen, & Bernicot, 2009 ). Despite the important role help seeking can play in the learning process, students of all ages struggle to effectively seek and use help when problem solving (Gall, 1981; Gall, 1985). An overall finding throughout the literature related to all classroom c ontexts was the need for teachers to provide explicit instruction on how to use built in help tools (Aleven et al., 2003; Bartholom, Stahl, Pieschl, & Bromme, 2006 choices for their learning len, 2009 p. 389). This is especially the case for students with low prior knowledge or novice learners (Harskamp & Suhre, 2007). The bulk of research related to help seeking behaviors is specific to older learners in secondary and tertiary classrooms ( Aleven et al., 2003; Bartholom et al., 2006 ; du Boulay & Luc kin, 1999; Schworm & Renkl, 2006; Shute & Gluck 1996) and only within the last twenty years is the research specific to digital contexts (Karabenick, 2011). In the early childhood context, two small studies were identified related to how young children seek help in a technological environment. Both studies support the role teachers and/or adults play in providing explicit instruction and modeling so that children can understand the design eleme nts and their functions.

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76 Luckin, Connolly, Plowman and Airey (2003) evaluated the use of built in help within interactive plush toys connected to software on desktop computers. The researchers observed four to six years olds playing with the toys and so ftware in three different contexts: in the home, in the classroom, and in an after school club. Even though children were given direct instruction on the types of icon on the computer screen to receive hints), they found children still needed prompts from adults to use the built in help tools during game play. Likewise, in their study of preschool children playing the literacy computer game I Spy School Days Roberts, Djonov, and Torr (2008) found younger children could play e games with more success only if they had the ability to ask for help in utilizing built in scaffolding tools but caution educators not to assume young children will innately learn how to use help and remi As it relates to elementar y students, Kreutzer, Leonard, Flavell and Hagen (1975) found children used help to aid in memory, which allowed them to engage longer on problem so lving tasks. Myers and Paris (1978) examined differences between second and sixth grade students and found requests for help increased as students got older and were involved in more in depth problem solving situations. Copper, Ayers Lopez, and Marquis ( 1982) observed kindergarten and second graders working during problem solving tasks and found they often sought out peers using both verbal and non verbal strategies while they worked. Verbal help strategies included asking directly for assistance, solici ting information through questions, and making statements. Non verbal

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77 help strategies included establishing proximity and/or eye contact, watching the actions of others, and using physical expressions to convey frustration. I n their study of students in first, third, and fifth grade classrooms, Gall and Glor Schieb (1985) set out to identify characteristics of children who seek help, the types of help they seek, who they turn to for help, and how the classroom environment impacts help seeking behaviors. They found students often ignore help or use it inefficiently and direct instruction on how to find help is needed for all students, no matter their age. They also learned the type of task or activity impacted help seeking behaviors. Activities requirin g the use of critical thinking, reasoning, and problem solving strategies increased the amount of help requested. Puustinen (1998) also found students of all ages need assistance in learning how to seek help and noted that experience was an important fact or as p. 271.) Help seeking behaviors and the use of scaffolds to support learning are intertwined. In order for students to successfully and effectively use built in tools and other forms of on demand help within digital games, the majority of the research indicates direct instruction must take place on how to effectively use them. Therefore, educators of young children should constantly model help seeking behaviors and provide students with strategies to seek help on their own, especially as help seeking is linked to motivation, self monitoring, and connected to both language and social development (Thomp son, 2012).

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78 Collaborative Problem Solving When thinking about peer supported learning, it is important to distinguish between the concepts of collaboration and cooperation. These terms are often used interchangeably within the literature, as they are both strategies for grouping students, yet they can offer very different experiences for learners (Shih, Shih, Shih, Su, & Chuang, 2010; van der Meij, Albers, & Leemkuil, 2011). co they differ in how peers participate. In cooperative learning contexts, each member has a specific role and amount of work for which he/she is responsible. The work of each in dividual member is then combined to contribute to the whole process from start to finish together. Work is not distributed between group gui al 2011, p. 656). According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), collaborative problem solving is a major process essential to developing mathematical thinking (Charlesworth & Leali, 2012). Young children need to recognize there are many ways to solve problems, and through collaboration with others, they are given opportunities to share their thinking (NCTM, 2012). prob lem solving strategies and is one way young children can make sense of mathematical concepts in the world around them ( Hagstrom & White, 2006). According to a joint position statement written by NAEYC with NCTM, educators

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79 ing practices that strengthen problem solving and reasoning processes as well as representing, communicating, and Many studies throughout the literature discuss how children working with partners have in creased performance over those working individually on problem solving tasks such as completing puzzles, building with blocks, programming, and p laying computer games (Azmitia, 1988 ; Fawcett & Garton, 2005; Hagstrom & White, 2006; Huang Cheng, & Chan 2007 ; Inkpen et al., 1995; Ramani, 2012; Verba, 1998). For example, Inkpen, Booth, Klawe, and Upitis (1995) looked at children playing alone or with partners while completing puzzles. Children working with a partner solved more puzzles and engaged in more ve rbal interac tions than those working alone. Likewise, Fawcett and Garton (2005) activity (Fawce tt & Garton, 2005, p. 157). While many collaborative learning experiences occur naturally as children play, classroom teachers must intentionally plan experiences to foster these interactions (Johnson Pynn & Nisbet, 2002). The early childhood teacher has the challenge of understanding how young children learn and develop in order to meet the learning needs of each individual student in the classroom (Epstein, 2007; NAEYC, 2009). Therefore, it is essential for teachers to find the best possible way to grou together in collaborative situations will not always promote cooperation, problem

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80 solving, or learning (Fawcett & Ga rton, 2005). Assuming all environments are conducive to the same types of groupings is also not a guarantee. Summary of Research on Ability Groupings Throughout the literature related to collaborative problem solving across early child and elementary cont exts several studies emerge discussing methodologies for partnering students to optimize learning. Most findings sugg est mixed ability, asymmetrical groupings increase cognitive performance at a greater rate than same ability, symmetrical, groupings (Azm itia, 1988; Cooper, 1980; Johnson Pynn & Nisbet, 2002; Fawcett & Garton, 2005; Perlmutter et al., 1989 ; Verba, 1998). Some find same ability partnerships more conducive to learning ( Cooper, 1980; Light & Littleton, 1998; Ramini, 2005). Both types of grou pings confirm that working collaboratively with a partner often increases Winskel, 2008, p. 582). Mixed Ability P artnerships The majority of research related to ability groups and collaborative problem solving supports mixed ability partnerships. Mixed ability partnerships have the potential to increase learning, support low ability learners, and help lear ners generalize their skills across problem solving settings (Azmitia, 1988; Fawcett & Garton, 2005; Schmitz& Winskel; Verba, 1998) A ll the mixed ability studies identified in this review discuss the use of language to support learning

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81 What is less clear about these groupings is what constitutes an ideal partnership, and what are the benefits to middl e ability and high abil i ty partners. Verba (1998) looked at preschool dyads involving mixed ability partners and found less advanced partners not only improved performance on their current task of assem bling a block cargo truck, but also generalized skills to later problem solving tasks. She found that young children move between asymmetrical and symmetrical interactions, and that high ability students also how (Verba, 1998 p. 195 ). Azmitia (1988) looked at expert/novice partnerships when students built er learning than ndomly assigned to three conditions: alone, same ability or mixed ability She found the building accuracy of same ability dyads was no different than same ability students who worked independently on the same challenge, but did find mixed ability dyads b uilt more accurate models than those children working alone Collaboration proved to be ability students and these students generalized their skills to a post building task ( Azmitia, 1998, p. 87). Novice students observed experts, and experts gave explanations and demonstrations during tasks. Experts were also found to obse rve other experts and maintain their scores across tasks. Fawcett and Garton (2005) observed seven year ol d students (n=100) working first on a block sorting activity and then on a card sorting activity and found children who collaborated obtained a higher number of correct sorts over

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82 those who worked alone. Like Azmitia (1998) lower ability students work ing with higher students test scores and they made the largest gains on the task of sorting cards into categories (Fawcett & Garton, 2005, p. 157) Novice learners who worked with experts were also found to generalize their skills to other activit ies when they were on their own, but s tudents working with same or lesser ability partners showed no improvements from pre test to post test and high ability students regressed unless they worked w ith low tasks. Schmitz and Winskel (2008) observed single sex partnerships comprised of 10 12 year olds (n=27) to understand how assigning roles impact the collaborative learning experience and the level of tal k that occurs between dyads when working on math problem solving tasks. Specifically, they were looking for 2008, p. 583). Half of the mixed ability high ability students in the other half were asked to provide help. Students in the low middle condition showed more high quality exploratory talk than those in the low high condition, and students in the low Winskel, 2008, p. 581). While these studies promote mixed groupings they also recognize that ma ny factors such as type of task, type of learning environmen t, level of student motivation level of student confidence, assignment of roles, and gender can

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83 impact interactions (Azmitia, 1988; Cooper, 1980; Johnson Pynn & Nisbet, 2002; Fawcett & Garton, 20 05; Perlmutter et al., 1989 ; Verba, 1998). Some studies have found high achieving students can negatively impact the work of low achieving students by taking over the problem solving process (Light & Littleton, 1998; Schmitz & Winskel, 2008) Light and L ittleton (1998) found mixed groups can be too asymmetrical resulting in power struggles, negative conflict, and less negotiation. They believed symmetric al partnerships allowed both members of the dyad to present their vi ews and question each other in con structive ways (Light & Littleton, 1998 ). Same Ability P artnerships A voice supporting equal ability peers in preschool problem solving tasks is Ramani (2005). In her disser t ation, four and five year old children were placed into one of two conditions, a playful child driven buildin g task or an adult driven building task. Children were first read a short story in which a problem was presented. Dyads in the playful condition were then told they could pretend to be the children in the story, while dyads in the adult guided condition were told to work together and were then given specific instructions on how to build. Ramani (2005) found preschool children working with a same ability partner benefited more than those children working with mixed a bility p artners, especially in the less formal, play like s etting (Ramani, 2005). Same ability partners in the playful condition built more complex and complete buildings and participated in more communicative behaviors than those groups working in the more adult guided building environment. These same ability dyads also showed higher

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84 levels of task performance and more cooperative problem solving behavior s and p. 159). An early study conducted by Cooper (1980) observed three to five year old same ability dyads as they used a balance scale to locate matching block the problem solving activity. Findings show productive co mmunication behaviors such as suggestions, requests, and modeling between all dyads and found these t further research be conducted on how teaching by one partner might contribute Other studies supporting same ability groupings are found in the elementary and middle school context. Light, Littl eton, Messer, and Joiner (1994) observed 11 and 12 year old stu dents working together on an adventure quest game on the computer Students were required to search for information to help plan a solution to a task while reacting to obstacles. Over the co urse of (Light et al., 1994, p. 103). King, Staffieri, and Adelgais (1998) found same ability dyads advantageous in promoting th e scaffolding process when students are given guidelines on how to provide support. Seventh grade s tudents learned how to be mutual peer tutors and used hints and probing strategies to extend thinking and strengthen problem solving during science inquiries The highest levels of engagement and talk were found in the condition in which students were given

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85 the most guidelines and training. While the context of this study is far removed from the early childhood context the training aspect of the study is an interesting parallel to the potential training aspect that can be provided by digital scaffolds especially if children are taught to explicitly use the tools Gaps in the Literature The majority of research on mixed ability a nd s ame ability partnerships is not specific to a technological context nor did they occur in the natural classroom environment. When looking specifically at the early childhood context, none observed children working with technological tools su ch as computer s The bulk of studies related to technology use are specific to how technology tools fit into DAP and can support growth across the developmental domains, especially social development (Kumpete, 2006; Heft & Swaminathan, 2002; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985) They also focus on differences between independent and dyadic problem solving. At this time, there is no literature related to young children working collaboratively playing problem solving games on mobile devices, much les s literature related to abili ty groups using these devices with built in digital scaffolds Game Based Learning Digital games are recognized across the literature as a central part of modern culture (Azli Azan, & Bahri, 2008; Hong, Cheng, Hwang, Lee, & Chang, 2009; Johnson, Adams, & Cummins, 2012; Mitchell & Savill Smith, 2004; Oblinger, 2006). Important in the lives of young children as well as adolescents, st century activity that engages the minds of According to Miller, Robertson, Hudson, and Shimi

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86 and motivate learners while impacting how they learn (T uzun, Yilmaz Soylu, Karakus, & Kizilaya, 2009). Digital games are receiving great attention within early childhood literature as more games bec ome available to young children both at home and at school, on the computer and through apps on mobile devices (Gee, 2003; Gros, 2007; Johnson, Adams, & Cummins, 2012; Lieberman et al., 2009; Oblinger, 2006; Prensky, 2001 a ). Part of this interest stems from recent support of the use of touch techn ologies and apps by NAEYC in it s latest position statement regarding technology in the preschool classroom (NAEYC, 2012). It is also spurred by the connection between the play qualities inherent in games so valued b y educators of young children (Fails, Druin, Guha, Chipman, Simms, & Churaman, 2005). Games are fun, voluntary, intrinsically motivating, and active (Amory, Naicker, Vincent, & Adams, 1999). They allow children to learn new concepts through exploration a nd problem solving, and they utilize a user centered, interactive, and multi sensory interface (Gros, 2007; Hong et al., 2009). Games also provide opportunities for structured, creative, and free play, which can augment traditional play offerings in the e arly childhood classroom (Johnston et al., 2012; NAEYC, 2012). Benefits of Digital Games Many benefits to the use of games in preschool educational contexts exist within the literature. Games are one way to promote social development and collaborative le arning in the classroom. When children are partnered during

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87 also be used to learn basic math sk ills (shapes, patterns, number recognition, counting), problem solving and reasoning skills, visual skills (visual literacy, visual tracking, spatial awareness) and early literacy skills (alphabet recognition, phonemic awareness, sight word development) (D in & Calao, 2001; Miller et al., 2012; Muller & Perlmutter, 1985; Shute & Miksad, 1997). Din and Calao (2001) examined the effects of educational video games on kindergarten achievement and found students who played video games 40 minutes a day over 11 we eks at school gained language skills (spelling, reading, and decoding) over their non gaming peers but found no significant gains were made in math skills. This study confirms earlier findings by Shute and Miksad (1997), that computer aided instruction (C AI) software is successful in increasing language and verbal skills. Finally, games can be used to support differentiated instruction. Gros (2007) ess advanced students, and Fails et al. (20 05) believes the increased complexity of games can meet the needs of many different learners. Through the use of leveled games with increasing levels of difficulty, there is potential to match game experiences to extend children within their ZPD. History of Digital Games Although the use of digital games in educational contexts has been discussed within the literature for more than twenty years, there remains skepticism about their potential to positively and significantly impact learning (Johnson et al., 2012). According to Gros (2007), research prior to 2007 was

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88 disjointed. Lack of a common research language related to gaming, absence of collaboration, communication, critical thi nking, and problem solving, kept many educators away from investigating their potential for cognitive learning on a large scale (Gros, 2007; Johnson et al., 2012). Additionally, efforts to integrate games without carefully considering the underlying desig n and learning principles behind the games fell short. Some educators tried to simply add games to the curriculum without evaluating t heir educational value (Hong et al 2009). The work of Azli et al. (2008), provided a much needed definition for game ba sed learning and called for educators to examine more deeply how games can help students learn new concepts and skills. According to Azli et al. groups of players using a com (p. 1) and game based Azil et al., p. 1). Johnson et al. (2012) mirrors this earlier definition nics into educational 9). Recent work by An and Bonk (2009), Chiasson and Gutwin (2005), and Gros (2007) has been instrumental in helping with design principles within the gaming industry. Additionally, their work provides a framework f or educators to evaluate digital games and select those that are must suitable for young children. Types of Games Based on a review of the literature from many different contexts (industry, game developers, academics), Gros (2007) categorized games into se ven

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89 genres. While not an exhaustive list, the genres include action, adventure, fighting, role playing, simulation, sports, and strategy games ( Table 3 3). Within these categories, games can be serious, where there is a primary purpose beyond entertainm ent, or developed for pure entertainment. Simple or mini games allow players to achieve quick outcomes, while complex games involve the achievement of many goals and sub goals over an extended period of time (Gros, 2007). Fail s et al. (2005) support game use with young children and recommend simple games with fewer rules and more structure most developmentally appropriate. Table 3 3. Main genres of digital games (Gros, 2007) Genre Description Action Players use reflexes, accuracy, and timing to complete challenges Example: Angry Birds Adventure Players solve tests or challenges to progress through virtual worlds Example: World of Warcraft Fighting Involves fighting against computer controlled characters or characters controlled by other players; emphasis is on one to one combat Example: Halo Role Playing Human players take on the role or assumed the traits of a person, character, or creature Example: Liberty Kids Simulations Simulates aspects of a real or fictional reality Example: SimCity Sports Games based on sporting activities and or events Example: Fifa Strategy Require careful thinking to achieve a goal, includes puzzle games Example: Rush Hour As it relates to this capstone project, the game Rush Hour falls into the category of strategy games. According to Gros (2007), strategy games often

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90 games like brainteasers, p uzzles, and mazes. Strategy games are usually more casual than other games They are also simpler, allowing them to be played within short time frames. When playing strategy games, the learner is in control and must make decisions to reach a specific ou tcome. Qualities of Good Games As any gamer can tell you, not all games are good, and not all games are meant to be used in the classroom. First, games are only effective learning tools real educational et al. 2009). Instead of playing games to learn, educators need to find games made for learning (Kafai, 2006; Prensky, 2001 a ). These games need to teach more than just skills They need to promote critical thinking, and the integration of content should be at the heart of game play (Fisch, 2005; Kiili, 2007; Prensky, 2001 a ). Next, games need to be challenging while still allowing players to achieve its goals. Games must be age appropriate and clearly presented with an e asy to use interface (Fisch, 2005). They should promote problem solving with sequential tasks built upon previously acquired knowledge provide feedback and hints. Scaffolds withi n games should be extensive so learners can use them when they need them (An & Bonk, 2009; Fisch, 2005). environ in (1997) also cite scaffolding as essential to good games. The higher the levels of scaffolding provided within games, the greater the cognitive gains, especially for

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91 young children ( Shute & Miksad, 1997). In their study of preschool students using early literacy software, scaffolding strategies of full and partial demonstration were found fundamental to the learning process for children as young as two years old. Finally, games shou ld be played in teams to provide opportunities for shared learning (Kiili, 2007). The game Rush Hour was selected for this study because it incorporates many of the suggestions within the literature related to features of developmentally appropriate digi tal environments and good games (An & Bonk, 2009; Chiasson & Gutwin, 2005; Co oper, 2005; Gee, 2003 ; Gros, 2007; Johnston et al., 2012; McManis & Gunnewig, 2012) The game is easy to use, l thinking The game in Rush Hour allows children to be active participants throughout game play. Finally, the game lends itself to collaborative problem solving, which provides opportunities for student to think and work together. Assessment of Digital Games Design principles related to game based learning environments are appearing in the literature. Chiasson and Gutwin (2005) were one of the first to catalogue design principles specific to the technologies of young children. Organized according to three mai n areas of child development, cognitive, physical, and social/emotional, their catalogue is useful to early childhood educators who want to ensure technology use is natural and inline with how

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92 young children learn best. Sections related to literacy, feedb ack, and guidance are especially relevant when thinking about digital scaffolds within games. On a more comprehensive scale, Hong et al. (2009) set out to develop a tool to guide software developers in the creation of educational games Working with gam e scholars as well as professional game designers, they identified 74 indices sorted into seven categories that serve as guidelines during the game development process. The seven categories include mentality change, emotional fulfillment, and knowledge en hancement, thinking skill development, interpersonal skill development, spatial ability development and bodily coordination Their work provides an excellent framework for teachers to evaluate the educational values of games as well. Chapter Summary This literature review began with a synopsis of the constructivist theory and how tutoring interactions with more knowledgeable others can support student learning. Different forms of support, or scaffolds, were discussed including methodologies for grouping s tudents to promote scaffolding behaviors as well as the emergence of digital scaffolds in technologically enhanced learning environments. Research related to help seeking behavi ors and its relationship to using scaffolds effectively was also presented. T he chapter ends with a discussion on game based learning and the prominent role digital games are playing in the lives of even our youngest children. Woven throughout the review is analysis on how the problem solving game Rush Hour and its built in scaff olding tools fits within the literature.

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93 CHAPTER 4 METHODOLOGY Chapter 4 presents the descriptive research design of this capstone project, which examines the ways digital scaffolds are used by preschool children when playing the problem solving game R ush Hour A description of the context, digital game, and participants is included along with the methodology for data collection and analysis. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the Research Questions iP ads are one of the newest technology tools being used in educational settings to promote learning, and preschool teachers are searching for developmentally appropriate ways to integrate these tools into their classrooms. A study conducted by the researche r in Spring 2012 found play with iPads can provide opportunities for rich social interactions and collaborative problem solving. The study also revealed the potential of built in help tools or digital scaffolds to extend thinking Therefore, the purpose of this descriptive research study was to examine the ways digital scaffolds are used by young children during collaborative problem solving in the preschool classroom. The following research questions are answered : R esearch Q uestion 1: In what ways do preschool dyads use digital scaffolds when playing the problem solving game Rush Hour ? Research Question 2: In what ways does the ability level of preschool dyads impact how digital scaffolds are used when playing the problem solving game Rush Hour ?

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94 Background on the Researcher The researcher has been an educator for eighteen years in various roles at the private school in which this study took place. At the time of this study, the researcher was the Instructional Technologist within th e early childhood and elementary divisions of the school and served in this capacity for eight years. In this role, the researcher worked collaboratively with the faculty to facilitate the advancement of technology by developing curricular materials and l esson plans that integrate technology, co taught in classrooms to model effective and appropriate integration of technology in all curricular areas, and aligned technology resources with grade level curriculum and national technology standards. The resear c her has been working with the Junior Kindergarten (JK) teachers for three years on developmentally appropriate ways to implement touch technologies within the daily curriculum. Context This descriptive research study was conducted in two JK classrooms over the course of eight weeks in the Early Childhood Center (ECC) of a college preparatory school in Florida. The school had an enrollment of approximately 985 students from early childhood (age 3) to 12 th grade During the 2012 2013 school year, 27 students enrolled in the JK program. The ECC is accredited by NAEYC and the Florida Kinderga rten Council (FKC) and runs a five days per week program. Students may be full day participants (8:10am 2:50pm) or half day participants (8:10am 12:4 5pm). The first JK class had 13 students whi le the second had 14 students. Both classes are led by state certified teachers with

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95 a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a full time instructional assistant. Curriculum and Planning The JK curri culum is designed to promote growth through active, hands on learning with a balance of play and discovery, as well as self initiated and teacher initiated activities. Subjects taught during the school year include literacy, language, math, science, socia l studies, art, music, physical education, Spanish, and technology. The development of the curriculum and daily learning experiences is shared between the two classroom teachers with guidance and support from the Early Childhood Director. Lead teachers meet at least two times a week during rest time to plan activities, organize project work, and discuss instructional strategies for accommodating individual learners. The entire team, including lead teachers from the Alpha (3 year old) program and instru ctional assistants, meets every Tuesday afternoon to plan vertically as well as to engage in professional development. professional development focus is an in depth study of the Project Approach model developed by Lillian Katz and Sylvi a Chard. Learning Space and Daily Activities The early childhood f acility is a communal space consisting of an open Exploratorium (shared exploration space) connected to the classrooms. Sliding glass doors between classrooms can be opened to allow student s to flow back and forth between the spaces, and each classroom is connected to an outdoor

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96 covered deck and playground. There are no walls between any of the educational spaces. A typical school day includes time for student choice, instructional circle t ime, exploration in classroom centers, lunch, rest, and outdoor play. Students work in classroom centers each morning with the classroom teacher, instructional assistant, and parent volunteers facilitating different activities. During this time, students rotate independently between four to five centers with activities typically tied to thematic units of study, student led project work and/or specific skills. Classroom teachers may also call students, as neede d, to work at a center. Twice per week (Mond ays and Wednesdays), the classes are combined and co taught by both teachers. iPads are used in the preschool classrooms on a daily basis during center rotations and are often used by classroom teachers as a way to enhance i nstruction at learning centers. S tudents also used the iPad independently to record their work, create projects, or play digital games. For example, during a recent unit of study on Native Americans, classroom teachers used the iPads to display videos of traditional dances as well as s lideshows of Native American artifacts. Students accessed these multimedia artifacts as they worked. During a cooking activity, students used the built in camera to document the steps needed to make gingerbread cookies. The photos were then added to a s when teachers use e books and rhyming and alphabet apps to enhance language development.

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97 Participants The majority of students attending the JK program come from families of middle to high socioeconomic status. No academic or social evaluation is conducted before entrance in to the program, and upon exiting students are None of the children enrolled in t he JK program during the 2012 2013 school year spoke English as a second language and the majority of students were Caucasian Participants for this study (n=24) were those students whose parent(s) or guardians(s) received the Study Introduction Letter ( A ppendix A) a nd signed the Consent Form (Appendix B). Table 4 1 highlights basic demographics of each class participating in the study. Table 4 1. Participant demographics Total # of Students Total # of Boys Total # of Girls Age of Youngest Participant Age of Oldest Participant Mean Age Class A (Same) 12 4 8 4.3 5.4 4.8 Class B (Mixed) 12 6 6 4.4 5.3 4.9 Each intact class was randomly assigned to one of two conditions by a flip of a coin. Subjects in Class A (n=12) were matched with partners of similar problem solving ability (high high, middle middle, low low) while participants in Class B (n=12) were ma tched with partners of different problem solving ability (high low, middle low, high middle). The ranking of students was completed by the classroom teachers based on current assessments and anecdotal notes. Problem solving ability was determined through observations on puzzle tasks, during block construction, exploration with math manipulatives, and displays of

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9 8 higher order thinking skills when asked open ended questions. Students in each class were ranked in order from one to twelve on a problem solvin g continuum. Students with a ranking of 1 4 were considered to have low problem solving ability, 5 8 middle problem solving ability, and 9 12 high problem solving ability. Utilizing a shared Google document, each teacher provided input regarding problem solving ability and ranked the students based on the above scale. This Google document was also used to keep track of the student consent forms. Task Rush Hour invented by Nob Yoshigahara and distributed by ThinkFun Inc ( www.ThinkFun.com ) is a sliding block puzzle game for children ages 4 and up (Appendix K) T he objective of the game by moving iPad scre en. Cars and trucks can move in only one direction, vertical or horizontal, depending on their initial positi 1 ). The application consists of four levels (easy, medium, hard, expert) with 650 puzzles in each level. The d ifficulty level of each puzzle increases with the completion of the previous puzzle. Hint and Solve features are available through all levels of the game. Additionally, students can Reset the puzzle if they feel the need to start a game over, use the Nex t button to move on to the next game, select the Prev button to move back to the previous game, or choose the Undo button to remove the last move. During the study, participants only played games within the easy level and moved sequentially through puzzle s for 10 minutes of playing time.

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99 Figure 4 1 Screenshot of Rush Hour game and help tools (printed with permission from ThinkFun Inc, a leading creator of mind challenging games) (Appendix K) General Procedures Introduction Development Prior to the start of the study, the researcher met with the classroom teachers to develop an informal lesson plan/checklist to introduc e the game to the students ( Appendix C). At that time, it was decided that initial instruction on how to play Rush Hour along with training on how to use the six built in tools would be led by one teacher to both classes in the Exploratorium space. Combining classes for instruction eliminated the threat of students receiving different levels of instruction. Half an hour before the b eginning of the study, the teachers and researcher met again to review the protocol and to confirm final student rankings for the study.

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100 Game Introduction to Students The implementation of this capstone project began on the last Monday in April. Monday is one of two days during the week in which both JK classes rotate through centers together and teachers alternate planning activities. The lead teacher for the week introduced the game Rush Hour during morning circle to both classes as they were seated on the floor in the Exploratorium space. The teacher followed the checklist to explain how to access the application as well as the objective of the game (See Appendix C). She modeled the game experience using the first three levels of the game while the i Pad was connected to a projector. Projection allowed for each child to easily see the game board. Throughout the lesson, the teacher explained each of the four buttons across the bottom of the game screen (H) Hint, (R) Reset, ( ) Undo, and (*) Solve along with the Prev and Next buttons used to navigate between puzzles on the top of the game screen. Game Play Prior to each dyad visiting the iPad center, the researcher prepared the iPad through the game settings. This included resetting the data coll ection too ls back to factory settings, setting the game to the easy level and choosing puzzle #4. The researcher also spent a few minutes to check that the video cameras were still recording and complete dyad information (date, class, dyad name) on the o bservation form (Appendix D). There were two instances during the study in which one of the cameras failed. Fortunately, a second video camera and audio recorder captured game play.

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101 Each dyad played the game for 10 minutes. A digital timer with an alarm was used to keep track During each session, the researcher sat with the children but tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. The goal for the researcher was to remain engaged and resp onsive but provide no help, although some support and direction was n eeded. Minor interventions with the dyads included a) being directly questioned by a student on how a tool worked or how to play the game, b) helping with technical difficulties such as the game freezing, or c) redirecting a dyad member that was distracte d and off task for longer than 30 seconds. Direct guidance such as providing a verbal hint to move along game play when a dyad was frustrated (for longer than two minutes) or to stop inappropriate behaviors occurred on four occasions. For example, one st udent wanted to press the Next button to get all the way to the end of the puzzles in the easy level. A second example included asking a dyad member to stop playing with a toy on a nearby shelf and work with his partner on playing the game. Research Design Descriptive research focuses on discovering what is happening within a p. 1197). Accor ding to Knupfer and McLellan (1996), descriptive research plays (p. 1196) because it captures the human experience within the natural classroom environment or educational context in which it occurs. Unlike other research methods that seek cause and effect relationships between variables, descriptive research helps paint an overall picture of a phenomenon by searching for patterns that can describe

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102 relationships between them. The nature of these relationships can be found through the use of quantitative methodologies, qualitative methodologies, or mixed methods (Knupfer & McLellan, 1996). Mixed methods collect, analyze, and mix both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study to underst and a problem (Creswe ll & Clark, 2007). The purpose for using mixed methods is to capture the strengths of each individual using either quantitative or qualitative m & Airsa sian, 2009, p. 462). There are many types of mixed methods design models. Each model is dependent on the weight or importance given to the type of data collected, the order in which the data is collected, and how and when the data is analyzed and interpr eted within the research timeline (Creswell, 2009). An explanatory mixed methods research design was used for this descriptive stud y ( Figure 4 2 ). In this design, quantitative data were collected during the first phase of the research via statistics ava ilable through the game itself and through observations of game play to organize data in numerically meaningful ways (Sandelowski, 2000). Subsequent collection and analysis of qualitative data occurred in the second phase to provide an in depth explanatio n of initial quantitative results through a more comprehensive account of the happenings surrounding each use of a digital scaffold during game play (Creswell, 2009). Qualitative data were gathered through video taping of observations as well as face to fa ce interviews. The merger of the results took place during the interpretation with qualitative results providing support or a clearer understanding of both the role of digital scaffolds in the problem solving

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103 process as well as any variances in how differ ent ability groups used the help too ls built in to digital games ( C reswell, 2009; Creswell & Clark, 2007). Figure 4 2. M ixed methods research design for capstone project (Creswell, 2009) Data Collection This descriptive study utilized both quantitative and qualitative data sources Quantitative data related t o game play by student dyads were collected through statistical features built into the Rush Hour game and observations of each dyad by the researcher. Qualitative data were collected through a f ield journal, video recordings, and face to face interviews with the children. These data were reviewed, coded, and analyzed to identify how digital scaffolds are used when children play the problem solving game Rush Hour Game Statistics The game Rush Hour has several built in features allowing for the collection of quantitative data related to game play and the use of one of its digital scaffolds. This information was recorded after completion of each puzzle and at the end of game play on an observa t ion form ( Appendix D) The main statistics collected through the game itself included: The total number of levels completed by each dyad which was indicated by a yellow check mark on the Challenges screen afte r ten minutes of game play ( Figure 4 3 ). Th e total number of puzzle levels completed with and without using the Hint n recorded after

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104 game play to indicate how many times the reduction in degree of freedom scaffold was used ( Figure 4 3 ). The minimum number of squares needed to complete each puzzle and the total number of moves actually made by th e dyad to complete each puzzle. These scores will be used to help calculate the level of problem solving efficiency for each dyad ( Figure 4 3 ). The number o f puzzles, if any, completed with a perfect score (moves made by dyad match the minimum moves needed to complete the puzzle). Figure 4 3 Screenshots of game statistics captured after each puzzle is completed and after 10 minutes of game play (printed with permission from ThinkFun Inc, a leading creator of mind challenging games) (Appendix K) Observations and Video Recordings While the reporting feature within Rush Hour did provide some useful information, it did not track the total number of times digital scaffolds were used level on the Challenges summary screen, it only referenced that the Hint button ols (Solve,

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105 Next, Previous, Undo and Reset) were used. Therefore, the individual dyad observation form was used to collect the frequency with which each of the six tools was used by student dyads via observation of g ame play by the researcher ( Appendix D) Data collected from each individual observation form were then transferred to a summary form for all sc affolds organized by class ( Appendix E). As game play was quick and tracking of moves difficult with multiple hands on the iPad screen at the same tim e, video recordings were used to confirm the number of times each scaffold was used by dyads during game pl ay on the observation form ( Appendix D). A small Flip camera on a tabletop tripod focused specifically on the iPad screen was used to document stude nt moves Once tallies were confirmed, total information for each digital scaffold was transferred to the final data report in preparatio n for statistical analysis ( Appendix F). A second video camera (a larger camera on a floor tripod) was directed at th e dyads to capture the overall game playing experience including both verbal and non verbal interactions between the partners while using the various scaffolding tools. Transcription of both sets of video recordings were used to confirm who used digital s caffolds, which specific tools were used, an d how often they were used. Additionally, they also played a critical role in helping the researcher understand the intent or why behind student actions when using the built in scaffolding tools. Videos served as a powerful data source as they could 2006, p. 450).

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106 Field Journal A field journal was used in several ways throughout this study. During observations of student dyads, it served as a tool for recording descriptions about the dyads, the classroom environment, conversations between partners, and other activities related t o students playing the game Rush Hour on the iPad. It observation and interview began on a ne w page in the journal and room was left feelings, reactions to the experience, and reflections about the meaning and notes during observations were taken in short hand and later transferred to an online notebook for easier review. Informal Interviews Qualitative data were also gathered through informal int erviews of student dyads. It was the hope these interviews would paint an overall picture of the problem solving process, specific strategies used by dyads when problem solving, and information regarding their understanding of the purpose and/or function of each built conversational approach to interviewing allows the interviewer to be highly responsive to individual differences and This is very much aligned with literature specific to interviewing young children. Therefore, the followin g protocol was established: The researcher spent time in the early childhood classrooms several times a week for four weeks before the start of the study as a volunteer during

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107 class centers, on exploring days, and on the playground to minimize issues of re activity (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006). Students from each class spending time using an interactive white board as well as a computer. All of these interactions allowed the participant s to become more comfortable with the researcher prior to the interview and allowed the researcher to become familiar with the linguistic development of individual students to facilitate the interview process (Hatch, 1990; Irwin & Johnson, 2005; Kortesluom a, Hentinen, & Nikkonen, 2003; Krhenbhk & Blades, 2005 ). Each interview took place right after game play as young children typically provide more accurate information immediately after an event (Hatch, 1990; Krhenbhk & Blades, 2005 ). This also ensur ed the interview took place in a safe, comfortable place (Hatch, 1990; Irwin & Johnson, 2005). It was important to build a relationship with each dyad before the interview began This includes letting them know why they were being interviewed as well as a ssuring them there was no right or wrong answer to any of the questions (Hatch, 1990; Irwin & Johnson, 2005; Kortesluoma, Hentinen, & Nikkonen, 2003) Children need to understand that everything they say within the interview process is important (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006). Initial interview questions were closed ended. These types of questions were used to build rapport with the young participants and helped make them feel more comfortable with the interview process (Docherty & Sandelowski, 1999; Kortesluo ma, Hentinen, & Nikkonen, 2003). An informal, loosely structured ques tion protocol was utilized ( Appendix G). This allowed the researcher to modify the pace of questions, adjust questions to match the verbal ability of participants, and allow the dyads to talk with few interruptions. The researcher adjusted questions based on information provided by the student dyads and used closed ended questions as needed to keep the interview flowing (Hatch, 1990; Krhenbhk & Blades, 2005 ). Many of the interviews were successful, but it was a challenge for some students to answer questions, especially those who were a bit shy with the researcher. Cards with graphics of each of the built in tools were used during the interview process. They served as retrieval cues and helped the participants stay focused on questions related to the specific tools (Docherty & Sandelowski, 1999; Hatch, 1990). Following these guidelines, the interview protocol consisted of six core questions with several follow up questions dependent on which tools dyads used or di d not use during game play ( Appendix G). The first question was related to

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108 game play in general : Did you have fun playing the game Rush Hour today? The second question addressed previous experience with the game Rush Hour as a way to determine if prior experience with the digital or physical game impacted ho w dyads problem solved together: Have you every played the game Rush Hour before? The next two questions were again related to game play and were asked to solicit inf ormation about strategy and to see if dyads made connections between the use of scaffolding tools and ease of game play : What was the easiest part about playing the game? What was the hardest part of playing the game? The remaining questions were specific to each scaffold. Cue cards were used as prompts to see if dyads could identify the tools and then explain how each tool worked. Follow up questions based on which tools were used during play were also asked. For example, if a dyad was found to have use d the Hint tool often, they were asked to explain how the Hint tool worked and why it was used. While there was a specific set of questions within the protocol, the interview was loosely structured so that each dyad co This study is significant in that i t provides insight into how early childhood educators can use gaming applications with built in digital scaffolds within developmentally appropriate practice to promote problem solving. It confirms the important role teachers play in partnering students d uring collaborative work and affirms the need for teachers to explicitly teach students how to use help tools. Finally, it reminds teachers that they must critically examine all aspects of digital games including built in help tools before integrating the m into their classrooms.

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109 uld dictate the conversation. This informal structure was especially important, as some dyads were unable to proceed sequentially through the entire interview protocol. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed, coded, and cate gorized to help assess student perceptions and their overall understanding of digital scaffolds. Data Analysis Research Question 1 Quantitative a naly sis Results from individual observation data forms of all 12 dyads were transferred to Excel spreadsheets i n preparation for analysis ( Appendix E and Appendix F). Measures of central tendency were computed to provide a set of descriptive statistics for the overall d ata set. The frequency with which each digital scaffold tool was used was analyzed for the entire group to determine which tool dyads used most often. The ratio of games completed with and without the use of the help tools was also computed. As the dat a set of this study is small and most likely will not meet the assumptions of a normal distribution, the nonparametric chi square test was used for further analysis. The chi square test observe in a distribution of fre quencies would be what you would expect to occur p. 263). The larger the chi value, the larger the difference between the observed and expected values; therefore, a large chi value would indicate a statistically significant diff erence in how students used the different digital scaffolds (Salkind, 2008 ). For the purpose of this analysis, it was assumed that dyads would use tools equally across the three scaffolding

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110 functions demonstration (Solve) reduction in degree of freedom (Hint) and frustration control (Next, Prev, Undo, Reset) Qualitat ive analysis video recordings Once descriptive statistics were calculated and reviewed to identify patterns in the data, in depth qualitative analysis of verbal and non verbal behaviors surrounding the use of digital scaffolds (i.e. facial expressions, movements, gestures, language) was performed on the video recordings. The video transcripts of the dyad from Class A that used the most digital scaffolds (highest total of all scaffolds fr om Class A) were transcribed first (High Middle #2), and the video transcripts of the dyad from Class B that used the most digital scaffolds (highest total of all scaffolds from Class B) were transcribed second (Middle Middle #1). Then, before systematica lly categorizing the data, the researcher read through both sets of transcripts to add memos on emerging themes, behaviors, and relationships in the field journal. labels for assig 436). This process is called coding and the following scheme consisting of three parts was developed to analyze game play and the use of digitals scaffolds by dyads (Appendix H) Coding of even ts was then indexed in three phases, with each phase focused on one of the three scaffolding functions associated with the six digital tools ( Table 4 2 ). Part 1 of each event identified the use of a digital scaffold. Part 2 of each event examined the be havior(s) that occurred immediately before the use of a digital scaffold. Was the behavior(s) verbal or non verbal? What was the purpose behind the act? Was the behavior(s)

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111 personal or collaborative? Intentional or exploratory? Purposeful or for fun? Part 3 of each event examined the behavior(s) that occurred immediately after the use of a digital scaffold Was the behavior(s) verbal or non verbal? Was there evidence of learning? What other assistive behaviors emerged? Table 4 2. Summary of review and coding p rocedures Phase Description Transcription Transcription of video Initial Review Quick read of each transcript to identify emerging themes and patterns; record memos in field journal Coding Phase 1 (Yellow) Coding for verbal and non verbal behaviors and speech surrounding the use of the Solve button (demonstration scaffold) only Coding Phase 2 (Blue) Coding for verbal and non verbal behaviors and speech surrounding the use of the H int button (reduction in degree of freedom scaffold) only Coding Phase 3 (Pink) Coding for verbal and non verbal behaviors and speech surrounding the use of the Next, Prev, Undo, and Reset buttons (frustration control scaffolds) only Each code identified during the coding phases was transferred to a spreadsh eet based on scaffolding function, printed on colored card stock (blue, pink, yellow), a nd turned into index cards ( Table 4 2 ). Each card was marked with a code indicating the specific tool used, the class from which the transcript was obtained, the abili ty group of the dyad associated with the code, and the location of the code within the transcript (Glesne, 2011). For example, a code card from Phase 3 was pink and had the following notation written in the top left corner of the card: R A HH1 215 (Reset, Class A, High High Dyad #1, Line 215). Each card was also labeled as to the verbal interactions that occurred (if any), the level of collaboration between the dyad, the purpose for using the tool, and whether or not the use of the tool helped game play.

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112 By using cards, data codes could be easily sorted into different categories multiple times to give the researcher varying views of the data set and to help define rules for how data fit together. Cards were first sorted by scaffolding type (tool). Then they were sorted by scaffolding function (color) Next they were sorted by type of behavior verbal versus non verbal. Finally, they were sorted into overall themes to make sense of the data set as a whole The above pattern of transcription, review, an d coding was then followed for each set of transcripts, one from Class A and then one from Class B based on the next highest number of total digital scaffolds used. In addition to looking at how data fit together throughout the process, outliers were also noted in the field journal. To increase dependability of the coding procedures, the researcher asked the Early Childhood Director to code two sets of transcripts, one from each class. Using a tally sheet, the Director listed each instance of a scaffold a nd then coded the instance on four factors: type of verbalization, level of collaboration, reason for tool use, and level of help provided. The initial percentage of agreement on a total of 142 factors was 95.77%. After follow up discussion clarifying th e qualifications of help for each of the specific tools, the percentage of agreement increased up to 98.6%. Qualitative analysis interviews Transcription of interviews followed the same alternating pattern that was used during video transcription beginni ng with the dyads from Class A utilizing help tools the most. The researcher then used thematic analysis to search through the data connecting responses from interview questions about tool use to the actual use or non use of a specific tool as noted throu gh the observations

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113 (Glesne, 2006, p. 187). This review helped validate codes that emerged through analysis of the video transcripts and aided in the refinement of those codes as data were compared across the two data sources Additionally, the researche r looked for new patterns and themes that emerged solely from the interviews. Qualitative analysis field j ournal Throughout the study, the resear cher used a field journal to capture details about the environment, game play, use of digital scaffolds, and interactions between dyads and r eflect after each observation and interview. Journal entries pertaining to each dyad were reviewed throughout the study and before/after data analysis to allow the researcher to compare findings across the different sets of data. This third data source helped strengthen the analysis by confirming emerging themes and patterns, revealing new dimensions, and providing richer data. Research Question 2 Quantitative analysis Previous analysis of quantitative data were for the entire data set (12 dyads) and was specific to how preschool students use digital scaffolds when playing the problem solving game Rush Hour In order to answer the second research question, descriptive statistics were computed for each class data set independently (mixed ability vs same ability) to determine how dyads of varying ability levels used d igital scaffolds overall and how dyads of varying ability levels used individual scaffolding tools (Appendix I, Appendix J ) The researcher also analyzed data related to the actual number of moves made by dyads to complete each puzzle level as opposed to the minimum number of moves needed to

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114 complete each puzzle level to determine if a correlation exists between the types of digital scaffolds used the number of digital scaffolds used, and the number of puzzle levels actually completed by dyads of different abilities with and without help. Qualitative analysis Codes recorded on in dex cards during analysis of RQ1 were then sorted a fifth and sixth t ime to look more closely at how mixed ability and same ability groups used digital scaffolds while playing the game Rush Hour During the fifth sort, the researcher sorted the cards by class, creating a concept map for each class. A sixth sort was condu cted solely of codes related within Class A (dyads of same ability) to look for differences between high high, middle middle, and low low dyads. As was discussed in Chapter 3, research to date related to the partnering of students during collaborative pro blem solving in early childhood classrooms supports mixed ability groups. Yet none of this research is specific to technological contexts. Additionally, emerging research related to gaming contexts presents evidence that mixed ability grouping may not al ways be the best choice f or partnering students (Miller e t al 2012; Shih et al., 2010). Trustworthiness of Study The goal of this capstone study was to describe the ways preschool dyads use digital scaffolds when playing the problem solving game Rush Ho ur on the iPad in the natural classroom setting. While a combination of quantitative and qualitative data was collected to help answer the s was the qualitative data obtained from observations and interviews that provided

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115 the greatest insight into the phenomena. According to Guba (1981), researchers utilizing qualitative research methods must ensure their study is rigorous This dependability, and confi rmability in order to establish its trustworthiness. Credibility Credibility is related to how confident the researcher is about how true or valid the findings of a study are. Efforts to increase the credibility of this study included developing a rappor t with the participants prior to the start of the study through prolonged engagement, utilizing multiple data methods and data sources, and collecting data on different days and at different times (Guba, 1981; Krefting, 1991; Shenton, 2004). The researche r spent time in both classrooms prior to the start of the study as a volunteer to become familiar with routines and to help the children feel comfortable with the researcher in their classrooms. This immersion also allowed the researcher to develop a deep er understanding of the daily classroom experience in order to provide rich, detailed descriptions of the context and participants. The researcher also met with the classroom teachers and Early Childhood Director to determine how students would be partner ed for the study as well as discuss how data would be collected to understand how teachers intentionally plan. The use of observations and interviews co nducted during varying times during the day helped present multiple perspectives of the (Krefting, 1991, p. 218).

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116 Transferability Transferability refers to how findings from a study can be applied to other contexts outside of the study. The results of this study are most applicabl e to other preschool programs similar in size and context (private school) with participants with similar demographics. It may be difficult to generalize this heterogeneous popul ations or in programs that do not follow a DAP framework. However, the researcher provided a detailed description of the context and participants so others can see if findings are transferable. In qualitative studies, the need to prove generalizability i s not as great as in quantitative studies. There just needs to be enough information provided so that others may do so (Krefting, 1991). Dependability Dependability means that the findings of a study are consistent and can be reproduced. To accomplish th is task, the researcher provided a clear description of methods so that other researchers could easily track or follow the (Shenton, 2004). The researcher also implemented the foll owing controls to help clarify procedures: As a way to control instruction on how to use the game Rush Hour between the two classes, one of the JK teachers conducted the introductory lesson for both classes at the same time using a projection system. The lesson was taught during a regular Monday morning gathering, which is already part of the JK routine. Stud ent dyads in each condition bega n with the same game level, easy puzzle #4. The classroom teacher used the first three puzzles of the game during instruction on how to play the game as well as a way to demonstrate how the built in help tools worked.

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117 Student dyads in each condition played the game Rush Hour on the iPad for 10 minutes This time limit is near the maximum time students in the prescho ol program spend at a single activity during daily cla ssroom center rotations and provide d equal time for each student dyad to problem solve. A timer was kept by the researcher throughout the study. All observations of student dyads were conducted during classroom centers so learning conditions were comparable across both classes each day of the study. All observations and interviews took place as students rotated independently through teacher prepared activities. Additional strategies implemented to imp code recode procedure. The researcher asked peers from a doctoral cohort to review the methods section of the study prior to implementation for feedback on data collection and analysis and to verify that the track of the study was clear from start to finish. During data analysis, as a way to check consistency in the coding process, a code recode procedure was followed on two sets of transcribed observations (one from each class) and two sets of transcribed interviews (one from each class). Two weeks after initial codes were recorded, the observation and interview transcripts were recoded to see whether the results were the same. Finally, an ext ernal peer coded two sets of transcripts to confirm consistency of the coding procedures. Confirmability Confirmability is the degree of neutrality or objectivity of a study and is used to help ensure findings are related to the study itself and not solely perceptions or ideas from the researcher. As the researcher is both personally and professionally vested in this study, it is essential the researcher reflect extreme inv

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118 researcher participated in reflective analysis as recommended by Guba (1981). A field journal was used to summarize daily experiences The journal was also thinking throughout the study. After viewing video recordings, the researcher reflected on how her participation, the Li mitations Several limitations were associated wi th this capstone project. The first limitation was related to the sele ction of the dyads As stated in the Participants section earlier in this chapter, this study used a convenience sample with students pl aced in one of two JK classrooms. While efforts were made to create academically similar classes at the beginnings of the year no measure of cognitive ability was used for class placement A second related limitation involves the way students were ranke d by problem solving ability and how dyads were created Designation of ability was subjective, based on teacher observations No formal instrument was used to measure problem solving ability. A third limitation of this study is related to previous exper iences with the game It is possible that previous experience with Rush Hour did impact some of the results of this study although it is not clear to what extent In an effort to reduce exposure, s tudents were not introduced to, nor did they play the d igital version of the game Rush Hour in the classroom prior to the beginning of the study. Additionally, the physical version of the game was removed as an activity in the classroom to minimize exposure. It was not known until after each dyad participat ed in the study i f either member had previous exposure with the game.

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119 During follow up interviews, members of each dyad were asked a bout their previous experiences. Eight of the twelve dyads had at least one m ember with previous experience, and e ach class had four dyads with previous experience ( although the recency and depth of their experiences was not determined ) A final limitation was related to the timing of observations. As mentioned in the General P rocedures section student dyads rotated through the iPad center over the course of a month. While unintentional, the six dyads from Class B rotated through the center during the first two weeks of the study with the six dyads from Class A following the next two weeks. It is unclear if this ord er of participation impacted the use of digital scaffolds by Class A as there was a longer time between instruction on how to use the scaffolding tools and actual participation in the study.

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120 CHAPTER 5 RESULTS The results of this analysis are divided into two sections based on the research questions guiding this study. Section I will present data that addresses the first resea rch question: In what ways do preschool dyads use digital scaffolds when playing the problem solving game Rush Hour ? Section II wi ll present data that addresses the second research question : In what ways does the ability level of preschool dyads impact how digital scaffolds are used when playing the problem solving game Rush Hour ? Section I presents data both according to function as well as by individual tool. It includes the frequency with which tools were used along with other descriptive statistics. It also presents examples from game play transcripts and student interviews to provide a richer account of student interactions Section II compare s tool use between Class A (same ability partners) and Class B (mixed ability partners) and presents similarities and differences in how the different ability groups use digital scaffolding tools. The frequency with which tools were use d as well as other descriptive statistics is shared and anecdotal information specific to individual dyads is presented. Data related to the efficiency of problem so lving between the two classes are also shared. Research Question 1 : In What Ways Do Preschool Dyads Use Digital Scaffolds When Playing the Problem Solving Game Rush Hour ? Overall During the 10 minutes of game time allotted for each dyad to play Rush Hour a total of 97 puzzles were completed with 30 of those puzzles be i ng solved utilizing help tools. Digital scaffolds were used a total of 155 times over

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121 the course of game play by 10 of the 12 student dyads that participated in the study ( Figure 5 1 ). When looking at scaffold use by function, demonstration scaffolds (S olve) were used 55 t imes (36%), reduction in degree of freedom scaffolds (Hint) were used 42 times (27%), and frustration control scaffolds (Next, Prev, Reset, Undo) were used 58 times (37%). Chi square was used to determine statistical significance. No significance was found between function categories (X 2 [df=2, n=155] = .247, p > .05). Figure 5 1. Summary of digital scaffold use by tool Further analysis of tool use was based on four factors: type of verbalization (verbal vs. non verbal) level of co llaboration (personal vs. collaborative) reason for tool use (intentional, playful, exploratory, accidental) and the level of help provided during game play (full help, partial help, no help) Each use of a digital scaffold looked not only at the actual use of the tool but also at the events that occurred before and after tool use related to these factors The majority of tool use was personal (79%) rather than collaborative (21%) in nature. This means students often used a tool without discussing its u se with his or her partner. Likewise, the majority of tool use was intentional (65%). While, there Hints Solve Reset Undo Next Prev Scaffold 42 55 4 1 39 14 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Number Used Summary of Digital Scaffold Tools Used

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122 were a few isolated incidents of playfulness within one of the dyads, the remaining dyads used the tools as intended. Only a few incidents of accidental u se oc curred (3%) ( Figure 5 2 ). The use of a scaffolding tool helped facilitate or advance game play 34% of the time ( Figure 5 2 ). This figure was calculated by assigning each use of a tool a degree of help, which varied depending on scaffold function. Figure 5 2. Analysis of tool use based on level of interaction, level of collaboration, intent behind actions, and level of help provided The use of the Solve or Hint tool was considered helpful if it aided the dyad in solving the puzzle with no more than six additional moves after using the tool. If the use of the Solve or Hint tool helped the dyad continue the problem solving process but did not help them solve the puzzle in less than six moves, or if the dyad used another tool after three moves, th e use of the tool was considered to give partial assistance. If the use of the Solve or Hint tool was ignored or if another tool was immediately used, its use was considered not helpful. The Next, Prev, Undo, and Reset tools were considered helpful if th ey assisted the 64 91 32 123 101 32 17 5 43 10 102 Analysis of Tool Use Level of Interaction Level of Collaboration Intent of Action Level of Help

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123 example, if a student declared a puzzle was too hard and wanted an easier puzzle, pressing the Prev or Next button in that instant was considered to help facili tate game play. Demonstration Scaffold (Solve Tool) The function of a demonstration scaffold is to model the process of completing a task either partially or completely with the hope the student or dyad will continu e the problem solving process. In Rush Hour the Solve tool provided a step by step video of movements needed to complete a puzzle. It was used a total of 55 times by 10 of the student dyads and was found to facilitate game play at a rate of 29%. It could also be said that this tool ser ved a s a frustration control as s tudents would display, through both verbal and non verbal behaviors, their frustration with the game and/or their lack of progress before pressing the button ( Figu re 5 3 ). Figure 5 3 Behaviors surrounding the use of the Solve tool during game play 30 25 27 38 49 3 0 0 10 6 39 Use of Solve Tool Level of Interaction Level of Collaboration Intent of Action Level of Help

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124 Verbalizations surrounding use of Solve t ool Verbal declarations either by students stating they needed to use the S olve tool (personal), suggestions from part ners (collaborative) or requests for help (collaborative) were highest for this tool at 54%. These declarations indicate that students understood using the tool would provide help and facilitate game play. Examples of verbalizations included: B MK(8): e Solve button to his partner. as a question). Points to Solve while asking and then pr esses button when partner nods. [MM#1 B MK(8) 120] [ PARTNER SUGGESTION ] B LB(11) : No, wait. Maybe we should press the Solve button. Partne r B JS(12) presses the button. [HH#1 B JS(12) 110] [ PARTNER SUGGESTION ] C NC(2): P oints to the Solve button [and look s up as if asking a question]. C C NC(2) presses the Solve button. [ML#1 C NC(2) 236] [ PARTNER SUGGESTION ] B MB(9): [HH#2 B MB(9) 97] [ SELF DECLARATION ] C EH(6): [C EH(6) presses the Solve button.] [ML#2 C EH(6) 247] [ SELF DECLARATION ] C BS(9): [HL#2 C BS(9) 248] [ SELF DECLARATION ] B AO(7) : W orks on the puzzle while B MK(8) is askin g questions of the researcher. She Partner then presses the Solve button. [MM#1 B AO(7) 181] [REQUESTS FOR HELP] C EW(3): C BS(9) s [HL#2 C EW(3) 278] [REQUESTS FOR HELP] C MB(9): [The dyad has just used the Hint tool but it did not advance game play.] N MB(9) res [HH#2 B MB(9) 97] [DECLARAT ION MADE IN FRUSTRATION]

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125 C EW(3): EW(3) a s she presses the Solve button. [HL#2 C EW(3) 157] [DECLARATION MADE IN FRUSTRATION] C EH(6): M ov es the red car back and forth. She puts h er hands up in the air and says with She then rests her chin in her She p resses the Solve button again. [ML#2 C EH(6) 176] [DECLARATION MADE IN FRUSTRATION] Understanding the Solve urpose Follow up interviews co nfirmed students found the Solve tool helpful. They were able to clearly discuss how the tool worked as well as why it was used. When asked what the Solve tool does, B and find out how to do it. It shows you how to move the cars to get the red car out B MB(9) 424 430]. Another student referred to the Solve tool as the C TD(10) 421 427]. When asked why the tool was used, C t gave me help when it was hard. C BS(9) 600] and C was too tricky C KD(7) 362]. It is interesting to note that while 10 of the dyads used the Solve tool, there were some students within those dyads that did not want to use the tool personally and would sometimes become upset if their partner used it (even if they themselves had used Solve earlier in the game). These students wanted to figure out puzzles on their own. B i t without asking the question. Solve tool [MM#1 B AO(7) 141]. C C TW(1) 357]. Another st udent tried to press the Solve button [HH#1 B JS(1) 181]. Despite these comments, it

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126 does not appear that students thought the use of the tool was negative or bad, rather they were asserting their independ ence and stretching th emselves to work without help. The majority of talk surrounding the use of the Solve tool was positive and the tool was seen as providing help. Successive u se of the Solve t ool The Solve tool was often used in succession. Of the 55 instances in which the Solve tool was used, fifteen of them occurred back to back (27%). When looking more closely at the behaviors surrounding this back to back use of the tool, two major patterns emerged. The first was related to students not carefully watching the Solve movie to completion. On several occasions, one member of a dyad would press the Solve button and during the middle of the demonstration, the other member of the dyad would interrupt the demonstration by trying to take over the game or by distracting the partner from watching the movie. This would then cause the member who pressed the Solve the first time to press it again. For example, when w orking on puzzle #11, B AO(7) pressed the Solve button. Her partner tried to move cars while the Solve movie was playing so B AO(7) tried to grab her arm to stop her. Neither of the girls saw the movie so B AO(7) pushed Solve again [MM#1 B AO(7) 274]. Th e second pattern that emerged was related to the speed and length of the demonstration movie itself. Many students discussed the need to see the movie over again because it was too fast. When working on puzzle #12 B IE(10) I think they moved these (Pause) No, they moved these two down B IE(10) 134] Others would remark on how too many cars got moved and how they would need to press the

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127 button again During game play, C EH(6) says to he these guys out We need this. C EH(6) 247]. Most dyads had a difficult time following more than two or three moves after the Sol ve button was pressed. Reduction in Degree of Freedom Scaffold (Hint Tool) Within Rush Hour the Hint tool served as a reduction in degree of freedom by providing a single clue each time it was pressed. It was used 42 times by 5 of the 12 dyads with one dyad using it a total of 17 times (Figure 5 4). Hint was used more non verbally (74%) as a personal tool when one member of the dyad had control over the board than the Solve tool, but there were occasions when partne rs would recommend its use. It s use fa cilitated ga me play at a rate of 23.6% (Figure 5 4 ). Figure 5 4 Behaviors surrounding use of the Hint tool during game play 11 31 10 32 33 0 9 0 13 4 25 Behaviors Surrounding Use of Hint Tool Level of Interaction Level of Collaboration Intent of Action Level of Help

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128 Verbalizations surrounding use of the Hint t ool Like the Solve tool, verbal statements during game play suggest students C [MH#2 C LF(5) 415] and C TD(10) talked about the Hint tool being helpful C TD(1) 454]. Examples of other verbalizations include: C EH(6): [C EH(6) has not made progress in 45 seconds]. [Starts moving the red car back and forth bu [Makes a fist with her hand in f rustration banging the table]. Then to her partner, [ML#2 C EH(6) 153] C LF(5): C LF(5) 108] C EH(6) : S Her part C EH(6) pushes the Hint button. [ML# 2 C EH(6) 418] B IE(10) : S tops working for a second. She looks to her partner and B IE(10) shows B MB(9) which button t o push [points to Hint]. B [presses the button]. [HH#2 B MB(9) 85 ] There was also a playfulness associated with this tool that was not seen with the Solve tool such as when B MB(9) et a hint B IE(10) 296]. While this event was playful in nature, the act was still intentional as the students were stuck and needed assistance to move on.

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129 Repeated use of Hint t ool There were several times during game play in which a student woul d use the Hint tool in succession three or more times. In some of these instances, there were non verbal cues such as sighing, shoulder shrugging, and resting of hands on chins that showed students were frustrated. In other cases, students realized the H int tool would help them finish the current puzzle and move on to the next one For example: C LF(5): C SK(11) tells C LF(5) to move the red car C LF(5) presses the Hint needed a rtner. [HM#2 C LF(5) 115] C TD(10) : C TD(1) h ad pressed the So lve button but the game froze. Once the game was restarted, he made a few moves but He then proceeds to press the HINT butto n six times to finish the game. [HL#1 C TD(10) 27] Missing the Hint There were occasions during game play in which students would miss the hint and therefore its use did not enhance game play. The miss typically came because the student pressing the button either became distracted and turned away from the game or was not focused on the part of the game board where the hint occurred. H ints were also missed by partners because they were unaware that the hint tool was being used. This is most like ly related to the high personal use of this tool. Many of these instances are evidenced by the number of times the hint car was moved back to the location it wa s just in. For example: C EH(6) : S C C TW(1 ) whispers C EH(6) presses the Hint button. After the hint car moves up, C EH(6) moves it back to its same position as before t he use of the tool. [ML#2 C EH(6) 238]

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130 B IE(1 0 ) : P resses the Hint button for her partner [which mov es the orange car]. MB(9) moves the orange car back to its original spot. e. B IE(10) moves it back to the hint position. B hen continues came play. [HH#2 B IE(10) 296] Frustration Control Scaffolds (Next, Prev, Reset, Undo Tools) The Next, Prev, Undo and Reset tools were categorized as frustration control scaffolds that could potentially reduce the amount of stress or fear ex hibited during problem solving tasks. These tools were used by seven dyads during game play. Overall use was personal (91 %) and often playful (50%) (Figure 5 5 ). Figure 5 5. Behaviors surrounding use of frustration control scaffolds (Next, Prev, Reset, and Undo) during game play Next and Prev t ools The Next and Prev tools were used by students to move back and forth between puzzles. The Next tool was used a total of 39 times while the Prev tool was used 14 times. Despite the high number of times these tools were used, just two dyads accounted for 92.5% of their use. Analysis of intentional use of the tool shows they were used to change the level of difficulty of a puzzle, to find 23 35 5 53 19 29 8 2 20 0 38 Behaviors Surrounding Use of Frustration Control Scaffolds Level of Interaction Level of Collaboration Intent of Action Level of Help

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131 another puzzle when game play was stalled, to avoid repeating levels tha t had already been played, or to replay a level that a partner had just played. The tools were considered to be helpful (37.7%) when they assisted in accomplishing how the student or dyad wanted them to be used. The following list highlights some of the ways the Next and Prev tools were used by preschool students: C LF(5): While the music plays after completion of a puzzle, C SK(11) presses the Try A gain button. [The Try Again button sets the game to t he same level just completed.] C LF(5) gets the boa rd and presses the Next button. [MH#2 C LF(5) 323] C NC(2) : M oves the pink car a oing to press [ML#1 C NC(2) 274] C AS(12): C AS(12) moves two cars then want to do le [HM#1 C AS(12) 185] C LF(5) : pulls the iPad closer. g He then presses Prev to go back. [MM#2 C LF(5) 214] Undo and Reset t ools The Undo tool wa s used just once during game play while the Reset tool was used four times The tools were used by just two dyads, and it is evident they were used by accident or during exploration of the tools rather than intentionally They did not impact game play in any way, and it is unclear if the students even realized anything happened when the buttons were pressed For example, C EH(6) pressed the Reset button by mistake with no response when her partner suggested she use the Hint tool [ML#2 C EH(6) 83]. When B MK(8) MM#1 B MK(8) 129].

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132 Previous e xperience with Rush Hour While it was predicted there would be some study participants with pre vious Rush Hour experience, the researcher did not expect there to be so many. One third of the participants had previous experience with the game. Seven had played the digital version of the game while two had played the physical version of the game T hese nine participants were distributed between eight of the twelve dyads as noted by an asterisk in Table 5 1 It is important to note that the amount of experience with the game for each individual is not known nor is the recency of the experiences. No netheless, it appears that previous experience played a role in how digital scaffolds were used in this study by preschool dyads when problem solving. When looking at the total number of puzzles solved as compared to the total scaffolds used, there is an i nverse relationship. For the most part, the more puzzles solved the least number of scaffolds used. This ties into experience too. For the most part, dyads with previous game experience used less digital scaffolds. Table 5 1 Number of puzzles solved by each dyad along with total scaffolds use for each group Total Puzzles Solved Total Scaffolds Used Middle Middle* #2 13 2 High Low* #2 13 5 High Middle #1 10 14 High High # 2 9 10 High High # 1 9 9 Low Low #2 8 0 Middle Low #1 7 9 Low Low #1 6 0 Middle Middle #1 6 13 High Low #1 6 16 High Middle #2 6 55 Middle Low #2 4 22

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133 Research Question 2 : In What Ways Does the Ability Level of Preschool Dyads Impact How Digital Scaffolds Are Used When Playing the Problem Solving Game Rush Hour ? Overall There was significant evidence to support that dyads in Class B comprised of mixed ability dyads used digital scaffolds differently than dyads in Class A comprised of same ability dyads (X 2 [df=2, n=155] = 24.22, p < .05). Dyads in Class B used on average 20.2 scaffolding tools during game play, while Class A used an average of 5. 7 scaffolding tools. Dyads in C lass B solved on average 7.67 puzzles during ten minutes of game play utilizing 121 scaffolds as compared to an average of 8.5 puzzles util izing a t otal of 34 scaffolds for Class A (Figure 5 6). Overall, Class B completed 21/46 puzzles with help too ls, while Class A completed 9/51 puzzles with help. Figure 5 6. Comparison of digital scaffolds across classes When comparing how many moves were made to complete each puzzle versus the mini mum number of moves needed to co mplete each puzz le, dyads in Class A were f ound to be more efficient problem solvers. Through puzzles 4 to 24 6 1 1 1 1 31 36 38 13 3 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Solve Hint Next Prev Reset Undo Comparison of Digital Scaffolds Across Classes Class A (Same) Class B (Mixed)

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134 16, Class A had a total problem s olving efficiency ratio of 58.16 %, while Class B had a tot al problem solving ratio of 54.91 % (Table 5 2) Table 5 2 Problem solving efficiency b etween Class A and Class B The top problem solving dyads (one from each class), Middle Middle #2 and High Low #2 both solved 13 puzzles. Dyad Middle Middle #2 from Class A solved the most puzzles with the least amount of help from digital scaffolds (12) while dyad High Low #2 used scaffolding tools on just two puzzles (11) Both of these dyads had one member with previous game experience. All participants with previous game experience are not ed with an asterisk on Table 5 3 Table 5 3 Total number of puzzles solved by Class including those solved with and without help Total Puzzles Solved Total Puzzles with Help Total Puzzles without Help Class A (Same ) High High #1 9 4 5 High High #2 9 2 7 Middle Middle #1 6 2 4 Middle Middle #2 13 1 12 Low Low #1 6 0 6 Low Low #2 8 0 8 Class B (Mixed) High Low #1 6 4 2 High Low #2 13 2 11 Middle Low #1 7 1 6 Middle Low #2 4 4 0 High Middle #1 10 6 4 High Middle #2 6 4 2 Class A (Same) Class B (Mixed) Total # of Puzzles Completed 51 46 Total # of Puzzles Completed with Help 9 17.65% 21 45.65% Total # of Puzzles Completed without Help 42 82.35% 25 54.35% Problem Solving Efficiency (Puzzles 4 7) 56.59 % 55.62 % Problem Solving Efficiency (Puzzles 8 11) 51.50% 48.11 % Problem Solving Efficiency (Puzzles 12 16) 66.40% 61.00%

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135 Previous E xperience with Rush Hour In regards to previous experience with the game, both classes had four dyads with an experienced partner. When placing the dyads in rank order from most digital scaffolds used to least digital scaffolds use, the four top dyads had at least one member with previous experience (Class B HM#2, Class B HL#1, Class B HM# 1, Class A HH#2). When placing the dyads in rank order from most puzzles solved to least, the four top dyads (Class A MM#2, Class B HL#2, Class B HM#1, Class A HH#2) also had a member with previous game experience. The on e dyad where both members had pre vious experience (B HM#2) ranked 11 th in solving the most puzzles and first in using the most scaffolding tools. Demonstration Scaffold (Solve Tool) The Solve tool was used by all six dyads from Class B an average of 5.17 times during game play, while only four dyads from Class A used the tool an average of 4 times per game play. Additional differences between the two groups included the verbal interactions that took place before, during, and after tool use along with how Solve was used with other tools. Class B was more verbal in its use of the tool, with partners suggesting use of th e tool twice as much (Figure 5 7 ). High Low Group #2: C [Rests her hand on her chin.] BS(9) says to the re After a moment, C EW(3) says, C EW(3) 157] Middle Low Group #2: C oves to press the Hi nt button. His partner, C EH(6) stops him from pressing Hint and presses Solve instead. She C EH(6) 430].

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136 Figure 5 7. Comparison of uses of Solve between classes Class B dyads also used the Solve tool in conjunction with other tools which did not occur at all during game play by dyads from Class A. For example, Middle Low Group #2: C he Undo button. She then immediately presses the Solve button [S ML#2 C EH(6) 247]. High Low Group #1: C TD(10) makes about 10 moves and then presses Hint. C TD(10) now presses the Solve button [purple car, purple truck, pink car, light blue, yellow, red]. C TD(10) finishes the puzzle in almost the same order as the solve movie. [HL#1 C TD(10) 114] W hile there were differences between the two classes, several similarities also existed. First, b oth classes used the Solve tool with high levels of intentionality. Class A had a few incidents of accidental use (3), while Class B had a few incidents of playful use (3). Second, both groups used the tool more personally than collaboratively. Finally, both groups often used the tool in succession when it did not provide he lp the first time ( Figure 5 7 ). Here are some examples of the tool being used in succession: 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Comparison of Uses of Solve Between Classes Class A (Same) Class B (Mixed)

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137 Middle Low Group #1: C NC(2) presses the Solve button. [He and his partner are quiet as they watch the puzzle being solved on the screen.] C [ML#1 C NC(2) 229] Middle Middle Group #1: B A O(7) presses the Solve button. She then moves just the red car before pressing the Solve button again. B AO(7) does not make any moves right away but rather poses her hand over the Hint button. Her partner, B MK(8) says B AO(7) then decides to press Solve again. [MM#1 B AO(7) 185] Figure 5 8. Use of Solve tool by ability level across both classes The Solve tool was used by students of all abilities but was used most by students ranked with middle problem solving abilities. The next highest users were high ability students with low ability students using the demonstration scaffold the least (Figure 5 8 ). Of the low ability users, only those in Class B used the tool with one student using it seven times. In analyzing mixed ability groups, there was no pattern in which member used the tool first. The lowest member of a dyad was the first to use the tool just as many times as the highest member of the dyad used the tool. 0% 58% 42% Use of Solve by Class A (Same) Low Middle High 36% 45% 19% Use of Solve by Class B (Mixed) Low Middle High

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138 Figure 5 9. Use of Hint tool between Class A and Class B Reduction in Degree of Freedom Scaffold (Hint Tool) Two dyads from Class A used the hint tool six times, while three dyad s from Class B used the Hint tool a total of 36 times. Primary users of the tool from both classes were students with middle ability and high ability problem solving skills. Students with low ability skills did not use the tool at all. While both classe s found about the same level of success using the tool, the dyads did use the tool differently. Dyads from Class A were more verbal when using Hint, while dyads from Class B were mostly personal, non verbal users. The most obvious difference between the two classes was how individuals from Class B would use the tool repeatedly. Of the 14 distinct uses of the tool by Class B, six of them were successive with the Hint tool being used anywhere fr om two to eight times in a row. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Verbal Non-Verbal Collaborative Personal Intentional Playful Exploratory Accident Help Partial Help No Help Use of Hint Tool by Class Class A (Same) Class B (Mixed)

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139 Frustration Control Scaffolds (Next, Prev, Reset, Undo Tools) Class A had four instances of using frustration control scaffolds (one each of Next, Prev, Undo, and Reset), with only one of those instances being intentional. Class B dyads, on the other hand, used the tools on 54 occasions although with a very playful attitude. One student from the Middle High #2 dyad especially liked to use the Next and Prev tools to search for easier and harder puzzles. In fact, in just one instance of game play he used the tools together 30 times. He was very verbal during game play, making lots of jokes to his partner. The more his partner laughed, the more he got excited and pressed the buttons. Even with this playfulness, it was clear he did use the tools with purpose some of those time s. Here is an excerpt from that game play: C would like to go to th [He then presses Prev to go back.] He then presses the P r ev button eight more times. the first one the real one. [He is now on puzzle #1.] When his partner C LF(5) begins to press Next six times until a pop up screen comes up asking what he w an ts to do at the level. Then he presses the Next button 14 more times. hardest puzzle.] [MH#2 C LF(5) 214 231] A second dyad from Class B (Middle High Group #1) was responsible for 13 uses of the Next and P rev buttons. While also a middle high dyad, their use of the tools was more intentional as they tried to avoid playing the same puzzle twice. C AS(12) : H ad solved level #5. She presses the Try Again button before pa ssing the iPad to her partner. She then Realizing that C

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140 C KD(7) : U sed the Solve button to solve puzzle #10 and then presses Try Again when the congrat ulato ry music finishes. C AS(12) gets the iPad and presses the Next button, which moves her to #11. She starts working on the puzzle. Chapter Summary Chapter 5 presented both quantitative and qualitative data describing the ways preschool dyads use digital scaffolds when playing the problem solving game Rush Hour In addition to sharing descriptive statistics on the types of scaffolds used, the behaviors surro unding each use of a scaffold were analyzed. Specially, the researcher evaluated tool use on four factors: type of verbalization, level of collaboration, reason for tool use, and the level of help provided during game play. Data pertaining to the 12 dyad s as a whole was reviewed first and then analyzed by class to determine if the ability level of preschool dyads impacts how digital scaffolds are used Chapter 6 summarizes the findings of this study, discusses their implications for current practice in t he preschool classroom, and presents avenues for continued research.

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14 1 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION S Utilizing a mixed methods research design, this descriptive capstone project examined how preschool child ren use digital scaffolds built in to the digital game Rush Hour while problem solving on the iPad. Specifically, it investigated the ways student dyads used demonstration, reduction in degree of freedom, and frustration control scaffolds during game play and analyzed the role of these tools within the problem so lving process. The study also examined the similarities and differences between student dyads with different problem solving abilities. The following key findings emerged from the study: 1. Preschool children understand the purpose of digital scaffolds and can use them intentionally during game play. 2. Preschool children use all three types of digital scaffolds embedded within the game Rush Hour although differences exist by ability level. 3. The use of digital scaffolds often provides frustration support duri ng game play. 4. The use of digital scaffolds often advances or extends game play. 5. Mixed ability dyads u se more digital scaffolds than same ability dyads when playing the game Rush Hour on the iPad 6. Same ability dyads solve more puzzles than mixed ability dyads when playing the game Rush Hour on the iPad. 7. Demonstration scaffolds are more helpful when they are age appropriate. Preschool Students Use Digital Scaffolds It was evident through both verbal and non verba l interactions between dyads and through follow up interviews that the preschool children in this study understood the rol e of digital scaffolds within Rush Hour They often used them intentionally for help, both as a means to reduce frustration and as a way to advance game play A total of 15 5 digital scaffolds were used by 10 of the 12

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142 dyads in this study. All three types of scaffolds demonstration, reduction in degree of freedom, and frustration control were used, but no significant difference between the three types of scaffolds was fo und (X 2 [df=2, n=155] = .247, p > .05). Students often used digital scaffolding tools personally rather than collaboratively. This high level of personal use may be attributed to the student s taking turns solving puzzles, as dyads would pass the iPa d bac k and forth after each puzzle was completed. When the iPad was stationed in front of one student, that student typically controlled what was happenin g on the game board which included making the decision to use a digital scaffold This back and forth ga me play is a lso a result of young children others and work through ideas and solutions, as well as develop social skills such as cooperating, helping, negotiation, and talking with other people to solve ( Co pple & Bredekamp, 2009, p. 155 ). Even with this high level of personal use, there were many instances in which peers encourage d their partners to use scaffolding tools These suggestions are consistent with previous research on peer scaffolding in various educational contexts knowledgeable others can help extend student thinking during the learning process (Berk & Winsler, 1995; Vygotsky, 1978) Individuals within this study showed their partner s how to complete tasks, gave direct instruction on how to play the game, explained how tools worked or why they should be used, and suggested use of the tools during game play (Ahmad & Assim, 2003; Ellis & Rogoff, 1982; Heft & Swaminathan, 2002; Hyun & Da vis, 2005; Sharma &

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143 Hannafin, 2007; Verba, 1998). This was espe cially the case with the Solve and Hint tool s, which were viewed by most groups as ways to get help when they were stuck. The Next and Prev tools were viewed as ways to find easier puzzles or avoid repeating already completed puzzles. When looking specifically at the ability level of individuals, students identified as mid level problem solvers used scaffoldings tools the most (94) followed by high level problem solvers (49). Low ability stud ents used digital scaffolds least (12). This last finding confirm s previous research that says children with low prior knowledge or novice learners struggle to use built in help and supports the need for classroom teachers to explicitly model how to use t ools (Clarebout & Ellen, 2009 ; Gall, 1981; Gall, 1985 ; Harskamp & Suhre, 2007). Digital Scaffolds as Frustration Support Preschool dyads used the digital scaffolds embedded in the puzzle game Rush Hour as a way to reduce frustration during game play and t o extend time spent problem solving. This is in line with the findings of Sun et al. (2011) and Hung et al. (2012) who also found demonstration, reduction in degree of freedom do through the use of scaffolds dyads can increase their chances of success spend more time problem solving, and solve more puzzles (Sun et al., 2011). Both Sun et al. (2011) and Hung et al. (2012) cau tion that digital scaffolds can have a negative effect when they are overused as increased reliance reduces learning opportunities While there were occasions in which scaffolds were used repeatedly, overuse in the early childhood context seems less

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144 impor tant as children are participating in more playful, exploratory experiences and are at the beginning stages of problem solvi ng and learning how to seek help Young children need to know that it is okay to explore and should be encou raged to use digital scaffolds. While students may not understand that they are developing problem solving strategies that can be transferred to other contexts when they use digital scaffolds t hey need to know that is okay to use these digital scaffolds and that their use is not negative or bad Teachers need to understand that these explorations are the beginning stages of children seeking help and critical to cognitive development (Gall, 1981; Gall, 1985; Puustinen et al., 2009) Same Ability vs. Mixed Ability Dyads While no significant difference was found between the three scaffold function types for the data set as a whole, there was a significant difference (X 2 [df=2, n=155] = 24.22, p < .05) in how students from Class A (same ability dyads) used th e tools as compared to students from Class B (mixed ability dyads). The following differences emerged between the groups: Class B used digital scaffolds built into the game Rush Hour four times more often than Class A Class B dyads were more verb al when using digital tools. Class B dyads suggested tool use more often to their partner than dyads in Class A Class B dyads used the Solve tool back to back with other digital tools. Class B dyads used the Next/Prev tools to move between puzzles. Low low a bility dyads in Class A did not use any tools during game play

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145 Level of Help Provided Both classes received approximately the same amount of h elp using digital scaf folding tools during game play. Of the 34 times dyads from Class A used digital scaffolds, help was provided at a rate of 35%. Of the 121 times dyads in Class B used digital scaffolds, help was provided at a rate of 34%. The re were, however, differences between individual tools S ame ability dyads found Solve as a more effective help tool (3 7.5% vs. 22%) while mixed ability dyads found the Hint (41% vs. 33%) and Next/Prev tools (35% vs. 25%) as providing more help. The type of dyad configura tion did have an impact on the number of tools used but did not impact the amount of help provided by digital scaffolds during game play. Level of Collaboration Same ability dyads appeared to work better together than mixed ability dyads Their behaviors were more cooperative, and they stayed on task for longer periods of time. There were few confronta tions or arguments between the dyads and none of the same ability dyads required redirection from the researcher. Within the mixed ability dyads, there were several instances in lower ability student. In three of the mixed ability dyads, t he higher ability student controlled the game for longer periods of time, were quick to redirect their partners, and on some occasions would take the iPad away citing they knew how to solve the puzzle even at the protest of their partner. Researchers studying dyads from the elementary context also note d these controlling behaviors. They found same ability partners are better at taking turns and less dominant over their partners

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146 during collabor ative problem solving activities (Light et al., 1994; King et al., 1998; Shih et al., 2010). Level of Problem Solving Dyad configuration also played a role in both the amount of total puzzles solved by dyads as well as the efficiency of game play. Same ability dyads solved more puzzles than their counterparts in mixed ability dyads. This is in line with those of Rama ni (2005), who found same ability partners working in playful, natural contexts able to complete more builds. Same ability partnerships al so proved to be slightly more efficient problem solvers, as the overall ratio between the number of total moves made to complete a puzzle compared to the minimum number of moves needed to complete a puzzle was lower. Even though there is evidence to suppo rt same ability partnerships as an effective strategy for partnering preschool students during problem solving tasks on digital games c aution is needed when interpreting the finding s. First, a s noted in the Limitations section of Chapter 4, no valid deve lopmental measure was used to rank the children. While the basic demographics regarding mean age as well as age range were essentially the same between the two groups, it became clear in observing the students that there were some di fferences in the overa ll social emotional competencies of the groups. S tudents in Class B needed more direction to stay focused during game play, required more intervention by the researcher and were found to be more playful, even silly at times. The teachers and the Early C hildhood Director also confirmed that students in Class B were less socially competent than their counterparts in Class A. In fact, one of the students from Class B who was ranked as having middle

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147 problem solving abilities is repeating Junior Kindergarten during the 2013 2014 school year. This same child was one of the outliers in this study who used tools in a playful manner; especially the Next and Prev buttons find other puzzles The eas of learning and development was quite evident ( Epstein, 2007, p. 69). Need for Age Appropriate Digital Scaffolds Many researchers have cataloged essential features of good games for young children (An & Bonk, 2009 ; Chiasson & Gutwin, 2005; Hong et al., 20 09; Shute & Miksad, 1997). Games should be easy to use and responsive to a extensive, and full and partial demonstration scaffolds are especially important (Fisch, 2005; Shute & Miks ad, 1997). According to Shute and Miksad (1997), high level scaffolds, like the Solve tool built into the game Rush Hour are the most beneficial kind of scaffold for young children. Yet, despite the perceived appropriateness of the sliding puzzle game for preschool children (rated 4+) the demonstration scaffold built within the game would probably not be considered developmentally appropriate for the age group o f this study. The Solve tool did provide a demonstration scaffold considered importan t for facilitating problem solving with young children. And while it did give help 29% of the time, the speed of the demonstration itself was just too fast paced for most of the students. Despite before the movie begins, many s tudents were not prepared to wat ch the movie for a variety of reasons such as be

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148 issue with the tool was related to the length of the movie and the number of moves demonstrated Depending on how far along the dyad was in the problem solving process, Solve movies could have vehicles move three or four times or co u ld last much longer with ten or more move s. Using the Solve tool requires children to tap into their short term memory and then freely recall or retrieve what they see in order to replicate the movement of the vehicles to complete the puzzle. Research on memory in presch ool children shows free r ecall i s limited to three or four successive presentations or chunks of information with more chunks being recalled as children get older (Perlmutter & Ricks, 1979). Recall is dependent on type of task, condition in which students are working, the amount of effort put forth as well as the organizational strategies used to organize information such as sorting, grouping and rehearsing ( Chi, 1976; Sodian, Schneider, & Perlmutter, 1986; Wellman Collins, & Glieberman, 1981). Therefore, there are many factors that need to be considered when designing scaffo lding tools for young children. Makers of the game Rush Hour along with other game designers, can make games more developmentally appropriate for young children by adding features within settings that would allow adults to customize the scaffolding experience based on the individual user. pported by the work of Sun et al. (2011 p. 2125 ). These types of set tings would further support how apps could be used to individualize the learning experience, especially since individualization is a key component of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood settings (NAEYC, 2009). Early childhood

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149 educators need to complete a deep exploration of digital games before they use them in the classroom to make sure all features of the game are appropriate, and they also need to develop a plan on how they will support students in the use of these games. Implication s for Educators Games played on touch tablets such as the iPad provide opportunities for students to explore mathematical concepts, engage in problem solving activities and work on visual discrimination skills. They also provide opportunities for scaffolds built in to the se games can provide help, can reduce frustration during game play and have the potential to ext end time spent problem solving. Also of importanc e is the fact that games with digital s caffolds give children the chance to practice help seeking strategies. Ensuring Developmentally Appropriate Apps In order for digital problem solving games to be used in developmentally appropriate ways in the prescho ol classroom, teachers need to carefully examine apps and scaffolding tools to ensure they are appropriate for their students and verify the tools will not introduce additio nal frustration into game play. Utilizing app evaluation rubrics, like the one s de veloped by Harry Walker, a doctoral student at John Hopkins studying the impact of iPo d Touch on student achievement or Kathy Schrock, a distinguished educational technologist, can be beneficial especially for the technology shy teacher ( Schrock, 2011; Wa lker, 2011) While neither Walker nor Schrock touch specifically on digital scaffolds within their rubric s, their work, when combine d with the design principles of

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150 Chiasson and Gutwin (2005) along with insights garnered through this study, provide s a stro ng foundation for early childhood educators to evaluate digital games for young children. Intentional Planning C hildren especially young children need overt instruction on how to use too ls during game play. This suggestion ties in to findings related to help seeking behaviors and the need for young children to be explicitly taught how to seek help (Aleven et al., 2003; Bartholom et al., 2006; Gall, 1981; Gall, 1985). Young children need to learn how to use help constructively, and it is the role of the classroom teacher to facilitate experiences where this instruction can take place. Prior to allowing children to play problem solving games such as Rush Hour on their own, teachers need to spend time modelin g how to use the tools during game play. It is important for teachers to encourage students to try on their own, can become anxious or discou T eachers need to actively model and assist students to ensure they know not just how digital scaffolds work but when and how they should be used. They need to coach by providing direct instruction during game play and they need to provide varied opportunit ies for practice (Epstein, 2007). Luckin et al. (2003) found that giving direct instruction before game play is not enough. Children still need prompts on how to use tools, and they also need opportunities to ask how to use tools (Roberts et al., 2008). Therefore, based on the findings of this study as well as documentation within the literature, best practices for early childhood educators is to have young children use digital games in the presence of a

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151 teacher or adult so that implicit instruction on h elp tools is available throughout all phases of the problem solving process (Gail & Glor Schieb, 1985; Roberts et al., 2008). Process vs. Product As for the best way to partner students, the results of this study are mixed and dependent on the goal for pr oblem solving. If the g o a l for collaborative problem solving with digital games on the i Pad is for dyads to be efficient problem solve rs wh o solve the most number of puzzles, the n same ability dyads would be the pref erred way to group students. However, if the goal for collaborative problem solving is the process of learning how to effectively use digital scaffolds and broaden help seeking behaviors then mixed ability groupings allow for this construction of knowledge. While the levels of help provided b y digital tools was the same between same ability and mixed ability dyads, mixed dyads spent more time exploring and learning how to use digital tools. What should be remembered when using either of these grouping configurations is that children with low problem solving ability require significant guidance and support and should not be left on their own Of course teachers need to consider not only the problem solving ability of the students they are pa i ring together but also o t her development a l factors that might impact how child ren collaborate with each emotional competence. Future Research Replication of this study with a larger number of students in different types of preschool environments such as voluntary Pre K or He ad Start programs is needed to validat e the results across settings. Additionally, due to the

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152 convenience sample used along with the subjective nature by which problem solving ability was assigned, employing a standardized assessment focuse d on gnitive function and visual problem solving Progressive Matrices Test would provide a more objective way to create dyads thus lending more dependability to the study (Raven, 2000, p. 1). Additionally, there are several other interesting a venues of research that can bu ild on these initial findings. First, due to the personal nature of how scaffolding tools were used by young children, it would be interesting to watch students working independently to further observe differences in how tool s are used by low, middle, and high ability students Would these differences mirror how the tools were used by ability dyads in this study? Does the dynamic of the dyad impact how scaffolds are used? Also, could this avenue shed light on how children w ith low problem solving ability develop their help seeking skills after being given explicit instruction and modeling? Second, it would be worth looking more closely at the help aspect behind using digital scaffolds to further examine their impact on lea rning. This study did not deep ly capture the actual learning that took place and how that learning might extend to other problem solving experiences in different settings. Observing students playing a var iety of problem solving digital games with built i n scaffolds would help present a more comprehensive view. I t would also be valuable to observe digital game play longitudinally across a school year to capture how students can extend scaffolding experiences from one gaming experience to another. Modifyi ng the research design to include a pre test and

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153 post test wo uld allow researchers to see if there is growth in problem solving ability. A third avenue of res earch would be to examine gender groupings as some differences emerged during game play. Boys, ov erall, used digital scaffolds more than girls, but girls used the Solve tool more. Boys were also more playful or sillier than the girls. Examining a variety of dyad compositions ties in to the work of Johnson Pynn and Nisbet (2002) who found the creatio n of dyads should be dependent on the age, experiences, and settings in which the collaborative learning takes place and should not follow any one methodology or formula. F ourth, replicating this study with a n added control group that does not have access to digital scaffolds during game play would further demonstrate the role scaffolds play within the problem solving process While there is no doubt that exposing young children to problem solving experiences is critical to the development of mathematical concepts, it is unclear if the use of digital scaffolds in the early childhood context increases learning. A control group would help examine if the use of digital scaffolds increase s cognition, and if they are found to do so, is it significant. Finally, researchers should delve deeper into how digital scaffold s can extend time young children spend problem solving This study capped the time each dyad played the game at 10 minutes This time period was selected because it mirrored the time stude nts typically spend at a center during daily rotations; however, many of the dyads were disappointed when the timer rang as they wanted to continue playing the game. Conversely, there were students who

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154 were less engaged during game play and would have lef t the table had they been given the choice. Observing dyads play for a longer period of time when they could choose when to stop playing would certainly capture more deeply the extent by which digital scaffolds can extend time spent playing. Summary Presc hool children intentionally used the demonstration, reduction in degree of freedom, and frustration control scaffolds built in to the problem solving game Rush Hour to reduce frustration and extend time spent playing Use of digital scaffolding tools was more personal than collaborative, but there were many examples of partners suggesting tool use to help advance game play. F actors such as individual problem solving ability level, type of dyad configuration (same ability vs. mixed ability) and the level o f social development of individuals within those dyads appear to impact the ways digital scaffolds are used by preschool children This study found children with mid level problem solving ability use digital scaffolds the most followed by children with hi gh level problem solving ability. This study also found mixed ability dyads use more digital scaffolds than same ability dyads and that low low dyads did not use scaffolds at all. Finally, students with lower social emotional competencies use tools more playfully than their more mature peers. When looking specifically at tools Solve (demonstration tool ) provided some help to students, but overall was not found to be developmentally appropriate for young children as it moves too quickly and does not matc h free r ecall skills of young children. While this study was an important step in examining the use of technology tools and games in the preschool setting, it was a small one. The small sample

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155 size makes it difficult to generalize its findings beyond th e walls of the two classes from the private Early Childhood Center in this study, but it does contribute to the call by NAEYC for evidence based practice exemplifying learning This study is still significant in that it provides insight into how early childhood educators can use gaming applications with built in digital scaffolds within developmentally appropriate practice to promote problem solving. It confirms the important r ole teachers play in partnering students during collaborative work and affirms the need for teachers to explicitly teach students how to use help tools. Finally, it reminds teachers that they must critically examine all aspects of digital games including built in help tools before integrating them into their curriculum. Several factors set this study apart from much of the research concerning collaborative problem solving with young children First, this study took place within the natural classroom envir onment rather than an experimental setting. Second the research focused on the use of scaffolds in a technological play environment Finally, it utilized the iPad, a technology tool that is of great interest to early childhood educators for its potentia l to ex pand social play opportunities. There is no doubt that t he unique developmental needs of young children coupled with the proliferation of gaming into their lives warrant s continued research in this field.

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156 APPENDIX A STUDY INTRODUCTION LETTER

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157 APPENDIX B PARTICIPANT CONSENT FORM

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158 APPENDIX C CHECKLIST FOR GAME INTRODUCTION Gather students from both classes in shared space within Exploratorium. Introduce Rush Hour application while connected to projector. Explain to students that they will play the game during centers over the next few weeks. Show how vehicles move. Explain that some vehicles move up and down while ot her vehicles move side to side. Further explain that vehicles can only move one way. Discuss the objective of the game, which is to move the vehicles in the parking garage out of the way so that the Red Car can exit. Play puzzle #1. Discuss options availa ble after completing a puzzle: Next Puzzle or Replay Challenge. Introduce the Previous and Next buttons. Demonstrate how they can help move between puzzles. Introduce the Reset and Undo buttons while playing puzzle #2. Solicit help from students to solve p uzzle #2. Review options available after completing a puzzle as in step 6. Begin play on puzzle #3. Ask students about what they could do if they get stuck while playing the game. Introduce the Hint and Solve buttons as tools. Complete play of puzzle #3 while demonstrating how the Hint and Solve buttons work. Review rules for how to properly handle the iPad. Remind students they will be playing Rush Hour with a partner.

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159 APPENDIX D INDIVIDUAL DYAD OBSERVATION FORM

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160 APPENDIX E SUMMARY FORM

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161

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162 APPENDIX F FINAL DATA REPORT

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167 APPENDIX G INTERVIEW PROTOCOL

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168 APPENDIX H SAMPLE OF CODED TRANSCRIPT Carson EH(6), TW(1) Low Middle Dyad Game Play Mrs. Baralt You are going to play the game for 10 minutes. I'm going to set a time on my phone. Do you want to see it." C EH(6) "My mom has a timer." Mrs. Baralt "Do you want to press the start button for me?" [EH starts the timer.] "Great, go ahead and start playing." C E H(6) EH makes the first move. It is very slow and deliberate. She then pauses with her hand poised just above the board. C TW(1) "You want me to help?" C EH(6) EH does not respond to TW. Instead she presses the HINT button one time and then says, "I need ed a hint." C EH(6) EH ends up moving the hint car back to the position she had it before the hint (which essentially undid the hint. C EH(6) EH continues to make moves while TW watches. After a few move moves she solves the puzzle. [Puzzle #4, 16 Moves] C TW(1) After the music plays, TW takes his hands and slides the iPad closer to him. "Now it's my turn."

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169 C TW(1) TW made no move to try and play the game after his first effort to help. C EH(6) "Then it is my turn." Mrs. Baralt I help TW by pointing t o the Next Puzzle button after the game is over because he seemed unsure of what to do when the finished games screen came up. C TW(1) TW does not make a move right away. C EH(6) "Come on TW." [with an exasperated voice]. C TW(1) TW make three moves. He does not speak while he is working. C EH(6) "TW, you can't move that one." She watches TW for a few seconds as he decides what to do next. "You need a hint." C TW(1) TW lifts his hand so that EH can press the button. C EH(6) EH presses the HINT button. C TW(1) TW then moves a car into the space where the hint car just resided. [Not sure if this is what he would have done on his own.] C TW(1) TW makes about five more moves but gets into a gridlock. "How do you move these cars out?" C EH(6) "Here let m e help you." as she nudges TW's hand. C EH(6) EH tries moving the same cars that TW was trying to move when she offered help. She is trying to move a vertical car horizontally.

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170 C EH(6) "We need a hint. She poses her hand over the help tools but does not select one right away. "Uhh." She presses the RESET button. C EH(6) She tries to move a car that is gridlocked. Then softly whispers, "You need a hint." {Even though she is the one currently in control of the board.] She does not press the hint button but then says, "You need to reset." She does not reset though. C EH(6) EH presses the SOLVE button. [It seems that she understand that the Hints will help her solve the puzzle but I'm not sure what button she was actually trying to press since her action s and words did not match.] C EH(6) "See." As she watches the board. "There we go." [The car order for the first four cards was yellow, blue, purple, red.] C EH(6) EH again tries to move the purple car that his gridlocked and that she has been trying to move since the beginning of the level. C EH(6) while still trying to move the same car). C EH(6) She presses the HINT button again. [Does not say anything.] After a f ew seconds she presses the RESET but nothing happens because the last hint she used actuall y set her back to the beginning. Mrs. Baralt TW has stayed completely quiet so far. While he seems to be interested in the game he is content to let others do the w ork. C TW(1) [Finally.] Pointing to the purple car that is gridlocked in the middle "How do you get that car out of the way." C EH(6) Another sigh, "Ugh." "How do you get these cars to move." [Referencing the gridlocked line.] She keeps trying to move th e purple car horizontally even though it is positioned vertically. C TW(1)

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171 TW also looks up to me. C EH(6) "We are having a hard time." Puts her hands up in the air and looks up to me. Mrs. Baralt I finally decide to intervene as they have spent almost 2:30 minutes on this puzzle. I move the yellow car up and tell them to look at the blue car. [This appears at this time to help them get on track.] EH is still the main player of the game. TW is watching. Mrs. Baralt EH is stuck on the game. When she fina lly moves the red car (which is very much needed), I tell her "That is a good idea." C EH(6) "This level is kind of hard. I have to get out of here." She moves the yellow car up and down over and over. "It is blocking the cars." C EH(6) "This car is bloc king the way." [Has not made in progress in the last 45 seconds.] "These guys are blocking the way." Starts moving the red car back and forth but the yellow car is blocking. "It has to get out of here." Makes a fist with her hand in frustration. C EH(6) What do we do." Looks over to TW. "TW, you know what, I have an idea. We need a hint." C EH(6) EH presses the HINT button. [As before, she ends up moving the hint car back into the same exact spot where it just was undoing the hint." C EH(6) EH then pres ses the SOLVE button. [Cars are moved in this order r ed, yellow, blue, purple.] C EH(6) EH moves the yellow car first [which is the same thing she did the last time she pressed the solve button.] C EH(6) "This is only what we can do." as she moves the yellow car up and down. C TW(1) "Yes, the car is not playing very nice."

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172 C EH(6) "Yeah." "It can only go that way." "He needs to go sideways." Mrs. Baralt "He can't go sideways." C EH(6) EH tries again moving the red car back and forth. She puts her ha nds up in the air and says with frustration "It can't get out." C EH(6) "Hmmm." EH then presses the SOLVE button again. Mrs. Baralt "Watch carefully." [The red card is moved first, then yellow, blue, purple.] C EH(6) EH tries to move the blue car that i s gridlocked first. C EH(6) "Hmmm" C TW(1) TW remains quiet. C EH(6) EH keeps trying for another 15 seconds, "Hhhh. How do we get this out." "I don't know how." C TW(1) TW points to the Next button. "How about we press that." C EH(6) To me, "Do we h ave to try this?" Mrs. Baralt "Want do you want to do?" C EH(6) EH presses the SOLVE button. C EH(6) EH works on puzzle. This time she starts with the blue then the yellow but again misses

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173 that the solve said to move the red car first. C TW(1) Is learn ing over the iPad watching but is not talking or making moves. C EH(6) EH bangs her elbows down on the table in frustration. "I don't know what is missing." Mrs. Baralt "Well, what happens if you can't solve a puzzle. What can you do?" C EH(6) EH keeps trying. C TW(1) "I don't know." His hands are resting under his chin. Again he is just watching. C EH(6) [As if answering my previous question] "Get help." "I need help." "TW can you help me." C TW(1) "No," whispered softly. C EH(6) "We need a hint. C EH(6) After the HINT moves car up and then back to its same position as before the hint. C EH(6) "How do we get this guy home." C EH(6) EH presses the UNDO button. Then makes two moves. C EH(6) "How do we get these guys out." "We need this." EH again p resses the SOLVE button. C EH(6) She does not move the red car as indicated by the solve and again goes back to the immovable car. "How did it do that." C EH(6) EH presses the SOLVE button. [For the first time watches intently blue, yellow, blue,

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174 purple, yellow, red.] C EH(6) She moves the blue and yellow cars as in the solve. [The first time she actually copied the moves.] C TW(1) TW is still watching although he will also look away to see what others around the Exploratorium are doing. C EH(6) "How d id we get it." Mrs. Baralt I finally chime in, "Move the red car. Move the red car." "Okay, now move the purple car." C EH(6) EH makes the moves I tell her to. Then she removes her hands and places them on her hips. "Now what." Mrs. Baralt "Move the bl ue car." C TW(1) TW goes to move the blue car with EH. C EH(6) EH then moves the yellow and finally solves the puzzle. [Puzzle #5, 118 Moves] ALMOST SIX MINUTES TO COMPLETE THIS PUZZLE!!! C EH(6) "Okay, next level." Presses the button to advance to puzz le #6. "Whoa, that's a hard one." C TW(1) "Oh, oh." TW does not make any effort to move the cars. He just leans up on his elbows to watch over the iPad screen. C TW(1) EH makes one move then TW says, "That's a hard one." C EH(6) "Yeah, this is really ha rd." EH keeps moving the green car back and forth.

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175 C TW(1) Excitedly, "There's the red car. There's the red car." As he points to the iPad screen. C EH(6) EH then moves the red car back and forth. "How do I get through." C EH(6) Moving the green car bac k and forth. "Oh, oh, we're trapped." C TW(1) "We are. You're trapped." "I don't know." TW is moving back and forth in his chair but not touching the board. C EH(6) "Sigh," with hands on her hips. C EH(6) "How do we get this out." C TW(1) "Hmm. It is hard." C EH(6) "This is the really hard one." C TW(1) TW moves the pink car. C EH(6) When EH tries to move the car back, I say "That was good move. That was a good move." After a few more moves. C TW(1) "Give me a hint." TW goes to make a hint but EH p ushes his hand up and he doesn't the chance. C EH(6) EH ends up solving the puzzle on her own. "Ooooh, next puzzle." C EH(6) "Oh, my gosh." As she begins to work on the puzzle. C TW(1)

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176 "Let me see." TW goes to move a car. When EH tries to move a car he says to her, "This one is mine" and moves her hand aside. C EH(6) "Okay, and then mine." After a few moves, "TW it's now blocking the way." C TW(1) TW makes several moves. C EH(6) "Here, let me do it." as she pushes his hand up. She looks at the board then presses HINT. C TW(1) TW then begins to make moves. EH tries to take over again but TW says, "No." C EH(6) "We need this," She presses the SOLVE button but it does not work because TW has his finger on a car. C TW(1) "No" as he nudges EH. "No." TW makes two more moves. C EH(6) Nudges TW's hand away. "We need this." EH presses the SOLVE button. [Pink, yellow, dark purple, light purple.] C EH(6) Even though EH did not make the same exact moves, she is now able to solve the puzzle in five more move s. C EH(6) "Whoa, next level." As she presses the next level button. C TW(1) "Uh, oh." C EH(6) EH starts working on the puzzle. She goes to press the solve button but instead presses HINT. Then she just keeps on working. After another move she presses S OLVE. C TW(1) "Just move the truck."

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177 C EH(6) EH watches the solve (the first four moves were red, dark purple, light purple, blue0. When it is over she says, "Ohhh." C EH(6) EH does not end up moving any of the cars that were just moved in the solve. C TW(1) TW is leaning over on his arms watching EH move the cars. "This one has lots of cars. They have to right over." C EH(6) EH moves a few cars then presses the SOLVE button. [red, pink, yellow, dark purple, light purple] C EH(6) EH does not move the cars like in the puzzle. "How do I do this." C TW(1) "The truck is blocking the way. That's how." C EH(6) EH then moves the truck. C TW(1) "It is blocking the exit" (referring to the yellow truck.0 C EH(6) "The truck is blocking the exit. We need hel p." C TW(1) "Push the hint." C EH(6) "Yeah, we need a hint." She pushes the button, HINT, then just looks at the screen. C TW(1) "No, that's not a hint." [Probably said that because the truck was still blocking the exit.] C EH(6) EH moves a car. C TW( 1) "So I was just thinking," as he moves to press the hint button.

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178 C EH(6) EH stops him from pressing Hint and presses SOLVE instead. "We needed an explanation." The movie plays. "Did you see that?" C EH(6) "How do we move the green car?" EH nor TW made any of the movie moves. Mrs. Baralt The alarm goes off. "Oh, guess what, time's up. C EH(6) "But we have to solve the missing pro blem. Can we do some more later?

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179 APPE N DIX I DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS FOR CLASS A (SAME ABILITY DYADS)

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181 APPENDIX J DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS FOR CLASS B (MIXED ABILITY DYAD S

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183 APPE N DIX K PERMISSION TO USE IMAGES

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186 L IST OF REFERENCES Ahmad, M. S., & Assim, M. (2003). Collaborative interactions about preschool children in a computer environment. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 11 (2), 147 155. Aleven, V., Stahl, E., Schworm, S., Fischer, F., & Wallace, R. (2003). Help seeking and h elp design in interactive learning environments. Review of Educationa l Research 73 (3), 277 320. Allen, L., & Blake, S. (2010). Applications of technology for instruction and assessment with young children. In S. Blake & S. Izumi Taylor (Eds.), Technology for early childhood education and socialization: Developmental applications and methodologies (pp. 131 148). New York: Information Science Reference. Alliance for Childhood. (2004). Tech tonic: Towards a new literacy of technology. College Park, MD. Retrieved from http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/publications Amory, A., Naicker, K., Vincent, J., & Adams, C. (1999). The use of computer games as an educational tool: identification of appropriate game types and game elements. British Journal of Educational Technology, 30 (4), 311 321 An, Y.J. & Bonk, C.J. (2009). Designing digital game based learning environments. TechTrends, 53 (3), 43 47. Anderson, R. (2012). Amazing apps for educat ion. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education. Apple, Inc. (2011). Technical specifications for iPad Retri eved from http://www.apple.com/ ipad/specs/. Azmitia, M. (1988). Peer interaction and problem solving: When are two heads better than one? Child Develo pment, 59, 87 96. Azli, M. M., Azan, M. Z., & Bahri, C. W. (2008). Digital games based learning for children. In Information Technology, 2008. ITSim 2008. International Symposium on (Vol. 1, pp. 1 6). IEEE. Banister, S. (2010). Integrating the iPod touch in K 12 education: Visions and vices. Computers in the Schools 27 121 131. doi: 10.1080/07380561003801590 Bartholom, T., Stahl, E., Pieschl, S., & Bromme, R. (2006). What matters in help seeking? A study to help effectiveness and learner related factors. Computers in Human Behavior, 22, 113 129.

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203 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Anna Baralt has taught preschool and elementary students at a private school in ative team as Director of Educational Technology in 2013 Anna was recognized as a Teacher of the Future by the National Association of Independent Schools in 2008 and as a Superpower Educator in 2009. She has presented at numerous state and national con ferences. In addition to researching how touch technologies can be used in the preschool classroom in developmentally appropriate ways, Anna is passionate about integrating technology into project work, fostering digital citizenship, 1:1 learning environm ents, and using technology to facilitate professional learning communities. She received her Ed.D. from the University of Florida in the fall of 2013.