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Investigating the impact of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) to help improve reading comprehension in low performing urban elementary schools

Lookup NU author(s): Dr James StanfieldORCiD, Professor Sugata Mitra



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


In the United States, literacy rates vary between socio-economic groups, and this reading gap is also a common feature in the education systems of OECD member states. To help address this reading gap previous research has identified a number of teaching strategies that have a positive impact on student learning outcomes, including the use of peer collaboration and complex texts. However, the contribution of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning to help address the reading gap for students attending low performing urban elementary schools has, to date, received much less attention and little is known about the ability of young students with access to the Internet to read complex texts in groups and how this impacts on individual reading comprehension scores. This study, therefore, examines the impact of combining the use of complex texts, collaborative learning and access to the internet on the reading comprehension scores of 58 fourth-grade students (ages 10-11). The students met once a week for an hour over six consecutive weeks and read under the following three conditions: eighth-grade level texts independently, eighth grade-level texts in groups with internet access and fourth-grade level texts in groups with internet access. Our findings demonstrate that groups of young students with access to the internet are capable of reading complex texts with minimal teacher intervention. We also believe that this approach has the potential to help students develop both their offline and online reading comprehension skills.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vega N, Stanfield J, Mitra S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Education and Information Technologies

Year: 2020

Volume: 25

Pages: 1571-1584

Print publication date: 01/05/2020

Online publication date: 01/11/2019

Acceptance date: 20/09/2019

Date deposited: 12/11/2019

ISSN (print): 1360-2357

ISSN (electronic): 1573-7608

Publisher: Springer US


DOI: 10.1007/s10639-019-10023-3


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