Using online annotations in collaborative reading activities with elementary-aged Taiwanese learners of English
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Because little was known about second language online collaborative reading, this study explored the application of an online annotation affordance, analyzing the processes and products of how Taiwanese schoolchildren used notetaking and sharing functions to develop their English reading comprehension. Fifth-grade students (N = 83) from three English classes were randomly assigned to three reading conditions: read-only (i.e., individual reading without making any annotation), individual annotation (i.e., making annotations for their own use), and collaborative annotation (i.e., making and sharing annotations on their reading experience with others while reading) for three reading sessions. Data sources included a background survey, reading comprehension tests (free recall and cued recall), reading affect surveys, students’ annotations, text-based stimulated recall protocols, and a survey about the frequency of online support consultation. Results of quantitative and qualitative analyses showed that there was no statistically significant difference among the reading groups in their free recall and cued recall performance, their reading enjoyment and engagement, and their perceptions of the reading activity’s helpfulness for reading comprehension. Despite the lack of overall significant difference in reading affect, the collaborative annotation group increased their affect levels across the reading sessions, and significantly raised enjoyment levels between first and second sessions. Supplementary analyses found that the relationship between the amount of annotation and students’ reading comprehension scores was positive but did not reach a statistically significant level. Additionally, the more often the participants consulted online resources, the lower were their cued recall scores. As for the functions served by students’ annotations, nine categories were identified. The most prevalent function for the individual annotation group was “Translations,” whereas “Responses to Peers” was the most frequent category for the collaborative annotation group. The amount of interaction with peers was positively associated with cued recall scores and negatively associated with amount of use of translation annotations. Analysis of processes revealed that students were different in how they read online and used annotations. Students provided multifaceted reasons for why they did or did not make annotations and reply to peers while reading, and for why they liked or disliked the online reading activities.