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Integrating IT Into Each Subject Area

IT-Using Language Arts Educators

The appropriate integration of IT into the everyday fabric of Language Arts curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) includes a major emphasis on communication. Thus, it is a "natural" that Language Arts education is being affected by ICT. Consider, for example, the following topics:

  • Speed and comprehension while reading from a computer screen.
  • Reading and writing hypertext.
  • Reading and writing email.
  • Reading and writing multimedia.
  • Reading and writing in a Chat Group environment.
  • Reading and writing in an Instant Messaging environment.
  • Participating in online discussion groups.
  • Use of a word processor (with spell checker and grammar checker, and perhaps with voice input) when writing.

As you can see, there are a number of interesting and challenging topics. All of the topics in the list might be considered to be important to a modern education. All are somewhat related to the overall field of Language Arts. Thus, it seems possible that our educational system will decide that each person who teaches some component of Language Arts is responsible for dealing with some or all of the topics listed above. Needless to say, that is a challenge to Language Arts teachers.

At the current time, the State of Oregon does not allow use of a word processor when taking Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM) exams. Research suggests that students who are comfortable in using a word processor are better able to demonstrate their writing skills when assessed in a hands-on computer environment.

A 2001 Oregon Supreme Court decision ruled that students with a handicapping condition that is accommodated by use of a word processor can use a word processor on statewide assessment exams.

Most learners find it is not easy to learn reading and writing. It is silly to think that computer technology will produce simple and fool proof methods for helping all students to learn to read and write. Click here for a summary of some of the myths of learning to read. The 10 myths discussed in this SEDL report are:

Myth #1: Learning to read is a natural process.

Myth #2: Children will eventually learn to read if given enough time .

Myth #3: Reading programs are "successful."

Myth #5: Skilled reading involves using syntactic and semantic cues to "guess" words, and good readers make many "mistakes" as they read authentic text.

Myth #6: Research can be used to support whatever your beliefs are - lots of programs are "research based."

Myth #7: Phoneme awareness is a consequence (not a cause) of reading acquisition .

Myth #8: Some people are just genetically "dyslexic."

Myth #9: Short-term tutoring for struggling readers can get them caught up with their peers, and the gains will be sustained.

Myth #10: If it is in the curriculum, then the children will learn it, and a balanced reading curriculum is ideal.

The research supporting writing using a word processor was examined in a recent metastudy:

Goldberg, Amie; Russell, Michael; & Cook, Abigail The Effect of Computers on Student Writing: A Meta-analysis of Studies from 1992 to 2002. The Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment (JTLA. Volume 2, Number 1. Accessed 4/8/03: http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/jtla/journal/v2n1.shtml.

Abstract: Meta-analyses were performed including 26 studies conducted between 1992&endash;2002 focused on the comparison between K&endash;12 students writing with computers vs. paper-and-pencil. Significant mean effect sizes in favor of computers were found for quantity of writing (d=.50, n=14) and quality of writing (d= .41, n=15). Studies focused on revision behaviors between these two writing conditions (n=6) revealed mixed results. Others studies collected for the meta-analysis which did not meet the statistical criteria were also reviewed briefly. These articles (n=35) indicate that the writing process is more collaborative, iterative, and social in computer classrooms as compared with paper-and-pencil environments. For educational leaders questioning whether computers should be used to help students develop writing skills, the results of the meta-analyses suggest that on average students who use computers when learning to write are not only more engaged and motivated in their writing, but they produce written work that is of greater length and higher quality.

Roughly speaking, this abstract indicates that students move up about 1/2 of a letter grade in quality of writing when using a word processor.

References added 11/28/04, on "Using Technology to Teach Reading Strategies":

http://ursamajor.hartnet.org/chow/integrate/reading/.

Coiro, J. “Integrating Technology Resources Into Your Comprehensive Literacy Curriculum”. Retrieved October 29, 2004 from: http://www.lite.iwarp.com/bltgr3.htm.

References

Center for Technology and Teacher Education--English [Online]. Accessed 11/18/00: http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/teacherlink/english/home.html.

Conference on English Education (CEE) [Online]. Accessed 11/18/00: http://www.ncte.org/cee/.

The Conference on English Education (CEE) is made up of an active constituency concerned with the process of educating teachers of English, reading, and language arts. Formed in 1963, CEE focuses on both preservice training and inservice development of teachers.

Goldberg, Amie; Russell, Michael; & Cook, Abigail The Effect of Computers on Student Writing: A Meta-analysis of Studies from 1992 to 2002. The Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment (JTLA. Volume 2, Number 1. Accessed 4/8/03: http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/jtla/journal/v2n1.shtml.

Abstract: Meta-analyses were performed including 26 studies conducted between 1992&endash;2002 focused on the comparison between K&endash;12 students writing with computers vs. paper-and-pencil. Significant mean effect sizes in favor of computers were found for quantity of writing (d=.50, n=14) and quality of writing (d= .41, n=15). Studies focused on revision behaviors between these two writing conditions (n=6) revealed mixed results. Others studies collected for the meta-analysis which did not meet the statistical criteria were also reviewed briefly. These articles (n=35) indicate that the writing process is more collaborative, iterative, and social in computer classrooms as compared with paper-and-pencil environments. For educational leaders questioning whether computers should be used to help students develop writing skills, the results of the meta-analyses suggest that on average students who use computers when learning to write are not only more engaged and motivated in their writing, but they produce written work that is of greater length and higher quality.

Internatonal Children's Digital Library. Accessed 11/20/02: http://www.icdlbooks.org/

The following is quoted from a National Science Foundation Press Release of 11/18/02:

Project targets online collection of 10,000 books from 100 cultures

Led by the University of Maryland and the Internet Archive, a partnership of government, non-profit, industry and academic organizations will launch the world's largest international digital library for children on Wednesday, Nov. 20, during a ceremony at the Library of Congress.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with additional support from other partners as part of a long-term research project to develop new technology to serve young readers.

The new International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) will provide children ages 3 to 13 years with an unparalleled opportunity to experience different cultures through literature. The new digital library will begin with 200 books in 15 languages representing 27 cultures, with plans to grow over five years to 10,000 books representing 100 different cultures.

Internet Public Library [Online]. Accessed 6/11/01: http://www.ipl.org/.

The Internet Public Library (IPL), is a public service organization and learning/teaching environment at the University of Michigan School of Information. It provides a variety of services and sources of information. Quoting from the Website:
IPL Collections Total: 37,945 items

Each item in the IPL collections has been carefully selected, cataloged and described by a member of the IPL staff. This means that you can be assured of the quality of the resources that you will find within the IPL.

The site includes a 4,500 item Online Literary Criticism Collection. Quoting from the Website:

The Online Literary Criticism Collection primarily seeks to collect evaluative or explanatory writings about works of literature. While the collection will not provide evaluation of the collected writings themselves, certain standards must be met for critical works to be included in the collection.

Language Arts and Technology: The Connection [Online]. Accessed 10/24/01: http://edtech.sandi.net/literacy/.

Although specifically targeted to San Diego and California Standards, this Website contains lots of information that will prove useful to all Language Arts teachers. There are specific sections for Grades K-2 and Grades 3-6.

Mullan, Pamela Susan (1997). Applying Speed Reading Techniques to Improve Competence and Confidence in On-Screen Computer Reading. Accessed 12/9/02: http://www.smartconcepts.net/Fr_thesis/ . The following is quoted from the abstract of this master's thesis:

In recent years, with the rapid developments in computer technology and the influx of electronic text available, the issue of reading from a computer screen has become an important one. While much of the research available examines the causes of reading speed deficits for the on-screen medium, this work looks at potential ways of adapting proven hardcopy Speed Reading techniques to computer screen reading.

Randall, Neil (2002). Lingo Online: A Report on the Language of the Keyboard Generation. Accessed 12/14/02:
http://216.239.53.100/search?q=cache:HtM4jjgQAHsC:
www.microsoft.com/canada/press/LingoOnline_report_
for_MSN_Community.pdf+Lingo+Online:+A+Report+
on+the+Language+of+the+Keyboard+
Generation&hl=en&ie=UTF-8. Quoting from the introduction to this 40 page report:

Over the past decade, the Internet has emerged as a major new medium for communication between individuals. People of all ages make extensive use of electronic mail, instant messaging, and Chat rooms to exchange written messages at previously unheard-of speeds and at various levels of informality. MSN.CA's study explores the ways in which the writers of these messages adapt the English for their needs, and how they introduce non-linguistic elements in an attempt to simulate spoken communication.

The Lingo Online report explains the state of the English language as used by Canadians on the Internet. Commissioned by MSN.CA, the report its findings and conclusions from data and observations generated by a telephone survey and focus groups conducted by POLLARA Inc., as well as observation, interviews, and text analysis performed by Dr. Neil F. Randall of the Department of English and Literature, University of Waterloo examines the following areas:

  1. The new and creative language of the Internet
  2. Who uses the main modes of Internet communication?
  3. Have the traditional communication conventions been forgotten?

 

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