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Digital Media and Writing in Upper Elementary Schools: A Mixed Methods Study. Mark Warschauer Binbin Zheng. Introduction. The forms, purposes, and genres of writing are experiencing rapid change with the use of digital media inside and outside classroom (Warschauer, 2007)

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digital media and writing in upper elementary schools a mixed methods study

Digital Media and Writing in Upper Elementary Schools: A Mixed Methods Study

Mark Warschauer

Binbin Zheng

introduction
Introduction
  • The forms, purposes, and genres of writing are experiencing rapid change with the use of digital media inside and outside classroom (Warschauer, 2007)
  • This study investigated three forms of new media technology-netbook computers, automated writing evaluation, and social media-and their impact on writing process as well as writing outcomes.
research method
Research Method
  • Participants and settings
research questions

Frequencies of technology use

1

Perceptions of technology use in writing

2

Effect on writing achievement

3

Research Questions
research method1
Research Method
  • Source of Data
    • Semi-structured Interviews: 100 teachers and students
    • Classroom observations: 60 hours
    • Documents: lesson plans, online materials
    • Test Score Data
      • Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP): 2008-2010
      • California Standards Test (CST): 2008-2010
      • California District Writing Score: Fall 2009, Spring 2010
    • Survey: Teacher and student survey on computer use
research method2
Research Method
  • Data Analysis
    • Qualitative coding of field notes and interview transcripts
    • Regression analysis on test scores and survey responses
      • Comparison with state standards
      • Estimate the magnitude of effect: using residualized change model
findings
Findings
  • How frequently do students use these technologies?

Most frequent use:

--- Write or edit papers

--- Get news or information online

findings1
Findings
  • How do these uses vary by different demographic groups?

California School District Colorado School District

Standard errors in parentheses

* p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001

Controlling variables: gender, ethnicity, ELL, GATE, and IEP status

findings2
Findings
  • attitudes
  • Student quote
    • “I've actually enjoyed writing more, because personally, in the past, I haven't been able to write for very long without my wrist starting to hurt. Having a laptop, the pain has ended, and my writing has improved so very much within just this year…I've written my best essays, poems, summaries, anything, you name it, this year.”

--- Student “Tristan”

    • “I used to not like writing but now I keep looking at the time and inside I am saying ‘Is it time for writing yet?’ If you don’t believe me come visit us… You have to see it to believe it because your eyes will pop out. “

--- Student “Lupita”

findings3
Findings
  • Impact on academic achievement

4th grade CST ELA 5th/6th grade reading and writing

4th grade: increased growth in both two years;

5th grade: decreased growth in 2009-2010;

6th grade: increased growth in 2009-2010.

findings4
Findings
  • Impact on writing achievement
findings5
Findings
  • Compared with previous cohort

4th – 5th grade 5th-6th grade

p<0.01

p<0.01

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Extensive use of netbooks in classrooms, especially in writing and among English Language Learners;
  • Effect of laptop use on writing in 2009-2010:
    • Achievement growth increased compared to previous cohort.
    • Negative effect of laptop use on writing in the first year implementation, positive effect on writing in the second year implementation.
  • Students identify themselves as writers when engaging in blogs and wikis.
implications
Implications
  • Low-cost netbook computers and free social media appeared to provide a helpful environment for assisting fourth to sixth grade students to develop as writers;
  • English Language Learners make use of netbooks more than other students and develop positive attitudes towards the effect of netbooks on writing;
  • More longitudinal research is needed to evaluate the effect of laptop programs.