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Integrating Technology into the Elementary Classroom: Technology-Mediated Literacy Instruction. Kimberly Rynearson & Marcel Kerr Tarleton State University. Integrating Technology into School Curricula.

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integrating technology into the elementary classroom technology mediated literacy instruction

Integrating Technology into the Elementary Classroom: Technology-Mediated Literacy Instruction

Kimberly Rynearson & Marcel Kerr

Tarleton State University

integrating technology into school curricula
Integrating Technology into School Curricula
  • Since the 1970s a debate has persisted regarding the effectiveness and importance of integrating technology into school curricula (Butzin, 2001; Leu & Kinzer, 2000).
integrating technology into school curricula3
Integrating Technology into School Curricula
  • Advocates argue that technology:
    • Improves student learning outcomes and prepares them for a technology-rich workplace (Butzin, 2001).
    • In support of those effects, technology can be used to:
      • Present material to be learned
      • Help learners solve problems
      • Assist in drill and practice
      • Facilitate time management
      • Increase computer literacy (see Abbott & Faris, 2000)
integrating technology into school curricula4
Integrating Technology into School Curricula
  • Critics argue that:
    • Predictions that computers and movies would replace schools have not come true
    • American schools have spent large sums of money putting technology in schools; yet, American students score lower than their international peers on measures of achievement
    • Tight school budgets are further constrained by the need to invest additional money to maintain the technology infrastructure in schools
integrating technology into school curricula5
Integrating Technology into School Curricula
  • A growing body of literature supports advocates’ claims that technology increases student achievement, engagement, their technology skills, motivation, and workplace preparedness.
integrating technology into school curricula evidence
Integrating Technology into School Curricula: Evidence
  • Project CHILD (Butzin, 2001)
    • Instructional model from Florida State University
      • Incorporates technology into K-5 classroom instruction
      • Longitudinal data show increased reading, language arts, and mathematics test scores
      • Other effects: fewer discipline problems, more positive attitudes toward school, greater engagement, and more positive parent involvement
integrating technology into school curricula7
Integrating Technology into School Curricula
  • This presentation contributes to the evidence and describes
    • How technology changes literacy instruction
    • How changes in literacy instruction affect what and how students learn
    • A study investigating the use of Web logs (blogs) to support K-5 students reading and writing development
literacy instruction and technology
Literacy Instruction and Technology
  • Literacy is tied inherently to technology because technology profoundly affects how we communicate.
literacy instruction and technology9
Literacy Instruction and Technology
  • Literacy
    • A basic definition: the skills needed to read and write
    • A more complex definition: the skills necessary to communicate effectively within a particular cultural context (Nixon, 2003)
      • The second definition assumes social significance is associated with an individual’s ability to communicate using the tools valued by a culture
literacy instruction and technology10
Literacy Instruction and Technology
  • Assuming the more complex definition
    • Culturally-compatible literacy instruction changes continually as technological changes influence how we communicate and how we present information
    • Is this the case?
literacy instruction and technology11
Literacy Instruction and Technology
  • Mackey (2003) notes that new readers learn about reading from extensive textual experiences across media
  • These media include
    • Computerized Story Books/eBooks
    • Games
    • Music
    • Film
    • Television
    • Search Engines
    • Instant Messaging
    • Email
    • Telephone calls via the Internet

(Boone & Higgins, 2003; Nixon, 2003)

literacy instruction and technology12
Literacy Instruction and Technology
  • Literacy is not simply reading and writing, but communicating and sharing knowledge using the technology valued by a culture
literacy instruction and technology13
Literacy Instruction and Technology
  • Four skill areas related to literacy instruction
    • Collaborating with others
    • Communicating with others
    • Finding and evaluating information
    • Solving problems by creating and communicating solutions

How does technology influence what and how students learn these skills?

what is learned
What is Learned
  • As technology evolves, the content of literacy instruction changes to include:
    • Non-linear texts with integrated graphics and hypertext
    • Print and electronic formats for information
    • Sharing of information beyond traditional means of written and spoken communication

Instruction should foster a student-centered learning

environment that encourages collaboration, active learning,

and open communication

how students learn
How Students Learn
  • A student-centered, constructivist learning environment assumes that learners actively construct and create their representations of meaning using their current and past knowledge
  • Technology-mediated literacy instruction can support such an environment
how students learn16
How Students Learn
  • Social learning strategies
    • As networked information resources change, no single individual will be fully literate in all technologies; social learning strategies may used to support learning
      • Learners will support each others’ attempts to become literate by modeling literate behaviors and sharing knowledge
      • Cooperative learning activities will support the social negotiation of meaning and understanding

(Leu & Kinzer, 2000)

how students learn17
How Students Learn
  • Peer collaboration
    • Elementary students used the Internet to search for information regarding a project
    • As peer editors, the students assisted each other as they clarified ideas and chose which information to include/exclude
    • The students also assisted with managing technical aspects of the information search

(Kelley, Finley, Koehler, & Picard, 2001)

how students learn18
How Students Learn
  • Self-regulated learning
    • Teenage girls’ exposure to online communities encouraged them to teach themselves how to use different types of hardware and software
    • One participant taught herself HTML and JavaScript in an effort to construct products valued by the online community
    • Both girls were internally motivated to seek out additional information related to personal interests and their interactions in the online communities

(Chandler-Olcott & Mahar, 2003)

how students learn19
How Students Learn
  • The previous examples argue for authenticity when integrating technology into school curricula
  • Web logs (blogs) can offer an authentic forum for practicing writing and literacy skills
web logs
Web Logs
  • Blogs can combine technology with academic content, practice, and assessment
  • Kennedy (2003) describes blogs as “part Web site, part journal, part free-form writing space” (¶ 3)
  • Education blogs allow students to publish their written work in a public forum
  • Blogs also can include commentary, criticism, and/or interpretation (Kennedy, 2003)
web logs21
Web Logs
  • In the elementary classroom
    • Students write individually and may share their writing with other students by reading aloud or posting writing in the classroom
      • This approach does not foster interchange among students
    • Writing to a blog, however, may increase students’ motivation to write and their attention to what they have written because
      • Increased attention to writing and motivation to write may improve organization, style, and sophistication of ideas (Tompkins, 2002)
web logs in the elementary classroom
Web Logs in the Elementary Classroom
  • The Texas Education Agency (TEA) states reading/language arts and technology Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) needed by the K-12 learner
web logs in the elementary classroom23
Web Logs in the Elementary Classroom
  • For K-5 students, the reading/language arts TEKS are:
    • Print awareness
    • Reading comprehension
    • Literary response
    • Writing for research
    • Writing compositions
    • Reading fluency
    • Proper usage (grammar)

See http://www.tea.state.tx.us/teks/index.html

web logs in the elementary classroom24
Web Logs in the Elementary Classroom
  • For K-5 students, the technology TEKS fall into four categories:
    • Foundations
      • Technology terms, acceptable use practices, using input devices, using software
    • Information acquisition
      • Acquiring and evaluating information from electronic sources
    • Problem solving
      • Using word processing and multimedia software; using communication tools to interact with groups
    • Communication
      • Publishing information in a variety of media

See http://www.tea.state.tx.us/teks/index.html

web logs in the elementary classroom25
Web Logs in the Elementary Classroom
  • Using Web logs to facilitate students’ reading and writing helps them acquire the TEKS
  • Importantly, Web logs are an authentic writing and publishing technology that is student-centered in the tradition of the constructivist approach to learning
investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • The Texas A&M Board of Regents Collaborative Research Grant has funded a collaborative research study to investigate how writing to a Web log influences first-through fifth-grade students’ reading and writing achievement and thinking
investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement27
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • Tarleton State University and Jefferson Elementary (Temple ISD) are examining how the additional writing and reading practice created by posting to a Web log affects two measures of learning:
    • Students’ scores on grade-level reading/writing achievement tests
    • The sophistication of students posts to the Web log as classified by the hierarchical levels of Bloom’s (1956) taxonomy of skills in the cognitive domain
investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement28
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • Participating campus
    • 411 students, K-5
    • 59.1% economically disadvantaged
    • 46.7% of the student population is identified as White
    • Thus, the campus is socio-economically and ethnically diverse
investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement29
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • Primary research questions
    • Are Web logs a viable technology for improving students’ reading/writing achievement?
investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement30
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • Sample: consists of an experimental group (blog) and a control group for each grade level
    • 1st 42 blog; 35 control
    • 2nd 33 blog; 33 control
    • 3rd 39 blog; 39 control
    • 4th 21 blog; 44 control
    • 5th 32 blog; 17 control
investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement31
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • Data sources
    • Reading/writing achievement: aggregate student performance on end-of-year reading and writing achievement tests will be compared for the experimental (blog) and control groups at each grade level
    • Classification of Web log contents according to Bloom’s (1956) taxonomy: Frequencies of posts at each level of the taxonomy will be compiled for each month of the study and across grade levels

See http://faculty.washington.edu/krumme/guides/bloom.html

investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement32
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • Study procedures
    • Web logs:
      • Blogging groups at each grade level read four books (one per month from January 2004 to April 2004); students post to the Web log what they normally would write during their in-class Reading/Writing workshop; posts encourage students discussion of setting, plot, characters, and similar topics and skills emphasized on the K-5 TEKS for reading/language arts and technology
      • Control groups engage in regular reading/writing classroom instruction
investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement33
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • Analysis of reading/writing achievement scores
    • Aggregate student reading and writing achievement scores will be compared between the experimental (blog) and control groups by grade level using an appropriate independent-samples statistical test
investigating web logs and students reading writing achievement34
Investigating Web Logs and Students’ Reading/Writing Achievement
  • Analysis of Web log posts
    • Contents of the Web log posts will be analyzed using the verbs most commonly associated with each level of Bloom’s (1956) taxonomy
      • The frequency of responses in each level will be counted by month for each grade level
      • Developmental trends by category and across grade levels will be determined with an appropriate statistical test for trend
conclusions
Conclusions
  • This presentation has described the current and changing definition of literacy as a technologically-mediated skill
  • An on-going study of the effectiveness of Web log writing in the instruction for first- through fifth-grade students was described
  • The results of this study will inform researchers and educators about the effectiveness and importance of integrating technology in elementary literacy instruction
demonstration
Demonstration
  • A demonstration of the Web logs used in this on-going study follows
blog information
Blog Information
  • Hosts
    • http://www.blogger.com
    • http://www.blogspot.com
    • http://www.diaryland.com
    • http://www.ebloggy.com
  • Getting Started Using Blogs – Tutorial
    • http://www.tarleton.edu/%7Eedulab/tutorials/blog/blog_overview.htm
  • The Educational Blog Network
    • http://www.ebn.weblogger.com/
references
References
  • For a complete list of references, please see the DEC 2004 Proceedings
contact information
Contact Information
  • Kimberly Rynearson, Ph. D
    • rynearson@tarleton.edu
  • Marcel S. Kerr, Ph. D.
    • kerr@tarleton.edu