Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘technology and writing’

Can language arts be the place to introduce programming to the classroom?

Quinn Burke (2012) The Markings of a New Pencil: Introducing Programming-as-Writing in the Middle School Classroom, Journal of Media Literacy Education 4:2 (2012) 121-135    

Using the setting of a writing workshop to facilitate a deliberate process to learn computer programming, this exploratory study investigates where there is a natural overlap between programming and writing through the storytelling motif, and to what extent existing language arts coursework and pedagogy can be leveraged to introduce this new form of digital composition to middle-school children. Whereas previous studies linking children’s programming with storytelling did so within the informal afterschool clubs, this study focuses on integrating computer science into the classroom, aligning curricula to core-content English language arts instruction. 

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How can Systemic Functional Grammar be used to construct a powerful online identity?

Victor Ho (2010Constructing Identities In The Workplace Through Request E-Mail Discourse – How Does One Benefit From It? GEMA OnlineTM Journal of Language Studies 3 Volume 10(2) 2010

This paper discusses the construction of personal identities through the request e-mail discourse by a group of professional English language teachers of a public education institution in Hong Kong. Facing the downsizing of the civil service, the revised appraisal system, and the tighter budget of the Hong Kong SAR government following the Asian financial crisis, teachers working in Hong Kong public schools have less chances of getting promotion and pay rises. To put themselves in an advantageous position in relation to get a promotion and a pay rise, as argued in this paper, the teachers constructed two personal identities online before their peers and superiors in their workplace. A total of 50 e-mails met the two criteria that follow and formed the corpus of the present study: containing at least one request, and having teachers of the same rank as the author and recipients. The request e-mail discourse is analyzed at the clause level with respect to transitivity, mood and modality by drawing upon systemic functional linguistics. It is found that the teachers, using the resources available in the English language grammar, constructed for themselves the identity of a responsible, hardworking member, and of a member with authority and power. This paper hopes to achieve three aims – (1) to contribute to the understanding of the constitutive effect of discourse; (2) to illustrate how such effect could be manipulated by discourse producers in order to achieve both their communicative and political aims; and (3) to enhance people’s e-mail communication competency in the workplace.

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How can blogs support L2 language development?

Gebhard, M., Shin, D., Seger, W., (2011). Blogging and emergent L2 literacy development in an urban elementary school: A functional perspective. CALICO Journal28(2).

This study analyzes how a teacher in the United States used systemic functional linguistics to design a blog-mediated writing curriculum to support second grade English language learners (ELLs) literacy development and abilities to use computer-mediated communication tools for social and academic purposes in and out of school. The questions posed by this study relate to how blogging practices shaped a focus students emergent uses of print over nearly two years in a U. S. urban school serving a large Puerto Rican community. This study is informed by Hallidays theory of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and Vygotskian conceptions of appropriation and mediation. Using a combination of ethnographic methods and the tools of genre analysis, the findings indicate that blog-mediated writing practices afforded students an expanded audience and range of purposes for literacy activities. These practices, coupled with genre-based instruction, supported the focal students emergent literacy development. The implications of this study relate to conceptualizing how ideational, interpersonal, and textual metafunctions of language intersect through computer-mediated communication to support L2 language development.

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Can blogs help ESL students develop their language skills?

De Almeida Soares, D. (2008). Understanding class blogs as a tool for language development. Language Teaching Research12(4), 517-533

Web 2.0 has allowed for the development of cyber spaces where any computer user can create their own public pages to share knowledge, feelings and thoughts inviting linguistic interactions with people around the globe. This innovation has caught the attention of language practitioners who wish to experiment with blogging to enhance the teaching and learning experience. In 2007 I set up a class blog with my nine pre-intermediate EFL students in a language school in Brazil. This experience gave rise to two central questions: a) did my students see our blog as a learning tool? and b) what was blogging like in other language teaching contexts? To answer the first question I carried out some Exploratory Practice for three months. As for the second question, I designed an online survey which was answered by 16 members of a community of practice called the Webheads. Ultimately I learned that my students saw our blog as a learning tool and that blogs are being used in different ways around the world. This article presents the rationale behind using blogs in language classes, describes my research process and discusses the understanding my students and I have gained from exploring our own practices.

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What works best in upper elementary classrooms: shared carts or 1: 1 laptops?

Russell, M., Bebell, D., & Higgins, J. (2004). Laptop learning: A comparison of teaching and learning in upper elementary classrooms equipped with shared carts of laptops and permanent 1: 1 laptops. Journal of Educational Computing Research30(4), 313-330. Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative, Boston College.

This study compares teaching and learning activities in 4th and 5th grade classrooms that were permanently equipped with one laptop for each student and classrooms that share a cart of laptops that create a 1:1 laptop environment on a temporary basis. The study originated from a question posed to us by Andover Public Schools (MA): “How does teaching and learning differ when upper elementary students (4th and 5th graders) are provided with their own laptop computers?” In response to this question, we undertook an intensive two month study that employed a mixed methodology that included student surveys, student drawings, teacher interviews, and 56 structured classroom observations. The findings summarized in this article provide evidence of several differences in teaching and learning activities between the two settings. Classrooms that were fully equipped with 1:1 laptops showed more technology use across the curriculum, more use of technology at home for academic purposes, less large group instruction, and nearly universal use of technology for writing.

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