The development of target skills with a computer component
Eden Michelle Abramson, The University of Tennessee, United States
The University of Tennessee . Awarded
Existing research indicates that effective writing is critical to learning and that the use of computer technology in writing instruction can impact student performance. However, researchers have not provided information about the impact of computer-based programs on the acquisition of specific writing skills. To address the topic of specific skill acquisition, this study examined the impact of computer-based practice on a writing curriculum as measured by adjective and adverb usage in writing samples.
Participants were students from three seventh-grade English classes in an East Tennessee public school. They were randomly divided into two groups. On a weekly basis, each group alternated using pencil and paper and computer-based word processing for writing practice activities. Effective instructional components, such as feedback, scaffolding, and opportunities for active responding were included in both practice situations. Performance on pre-test and post-test writing tasks was measured.
The results indicate that the difference in overall adjective and adverb use, as well as word count, between the two practice options was not significant. However, adverb use increased for both groups from pre-test to post-test writing samples. These results suggest that practice opportunities can enhance the use of recently learned writing skills and that the effectiveness of these practice opportunities is similar across pencil and paper and computer-based responding. The discussion focuses on limitations of the current study and directions for future research.
Abramson, E.M. The development of target skills with a computer component. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Tennessee.
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