Research Supporting the Benefits of Technology In Reading and Writing

11/2/2011 12:00:00 AM

Despite the fact that we’re well into the 21st century innovative educators often still have to make a case for using the tools of the world inside school. This post was written for those looking to justify their decision to use technology to support readers and writers.  Below you will find a compilation of research that outlines the benefits of technology in supporting readers and writers.

Effects of Computer Versus Paper Administration of a State-Mandated Writing Assessment
This article reports that open-ended Language Arts items that require students to generate responses using paper and pencil severely underestimate the achievement of students accustomed to writing using a computer. The article concludes by recommending that state testing programs that employ open-ended items in Language Arts provide students with the option of composing responses on paper or on computer.-Read the results of the study here.

Using Technology to Improve the Literacy Skills of Students with Disabilities
Summary of best practices in using technology to improve the literacy skills of students receiving special education services.  Topics include common literacy problems, suggestions for including assessment info into IEP development, and tools to enhance literacy skills of students with disabilities.  

Writing, Technology and Teens
This Pew Internet report indicates that teens write a lot, but they do not think of their emails, instant and text messages as writing. This disconnect matters because teens believe good writing is an essential skill for success and that more writing instruction at school would help them. I caution readers of this report to note that results in this report have much to do with that fact that few schools value real-world writing for authentic audiences as “real writing” and often don’t empower students to use tech ubiquitously for writing as writers in the real-world have access to.

iPads Make Better Readers, Writers
In a research paper titled “Unlocking Literacy with iPad,” Ohio English teacher James Harmon found that state-compiled statistics indicate that those students with iPad access in the year leading up to the Ohio Graduation Test had a 6-percent greater chance of passing the test’s reading portion than those without, and an 8-percent greater chance of passing the writing portion.

Writing Next Report
This report identifies 11 elements of current writing instruction found to be effective for helping
4th- to 12th-grade students learn to write well and to use writing as a tool for learning. The report is missing attention to 21st century writing skills such as writing for authentic audiences and creating work that is not only text-based.  There is also little attention to global connection and collaboration which is generally seen my this report as something that age and location, rather than passion-driven, and age agnostic. 

Leaders Share How Tech Has Helped Students Learn
Leaders share how they have witnessed technology has enriched literacy classrooms with students who are more engaged, excited, and better behaved and teachers are more alive and motivated.  

The Role of Technology in Primary Grades Writing Instruction

Students showed an increase in both the quality of writing and the number of words and sentences produced. Student and teacher attitudes were favorable regarding the use of a computer for composition.

Computer Use Helps Students to Develop Better Writing Skills
Study indicating that students who practiced composing on word processors were able to write better compositions afterwards.

How has writing for a world wide audience changed the way you write?
Teacher captures students insights into the importance of writing for the world rather than for a grade in school such as: 

“Now I always write as if I’m talking to a large audience, even in school.”“It makes me keep in mind that anyone and everyone is able to see it so I do not want to say something I may regret or something that may be inappropriate.”“It makes me think that I can accomplish great things.”

Student Test Scores Improved in an English Literature Course through the Use of Supportive Devices                    
This study investigated whether a technology-rich environment used in an English Literature classroom would make an impact on students’ passing rate on their state-mandated reading test.

iPads Credited with Reading Gains
During the four weeks of instruction, the reading comprehension of the Calistoga preschoolers increased from 58.5 percent to 76.4 percent, said Eugene Narciso, COO of Footsteps 2 Brilliance™, which offered the interactive reading and vocabulary iPad program.
Read more about the program here and in this newspaper article. Read the data behind the study here.

If you have research to add, please share a link and description in the comments section.

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in Huffington Post, EdReformer,Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

 

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