CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Timothy Ellis

Abstract

Writing is a complex cognitive skill, a technology for capturing speech whose forms and conventions began in the dawn of civilization and were in place and stable by the Middle Ages. Writing and reading are the foundation of literacy, fundamental to success in school and in the adult world. No comprehensive theory of composition guides the teaching of writing, although historically two approaches have been favored: writing as a skill acquired through the memorization and recognition of principles of grammar and usage, and more recently, writing as a process of recursive strategies of pi arming, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. The National Council of Teachers of English supports the methodology of the writing process; the literature reports that teachers perceive it as an effective tool. However, national testing programs including the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Scholastic Aptitude Test reveal that students' achievement in writing has not changed appreciably from the mid-level baselines established more than two decades ago.

Reading and writing capabilities are closely associated with motivation. Many students function perfectly well, while others struggle. Students commonly regard writing as a chore, a closed loop between student and teacher to demonstrate what one knows, with the primary value being the correction of errors and a grade. Computer aided learning has become routine in schools. Within the past six years, teachers have begun exploring weblogs, a recent multimedia technology that draws on students' interest in computer related communication. Blogs enable [Tequent writing that is either spontaneous or planned and accessible by readers whether in a password-protected environment or open to the Internet. The study used a Web survey, telephone interviews with teachers, and observation of students' blog posts to explore the potential of blogs as a tool for teaching writing in the high school classroom. Educational blogging is as yet a new resource; a canon ofbes! Practices has yet to emerge. However, the study found that blogs hold particular promise for most young writers as an authentic, interactive domain for practicing to learn and learning to practice effective writing and its accompanying skills, reading and thinking.

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