Laptops and Literacy: Learning in the wireless classroom

3 09 2008

Mark Warschauer’s Laptops and Literacy: Learning in the Wireless Classroom

has eight chapters that build upon one another to show how the incorporation of technology, specifically laptops, could work to increase literacy rates.

Warschauer looks at ten schools in Maine and California to show how laptops help improve literacy in the classroom. He wrote his book based on the action research he conducted at these schools over a two year period.

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2 responses

5 09 2008
capower12

The article seems like fair review and highlights a lack of hard research on the part of the author. They have identified the author as relying upon a great deal of anecdotal evidence. This may be something we need to consider, that is the hard data that can be used to support the program.

11 09 2008
giovannicoppola

I placed this in our 1:1 policy book. Please have a read.

The nature of school and state wide testing continues to dictate that students are required to take the bulk of tests by hand rather than with their laptop. With this in mind, it is school policy that handwriting skills and handwriting activities will remain as regular activities across the curriculum. This is particularly the case in senior years as students prepare for the external exams of the School Certificate and HSC. However, this is not to say that the use of laptops for writing tasks causes a deterioration of handwriting skills. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, research from a very large scale study (Silvernail and Gritter, University of Southern Maine, 2007) of the impact of 1:1 laptop use on writing skills in the US state of Maine over a five year period has found that laptop use has a positive impact on writing skills. It is argued that as students learn to take advantage of computers for writing, their writing strategies change. Revisions of drafts become easier and accepted as a normal part of the process, improving the overall quality of writing. The study concludes that using laptops for developing and producing writing helps students to become better writers both when using a laptop and when writing in longhand. The research report may be found at: http://www.usm.maine.edu/cepare/Impact_on_Student_Writing_Brief.pdf. Ready access to on-line resources provides students with a wealth of material to assist their writing. At the same time it has focused attention on problems of plagiarism across NSW and education on this issue is a part of the curriculum. This occurs at all year levels and in Year 10 all students
complete the compulsory ʻAll Your Own Workʼ unit before commencing HSC studies. Students are expected to approach writing tasks using their laptop with the same attention to spelling, grammar, text type and format as they do when handwriting. Spelling and grammar checking functions on the laptop are important learning tools as they provide students with immediate feedback on their writing.

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