Illuminating Change: Technology, Feedback, and Revision in Writing

Illuminating Change: Technology, Feedback, and Revision in Writing

Sarah Hunt-Barron (Converse College, USA) and Jamie Colwell (Old Dominion University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4341-3.ch008
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Abstract

Using the method of a formative experiment, this investigation examines how the use of peer revision and collaboration in an online environment, specifically a social network, could be implemented in a middle school classroom to increase revision over multiple drafts and improve the quality of student expository writing. Thirty-six students in two sections of a seventh-grade English language arts class participated in the study. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected prior to, during, and after the intervention to establish baseline data, as well as determine progress toward the pedagogical goal. Analyses reveal improvement in the amount of student revision and quality of student writing, as well as improved peer feedback using an online community for peer revision and collaboration. The enhancing and inhibiting effects of technology in this intervention is examined, as well as the unanticipated effects of the intervention.
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Theoretical Framework

Learning to write is a process deeply entwined in the social and emotional growth of learners (Bomer & Laman, 2004). It is situated and authentically embedded within activity, context and culture (Lave & Wenger, 1991), grounding much of the research on writing in socio-cultural theories of learning (Vygotsky, 1978) and situated cognition (Lave & Wenger, 1991).

Vygotsky’s (1978) socio-cultural theory asserts that learning depends upon people’s interactions with one another; learning is a social act and culture provides the tools that help learners develop understandings of the world around them. A cultural historical theoretical view of learning is sometimes used to capture the complexities of classroom environments (Guiterrez & Stone, 2000). This theoretical perspective embraces the notion that learning is a transactional process (Dewey & Bentley, 1949) mediated by cultural tools, including spoken and written language, as people participate in routine activities in communities of practice (Dyson, 2000; Gutierrez & Stone, 2000; Lave & Wenger, 1991).

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