Mobile Computing and Mixed-Initiative Support for Writing Competence

Mobile Computing and Mixed-Initiative Support for Writing Competence

Vive Kumar (Athabasca University, Canada), Maiga Chang (Athabasca University, Canada) and Tracey L. Leacock (Tracey L. LeacockSimon Fraser University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-842-2.ch021
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Abstract

Writing is a core skill that learners are expected to develop in their early school years and use effectively throughout their later school years. Historically, writing has been considered the purview of grade school education, yet there is evidence that learners seem to lack basic writing skills even at the university level. Unfortunately, the challenges posed by the volume of data created when students write have hampered writing researchers’ attempts to study the impacts of grade school writing initiatives in depth. This chapter introduces two novel approaches to academic writing activities that hold the potential to enhance writing competence and make it easier for researchers to understand the impact of writing interventions. The first uses mobile devices in a situated learning context, and the second uses a mixed-initiative writing system in the classroom.
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Writing Processes

Writing is a goal-directed activity that involves a range of interlinked cognitive processes (Flower & Hayes, 1981). In their seminal 1980 paper, Hayes and Flower (see also Hayes, 1996) introduced a cognitive process model of writing that acknowledged the complexity and recursion involved in the writing process. Hayes and Flower described writing as involving three major cognitive processes – planning, translating, and reviewing – and several sub-processes, each of which may come into play throughout the writing activity. Skilled writers often switch back and forth across all three major processes as they build and refine their texts. This natural switching complicates attempts to study writing by making it difficult to isolate individual processes. In this chapter, we provide a brief introduction to writing processes based on Hayes and Flower’s model and discuss how technology-enhanced approaches to writing instruction may help both writing researchers and student writers.

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