Situating Technology-Facilitated Feedback and Revision: The Case of Tom

Situating Technology-Facilitated Feedback and Revision: The Case of Tom

Sarah J. McCarthey (University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, USA), Alecia Marie Magnifico (University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, USA), Rebecca Woodard (University of Illinois – Chicago, USA) and Sonia Kline (University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4341-3.ch009
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In this chapter, the authors present a case study of one writer, Tom, to uncover how his writing was mediated by school-level and individual factors. The online writing environment had three major affordances for Tom in this 8th grade classroom: the online writing environment increased Tom’s access to peer response, motivated him write to a higher standard for an audience, and both scaffolded and increased his response repertoire. However, the larger policy context in which Tom’s writing was embedded placed constraints on the classroom and school. Other constraints included Tom’s lack of access to a computer at home, the teacher’s highly structured task, and the online tool’s assignment of random reviewers that forced Tom to continually write to a new audience of peers who lacked the previous context. In light of the situated nature of Tom’s writing and responses in this classroom, the authors make recommendations for policy, research, and instruction.
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Literature Review

Our inquiry into the use of Scholar, a technology-enabled classroom-writing tool, is informed by a situated view of teachers’ instruction and students’ learning. Such activity occurs within broad layers of context including federal, local, and school policy.

Scholar intervenes in educational systems at the level of classrooms, as an instruction-focused tool that aims to help teachers transform their classrooms into places where students write primarily to communicate about real problems and purposes -- rather than to write summaries and answer questions (e.g. Applebee & Langer, 2009; Nystrand, Gamoran, Kachur, & Prendergast, 1997). As Kalantzis and Cope (2012) put it, classrooms are currently oriented “vertically,” with teachers serving as students’ assessors and sole audience members, but they might be transformed to include more “horizontal, student-to-student” (p. 162) discourse. To this end, they offer seven design principles that are central to Scholar. We focus on three of these principles here: The first of these elements is ubiquitous learning, which means that students and teachers may work on their writing anywhere and anytime they have access to an Internet-enabled device (Cope, Kalantzis, McCarthey, Vojak, & Kline, 2011). In addition, Scholar’s formative assessment tools enable teachers to design writing projects that develop with the help of classmates’ feedback and leverage collaborative intelligence as students use this feedback to make subsequent revisions.

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