Virtual Vacations: Recursive Scaffolding in Digital Composition

Virtual Vacations: Recursive Scaffolding in Digital Composition

Lynn Baynum (Shippensburg University, USA) and Christopher S. Keyes (Shippensburg University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5982-7.ch006
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This chapter suggests a social constructivist model for engaging students in digital texts and composition. Partial results are shared from a three-year project, Virtual Vacations, which focused on creating digital texts from virtual experiences exploring different geographic settings in a mixed age elementary group. Three participants in this case study provide evidence of students' strategic knowledge pertaining to the use of digital tools for literacy tasks. The authors provide suggestions for teachers of digital natives such as this one: teachers need to scaffold instruction to balance the duality between digital tasks and literacy skills.
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The speed at which new technology impacts a student’s literacy skills is incomprehensible. “There has never been a more important time to apply principles of development and learning when considering the use of cutting-edge technology and new media” (NAEYC Position Statement, 2012, p. 1). As such, the role of teachers and schools becomes increasingly important in helping students learn tasks and strategies about how to leverage interactive media, specifically digital and analog materials, into effective forms of communication (Wu, Farrell & Singley, 2002).

The purpose of this chapter is to share three examples from a case study as well as the experiences of pre-service teachers from a three-year digital literacy project titled Virtual Vacations. This project voluntarily brought pre-service teachers together with third, fourth, and fifth graders in an enrichment-based after school program to explore world cultures using Internet search tools, as well as digital composition tools. Specifically, this chapter will describe strengths and limitations associated with students’ critical reading and researching strategies that led to purposeful digital compositional processes and outcomes in order to create an electronic nonfiction text. In addition, this chapter will describe a model for digital compositional instruction that supports pre-service teachers’ understanding of the power of scaffolding using the gradual release of responsibility approach (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983).

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