Brίd O’Keeffe How can I use ICT tools to enhance literacy lessons with a particular focus on increasing the quality and engagement of boy‟s writing?
Writing freely comes naturally to many children and is especially evident with the girls in Kiwi room. However I have noticed a group of students, predominantly boys, who struggle to write freely or who have low motivation on most of the writing tasks which are set. I was curious after a descriptive writing workshop with Innes Kennard on how the use of ICT could enhance student’s writing.
Liam Jakob Kade Perrin These students aren’t necessarily achieving below the standard but I feel they are not reaching their full potential due to lack of content and purpose in their writing.
Writing Level Liam 2B Jakob 2B Kade 2B Perrin 2B These students are all working towards similar goals of staying focused during writing and completing tasks completely
When beginning a new genre of writing I use the IWB to explore examples and features of the writing. We look and our WALT and create our WILF through discussion of what is needed. Students begin writing. They follow a writing process of Drafting, proofreading with a peer, editing and sometimes publishing ( if time allows!)
ICT and Literacy in the classroom Becta‟s report „The Importance of ICT‟ examines ICT in primary and secondary schools across the UK, and it revealed that using ICT raises standards across the curriculum, particularly in English. Examples of how ICT has successfully supported literacy includes the use of talking books to raise standards in reading at Key Stage 1, whilst writing at Key Stage 2 was seen to improve, even in those pupils identified as reluctant readers and writers, when the use of the internet for research was encouraged. Specifically relating to boys and literacy, using ICT was found to be a positive medium to motivate underachieving boys in studying poetry. Becta‟s report also demonstrated that one of the schools visited whilst conducting the research particularly focused on utilising ICT to help improve boys‟ writing skills. Students showed a high level of engagement when a visiting author encouraged them to change the size, colour and style of the text to reflect the words being used: for example, “enormous, blue eyes.” Catherine Thornley http://www.teachingtimes.com/articles/literacy- digital-communication.htm
Boys thrive on the visual language of television, cartoons, and video games. Similarly, boys respond well when presented with the opportunity to present their ideas and written work using charts, flow diagrams, and other visual forms. Researchers suggest that boys respond so positively to images because boys are more oriented to visual/spatial learning. As a result, visual images “accelerate” boys’ learning (Daly, 2002, p. 16).
So…….I decided to use a descriptive writing lesson as shown by InnesKennard at the ICT expo to monitor if a higher input of ICT tools and visualinput would improve writing attitudes and outcomes. As a stimulus I read ‘The Snot Goblin’ on PP by Mira Mee. Students had to recall all the describing words used for the goblin. They loved the disgusting descriptions being used and it gave them lots of inspiration for their own writing. I used Kidspiration to record these words I introduced ‘Critters’ to the class. Critters come out to play after we all leave school. They have great fun playing and meddling. I ask the students to think of a place in the classroom and imagine the sort of critter which may be there. They use Kidpix to draw their own critter. I noted rich descriptive discussion between students during this design process. They save it as a Jpeg They take a photograph of the background their critter lives in. Then Open PowerPoint. Insert the background pic and the critter image over it. Then the writing began! In conclusion a LOT of ICT learning before we get to our writing task!!
Liam is usually a reluctant writer who struggles to complete tasks!
Getting Kade to finish and stay focussed on an independent writingtask is a struggle! Even though this is not perfect it was a wonderfulachievement for him.
Perrin struggles to write freely. He had plenty to write about afterdesigning his own critter.
What was the result of the action?There was a noticeable increase in enthusiasm for writing. The target groupworked with focus and purpose to describe their critters effectively for theirown and other’s enjoyment. They showed pride in sharing their goreydescriptions.They still talk about Critters as living things in the classroom. I believe themany days which it took to design and modify their critters, before anywriting began, was rich with conversation and anticipation about eachother’s critters hence resulting in a more meaningful and embeddedpurpose for writing. Evaluation/reflection on inquiryMy class owned their writing during this project. The shared enthusiasm and buzzabout critters gave them the purpose to finish the writing task. Thevisual, technological and imaginative process enhanced the writing withoutdoubt. I now use Storybird, visual stimulii on the IWB and short videos to engagestudents before and during writing tasks and projects.