Writing in theOne-to-OneELA Classroom:Trends & TrialsJanice Jett, Middle GradesLanguage Arts & LiteratureTeacher, NC State DoctoralCandidate
Introduction Passionate about all things teaching and learning – I particularly love reading and writing. 17 years experience in K-12 and community college settings; all but six of those years teaching writing in the upper grades and beyond Currently serving in my second year with LA and literature students who have 1:1 access in grades 6-8
Background, con’t. Previous greatest teaching challenge: Two months to prepare sophomores for EOC writing assessment in the late 1990’s NOW: Teaching middle grades in 1:1 environment Study interest prompted by curiosity as to how experienced teachers with 1:1 access teach writing Desire to maximize students’ ability to write with confidence and clarity
Study Questions Primary: How are teachers’ pedagogical strategies influenced by their students’ 1:1 access? What are the challenges for teachers and students in 1:1 writing environments? How has 1:1 altered the nature of writing activities and use of instructional time? How do 1:1 environments impact student writing process?
Literature Review Historyof laptop implementations, achievements, and studies Professional development needs – both novice and experienced teachers Student benefits and considerations Reforms in writing instruction and the impact of 1:1 programs on practice
Key Studies in 1:1Research 2005/2006 - Warschauer’s two-year 10-site study of schools in Maine and California – found that 1:1 programs led to deeper learning, development/practice of 21st century skills, and opportunities for more and better writing 2006 – Penuel – Frequently cited in the literature – reviews programs through early 2000’s - found substantial reports of increased student achievement; less clarity concerning core subject performance 2009/2011 – Spires, et al. – 1:1 environment is a “new learning ecology”
Theoretical Framework Mishra and Koehler’s(2006) Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge Framework Builds on Shulman’s idea that teachers utilize a balance of content and pedagogical knowledge in making instructional decisions – one’s understanding of technology impacts their instruction
Your Turn Reflect on your balance of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge. What area are you most confident in? What area most challenges you? Please find your 12:00 pm partner and discuss your responses. What area might you imagine is most difficult for newer teachers?
Methodology Chose two specific sites based on program longevity and reputed achievement; Principals helpful, selected teachers based on criteria requested Teachers understood in advance of visits that the study focused on writing but were not instructed to alter plans or conduct a “special” lesson – natural inclusion of writing in the ELA 1:1 setting to capture a more accurate snapshot Requests made for time to interview students as well as for copies of lesson plans, activities, and student writing samples
Data Collection Observed in classes over two or three consecutive days with each of two or three teachers per site Recorded detailed field notes capturing as much teacher-student dialogue & activity as possible Spent time during planning period and after school engaging teachers in interviews; talked with principals, EC teachers, writing facilitator, etc. Interviewed students individually and in focus group set-up during class time
Data Analysis Printed data & read repeatedly over the course of four-six weeks Marked observations and responses in different- colored ink for each reading after initial pass Sought areas of overlap and common threads among the teacher data & student interview data separately, then across all participant data Over time with continuous reflection and review, the overlaps and common threads evolved into three overarching themes
Findings: Prevalent Themes Engagement vs. Distraction: A Fine Line for Teachers and Students Laptops as ONE Aspect of the Writing Program – Pencil and Paper continue to have a role in writing activities The Not-so-Subtle Influence of Teacher Values on Writing Instructional Practices – Collaborative planning does not lead to identical student writing experiences
Theme One: Distractions Every participant – five teachers and eight students – touched on distractions All teachers – veteran and newer to the classroom indicated distractions were a problem, with only one teacher not demonstrating considerable concern Two students of eight admitted getting distracted personally, but every student indicated problems with classmates
Your Turn: DISTRACTIONS Reflect on what you have learned about distractions in the 1:1 classroom. What are your “surefire” techniques for managing distractions? Turn to your 3pm appointment and discuss how you contend with distractions in your 1:1 settings.
Theme Two: Laptops vs. Pens Allteachers continue to use pencil and paper in their classrooms, but for varied purposes Some teachers indicate challenges with providing feedback for online writing Two teachers value handwritten journals Four teachers promote scripting for taking notes, particularly concerning grammar or complex topics
Your Turn How do you decide which writing activities are best suited for the laptop? When do you have students use their paper and pen or pencils for writing? What procedures do you use to grade online writing activities? Find your 6pm partner to discuss these questions.
Theme Three: Teacher Values Ottenbreicht-Leftwich et al. (2010) assert that teacher value systems are rarely discussed in conjunction with technology integration Teachers who plan together may still have variations in the writing activities and practices taking place in their rooms Examples: Ms. Smith – family & relationships; Ms. Thomas – professionalism; Ms. Young – love of writing influences students
Your Turn What personal beliefs or values do you have that you believe influence the way that you teach writing? How has 1:1 access impacted your beliefs about teaching writing? Has your teaching team discussed the role of values in teaching writing? If so, what was the outcome? Find your 9pm appointment to discuss these questions.
Discussion: Sub-Question #1 -Challenges for Teachers Distractions – few, if any “foolproof” methods offered from these experienced 1:1 teachers aside from close monitoring Feedback for online writing and grading procedures – online grading programs helpful, but not a comprehensive solution; some teachers adapt editing strategies while others prefer printouts for scribing detailed feedback Student keyboarding skills vary, “back doors” for mischief, equipment malfunctions
Discussion: Challenges forStudents DISTRACTIONS – Two students admitted personal difficulties, while ALL participants indicated problems with classmates Navigating new applications & programs Restricted access to sites/applications New teachers’ lack of use Lack of 24/7 access for all students
Sub-Question #2 – Changes inActivities & Use of Time “Big Push” to have everything in a digital format Research takes place in the classroom setting as students write – very helpful Paper and pencil reserved for personal journaling and scribing notes for complex concepts; some drafting Assignment lengths varied – short answer, “eighth grader” paragraphs; not much evidence of detailed, lengthy writing – one class actively writing an editorial FLEXIBILITY concerning student comfort for composing
Sub-Question #2: StudentPerspective Allstudents have at least one way in which writing is still helpful – Three students of eight even prefer to scribe Four students recognize that writing helps with the learning process – the “light bulb” effect Matters of trust for three students – Will it break? Will it be available when I need it? Typing slows me down, etc.
Sub-Question #3: Impact onStudent Writing Process According to Dave and Russell (2010), nearly 50% of young writers still print out their drafts for editing purposes Pencil and keyboard thus have a unique and sometimes shifting role for student writers – trust and keyboarding skills are factors Students and teachers alike appreciate instant access to information, including a dictionary; frustration with restrictions
Sub-Question #3: Impact onStudent Writing Process, con’t. Students seemed to mimic their teacher’s preference for process – i.e. If their teacher expected a written draft prior to typing, the students explained that as their process; when teachers relied more so on paper or laptop exclusively for writing activities, the students seemed to do the same Minority student participants prefer to use laptop for typing as opposed to composing
Teachers’ PedagogicalStrategies as Influenced by 1:1 1:1 Teachers expect distractions and actively work to address them Teachers demonstrate flexibility in carrying out writing process with their students, understanding that both keyboarding and scripting have a valuable, though often varying, role for student writers and learning 1:1 access increases the opportunity for teacher values to influence the types of writing activities and process experiences that students have 1:1 settings facilitate the coverage and practice of 21st Century Skills
Implications for ELA Instruction Teachers need guidance and opportunities to discuss best practices for monitoring students Teachers would benefit from ongoing updates/strategies for teaching fact-finding, organizing, and synthesizing of information required for 21st century learning Need for focused discussion detailing teacher values and instructional decision-making
Implications for ELA, con’t. Discussion of access for students – 24/7 versus day users – need for support for day users with distractions, time management A need for understanding the student’s “relationship” with his or her computer and its impact on writing habits Impact of perceived audience (online vs. teacher only) for student writers
Summary There is no one “right way” to teach writing in the 1:1 setting. Distractions are an ongoing challenge for students and teachers (new and experienced). Teachers vary their approach to balancing online writing with traditional scripting. Teacher values influence the types of writing activities that take place in their classrooms, even in collaborative or PLC settings
Moving Forward… Writing instruction in the English language arts field is in a time of transition There remains a great deal more to learn about effective writing instruction in the 1:1 setting Temper the excitement for the tools available with understanding what is most helpful for student writing process in the long-term – flexibility is essential!