Writing in the 1-1 ELA Classroom- Trends & Trials


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Writing in the 1-1 ELA Classroom- Trends & Trials

  1. 1. Writing in theOne-to-OneELA Classroom:Trends & TrialsJanice Jett, Middle GradesLanguage Arts & LiteratureTeacher, NC State DoctoralCandidate
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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?
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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”
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. Mishra & Koehler’s (2006) TPACK Framework
  9. 9. 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?
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. 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.
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. 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.
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. 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
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. 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.
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. 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!