ERIC Number: ED498986
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
The Use of Technology in Literacy Instruction: Implications for Teaching Students from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds. HBSK 4072, Section 3, Fall 2007
Whitney, Jennifer D.
Background: Almost every aspect of modern life is affected in some way by technology. Many people utilize technology from dawn to dusk to communicate; make decisions; reflect, gain, synthesize, evaluate or distribute information, among many other functions. One would be hard pressed to find a single professional, regardless of career field, going through an entire work day without touching a computer, PDA or other electronic device. However, the same level of technology use cannot be found in many schools, which are meant to prepare students for their future lives and careers in the "real" world. Purpose: The topic of this paper is to review recent literature pertaining to the use of technology in literacy instruction. In particular, the paper reports findings regarding effective methods for teaching low-achieving or at-risk student groups. Setting: This paper is an analysis of several studies conducted across the United States. Study Sample: This paper is an analysis of several studies conducted across the United States. Research Design: Descriptive; Experimental; Quasi-experimental; Narrative Synthesis; and Qualitative. Findings: Technology can be used to bridge the early gap in exposure to print for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Internet-based reading programs are available. Students can access electronic books, interactive stories and leveled reading passages (Tracey & Young, 2005) or full texts through publicly available archives. If students lack hardware or internet access in the home, these resources can be accessed in the school building although use may be limited by space and time (Legutko, 2007). In addition, some districts may have access to reading software through federally funded programs or studies which often target specific skills and age groups (Means et al, 2007). In addition, technology can be used to provide instructional opportunities for students where both parents work outside the home or work second- or third-shift. Microsoft NetMeeting is a tool included in older Microsoft operating systems that has web conferencing, audio, interactive whiteboard and chat capabilities (Legutko, 2007). Tutors and mentors can use this or another similar program such as a web-based instant messenger or e-mail to communicate with and instruct students whose parents may be unavailable for homework help in the afternoons or evenings (Burns, 2006). Finally, technology can offer additional independent reinforcement for low-performing students in schools that cannot afford to lower teacher-student ratios. The studies show that students spent a greater portion of their day engaged in independent practice with teachers as facilitators and monitors when technology is integrated (Means et al, 2007). With the student leading his own independent practice and the technological tool providing support or feedback, technology can act as another teacher in the room when districts cannot afford to hire more teachers or paraprofessionals. In addition, mentors and tutors can be incorporated at little or no cost through web conferencing or chat tools (Burns, 2006). Conclusion: Although a great deal of technology exists for use in the classroom as an instructional or administrative tool, there has been very little research conducted on its effectiveness outside the arena of reading comprehension. This review of literature justifies a call for increased study on the topic, not only on specific software products, but on more specific and diverse outcomes such as reading motivation, engagement and metacognition. In the meantime, there are many benefits that can be enjoyed by both educators and students - greater and more affordable access to leveled texts, more time spent on independent practice, increased access to tutors and mentors and variable effects on technological savvy and reading engagement. Citation: Whitney, Jennifer (2007). The Use of Technology in Literacy Instruction: Implications for Teaching Students from LowSocioeconomic Backgrounds. New York.
Descriptors: Homework, High Risk Students, Reading Comprehension, Research Design, Mentors, Reading Programs, Reading Motivation, Computer Software, Metacognition, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Educational Technology, Literacy Education, Low Income, Teaching Methods, Low Achievement
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A