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ERIC Number: EJ823486
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1522-8185
The Effects of Incorporating a Word Processor into a Year Three Writing Program
Beck, Natalie; Fetherston, Tony
Information Technology in Childhood Education Annual, v2003 n1 p139-161 2003
Writing, an essential part of every young child's school life, is a complex affair involving cognitive, affective, and psychomotor elements. Most children learn to write, with varying degrees of success, and every school has children who can be classified as nonwriters. Some children are inhibited and frustrated by writing and are put off by the thought of the writing process. Can word processing assist the writing process with young children? In response to this question, this qualitative study examined the effects of incorporating a word processor into a particular writing program. Seven students from a Year Three class participated in this study and were selected on the basis of convenience sampling from a split Year Three/Four class. The students undertook writing activities using both the word processor, and the more traditional method of pencil and paper, over the course of a six-week period of investigation. The students were interviewed at the beginning and at the end of the investigation, using both conversational and standardised open-ended techniques, about their attitudes towards writing, attitudes towards the writing program currently employed in the classroom, and attitudes towards word processors. Ongoing observations, anecdotal notes, and tape recordings of conversations formed another gathering dimension. To assess the effects of incorporating a word processor in the writing program and on attitudes towards writing, the participating students' writing samples were evaluated using a standardised marking criteria (Tompkins, 1994) and the First Steps Writing Developmental Continuum (1994). The outcome of this study was a set of seven individual case studies describing the effects on the Year Three students' writing when word processors were incorporated into their writing program. Themes such as the effect of being able to use pictures, the effect on keyboard skills, the effect on enjoyment and confidence, and the effect on completion rates also emerged from this study and these are discussed in this article. (Contains 2 figures.)
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. P.O. Box 1545, Chesapeake, VA 23327-1545. Tel: 757-366-5606; Fax: 703-997-8760; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A