George Mason University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Page: 2066 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
A call to action for improving writing instruction has gained momentum. In the United States, many educational standards mandate the integration of writing across the curriculum (CCSS, 2010; NCW, 2003). This presentation will share the results from a series of design research cycles that guided the iterative development of a computer-based and mobile-based graphic organizer with embedded self-regulated learning strategies for struggling writers with and without disabilities. The findings of multiple research studies and their implications for the design of the intervention are summarized across Integrative Learning Design Framework (ILDF) phases (Bannan-Ritland, 2003): Initial Exploration, Enactment, Local Impact, and Broad Impact.

The Initial Exploration phase included the identification and description of the problem. First literature reviews were conducted to identify that:
(a) a large number of students with and without disabilities struggle with writing (NAEP, 2011);
(b) many students with disabilities have difficulty systematically planning, generating, and organizing text (Wagner et al., 2005). In order to differentiate instruction, teachers may use
(c) content enhancements or graphic organizers (Dexter & Hughes, 2011); self-regulated learning strategies (Harris & Graham, 1993); and/or word processing (Morphy & Graham, 2012).

Then a mixed methods survey and selected follow-up interviews were conducted with 161 teachers from 36 states and 50 teachers from local school districts.

The findings focused on:
(a) ways teachers integrate writing across subject areas;
(b) technologies used to support writing; and
(c) barriers to implementing technology for writing in the classrooms.

During the enactment phase an original version of the computer-based graphic organizer (CBGO) with embedded self-regulated learning strategies was created in Microsoft Word. The self-regulated strategies were: goal-setting, self-instruction, self-monitoring, self-evaluation, self-efficacy, attribution, and self-motivation. Built-in supports for students with disabilities were: color coding, drop-down menus, text hits, audio comments, and text-to-speech. The original prototype was tested with three students with disabilities. Then it was used in a single-subject study with ten 7th-8th grade students with disabilities. The tool was revised based on students' feedback and observations. The mobile application version of the CBGO was created.

In the Local Impact phase a single-subject study with 17 struggling writers in 6th-7th grades using the persuasive essay genre and a true experimental study with 69 struggling writers in 4th and 6th grades focusing on the argumentative essay genre were conducted to evaluate the technology tool in supporting essay writing for the target population. Based on the visual and statistical analyses all students improved the writing quality, while the majority of students also increased the quantity of writing.

Finally the Broad Impact phase included the implementation of Word-based and app-based versions of the tool with nearly 400 students in 4th-8th classrooms, including 200striggling writers. The vast majority of struggling writers improved on the quality of writing and statistically outperforming students in the control group who wrote using computers and iPads but without using the tool. This presentation will focus on explanation of the design research cycles, reporting of findings, and discussion of practical implications.
Special education, struggling writers, essay writing, technology-based intervention, graphic organizers, self-regulated learning strategies, design research.