DOG TO THE RESCUE: LEARNING TO USE IPAD TECHNOLOGY TO ASSIST YOUNG WRITERS
, G. House2
, L. Bodekaer3
1Marshall University (UNITED STATES)
2Springhill Elementary School (UNITED STATES)
3Anna Trolles Skole (DENMARK)
This paper will examine the use of the iPad app, 30 Hands, and explore how the use of iPads could assist struggling primary age writers. Second grade students in the USA and Denmark participated in literacy activities to enhance their persuasive writing skills. The following questions provided a framework for this paper. How does the multimodal, iPad app, 30 Hands, enhance writing experiences and writing instruction with struggling writers? How do primary age teachers support iPad writing experiences with traditional paper and pencil methods? What learning strategies do students employ to successfully use iPads and to use them for writing?
Classroom teachers tend to use traditional paper and pencil methods to have children complete writing assignments. However, researchers found the use of the iPad app, 30 Hands, to be helpful in promoting engagement in the writing process. The children maintained their focus on the activity for long stretches of time, assisted one another with opening and accessing the program, and showed each other how to use particular features in the app. The teachers noticed fewer disruptive behaviors from students when they were engaged with using the iPads. Furthermore, the children expressed feelings of "delight" in the work they were doing and demonstrated a sense of ownership over their writing samples.
Observations and Interview data of teachers and students suggests the use of iPads with second graders who are struggling writers is valuable, but may not achieve the desired results of writing persuasively. Several factors contributed to levels of success. First, students had to learn how to use the 30 Hands app, as well as, apply literacy skills in order to be successful with creating a persuasive argument. Second, primary age students seemed to have difficulty providing reasons and evidence to support their assertions. In general, the children seemed to be overly anxious to complete the project and as a consequence their drawings suffered through lack of details and flourishes. The teachers encouraged students to add to their drawings, and assisted the students in recording their stories to go along with the images they created. Teachers need to incorporate the use of iPad apps and they need to provide engaging literacy activities for students who demonstrate lower level writing skills.
Discussion and recommendations address how iPad programs seem to enhance the quality of literacy instruction for second grade students who are struggling writers. Teachers emphasized improvements in their students’ levels of confidence and attitudes toward the writing process. They discussed their students’ interest and willingness to participate in a literacy experience and improvements in students’ demonstration of key features of the app. Finally, the application and effectiveness of using iPads to enhance story-writing production has been demonstrated with children in grade two. In addition, the use of the 30 Hands iPad app seems to enhance literacy instruction and experiences for struggling students in grade two. The use of iPads is relevant for literacy teachers. Students are able to demonstrate complex, multimodal literacy skills using the iPad app, 30 Hands. The students demonstrate cooperative and collaborative behavior through assisting one another and showing each other how to use key features in the program.