About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4473-4480
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain


M. Vasquez Colina1, Y. Bhagwanji1, C. Harrison2

1Florida Atlantic University (UNITED STATES)
2Treasure Coast High School (UNITED STATES)
This paper describes a research study that examined how a technology-based program impacted student’s engagement when completing electronic assignments in literacy classes. As cutting-edge educational technology appears, more educators and researchers ponder if the utilization and application of these technologies would be successful and beneficial in the classroom in the context of digital writing in the literacy curriculum. Gaggle.net, a web-based program was used in an elementary reading class where student completed literacy learning projects. Through the lens of social learning and connectivism theories, the researchers investigated how a technology-based program impacted students' engagement when completing electronic assignments. A qualitative approach was used in this research study. The study sample was purposive and comprised of sixth and seventh graders in a public middle school’s reading classes. Comments about the effectiveness of the technology were collected through (a) student assignments; (b) teacher journal and (c) student questionnaire. Students’ assignments included student blogs, homework drop box and message boards. These three student assignments were submitted electronically through Gaggle.net. The teacher-made questionnaire collected information about students’ learning experiences and preferences. Data from the questionnaire were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Overall results showed that students exhibited strong preferences for electronic assignments and digital writing. This preference is aligned by the fact that students are becoming digital writers and show an inclination to multitask and work collaboratively.The classroom teacher kept a journal to report student interactions, participation, and use of the program. Data were analyzed using a thematic and code analysis on two levels: individual and across cases. The researchers searched for common themes related to cognitive skills: lower and higher level thinking. Triangulation was obtained by comparing researchers’ notes and teacher journal as well as member checking during the class period. The emerging themes from students’ work found were enthusiasm, articulating preferences, peer collaboration, creativity, fostering responsibility and speaking up. In sum, findings showed to be supportive of the fact the students become more engaged when using technology to complete their assignments. Digital writing learning experiences presented in this research study proved to be engaging and challenging for students and teacher. Moreover, this study incorporated the social element by integrating blogging and discussion board assignments into a literacy curriculum whereby students were encouraged to rely on and support each other with their class work through the use of modern technology as well as class discussions. Implications are drawn for the use of web-based programs to support middle school reading and writing curriculum. Findings depicted in this study relate to the the connectivism theory because students were able to utilize a web-based program to enhance their learning experience. It appears that these students, significantly exposed to digital experiences, view web-based programs as a viable way of learning. This paper will include a study rationale, description of the research process and use of Gaggle.net, as well as findings, limitations and opportunities for future research related to educational technology and literacy.
author = {Vasquez Colina, M. and Bhagwanji, Y. and Harrison, C.},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {4473-4480}}
AU - M. Vasquez Colina AU - Y. Bhagwanji AU - C. Harrison
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 4473
EP - 4480
ER -
M. Vasquez Colina, Y. Bhagwanji, C. Harrison (2012) DIGITAL WRITING IN THE LITERACY CURRICULUM: AN ENGAGING TOOL?, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 4473-4480.