Individual Differences and Group Effects for Keyboard and Stylus in Autobiographical Compositions and Summaries of Read Source Material for Students in Grades 4 to 9
Alstad, Zachary Gabriel John Block
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As new technologies for interacting with computers through written language become more widespread, it becomes increasingly important to understand which modes of computer interface are effective and for whom. For this study participants ranged from grades 4 through 9 and fulfilled diagnostic criteria for specific learning disabilities affecting letter, word, and sentence production. Students produced compositions alternating their use of either the stylus or the keyboard in a within-subjects design using two modes, each of which was repeated for three lessons in a row for three alternations for a total of 18 lessons (2 modes x 3 alternations of 3 lessons in a row). Total word count was assessed for each of the participants. This study employed two complementary methodologies. First, individual plots for word count were created to show individual growth over time and selected outcomes, including total correctly spelled, total misspelled, and total illegible to form a composite of total words produced. Second, hierarchical linear modeling and individual t-tests were used to analyze both individual and group differences. Individual plots indicated mixed effectiveness of mode of writing across time for individual participants, that is, individual differences in whether their written productivity was greater by stylus or keyboard. However, between groups analysis showed an overall effect of mode of writing. Students using keyboard were able to produce more words in specific lessons on their compositions than students who used the stylus. Also mean level of words produced by keyboard was significantly correlated with more outcomes for which there were treatment effects than was mean level of words produced by stylus. Implications for educators are discussed, especially the need to go beyond using laptops only for accommodations to use of laptops such as IPads integrated in explicit writing instruction in the classroom.
- Education - Seattle