16 SES 16 A, ICT as a Tool for Learning and Decision-making
Paper/Pecha Kucha Session
The aim of this study was to develop digitally supported scaffolds for Danish second grade students’ independent reading of unfamiliar text whilst strengthening decoding and comprehension skills and developing literacy in a broader sense (Freebody & Luke, 1990). The texts used do not have controlled vocabulary, unlike many basal readers in deep orthographies (Frost, 2007) such as Danish or English, and the learning material supports students in reading for meaning.
The evaluated design uses text-to-speech technology in an envisioned learning trajectory (Cobb & Gravemeijer, 2008) based on connectionist theory of word reading, i.e. the Parallel Distributed Processing model (Seidenberg, 2005, 2007), and theory of scaffolding (Wood, Bruner & Ross, 1976). The learning material scaffolds the students’ independent reading of unfamiliar text. Students are supported in mapping between orthography and phonology by three levels of text-to-speech support and in identifying relevant spelling patterns and generalizing patterns. The word material in the learning material is divided into different categories based on the frequency and regularity of the individual word or its constituent parts. Features counter student overuse of text-to-speech, which is a well-established phenomenon in research on use of text-to-speech in reading instruction (for example Lefever-Davis & Pearman, 2005; Gissel, 2014). In my understanding, connectionist theory would predict, that student overreliance on text-to-speech, i.e. not attempting decoding using the orthographic input, would be counterproductive vis-à-vis strengthening decoding skills.
The study used a mixed-method design with expansion intent (Greene, Caracelli, & Graham, 1989). In the first phase of the study, design based research (McKenney & Reeves, 2012) was the methodological base. A prototype of a digital learning material was designed, evaluated using realist evaluation (Pawson & Tilley, 1997), and iteratively refined. Hence, in a series of formative evaluations (reported in Gissel, 2014, 2015), students’ interaction with the prototype was recorded using screen recording software and analyzed to determine if students could use the material in accordance with the envisioned learning trajectory. Eventually, the design was sufficiently robust and a full version with optimal usability was produced, which in turn allowed for a trial measuring impact. This is the second phase of the study. A large-scale, cluster-randomized controlled field trial (Nclassrooms = 47; Nstudents = 1,013) assessed the impact of using the learning material in a 13-week intervention on measures of decoding and comprehension. An active control group used the most prevalent analogue Danish learning material with a systematic, explicit phonics approach supporting primarily decoding. The control learning material is in full accordance with the recommendations of the National Reading Panel (2000).
Results showed, that using the digital material showed no statistically significant difference on decoding measures between the control and treatment group. However, a substantial, statistically significant advantage was found in the treatment group on measures of reading comprehension. It is surprising that there is no statistically significant difference between the intervention and control groups on decoding measures, because the control group learning material promotes extensive formal decoding training. The positive and significant effect on measures of reading comprehension from using the experiment learning material could be a result of the supportive features that allow students to read rather complex and unfamiliar text for meaning.
Cobb, P., & Gravemeijer, K. (2008). Experimenting to support and understand learning processes. In A. E. Kelly, R. A. Lesh & J. Y. Baek (Eds.), Handbook of design research methods in education. Routledge. Freebody, P. & Luke, A. (1990). Literacies programs: Debates and demands in cultural context. Prospect: An Australian Journal of TESOL, 5(3), pp. 7-16. Frost, R. (2005). Orthographic Systems and Skilled Word Recognition Processes in Reading. In M. J. Snowling & C. Hulme (Eds.), The Science of Reading: A Handbook (pp. 272-295). Oxford: Blackwell. Gissel, S. T. (2014). Talking Books in Reading Instruction and Student Behavior. Designs for Learning. 7(1). Gissel, S. T. (2015). Scaffolding students’ independent decoding of unfamiliar text with a prototype of an eBook-feature. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 14, 439-470. Retrieved from http://www.informingscience.org/Publications/2317?Source=%2FJournals%2FJITEResearch%2FArticles%3FVolume%3D0-0 Greene, J. C., Caracelli, V. J., & Graham, W. F. (1989). Toward a conceptual framework for mixed-method evaluation designs. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 11(3), 255-274. Lefever-Davis, S., & Pearman, C. (2005). Early readers and electronic texts: CDROM storybook features that influence reading behaviours. The Reading Teacher, 58(5), 4-10. McKenney, S. & Reeves, T. C. (2012): Conducting Educational Design Research. Routledge. National Reading Panel (NRP) (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching children to read (reports of the subgroups). Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Retrieved from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/org/der/branches/cdbb/Pages/nationalreadingpanelpubs.aspx Seidenberg, M. S. (2005). Connectionist models of word reading. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(5), 238-242. Pawson, R., & Tilley, N. (1997) Realistic evaluation. London: Sage. Seidenberg, M. S. (2007). Connectionist models of reading. In G. Gaskell (Ed.), Oxford handbook of psycholinguistics (pp. 235–250). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17, 89–100.
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