The Write Stuff: Assistive Technology and its Impact on Early Writers
Robb, Lauren Nicole
Education , Writing , Assistive Technology , Early Elementary
This mixed methods study examined assistive technology and its role in the world early writers. It investigated the function of word predictive and speech synthesis software in the early primary, mainstream classroom. A technology based writing intervention with 27 first grade students was carried out to assess how the use of Co:writer software affected the content of student writing. It looked at how the length of the writing sample, word use and sentence complexity was affected by this writing intervention. It also investigated how students interacted with the software and how they felt about its effect on their writing. The hypothesis was that the use of assistive technology while writing would aid students in creating more sophisticated, content rich writing samples and give students a positive feeling about their writing. Using a pre-post design, participant writing samples were analyzed for length, word use and sentence complexity. Targeted interviews and field notes revealed how students interacted with the software and how they felt about its effect on their writing. The data shows that within this study participants improved the length, and sentence complexity in their written samples. Qualitatively participants reported that the software helped to improve their vocabulary, length of writing sample, spelling, reading and editing. This study lays groundwork for more research into the use of assistive writing technology in early mainstream participants.