ICT enhance children’s ‘talk’ when forming intentions
in their writing?
evidence is there that using ICT enhances children’s talk when
forming intentions to write?
What types of talk do children use when forming intentions to write?
How do the children articulate their understanding of the writing
process through talk?
In what ways do children demonstrate their use of Higher Order Thinking
skills through talk?
What is the role of the ICT in enhancing talk?
I chose to research as a case study so as to remove myself as teacher
and to become observer. I also wanted it to be a very practical study
within current writing programme practice and which could be applicable
to many teachers’ classrooms. My research allowed for teacher modelling
sessions, was applicable to both teacher choice writing and personal choice,
fit into the time-tabled writing time and could be adaptable to the changing
timetable of the school wide environment.
The data collection took place within the classroom programme and using
the learning intentions of the classroom teacher. The classroom teacher
took a 30-minute modelling session, sometimes with a more practical focus
with group work, other times unpacking written pieces or learning new
literacy vocabulary and skills.
The teacher taught the curriculum-based learning for the classroom-writing
programme. She covered and developed with the students the learning intentions
below over the five weeks we worked together:
We are looking at the features of an internal monologue and putting
ourselves into the shoes of others to write our own.
• We are learning to use our ‘personal voice’ when
using transactional writing forms.
• We are learning how incorporating poetic language can at times
enhance our transactional writing. Kids speak: We are learning how
words that paint pictures can improve our factual writing. Skill:
We are exploring poetic devices like simile, metaphor and alliteration.
After the teacher had given the writing direction for that day, either
personal choice or teacher choice, my research group removed themselves
into the shared teaching space to work on the computers and with cameras.
The time management of the task was left up to each group and they informed
me when they were “ready to pick up their pen and write” and
returned to the classroom.
The learning intention the research group had written together and then
broken down into ‘how we were going to achieve it’ was,
We are learning to focus our talk when forming intentions in our personal
Talk about our plans for writing with others.
Share our ideas, problems, form, purpose and audience.
Discuss ideas others might have about our writing.
Respond offering ideas, comments, compliments, questions or feed-forward.
Choose when we are ready to ‘put pen to paper’.
During the working session I used a digital voice recorder and video to
record the data. Each team of students were recorded three to four times
of the five-week period, beginning, middle and end. I then transcribed
each recording noting times as well as individual speakers.
I used observational notes in the week before starting my sessions with
the children to note their current writing habits and talk. I also made
notes on the teaching sessions and the learning intentions being taught.
Throughout I kept a journal in which I noted work achieved, changes in
children, ideas for enhancing their talk, changes to my behaviour and
many of the thoughts and solutions that popped into my head as we worked
I worked with six Year 5 children from one classroom, all of whom I have
taught previously in some capacity. I choose to work with this class as
their teacher is passionate about writing and was leading our school’s
PD in Literacy. Her classroom was a language rich learning environment
and the philosophies of the school were visually active to the outside
The children where grouped into three sets of pairs based on a combination
of personal learning styles, written language levels, amount of classroom
talk, participation in class discussions and friendships.
A consisted of two boys one working at Level 2 and the other beginning
L2 of the English curriculum. One a talker and the other with
limited classroom interaction.
B was a very lively mix of a girl and boy working at Level 2,
both enjoy the social life of school.
C was made up of two girls who enjoy classroom learning and take
pride in the presentation of their work. They were working at
Level 1iii and 3 of the curriculum.
The students used two very accessible technologies in our classroom, voice
recording computer program and the digital camera. They interacted with
these as the tools to achieve the given learning intention. The children
used Media Blender to record and visually organise their ideas. I chose
Media Blender because it fit my criteria, 1) record and play back their
voices, 2) visual and physical organisation, and 3) known program to students.
I created a master document with
pages on which they could record orally and visually their ideas. Other
programs available to these students such as KidPix, Hyperstudio, iMovie
and Powerpoint also fit the criteria. A tape recorder could have been
used but would not allow the children to visually organise ideas.
Many of the ethical considerations were dealt with through the access
to a shared teaching space off the main classroom. When in one to one
interview situations, we were visible to the classroom teacher through
the glass. In the group sessions each child worked in a pair. The space
was large enough to allow each team to work privately without influence
from the classroom.
Permission was sought in Term 1 from each child and their parents/caregivers
through a letter outlining my research, time commitment and future presentations
of data collected. Children and parents signed their commitment to interviews
(both pre and post), collection of children’s work, video and voice
recording as data collection tools, writing sessions with me in the shared
teaching space, observation of classroom writing sessions, and information
sharing with CORE Education staff and the other e-Fellows. They gave permission
for voice recordings to be used in presentations with personal names deleted.
Later I gained permission for the use of photos showing the children through
a letter showing the photos with the faces of the other children blacked
At the beginning of Term 2 I interviewed each child, recording and transcribing
our discussion. They shared a piece of writing and we discussed it. We
talked about the choices they had made before writing, where their ideas
came from, how they organised their thoughts, people they talked to, the
audience, form and purpose of their piece, problems and solutions, and
teacher input. Each child was asked how they felt about writing and their
personal view of themselves as a writer and author. The second part of
the interview was asking them to use their knowledge of the writing process
and then hypothosize how they might develop a piece of writing from the
information they shared in the morning circle. Lastly I asked about their
personal thoughts on the computer in the writing process and how they
use talk in the classroom.
For five weeks
during Team 2 I collected video and voice recordings of the children working
at the computer. I observed and noted the modelling sessions from the
classroom teacher and the children's interaction during them. I recorded
the learning intentions and teacher direction for the writing period of
'personal choice' or 'teacher choice'. When the children conversed at
the computers within the shared teaching space I observed their interaction
and recorded my data. At the end of the day I downloaded the digital footage
and voice recordings which I later transcribed.
At the end of Term 2 I recorded and transcribed their second interviews.
This started with a group session of sharing a piece of work they wrote
during our time together. The first section was the same as the pre-interview
with a discussion about their own piece. Added to this were questions
about our sessions together with the ICT and how they used talk while
forming their intentions to write their piece. Each pair had a chance
at the end to work through the process within the classroom environment,
and the last questions were about how that went, and in what ways they
thought my programme could work within the classroom.