The effects of using technology to enhance student ability to read, organize and write informative text

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Dodson, Laurie Elizabeth
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This research evaluated the efficacy of an instructional intervention that employed technology to enhance the learning of informative text. Over the course of a two month period, the investigator and two teachers worked collaboratively training students to use the 'Inspiration 5.0' (1997) computer program. Students learned to: recognize the structure of the text selections they were studying, make notes of the material on a computer-generated conceptual-map, and use the map as a guide for writing text summaries. To assess progress and maintenance of students' proficiency with conceptual-mapping and summary writing, three passages counterbalanced to control for order effects, were administered. Students created a paper-pencil map of passage ideas, and wrote a summary which was graded for both content and form or organization using previously developed scoring guidelines. Analysis of t-test scores showed that changes in performance for both the maps and summaries from pre- to post-testing were statistically significant. The scores for the conceptual-maps and summaries indicated that over time students continued to use the intervention strategies to learn from text, suggesting that students saw the value in using the author's organizational framework to facilitate comprehension and recall. Overall results suggested that when students used the computer mapping procedure to enhance learning, there were positive effects on their ability to process text, organize information and write expository text summaries. Qualitative data gathered during the instructional process also supported the findings of the statistical analysis.