Abstract/Details

The impact of e-mail use on fourth graders' writing skills


1998 1998

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Abstract (summary)

The growing interest in computer use at home and in the workplace has led to the incorporation of computer skills into school curricula. Numerous claims assert the benefit of computers, but questions remain concerning the nature of that benefit. The increasingly widespread use of telecommunications raises further questions regarding the effect of computer-mediated communication on language development. Unfortunately, few rigorous studies have been conducted to provide evidence of the actual effect of e-mail on children's writing skills.

The data for this study are handwritten compositions, e-mail messages, and surveys/interviews collected from two schools, matched for demographic and academic variables. The experimental school used e-mail as a part of their curriculum, while the control school did not. The data were collected from fourth grade students and their teachers during 1998. All of the handwritten and some of the e-mail texts were responses to persuasive writing prompts, based on Texas Assessment of Academic Skills criteria. Discourse analysis methods were used to analyze these texts for language-focused features in the areas of amount of text, grammatical complexity, control of the mechanics of language, organization, argumentation, audience awareness, oral and informal features, and a composite score for the text. Statistical tests were then conducted to identify areas of significant difference between the schools.

Two comparisons form the basis of the study. In one, an e-mail composition. from the experimental school was compared to a handwritten composition from the control school. Results reveal that the experimental group performed better in the areas of audience awareness and argumentation. In the second comparison, handwritten essays from both schools were compared following three months of e-mail use at the experimental school. Results show that the experimental group demonstrated better writing overall and in the areas of audience awareness, organization, and text length.

These results indicate that e-mail use has a positive impact on the writing skills of fourth grade students. The benefits produced by e-mail use are attributed to the influence of interaction with an authentic audience and the educational and technological contexts for composition.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Language arts;
Linguistics;
Educational software;
Elementary education
Classification
0279: Language arts
0290: Linguistics
0710: Educational software
0524: Elementary education
Identifier / keyword
Education; Language, literature and linguistics; Computer skills; Email; Fourth graders; Writing skills
Title
The impact of e-mail use on fourth graders' writing skills
Author
Nix, Carole Ann Greb
Number of pages
188
Publication year
1998
Degree date
1998
School code
2502
Source
DAI-A 60/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780599211001, 0599211008
Advisor
Herring, Susan C.
University/institution
The University of Texas at Arlington
University location
United States -- Texas
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
9921889
ProQuest document ID
304492447
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304492447
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