ELTWeekly Vol. 4 Issue#21 | May 21, 2012 | ISSN 0975-3036
This paper is submitted by Sanaz Emami (M A student) and Prof. Fatemeh Ali Panahi of Islamic Azad University Science and Research, Zanjan Branch, Iran.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of computer- based classes on Iranian secondary school students’ writing development. For this purpose, thirty students were randomly chosen, and then divided within two groups. Experimental group used computer as assistance and control group used simply paper and pencil environment. Holistic scoring was applied for scoring participants’ writings. Results showed a significant improvement in former group’s writing paragraph ability.
The present study was designed to determine the effect of computer- based classes on students writing improvements. Today most of the students are familiar with computer indeed they like to work with it, so they think that they are able to do what they parents are able or even sometimes parents are not able, and this gives them self- competence. In computer classes students have an active role which they desire to have rather than the passive role like situations in which teacher is a person who just transmits information, and students try hardly to seem a good listener. During the computer – based classes students actively make decision, discuss with each other to make the best choices, try to design their writing more appropriately, try to correct their partner’s errors, and they more easily would accept their own errors which their partners mention. As Riel (1996) said:” we send children to school to give them the opportunity to move beyond the constraint of family and friends to open to them a vast range of possible future. However, the classroom, by its very nature is constraining. It isolates both students and teachers from many experiences that will help them to understand the past, develop skills for building a future, and to prepare their role as citizens.” Computer use let students have thorough analysis on what they would like to write, and give them chance to observe their work more completely. As mentioned above teacher’s role changed to be facilitator, who rotates through the classroom, gives some suggestion, support students, and asks about reasons for design choice, following this s/he introduces some suggesting resources that might help them. By acting a teacher in this way, students now become more motivated because they see that their teacher use the same computer, thus students are proud of them selves to see that their own knowledge and the teacher’s knowledge in computer using are the same, they are going to be friend with their teacher, in this way they can make better relationship with him or her, and this result in improvement in educational system.
A great deal has been written on the importance of computer- based classes on students writing development. Literature shows that although using technology such as computer by them selves do not produce learning; it helps students in many interesting ways. Means and Olsen (1997) claim that when students are using technology they are in an active role rather than passive. They can easily discuss, solve each others problem, analyze, and design their writing in an innovative way this happens because there is a shift in teachers’ role they are going to be facilitator, and co- learner. Janassen (2000) believe that students do not learn from computer or teacher but rather learn from thinking in meaningful ways. (p.4)Computer gives this opportunity to students to have new supporter rather than teacher in order to develop their writing. Rogoff (1994) claims that; within this model of teaching and learning students and teachers work together as resources for one another, students collaborate and participant, teacher support and provide leadership.(p. 209). It is important to be mentioned that children enjoy learning in these computer- based classes; these classes are not boring it is simply because they like computer and latest technology.
The forty- five students who served as subjects were volunteers from Iranian secondary school students. Besides having English classes as learning foreign language at school they attend to private English classes for nearly two years (2010- 2011).The TOFLE exam was given to them to be sure that all of them have a similar English background. Then thirty students whose marks were nearly the same were chosen for this study.
In order to figure out the possible linguistic errors, and the way of narrowing, analyzing, and designing the subjects ‘ writing ability, six different pictures was given to them during six sessions, from 9th April 2012 to 30th April 2012 and students improvement investigated.
The data collection procedure for current study was performed at six sessions during three weeks, and both experimental and control groups took part separately in these classes. In the first four sessions one picture was given to students, following five multiple questions, and then each subject was asked to make a story out of pictures. By giving questions to students, researcher wants to help them in better understanding of the concept. At the two last sessions just pictures was given to students to make story out of them. The pictures were arranged to elicit the desired linguistic characters besides observing their writing improvement. The linguistic characters examined in this study included; Auxiliary, Determiners, Prepositions.
Beside of this, researcher wants to investigate how students can design, analyze, write coherent writings, and also which group can better narrow down their writings.
In general, finding in this investigation lend support to the view often expressed in investigation that learners benefit a lot of using computer- assistance meanwhile they are writing essay, and also as all children like to use latest technology such as using computer, this way of teaching is very helpful.
Summary of results: 1. change in the role of teachers; according to this the role of students at class would change, and this lead to active way of learning 2.increased motivation, and improved self- esteem; using computer relates to students every day life, so they can see improvement in their practical implementation of what they have learned in the class. 3. Improvement in students’ technical skills, team work, and designing
- It would be of interest to collect and analyze similar data among high school students to investigate the same area of interest.
- Initial costs of setting up computer- assistance classes would be expensive.
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