The Effects of Incorporating a Word Processor into a Year Three Writing Program
Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education, Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies
Writing, an essential part of every young child's school life, is a complex affair involving cognitive, affective, and psychomotor elements. Most children learn to write, with varying degrees of success, and every school has children who can be classified as nonwriters. Some children are inhibited and frustrated by writing and are put off by the thought of the writing process. Can word processing assist the writing process with young children? In response to this question, this qualitative study examined the effects of incorporating a word processor into a particular writing program. Seven students from a Year Three class participated in this study and were selected on the basis of convenience sampling from a split Year Three/Four class. The students undertook writing activities using both the word processor, and the more traditional method of pencil and paper, over the course of a six-week period of investigation. The students were interviewed at the beginning and at the end of the investigation, using both conversational and standardised open-ended techniques, about their attitudes towards writing, attitudes towards the writing program currently employed in the classroom, and attitudes towards word processors. Ongoing observations, anecdotal notes, and tape recordings of conversations formed another gathering dimension.