Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Examining Pre-Service Teacher Views on the Implementation of Screen-Based Writing Instruction

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Examining Pre-Service Teacher Views on the Implementation of Screen-Based Writing Instruction

Article excerpt

Introduction

Although pen and paper have become less popular in daily life, the act of writing retains its importance. With the increased use of digital technologies, such applications have started to extend to the act of writing as well. People compose many text messages and electronic mails each day and create text files on their computers. Although it is argued that the technology we use for writing has negative consequences in some respects, it does provide opportunities that make life easier. This study focuses on pre-service teachers' views on screen-based writing activities. Activities at a written expression course were used as the main starting point for this research. This study bears importance because today's students use screen-based writing in daily activities as well as in their coursework.

As a concept, technology has largely been associated with the physical sciences. However, technology has always had a social aspect (Childe, 2007; Diamond, 2006; cited in Yigit, 2013) and affects social life in various ways. Postman (2006) states that technology is both a friend and an enemy, and for this reason, emphasizes that the positive and negative aspects of technology should be jointly addressed. In this regard, the concepts of "technological optimism" and "technological pessimism" are used in the literature. As a balanced approach between these two concepts, the concept of "technorealism" was proposed in the late 1990's (Kabakci & Odabasi, 2004).

Attempts to take advantage of technology in schools and integrate it with educational content have recently gained great importance (Morrison, Ross & Lowther, 2009). Computers have become such an important part of our lives that the younger generations, in particular, cannot envision life without them. According to Kress (2003), following a long era of dominance, writing has been replaced by visuals, and books with screens.

Postman (2006) links the emergence of technology into the school to the emergence of printed texts. From this perspective, one could suppose that the emergence of digital texts would result in a new type of education. Today, we have a great deal of proof demonstrating that elementary school students have advanced digital technology skills (Blanchard & Moore, 2010; Lewis, 2009). As students receiving education in their mother tongues are natives to the digital age, it can be argued that computers are also a candidate to play an important role in language arts education.

Writing in Electronic Environments

In language arts, writing falls under the category of expression skills (Coskun, 2013). Students' skills in written expression play a significant role in their educational careers. Insufficient skills in this area may cause students to fall behind in their educational program and fail (Amundson & Weil, 2001). In this respect, developing written expression skills is not only an issue of importance in Turkish education, but also in all other educational areas. Gedizli (2006) stated that one of the primary goals of written expression courses was to develop the ability to benefit from writing and the writing culture based on the needs of today's world. It would be apt to utilize the opportunities of the technological age to develop students' written expression skills. Considering the fact that today's students have been exposed to digital environments rather than books and notebooks makes the issue even more vital.

Today, nearly everyone can access closed source (e.g., Microsoft Office©) or open source (e.g., Open Office©) word processing programs (Jelderks, 2012). These and similar programs provide great opportunities for computer users when it comes to writing. The new technological writing tools are quite different from traditional reading-writing technologies (pencil, book, chalk, etc.) (Grabill & Hicks, 2005; Jewitt, 2005; Merchant, 2003, 2005, 2007; Tuzel, 2013; Yost, 2000). Computers have brought about significant changes to the traditional concept of writing (Ferris, 2002). …

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