Teaching the writing process through multimedia authorship
Carlin-Menter, Shannon M
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Outside of school, students are composing in nonprint, multimedia that include combinations of video, graphics, text, and sound; all of which are frequently written and read in a nonlinear fashion. However, in school, students are rarely asked to utilize these same non-linear and multimedia forms of communication. Research within the combined fields of multimedia authorship and the teaching of writing has been relatively untouched by educationally related research studies. Using control and experimental groups, the goal of this mixed-methods research study was to observe and describe the changes in skills, conceptual beliefs and actions that occur in 7th grade students with regard to traditional text writing as they designed multimedia documents. The long-range goal of the research was to investigate the possibility that students who learn to successfully develop multiple representations of their ideas through multimedia composition can apply those same strategic thinking skills to other forms of communication, especially writing. This study is based upon the notion that writing and multimedia compositions (i.e., creating multimedia documents) involve many of the same basic cognitive processes: planning, transforming, evaluating, and revising. A three-week research study was conducted in which 7 th grade students in an English class designed HyperStudio projects. This investigation involved teaching the students how to restructure and reorganize an article into a multimedia format using HyperStudio. In the process of creating these projects, students learned about multimedia composition and organization. Both qualitative and quantitative data was collected and revealed students' perspectives about the differences between traditional text based information and web-based information. Other findings indicated that 7 th grade students can successfully learn and implement multimedia design and communication concepts within a short period of time. Pre and post assessment of the students writing before and after the teaching cycle indicated a significant improvement in organization trait scores by the struggling writers of the experimental group.