RM Winter 2016 FLIP

on the type of technology they have available (see http:// edtechteacher.org/apps/stories/ for potential tools). I selected 30 Hands to publish our digital stories because of the ease of its use, particularly for students who are publishing their first digital story, and because it is available as a free download (see https:// youtu.be/F0QOeQI2oa0 for a quick tutorial on using 30Hands). Lesson seven: Using our iPads The iPads arrived in time for our seventh lesson and every two students shared one. I projected the iPad using a document camera and modeled how to create a story as students followed along on their iPad. We started with how to turn the iPad on and then opened up the 30 Hands application together. We discussed how to create new slides by taking or drawing pictures. Then we practiced recording. At the end of the explanation, students created a practice test digital story in pairs. Students were extremely excited to use the iPads and were engaged throughout the lesson. They especially enjoyed playing back their voice recording to hear how they sounded. The recording process prompted students to use expression while reading; students would often redo their recording if it did not sound clear or expressive. One student even shared that the iPads“make writing fun!” Lessons eight through ten: Completing our stories Across the next three lessons students worked individually at different times to complete their own digital story about their favorite season. The process of completing their stories varied cross students. Some had difficulty dividing their writing into different narrated parts for each slide. A simple fix for this was to have students number the different parts in their papers and then position the corresponding picture in the correct order on the 30 Hands app. This worked well because the application numbers each picture and you can easily add, delete, or move each slide that the student creates. Also, if students needed to add another picture, they could easily draw one using the 30 Hands app. Finding a quiet place to record was one challenge we faced. I found it best to have students go to the corner of the roomwhen they were ready to record. One day we were able to take students to an isolated room, which was the best environment for a clear and crisp voice recording. This time spent publishing their stories resulted in high levels of engagement. Students who did not finish during writing time insisted that they get additional time to complete their digital stories. Students enjoyed sharing their progress with the teacher, myself, and other students. The digital stories enabled many students to refine their writing. They edited their work by adding pictures and sentences to make their writing flow. This also helped students be expressive when reading their writing. Students loved sharing their digital stories with their classmates, teachers, and anyone else who entered the classroom. Results After all of the students had completed their digital story, I administered the WAS again. The overall average of the complete

WAS improved from 66.7% to 83.4%, which pleased the classroom teacher and me. Informally, we had both noticed a more positive attitude from many of the students when they were writing. The results also demonstrated that 64% of students were very happy when revising their work and 53% of students were very happy or happy when another student revised their work. Even though this is still not as high of a percentage as I would like, it demonstrates substantial progress in positive attitudes towards writing (up from 7%), especially across one unit. Five students in particular originally reported great dislike of revising or peer reviewing, and at the post survey they reported being very happy. However, two students were still very upset when revising and peer reviewing work. With continued support and exposure to revision and reviewing techniques, I hope students’ attitudes will improve even more. Discussion My initial research on engaging students in writing found that when students share their writing, they are more engaged in their writing (Troia, Lin, Cohen, & Monroe, 2011). This engagement was reflected in what I observed with these students. Students enjoyed sharing their digital stories and listening to other students’ stories as well. When students shared their work during peer reviewing, they were excited to get their “Two Stars and a Wish” sheet back to see the compliments the other student gave them and use the wish to help them improve for their publication. This process helped students have positive experiences with writing, editing, and revising. Giving students a digital way of publishing their work and an opportunity to share it gave purpose to students’ revision and editing. When I started this research I was focused primarily on learning how to engage students in writing. However, once I administered the surveys I was surprised when results demonstrated a high percentage of negative attitudes towards revising and editing. My research focus slightly changed since I hoped I would be able to change students’ attitudes towards revising their own and peer reviewing other students’ work. Students’ attitudes did improve; however, it is difficult for me to pinpoint exactly why they improved. Instead, I believe it is a combination of factors including building community, providing support, and engaging students in a variety of ways including technology. Students’ eyes still light up and excitement fills the room when I enter with the bag of iPads for students to use. Student’s attitudes are an important element in the learning process. Surveys are a great tool that is underutilized in the primary grades. Surveys are often too complex and require higher level reading skills that primary students do not possess yet. However, by simplifying the response choices as the WAS does using cartoon images, surveys become more accessible to students while still uncovering details and inner thoughts of students. By using fewer words and more images, more students are able to access and respond to the survey. I will implement more surveys, especially interest and attitude surveys in my future teaching. I noticed if I ask a question out loud, students often respond the same as those around them. With an individual survey I have received honest results that are unaffected by peer opinions. This

Reading Matters Research Matters

Reading Matters | Volume 16 • Winter 2016 | scira.org | 09 |


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