The comparison of texts written by 5th graders on computer and by hand

Submitted by: Anne Uusen
Abstract: Estonia is known as highly developed e-country. Estonian Statistical Office claims that in 2012 95% of families had computers and in 2013 100% of all educational institutions had computers and Internet connection. Over the years it has also increased everyday computer use among children.
There is written in national curriculum that school must guarantee the skill of using computer for writing different texts and as tool of communication.
Different authors have found that using computers for writing has certain advantages: less errors, longer text, more positive attitudes etc.
Despite of this most of the texts written in mother tongue lessons are still written by hand.
That’s way the study was carried out in four schools in Estonia. The aim of the study was to find out the effect that writing on computer has on a text in comparison with writing by hand.
In two of the schools the students wrote the texts on computer and in two by hand. The students were given a writing assignment according to which they had to write a text of (about) 150 words during one Estonian lesson on a given topic. Altogether 73 texts were produced and compared.
According to the aim of the study several research tasks were raised: 1) to analyse texts in terms of quality parameters (the length of the text and expert’s opinion, vocabulary indicators, word order in sentences, the usage of different words etc.), 2) to compare the texts written on computer and by hand.
The study showed that overall the students are well capable of writing on computer. The texts written on computer had higher scores in terms of text length, expert’s opinion and the number of sentences. Similar results were achieved with both ways of writing in terms of lexical diversity indicators and sentence length. The texts written on computer were poorer in terms of lexical richness and density.
It can be said that students coped well with writing on computer however, the use of it should be practiced continuously in order to increase the result of some indicators and to develop typing skills in general.

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