Metalinguistic talk in literacy events with tablets

Submitted by: Ingvill Krogstad Svanes
Abstract: Keywords: tablet, writing to read, metalinguistic conversations

In Nordic classrooms, writing on digital tablets is getting more common. In Norway, the app STL+, building on the principle “writing to read” (Graham & Herbert 2010), is increasingly popular the first years of schooling. It includes speech synthesis, which means that the pupils can listen to what they write.

Many pupils learn to read through writing (Hagtvet, 2010). In this process the pupil’s metalinguistic awareness is decisive, often developed through metalinguistic conversations (Pressley 2006). In our study, this fact may be challenging since the writing on tablets is individual. In our pilot project, we nevertheless observed that the pupils were involved in conversations during writing. It is thus relevant to explore the following research question:
What characterizes the metalinguistic conversations during the literacy event?

Theory and methods:
We study the conversations within the literacy events, situations revolving around texts, including texts, context and participants, through New Literacy Studies (Barton, 2007) .

The data material will be collected in February 2019. The study is a case study of two writing sequences, one in 1st grade, and one in 2nd grade, including around 50 students and their literacy events. We will use a triangulation between screen recording of the pupils’ tablets, video observation and collection of the pupils’ texts. The data will be analyzed in light of knowledge about different kinds of metalinguistic awareness.

Preliminary findings:
In the pilot project we observed conversations involving orthography, reflecting the pupils’ orthographic awareness. We also found that the student texts produced with help of speech synthesis appeared surprisingly similar, and we wonder if the speech synthesis may limit the good writers’ creativity.

Barton, D. (2007): Literacy: an introduction to the ecology of written language. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishing

Graham, S., & Hebert, M. (2010). Writing to read: Evidence for how writing can improve reading: A report from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Hagtvet, Bente Eriksen (2010): Early writing. In: P.L.Pterson Baker & B. McGaw (red.): The International Encyclopedia of Education, Vol 5, Oxford: Elsevier, 367-374.

Pressley, M. (2006). Reading instruction that works: The case for balanced teaching. New York: Guilford Press.