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Reading and writing in the digital age

As the title of this thesis hints, this research has focused on three main pillars in education; ‘reading’, ‘writing’ and ‘digital technology’. The study’s main aim was to explore how constructions of reading and writing are changing in the 21st Century. It further investigated the definitions of ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ and teachers’ and Grade 3 students’ views on the role of digital technology in reading and writing in the classroom. This research used a qualitative case study approach and data were mainly gathered from two Grade 3 classes in the same school. Classroom observations, focus group interviews and semi-structured interviews were the main research tools used. During the study, I continued working as a class teacher in one of the Grade 3 classes; in addition this same class was also participating in the ‘One Tablet per Child Pilot Project’. This pilot project’s main aim was to evaluate the use of tablets in the Maltese classroom context. Although data were collected from two different Grade 3 classes, the means of teaching and learning were quite different since the students in my class each made use of a personal tablet. This enabled me as a researcher to compare and contrast both classrooms which helped me better understand how constructions of reading and writing are changing due to technological advancements and use in Maltese classrooms. Data from this study showed that constructions of what it means to be a reader and writer in the digital age are changing. In particular this study found that definitions of these terms now include physical interaction with texts. Observations showed that when students read and write through the media of digital technology, they collaborate and interact more and they make use of skills such as skim reading, viewing, reading of images, multidirectional reading and sharing information through sound and visuals. This study also revealed that digital technology is challenging accepted definitions of what the terms ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ actually mean, given that participants often found it difficult to distinguish between the two.
Date January 2017
CreatorsDarmanin, Melanie
ContributorsLevy, Rachael ; Nutbrown, Cathy
PublisherUniversity of Sheffield
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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