THE INTEGRATION OF MICROCOMPUTERS INTO
THE HIGH SCHOOL LANGUAGE ARTS PROGRAMME

A RESEARCH PROJECT SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF EDUCATION
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATION
BY
WILLIAM G. HILLMAN
B.Sc. (4 Yr. Honours) ~ B.Ed (5 Year) ~ M.Ed
STRATHCLAIR/BRANDON, MANITOBA, CANADA
1991

V.a. SUMMARY OF COMPUTER INTEGRATION PROCEDURES:
        SCRIPT FOR THE VIDEO DOCUMENTARY

The following is a video shooting outline and a voice- over script to accompany the video documentary (See Appendix: Electronic Section) which I prepared during the implementation of this project as a summary of what I did. All references alluded to in the documentary are available from the author.

SCRIPT

00:00 - TITLE CREDITS: GRAPHICS CREATED WITH THE FANTAVISION ANIMATION PROGRAM

00:40 - OPENING: STRATHCLAIR COMMUNITY SCHOOL - SATELLITE EARTH STATION - FIBRE OPTICS LINKS
As a practical example of how technology may be implemented into the high school curriculum while at the same time addressing current concerns about our education system -- I shall use, as an example, some of the things we are doing in Strathclair Community School.

00:54 - ADMINISTRATION OFFICE: COMPUTERS - E-MAIL - MODEMS - LASER PRINTER - DISH RECEIVER LINKS TO CLASSROOMS - XEROX - FAX

Strathclair School has a high school population of 70 students. Like most schools in Manitoba we are starting to install windows to the world -- satellite link-ups, E-Mail, modems, cellular phones, FAX, etc. We have found, however, that the Department of Education has done very little in assisting the integration of these technological links into a meaningful curriculum. The view from these windows, so far, seems to be blocked by the towering brick wall of a paper and red tape depository at 1181 Portage Avenue.

Tomorrow's world will be international -- intricately interconnected via fibre optic cables, satellite communications, tele-conferencing, and high-speed travel. The technologies transforming society will also transform teaching. The new technology will bring this knowledge to the most isolated school, offering the same courses and the same teachers as are offered to the high-powered elite. So far, the Department of Education has paid only lip service to this growing realization.

I have worked, for some time now, addressing some of the problems facing the present education system. The major impetus has focussed on converting the traditional grade 9 and 10 English Language Arts curricula into programs which are computer-based and make maximum use of the modern technologies.

01:52 - COMPUTER CLASSROOM WITH GR. 7 COMPUTER AWARENESS
Most Manitoba schools have computer labs but what can be done to integrate them into a meaningful curriculum which will transport students, teachers and administrators into the 21st Century?

02:02 - EMPTY TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM - RESOURCES
I have not abandoned totally my traditional classroom -- I have not thrown out teaching methods which work for me and luckily I have amassed a huge storehouse of resources here over the last 25 years. But, I find myself in my second room more and more.  Most times it is there, in the computer room, that I and my students prefer to be.

02:35 - COMPUTER CLASSROOM LAYOUT - APPLE & IBM COMPATIBLES
In medieval times, society's pivotal institution was the Church. More recently, it has been the factory and the office. But in the future, with the onset of the silicon revolution and the Information Age, the centre of life -- for people of all ages -- is likely to be the school. The education system is about to atomize into every conceivable form -- computer and video classrooms, traditional institutes, home-based schools, more private and religious schools, adult schools, and magnet schools for students with special needs. We will have to deal with questions unforeseeable today, and so we will need a broad-based education.

  Ours is a fairly typical computer room -- over the years we have assembled, at considerable cost, a class set of micro-computers and a respectable collection of computer-related technology. Because of this outlay I think it is the duty of educators to insure that computer and AV equipment is used to its fullest potential. But where do we start?

  I have decided to work within the English Language Arts program because it is probably the most pervasive of all the subjects. There is also an increasing emphasis being placed on these communication skills.

03:25 - ENTER GR. 9 LA CLASS - LOAD PROGRAMS AT WORKSTATIONS
These grade 9 students have been on my program for two months. At the beginning of September they were each assigned a computer work station along with a word processor program, data & assignment diskettes, and advance readings. After a few tutorial sessions, they soon fell into a comfortable routine.

At the beginning of each class, students load word processor programs into either Apple or IBM compatible computers. They then load the files they had saved at the end of last day's work. All students have the option of keying or handwriting the assignments -- so far, despite a lack of much formal keyboard training, all have chosen to key in their assignments. Indeed, this slower process seems to promote more concentration on the writing process.    I have tried to create a plethora of assignments involving a wide variety of writing styles based on novel, short story, movie, drama, and poetry interpretations -- as well as creations involving flights of the imagination and a whole potpourri of other learning concoctions.

In addition to computer experience, the students also benefit from a daily exposure to a variety of projected material, video & audio tapes, satellite broadcasts, electronic communications, as well as more traditional group and role-playing activities.

04:40 - LOAD & WRITING PROCEDURE - REFERENCE MATERIAL LAYOUT
The student here is composing by using the copy, move, insert and delete commands of the Micro-soft Works word processor.

The whole procedure inculcates good organizational techniques in the student because it soon becomes obvious that a departure from the prescribed way courts disaster -- lost files, incompletes, frustration, and a loss of prestige.

Each student brings a dictionary, thesaurus, template of most-used WP commands, grammar, writing folder, note-book, issued texts and an assortment of books to help in the writing process.

Any compulsory assignments a student does not have time to key into the word processor must be handwritten -- one per page -- and stored in a special writing folder. This folder is also reserved for any creative personal writings or sketches that the student may create throughout the year.

The teacher used to be a dispenser of information because in the mass-education style of the Industrial Age, the teacher was alone. As technology improves, the teacher will become a guide, a mentor -- and I believe that this is a much better role.

05:58 - MOTIVATION - PRE-WRITING ASSIGNMENTS - COMPOSING ON SCREEN
Students are given reading assignments for homework out of which come writing ideas and rough handwritten jottings as part of the pre-writing process. The average amount of time spent writing at the computer per class is almost one hour.

A number of students in the class passed conditionally into grade 9 this year, but even these students are now achieving grades in the high 60s and 70s -- testimony to their kindled motivation.

06:20 - PROOFREADING SWAP
Periodically, the students swap machines and proofread each other's work. Errors are marked with "*****" and occasionally with comments in brackets. Before the work is turned in to the teacher, it will have been proofread and revised many times. Writers strive for perfect copies. The printed copy puts kids with sloppy handwriting on an even par with those possessing good penmanship and all of them take more pride in their work. Carefully revised copy is then ready to go through the Desk Top Publishing process to give it even more polish -- in fact, much of it eventually finds its way into school and community newspapers. The writing takes on a relevancy seldom obtained by traditional methods.

07:05 - DICTIONARY REFERENCE - SPELLCHECKERS
Throughout the pre-writing, composition and revision processes, students make constant references to resource materials and electronic spellcheckers. Spelling errors seem to be much more conspicuous when they appear in printed form on the monitor or on the printed page. Students soon become very adept with computer commands and procedures.

Self-pacing is an important part of the system. All students have a compulsory minimum of work to complete but the faster, or more motivated worker, takes on optional projects related to the mainstream.

07:35 - REVISION - PC VIEWER TO SHARE STUDENT & TEACHER   THOUGHT & WRITING PROCESS - MOVING SENTENCE FRAGMENTS INTO NEW SENTENCES & NEW PARAGRAPHS
Students' on-screen work is always easy for the teacher to monitor. Student or teacher examples may also be shared with the whole class via the PC Viewer. Here a student is doing a combining sentences exercise -- sharing her thought processes and writing techniques with the rest of the class. I often take anonymous compositions and revise them on-screen with the participation of the whole class.

Once the written material is put into electronic form it may be manipulated in countless ways. It may also be sent instantaneously between schools or to almost anywhere in the world.

I am convinced that computers and their related technologies are the most important thing to happen to English Language Arts teaching since the invention of the pencil. I want to hasten the day when English teachers may confidently employ the new technology for more effective learning than has been possible ever before. My on-going experiences, experiments and research in this area have made me certain that the revolution is at hand.

I have found, however, that to make this system work a teacher must be very organized and should be willing to put in many hours of computer prep time himself. A great deal of creativity is also involved as there have been very few assignments and procedures developed in this area of instruction.

So far, the main problem we have had with the program is getting the kids out of the computer room at the end of the day.

08:46 - VIDEO TAPE RESOURCE LIBRARY - GUITAR, KEYBOARD, & DRUM MIDI SYNTHESIZERS
Perhaps the prime requirement for setting up such a program is access to an abundance of resources. In this Information Age there is a multitude of resources available to most teachers -- electronic equipment, video tapes and disks, midi programs for synthesizers, audio tapes, records and CDs, digital tapes, disks and computer diskettes.

With the introduction of the unbelievably powerful CD-ROM and video disk, whole sets of encyclopedias with incredible cross-referencing capabilities are now available to the computer user. This is just the tip of the iceberg as students in both urban and rural areas will soon be able to access almost any library or information resource in the world right from their computer workstations -- either in the classroom or in the home.

09:32 - OLD RADIO SHOWS REEL TO REEL TAPE LIBRARY
Surely the time for impotent academic theorizing and hollow rhetorical harangue is past and the time for concrete action in our school system is upon us.

09:42 - AUDIO LIBRARY - RECORDS - CDs - DAT CASSETTES
In this age of technological revolution where computer technology has pervaded every aspect of our society, the most logical approach in re-vamping a much criticized school system might seem to involve the integration of computers into the education process.

09:52 - COMPUTER SOFTWARE LIBRARY - HOME COMPUTER SYSTEMS
The computers themselves are not going to change the establishment but what I am proposing is the first step -- the integration of computers into a modified traditional curriculum. It can work...It must work...We owe it to our kids to make it work.


CONTENTS (QUICK LINKS)
Introduction: Abstract ~ Acknowledgements ~ Contents
PART I: Background to the Problem
PART II: Statement of the Problem
PART III: Key Question
PART IV: Method
PART V:   Description of Procedures of 
                   Integrating Computer Technologies 
                    into the Language Arts Curriculum:
SCRIPT:   Summary of Computer Integration Procedures:
                   Script for Our Video Documentary
PART VI: Conclusions and Recommendations
REFERENCES
APPENDICES: Links To Our Related Websites


Copyright 1991 & 2000
Bill & Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio
E-Mail: hillmans@westman.wave.ca