Technology in the elementary classroom: is it the write way to go?

This study investigated the impact of using a word processor during a fourth grade writing project. It took place over a four month period and involved six students chosen for academic ability. Data collection consisted of questionnaires, interviews, observations and students' work. Each student answered questions on his/her attitudes towards writing. Interviews clarified responses to questionnaires. Students were then observed by the teacher as they worked at computers. The teacher was also the researcher in this study. One of the findings ofthe study revealed that spelling errors decreased as a result of instruction on the "spell-check" feature of a word processing program. Students were also motivated to write more using the computer. Other findings indicate that there was not a noticeable increase in the quality of the students' writing. Students also did not demonstrate appropriate keyboarding skills. Students initially did not appear to have knowledge of the computer word processing program and were able to use it effectively only after direct teacher instruction. There was little effect on the revision process using the word processor. These findings may have been impacted by the limited time span of the study. Implications of this study call for further study and analysis of skills students need in order to use a computer word processor in composition writing. Keywords: writing process, word processing, children