Critically evaluating educational technologies for literacy learning: Current trends and new paradigms

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Educational software and Internet resources are increasingly being recognized for their potential to foster literacy learning in and out of the classroom. Recent studies have shown the benefits of using technology to develop skills such as phonological awareness (Wise and Olson, 1995), word recognition (Davidson, Elcock, and Noyes, 1996), comprehension (Matthew, 1997), spelling (Higgins and Raskind, 2000), writing (Rowley, Carson, and Miller, 1998), and motivation to read (Nicolson, Fawcett, and Nicolson, 2000), each of which represents an important facet of a comprehensive literacy curriculum. Furthermore, software and/or Internet technologies can improve literacy learning for typical students (Allen and Thompson, 1995) and at-risk learners (Howell, Erickson, Stanger, and Wheaton, 2000) as well as for students with learning disabilities (MacArthur and Haynes, 1995) or mixed handicaps (Heimann, Nelson, Tjus, and Gillberg, 1995). Studies also illustrate the positive effects of technology in out-of-schoolliteracy contexts (Hull and Schultz, 2001). These benefits and the evolving role of technology have the potential to greatly influence the ways in which educators think about effective literacy instruction.

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International Handbook of Literacy and Technology