Type of Document Dissertation Author Dail, Jennifer S. Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-04122004-123334 Title Reading in an Online Hypertext Environment: A Case Study of Tenth-Grade English Students Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Middle and Secondary Education, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Pamela Sissi Carroll Committee Chair Susan N. Wood Committee Co-Chair Barbara Palmer Committee Member Sande Milton Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2003-10-06 Availability unrestricted AbstractLiteracy emerges as a key concept in English language arts classrooms and in education in general. The components of literacy important to classroom instruction come under continuous political fire as schools, classrooms, and society continue to change. Technology represents a recent change in the literacy demands and practices in today’s classrooms. Computers and access to the Internet and the hypertext documents it contains illustrate a prevalent means through which technology has infiltrated classrooms. As a result, more and more students turn to the Internet for information and more and more teachers create assignments that require students to access the Internet.
In this study, a tenth-grade English language arts class was observed to identify the following: 1) the environment of a tenth-grade classroom using computers regularly in the new millennium, and 2) the processes tenth-grade students use when reading online hypertext. Existing research regarding literacy and reading comprehension was examined to then create a foundation for examining the role of computers and hypertext in literacy activities. This framework was used as a lens through which to view the activities in the classroom in which the research was conducted. This study employed a variety of methods in identifying the two key issues. The methods utilized in this study included the analysis of observational field notes, attitudinal surveys, transcribed video tapes of think aloud protocols, cookie files, and student responses to reading comprehension questions. Students participated in online hypertext reading designed specifically to meet the coinciding curricular goals of their classroom. Cookie files tracked students’ movements throughout the hypertext and reading comprehension questions identified their understanding of the hypertext. Think-aloud protocols and follow-up interviews with selected students further illuminated the reading processes these students employed while interacting with the hypertext document.
This study found that in a classroom environment where computers are an ongoing component of instruction there exists a social dimension to working in that context whereby students share knowledge with each other. Other components of this classroom environment
found through the study included students searching for information via the Internet and using the computer for a variety of purposes inside and outside the school environment. This study also found that students utilize a variety of strategies when reading hypertext via the Internet, including: scrolling the document, skimming the text, note-taking by hand, summarizing information, and relying on prior knowledge. Despite employing traditional reading strategies, students scored low on the comprehension questions assessing their understanding of the hypertext. The findings of this study indicated that students need direct instruction in the applying reading strategies in this new literacy context.
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