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2004 Promoting academic literacy with technology: successful laptop programs in K-12 schools

Date: 2004
Author: Mark Warschauer, David Grant, Gabriel Del Real, and Michele Rousseau
Affiliation: University of California, Portland Public Schools, Maine, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, California, and the University of California, Irvine
Keywords: English Language Learners, reading


This paper presents case studies of two K-12 schools that successfully employ high-technology environments, including laptop computers for each student, toward the development of English language learners' academic language proficiency and academic literacy. In the first school, Latino fourth-grade students use laptops and other new technologies for a wide variety of pre- and post-reading tasks as part of their effort to transition from learning to read to reading to learn. In the second school, diverse immigrant and refugee students at the middle school level combine technology use with Expeditionary Learning to carry out community projects leading to the development of sophisticated products.

Key Findings:

The two schools highlighted in this study represent very different instructional contexts. In the first case, a somewhat homogenous group of Latino English language learners focuses on language arts and reading at the fourth grade level. The underlying theme of the program is reading to learn. In the second case, a highly heterogeneous group of immigrant and refugee students take an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum, mostly in mainstream classes in a diverse urban school. The underlying approach of that program is Expeditionary Learning and representing to learn. Both schools make highly effective use of technology to promote academic literacy among their students, resulting in sophisticated student products, highly engaged learners, and high standardized test scores in relationship to school demographics. The keys in both cases are a school-wide commitment to excellence, equity, and development of classroom communities of inquiry.

Source Article: http://www.gse.uci.edu/person/markw/promoting.pdf