Publication Details

Kervin, LK and Mantei, J, Engaging early career teachers in 'virtual writing conferences' with grade five students, In McNamara, A, Rickwood, J, van Haren, R & Vervoorn, J (Eds), Critical Capital: Teaching & Learning AATE & ALEA National Conference 2007, p 17, Canberra: Australian Association for the Teaching of English; Australian Literacy Educators' Association.


The changing definition of what it means to be literate is well documented within the literature. The familiarity of many students with screen-based texts and their ability to manipulate computer-based technologies, in particular Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), is well understood. There are examples within the literature of how technology can be used to support the writing process (Turbill & Murray, 2006), provide students with control over the phases of text production (Novinger & Smith, 2003) and the need for teachers to create authentic and engaging experiences (Kervin & Mantei, 2006; Peterson, 2005). Taking such perspectives into consideration, we worked with a cohort of early career teachers and one class of Grade Five students to explore how technology could be used to support the students’ writing development, and to empower both the students and the early career teachers as they engaged in regular written dialogue about writing. We refer to this process as a “virtual conference”. In particular, we explore the processes that the early career teachers engaged with as they investigated electronic versions of student work product, responded to the students using the tracking tool in Microsoft Word and reflected on their understandings throughout this experience. Our findings pose implications for what we as educators understand about writing, the creation of text, our responses to this, and to the classroom experiences we make available for students.

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