The German government as well as the federal states established the programme DigitalPakt Schule to support schools by investing in digital infrastructure and increasingly supplying them with mobile devices. However, the results of the international assessment I-CILS and the national study Schule digital – Der Länderindikator show that Germany’s use of digital technologies in education is somewhat cautious.
This also applies to the use of digital media and the potential they offer for both reading and writing, as well as for learning how to read and write (digital) texts. So far, only a few research results are available regarding the use and the effects of digital writing tools in teaching.
The research project EdToolS thus aims to find out how learning environments should be designed in order to use the potential of digital media for the development of writing skills and the writing process itself. The project focuses on the learning environment while students perform epistemic writing in content classes in secondary education.
The researchers involved investigate which digital tools (such as spelling and grammar check, dictionaries of synonyms, and speech synthesis function in word processing programmes) could be used efficiently to produce specialized texts on tablet devices. Moreover, the project aims to find out how students are affected by the tools being part of a comprehensive learning environment designed according to the didactics of writing.
To this end, a non-randomized controlled interventional study with a pre-/post-test design is conducted that also takes into consideration the processing of content knowledge and the role of general language competence, writing fluency and multilingualism of the students.
The study’s results contribute to developing didactically meaningful uses of digital writing tools to support students in their writing development and their content learning.
The project team is currently designing the intervention material and test instruments. These include a reading and writing strategy training, a training which imparts the use of digital tools, writing tasks and questionnaires. In spring 2021, the pilot stage will begin at a school in the Cologne region, Germany.
At a glance
The project aims to investigate the implementation of digital writing tools in content classes. Empirically based results should help students to use these tools effectively for text production.
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), funding programme Gestaltung von Bildungsprozessen unter den Bedingungen des digitalen Wandels (Digitalisierung II) (Design of educational processes under the conditions of digital transformation)
May 2020 - April 2023
Prof. Dr. Michael Becker-Mrotzek
Dr. Till Woerfel
Alexa Martin (research assistant)