19 Feb Effects of Cooperative Writing
Effects of Cooperative Writing with Embedded Multimedia: A Randomized Experiment
The present study represented an effort to improve on the outcomes of the Puma (2006) study by creating a writing process program that provided students with compelling video models of effective writing practices in small writing teams. In this method, called Writing Wings with Media (WWM), students worked in 4-member, heterogeneous writing groups to help one another plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish compositions, as in the earlier Writing Wings program. However, in WWM, students were shown a series of humorous, professionally designed puppet skits in which a four-member writing team learns to use writing process elements in a variety of genres. The idea was to communicate directly to the students themselves (as well as to teachers) a vision of how to work in writing teams, in hopes that this would help teachers implement the program with greater fidelity and build enthusiasm and strategic insights among students.
From a practical perspective, the findings of the study of Writing Wings with Media suggest that schools can improve writing outcomes for children in the upper-elementary grades using a writing process approach that emphasizes cooperative learning and adds regular video demonstrations of the writing process
The theory of action for the embedded multimedia aspect of Writing Wings with Media focused on the problem of transfer from workshop to classroom (see Joyce, Calhoun, & Hopkins, 1999; Joyce & Showers, 2002). The idea was that instead of teaching teachers to use writing process methods and then hope that they could communicate them to children, the videos would go directly to teachers and students at the same time, demonstrating key behaviors and ideas for effective writing. The study took place in 22 high-poverty schools located in 11 states (Florida, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, Washington, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Oregon). The findings of this randomized evaluation of Writing Wings with Media indicate small positive effects on ratings of students’ compositions at posttest, controlling for pretest measures. The magnitude of the gains in effect sizes are modest, ranging from +0.07 to +0.18, but it is interesting to note that the mean gain from third to fourth grade in the control group was only +0.13 for Style, +0.22 for Ideas and Organization, and +0.29 for Mechanics. From a practical perspective, the findings of the study of Writing Wings with Media suggest that schools can improve writing outcomes for children in the upper-elementary grades using a writing process approach that emphasizes cooperative learning and adds regular video demonstrations of the writing process as played out in various genres. (Contains 1 table.)