Computer-assisted learning and reading: Developing the product or fostering the process?

  • Burnett J
  • Miller L
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This article describes the development of a computer-based package of reading strategy lessons. The package differs from most current computer-assisted programs in reading in three important ways. First, the lessons are directly derived from current reading theory. Our particular approach is predicated on a top-down model rather than on the more common efforts based on bottom-up models. Second, the computer-related activities form only one component of the complete package. We see the computer exercises as embedded within a larger curriculum context. Third, the exercise does not contain "right and wrong" answers. The exercise requires the student to resolve the meaning of an unknown word in a short story. At various intervals in the story the student is required to make predictions about the meaning of the unknown word, using syntactic, semantic and pagmatic clues contained within the story and within the mind-the student's "world" knowledge. Since the student may wish to alter his predictions based on further information, the exercise helps the student see reading as a process. The resolution of meaning is seen more as a series of successive approximations than as an exact product. The computer "permits" any response, the reasonableness of which must be defended in a subsequent class discussion. ?? 1984.

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  • J. Dale Burnett

  • Larry Miller

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