Collaborative corrections with spelling control: Digital resources and peer assistance
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- Cekaite, A. Computer Supported Learning (2009) 4: 319. doi:10.1007/s11412-009-9067-7
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The present study has explored how pairs of students deployed digital tools (spelling software) as resources in spontaneously occurring corrections of spelling errors. Drawing on the sociocultural theory of learning and ethnomethodological (Conversation Analytic) insights into social interaction, it has identified a range of consistent practices and uses of the spelling tools that were emergent in the everyday educational activities. As demonstrated, technology-assisted error corrections constituted a complex situation, where a number of socioculturally significant factors (goals of the task, properties of the software, and physical access to computer applications) shaped the trajectories of joint work. The present analysis shows in detail how the students approached the visually manifested language production errors by using two kinds of software resources, spelling lists, and a diagnostic tool. The inherent conceptual distinctions, characteristic of these tools, configured joint interpretative work and efforts to correct the errors in different ways. Recurrently, the students’ technology-based corrections were designed as autonomous, stepwise, locally improvised problem solutions, which were subsequently submitted for the evaluation of the diagnostic software. Overall, the study shows that the under-specification of the software’s instructions opened a space for the students’ creative engagement. The potentials of joint spelling software-assisted corrections for collaborative learning are discussed.