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January 2003

Release Date: January 10, 2003

ASU Education Profs to Highlight Local Research at International Conference

Two Angelo State University School of Education faculty members will present their findings on an innovative classroom technique for engaging students in reading and writing by using technology during the 21st Annual International Conference for Technology, Reading and Learning Difficulties in San Francisco.

Dr. Judith A. Hakes, associate professor of education, and Dr. Marilyn J. Eisenwine, assistant professor of education, will discuss "A Classroom Lore Project: Technology Infusion, Not Reading Confusion"y during the three-day conference, beginning Thursday, Jan. 16.

Their ongoing research explores the benefits of the Classroom Lore and Artifacts Study Project (CLASP) in which elementary students use a computer to record their personal experiences, stories and artwork. At the conference Hakes and Eisenwine will provide information, ideas, examples and resources to help teachers implement CLASP in their own classrooms.

To illustrate their research, they will use examples from a field-based CLASP research trial in four area schools. Four ASU School of Education graduate students who are also teachers are utilizing CLASP in their classrooms this year. They are Lori Barton of Santa Rita Elementary and Kim Edwards of Holiman Elementary in the San Angelo Independent School District as well as Carrie Powers of Grandfalls-Royalty Independent School District and Rebecca Emert of Sonora Independent School District.

With state and national attention focused on reading and test scores, the importance of helping academically challenged students has increased in recent years. Hakes and Eisenwine said that technology can better infuse reading and writing into the curriculum and better engage students who may otherwise be left behind because of learning difficulties

Initial findings indicate that students who may be behind academically are sometimes very talented and naturally inclined to excel in the area of technology. These students often learn computer skills easily and gain confidence by being able to help others in the classroom, including teachers, with new technology software and hardware. Once such students have regained confidence, they are more inclined to work on necessary reading and writing skills.

Additionally, computers may serve as rewards for students with classroom behavior problems. As a result, students not only enjoy the benefits of working with technology but also increase their academic skills.