Module 3 (Part B): What are classroom technologies?

The Affordances of Classroom Technologies:

What is your understanding of the affordances of the type of technology you are wanting to use?

Affordances are the characteristics or qualities of a text that enable people to do things. For example, the affordances of digital texts such as a strategic placing of a link on a website provides a cohesive tie to another digital text to create meaning (Honan, 2012, p. 61 & 70). Tags are another example, with tags at the bottom of this post enabling links to other relevant material. By taking a sociocultural view of literacy, the way a person interacts with these affordances of technology depends on their identity, experience and the context in which they are engaged.

Identifying technological affordances of e-learning tools such as the smartphone can enable the scaffolding of learning to develop interactions within a given context. There are a variety of educational and social affordances unique to mobile handheld devices such video streaming capabilities, geotagging, micro-blogging, text notifications, social networking, and QR codes (Cochrane & Bateman, 2010, p. 5). This combination of hardware and software enables interaction between user and object (Bower, 2008) to facilitate learning experiences and engage with texts that consider the new affordances available in digital spaces.

Software in Classrooms:

When should students start word processing? As soon as they begin formal schooling.  Scoter argues that word processing provides critical support allowing young writers to experiment more easily with ideas and expression rather than the physical constraints of handwriting (Scoter, 2008, pp. 151-152). However, I do acknowledge the need for students to develop the fine motor skills associated with handwriting but believe word processing encourages writing, increases motivation and explicitly improves writing skills.

 Is it necessary to teach keyboarding skills? Time is better spent on teaching more important skills like digital literacies however, maximum exposure to keyboards will enable students to develop typing skills over time (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 136). With the emergence of mobile technologies, time would perhaps be better spent practicing skills related to gesture-based computing with handheld devices.

What effect does world processing have on handwriting? Word processing enhances document appearance and produces work that is more polished and professional than handwritten materials. This has lessened the importance of cursive handwriting, largely due to the infrequent opportunity to use this skill in the 21st century.

What impact does word processing have on assessment? Some educational institutions allow word processing to be used for essay-type tests, rather than handwriting (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 136). This allows students to focus on the content of their work rather than the presentation and saves valuable time.

 Is the auto correction of spelling a problem? Auto correction improves text presentation and spelling accuracy, however, word processors tend to replace words that interfere with the intended meaning or context of simple sentences (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 136). Students need to be explicitly taught to edit their own work and be aware of the in-built mechanisms of auto-correct. The auto-correct feature used to type this blog is constantly trying to change the language to U.S. English with some minor spelling suggestions, mostly to do with the letter ‘z’ in words such as organisation/organization.


Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis: Matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15.

Cochrane, T., & Bateman, R. (2010). Smartphones give you wings: Pedagogical affordances of mobile web 2.0. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(1), 1-14.

Honan, E. (2012). Using digital texts to engage students. In R. Henderson (Ed.), Teaching Literacies in the Middle Years: Pedagogies and Diversity (pp. 57-80). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Intergrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited.

Scoter, J. (2008). The potential of IT to foster literacy development in kindergarten. In J. Voogt, & G. Knezek (Eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education (Vol. 20, pp. 149-162). Netherlands: Springer.


4 thoughts on “Module 3 (Part B): What are classroom technologies?

  1. Hi Angela,
    I agree that students should not start word processing too young. I personally think around grade 4 or 5 is a good time to start. Although there is many benefits is there any rush? Students have all their high school and life to use word processors.
    I believe that students should be taught the basics of how to type on a keyboard but not an excessive amount of time. I feel that if students are taught the basics, then can develop these skills over time as they use work processors.
    Another great blog, I always look forward to reading yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Matthew! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I tend to agree that the focus on word processing should involve the content being created rather than typing skills. I think typing is a natural progression. My 7 year old is bringing home word processed stories and her typing skills are advancing plainly due to her exposure to the hardware. However the focus is clearly on her expression, punctuation and clarity of writing. I had a quick look at the new Australian Curriculum and word processing is an ICT requirement from Foundation level so there certainly appears to be a rush in developing digital literacy from a very young age.
      Enjoyed your thoughts, I will pop over to your blog in the next few hours. Thanks again!


  2. Thanks Angela for sharing your thoughts. I wonder what the future in word processing holds for us whether typing will at any stage be superseded by new technology, such as translating talk to type or some type of gesture driven technology. On the other hand, digital pens and active styluses are becoming more prominent with ipads and touchscreen laptops and I wonder if some people will prefer to “handwrite” with these on devices (which could be transferred to neater font).


    • Hi Rebecca,
      Thanks for your comment! I definitely think we are part of the way there with voice activated word processing. I use Siri to take notes when I am rushed, although I am sure there are better software developments out there. I think you make some good points about gesture computing and digital pens. I notice that even the newest models of SMART board are still equipped with accessories to manipulate text. I still prefer a good old fashioned pen though but its hard not to get excited about what we might see in our lifetime.

      Thanks again!


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