Using tracking software for writing instruction

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Sane M. Yagi
Saleh Al-Salman

Abstract

Writing is a complex skill that is hard to teach. Although the written product is what is often evaluated in the context of language teaching, the process of giving thought to linguistic form is fascinating. For almost forty years, language teachers have found it more effective to help learners in the writing process than in the written product; it is there that they could find sources of writing problems. Despite all controversy evoked by post-process approaches with respect to process writing, information technology has lately offered tools that can shed new light on how writing takes place. Software that can record keyboard, mouse, and screen activities is capable of unraveling mysteries of the writing process. Technology has given teachers and learners the option of examining the writing process as it unfolds, enabling them to diagnose strategy as well as wording problems, thus empowering teachers to guide learners individually in how to think about each of their trouble spots in the context of a specific product of writing. With these advances in information technology, metacognitive awareness and strategy training begin to acquire new dimensions of meaning. Technology lays open aspects of the writing process, offering unprecedented insight into creative text production as well. This paper attempts to explain how tracking software can influence writing instruction. It briefly examines the process and post-process approaches to assess their viability, explains the concept of tracking software, proposes methodology needed for the adoption of this technology, and then discusses the pedagogical implications of these issues.

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How to Cite
Yagi, S. M., & Al-Salman, S. (2011). Using tracking software for writing instruction. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 1(2), 209-225. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2011.1.2.3
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Articles
Author Biographies

Sane M. Yagi, University of Jordan, Amman

Sane M. Yagi obtained his BA from the University of Jordan, his MA from the University of Kansas, and his PhD from the University of Auckland. He is an associate professor of computational linguistics at the University of Jordan. He taught previously at universities in America, New Zealand, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. His research interests include computational morphology and lexicography, computer-assisted language learning, and English language teaching and learning. He has co-authored a number of papers and a few software titles in these fields.

Saleh Al-Salman, Arab Open University (HQ)

Saleh M. Al-Salman is a professor of theoretical/historical linguistics and translation at the University of Jordan. He holds a PhD in linguistics from State University of New York at Buffalo, 1981. Currently he is the Director of the English Language Unit at the Arab Open University (Headquarters) in Kuwait. He taught previously at universities in the USA, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. His research interests include: linguistic theory and its practical applications, language development, languages in contact, bilingualism, and translation. He has received research awards/fellowships from Fulbright (USA) and DAAD (Germany).

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