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Doctoral defence: The effects of writing in different modalities on recollection


Writing skills and writing modalities are constantly changing and evolving with the digitalisation of working life, education and living environments. In her dissertation, MA Satu-Maarit Frangou examines three different writing methods: handwriting, typing on a computer keyboard, and typing on a touchscreen keyboard of an iPad or phone, and their connection to recollection among children, adolescents and adult university students.

This study presents completely new research results about today’s writing modalities and the dimensions of remembering written texts. The research findings show that the writing method plays a role in remembering written texts from the age of 11 onwards, handwritten stories being better recalled than stories written on a computer keyboard or touchscreen keyboard. However, the writing method has no relation to recollection in children as young as 10 years old.

Based on the results of the research, Frangou develops a theoretical framework that culminates in the model of embodied knowledge construction of affects in writing. At the heart of this model is harmonious and simultaneous cooperation of body, mind and brain, drawing on environmental, cultural and contextual factors. In addition, memory functions that are influenced by perception and sequence, and with previous experience and motivation, play an important role in this collaboration. The purpose of this framework is to assist education researchers and professionals in learning design, learning planning and its qualitative assessment and reflection concerning writing. Another key result was developing quantitative research test material for writing-related research.

Based on the results of the study, conclusions can be drawn on teaching practices that recommend systematic teaching of typing skills and the balanced practice of different writing methods.

According to Frangou, the conclusions support systematic teaching of different writing techniques from the first grades of basic education, to get the right keyboarding skills as early as possible, and to avoid the unlearning of the self-taught keyboarding.

Frangou adds that young people in the upper grades of basic education should also receive support to improve their keyboarding skills to be able to act as active members of the society in their future studies, at work and in their private lives. For example, in today's electronic matriculation examination, a young person who writes with two fingers is at a disadvantage to another young person who knows the proper keyboarding system with 10 fingers.

Frangou further states that in post-primary education and especially in university studies, computers are used extensively for assignments. Support is needed to get good keyboarding skills, not just to save time, but to allow writers to focus more on the text at hand and express themselves, rather than focusing on finding the correct keys.

Balancing writing instruction practices at an early stage is essential to improve learning outcomes. At the same time, the need to improve the keyboarding skills of adolescents and adults must be borne in mind to enable them to function actively in a world of digitalisation.

A total of 172 Finnish children and young and adult students participated in the quantitative study.

Information on the defence:

MA Satu-Maarit Frangou will defend her dissertation, ‘Write to Recall – An Embodied Knowledge Construction Model of Affects in Writing’, with the permission of the Faculty of Education at the University of Lapland on Friday, 10.01. at 12. The opponent is Title of Adjunct Professor Mikko Vesisenaho, University of Jyväskylä and the custos is Professor Heli Ruokamo from the University of Lapland. The defence will be conducted in Finnish.

About the doctoral candidate:

Satu-Maarit Frangou graduated with a Master’s Degree in Media Education from the University of Lapland in 2016. Since then she has worked for the University of Lapland on teaching assignments and research projects.

About the dissertation:

Satu-Maarit Frangou: The Components of Embodied Knowledge Construction Model of Affects in Writing, Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis 272, ISSN 1796-6310 ISBN, 978-952-337-188-0

Permanent address of the dissertation: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-337-188-0