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Assistive technologies to support the development of writing skills

Becoming an expert in one’s own assistive technologies: a course of action to be prioritized in the school context.

Concerned by the marked weakness of Québec students in writing, we conducted a longitudinal study of dyslexic-dysorthographic students in Secondary Cycle 1.

Particular attention should be paid to the full mastery of help functions by student users.

The objectives of the study were to describe and analyze the contributions and limitations of assistive technologies (ATs) in the writing process; to identify the assistive functions used (or not used) by students in writing situations; and to describe and analyze the perceived relationship between the use of ATs and dimensions of self in writing situations, particularly academic self-perception, self-efficacy, and assessment-related anxiety.

While the use of ATs contributes to students’ subjective well-being in writing situations, their benefit appears to be more nuanced when it comes to writing skills, although the use of spell checkers does promote lexical and grammatical spelling skills.

These results can be explained by the low level of mastery of the help functions inherent in the ATs used. Particular attention should be paid to the full mastery of help functions by student users in writing situations. In this respect, “Recommendations for the optimal use of assistive technologies in schools” will support the thinking and actions of all school stakeholders, including educational decision-makers.


Main researcher: Nadia Rousseau, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Original title: Les technologies d’aide comme mesure d’adaptation soutenant le développement des compétences rédactionnelles dans une perspective globale de l’apprentissage : étude longitudinale

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