Fostering students engagement for writing through international collaboration

A game platform driven by artificial intelligence will give children the opportunity to write across borders, leading to more motivating and engaging literacy practices in schools.

Published Endret
Facts
AILIT:

AI Literacy Network in Primary Education

Project period:

2022 - 2025

Funding:

EUR 400 000 from Erasmus+

We are developing a platform that borrows elements from both game design and from literacy teaching, with the aim to improve motivation and literacy skills in young learners.

Arild Michel Bakken , project manager

The ability to read and write are some of the most fundamental skills children need to learn in school. Their literacy ability will hold enormous consequences for their lives. For many children, however, literacy acquisition is unfortunately not straightforward. An important key, is the child's motivation for reading and writing activities: Students who are motivated for reading and writing are also more easily engaged in these activities, and they learn more. But many young learners lack this important motivation for engaging in reading and writing activities. This affects their skill development, and their interest in learning.

to jenter i barneskolealder sitter ved en pc. hun ene skriver, hun andre ser på og smiler til skjermen.
Primary school students from all over Europe participate in AILIT.

Combining creative writing, literacy instruction and digital possibilities

Free, creative writing is seen by several scholars as one skill area where children can act freely, develop their creativity and develop their identity as a writer. However, writing instruction in schools, especially in the lower grades, is often quite repetitive and dominated by "artificial" tasks without authentic audiences. The lack of an authentic audience for their texts, and of engaging reading material, are often put forward as reasons for students' lack of motivation for writing and reading.

Out of school, on the other hand, many students write purposefully and creatively on different media platforms such as games or in social networks. Such applications and platforms are also increasingly imported into the classroom, but then mostly without a didactic apparatus surrounding them, making it unclear what the added value of the school environment is.

A digital tool that engages students across borders

As researchers in the Erasmus+ project AILIT, we are interested in finding out if, and how, we can combine the two seemingly opposed strands of "creative writing" and "literacy instruction" in an efficient way. This will be done by developing a platform that borrows elements from both game design and from literacy teaching.

Reading texts from children in other countries can motivate young students to learn more about the person who wrote the original text, and about their country or society.

The students participating in AILIT are between 8 and 11 years of age, and attend schools in Norway, Portugal, Spain and Ireland. The digital platform developed by the AILIT research team will give the students the opportunity to write texts in their own language and, through the support of an AI-driven game platform, have their texts translated and shared with their peers in different schools and countries. Students on the receiving end will receive texts selected by a digital recommender-function, similar to those found in online shops. This ensures that students receive texts that suit their interests. They will be able to not only read, but also comment on and edit the texts they receive that were originally authored by a child somewhere else in the world.

Can lead to engagement and new perspectives

When students get to work on and edit machine translated texts in order to improve them, they will take part in a formative literacy experience that not only is of high value in itself, but that also differs from simply writing their own texts, and if they were just reading other students' texts.

Reading texts from children in other countries can also potentially motivate young students to learn more about the person who wrote the original text, and about their country or society. Different socio-cultural perspectives will be inherent in the texts they receive, which can serve as valuable building blocks for intercultural discussions in the classrooms.

The texts are adapted to the student's skill level

The artificial intelligence will not only ensure that the texts match the students' interests, but also make sure that the students will receive texts by peers on the same skill-level. In this way, each student can write at their level, and still find an audience interested in reading the text. Even the weakest writers may experience a sense of mastery, and build an identity as a writer and reader. Such strengthened writer and reader self-concepts are important factors contributing to the development of literacy skill. AILIT can also lead to a more inclusive classroom practice. Due to the adaptive nature of the tool, all students can work on the same task, which gives a sense of inclusion to those students who have special needs, who might otherwise be taught apart from the rest of the class.

Benefits for the teachers

AILIT also holds several promising features for teachers. The teacher will always be the most important learning resource in the classroom, and is expected to read the students’ texts before evaluating whether they are ready to be shared with other students. However, AILIT gives the teachers access to AI-generated reports that will complement the teacher's own assessment of the students' texts. The digital scaffolding material can also constitute a welcome break in busy classrooms. The digital scaffolding material allows students to self-teach, and may potentially give the teacher more time to focus his or her guidance on students' with special needs.

Participating institutions

Erasmus+

Erasmus+ is the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The 2021-2027 programme places a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life. It supports priorities and activities set out in the European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan and the European Skills Agenda. The programme also supports the European Pillar of Social Rights, implements the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 and develops the European dimension in sport. Go to Erasmus+

The AILIT team:

Project manager

1011 Førsteamanuensis
51832984
Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora
Nasjonalt senter for leseopplæring og leseforsking

Administrative manager

Seniorrådgiver
51831259
Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora
Fakultetsadministrasjonen UH
Administrasjon SLF

Project group, University of Stavanger

Førsteamanuensis
51833244
Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora
Nasjonalt senter for leseopplæring og leseforsking
Forsker
Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora
Nasjonalt senter for leseopplæring og leseforsking
Professor
51831268
Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora
Nasjonalt senter for leseopplæring og leseforsking
Rådgiver
51832034
Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora
Fakultetsadministrasjonen UH
Administrasjon SLF
Seniorrådgiver
51833206
Lesesenteret
Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora
Fakultetsadministrasjonen UH
Administrasjon SLF
Avdelingsingeniør
51833083
Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora
Fakultetsadministrasjonen UH
Administrasjon SLF

Partners

Adjunkt, Strand kommune