Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jarene Fluckiger


This qualitative descriptive study sought to describe the self-perceptions as writers of written language learning disabled students who are able to use the Alpha-Smart Pro personal computer for written language assignments. The participants were two sixth-grade students each with a verified learning disability in the area of written language. The participants were one male and one female. Data were collected over a six week period and included interviews, Q-Sort observations and written work samples. Data analysis occurred during and after the six weeks of data collection. The study discovered, a) the female participant used writing regularly in her life as a means of self-expression, b) both participants perceived themselves to use rewriting/revision when in fact they used editing, c) the female participant perceived herself to use poetry as a way to improve a bad mood. This was unable to be founded since the poetry was not seen by the researcher, and d) the Alpha-Smart was not mentioned by the participants during interviews however, Alpha-Smart use was seen during classroom observations. This study was different than the quantitative research previously completed in the areas of computers and classroom writing and self-perceptions of learning disabled students in that prior research compared learning disabled students to non-learning disabled classmates. The results of the prior studies indicated lower self-perceptions of students with learning disabilities than those students without learning disabilities. The present study did not conduct comparisons but rather aimed to describe self-perceptions as the students saw themselves. The results indicated that despite the fact that the participants writing was below sixth grade level the participants perceived themselves to be good writers. Implications for teachers included several suggestions: (a) provide various writing opportunities, as opposed to just academic writing, to written language learning disabled students; (b) allow learning disabled students to discuss their self-perceptions of their abilities without asking for a comparison of themselves to other non-learning disabled students, doing so will potentially allow the students to positively discuss their own self-perceptions; and (c) teach revision skills in a hands-on repeated practice style so as to ensure the successful application of the skill.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Teacher Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Tiffany L. N. Conley July, 1998