Grammar, Writing, and Technology

A Sample Technology-supported Approach to Teaching Grammar and Improving Writing for ESL Learners


  • Volker Hegelheimer Iowa State University
  • David Fisher Iowa State University



ESL Writing and Grammar, Learner Corpus, Web-based Resource Development, XML/XSL, Interactivity


English language learners are frequently unable to benefit from the prevailing process-writing approaches due to a lack of grammar and vocabulary knowledge relevant to academic writing. This paper describes how the need for explicit grammar instruction as part of preparing students to write can be addressed by using a collection of learner texts and transforming that collection into an online grammar resource for intermediate nonnative speakers (NNS) of English. Drawing on research in grammar and writing, the use of learner texts, and online interactivity, we outline the development and the prototype of the Internet Writing Resource for the Innovative Teaching of English (iWRITE). We discuss how the judicious use of advanced technology (e.g., XML) facilitated the implementation of iWRITE, an example of one possible approach to embodying aspects of second language acquisition (SLA) theory while taking advantage of the Web's potential for interactivity.

Author Biographies

  • Volker Hegelheimer, Iowa State University

    Volker Hegelheimer is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of English and the M.A. Program in Teaching English as a Second Language/Applied Linguistics at Iowa State University. He teaches graduate courses on technology in language teaching and research and undergraduate and graduate courses in English as a Second Language. His research interests include applications of the WWW and emerging technologies in language learning and language testing. His publications have appeared in journals such as Language Testing, System, ReCALL, and Language Learning & Technology. He is the author of iWRITE.

  • David Fisher, Iowa State University

    David Fisher is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Professional Communication at Iowa State University. He has worked for several years in the software-development industry as a designer, writer, trainer, tester, analyst, and project manager. His research interests include situated learning, school-workplace transitions, and instructional design. He is the chief programmer and designer of iWRITE.


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How to Cite

Hegelheimer, V., & Fisher, D. (2013). Grammar, Writing, and Technology: A Sample Technology-supported Approach to Teaching Grammar and Improving Writing for ESL Learners. CALICO Journal, 23(2), 257-279.