Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘differentiated instruction’

How can Google SketchUp help Special Needs children?

Cheryl Wright, Marissa Diener, Louise Dunn, Scott D. Wright (2011) SketchUp™: A Technology Tool to Facilitate Intergenerational Family Relationships for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 01/2011

This study used a qualitative design to examine intergenerational relationships facilitated by an intervention employing Google SketchUp™, a freeware 3D design program. Seven high-functioning boys (ages 8–17) with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) participated in computer workshops. The investigators capitalized on the boys’ strengths in visual–spatial skills. The interdisciplinary team structured the workshops to facilitate computer skill development as well as social interaction. Qualitative analysis involved thematic analysis of transcripts from focus groups with parents and grandparents. The two key themes that emerged were as follows: (i) reframing expectations (parental efficacy and creating a safe environment) and (ii) building intergenerational bridges among parents, children, siblings, and grandparents. These findings indicate that technology can build on the strengths of children with ASD and promote social engagement of the children with their families.

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How can the Web support Differentiation in Elementary Classrooms?

Gail Arakaki (2011)  The Use of Websites as an Aid in Differentiating Instruction, TCC Worldwide Online ConferenceEmerging Technologies: Making it Work 

In a typical heterogeneous elementary school classroom, one might find highly motivated students, struggling readers, those reading two levels above grade level, unmotivated students, and students with behavior problems. Teachers are faced with the challenge of teaching these students the skills necessary to be successful 21st Century students as well as motivating them to attain proficiency. In order to provide effective instruction for all, many teachers have turned to differentiated instruction (DI). In differentiated instruction, student differences form the basis of planning and many instructional strategies are employed. This study focused on the development and evaluation of a class website to facilitate differentiation of instruction in a science lesson, and its potential use as a tool to increase instructional time and address all learners. Research results indicated the use of a class website can be a valuable tool for teachers to use in providing differentiated instruction. A class website was successfully utilized to disseminate information and assignment directions, as well as provide instruction, scaffolding, and additional resources to nine second grade students, based on their level of readiness. Further research is necessary to determine if its use results in an increase in instructional time.

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How do IT Teachers Use Differentiated Instruction and Assess for Understanding?

Rollins, R. L. (2012) Assessing the Understanding and Use of Differentiated Instruction: A Comparison of Novice and Experienced Technology Education Teachers, A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty of North Carolina State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education.

The primary purpose of this quantitative online study was to assess the extent to which Technology Education teachers in the state of North Carolina understand and use differentiated instructional components. Additionally, this study examined the differences between novice and experienced TED teachers’ understanding and use of differentiated instructional components. Differentiated instruction is a philosophy which governs practices for addressing the needs of academically diverse students within the classroom. Modifications are made to the content, process, products and learning environment. Data collected from 127 Technology Education teachers were organized, analyzed, and summarized using descriptive statistics. The findings suggest that TED teachers collectively understand and use differentiated instructional components. However, as it relates to years of teaching experience, novice and experienced statistically differed in their understanding of content differentiation, process differentiation, and product differentiation. Additionally, TED novice teachers reported using the component of product differentiation the least.

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What is the link between learning styles and self-perceived ICT skills?

Jef C. Verhoeven & Dirk Heerwegh & Kurt De Wit (2010) First year university students’ self-perception of ICT skills: Do learning styles matter?, Education and Information Technologies, Volume 17, Number 1

Do ICT skills of freshmen change in 6 months at the university? What is the contribution of learning styles (or patterns) to the explanation of the variance in self-perceived ICT skills and the possible change in these skills? And what is the contribution of learning styles and of gender, social class, and ICT course attendance to the explanation of the variance in these skills? To answer these questions, data were collected in a panel research project that recruited 714 freshmen at a large Belgian university. The data show that the ability of the students to maintain a computer and to develop a website improves at the university but not the ability to use the Internet or to apply basic ICT skills. The analyses show that there is a link, albeit weak, between learning styles and self-perceived ICT skills. Learning styles can partially explain differences between groups of students with different characteristics. The data show that having a certain learning style might influence the perception of students of their ICT skill, but learning styles do not allow one to predict the change in the self-perceived ICT skills of the students.

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What are the Obstacles to Technology-Enhanced Problem-Based Learning (PBL)?

Sung Hee Park and Peggy A. Ertmer (2008) Examining barriers in technology-enhanced problem-based learning: Using a performance support systems approach, British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 39 No 4 2008

This study focused on the barriers that middle school teachers faced when implementing technology-enhanced problem-based learning (PBL) in their classrooms. Using a human performance-based model, we interviewed teachers, administrators, university faculty and technical support staff to determine the perceived importance of multiple barriers to the implementation of technology-enhanced PBL. Twenty-one teachers, two school administrators and a project manager, two faculty members, and two technical support staff participated in the study. Interview data were supported by surveys, classroom observations and researchers’ reflective journals. Results suggested that lack of a clear, shared vision was the primary barrier. Additional barriers included lack of knowledge and skills, unclear expectations and insufficient feedback. Recommendations to support teachers’ efforts to integrate technology- enhanced problem-based learning are presented.

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How can Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences support the effective teaching of Information Literacy?

Intan Azura Mokhtar, Shaheen Majid and Schubert Foo (2008) Teaching information literacy through learning styles: The application of Gardner’s multiple intelligences, Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 2008; 40; 93

The key for students of today to become independent learners and knowledge workers of tomorrow lies in being information literate. However, existing information literacy (IL) teaching approaches have not always been successful in equipping students with these crucial skills to ensure deep erudition and long-lasting retention. Hence, sound pedagogical approaches become critical in IL education. This research hypothesizes that students grasp IL skills more effectively when their innate interests, such as that determined by their respective dominant intelligences, are stimulated and applied to their work. Consequently, they would produce work of better quality. To verify these postulations, an IL course was designed for students undertaking project work to equip them with the necessary IL skills, by using an established pedagogical approach – Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Subsequently the quality of students’ project work between the experimental and control groups were compared. It was found that the performance of students who had undergone IL training through the application of learning styles was superior in their project work.

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Does ICT peer coaching support teachers’ integration of ICT in their learning and teaching?

Ellul, R (2010ICT peer coaches: Techno-pedagogues of the twenty-first century, PhD Thesis, School of Education, RMIT University

This PhD by project investigates the ICT peer coaching programmes in place in three government schools in Victoria, Australia. Teacher professional learning is essential in supporting teachers to improve their practice and support a culture of continuous improvement across the school. The literature review highlighted that past methods of professional learning such as one-off workshops and off-site events are less effective to enable teachers to develop both ICT skills and pedagogical knowledge needed for 21st century teaching and learning. While peer coaching is increasingly offered as a professional learning strategy in schools, very little is available which focuses on peer coaching in an ICT context and whether it effectively supports teachers to integrate ICT into their classroom practice. This research examines whether ICT peer coaching as a professional learning strategy supports teachers’ integration of ICT into their learning and teaching programme. It uses a constructivist (naturalistic) inquiry methodology and a collective case study approach. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, observations and an analysis of artefacts such as school strategic plans and policies.

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Are schools making the most of new technologies?

A Collins, R Halverson (2009) Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and the Schools, Distance Education (2009) Publisher: Teachers College Pres

Parents and citizens need to push for a more expansive view of education reform. School leaders and teachers need to understand how learning technologies work and how they change the basic interactions of teachers and learners. Technology leaders need to work together with educators, not as missionaries bearing magical gifts, but as collaborators in creating new opportunities to learn. It will take a concerted effort to bring about such a radical change in thinking. If a broader view develops in society, leaders will emerge who can bring about the political changes necessary to make the new educational resources available to everyone.

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Can there ever be a single unified metanarrative on the benefits of ICT in education?

Vinesh Chandra, Margaret Lloyd (2008) The methodological nettle: ICT and student achievement, British Journal of Educational Technology (2008)

A major challenge for researchers and educators has been to discern the effect of ICT use on student learning outcomes. This paper maps the achievements in Year 10 Science of two cohorts of students over two years where students in the first year studied in a traditional environment while students in the second took part in a blended or e-learning environment. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the authors have shown that ICT, through an e-learning intervention, did improve student performance in terms of test scores. They have also shown that this improvement was not global with the results for previously high-performing female students tending to fall while the results for lower-achieving boys rose. There was also a seeming mismatch between some students’ affective responses to the new environment and their test scores. This study shows the complexity of ICT-mediated environments through its identification and description of three core issues which beset the credibility of research in ICT in education. These are (1) ICT as an agent of learning, (b) site specificity, and (c) global improvement.

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How effective is self-paced learning?

Jonathan G Tullis, Aaron S Benjamin (2011) On the effectiveness of self-paced learning, Journal of Memory and LanguageVolume 64, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 109-118

Metacognitive monitoring and control must be accurate and efficient in order to allow self-guided learners to improve their performance. Yet few examples exist in which allowing learners to control learning produces higher levels of performance than restricting learners’ control. Here we investigate the consequences of allowing learners to self-pace study of a list of words on later recognition, and show that learners with control of study-time allocation significantly outperformed subjects with no control, even when the total study time was equated between groups (Experiments 1 and 2). The self-pacing group also outperformed a group for which study time was automatically allocated as a function of normative item difficulty (Experiment 2). The advantage of self-pacing was apparent only in subjects who utilized a discrepancy reduction strategy-that is, who allocated more study time to normatively difficult items. Self-pacing can improve memory performance, but only when appropriate allocation strategies are used.

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How can Flipping the Classroom support Active Learning?

Zappe, S., Leicht, R., Messner, J., Litzinger, T., and Lee, H.W., (2009) “’Flipping’ the Classroom to Explore Active Learning in a Large Undergraduate Course,” Proceedings, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exhibition, 2009.

In traditional approaches to teaching engineering classes, the instructor plays the role of information conveyor, while the students assume a receiver role with primary responsibilities of listening and note-taking. Research into how students learn suggests that students need to be more actively engaged with the course material to maximize their understanding. The literature contains many examples of active learning strategies, such as teams solving problems in class and the use of student response systems with conceptual questions. Incorporating active learning strategies into a class means that there will be less time for delivering material via lecture. Therefore, instructors who choose to utilize active learning strategies must find ways to ensure that all required course content is still addressed. This paper discusses an instructional technique called the “classroom flip” model which was assessed in a larger, undergraduate architectural engineering class. In this model, lecture content is removed from the classroom to allow time for active learning, and the content that was removed is delivered to students via on-line video. This approach ‘flips’ the traditional use of lecture and more active learning approaches. Lecture occurs outside of class, and more active learning, such as problem solving, happens during class. Assessment data was collected to examine students’ use of the video lectures and perceptions of the classroom flip. The students’ feedback suggests that while the active learning and additional project time available in class improved their understanding, they would prefer that only about half the classes be flipped and some use of traditional lectures should be maintained.

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How can teachers be supported to use individualized instructional technology?

Proscia, M., Ulrich, F., Morote, E.S. & Nicolino, P. (2010). The relationship among level of knowledge, and comfort with both differentiated instruction and instructional technology and teachers’ attitude toward the use of computers. In Z. Abas et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Global Learn Asia Pacific 2010 (pp. 925-932). AACE.

One hundred twenty-three (123) teachers were surveyed in 35 Long Island schools and 7 school districts that were selected for the quality of instructional software available in the districts. We found that knowledge and comfort of using technology are the major predictors of teacher willingness to use individualized instructional technology. Findings suggest that major training of teachers in instructional technology will be necessary to reach NCLB requirements for differentiated instruction.

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Can blogs improve differentiated instruction?

Colombo, M. W., & Colombo, P. D. (2007). Using Blogs to Improve Differentiated Instruction. Education Digest73(4), 10-14

The article discusses the use of blogging to improve differentiated instruction in science classes. It provides a hypothetical model of differentiated instruction in a seventh grade science classroom containing English language learners (ELLs), students with individualized education programs, and gifted and talented students. It discusses the use of material posted in class blogs to extend instructional time by providing a way to reinforce learning strategies, introduce topics and concepts, review material, and provide enrichment. Materials can be presented in text format, as podcasts, or as video files to reach students at different levels and with different learning styles. A list of free and commercial software for class blogs is included.

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