#SEACCR Week 4: Literature Review

Fluency is an integral skill for students and many believe reading fluency and comprehension are related. Reading fluency is a skill that needs to be taught through out a student’s elementary school years. Fluency instruction is crucial in elementary years, but has been found to be equally important beyond the elementary grades, even into high school, especially among students from low socioeconomic backgrounds (Rasinski, 2004).

Fluency is a reader’s ability to read fluidly with accuracy and appropriate pacing and expression.   If a student is incapable of reading fluently then the likelihood of comprehending what is read decreases. According to Rasinski (2004), “Reading fluency refers to the reader’s ability to develop control over surface-level text processing so that he or she can focus on understanding the deeper levels of meaning embedded in the text” (p.46). As students get older, students with poor fluency skills have difficulty with the reading required for academic success beyond their elementary years (Spear-Swerling, 2006).

Instruction in fluency depends on the individual student’s needs. It is important to assess each student individually. There are many ways to assess a student’s reading fluency. Many schools have started using an online reading assessment AIMSWeb. Students are given three grade level passages. For each passage a student’s reading is timed for 60 seconds. The person assessing the student keeps track of the words the student reads incorrectly (errors). The student’s errors are subtracted from the total number of words read giving the assessor a reading fluency score. After all three reading passages the best of the three scores is the one recorded. According to Rasinski (2004), listening to a student read a grade level passage and using a rubric that scores the students expression, phrasing, smoothness and pace is the best way to assess a student’s fluency. Rubrics assess the student’s fluency skill-by-skill not just words per minute. After a student is assessed then the instruction can begin. Rasinski (2006) suggests using repeated readings as one strategy to instruct students on reading fluency. After the teacher reads a passage aloud to students they are asked to following along silently then aloud as a group. Rasinski also suggests using a variety of passages i.e. reader’s theater, poems, speeches, and riddles. Oakley (2003) also states repeated reading is a beneficial strategy for teaching student’s to be fluent readers. “It is necessary to teach reading fluency explicitly because many children don’t just pick it up” (Oakley). Along with repeated reading Oakley also suggests modeling fluent reading and teaching self-monitoring to students. Listening to audio books and teacher read alouds are important for students to get a sense of pacing and expression. Students need to learn how to self monitor their reading. Having students record and listen to themselves helps them learn to monitor their reading.

Current technology is new and ever changing and this dynamic helps peak student interest, which in-turn increases student achievement. Many educators are continuously looking for modern ways to utilize technology to motivate students. According to Sklar (2009), Aliso Elementary School in Orange County piloted an iEngage program that gave 5th graders in the pilot class an Apple iPod. The teacher was hoping to use the iPods to help increase her student’s reading fluency. She noticed that her students were more engaged and more excited to learn when they were allowed to use the iPod. In Sklar’s article she interviewed a student who mentioned the app that helped him the most was iTalk for fluency because he could hear how he read. The student noticed the more he used iTalk his reading improved. He also enjoyed using iTalk to listen to his reading improvements.

Fluency is a skill that needs to be taught, modeled and practiced during and sometimes beyond elementary school. Technology can help engage students and increase fluency rates. Using apps like iTalk that allow students to record themselves reading, while practicing their pacing, expression, and accuracy allow students to listen to themselves and helps increase their fluency rates.

References:

Oakley, G. (2003). Improving oral reading fluency (and comprehension) through the creation of talking books. Reading Online, 6(7), n7. Retrieved from http://www.readingonline.org/articles/Oakley/

Rasinski, T. (2004). Creating fluent readers. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 46-51. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar04/vol61/num06/Creating-Fluent-Readers.aspx

Sklar, D. (2009). Legendary local: Saddleback teacher issues ipod touch to students. News-n-Views. Retrieved from http://www.news-n-views.com/asp/articlenews.asp?art_id=3676&internal=1&issue_date=10/11/2009&place=0648256&edent=8853059

Spear-Swerling, L. (2006). Preventing and remediating difficulties with reading fluency. WETA. Retrieved from http://www.ldonline.org/spearswerling/Preventing_and_Remediating_Difficulties_with_Reading_Fluency

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Week 3 Reflection

This week during the Twitter discussion I felt like I was on the wrong path. I don’t know if I have started second guessing myself because I am feeling out of my element with my new job and add the stress of this class, or if I am just out of touch with the true integration of technology. I felt overwhelmed by the Twitter session and out of my element as far as answering the questions being posted. My worry is that I will choose a topic that is too broad or not easily measurable. Which then leads me to worry that I won’t know how to complete my research, because I won’t know how or what I am measuring. I want to choose a research project topic that will be cut and dry for me. I do not want to reinvent the wheel and I do not want to add a tremendous amount of more work on my already full plate. I am interested in knowing if the districts use of iTalk in the primary grade levels in helping to increase student’s fluency, which is the districts goal. I am pretty sure that no one, in my district, has looked at the data to truly see if there is a correlation. As far as the blogs go this week it was interesting to read about the topics others are thinking of doing. I’m almost enjoying reading the blog responses more than the actual blogs, because there are some great ideas being shared. When I posted my responses I tried to add some suggestions or insight to what others were thinking and doing. This week I didn’t offer up as much resources as I have in the past. I mostly wanted to offer encouragement or suggestions. Also this week I went in search of resources and once again started felling worrisome, because there were very little resources based on using iTalk or any recording device and reading fluency. There were a few, some not so good, so of course I started second guessing my topic. In the end, I found 10 resources that I hope will help me later with this project.

Annotated Bibliography:

http://www.diigo.com/list/agryga/EDET+636/3lsfkuas0

#SEACCR Week 3: Collaboration

The topic of my research project is the impact on student reading fluency scores when using the iTalk app to record and listen to their reading. iTalk is an iPod/iPad app that allows users to record their voice. My district supports teachers using iTalk, allowing students to record and listen to their reading, in the hopes that it will increase student’s AIMSWeb fluency scores.

This year I was hired as an Instructional Technology Teacher, which is similar to a technology coach for teachers. Teachers sign up for me to come into their classrooms to assist or support with the integration of technology into their classroom. My goal as a technology coach is to share technology resources with teachers in the hopes that student engagement and tech skills increase. To be productive at work and accomplish my goal I will need to collaborate with a variety of staff members from multiple schools. To be successful I will need to collaborate with teachers to learn their teaching styles and needs for helping them incorporate technology. The technology skills of the teachers I work with vary and it is my responsibility to support teacher’s technology needs in their classroom.

As a result of my new position I will rely on collaboration in order to complete my research project. I believe collaboration is important in education for teachers to learn and grow from one another. According to Phillips and Hughes (2012), “In our experience, the best professional development comes from those already in our schools. When engaging in inquiry or lesson study, teachers draw on their shared trust, expertise, and experiences to improve instruction.” In the Edutopia video How Teachers Collaborate Online and in School, educators in Vail, Arizona use an online Wiki source to share and find resources for content. They are taking collaboration to another level and not only connecting teachers with in a school, but across the district. My plan for completing this research project is to assist and support a regular education teacher in using iTalk in their classroom and assess if their student’s fluency score increase.

References:

Edutopia. (2014, April 13). How teachers collaborate online and in school. [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/stw-differentiated-instruction-budget-resource-collaboration-video

Phillips, V., & Hughes, R. L. (2012). Teacher collaboration: The essential common-core ingredient. Education Week, 7, 37. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/12/05/13hughes.h32.html

Week 2 Reflection

During the twitter season I learned that I have to follow the other people in class if I want to see their tweets. I feel like I made the same mistake in a previous class too. I got it figured out and it all worked out in the end. I enjoyed the conversation on Twitter of sharing resources and comparing young versus old when it pertains to technology. In my current position I am finding that typically the older the teacher the more they struggle with using technology, sometimes to no fault of their own, they just don’t have some of the background knowledge. During the week in the blog communication it seemed like there was an underlying topic of the importance to use technology and finding the balance with the struggle of having time to learn about the technology. This week in my blog responses I tried to share some insights I have learned in my 10 years of teaching with incorporating technology. Lastly, I am struggling to come up with a topic to research. I have the date of the bibliography due looming over my head, so I feel great pressure to figure out what I should focus on as a topic. Dr. Lee mentioned we can use tools/ideas we already are doing in the classroom. That gave me the idea to do the effect of using iTalk to record reading fluency and the increase of AIMSWeb fluency scores. However, this year I started a four-year position in my district of a technology coach. I have four elementary schools I service for educational technology needs and helping teachers incorporate technology. I go to a different school each day of the week. I am still learning the ins and outs of my schools and getting to know the staff at each school. I am learning a new job and my role in my schools and to add the research on top of it is stressing me out. I don’t want to over think the topic either and choose something that would be too hard, because that would stress me out as well.

#SEACCR Week 2: Classroom Research

Classroom research is evaluating, examining and refining how and what we do in the classroom. It’s looking at trends and data. It’s discussing and changing what we see, do, and observe as educators and how we can make it better for our students.   As stated by Vega (2013), “Technology integration can be one of the most challenging topics to find quality research on. The term itself is a broad umbrella for numerous practices that may have little in common with each other. In addition, technology tools change rapidly, and outcomes can vary depending on implementation.” I agree with Vega the term technology integration can mean different things to different people. According to an online article on Edutopia, “When technology integration is at its best, a child or a teacher doesn’t stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool — it is second nature. And students are often more actively engaged in projects when technology tools are a seamless part of the learning process.”

I think the article What would Happen If?… A Teacher’s Journey with Teacher Research by Susan Abbott, raised a good point not only is it important to collect the data but it’s also important to spend time looking at the data and figuring out what it means and how it can help students. Abbott writes about meeting with her research group every other week. In my district teachers have time each week to meet with their colleagues, sharing and looking at data would be a good use of this meeting time.

Just as educators and administrators research best practices for teaching reading, writing and math the same can be done for technology integration. In a report by Cheung & Slavin (2013), they researched the effect of educational technology applications on K-12 reading outcomes. They found when teachers combined the use of computer and non-computer based instruction the effect was beneficial for students. They also found that the use of educational technology had a greater impact on low ability and ELL students.

While the presence of technology in the classroom should constantly be increasing, it has not been increasing at a pace consistent with current data on the importance of technology in the classroom. Teachers and students that rarely use technology are going to have more troubles as they will be slow to overcome obstacles and this causes technology to look more burdensome than useful in the classroom. If technology integration is going to become second nature teachers need to have its use integrated into the classroom daily, so both teachers and students can use the technology repeatedly and repetitively. If technology use is to become second nature as the Edutopia article writes then it needs to be used regularly to allow this to occur.

References:

Abbott, S. (1994). What Would Happen If…? A Teacher’s Journey with Teacher Research. English Journal, 59-61.

Cheung, A. C., & Slavin, R. E. (2013). The effectiveness of educational technology applications for enhancing mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 9, 88-113.

Edutopia. (2007, November 5). What is successful technology integration? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description

Vega, V. (2013, February 5). Technology integration research review. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-research-learning-outcomes

 

#SEACCR Week 1: Driven by Data

As an educator when I think of data I think of assessments: formative, summative, state standardized. In many instances I use data to drive my instruction. I look at test scores to help me decide if my student’s are mastering content in the classroom. Technology can be used to help collect data. As an educator I have used Accelerated Reader to collect data on student’s reading levels, AIMSWeb to collect data on reading fluency. I have also used apps like Socrative to collect data about content in class or to poll my students. As stated by Fleisher (2014), “every answer on a quiz can be analyzed to give teachers a precise picture of what their students have learned. A pattern of wrong answers is no longer just a bad grade; teachers can get clues to why students picked the wrong answer.”

 

Technology can have a positive or negative impact. I have witnessed technology having a positive impact on my students, however I’ve never really thought about the data behind it. Sandholtz (1997) states, “studies have shown that students with routine access to technology learn these basic skills faster and better when they have a chance to practice them using technology. One of the reasons cited for this improvement is that students are engaged by the technology.” Early on in my teaching career I figured out when I used technology in my classroom my students behaved better and were more engaged in my lessons. When I would use a Smartboard during my lessons my student engagement increased. When I allowed students to create digital stories after going through the writing process with paper and pencil, I heard less complaining about having to rewrite and edit work, because my students wanted to use the technology to create digital stories. I know technology motivates students, but I have never thought about how I could collect the data to prove how much technology motivates students. According to O’Hara (2014), technology positively impacts reading comprehension, content learning, test scores, and student self-esteem.

 

With the shift to computerized standardized based testing, more educators may want to start analyzing the correlation between the impact of technology and students test scores.

 

References:

Fleisher, L (2014, March 23). Big data enters the classroom. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304756104579451241225610478

O’Hara, S. (2014, April 30). What is the impact of technology on learning? Retrieved from http://www.education.com/reference/article/what-impact-technology-learning/?page=2

Sandholtz, J. H. (1997). Teaching with technology: Creating student-centered classrooms. Teachers College Press, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027.