#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

 

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9 thoughts on “#SEACCR Week 2: Classroom Research

  1. Allison, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I agree that technology is so important in the classroom. I am trying to find ways to integrate technology and put the tools in my students’ hands. At this point in the year, the problem that I am having is managing that with only 3 ipad and 3 computers in my classroom and a rowdy bunch of 24 2nd graders. I am always trying to think of ways to integrate technology and how that will look with this group of students. Any ideas or thoughts would be helpful.

    • I am always fascinated at the amount and type of technology they give teachers and expect us to use in the classroom. However what you have is better than having nothing at all. With your devices you could use them a center during reading and/or math. Or you could assign students one day a week to use the device, so if they finish fast/early on something in class they could get on the device and work on an educational site. For math iXL has an app and is web-based, however it does cost $ for student accounts. For reading Accelerated Reader (AR) has an app and is web-based, Spelling city as well. I am not sure what programs your school uses, if any at all. If your school uses Odyssey, Ticket to Read, Typing Agent or programs like them then research if there is also an iPad app for it as well. Good Luck!

  2. Trying to find the time to learn about new technologies as well as ways to implement them into a classroom is a huge challenge for teachers. There are many things I’d love to try with my kids but not enough time to figure them out. You mentioned that you have time to meet with other teachers every week. Finding a few like-minded individuals who are interested in developing ways to use your tech resources sounds like a great way to spend that time. Being able to bounce ideas off each other would be extremely valuable. Our school has discussed the idea of creating a collaboration time for teachers but it has never materialized. My department is fantastic about sharing resources but we seldom get time to sit down together to discuss ideas. Sharing success/failure with lessons develops a database of knowledge that can benefit everyone. I am envious of your opportunity.

    You mentioned in your blog that “Teachers and students that rarely use technology are going to have more troubles as they will be slow to overcome obstacles…” In 2013, Forbes magazine published an article titled “The Top 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 20-Something Employees. Four of the skills speak directly to your comment. They are as follows:

    Ability to obtain and process information
    Ability to analyze quantitative data
    Technical knowledge related to the job
    Proficiency with computer software programs

    As educators, we can provide these future employees with a good foundation that will help them succeed in the dynamic working environment they will encounter.

  3. One of the things that sticks with me is that technology integration has to be seamless and transparent. Your comment made me think about how difficult that task really is. The amount of time it takes to learn, become fluent and then create lessons with new technology can be staggering. Repetition certainly helps, but I find the time that is required to use this technology is limited. It’s no surprise that many teachers either stick to a few types of technology or a few programs rather than branching out.

  4. I think schools will forever have that problem of just not being able to keep up with the times. Having enough equipment for everyone, being able to purchase the apps and programs to support certain areas in learning is such a challenge due to the money factor. In our building we are using these old alpha smarts that we have had forever (it seems). They are so old and out of date, but we use the class set as clickers, or for typing up papers. They are still functional and we were able to modernize them by finding an app online that allows them to work as clickers with our smartboards. Maybe you can find some outdated equipment that can be upgraded to assist your classrooms as well.

  5. Technology intimidates me to be honest. When I try to use it, it always seems to fail. That is why your comment about needing to use it daily and become familiar with it stuck out to me. I admit that I often skip the technology because I am afraid that it wont work or do not want to bother with it. However, I would like to play around with it more and become more familiar with ways I can include technology in my teaching that way I get use to it and the students see it as natural, as you suggested. My challenge is trying to keep up with all the changes and learning new technologies.

    • You are not alone in feeling intimidated I work with many teachers who feel the same way. A Kindergarten teacher I work with feels like whenever she does use technology it NEVER works for her, like she is cursed. She admits to always running to her colleague (the other Kindergarten teacher) for help, which is good she has a colleague who will help and support her. Not all of us have a tech support system. For her and others it then becomes a classroom management issue when tech doesn’t we try to figure it out and the students get restless waiting.

  6. Thank you for sharing the article, “What would happen if”. It sounds like a great resource and I’m really interested to read more . What struck me most was the discussion about analyzing data. I know that in the past I collected data, glanced over it, found a pattern, or a major need and then worked with that. However, I didn’t spend much time with the data, nor did I compare/contrast data sets. This has inspired me to think about ways to do that.

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