Seventh grade students were tested on their knowledge of sentences and nouns in a language arts classroom. This study was conducted over a two-year time frame. In the first year, classes consisted of twenty-eight (28) males and thirty-one (31) females. All students are Caucasians with the exception of two African American males. In year two, the classes consisted of thirty-two (32) females and thirtytwo (32) males. All students are Caucasians with the exception of one African American female and one Nicaraguan-American female. Students are predominantly from middle class families. All three classes are grouped heterogeneously. During instruction for two units, classes were taught with the following approaches: 1) using traditional methods of book work and handouts for one unit, and 2) using technological aids such as Microsoft PowerPoint for a second unit. Test results from three classes during both units were compared. The data indicates that when using technological aids as teaching tools, student test grades increased in year one, especially for low-achieving students or for those with learning disabilities. In year two, those same results were not achieved. A technology survey was also used to establish each student’s comfort level with technology and their attitudes towards the use of technological aids in the classroom
Review Of The Literature
Technology is everywhere in today’s schools and larger society. For the current youth generation, the Internet has always existed. Online technologies have profoundly contributed to a dramatic technocultural shift in contemporary society, transforming how we learn, work, play, and socialize (Steinkuehler, C., University of Wisconsin–Madison) For those who have grown up with such technologies, this heterogeneous, networked, online global, “flat” (Friedman, 2005) world is the unremarkable mainstream.
Technology is available in our classrooms, and it is changing the way educators think about teaching and the way students think about learning. Yet, students will not make significant gains on their own. Students spend countless hours at home playing games on their PC’s or surfing the internet. This does not necessarily transfer to an increase in student achievement. Furthermore, 45 to 90 minutes a week in the computer lab does not foster the type of learning that will improve student achievement (Kozlowski, 2000). Research reminds us that technology generally improves performance when the application directly supports the curriculum standards being assessed (Cradler, McNabb, Freeman, & Burchett, 2002). A review of studies conducted by the CEO Forum (2001) emphasizes that “technology can have the greatest impact when integrated into the curriculum to achieve clear, measurable educational objectives.”