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Cognition and Instruction Comprehensive Examination: Article Review & Study Design W. Ian O‟Byrne University of Connecticut
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 2
PART I Attached is a study that appeared in Computers and Education: “Technology uses and student achievement: A longitudinal study” by Jing Lei and Yong Zhao. This is a fairly representative study for any newly emerging area such as technology and media use in the classroom. That is, there are typically many weaknesses in early research that only become apparent with time. In five, single-spaced pages, systematically organize and critique the major design and interpretive weaknesses in this study. Relate both your design and interpretive concerns to other studies in this area that have taken more rigorous approaches to issues of technology and media use and classrooms and the relationships to learning. PART II Identify the most important research question(s) in the area of media construction and communication in school classrooms. Then design a study to answer your question(s). In five, single-spaced, pages present the research question(s), the rationale, theoretical framework, methodology, and analytic approach(es) you would use, including both independent and dependent measures. You may include instruments that have yet to be developed. If so, please describe, briefly, how each would be evaluated for both validity and reliability.
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 3 Part I – Article Review In “Technology uses and student achievement: A longitudinal study” (Lei & Zhao, 2005), the authors investigate how technology use impacts student achievement in a one-to-one laptop classroom. The purpose of the study was to examine the specific technologies used by students and to identify those that were the most effective in increasing a student‟s GPA. The authors suggest that the quantity of technology use in a classroom is not the most important factor in raising student achievement; rather, the “how” or quality of technology use is many times more important. In addition to these findings, the authors argue that excessive usage of technology can be detrimental to student achievement without paying attention to the quality of technology use. The authors further suggest that technology uses that were determined to have the most positive impact on GPA were not the most employed by students, and the most widely used technology uses tended to be the least beneficial to student GPA. Considering the investments and research occurring around the use of technology in learning and literacy programs, this study is timely and significant. However, at times the authors are not as explicit with the details and scope of the methodology and design of the study to support testing through replication. As a result of the changes that have occurred to literacy and pedagogy as a result of the proliferation of Internet and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004), there are also a few deficiencies that hinder researchers and educators from appreciating the full implications of this study. I will critique the design and interpretative issues associated with this study, and suggest examples from other studies in the field that have taken a more rigorous approach. Design Three significant areas in this work need improvement. Specifically, the theoretical framework of this study is far too narrow to capture the complexity of interactions that occur as students use technology and multimodal texts. Secondly, the choice of sample, data collection instruments and analysis techniques used do not account for all the variance in the model. Finally, it appears that the instruments used to collect data are incomplete and not capable of demonstrating the variety of attitudes, aptitudes and skills involved as teachers and students use technological tools in the classroom. Theoretical Framework The authors adequately present the literature in support of their research question as to which affects GPA more, quality or quantity. The authors cite literature that argues this point (Loveless, 1996; McFarlane, 1997; Burbules & Callister, 2000; Cuban, 2001) to justify testing whether or not effective technology use depends on “how it was used” (Wenglingsky, 1998, p. 3). The authors comprehensively cite these sources to frame their work, but at times they do not employ the theories to frame their work. In order to meet the stated goals of this study, the authors should expand the theoretical framework of the study. As literacy, learning and pedagogy are affected by ICTs, we must question the traditional relationships between teacher, student and text and make the “classroom walls more porous” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 245) in order to examine the technological, literacy and discourse practices involved (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000). Because of the deictic changes (Leu, 2000) that are occurring to literacy it is important to incorporate a New Literacies perspective (Coiro, Knobel,
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 4 Lankshear & Leu, 2008; Leu, O‟Byrne, Zawilinski, McVerry, Everett-Cacopardo, 2009) to fully observe the interactions that occur as students and teachers use ICTs. The authors should also incorporate multiliteracies theory (New London Group, 1996), which would allow for the diverse social and cultural texts that extend around the world (Jewitt, 2008). Finally, the authors should include a theoretical perspective that accounts for multimodality. Multimodal (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001) analysis studies the use of signs, symbols and text that students recreate while using the medium afforded them by others. In making decisions about the “quality” of tools or work done by students, research shows that individuals draw upon “available modal resources” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 246) when working with ICTs. The inclusion of these three theoretical frameworks to the models already involved would allow the researchers to more thoroughly investigate the factors that affect technology use in the classroom. Specifically, the integration of these theoretical frameworks would allow the researchers to examine all effects brought about by changes to literacy, and posit responses needed by educators and researchers. Methodology Several limitations in the design and methodology of the study substantially restrict the conclusions that can be reached. It is not clear whether or not the subjects of the study are a convenience sample, from which limited conclusions can be drawn. This is a limitation of the study, but of much more significance is that the authors fail to disclose this and several other aspects about the design and methodology of the study. The participants come from a population where only 1% of the building receives free or reduced school lunch, and the teacher-student ratio was 9:1. The site of the survey also is host to a wealth of technological tools, including: computers and projectors in every classroom; wireless Internet connection; and one-to-one laptops for all students. The participant sample, after removing special education students, and students who did not complete both the pretest and posttest, consisted of 130 students. Aside from an apparent lack of power due to the small sample size, the authors made no other notation as to why students were included in the sample other than they had completed all requirements of the surveys. Consequently, the conclusions drawn by this study are diminished due to the design and structure of the sample group. The interviews were used to supplement the data received by the surveys, but the authors were not explicit in how teachers and students were selected for the semi-structured interviews. The questions used in the interviews were not shared in the paper but ranged from favorite technological tools, to perceived benefits, to student use of tools. The authors do not quantify the level of expertise the students and teachers of the interview pool have in regard to using technology or the instructional routines used with students. The analysis of the data from the surveys and interviews is only said to be “descriptive” in nature, and it is assumed that the taxonomy used to categorize the technology uses (Levin & Bruce, 2001) was somehow used in the analysis of the data. Since the authors themselves describe the initial analysis used “descriptive” sources, it is unclear what conclusions can be drawn from the data. The authors used the data from the surveys and compared them against student self-reported GPA to conduct T tests and an ANOVA to test correlations. The interview data were also coded according to an unknown coding scheme. Also, the authors do not explain the procedure for coding the results of the surveys or the interviews and any inter-rater checks to
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 5 ensure reliability (Shrout & Fleiss, 1979). As a result of these defects in design and the reporting of the study, it limits the replicability of the study to test its veracity. Measures A third flaw in the study is the incomplete selection of measures used to collect data. The researchers collected two forms of data throughout the study: surveys and interviews. The surveys were self-report surveys administered to students at the beginning and end of the academic year. These surveys consisted of four sections: demographic information; current technology use; self-report of GPA; and student technology uses. The pretest only included the first three sections, while the posttest included all four. Validity of this survey is called into question due to the fact that the survey is self-reported, and the dependent variable for which this study is based on students‟ self-reported GPA. The scope of the survey is too broad in that it refers to uses of technology that students never come into contact with, such as: overhead projectors, telephones, and TV/VCRs. The survey also consists of Likert scale items with a scale of 1-4. This small scale reduces the amount of variance explained from the analysis of the survey. Aside from the survey, nine students and ten teachers were given semi-structured interviews to obtain further perspective on which technology they used, the overall benefit of these tools, and which tools they believed students used. The authors do not provide any details on the interview questions or process that would allow for replication of the study. Furthermore there is no explanation as to why some individuals received interviews while others did not. Perhaps the authors could have considered implementing the following measures. First, there should be a measure of overall information fluency (Bunz, 2004), or an individual‟s ability to “express oneself creatively, reformulate knowledge, and synthesize information regarding new information technology” (Bunz, 2004, p. 2). Secondly, the researchers should have included a measure to collect data on the competency of the students and the teachers in the use of technology. The CEW Scale (Bunz, 2004) is one such tool, but there are other instruments that can be used to measure ability of technology use. Third, measures should also be used to determine the critical thinking and problem solving skills that are being used by students in order to truly identify that which improve GPA. In addition, there should also be measures to determine if teachers are actually using and modeling technology use in classroom instruction. This data could result in videotapes of lessons, observations or journals, but there should be some means to quantify the amount of technology used in the instructional routine of teachers. To fully recognize the effects of technology use in a classroom, it is important to recognize that of the five factors identified as key to developing instruction using technology (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000) the entire “model begins with immersion in an acquisition-rich environment” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 248). These additional measures would explicate the scope and depth of technology use and its place with the school. The measures used by the authors do little in terms of answering these questions. The authors cite McFarlane (1997) in the introduction to justify computer use and the importance of objectives in well-designed tasks. Perhaps they should have attended to McFarlane‟s comment that “lack of resources – computers and software are undeniably important. However, a shortage of appropriate training in the effective use of Instructional Technology may be the critical missing link (McFarlane, 1997, p. 3). None of the measures used in this study attempt to account for skill level of students or teachers in relation to technological use or instructional methods that support and model usage of technology.
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 6 Interpretation The study and authors‟‟ conclusions suffer from several flaws in logic, most of which are due to the issues found in the design and methodology of the study. This critique will be organized around the questions used by the authors in the results and discussion section. Additionally, the authors changed their research questions from those used initially to a different set of questions used in the results section. Consequently, questions abound as to significance of their resultant conclusions. As noted below in the italicized distinctions selected by the authors of the study, the deficiencies become more obvious. Result 1: Quantity of technology use: does the amount of time spent using technology have any impact on student achievement? The results shared by the authors describe a regression analysis that shows a negative correlation between quantity of time using technological tools and change in students‟ GPA. Aside from the negative and very low (Cohen, 1988) effect size (-0.047), the more problematic issue arises from the fact that the conclusions are based upon self-reported data. The authors share a “no-gainpoint” value of 3 hours per day of technology use as the cutoff point for affecting change in GPA, a finding that could be the subject of future research. The authors then split the sample into two groups based on use of more than 3 hours, or less than 3 hours of technology use per day. The analysis of an independent-sample T test is used to show that there is a significant difference in change of GPA between the groups (t(128) = 4.122, p<.001). Although this finding supports the earlier claim about the “no-gain-point” of 3 hours, no evidence is given to show equivalency of the two groups. The large amount of variance shown in the group with more than 3 hours of technology use also causes us to question equivalency between the groups. (Mean: -0.78, SD: .271). Result 2: How are technologies being used in schools in general? In this section, the authors share a multitude of technology use by students with the findings said to support earlier findings by Bruce & Levin (1997). It would be interesting to follow up these findings with future research that analyzed results obtained from student work and not just a survey or interview. This additional data point would reveal whether or not technology use was evident in the work being submitted by students. Result 3: What are the most frequent and least frequent technology uses? In the section on frequency of technology use by students, the authors separate the most popular and least popular uses based on student results. The findings are largely anecdotal and show uses that the students like and find to be “very cool.” The question remains how much of these results measure technology use as a part of teacher instruction and modeling, and not simply what the students find to be “very cool.” Result 4: Quality of technology use: what technology uses have positive educational impacts? This section of results determines “quality” of use based on correlation with GPA and results from interviews. Two central questions cloud the findings presented here. The first of which is the lack of measures to inform the nature of teacher instruction in the building and the second level of student ability in using the tools. Without either of these, and with holes in the theoretical framework, it is difficult to judge quality of use. The second problem is that Microsoft Word was shown to be a tool that students frequently used, but apparently has the least
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 7 positive impact on GPA. The authors share that students frequently used Microsoft Word as a hiding mechanism during off task behavior. Students were skilled at “switching programs” and covering up other activities with the Microsoft Word document to distract the teacher. Thus, this leads to uncertainty about the relationship between GPA and the “quality” of technology use. These facts call into question the relationship that the authors have created between GPA and “quality” of technology use. The addition of additional measures and tools such as video captures of students working online would go much further in reaching this conclusion. Result 5: Quantity vs. quality of technology use: are technology uses that had positive impact most frequently used? In this section the authors suggest that students rarely use technology that affects GPA positively, while negatively correlated uses are more frequent. The findings here are inconclusive because they do not account for teacher instruction and student‟s skill with technology. The graph provided in this section seems more a display of the types of technology use that teachers use with students as compared to what uses students employ on their own. The negatively correlated items (Microsoft Word, Internet, Emailing friends, PowerPoint) are shown in contrast to the technology uses that are required by instructional technology modeling (Create websites, Geometer‟s Sketchpad, Desktop Publishing, Programming, Aleks, Science Probe). Conclusion In outlining the conclusions and implications for further research, three other studies should be consulted that address the same questions about student technology use and working with media in the classroom using a much more rigorous approach. In the work undertaken by Kimber, Pillay & Richards (2007) a theoretical framework of technoliteracy is coined to incorporate the theories of multiliteracies and New Literacies. Multimodal design is also highlighted as a process for agency as students construct electronic concept maps and websites. The work of 41 teenage girls is analyzed using the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy (Biggs & Collis, 1982) which is used to differentiate levels of understanding shown in the products constructed by students. The participants are organized between two different classroom teachers, each of which has differing levels of expertise with technoliterate practices. The results suggest incremental and time-related increases in learning gains through the use of the technoliteracy instructional model and using multimodal texts. In the study by O‟Brien, Beach & Scharber (2007) the principles of motivation, new literacies, and multimediating are used to frame the endeavors of students working with multimodal sources. The seventh and eighth grade students (n = 15) worked with media-rich sources to examine how their work with the projects would affect agency, self-efficacy and their status as struggling readers and writers. Data analysis of observations, interviews, focus groups, thinkalouds, and change in standardized reading test scores showed greater engagement and increase in agency and self-efficacy. Finally, the research conducted by Watts & Lloyd (2004) examines the use of classroom interventions using ICT and multimedia use daily to explore gains in student achievement. The study consisted of 219 6th grade students in eight schools in the United Kingdom. The research
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 8 data consisted of pre- and post-test assessments, along with interviews with 48 teachers and students. The pre- and post-tests took place in a teaching unit on journalism and consisted of two writing tasks that were scored for quality and clarity of thought. Researchers compiled descriptive data about school and teacher performance, along with student GPA and standardized test scores. Results suggest use of ICTs and multimodal creation tools allow for growth in motivation, quality, complexity of writing, and linguistic abilities. Teachers noted difficulty in monitoring off-task students. Students described ICT use and working with multimodal texts to be a more reliable source of information than the teacher in some instances. Consequently, the study although inexact, leads to the understanding that improvement is possible as long as the sample group is comprehensively evaluated and results are predicated on sound scientific sampling.
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 9
References Biggs, J., & Collis, K. (1982). Evaluating the quality of learning: The SOLO taxonomy (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcomes). New York: Academic Press. Bruce, B. C., & Levin, J. A. (1997). Educational technology: media for inquiry, communication, construction, and expression. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 17(1), 79– 102. Burbules, N., & Callister, T. (2000). Watch IT: The promises and risks of new information technologies for education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Bunz, U. (2004). The Computer-Email-Web (CEW) Fluency Scale: Development and Validation. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 17, 479–506. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Coiro, J., Knobel, M., Lankshear, C. & Leu, D. (Eds.) (2008). Handbook of research on new literacies. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (Eds.). (2000). Multiliteracies. London: Routledge. Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in schools 1980–2000. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Flewitt, R. (2006). Using video to investigate preschool classroom interaction: Education research assumptions and methodological practices. Visual Communication, 5(1), 25–51. Jewitt, C. (2008). Multimodality and Literacy in School Classrooms. Review of Research in Education, 32(1), 241-267. Kimber, K., Pillay, H., & Richards, C. (2007). Technoliteracy and learning: An analysis of the quality of knowledge in electronic representations of understanding. Computers & Education, 48(1), 59-79. Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Multimodal discourse: The modes and media of contemporary communication. London: Arnold. Lei, J., & Zhao, Y. (2005). Technology uses and student achievement: A longitudinal study. Computers & Education, 49(2), 284-296. Leu, D. J. (2000). Literacy and technology: Deictic consequences for literacy education in an information age. In M.L. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, R. Barr, & P.D. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of reading research: Volume III (pp.743-770). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Leu, D.J., Jr., Kinzer, C.K., Coiro, J., Cammack, D. (2004). Toward a theory of new literacies
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 10 emerging from the Internet and other information and communication technologies. In R.B. Ruddell & N. Unrau (Eds.), Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading, Fifth Edition (1568-1611). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Leu, D. J., O‟Byrne, W. I., Zawilinski, L. McVerry, J. G., & Everett-Cacopardo, H. (2009). Expanding the New Literacies Conversation. Educational Researcher, 38(4), 264-269. Levin, J. & Bruce, B. (2001). Technology as media: the learner centered perspective. Paper presented at the 2001 AERA meeting, Seattle, WA. Loveless, T. (1996). Why aren‟t computers used more in schools? Educational Policy, 10(4), 448–467. McFarlane, A. (1997). What are we and how did we get here? In A. McFarlane (Ed.), Information technology and authentic learning: realizing the potential of computers in the primary classroom. London, England: Routledge. The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66, 60–92. O‟Brien, D., Beach, R., & Scharber, C. (2007). “Struggling” middle schoolers: Engagement and literate competence in a reading writing intervention class. Reading Psychology, 28(1), 51-73. Peyton, J., & Bruce, B. (1993). Understanding the multiple threads of network-based classrooms. In B. C. Bruce, J. K. Peyton, & T. W. Batson (Eds.), Network-based classrooms: Promises and realities (pp. 50–64). New York: Cambridge University Press. Shrout, P. & Fleiss, J. (1979). Intraclass correlations: Uses in assessing rater reliability. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 420-428. Wenglinsky, H. (1998). Does it compute: The relationship between educational technology and student achievement in mathematics. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Zhao, Y. (2003). What should teachers know about technology: Perspectives and practices. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing. Watts, M., & Lloyd, C. (2004). The use of innovative ICT in the active pursuit of literacy. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(1), 50-58.
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 11 Part Two – Study Design Rationale Literacy and the practices used to communicate have changed drastically as a result of the effects of Internet and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and their interaction in society (Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear & Leu, 2008). As these changes amalgamate into new modes and mediums of expression, researchers and educators endeavor to prepare adolescents for the skills and strategies needed. Because of the rapid change that is occurring, coupled with high stakes pedagogy and policy, classrooms have not witnessed a great deal of the change warranted by the permutations of ICTs on society (Leu, McVerry, O‟Byrne, Zawilinski, Castek & Hartman, 2009). The skills and strategies needed by these changes in literacy have begun to be understood through research that surveys the landscapes of both in-school and out-of-school contexts (Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear & Leu, 2008). Specifically, the literacy practices involved in reading and writing need to be examined by researchers as ICTs interact with them. This study extends the research on online reading comprehension and the instructional method known as Internet Reciprocal Teaching (IRT) (Leu, Coiro, Castek, Hartman, Henry, & Reinking, 2008). This quasi-experimental, mixed methods study (Shadish, Cook & Campbell, 2002; Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004) will examine the communication practices of adolescents as they construct media using ICT tools. The purpose of the study is to examine the effect of an instructional model on the skills and strategies used in online content construction by adolescents. This study will extend thinking on online content construction habits of students in online environments. The skills and strategies outlined within the nomonological net known as online content creation have been previously seen under many different names, from many different fields. Seen as skills referring to multiliteracies, new media, multimediating, digital storytelling, digital literacy, etc.; these areas and more are included within the construct of online content creation. Ultimately, online content creation is structured around the idea of content creation as defined by Sonia Livingstone in her theoretical definition of media literacy and the challenge of ICTs (2004). In order to “identify, in textual terms, how the Internet mediates the representation of knowledge, the framing of entertainment, and the conduct of communication” (Livingstone, 2004) the construct must be broad enough to allow for change in the future. This study will also examine how media construction and communication affect offline communication. Results will address effects of working with construction of media in three areas: (1) traditional writing achievement; (2) online reading comprehension; (3) instructional model; (4) dispositions of students skilled in online content creation. This study is timely and appropriate because it helps illuminate effects of instruction and modeling on student use of ICT tools. This study will also help researchers and educators examine future research needed to understand the effect on the complexity of activities involved as students use ICT tools for literacy practices. Theoretical Framework To properly address the dynamic nature of literacy as it is affected by ICTs, this study needs to be framed by multiple theoretical perspectives (Labbo & Reinking, 1999). The tenets of New Literacies theory, Multiliteracies, and Multimodal Design will be used to support the work being done in this study. New Literacies
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 12 Changes occurring to literacy as a result of ICTs have caused researchers to examine the “higher order thinking skills and flexibility” (Peterson & Walberg, 1979) that will be needed as adolescents interact globally. The pedagogies entrusted with facilitating these skills need to be reexamined as ICTs continue to “incorporate” (Bruce & Levin, 2003) themselves into literacy practices. New Literacies maintains that as technology evolves, literacy rapidly changes (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004), and this transactional relationship has grown with unprecedented speed (Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear, & Leu, 2008). Multiliteracies In communication and content construction using ICT tools, the construction of literacy occurs through the “legitimation and valuing of different kinds of texts and interactions” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 248). In order for these interactions to occur in the classroom it is important to expand the traditional texts and written languages used in order to incorporate the diverse communicative mediums that happen around the world (New London Group, 1996). Multimodal Design As an extension of the work outlining multimodalities (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001; Jewitt, 2008), design focuses on the subtle interplay of meaning in constructing multimodal texts. Design is outlined by six elements: linguistic, visual, audio, gestural, spatial and multimodal (New London Group, 2000). When incorporated with a new literacies framework, students act as “designers” and are “licensed to apply critiqued knowledge of the subject/topic synthesized from multimodal sources” (Kimber & Wyatt-Smith, 2006, p. 26). As a result the student constructs a “representation of new knowledge” (Kimber & Wyatt-Smith, 2006, p. 26), communicates this using illustrative capital and strives to engage their audience. Previous Research New Literacies of online reading comprehension Prior research informing this study includes the examinations of online reading comprehension (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro & Cammack, 2004; Leu et al., 2007). The research examined the skills and strategies necessary for students to successfully search, sift and succeed in finding answers to questions obtained in inquiry projects (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004). Work instructing adolescents in online reading comprehension skills (question, locate, evaluate, synthesize, communicate) included the implementation of IRT (Leu, Coiro, Castek, Hartman, Henry, & Reinking, 2008; Leu et al., 2008), proven to effectively build these skills in adolescents. IRT initially was based on Reciprocal Teaching (Palincsar & Brown, 1984). The goal of IRT is to facilitate the reading and communication practices used by individuals as they use ICT tools. Communication Research investigating computer mediated communication (CMC) as a pedagogical tool is still evolving and the focus is split between in-school and out-of-school settings. Of the research that examines in-school CMC use, there is some research that informs this study. Research shows that children do use CMC tools successfully in classrooms (Burnett & Myers, 2006), but that many times they seem more preoccupied in editing styles and fonts rather than content or grammar (Matthewman & Triggs, 2004). It is highly accepted that CMC tools are rapidly changing communication in the classroom (Burnett, Dickinson, Myers & Merchant, 2006), but in order to see gains in writing complexity and voice (Merchant, Dickson, Burnett & Myers, 2006)
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 13 extensive research into scaffolding techniques is required (Vincent, 2006). Not only has CMC use been shown to raise engagement levels in the most recalcitrant writers (McGinnis, 2007; Harushimana, 2008), it has also been able to build volume, creativity and complexity in student writing (Vincent, 2001; Riley & Ahlberg, 2004; Kimber, Pillay & Richards, 2007). Even as we learn more about CMC use by adolescents, they continue to reinvent ways to use the tools to their own purposes (Merchant, 2001; Merchant, 2005; Mallan & Giardina, 2009). Media Construction Online content creation (OCC) by students in educational settings also suffers from a paucity of research that strives to inform a highly dynamic field. Even as researchers begin to understand the practices of OCC tool use by adolescents, the divisions between practices, mediums and genres blur (Kervin, 2009), and the roles of students and educators merge as well (Matthewman, Blight & Davies, 2004). Despite the vacillating ground upon which OCC is situated, students and educators are able to successfully use media to construct and reconfigure new spaces and mediums where previously none existed (Hull & Katz, 2006; Marsh, 2006; Ranker, 2008). OCC has been shown to motivate students (Watts & Lloyd, 2004), and build student agency (Skinner & Hagood, 2008) even for students with special needs (Faux, 2005). Furthermore, research shows students able to complete complex tasks, producing high quality content, sometimes with little or no instruction (Bruce, 2008; Courtland & Paddington, 2008; Nelson, Hull & RocheSmith, 2008). Design Research Questions (1) What effects does an instructional model supporting media construction and communication using ICT tools have on traditional writing performance, while controlling for previous writing ability? (2) What effects does an instructional model supporting media construction and communication using ICT tools have on online reading comprehension performance? (3) What are the skills and strategies used by 8th grade students that effectively use online tools for media construction and communication? Participants The students in this study will be 360 eighth grade students from an urban school in Connecticut, which is justified (ES: 0.2, power: 0.95, : 0.05) by a power analysis (Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, & Buchner, 2007). This school was chosen because it provides a diverse background of socioeconomics, ethnicity, technical ability, and academic achievement. The students will be recruited from a population of three eighth grade English language arts (ELA) teachers in one building. The teachers will be selected from volunteers and randomly assigned to the treatment or control groups (at three levels). The students that the teachers normally would receive at the beginning of each school year will be recruited for this study. Teachers normally are assigned 120 students and it is the duty of the team to divide them between four classes, so each class will consist of around 30 students. Students documented with learning disabilities or as limited English proficient will account for 30% of the students, or 100 students across all three groups. Eighth grade students in this middle school have been selected because the Direct Assessment of Writing (DAW) portion of the state diagnostic tests in seventh and eighth grades focuses on persuasive writing. This sample was also selected because the school administers school-wide
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 14 writing prompts (SWP) that mimic the DAW three times during the year (September, January & May). Although this sample is partially a convenience sample, it provides the researcher with the opportunity to compare student results with progress on state assessed writing (7th & 8th grade DAW) and two measures of building assessed writing (SWP in September & January). These two measures provide objective data using traditional offline measures that are assessed State and locally, not self-reported data. Two trained raters, whose scores are added into a composite score, usually conduct scoring on the DAW and SWP. If scores disagree by more than one point, a third rater with more training scores them. Training includes use of holistic methods such as anchor sets to ensure reliability of scores. Independent & Dependent Measures The independent variable is classroom condition, which has three levels: treatment group using IRT as an instructional model in assisting content creation with one-to-one computer access; control group teaching 8th grade English curriculum with one-to-one computer access; control group teaching 8th grade English curriculum without one-to-one computer access. The second control group without computer access will have the ability to use a computer lab at the school. The dependent variables are: 1) 7th & 8th grade scores on the CT State DAW test; 2) pre- and posttest scores on the SWP in September & January; 3) Pretest & posttest scores on Online Reading Comprehension Assessment (ORCA); 4) coded and transcribed video screen captures of student interviews. The ORCA has been shown to display high measures of validity and reliability (McVerry, O‟Byrne & Robbins, 2009). Procedure Students will use media construction tools to build websites during student inquiry projects. These tools include, but are not limited to: iPhoto and Aviary (photo editing software); iWeb (website creation software): iMovie (video editing software); Audible (audio editing software; and Microsoft Word. Within the 8th grade ELA curriculum, students will select a topic of interest, use the Internet to inquire about the topic and construct a website to communicate findings. Students will research and work collaboratively, but each student will submit his/her own work. The treatment classroom will be equipped with one laptop per student, wireless Internet connectivity, and an LCD projector connected to the teacher‟s laptop. One of the control classrooms will be equipped with one laptop per student, wireless Internet connectivity, and an LCD projector connected to the teacher‟s laptop. Beginning in September all students will take the pretest assessments (ORCA & SWP). The teachers from all three groups will receive basic training in the context of media construction tools and IRT. Both control teachers will be expected to use normal classroom instruction to assist the students in working through the 8th grade ELA curriculum; the control group with computer access can use the machines at their discretion. Since the IRT model has been validated (Leu et al., 2008), any modifications made to the IRT model as a result of focusing on media construction and communication will be noted for future iterations of the model. The researcher and classroom teacher will discuss and make changes to the model when necessary. Weekly fidelity protocols (Leu et al., 2008) will document adherence to the model, and any changes made.
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 15 The treatment will occur for 90 minutes, twice a week for 16 weeks. The researcher will serve as an observer in the classroom. Instruction will consist of three phases, consistent with the IRT model. Phase 1 will be largely teacher directed and provide modeling for students of online reading comprehension skills and media construction tools. Phase 2 will build upon student strategy exchange skills, with some instructor scaffolding. Students will plan the purpose, audience and design of the website and begin construction. Phase 3 is largely student directed, with the instructor highlighting work by groups, providing “just in time” strategies (Gee, 2003), or directing groups to representative websites. The final products for this study will be a graphic organizer and a website. The graphic organizer is a storyboard (Bailey & Blythe, 1998) completed by students using colored pencils. The students are to complete the graphic organizer, adding in all details and functions of the proposed website. Each class in the intervention will discuss the characteristics they believe a high quality website contains after being given a list of ten sample websites by the instructors. Rubrics to assess websites will be constructed by students with instructor support. The qualitative data gathering for the study will take place in three phases. First, the top ten scoring students on the critical evaluation instrument will be interviewed using iShowU, screen capture software. The students will be asked to share decisions made during the content creation process. These interviews will be coded and transcribed using NVivo 8, a qualitative data analysis program. Coding procedures will use a rigorous content analysis (Mayring, 2000) to inductively analyze (Patton, 2002) the documents. Qualitative data, such as website content and student commentary, will be analyzed through a constant comparative analysis (Straus & Corbin, 1990). Analysis Quantitative Analysis RQ#1: The hypothesis of interest is: What effects does an instructional model supporting media construction and communication using ICT tools have on traditional writing performance, while controlling for previous writing ability? An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) will be run separately for the DAW and SWP, using the pretest for each as the covariate. The rationale for running these analyses separate is that there is likely a high correlation between the two tests because the SWP is meant to prepare students for the DAW. ANCOVA is preferred in this context because it focuses on posttest differences between the groups (e.g., prior writing ability, prior instruction), while holding pretest differences constant. RQ#2: The hypothesis of interest is: What effects does an instructional model supporting media construction and communication using ICT tools have on online reading comprehension performance? An analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be used to test differences from pretest to posttest of the ORCA within groups. The three levels of group membership as the independent variable, pretest and posttest scores on the ORCA will be used as the dependent variables. Although there may be a difference between offline writing skills, online communication skills, and working with multimodal sources, it is hypothesized that correlations will exist between these variables. Very high correlations could exist between the DAW, SWP and ORCA. Because
O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 16 of this the decision has been made to run them separately. Furthermore, a MANOVA could be used to test correlations between the dependent variables. Qualitative Analysis RQ#3: The hypothesis of interest is: What are the skills and strategies used by 8th grade students that effectively use online tools for media construction and communication? The top ten scoring students on the websites, as identified by the rubric, will be interviewed using iShowU, screen capture software. The students will be asked to share decisions made during the content creation process. These interviews will be coded and transcribed using NVivo 8, a qualitative data analysis program. Coding procedures will use a rigorous content analysis (Mayring, 2000) to inductively analyze (Patton, 2002) the documents. Qualitative data, such as website content and student commentary, will be analyzed through a constant comparative analysis (Straus & Corbin, 1990). Potential Limitations Limitations exist because the study uses a non-equivalent groups design and the study lacks random assignment of group membership. The threat of selection could affect internal validity; prior differences between groups could affect outcomes of the study. Not much is known about correlations between online content creation or communication and traditional writing skills. There could be other variables affecting these relationships, and this study will uncover these. There are other variables that affect traditional writing ability; showing a correlation with skills in online spaces does not mean that one affects the other. Future studies should create assessments of online media construction or communication and test how these correlate to instructional method, prior instruments, and student dispositions. References Bailey, G. & Blythe, M. (1998). Outlining, Diagramming and Storyboarding – Three Essential Strategies for Planning and Creating Effective Educational Websites. Learning & Leading With Technology, 6-11. Bruce, B., & Levin, J. (2003). Roles for new technologies in language arts: Inquiry, communication, construction, and expression. In J. Flood, D. Lapp, J. Squire, & J. Jensen (Eds.), The handbook for research on teaching the language arts, 2nd edition (649-657). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bruce, D. (2008). Visualizing literacy: Building bridges with media. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 24(3), 264-282. Burnett, C., & Myers, J. (2006). Observing children writing on screen: Exploring the process of multi-modal composition. Language and Literacy, 8(2), 1. Burnett, C., Dickinson, P., Myers, J., & Merchant, G. (2006). Digital connections: transforming literacy in the primary school. Cambridge Journal of Education, 36(1), 1129. Coiro, J., Knobel, M., Lankshear, C. & Leu, D. (Eds.) (2008). Handbook of research on new literacies. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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Courtland, M., Paddington, D., & Schools, L. (2008). Digital literacy in a grade 8 classroom: An e-zine webquest. Language and Literacy, 10(1), 1. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175-191. Faux, F. (2005). Multimodality: how students with special educational needs create multimedia stories. Education, Communication & Information, 5(2), 167-181. Gee, J. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Macmillan. New York. Harushimana, I. (2008). Literacy through gaming: The influence of videogames on the writings of high school freshman males. Journal of Literacy and Technology, 9(2), 1-22. Hull, G., & Katz, M. (2006). Crafting an agentive self: Case studies of digital storytelling. Research in the Teaching of English, 41(1), 43. Jewitt, C. (2008). Multimodality and Literacy in School Classrooms. Review of Research in Education, 32 (1), 241-267. Johnson, R.B. & Onwuegbuzie, A.J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33, 14-26. Kervin, L. (2009). 'GetReel': engaging year 6 students in planning, scripting, actualising and evaluating media text. Literacy, 43(1), 29-35. Kimber, K. & Wyatt-Smith, C. (2006). Using and creating knowledge with new technologies: a case for students-as-designers. Learning, Media and Technology, 31(1), 19-34. Kimber, K., Pillay, H., & Richards, C. (2007). Technoliteracy and learning: An analysis of the quality of knowledge in electronic representations of understanding. Computers & Education, 48(1), 59-79. Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Multimodal discourse: The modes and media of contemporary communication. London: Arnold. Labbo, L. & Reinking, D. (1999). Negotiating the multiple realities of technology in literacy research and instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 34, 478-492. Leu, D.J., Jr., Kinzer, C.K., Coiro, J., Cammack, D. (2004). Toward a theory of new
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O’Byrne Comprehensive Exam 2nd Task - 20 Shadish, W., Cook, T. & Campbell, D. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized casual inference. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Skinner, E., & Hagood, M. (2008). Developing literate identities with English langauge learners through digital storytelling. The Reading Matrix. 8(2). Retrieved June 1, 2009, from http://www.readingmatrix.com/archives/archives_vol8_no2.html Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Vincent, J. (2001) The Role of visually rich technology in facilitating children‟s writing. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 17, 242-250. Vincent, J. (2006). Children writing: Multimodality and assessment in the writing classroom. Literacy, 40(1), 51-57. Watts, M., & Lloyd, C. (2004). The use of innovative ICT in the active pursuit of literacy. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(1), 50-58.
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