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“To Scan Or Not To Scan?

Action Research 2009
Mari-anne Coughlin –Rm7
Patrice Connor – Rm17
Kristy McBride - Rm18
Emma Stuart –Rm23

Abstract:

The aim of this action research project was to investigate whether student’s reading of information was enhanced through
the use of the interactive board. We were particularly interested to see whether scanned material shown on an interactive
white board was easier for students to use than the traditional paper copy.

Introduction:

As teachers we are constantly being told to reduce our use of paper - “Way too much paper consumed this term!” One of
the major technical changes within our classrooms over the last two years have seen the introduction of interactive white
boards and we have been encouraged to incorporate these into our teaching through scanning material for our students
to use rather than photocopying. We could all see that by using the scanning of material we would certainly be saving our
budgets and saving trees however we decided to see whether in fact the use of scanned material for reading was actually
making things easier on our students.

With the knowledge that all students have differing learning styles we were also interested to see if these technological
advances could actually be causing some students to be challenged even further in their daily learning. A recent
breakthrough in technology is looking at scanned books for small screens, which as teachers we need to be thinking
about and considering how this could affect our teaching and student’s learning in the future.

Research Method:

As a group of Year 7 teachers we decided to look at differences in achievement between students using the interactive
board (scanned text) and the paper version (close reading). We selected six different reading and comprehension ‘KEY’
activities based around a 10-12year age level. Our classes were split into boys and girls as this provided a good mix of
ability levels across the groups.

During each session the two groups were given the same text. One group was given the paper copy and the other read
off the interactive board. All students wrote their answers in their reading activities books.

Students were given 20 minutes to complete the task and if they completed before this time they were given a time to
record on their work.

The collated results include a comparison between girls and boys and active board and reading from paper copy.
Research Findings:

Room23
Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5 Test 6
Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys
close close close close close close
Mean 3 3.06 2.9 3.11 2.82 2.3 3.76 3.5 4.21 4.16 2.72 2.84
Score
Median 2.5 3 3 3.5 3 3 4 3.5 4 4 3 3
Score
Range 3 3 3.5 3.5 2.5 3 2 4 2 2 4 4
Average - - 9.00 6.23 6.89 5.33 8.20 4.61 4.87 4.36 7.06 4.11
Time
(mins)

Total mean scores for boys and girls in room 23
Total mean scores across the 3 close tests

10.
2
1
0
9. Boys
8 close
Boy
9. s
6 Girls
9. close
Girl
4 s
9.
2
9
1
Boys and girls close and non-
close

Room 7
Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5 Test 6
Rm 7 Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys
close Close close Close close close
Mean 3.3 2.8 3.0 3.1 2.5 1.9 4.5 4 3.75 3.71 2.36 2.46
Score
Median 3 3 3 3 3 2 5 4 4 4 2 2
Score
Range 4 5 4 4 3 5 2 3 3 3 3 4
Average 14.33 11.97 11.41 8.34 8.09 7.79 7.41 5.02 6.75 6.52 7.53 7.58
Time (mins)

Total mean scores for boys and girls in room
7
Total mean score across the 3 close

1
0
9.
5 Boys
9 close
Boy
sGirls
8.
5 close
Girl
8 s

7.
5 1
tests

Boys and girls close and non-
close
Room 17
Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5 Test 6
Board Game Cricket Magician E-mail
Rm 17 Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys
Close Close Close Close close
Mean - - 3.77 3.13 3.83 3.81 4.5 3.93 4.11 3.75 - -
Score
Median - - 4 3 4 4 5 5 4 4 - -
Score
Range - - 3 3 3 3 1 4 3 4 - -
Average - - 13.18 17 11.33 12.37 9.6 12.75 8.88 10.33 - -
Time (mins)
Total mean score across the 2 close tests

Total mean scores for boys and girls in room
17
8.
4
8.
28
7. Boys
8
7. close
Boy
6
7. sGirls
4
7.
27 close
Girl
6. s
8
6.
6
6.
4 1
Boys and girls close and non-
close

Room 18
Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5 Test 6
Rm 18 Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys
close Close close Close close close
Mean 2.69 2.8 3.1 3.46 3.65 3.61 3.37 3.5 3.92 4.4 3.7 2.72
Score
Median 3 3 3.5 3 3 3 4 3.5 4 5 3.5 3
Score
Range 5 4.5 3.5 3 4 3 3 3 3 2 3 3
Average - - 10.56 6.56 8.81 8.39 7.21 5.31 5.16 5.1 6.86 7.16
Time (mins)

Total mean scores for boys and girls in room
18
Total mean score across the 3 close

1
10.
1
8
10.
10.
6 Boys
10.
4 close
Boy
21 sGirls
0
9.
8
9. close
Girl
6
9. s
4
9.
29
1
tests

Boys and girls close and non-
close
Reading for Information
Survey

1. I found it easy to read and answer questions when I had the piece of paper in front of me.

Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree

1----------------------------2---------------------------3------------------------4------------------------5

2. I found it easy to read and answer questions from the interactive white board.

Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree

1-----------------------------2--------------------------3------------------------4--------------------------5

3. I preferred (circle one) paper / interactive board
Explain why ….

4. Did you need to leave your desk to read the screen? Yes / No
Student Preference

1
1. Paper
2 2.Active board
3 3. Either

Discussion:

Variables:
There were a number of variables to be considered in this action research – these included the time of day the sessions
were conducted, active board / paper copy, inference / re-organisation aspects of each task and whether students
received feedback with regards to their achievement scores for each session.

Observation Notes: (survey)
Children were given the opportunity to move within the class when using the active board and many took this option.
When asked in the survey why they moved their reasons included:
• Being too far away from the active board
• Lighting issues within the classroom
• Blurriness of the scanned text

Constraints:
We discovered that the size of scanned text couldn’t be enhanced by much due to the fact that it tended to blur making it
very difficult for the students to read easily.

Conclusions:

Our Action Research focused on three main areas student preference, student achievement and the time taken by
students to complete each set task.

Pupil Preference
Our findings indicated that students overwhelmingly preferred using paper with 80% students who took part in this
research indicating this. Based on their responses about why this was their preference in the Student Survey the
following statements were made:
• It is easier to read the paper and better to have it directly in front of you when you are working
• Having the paper meant I could quickly glance at it if I was unsure of something
• I found it easier to concentrate on what I was doing with the paper
• It was easier for me to keep track of where I was at on the paper
• No-one is blocking what you are looking at and I can use the paper as a reference once it’s marked
• I found it easier to use the paper because I have a slight stigmatism

Our findings showed us 16% of students preferred the active board and 4% didn’t have a particular preference. Of those
students who preferred using the active board some of their reasons for this included:
• It suited me because my desk is up at the front of the class
• I enjoyed using the active board because the print was bigger than on the paper and I could see it easier
Pupil Achievement

There were some interesting outcomes when we reviewed the pupil achievement data with variation across the four
classes.
• Room 7 – the boys achieved marginally better using the paper test while the girls showed significant
improvement when using the paper
• Room 17 – the boys showed significant improvement using the paper test while the girls were marginally better
using paper
• Room 18 – boys significantly achieved better using the active board while the girls showed marginally
improvement using the active board
• Room 23 – boys showed a significant improvement using the active board while the girls were significantly better
using the paper test

Overall our research showed us that both boys and girls across the four classes achieved marginally better using the
paper test.

Time

Although time wasn’t a major focus of this research it was interesting to see from our results that generally all students
completed successive tasks in less time whether using the paper test or the active board. This could be explained
through students becoming more familiar with the test format or through them developing their scanning skills such as
reading the questions prior to reading the text. Another possibility is that once they realised they were being timed they
tend to rush through the task.

Questions for further discussion or research arising from our Action Research

• What effect does using the active board and scanned text have on students with reading problems or dyslexia?
• Is there a better method of inputing text which allows for a clearer more user friendly resource?
• Would using active boards regularly for this type of reading comprehension activity develop the skills of the
students to better cope with this new technology?