Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Research: Students and Technology

Question: Which teachers use technology the most frequently? What is the effect of technology on students?

Grunwald Associates. (2010). Educators, technology and 21st century skills: Dispelling five myths.
Bethesda, MD: Grunwald Associates

Surveys 783 teachers and 274 principals in 2009 regarding use of technology in their schools.

Answer: Secondary teachers, especially science, social studies, and math teachers use technology more frequently than elementary teachers. The effect of technology on students of every grade level and level of achievement is that they are “engaged” when involved with technology.

Comment: I have no question that students are engaged by technology. My question: how productive is this engagement with technology? A teacher friend found that the cardboard version of the SRA Reading Kit was a complete failure from the students’ point of view, but a computerized version enthralled them. Put a worksheet on the computer and the students will be engaged and involved. Certainly the engagement and involvement count for something, but how much do they learn? The question is not whether the computerized version of the work sheet is effective, but whether another approach to what is being taught would lead to better and deeper learning. I sound like a Luddite.

Of one thing I am sure: Any English teacher teaching any subject or any topic in English should check on the availability of information on that topic on the Internet. The most ordinary problems in grammar are subject to delightful opportunities for introducing and practicing the problem. The most ordinary problems in grammar will have hundreds of thousands of Web sites on the Internet. RayS.

“Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” Richard Beach et al. Research in the Teaching of English (November 2010), Internet. Note: The editors of RTE said that so much research was available they did not want to burden the paper edition of the journal with it, so they relegated their annotated reports on research to the Internet.

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