Laurie Pitcock
Tara Howard
Amber Haslag
M.A.T.H.S. Technology Action Research Plan
Section 1
Introduction
Technology is revolutionizing instruction in elementary classrooms daily. Matching one
technology to existing curriculum is challenging because technology is continually improving.
Textbooks are slowly being replaced with digital versions. This is even being done with math
instruction. We see Smartboards, BYOD/BYOT (Bring your own device/technology), and
personal computers implemented daily. Can utilizing digital materials can be beneficial for
students and teachers in elementary math instruction?
This year teachers will be facing new and challenging responsibilities in the areas of
student standardized test scores on the Common Core curriculum and a teacher evaluation
process that includes the effective and frequent use of technology for instruction. It is essential
that teachers know the effectiveness that technology can bring to math instruction. If research
demonstrates that technology is effective for math instruction and teachers are teaching the
same curriculum, can we share materials and lesson plans in a collaborative way that results in
the best use of teacher time? Can we collaborate in a way that provides for teacher professional
development in effective use of technology?
Digital resources can be helpful for teachers and students because they provide a
uniform platform for instruction. Traditionally, teachers use their discretion and are limited in
their resources. Textbook lessons are somewhat one dimensional but all students are not.
Digital tools can provide more engaging material for students. The resources and opportunities
with digital math curricula provide limitless possibilities for students and teachers. Although most
programs do have some digital component, one that is fully available in a digital format forces
teachers and students to become comfortable with a more technology centered delivery.
Students have opportunities to connect with material at home as well as collaborating with peers
in class. This allows even greater opportunities for parents to get involved and for students to
get help at home and be ready for more in depth lessons in class.
Assessment and data monitoring are also advantages of digital curriculum (Reily,
2004). With clear goals and expectations for students, teachers can easily monitor student
performance and differentiate instruction, giving more time where students need help.
As technology plays an increasingly more important part of our day to day lives, utilizing
a digital program not only addresses students current needs but prepares them for their future.
Even though technology is not without its flaws and issues, experience can provide us with
ways to solve these problems. Great technical support can remedy issues and give support to
teachers implementing curriculum. Learning with technology shows students how to be lifelong
learners in this digital age.
Research has shown and teachers know well that there is a wide spectrum of math
ability levels in each classroom (O’Malley et al., 2013). How can a teacher address each
different level without frustrating students or wasting student learning time? Technology
provides opportunities for teachers to address differing student ability level in small group
instruction or through 1:1 computing.
Math is a preferred subject to begin utilizing a primarily technology driven program.
While reading is important to understanding math it is not the most vital skill. Math works well
because skills can be improved regardless of reading levels. Because math is not tied directly
to reading, especially in the primary grades, students who struggle with reading can feel
successful in math. Using technology to set and achieve goals in Math will motivate students as
well as improve a students’ self efficacy. The website IXL.com will be the focus of our study.
We chose this site for the appeal to students, cost, and ease of tracking and reporting data.
Area of Focus Statement
The purpose of this study is to determine if digital math curriculum or digital tools will
improve math performance. Many students view math as difficult and assign a negative
connotation to it. Incorporating technology into math curriculum can provide a way to engage
students and connect math to their lives. Digital math resources can be beneficial to students by
differentiating learning paths. A district’s curriculum is uniform in the sense that every teacher
receives the same materials but technology could ease the implementation or add valuable
resources that help learning for all students. In this digital age, students need to be
technologically savvy and using digital curriculum and resources gives students experience with
technology at an early age.
Research Question
How can digital resources improve performance over traditional whole group instruction
using textbooks, specifically in math?
Will effective technology use result in an increase of student achievement in math for
elementary aged students?
Related Literature
Medicino, Razzaq and Hefferman (2009) studied the difference between Web-based and
traditional paper and pencil homework. They found a significant increase in students that
completed and understood their homework using web-based homework. The Web-based
homework was done on an ASSIST system that acted like a tutor for the students. Having the
digital component of the math curriculum can keep students engaged at their level for
mathematics even at home therefore promoting a lifelong learning of math.
Reily (2004) compared different digital math curricula. The author connected the
benefits of three programs ProProgress Math, PLATO Math, and CompassLearning Odyssey
Math-for districts going through the process of purchasing or how they could help the students.
A huge component of those programs was their focus on data and assessment. Individualized
data can help teachers track individual students and where they might need help or need to be
pushed.
Foughty and Keller(2011) reported how teachers in Indiana changed their math
instruction by participating in a program that replaced textbooks with digital curricula. Teachers
there found that students had the chance to learn at their own pace allowing some students to
learn more than one year’s worth of curriculum in a few months. Teachers felt that the digital
curricula allowed them to shift time away from grading papers to monitoring student data.
Indiana allowed schools to make the decision how to implement the curricula. This gave schools
and teachers the flexibility to meet individual students needs in the way that best suited their
students.
Lan, Sung, Tan, Lin, & Chang(2010) conducted research on the effectiveness of
portable digital devices for instruction of computational estimation through problem based
learning with elementary school students. Each student in the experimental group was given a
TravelMate C110 Convertible Tablet PC and used Group Scribbles (GS), developed by SRI
international (SRI International, 2007). The students in both the experimental and control groups
received identical instructional scenarios, were encouraged to collaborate and given very similar
visual aids. The difference came in that the experimental group collaborated with their group
using a tablet PC and the control group collaborated through being physically grouped together.
The researchers discovered that in the control group, students with better ability dominated the
collaborative process while the other students in the group almost always listened to and agreed
with the higher performing students. This was also borne out in test results that showed
students in the control group achieved metacognitive learning at lower levels. The students in
the experimental group of “this study found that significantly more students in the experimental
group than the control group could choose appropriate strategies for solving real world
problems.” (Lan, Sung, Tan, Lin, & Chang, 2010).
O’Malley, Jenkins, Wesly, Donehower, Rabuck, and Lewis (2013) researched if using
the Racer App for iPad would result in improvement in accuracy and speed with which a student
can solve simple computations. The data sample included ten students with moderate to severe
cognitive disabilities. The researchers recorded the time it took students to complete twenty
basic addition and subtraction problems and the number correct. There were three findings
from this research. They found that the iPad App was highly engaging for students and teachers
had a very positive response to their use with their students. The effect of this App on increased
basic math fluency was mixed. It helped some students make significant gains and with other
students showed it was not effective. The third finding was qualitative data concerning the
integration of technology with learning.
Intervention
For this action research plan, we will collect data from a control group of 20-25 3rd grade
students and an experimental group of 20-25 3rd grade students. The students will be in the
same school and grade level with different teachers. The control group of students will receive
instruction on a lesson over multiplication/division in math. The control group will use traditional
paper and pencil methods along with whole group instruction from a teacher to complete the
lesson. The experimental group will experience the same lesson but use digital tools
specifically the website IXL.com to work through problems. This gives the opportunity to do
research in a normal classroom setting. Although there would be two different teachers in the
classrooms, the lessons will be the over the same material with different delivery. Scores on the
short pre and post test will provide data to see if the digital tool made a difference.
Section II
Data Collection Strategies Overview
Our research utilizes various data collection strategies. Observation of teachers will give
researchers an idea of the two classrooms and to ensure that research will be conducted
according to the research plan. A student questionnaire will give the researchers a student
perspective of technology in their math class. The teacher questionnaire will show to what
extent technology is used currently and what teachers might like to do with technology more in
math. The last data collection strategy will be data collected from the pre and post tests given
to the students before the implementation of technology to help practice facts of multiplication
and division.
Our research plan will be valid because the intervention group and comparison group
are the same ages, at the same school, and will have been taught the same lesson. The
teachers will both follow as closely as possible to the lesson plan ensuring students receive the
same material. The pre and post tests that will be given to both classes will be the exact same
in time for completion, number of questions, and wording of questions. The preciseness of the
tests will give the researchers a good indication if digital tools can improve achievement in math.
The results will be reliable because the experiment could easily be repeated with another set of
classes. We have controlled all variables to keep classes as close to same as possible.
Quantitative data will be gathered from the pre and post test scores of both classes.
This data will be analyzed to see if digital tools played a role in achievement. Qualitative data
will be gathered from observation and questionnaires completed by the students and teachers.
This will help inform the researchers of the current environment in the classroom and school. It
will also give a clearer picture of the classroom especially with the view the students and
teachers hold about technology and how it plays a part in their classroom and their learning.
The student participants will remain anonymous in our study and their names will be kept
confidential. We will ask for informed consent from the teacher participants to release their
names only to other teachers in our school in order that future questions may be directed
specifically to them for the purpose of improved teacher instruction. We will review and follow
local school district protocol. Administration will be briefed before starting the research. Their
approval will indicate the beginning of the research. Parent approval will not be needed
because it is implementing curriculum in different ways but not changing the content in any way
that will affect the students.
Data Sources
The student questionnaire would be given to the students first. This questionnaire seeks
information about student attitudes toward math in general and using computers to learn math.
It asks if they think computers help them to improve their math skills and how often their teacher
use technology to teach math. The teacher questionnaire would be given to the teachers by the
researchers when they are available to meet prior to the math lesson. The pre tests will be
given to both classes then the teachers will teach the math lesson. The intervention group will
receive instruction along with ten minutes of individual practice daily using IXL.com on a
computer. The comparison group will receive instruction along with ten minutes of practice daily
using conventional, non digital resources. The After two weeks of instruction of multiplication
and division, the teachers will give the short timed post test to both classes. The teachers will
give the post test on the same day. The tests will be graded and reviewed by the researchers
who will use the answers as data to compare the classes. Researchers will observe throughout
the lessons to ensure that the teachers are following all specific instructions and both lessons
are being taught the same way. During the observation, researchers will count the number of
minutes the classroom teacher uses technology and determine the percentage of students that
are engaged while using technology. Even with only two classes, the exact comparison should
be enough to see if technology played an impact in the learning of students in an elementary
math classroom.
Data Analysis Plans
The teacher questionnaire will provide information about how the teachers use
technology for math skills in elementary classrooms. Researchers will calculate the mean
average of minutes teachers report using technology per week. Teachers will also respond with
exactly what type of technology they use for math. Researchers will figure the totals of the
types of hardware and software used by the teachers. The remaining answers will give
researchers a clearer picture of how the technology is used in math instruction specifically fact
fluency. Researchers will calculate the number of yes/no answers to these remaining
questions. The specific answers will lead researchers to know exactly how much time is spent
with technology and how technology is being used. The answers will show how the school
responds to technology and how it is incorporated in math either by curriculum itself, math facts,
or teacher use. The questionnaire answers will show how aware teachers are of the use of
technology and in ways they do or do not incorporate technology into their math instruction
daily.
The most important data will be collected from the pre and post test scores from the
classes. They will be analyzed to see if digital tools can improve math skills. The researchers
will calculate four mean averages for two classes and two tests (pre and post). The student
questionnaire will be short but include student perspective on technology in their math class.
The observation of students will be completed in the weeks prior to the actual conducting
of the research. Students will be researched in their own classrooms during their normal math
time. Researchers will be specifically looking for the use of digital tools when students are
practicing their math skills. Researchers will collect data in the form of anecdotal notes. The
notes will be collected, along with data from other sources such as instructional coaches or
administrators in the building, to get a clear picture of technology use in math in an elementary
classroom.
Section III
Will there be other people involved in your action research project? If so, who are they
and what would be their responsibilities?
Our project will include two participating third grade classroom teachers. These teachers
will need to be available to meet before, during and after the intervention in order to prepare to
implement critical portions of the project. We will need two groups of twenty to twenty-five
students in two separate third grade classes. The groups of students will be in the classes of
the two participating teachers. We will interview and communicate with the instructional coach
and administrators at the school. They will provide anecdotal evidence to the researchers
pertaining to the use of technology to teach math in third grade classrooms at this school. The
administrators will be responsible for giving the final approval for us to conduct this research
project.
What negotiations would you need to undertake prior to beginning your project? For
example, would you need to secure an administrator's permission? Parents' permissions?
In order to conduct ethical research we will review and follow district protocol. We will
meet with the principal, third grade level assistant principal, and the instructional coach. The
purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Teacher Action Research Plan, obtain permission, and
finalize the implementation timeline. Parent permission is not needed since student participants
will remain anonymous and their names, scores, and any related notes will be kept confidential.
The students will receive instruction on the same curriculum so there are no concerns about a
negative impact on their learning. We will ask for informed consent from the two participating
teachers since their names will be released to other teachers in the school. This allows an
opportunity for follow-up questions within the building.
What is the projected timeline for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data?
Data collection and analyzation will be done on a timeline established by the teachers
and approved by administration before starting the project. It will coincide with content so the
teachers do not have modify or change timing of any lessons.The week prior to intervention,
researchers will meet with administrators and teachers to gather data and share information.
Researchers will start to collect qualitative data by implementing the teacher questionnaire and
the student questionnaire before the start of the intervention. Researchers will meet with the
instructional coach and administrators to collect information about the use of technology to
teach math in third grade classrooms. The intervention phase of the research project will take
two weeks. Pre test data will be collected shortly before the intervention begins. During the
intervention phase, observational data will be collected by researchers in participating
classrooms. At the end of two weeks, the teachers will give the post test to students. The
researchers will analyze and interpret the quantitative and qualitative data soon after it is
compiled. The grading and averaging of the scores will occur within two weeks of the first
lesson. The scores will be shared with the teachers and administration during the analyzation
process. The whole process will take 4 weeks.
What is the projected timeline for developing your recommended actions?
Researchers will organize and analyze the quantitative and qualitative data in the first
week after the post test. The second week will be used to develop recommendations, an action
plan to implement the recommendations and suggestions for sharing data results. Results will
be shared with all involved individuals at the school that want to know the pertinent information.
This should be done within two weeks of finishing the post tests so that accurate and reliable
information will be provided to the school.
What would be your overall strategy for implementing any recommended actions resulting
from your project (e.g. , who would need to be involved in the implementation process?
what support might you need? what factors in your school culture might inhibit or support
any innovation or intervention actions?)
Researchers will form a committee made up of administrators and the technology
department to determine which strategies would be the most easily implemented immediately.
The committee would also prioritize the recommendations into a timeline for implementation as
well as those suggestions that are not possible at the time. Teachers will also be given the
opportunity to provide their input about the recommendations and the timeline. The attitude and
openness of the teachers will have a great impact on the implementation of recommendations.
Other factors that may present a challenge is the availability of hardware at the time of
implementation.
What would be your process for ongoing monitoring (data collection and interpretation) of
recommended actions?
School systems expect professional goal setting. Integrating technology with math
instruction will be a goal required for all teachers that will be reviewed at the end of the year.
Administrators could also require students to use the recommendations and test or provide data
in terms of overall growth. Teachers will guide students to set goals and track (graph) their own
progress. Teachers will monitor student progress and information could be relayed to parents at
conference and report card time. Teachers will analyze the data to make sure all types of
learners are progressing and to make adjustments as needed to ensure student success.
References
Foughty, Z & Keller, J. (2011). Implementing Digital Math Curricula. Principal Leadership, 64-66.
Lan, Y., Sung, Y., Tan, N., Lin, C., & Chang, K. (2010). Mobile-Device-Supported ProblemBased Computational Estimation Instruction for Elementary School Students. Journal Of
Educational Technology & Society, 13(3), 55-69.
Mendicino, M., Razzaq, L., & Heffernan, N. T. (2009). A Comparison of Traditional Homework to
Computer-Supported Homework.Journal Of Research On Technology In Education,
41(3), 331-359.
O'Malley, P., Jenkins, S., Wesley, B., Donehower, C., Rabuck, D., & Lewis, M. B. (2013).
Effectiveness of Using iPads to Build Math Fluency.
Reilly, R. (2004). Technology-Based Mathematics: Tools and Content for Teaching,
Assessment, and Accountability. Multimedia & [email protected], 11(5), 30-35.
Shih, S.-C., Kuo, B.-C., & Liu, Y.-L. (2012). Adaptively Ubiquitous Learning in Campus Math
Path. Educational Technology & Society, 15 (2), 298–308.
Appendix A: Literature Matrix
Author
Year
Variables in Study
K-8
Grade
Level
Specific
Programs
Foughty, Zach &
Keller, John
2011
x
x
Shih, S.-C., Kuo, B.C., & Liu, Y.-L.
2012
x
x
Reilly, R
2004
x
x
Lan, Y., Sung, Y.,
Tan, N., Lin, C., &
Chang, K.
2010
Mendicino, M.,
Razzaq, L., &
Heffernan, N. T.
2009
O'Malley, P.,
Jenkins, S., Wesley,
B., Donehower, C.,
Rabuck, D., & Lewis,
M. B.
x
x
2013
Achievement
results
Digital
Assessment
and Data
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Appendix B: Data Matrix
Research Question
Data Source
Do teachers use technology for math?
Teacher
questionnaire
Student
questionnaire
Observation
How often is technology used to help with
math skills/instruction?
Teacher
questionnaire
Student
questionnaire
Observation
Do classrooms have access to technology for
math programs?
Teacher
questionnaire
Student
questionnaire
Observation
Does technology improve math scores along
with motivating and engaging students?
Data from
program
Student
questionnaire
Observation
Appendix C: Data Analysis Matrix
Data Collection
Technique
Data Analysis Strategy
Teacher
Questionnaire
(Appendix D)
Calculate the mean
average of minutes
answered in Question
3
Figure totals for
various answers in
questions 1 and 2
Calculate number of
yes/no answers for
remaining answers
Student
questionnaire
Calculate the mean
of Question 1 to
determine motivation
to learn subject
Calculate the means
of Question 2 and 3
to determine efficacy
without technology
Calculate the mean
of Question 5 to
determine the
efficacy with
technology
Observation
Calculate number of
minutes technology is
used during math
instruction
Calculate percent of
students engaged
when technology is
present
Calculate the
availability of
technology to
students
Data from
pre/post test
Calculate the mean
average of the raw
scores for T3A, T3B,
Nt3A, and Nt3b.
Calculate the
difference between
T3A and Nt3A; same
for post tests.
Calculate the
difference between
T3A and T3B;
calculate the
difference between
Nt3A and Nt3B.
Symbols used to denote mean average of raw score
Pre-test
Post-test
Class that used technology
T3A
T3B
Class that did not use technology
Nt3A
Nt3B
Appendix D: Teacher Questionnaire
Questionnaire (as it appears on Survey Monkey)
1. What kind of technology do you (as the teacher) use to enhance your math instruction
(indicate all that apply)
Internet based program (free)
Internet based program (subscription)
Downloaded/Installed Program
Computers
Tablets
Student Response Systems
SMART Board
SMART Notebook/Flip Pages/ Promethean type program
I don’t use technology to enhance my instruction.
Other (please specify)
2. What kind of technology do you students use to practice math skills(indicate all that apply)
Internet based program (free)
Downloaded/Installed Program
Tablets
Fact Recall
Other (please specify)
Internet based program (subscription)
Computers
Student Response Systems
Concept Application
3a. How many days per week do the students use technology to extend or review math skills?
0 days
1 day
2 days
3 days
4 days
5 days
3b. About how many minutes per session (on average) do students use technology for math?
0-10 minutes
11-20 minutes
21-30 minutes
31-40 minutes
41-50 minutes
51-60 minutes
more than 60 minutes per session
4. Do you have computers students may use to access specific websites?
Yes
No
5. Does your math text have an online component available for student use? Do you use it?
I Use
I Don’t Use
Available
Not Available
I’m Not Sure
What is the name of your current math curriculum (please include the name of the program and
the publisher if applicable- for example: Scott Foresman Invision):
____________________________________________________________________________
__
6. Would you be more likely to monitor student data on a computer system that logged
information rather than grading tests everyday? Would this make tracking data easier?
Yes
No
Yes
No
7. To the best of your knowledge, does your school have a budget for technology for software
(programs, subscriptions) and/or hardware?
Yes
No
7b. If yes, how much of the budget is allocated for math materials only?
less than 50%
more than 50%
not sure
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Action Research Plan (M.A.T.H.S.) - Amber Ernst