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This is my research study on Modular Labs.

This is my research study on Modular Labs.

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    Research Study Research Study Document Transcript

    • 1 Proposal Running Head: Research Proposal Are Modular Instructional Labs Conducive To Learning? Kenneth L. Brewer Introduction To Research East Stroudsburg University
    • 2 Proposal Abstract This is a study to determine if modular instructional labs are conducive to learning. Modular labs, as they are often referred, are self-contained learning centers complete with course curriculum, lessons plans and assessments. They have become very popular over the two decades. Many schools are spending anywhere from between $80,000 to $200,000 on modular classrooms to replace the traditional industrial arts shops. There has been some debate over the usefulness of these labs and their ability to educate students and meet the technology standards for education. Between the high costs to install and maintain these labs to the continuous maintenance required to keep the labs running there is reason to wonder if they are worth the money. They sound great on paper. And they look good at first glance. But, in the long run, are modular instructional labs conducive to learning? This is the question I intend to answer.
    • 3 Proposal Introduction Modular Las are a trend that has been sweeping technology education over the past few decades. While they lack a clear-cut operational definition they are generally described as self- contained learning systems where students work at their own pace to complete lessons, lab activities, quizzes, tests and other activities. Students may work alone or with a partner or sometimes two partners and the course content at these modules range from residential plumbing to computer animation. Some modules integrate science, math and engineering concepts others explore career opportunities. Then, usually at the end of the course there is a standardized test that assess the students understanding of the concepts. The modules usually come with state-of- the-art equipment which includes instructional trainers, software programs, testing equipment and other high technology gadgets. School districts all over the nation have adopted this style of instruction for technology. And many schools have invested a lot of time in money in the installation and upkeep of the labs. The cost of installing a modular classroom ranges from $80,000 to $200,000. And usually the cost to maintain the labs ranges from $4,000 to $10,000/year. Some districts have installed these labs against the will of their technology teachers. This has cost many districts to question their decision to go with modular labs. But, are these problems just glitches that can be worked? Are they worth the investment if run properly? Some schools have found that with proper planning, classroom management and preparation that these modular labs can be a valuable tool for instruction. They have found the high technology equipment to be very motivating to students. The self-paced style and multi- media instruction makes it conducive to many learning styles. The accompaniment of course
    • 4 Proposal curriculum, standardized tests and lesson plans make it very enticing for administrators who are trying to keep pace with the trends in technology education. In order to study the effectiveness of these labs a few things must be clarified. Before deciding if modular labs are conducive to learning we should first define the word ―conducive‖. Blanche W. O`Bannon and Kathleen Puckett describe ―New Learning Environments‖ (O`Bannon & Puckett, 2007). They describe these environments as Student-centered, active, exploratory and inquiry-based. They prefer multimedia instruction to single media. These ideals are also reflected in the NCATE Standards for Technology Education accreditation. The standards describes a conducive learning environment as one that promotes technological literacy, provide varied instruction, are encouraging and motivating to the student learner (NCATE, 2003). Certainly by these words modular instruction sounds effective. But, I will review these sources further in my literature review. A definition of Technology Education will also be useful to distinguish it from traditional Industrial Arts or ―shop‖ classes that are now outdated. I will review the definition given by a few experts in my lit. review, but, Technology Education prepares students to solve real-world technology problems. It uses a systems approach to teach students high level technology concepts and processes. The term ―technology literacy‖ is used to explain a holistic understanding of technology. This concept is much different than the skills/competency based educational approach common to traditional Industrial Arts classes. But, Technology Education experts like Len Litowitz, Technology Education Instructor at Millersville University, have tried hard to erase the ―shop‖ stigma that surrounds this discipline. The Pennsylvania Standards For Science And Technology explains Technology Education as Technology Education is the use of accumulated knowledge to process resources to meet human needs and improve the quality of
    • 5 Proposal life (Pennsylvania Standards For Science And Technology, 2002). It is important to understand technology education in order to decide if the modular instructional labs reflective of the technology standards. Is modular instruction conducive to learning? And, if so, is it conducive enough to warrant spending that much money? This study will help teachers and administrators decide if they should spend the $80,000 to $200,000 dollars on a new modular lab or explore other options. And since this seems to be a trend on so many schools in The United States I feel it will greatly add to the technology body of knowledge. Spending large amounts of money to carelessly can put a school district and their technology education department in a great financial bind and this study will try to decide if it is worthwhile.
    • 6 Proposal Review Of Literature While I was able to find many studies that related to the topic of technology education I only found a few that directly related to modular labs. However, the few studies I found on modular labs were very thorough and well-written. They gave some telling results on teachers’ perceptions of modular labs. The studies were conducted in various locations around the country, but, some of their findings were very similar. This review will discuss the main ideas covered in the literature I found. Modular Instructional Labs Overall Perceptions David C. Lebrum (2001) of Southern Doors High School did a study to find out whether or not his high school should adopt the modular instruction concept. The study surveyed six different school districts. It assessed the effectiveness of modular technology, instructor’s perception of the labs and problems with the labs. Beverly DeGraw and Jim C. Smallwood (1997) did a study on what Kentucky teachers think of modular instruction. The study offered quantitative data that could help get an idea of the dynamics of modular labs. Kara S. Harris (2005) of Purdue University provided a well-planned and thoroughly conducted study on teacher’s perception of modular labs in Georgia. The study surveyed two teachers from each school district in Georgia and she got eighty replies. Lebrum and Harris found modular labs to be motivating in their study results. Harris’ results showed 32/38 educators studied said modular labs are better than conventional industrial arts shops. Lebrum found that most educators he studied reported having a more positive
    • 7 Proposal environment with modular labs. Lebrum’s (2001) study also showed that most teachers felt that the labs were clean and reduced injuries. Lien reported that the thought process in creating his pre-engineering course, as mentioned earlier, was to make the class interesting to both sexes (Lien, 2008). DeGraw and Smallwood (1997) reported that 57% of the educators they studied said that school boards and administrators favor modular instruction. Lab Structure Lebrum (2001) identified modular labs as a ―high-tech‖ look. The labs he studied tried to avoid the ―traditional industrial arts‖. The students in this study worked in two or more groups. But, he observed that when students worked alone the learning increased (Lebrum, 2001). He cites that the modules had many small parts that were easily damaged. He also mentions that each school he observed had individual stations that work not in working order (2001). His studied showed that the instructors served more as facilitators and that they spent most of their time troubleshooting faulty equipment (2007). Edger Lister (2004) from Ball State University offers a very brief study on modular technology education instructional systems by technology education programs. The study organized in a scholarly way, but, lacks depth and substance. The purpose was to inform readers of the different vendors that provide modular instruction equipment. Study evaluates three modular instructional systems from three different companies. The three companies are Paxton-Patterson, Pitsco and Learning Labs. The student briefly explains the three labs and lists their respective advantages. The author concludes that The Modular approach holds great promise for improving the public image of technology education (Ball State University).
    • 8 Proposal Brian Lien (2008) gives a thorough explanation of his modular lab system in Princeton High School located in Cincinnati, OH. His article, Model Program: Princeton High School, Cincinnati, OH provides an example of a model program. The class discussed in this article is an Engineering class called Engineering Your Future. The content was meant to be interesting to both sexes and helped students make informed decisions on engineering careers. He goes into detail explaining the orientation of the system. He explains how all departments in the school were represented in the decision to implement the system. They collaborated with local universities to come up with a course outline and a timeline for completing the course. They took the cost of materials into consideration as well as students interests. The article also discusses the process for preparing teachers to teach in the modular lab system. Teachers received a three- day in-service on a best practice way to teach the course. And Lien’s pre-engineering classroom explains the need to prepare students to be informed decision makers. This triangulates with my earlier reviews that suggested that the inclusion of teachers in the implementation of modular labs correlates with its effectiveness. Also found in my previous studies was the importance of teacher preparedness in creating an environment conducive to learning. Curriculum Content Beverly C. DeGraw and Jim Smallwood (2001) survey on how Kentucky teachers felt about technology education found interesting results on the curriculum content in some modular labs. The results of the study found that 80% of the 24 educators surveyed said that the modular labs broadened the scope of technology education. This in some ways triangulates with the data found by Kara S. Harris (2005) in Teachers’ Perceptions of Modular Technology Education Laboratories. Her study showed 31 of the 41 educators surveyed said that modular labs are
    • 9 Proposal educationally sound while 34 of 40 participants in her study said the labs made it easy to implement the Georgia curriculum. Lebrum (2001) found that the labs reflected science, English and art more than skilled-based disciplines. But, he also observed project-based learning activities. He noticed that the more difficult modules were avoided (Lebrum, 2001). But, he also noticed that the modules had depth in their curriculum and had ―strong technology merit‖. DeGraw and Smallwood (1997) also found that 60% of their respondents felt that modular instruction does not provide everything necessary to develop skilled thinkers and workers for a global economy and workforce (1997). And 79% felt that modules reflect current, emerging technologies. But, 53% of their respondents felt modules were needed to teach industry and technology and their impacts (1997). Effects DeGraw and Smallwood reported that only their studies showed that only 43% of the educators studied felt that students would be more likely to sign up for a modular-based technology class that a traditional class in woods or metals (DeGraw/Smallwood, 1997). And only 45% of their respondents believe parents favor a modular instruction approach to technology education (1997). Lubrum (2001) indicates that the schools he studied noticed an increase in enrollment at first before the numbers went back to normal. He also noticed that the female enrollment in the modular labs was higher than in traditional shops. Conducive Environment I found several sources that helped identify an environment that is conducive to learning.
    • 10 Proposal They each discussed the importance of student centered learning, setting a high standard for learning and creating an atmosphere that allows every learner to succeed. They also each discussed the need for group learning activities and student interaction. Charlotte Danielson’s research on teaching practices provided me with clear definition of a learning environment (Danielson, 2007). She creates a ―framework‖ for teaching by breaking down into four domains. Planning and Preparation, The Classroom Environment, Instruction and Professional Responsibilities were the four domain areas that she describes. Each of these domains reflects a conducive learning environment in some way. Especially relevant was The Classroom Environment Domain. It provides a clearly defined explanation of a conducive learning environment. She mentions ―engaging students in learning‖ and ― providing feedback to students‖. She also provides a physical checklist which she says has been adopted by many school districts. Blanche W. O`Bannon and Kathleen Puckett (O`Bannon/Puckett, 2007) help to define a conducive learning environment in Preparing to Use Technology. Chapter 1 in the book compares traditional learning environments to new learning environments. They link the environment characteristics to the ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) and NETS (National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators) Standards. They explain proper procedures, selection of materials, classroom layout, adaptations, classroom management and assessment tools. They identify ―student-centered instruction‖ and ―collaborative work‖ as well as ―information exchange‖ as components of a New Learning Environment (O`Bannon/Puckett, 2007). They also mention ―active/exploratory/inquiry-based learning‖ as a component of this environment. O`Bannon and Puckett (2007) also discuss ―adaptations for special learners‖ as an integral part of the learning environment.
    • 11 Proposal Myra Cloer Reynolds (2004) conducted a study for the Southern Regional Educational Board that generated a list of Ten Strategies For Creating A Classroom Culture Of High Expectations. The study identifies ―The student as worker-implement instructional activities that actively engage students‖ to bring students together and engage in learning. The study also encourages ―frequent and relevant feedback that works‖ to invoke a higher level of thinking. Consistency With The Standards Len S. Litowitz (2008) provides a definition of technology education in his article in Phi Delta Kappen called Technology Education: A Contemporary Perspective. His article contrasts Technology Education from traditional Industrial Arts and Vocational Education. He cites the Standards for Technological Literacy to define technology as ―a study of technology, which provides an opportunity for students to learn about the processes and knowledge related to technology that are needed to solve problems and extend human capabilities‖. His article contrasts Technology Education from traditional Industrial Arts and Vocational Education. James Howlett (2008) writes how the change from Industrial Arts to the more modern Technology Education Concept does not change the fact that the workplace still demands skilled workers that vocational education can provide. Howlett does not cite any specific sources. He argues Litowitz’s discussion on the need for technology literacy by saying that the world still needs skilled workers. Litowitz (2008) explains the transition of industrial arts to technology education. He cites Charles Richards, editor of Manual Traning Magazine as the pioneer of industrial arts. He explains how industrial arts was created in response to ―the second Industrial Revolution‖ which was taking place in the early 20th Century. It was influenced by industry. According to Litowitz
    • 12 Proposal the transition finally took place in the early 1980s. His definition of technology closely matches the studies on curriculum content in modular labs. Since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) and the advent of standardized test scores as a means of evaluating high schools meeting standards of education has become very important if not vital for all programs. The Pennsylvania Standards For Science And Technology reflects a holistic approach to teach real-world problem solving skills to students. The standards are broad and encompass the teaching of technology systems, processes and as well as high level concepts. Technology systems include Construction, Manufacturing, Transportation, Communication and Biotechnology. The No Child Left Behind Act (2002) reflects the dire need for students to be proficient in math, reading, writing, science and technology education. Since technology education classes are usually elective courses they must continually prove how they are meeting the standards. Broadening the scope of their curriculum and integration of state standards are evident in modular labs according to these studies. Aaron C. Clark and Jeremy V. Ernst (2007) studied the concept of integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In their study A Model for the Integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics they found the need to prepare students to solve real-world problems combining these disciplines into each activity. In their study they report Technology education has the means of becoming the catalyst for integrated curricula, especially in areas where mathematics and science are difficult to incorporate into other subject matter. (Clark and Ernst, 2007)
    • 13 Proposal The study suggests cohorts of teachers from all academic areas work together to integrate English, mathematics, science, history and technology education with technology educators leading the way (Clark, Earnst, 2007). Brain Lien (2008) reports using modular labs to integrate engineering concepts into his technology education program. Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio collaborated with The University of Cincinnati to start this pre-engineering program. The planning process included teachers of technology education, math, science, and computer science departments from Princeton and two surrounding high schools. The curriculum was based on preparing students of both sexes for careers in engineering. Improving Test Scores W.J. Haynie, III (2008) offers a thorough study on the importance of the use of tests as assessment in his article in The Technology Teacher Magazine entitled Maximizing the Learning Value of Tests in Technology Education Classes: A Summary of Research Findings. This article apposes traditional thinking in technology education in that it suggests that test taking is necessary in the assessment of student learning in technology. The study analyzes a meta- analysis done from 1990 to 2004 (Haynie, press b). While there was no quantitative data documented in this article it gives a thorough summary of the research. The study used 11 public schools, 2 universities, 21 teachers, and 2,208 students. The students were involved in the time- series study for 20 years. The study and methodology was peer-reviewed by over 24 experts in the field. It showed that taking a test invokes a deeper level of retention by students. The studies reviewed also found study questions, pre-test reviews and post-test reviews to increase retention of content (Haynie, 2008).
    • 14 Proposal Haynie (2008) concludes that, based on the studies he reviewed, taking a test on material and increased time on task increased retention by students (Haynie, 2008). He suggests that technology teachers seek professional development in test-making to improve their test-making ability. He recommends the use of rubrics to evaluate projects, group problems, research papers and presentations. But, overall Haynie recommends the use of tests by technology teachers to evaluate cognitive learning. Mary M. Kennedy (2000) did a study on teaching qualities that correlate with student learning in her article, Sorting Out Teacher Quality in Phi Delta Kappan magazines September 2000 issue. Of most importance to my research was Kennedy’s list of ―personal resources‖ that good teachers possess (2000). The list included traits that related to teachers knowledge of content, skill and expertise, credentials, organization, efficient management of classroom, keeping students on task, clear goals and standards, student motivation, fostering personal responsibility and social concerns (2000). This list is not comprehensive as there were other traits that she discussed that were not relevant to my topic. The traits I listed can be found in Charlotte Danielson’s framework for teaching. This also creates a triangulation in my resources and can therefore strengthen the validity of my resources. Integration Of Disciplines In The Technology Teacher, Aaron C. Clark and Jeremy V. Ernst (2007) do a study on the integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content (STEM) in their article entitled A Model for the Integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The two authors discuss the importance of cohort groups in the aforementioned disciplines in creating a holistic-style approach to learning. They suggest that technology education is conducive to integration because of its broad scope and its diverse content areas. Furthermore, they suggest
    • 15 Proposal technology educators assume a leadership role in these cohort groups since they are applying these subjects in their daily teachings. They suggest that technology educators understand and see the application for science, math and engineering and can therefore better understand the holistic approach (2007). The article uses graphic organizers to give a visual representation of the integration of technology, math, science, and engineering. These studies seemed to parallel Litowitz’s definition of technology education. Summary The need for further study on Modular Instructional Lab exists because these labs are being used across the country and with the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act it is important that they are meeting the standards of education and technology. Modular labs are expensive and are time consuming to install. Lebrum (2001) found costs ranging from $69,000 - $250, 000 with a yearly operation cost of $500 - $2,000 and a repair and replace budget of $2,000 - $5,000. School districts do not want to spend the time and money only to realize the labs are not meeting the student’s educational needs. Despite the popularity of modular labs I could not find sufficient studies that evaluated their effectiveness. The few studies I found reflected great potential with the labs, but, also mentioned some major problems such as lack of basic skills, vandalism, poor training of instructors and poor facilities (Lebrum 2007). The potential for meeting the requirements for a learning environment exists, but, their costs may be too great and the condition of the equipment may pose serious problems. And teachers may not have the time to get familiar with the curriculum, lessons, activities and assessments that come with the modular labs.
    • 16 Proposal Modular labs could be the answer to school districts’ growing concerns with meeting the NO Child Left Behind Standards. They may be worth the time and money if it results in proficient test scores. But, these questions need to be answered with further study. The question, ―Are modular labs conducive to learning?‖ could also lead to the answer to the question, ―How do we make are students proficient in science, technology, math, reading and writing?‖ We can find this out through a well-planned, scholarly study of modular instructional labs.
    • 17 Proposal Methodology Design I will observe several modular labs from nearby schools. I will create a checklist to evaluate the labs. The checklist will contain components of a learning environment that is conducive to learning. I will generate this list based on common themes between Charlotte Danielson’s four domains of teaching responsibility, O`Bannon and Pucketts’ strategies for new learning environments and The SREB (Southern Regional Education Board’s Ten Strategies For Creating A Classroom Culture Of High Expectations. The Danielson Model is the model our school uses to evaluate their teachers. O`Bannon and Pucketts’ strategies come from the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) NETS for Teachers which are standards for integrating technology into the classroom. And the SREB lays out the most thorough and comprehensive model for classroom environment that I could find. Each source discusses the importance of creating a student-centered environment with many different sources of instruction and sets high expectations for student learning. They also discuss the importance of having students work together in groups and fostering critical thinking activities. According to these sources it is also important, especially in today’s educational world, to have a flexible teaching plan that can be adapted to students with special learning needs. These common themes will be reflected in my checklist that I will use as a comparison while I am observing the modular instructional labs. The checklist will serve as a model classroom that is conducive to student learning.
    • 18 Proposal Participants/Sampling The participants in my observation will be the students in the classrooms studied as well as the teachers in each classroom. I will observe classrooms at nearby High Schools to give it more relevance our school. I will call and get permission from both the school and the teachers. I will introduce myself to both the teacher and the students upon entering the room so there is no anxiety about my presence. I will observe a class in the morning and afternoon at each school when possible. This will help me factor out the variable of the time of day. But, this will only be feasible if there are classes and afternoon in the modular lab. In schools that do not have an afternoon class I will observe a class close to the afternoon time period. If a school only has one class in the modular classroom then I will just simply observe that one class and I will not be able to make a comparison based on time of day. When possible I will choose one class that meets close to lunch and one class immediately after lunch. This will help limit the time I spend at each school. In between classes I will try to gain access to the instructor and get feedback on the modular lab. I will ask questions that relate to the checklist themes that I mentioned earlier. Setting I will create a natural setting by standing off to the side to make my observation. I will dress casual/formal so the students see me as just another teacher. I will attempt to gain access to the students in a nonintrusive way. I will do this through casual conversation with the students. This will also help ease the tension about having a stranger in their classroom. I will not participate in the classroom activities because I do not want to disrupt the natural everyday flow of the classroom.
    • 19 Proposal Data Collection I will take notes and collect data base on the observations I make and the comments made by the students and teachers. I will use the checklist to keep records of my observations. I will record comments made by the students and teachers during my informal interviews with them. Limitations There are a number of limitations to my study that I will have to take into consideration. No matter how casual or unobtrusive I try to be I understand that the natural flow of the classroom will inevitably be disrupted having me there. They may straighten up a little and be on better behavior because I am there. Some schools may only teach one class in the modular lab. If the class meets in the middle of the day then this should not pose a big problem. However, if the class meets early in the morning or late in the afternoon, then, I will have to take that into consideration. Early morning classes may not be as active whereas afternoon classes may be overactive. Schools that have more than one class may not have a class that meets in the afternoon. In this case I will try to observe a class that meets close to the afternoon. I am also limited by the fact that not every school has a modular lab. That is another reason why I am observing multiple classes in each school. I can also stretch to further schools without threaten my validity a great deal.
    • 20 Proposal Sample Questions The following are examples of checklist items I will use during my observations: -Group activities with student interaction -activities that require high level cognition -curriculum consistent with state standards -students actively engaged an appropriate pace to their needs -multiple instructional tools and aides to foster student learning The following are sample interview questions I will use during my informal interviews: To Teacher Do you feel that modular labs create an environment that is conducive to learning? Do you feel that the modular lab allows you to meet with each student to help facilitate their learning? To Students How do you feel about working in the modular lab setting? How well are you able to work through the activities independently and at your own pace? Test I will use a Likeart Scale to measure the extent to which each modular lab meets the checklist requirements. I will rate them 1 – 4. 1 = component is nonexistent; 2 = component is vaguely
    • 21 Proposal existent; 3 = component is existent; 4 = component is noticeably existent. I will multiply my number of checklist components by four. The product will serve as a standard for the most conducive learning environment. I will compare the test questions to the standards set forth by my sources mentioned in the literary review. The questions will reflect what my studies have shown to be an atmosphere conducive to learning. I will try to triangulate the answers to the questions with data from existing studies.
    • 22 Proposal Summary Value For The Study If schools are to continue using modular lab technology, then, there should be evidence that it serves as an appropriate learning environment for learners. If schools are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lab equipment, curriculum and lessons, then, it should prove to meet state standards and coincide with the No Child Left Behind requirements. We need to find out if modular labs are worth the planning and preparation time that teachers spend learning curriculum, installing software and maintaining equipment. These are urgent times for educators and administrator’s money must be spent wisely. As of spring 2008 students began taking Science And Technology tests as part of the PSSA assessments. Schools are now evaluated based on their students’ technical literacy. For this reason, we have to pay close attention to what is being taught in technology education classrooms and how it is being taught. So if modular labs are to continue to be a part of our technology department they must meet the standards for an environment that is conducive to learning. If our students are being assessed on their technical literacy we have to start taking technology education more seriously. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 has created a need for schools to start looking closely at what is being taught in classrooms and how it is being taught. Schools can no longer afford to spend money on resources that haven’t been proven to aide in student learning. If modular labs are going to remain a part of our school than we must prove that they create an appropriate learning environment for our students. The curriculum must meet state standards and the
    • 23 Proposal activities must invoke a higher level of learning. As of spring 2008 technology education became a part of our schools assessment and we must take it more serious. Anticipated Findings Having taught in a modular lab myself for the past nine years I have developed a hypothesis for this study. While modular labs have great potential for creating an environment that is conducive to learning there are many bugs that must still be worked out. Like most high technology equipment, the equipment in the modular labs will break down. Lebrum (2001) mentions how vandalism was a concern for each lab he studied. This may leave students without an activity until the equipment is fixed. Teachers cannot spend valuable class time fixing equipment. So teachers must have a plan B activity planned for each modular lab work station. This is not always feasible so manufacturers of the labs must provide field technicians that are available on a weekly basis. Schools should also designate a technician who can be available on a daily basis. We do not have time to send faulty equipment back to the company to be fixed. This process could take weeks or months. And in the mean time students are left without integral lab equipment. This can cause a serious barrier to learning. Lebrum (2007) indicated that while most of the instructors he interviewed were satisfied with the cooperation of their vendors many felt they were on their own once the lab was installed. It has also been my experience that students come to the labs lacking a serious attitude towards learning. Lebrum (2007) observed students spending much of their time talking. In most schools technology education is an elective. Therefore, students do not take it as seriously as their core classes. Students will tend to be less focused on what they are doing unless they enjoy what they
    • 24 Proposal are doing. And creating a joyful activity that also invokes a high level of thinking is not always feasible. So what you will find is that students in modular labs are less focused and will get off- task easier. If technology education was made a requirement, this would limit this problem. References DeGraw, Beverly/Smallwood, Jim C., 1997, Modular TE Instruction—what Kentucky teachers think, Tech. Directions, Vol.56 Issue 9, p19, 2p. Harris, Kara S., 2005, Teachers’ Perceptions of Modular Technology Education Laboratories Volume 42 p17 Lebrum, David C., 2001, A study Of Modularized Instruction And It’s Role In The Technology Education Curriculum at Southern Door Schools, August, p18 Lien, Brain, 2008, Model Program: Princeton High School, Cincinnati, OH, The Technology Teacher, May/June, p3 Haynie, W.J. III., 2008, Maximizing the Learning Value of Tests in Technology Education Classes: A Summary of Research Findings, The Technology Teacher, March, p5 Clark, Aaron C. /Ernst, Jeremy V., 2007, A Model for the Integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, The Technology Teacher, December/January, p3 Lista, Edger, ~2004, Modular Instructional Systems, Ball State University, ITEDU 510 Kennedy, Mary M., 2000, Sorting Out Teacher Quality, Phi Delta Kappan, September, Volume 9, Issue 1, p59-63 Howlett, James, 2008, Industrial Arts: Call It What You Want, the Need Still Exists, Phi Delta Kappan, March, p522-524 Litowitz, Len S. /Warner, Scott A., 2008, Technology Education: A Contemporary Perspective, Phi Delta Kappan, March, p519-521 Danielson, Charlotte, 2007, Enhancing Professional Practice – A Framework For Teaching, 2nd Edition O`Bannon, Blance W. /Puckett Kathleen, 2007, Preparing To Use Technology (A Practical Guide To Curriculum Integration) Pennsylvania Department Of Education, 2002, Academic Standards For Science And Technology, 22 Pa Code, Chapter 4, Appendix B
    • 25 Proposal Technology Education Association Of Pennsylvania, 2008, Grade 9: Design And Systems (Foundation course in technology education), www.teap-online.org Reynolds, Myra Cloer, 2004, Ten Strategies For Creating A Classroom Culture Of High Expectations, Southern Regional Education Board, p8
    • Research Proposal [Type text] Kenneth L. Brewer EAST STROUDSBURG UNIVERSITY Research Proposal Are Technology Modular Labs Conducive To Learning? Kenneth Brewer Fall 2009 [Type the abstract of the document here. The abstract is typically a short summary of the contents of the document. Type the abstract of the document here. The abstract is typically a short summary of the contents of the document.]
    • Research Proposal [Type text] Kenneth L. Brewer Abstract This is a study to determine if modular instructional labs are conducive to learning. Modular labs, as they are often referred, are self-contained learning centers complete with course curriculum, lessons plans and assessments. They have become very popular over the two decades. Many schools are spending anywhere from between $80,000 to $200,000 on modular classrooms to replace the traditional industrial arts shops. There has been some debate over the usefulness of these labs and their ability to educate students and meet the technology standards for education. Between the high costs to install and maintain these labs to the continuous maintenance required to keep the labs running there is reason to wonder if they are worth the money. They sound great on paper. And they look good at first glance. But, in the long run, are modular instructional labs conducive to learning? This is the question I intend to answer. Introduction Modular Las are a trend that has been sweeping technology education over the past few decades. While they lack a clear-cut operational definition they are generally described as self- contained learning systems where students work at their own pace to complete lessons, lab activities, quizzes, tests and other activities. Students may work alone or with a partner or sometimes two partners and the course content at these modules range from residential plumbing to computer animation. Some modules integrate science, math and engineering concepts others explore career opportunities. Then, usually at the end of the course there is a standardized test that assess the students understanding of the concepts. The modules usually come with state-of- the-art equipment which includes instructional trainers, software programs, testing equipment and other high technology gadgets. School districts all over the nation have adopted this style of instruction for technology. And many schools have invested a lot of time in money in the installation and upkeep of the labs. The cost of installing a modular classroom ranges from $80,000 to $200,000. And usually the cost to maintain the labs ranges from $4,000 to $10,000/year. Some districts have installed these labs against the will of their technology teachers. This has cost many districts to question their decision to go with modular labs. But, are these problems just glitches that can be worked? Are they worth the investment if run properly? Some schools have found that with proper planning, classroom management and preparation that these modular labs can be a valuable tool for instruction. They have found the high technology equipment to be very motivating to students. The self-paced style and multi- media instruction makes it conducive to many learning styles. The accompaniment of course curriculum, standardized tests and lesson plans make it very enticing for administrators who are trying to keep pace with the trends in technology education. In order to study the effectiveness of these labs a few things must be clarified. Before deciding if modular labs are conducive to learning we should first define the word “conducive”. Blanche W. O`Bannon and Kathleen Puckett describe “New Learning Environments” (O`Bannon & Puckett, 2007). They describe these environments as Student-centered, active, exploratory and inquiry-based. They prefer multimedia instruction to single media. These ideals are also reflected 2
    • Research Proposal [Type text] Kenneth L. Brewer in the NCATE Standards for Technology Education accreditation. The standards describes a conducive learning environment as one that promotes technological literacy, provide varied instruction, are encouraging and motivating to the student learner (NCATE, 2003). Certainly by these words modular instruction sounds effective. But, I will review these sources further in my literature review. A definition of Technology Education will also be useful to distinguish it from traditional Industrial Arts or “shop” classes that are now outdated. I will review the definition given by a few experts in my lit. review, but, Technology Education prepares students to solve real-world technology problems. It uses a systems approach to teach students high level technology concepts and processes. The term “technology literacy” is used to explain a holistic understanding of technology. This concept is much different than the skills/competency based educational approach common to traditional Industrial Arts classes. But, Technology Education experts like Len Litowitz, Technology Education Instructor at Millersville University, have tried hard to erase the “shop” stigma that surrounds this discipline. The Pennsylvania Standards For Science And Technology explains Technology Education as Technology Education is the use of accumulated knowledge to process resources to meet human needs and improve the quality of life (Pennsylvania Standards For Science And Technology, 2002). It is important to understand technology education in order to decide if the modular instructional labs reflective of the technology standards. Is modular instruction conducive to learning? And, if so, is it conducive enough to warrant spending that much money? This study will help teachers and administrators decide if they should spend the $80,000 to $200,000 dollars on a new modular lab or explore other options. And since this seems to be a trend on so many schools in The United States I feel it will greatly add to the technology body of knowledge. Spending large amounts of money to carelessly can put a school district and their technology education department in a great financial bind and this study will try to decide if it is worthwhile. Methodology I will observe several modular labs from nearby schools. I will create a checklist to evaluate the labs. The checklist will contain components of a learning environment that is conducive to learning. I will generate this list based on common themes between Charlotte Danielson’s four domains of teaching responsibility, O`Bannon and Pucketts’ strategies for new learning environments and The SREB (Southern Regional Education Board’s Ten Strategies For Creating A Classroom Culture Of High Expectations. The Danielson Model is the model our school uses to evaluate their teachers. O`Bannon and Pucketts’ strategies come from the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) NETS for Teachers which are standards for integrating technology into the classroom. And the SREB lays out the most thorough and comprehensive model for classroom environment that I could find. Each source discusses the importance of creating a student-centered environment with many different sources of instruction and sets high expectations for student learning. They also discuss the importance of having students work together in groups and fostering critical thinking activities. According to these sources it is also important, especially in today’s educational world, to have a flexible teaching plan that can be adapted to students with special learning needs. These common themes will be reflected in my checklist that I will use as a comparison 3
    • Research Proposal [Type text] Kenneth L. Brewer while I am observing the modular instructional labs. The checklist will serve as a model classroom that is conducive to student learning. Value For The Study If schools are to continue using modular lab technology, then, there should be evidence that it serves as an appropriate learning environment for learners. If schools are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lab equipment, curriculum and lessons, then, it should prove to meet state standards and coincide with the No Child Left Behind requirements. We need to find out if modular labs are worth the planning and preparation time that teachers spend learning curriculum, installing software and maintaining equipment. These are urgent times for educators and administrator’s money must be spent wisely. As of spring 2008 students began taking Science And Technology tests as part of the PSSA assessments. Schools are now evaluated based on their students’ technical literacy. For this reason, we have to pay close attention to what is being taught in technology education classrooms and how it is being taught. So if modular labs are to continue to be a part of our technology department they must meet the standards for an environment that is conducive to learning. If our students are being assessed on their technical literacy we have to start taking technology education more seriously. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 has created a need for schools to start looking closely at what is being taught in classrooms and how it is being taught. Schools can no longer afford to spend money on resources that haven’t been proven to aide in student learning. If modular labs are going to remain a part of our school than we must prove that they create an appropriate learning environment for our students. The curriculum must meet state standards and the activities must invoke a higher level of learning. As of spring 2008 technology education became a part of our schools assessment and we must take it more serious. References Harris, K. (2005). Teachers' Perceptions of Modular Technology Education Laboratories. Journal of Industrial TeacherEducation, 42(4), 52-71. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.Schwaller, A. (2002). Technology Education and Modular Labs. Journal of Technology Studies, 28(2), 135. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Lebrum, David C., 2001, A Study Of Modularized Instruction And It’s Role In The Technology Education Curriculum at Southern Door Schools, August, p18 Journell, S., & Cooper, O. (2000). TECHNOLOGY LABS AS DYNAMIC LEARNING CENTERS. Media & Methods, 37(1), 34. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. de Graw, B., & Smallwood, J. (1997). Modular TE instruction--what Kentucky teachers think. Tech Directions, 56(9), 19. Retrieved from Vocational and Career Collection database. 4
    • Research Proposal [Type text] Kenneth L. Brewer (1996). Educators Address Modular Instruction. Technology Teacher, 55(6), 27. Retrieved from Vocational and Career Collection database. Gloeckner, G., & Adamsom, G. (1996). Modular technology education. Technology Teacher, 56(1), 16. Retrieved from Vocational and Career Collection database. Primack, B., & Hobbs, R. (2009). Association of Various Components of Media Literacy and Adolescent Smoking. American Journal of Health Behavior, 33(2), 192-201. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. Schittek Janda, M., Tani Botticelli, A., Mattheos, N., Nebel, D., Wagner, A., Nattestad, A., et al. (2005). Computer-mediated instructional video: a randomised controlled trial comparing a sequential and a segmented instructional video in surgical hand wash. European Journal of Dental Education, 9(2), 53-58. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0579.2004.00366.x Sildus, T. (2006). The Effect of a Student Video Project on Vocabulary Retention of First-Year Secondary School German Students. Foreign Language Annals, 39(1), 54-70. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Lee, M., McLoughlin, C., & Chan, A. (2008). Talk the talk: Learner-generated podcasts as catalysts for knowledge creation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(3), 501-521. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00746.x. Choi, I., & Lee, K. (2009). Designing and implementing a case-based learning environment for enhancing ill-structured problem solving: classroom management problems for prospective teachers. Educational Technology Research & Development, 57(1), 99-129. doi:10.1007/s11423-008-9089-2. Papastergiou, M. (2009). Online Computer Games as Collaborative Learning Haynie III, W. (2008). Maximizing the Learning Value of Tests in Technology Education Classes: A Summary of Research Findings. Technology Teacher, 67(6), 5-9. Retrieved from Vocational and Career Collection database. Sildus, T. (2006). The Effect of a Student Video Project on Vocabulary Retention of First-Year Secondary School German Students. Foreign Language Annals, 39(1), 54-70. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.th 5
    • Are modular instructional labs conducive to student learning? Ken Brewer East Stroudsburg University Research II Spring 2010
    • To Whom It May Concern, I am a Graduate Student at East Stroudsburg University. I am conducting a survey on Modular Instructional Labs to determine whether or not they are conducive to student learning. Please take a moment and fill out this survey. When you are finished, please hit finish at the bottom of the page. You are under no obligation to take this survey. The survey results will be completely confidential. Your administrators will not have access to your results. You do not have to put your name on it, and it will be completely anonymous. You may stop taking the survey at any time, but, once you hit finish on the survey you cannot disregard it. Thank you, Kenneth L. Brewer Instructional Technology Graduate Student East Stroudsburg University
    • For this survey I am referring to modular labs that meet the following characteristics:  Pre-fabricated labs that are bought from a company.  curriculum, tests, quizzes, hardware and software was put together by the vendor and sold as a whole to the school.  Contains multi-media presentation that the students read and navigate at their own pace Please circle 1 – 5 for the following statements with 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree. 1. Have you ever taught in a modular instructional lab? Y N -If yes, please keep reading. If no, please stop and return the survey. __________________________________________________________________ Please circle 1 – 5 for the following statements with 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree 2. I found that students work through the 1 2 3 4 5 modular labs with little or no enticement from the teacer. 3. Students stay on task throughout the course 1 2 3 4 5 of a module. 4. Students complete all assigned work 1 2 3 4 5 during the course of a module. 5. Modular labs provide adequate lab 1 2 3 4 5 activities for students. 6. Modular labs provide adequate projects 1 2 3 4 5 for students. 7. Modular labs cover high-level technology 1 2 3 4 5 concepts. 8. The content of modular labs relates closely 1 2 3 4 5 To the Pennsylvania State Standards for Science And Technology 9. Modular labs provide adequate modification 1 2 3 4 5 for students with learning disabilities. (narration, closed captioning, etc.) 10. Modular labs allow teachers to modify 1 2 3 4 5 portions of the content needs of students with learning disabilities.
    • 11. Modular labs provide differentiated types 1 2 3 4 5 of instuctions. (i.e. video clips, audio clips pictures, animations, etc.) 12. Modular labs use instructional technology 1 2 3 4 5 tools appropriately 13. Modular labs are conducive to student 1 2 3 4 5 Learning _____________________________________________________________________ Feel free to answer the following question with as much detail as you want. 14. Do you feel modular labs are conducive to Learning? Why or why not? 15. If you said no to #14, how can modular labs be improved to make them conducive to learning?