Final action research project report julie salinas
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 1 Student Usage of Personal Communication Devices in the Classroom and Their Effects on Participation and Grades Julie Anne Salinas Lamar University
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 2 AbstractDuring a lunch conversation, one of my co-workers began discussing her sons recent trip to auniversity campus in Texas. She explained that the university gave each enrolled student an iPod.The iPod was to be used on the campus to take attendance (the students would just "push abutton" to prove attendance), download assignments/books, etc. The campus depended on thestudents to use their iPods. This is the way of the future. The engaging conversation with my co-worker sparked the idea for this Action Research Project. As an adult, I use communicationdevices for just about everything. To better prepare our student for this "electronic world," weshould teach them to use their devices to their advantage - especially when it comes toacademics. These devices are more than just phones, cameras, and games...they are alsocalendars/planners, books, and educational tools. Every English class at Earl Warren HighSchool (English I, English II, English III, and English IV, both regular, pre-advanced placement“Pre-AP, and advanced placement “AP”) is required to read at least one classic novel as part ofthe curriculum. During English classes, students are provided with a novel to check out and carrywith them or, if the novel is located in the Literature textbook, they are to carry their Literaturetextbook with them and bring them to class each day while the lesson focuses on the novel.Once the novel is distributed, students are responsible to carry it with them to do class- andhome- work assignments. If a student forgets their novel, they must listen to lectures and/orcomplete assignments without the use of their novel. Students who are reluctant to becomeengaged in reading assignments, who are not responsible to carry/travel with their novels, or whodo not like to read are more likely to not bring their novel, thus increasing the probability offalling further behind in their assignments.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 3 Student Usage of Personal Communication Devices in the Classroom and Their Effects on Participation and Grades Introduction As years go by, technology becomes more readily available to students and adults alike.Currently, classic novels are free to download onto most personal communication devicesthrough the use of iTunes’ iBook , or other applications, which is free. The majority of studentson the high school campus bring a personal communication device to school. Although studentshave previously not been allowed to use/utilize their devices in class, with the availability ofsuch classics novels, students can carry their novels with them and access them quickly andeasily. The reasons in which students disconnect with academic assignments, fall behind inclass- or home- work, and make poor or failing grades can be due to a variety of extraneouscircumstances. We, as teachers, often feel that failing students lack focus and motivation and ifthey had these, their performance would improve in the classroom, thus engaging appropriatelyand making better grades. In the English classroom, many students make poor or failing gradesdue to: not bringing their novel to the classroom, not partaking in the reading assignments,disengaging from the novel curriculum and not completing the required assignments. Freshmanand Senior students many engage or prefer to use technology in different ways and with differentintended purposes. During this Action Research Project, students will voluntarily sign-up to be a part of theproject with the criteria that they must own (and have parental permission to bring to class) apersonal communication device that allows free downloadable iBooks. Freshman English I
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 4students will download Homer’s The Odyssey to their personal communication device. Studentswill be surveyed and monitored to determine if the accessibility of the novel on the deviceimproves engagement in active reading assignments and grades. The purpose of this research is to determine if there will there be noticeable changes incomprehension, knowledge, understanding and grades if students are allowed to download freeiBooks onto their electronic communication device. Most students bring their electronic communication device(s) to campus every day, suchas an iPhone, iPod, etc. With technology readily available (and often free), students should beallowed to use their device to download these books/novels and use the technology to theiradvantage. I have put this idea into action and performed my action research project on thistopic. My focus is freshman English I students at Earl Warren High School. The purpose of thisstudy is to determine if students using personal communication devices in the classroom(specifically in the English I classes), will become more engaged in the readings/lessons thusimproving their grades. Today, school-age generations are using technology in ways that would have soundedunthinkable 50 years ago. It is important, as our society changes, to change with it. Students havepersonal communication devices available and accessible to them that can help them in theclassroom. Teachers, administrators, and parents have the ability to allow students to use thesedevices to their advantage. In today’s society, the majority of high school students own or carry an iPod, iTouch,iPhone, and/or a similar personal communication device. I would like to allow students (on a
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 5voluntary basis) to download one of these novels onto their device to have the option of readingthe novel either by book or on their personal communication device. Students who will not carry a novel around will more likely read from their device, theexcuse of “I forgot my book” will be less likely, and the student who are “too cool” to read inpublic may actually feel that they can read without appearing to do so. During the novel reading units in English classes at Earl Warren High School, studentsare issued paperback or hardcover books to carry around with them for approximately six weeks.They are given reading assignments as homework at least 3 days during the week and over theweekend as well. As previously observed, in freshman English classes, a group of students (notnecessarily friends with one another) who would forget their book and/or not do their assignedhomework. As a result, these students would not pay attention to the lesson (in which they wereunfamiliar), turn in incomplete or incorrect class work, and inevitably fall behind which oftenlead to failing the grading period. The significance of students using what the students already have and are familiar withwill lead to their advantage when it comes to academics and education. If students are moreinclined to read and follow through with assignments because it is convenient to them, we shouldconsider how to use this technology to improve academics in other classes/areas as well. Homer’s The Odyssey will be read during 2011-2012 school year. Classic novels areavailable for free on the iBooks application downloadable onto most personal communicationdevices. I plan to perform my action research project in a freshman English I class to research thedifferences in the outcomes. This class is currently a collaborative course, which offers twohighly qualified teachers to teach together during each course. One of these teachers is highly
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 6qualified in the subject area (in this case, English 8-12) and the other teacher is highly qualifiedin the subject area as well as Special Education “Early Childhood” EC-12. Additionally, this Action Research Project will also examine whether students are moreinclined to complete assignments on time, study for tests prior to taking them, and keep up withtheir projects and class work if they are allowed to use their calendar/planner on theircommunication device. Prior to beginning this Action Research Project, five potential challenges that might beseen throughout the project were discussed. The following challenges are listed below: Challenge #1: Students using the devices in English class only (where the Englishteachers will be monitoring their usage) and not in any other class. Students might want to usetheir devices in other classes, but will not be allowed. Other classroom teachers will not beresponsible for monitoring these devices, as, at this time, it is to benefit the students Englishcurriculum/grades. Talking with the students to make them aware of the rules and havingstudents and parents sign a "Supplemental Resource Usage" contract and permission slip willhelp reduce unauthorized usage. Challenge #2: Number of student participation. It might seem easier to allow only acertain number of students per class for results purposes; however, to be fair and equal to allstudents, the device-usage will be open to all students. Challenge #3: Monitoring the students using their devices. English teachers will beresponsible to do this for the participating students in their classes, but the more students thatparticipate, the more monitoring will need to be done by the teachers. With this challenge, I maybe able to "step-in" and help the teachers (as time permits).
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 7 Challenge #4: Gathering data. Reviewing grades will be only a small part in gatheringdata regarding the results of this project. Creating a survey will be extremely important and largepart of gathering the type of data I am looking for. The survey will be broken down intocategories (i.e.: reaction, usefulness, etc.) and will be written very carefully. Challenge #5: Students who have devices versus those who do not. Although moststudents have access to a device (such as an iPhone), some students do not own one (or are notallowed to bring it to school). For now, only students who have one can participate. As written inthe permission slip and contract, if the student loses their device or gets it taken away, they willonly have access to the paper novel. This project does not ensure that student can and will bringtheir devices to school. The devices are only supplemental resources and ALL students(participating or not) will be given a paper novel in their English classrooms. Each potential challenge was discussed in detail with Earl Warren High School’sAssistant Principal, Mr. Paul Black. The stated (above) challenges have stated solutions. It wasdecided that the Action Research Project may potentially observe additional challenges. Toprevent unnecessary challenges, such as these, the Action Research Project Timeline and Planproactively created to discuss the challenges with the teachers and students involved in thisproject so they are aware and understand potential challenges and ways to solve challengesand/or problems that might occur as to not impact the study.Statement of the Problem In the English I classes, a consistent problem was that students are assigned to check outand read a novel (such as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Harper Lee’s To Kill aMockingbird). Every year at Earl Warren High School, in the English I classes during the novel
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 8unit, a group of students would have to read their book/novel for homework, but not take theirnovels home. This would cause the students to get behind with their readings, fall behind duringclass discussions, and eventually make very poor or failing grades. Teachers have tried to findways to engage students in the book/novel in such a way that they want to read and are notfalling behind. All English teachers on campus are seeing the same students, from one English class tothe next, continuously falling behind in their reading assignments, thus disengaging in classdiscussions, lessons, and activities. These students come from all backgrounds, various cultures,and various needs. High school students throughout the community are more likely to be seenwith a personal communication device tucked in a pocket, stuffed in a backpack, or beingoperated in their hands, then they are to be seen reading or engaging in a classic novel.Purpose of the Study To better prepare our student for this "electronic world," we should teach them to usetheir devices to their advantage - especially when it comes to academics. These devices are morethan just phones, cameras, and games...they are also calendars/planners, books, and educationaltools. This Action Research Project is designed to give all students an opportunity to becomeengaged in class lessons, lectures and discussions, while becoming academically successful intheir grades and their understanding of the readings assigned. The objective of this project is to reveal improvement in students’ engagement,understanding, and overall grades when allowed to download a copy (free) of their book/novelonto their own personal communication device.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 9Significance of the Study In an online article, Diane Trim discusses the benefits of students using their electronicdevices, such as cellular phones to engage students in the classroom. Trim (2010) states, “It’stime to start teaching students how to harness the phones’ power for education, not just forsending photos or texting about just how bored they are. Students will bring their phones withthem wherever they go, despite all the rules we give them. Using the mobile devices’ allurebrings our content into the 21st century and adds an engagement piece to our lesson plans.” Many students bring an iPod, iTouch, and/or similar devices onto campus on a dailybasis. This Project would allow students (on a voluntary basis) to download one of these novelsonto their device to have the option of reading the novel either by book or on theircommunication device. Through the iTunes iBook application, classic novels like these can bedownloaded onto these devices for free. Technology is ever-expanding and growing and we, as teachers, may as well embracethese changes in our classrooms and teach our students how to use their personal electronics foracademic gain. Students will benefit from utilizing their personal communication devices on adaily basis to become further involved and responsible for their education. Additionally, teacherswill benefit from students utilizing their personal communication devises in the same way.Definition of Terms There are several terms that need to be identified as their definition has adapted and/orevolved as society changes and new technological products become available. A “Personal communication device” allows individuals to communicate, as a phone, text
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 10messaging, Internet, apps, etc. Examples of these devices are: Cell phones, Smart Phones,iPods, MP3 Players, Kindle, game systems that communicate with other systems or have Internetaccess, etc. A “novel” will be referred to as any classic novel, whether in novel/book form or as partof a textbook. A “collaborative classroom” will be referred to as a classroom consisting of two teacherthroughout each class every day. These specific classes offer two highly qualified teachers toteach together during each course. One of these teachers is highly qualified in the subject area(in this case, English 8-12) and the other teacher is highly qualified in the subject area as well asSpecial Education “Early Childhood” EC-12. A “participant” will refer to the students volunteering to participate in the ActionResearch Project and use their personal communication device during their English I class as partof the study. Literature Review
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 11 Today, it is easy to find an almost infinite number of websites, articles, publications, andresearch papers discussing the pros and cons of students using their personal communicationdevice in the classroom. Parents and their children have their own opinions and well. As oursociety changes and improves, technology being utilized to improve medical advances,communication, scientific research, engineering infrastructures, and, some might argue, learningin the classroom. In Lincoln Journal Star, Erin Andersen (2009) states, “Now, students -- with heads bowedand thumbs hopping -- text madly as they shuffle between classes and relax at the lunch table”(p. 1). It is becoming the norm to see students carrying and using their personal communicationdevice such as a cell phone or similar personal communication device. Although it is studentswho are often caught using their device at inappropriate times on a school campus, parents arecontributing to the issue.Many parents purchase a personal communication device for their child and allow them to take iteverywhere. Andersen (2009) continues to state, “Parents and kids rely on it for communication.Some use it as their clock, camera, planner, entertainment system, news source andencyclopedia. The phone is only a tiny component of this high-tech palm-sized computer.” The majority of students with these devices exposed in class might not be doing anythingagainst school policy; however, cheating can be a concern when students are allowed to use theirdevices with so much capability. USA Today’s Greg Toppo reported on an on-line pollconducted by Joel Benensen for Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based educationcompany. Toppo (2009) reported, “The survey of 1,013 teens — 84% of whom have cell phones — also shows that a significant number have stored information on a cell phone to
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 12 look at during a test or have texted friends about answers. More than half of all students say people at their school have done the same. Only about half of teens say either of the practices is a ‘serious offense,’ suggesting that students may have developed different personal standards about handwritten information vs. material stored on cell phones” (p. 1). This does not mean that students bring their personal communication devices to schoolfor the sole purposes of cheating or breaking the rules. Many students and adults carry personalcommunication devices because they can carry, manage, and organize information they benefitfrom using on a daily basis. Daniel A. Domenech wrote and article for the American Associationof School Administrators (AASA). In his article, he discusses the changes he has seen amongsociety, students and adults, and their dependence on cell phones and other similar devices.Domenech (2009) states, “The integration of technology into learning is no longer the provinceof the desktop or the laptop. Handheld devices like cell phones, iPhones, BlackBerrys andiTouch are beginning to offer applications that enhance classroom learning by engaging kids touse tools they are constantly using anyway” (p. 2). Clearly, times are changing and technology ischanging, too. Fifteen years ago the majority of high school students did not bring cell phones toschool. Today, a student without a cell phone is in the minority group. Domenech (2009) reminisces, “Today, technology is an integral part of our daily routines. Just recently I left home in a rush and forgot my BlackBerry. I would have just as soon forgotten my shoes. I felt completely cut off from the world. I had an anxiety attack realizing that hundreds of e-mails were coming to me, unanswered” (p. 1). Teacher, parents, and students alike, no matter what the occupation or status, have
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 13encountered the feeling of having forgotten something of valuable or necessary and been withoutthroughout the day. The demographics of students carrying cell phones or similar devices havenarrowed. Today, almost all students have them no matter what campus they attend, what districtthey are in, or the socio-economic status they come from. Domenech (2009) states what helearned from a superintendent, “Chip Kimball, superintendent of the Lake Washington SchoolDistrict outside of Seattle, told us at the summer conference he had visited a high-poverty schoolin his district and, while visiting a classroom, had inquired as to how many kids owned a cellphone. Every hand in the class went up” (p. 2). The age of students and children carrying cell phone or other personal communicationdevices is changing. Now, young children are being asked by parents to carry their cell phones orsimilar devices so parents can reach them at any time. Audrey Watters wrote an article about asurvey released in 2010 for Tomorrow.org. With over 300,000 students surveyed, the resultsprovided astonishing information. Watters reported, “The study found that 20% of kindergartenthrough second graders said they owned cell phones. 29% of third through fifth graders do. 51%of middle schoolers and 56% of high schoolers do” (p. 1). With so many students bringing cellphones and/or other personal communication devices to school, it would benefit these students ifteachers helped to educate students in ways they can use their devices for educational gain. Action Research DesignSubjects The target population for the Action Research Project are freshman (grade nine) English I
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 14students at Earl Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas. The sample size of this populationis over three classes totaling one hundred students. This sample size was chosen because of theaccessibility of these students and these classes in a collaborative classroom. The three classeshave a total number of one hundred students, which creates a manageable number forquestioning, inquiry, surveys/questionnaires, and reviewing guidelines of project. Since cell phones and other electronic devices are not allowed to be used in class, thecampus administrative staff, to conduct this project, granted special permission for. I will allowno more than ten students to volunteer to participate in the project and use their devices becausethe students will need to be monitored closely. Each of the three chosen English I classes totaled one hundred students and all onehundred students completed a survey about the uses of personal communication devices atschool, to complete school assignments, and in the classroom. The Action Research Project tookplace primarily during the novel lesson (The Odyssey, by Homer) where a total of twelvestudents chose to participate in the project. Initially, I would like to have seen more studentsparticipate in the project, especially since The Odyssey is located in the literature book; however,the twelve students who participated in the project had met the prerequisite requirements asstated prior to the start of the novel. During the beginning of The Odyssey lesson, eighteen students expressed their desire toparticipate and downloaded the free novel onto their personal communication device; howeversix of these students were unable to complete the usage of their iBook due to a variety ofcircumstances.Procedures
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 15 The purpose of the Project is to research students using their personal communicationdevices in the English classroom to download books/novels will positively impact their lessonengagement, increase homework completion, and improve grades. Student academic success isthe ultimate goal and purpose. The Action Research Plan Template (below) provides the organization of the projectincluding: action step(s)/activities, person(s) responsible, timeline, necessary resources/tools, andevaluation strategies. As the book/novel being used in this project is free to download, monieswill not be necessary and other paper resources (such as paper used for surveys, questionnaires,rules/regulations, and contract) will be minimal and provided by the English Department. Due tothe minimal paper products used, resource requests and allotments will not be necessary. The strategies used during the creation of the Action Research Project werecollaboratively discussed and reviewed with one Assistant Principal at Earl Warren High School,Mr. Paul Black. The original drafted Plan was used as a guideline for discussion, editing, andrevision. The needs assessment was the driving force behind each step and activity in theTemplate. Financial resources (which were minimal) and tools were discussed and agreed upon.Communication has been ongoing with all person(s) involved and responsible throughout theProject. Every person who plays a part in the Action Research Project has been asked forapproval and agreed to participate. Consensus has been given from the administrative staff oncampus. I will ultimately conduct the majority of the activities and steps involved in the ActionResearch Project. I will also assess and determine the results of the Project. Support has beengiven throughout the English Department and the administrative staff.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 16 The Action Research Project timeline is provided: Goal: Utilizing the capabilities of students’ personal communication device(s) toimprove students’ accessibility and/or likelihood to engage in reading assignments andultimately improve students’ English grade(s).
Timeline: Action Step(s)/ Person(s) Needed Evaluation Activities Responsible Resources/Tools Start/EndSTUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 17 Approval andCreate inquiry for action January Idea(s) and inquiry Julie Salinas recommendations from research plan 2011 plan cohort peers Gather data regarding how many students are Review data to determine thereferred to the office due Julie Salinas Access to January percentage of referrals for to using a personal and Mr. Paul administrative 2011 devices versus other communication device Black database disciplinary concerns inappropriately on campus or in class Seek approval for Julie Salinas possible action research January Action research and Mr. Paul Approval from site supervisortopics and tentative plans 2011 proposed plan Black with site supervisor Obtain approval for students to use Mr. Paul January Approval from administrative Question/Inquirycommunication device in Black 2011 staff classExplain action research plan to English Approval from EnglishDepartment Coordinator Mrs. Tracy September Question/Discussion Department Coordinator to to implement action Winstead 2011 of purpose implement action research research project in the project English classroomExplain action research plan to freshman Receive approval from (English I) teacher to Ms. Sandra September Question/Discussion English I teacher to implement action Allen 2011 of purpose implement action researchresearch project in the project classroom Create revised Action September Revised Action Plan timeline created for Research Plan and Julie Salinas 2011 Planning Template implementation timeline Determine how many Survey (created by students have personal Survey students in September Julie Salinas) Julie Salinas communication devices, what English I class 2011 performed in English kind, if they have iBook I classes accessibilities Gather feedback of how Survey students in Survey (created by students feel about their English I class to get October Julie Salinas) novel unit, carrying novels Julie Salinas feedback on the 2011 performed in English versus using an electronic proposed plan I class iBook, and if parental permission is necessary Determine how many freshman students will Discussion/questions Gather data and statistics to October be able/interested in Julie Salinas performed in English be used in action research 2011 participating in the I class project project Discuss district/school
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 18 This plan was created and revised several months before the novel assignment began.There were several changes made to the Action Research Project timeline throughout the project.One change was made to the first survey listed (Survey students in the English I class to getfeedback on the proposed plan). When the timeline was created, it was assumed that a surveywould be the best action to gather this data; however, the project, timeline, and plan werediscussed in an open class discussion where data was gathered.Data Collection Gathering data is necessary to determine accurate finings for this Action ResearchProject. Students were surveyed to determine their interest, their willingness to participate, andtheir feelings toward the plan. Student’s grades were reviewed to finding out if the use of theirdevices in class has increased their grades. I interviewed teachers to determine how tolerableand supportive they would be with allowing students to use their devices in their classrooms foreducational purposes. Research (primarily through Internet services) was conducted to discoverothers’ thoughts about students using their personal communication devices for educationalpurposes. Gathering and carefully analyzing this data has provided results in the use of thisadditional technology usage in the classroom. The survey provided data from students in the English I classrooms regardless of theirparticipation or non-participation in the Action Research Project. This survey will be given to thestudents after the reading assignments in the English I classrooms have concluded. The surveydata will be one of two main sources of data in this project. The other source of data will be theresults of the students’ grades.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 19 Proposed Analysis of the Data The three English I classes used as the intended participants for this Action ResearchProject consisted of exactly one hundred students. These one hundred students participated in thesurvey asking questions regarding the usage of their personal communication device. Eachstudent enrolled in any of the three classes participating in the study was given the opportunity tovolunteer to be a participant in the Action Research Project. The students were given theguidelines and rules regarding the usage of their cell phones or communication devicesthroughout the project. Out of the one hundred students who were given the opportunity to volunteer as aparticipant, only eighteen students agreed. I asked the students why so few of them wanted toparticipate and received a variety of answers. The types of answers were as follows: “I am notsupposed to even have my phone at school and if my parents found out, I’d be in major trouble,”“My cell phone screen just cracked and I can’t see a thing,” and “I don’t think I’ll read any bookfrom my cell phone.” The majority of the reasons I heard were similar to the latter. Of the eighteen participants originally agreeing to be a participant, only twelve remainedin the project until completion. Out of the six that did not complete the project, three studentslost their personal communication device, one student dropped his device and could not see fromthe screen, one student got her device taken away as a punishment, and the other student decidedshe would prefer to read out of the text book after downloading the novel onto her device. The survey given to the one hundred English I students provided useful data indetermining whether students can/should use their devices for educational purposes during theirclasses. These results will be shown in a table format.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 20 Finally, the participants’ grades were analyzed to determine if using their personalcommunication device during class to read a novel would affect their participation and/or grades.These results would be shown in a table format.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 21 Proposed EvaluationEvaluating the Results of the Study The main evaluation of the study came from the survey given to one hundred English Istudents. This survey was given at the end of the project after the students were given theopportunity to participate in the Action Research Project. The reason it was given after and notprior was because I wanted participants to answer the survey after using their devices as part ofthe project. This would provide the most accurate results. The top of the survey provided a definition of terms and stated that the word “device”would be referred to as any personal communication devices such as: a cell phone, Smart Phone,iPod, MP3 Player, or any other device that would allow downloading applications such as aniBook. The results from the following bar graph shows that the majority of all students surveyedhave access to a personal communication and bring their devices to school. Three-fourths ofstudents surveyed had a parent text or call them during the school day and only one percent ofstudents surveyed did not own a device. Although these results seem promising for thepossibility of device usage, 79% of students surveyed admitted to using their device when theirteacher is giving a lesson. As most teachers at Earl Warren High School do not allow students touse their devices as part of the class lesson or assignment, this could means that the majority ofstudents using their device during class are not using it to advance in the class.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 22 The results from the second survey provided data relating to students using their devicefor classroom assignments or class reading assignments. A majority (73%) of students surveyedcurrently do not read textbooks or novels from their device. A little more than half of thestudents surveyed (59%) stated that they would more likely participate in the class lecture orassignments if they had access to the readings from their device. A majority (82%) of studentsstated that they might use their device for things other than the class assignment if they wereallowed to use their device during class time. A majority (67%) of students thought that theirgrades would improve if they were able to read from their device during class time. These results show that the majority of students might benefit from utilizing their devicesfor reading assignments, such as textbooks and/or novels, during class. Additionally, studentswho download a book onto their device will have access to the book while on campus or athome.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 23 Data from the participants in this project was analyzed to determine if their participationand grades have improved with the ability to use their personal communication device to readHomer’s The Odyssey. The chart below shows the analysis of participants’ grades in both aprevious English I novel reading lesson and the lesson given during the Action Research Project.As the chart demonstrates below, only one student, whose grade was not a 100 during the firstnovel assignment, had their participation grade stay the same. Nine students who participated inthe study had their grades improve and two students who had a previous novel assignmentparticipation grade of a 100, remained at a 100 during the project.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 24 Every student in the English I classrooms received six daily assignments (which isweighted as 40% of the students’ overall grade) and one major grade (which is weighted as 60%of the students’ grade). Each of the participant’s overall grades were analyzed in comparisonwith the grades from their previous novel assignment. Overall, the participants’ grades, includingthe totals from the daily and major grades, increased by 13%. Although the percentage of participants was relatively small, this data proves that thestudents had a positive outcome when participating in reading from their personalcommunication device. One of the main benefits, aside from students’ grade improving due to the usage of theirpersonal communication device for English I reading assignments, was the excitement the
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 25students demonstrated as we begun a class discussion regarding the possibility of using personalcommunication device while on campus. Most students made comments about being able to sendtext messages during the day or play games in “boring” classes; however, several studentscommented that they would benefit from using them and would use them as intended. The excitement of the proposal of this Action Research Project created an outpour ofdiscussions and increased enthusiasm among administrators, teachers, and students. Teachersand students recognize that they live and are entering a society where their devices are becominga necessity and preparing our students to be successful in their future will benefit them in everyway. As our society has transforms into one highly dependent on ever-changing technology,our campus has experienced similar changed in the classrooms. Personal communicationdevices, although most administrators, teachers and students possess them, are not to be used orseen in the classroom. One of the main objectives of a high school educator is to channelstudents’ toward their post-secondary goals. The concern is that once students are out of highschool, they, too, will become highly dependent on technology and the Internet which, in mostcases, is through their personal communication device (such as: cell phone, iPhone, iTouch, etc.).With technology reading available and easily accessible, giving the students the opportunity todownload the novels they are assigned and allowing them to read from their personalcommunication device in the classroom will allow students to better engage in thenovel/assignments, keep up with the class- and home- work, and make better grades.Dissemination of the Results of the Study There are two audiences that will serve as the main target when providing results of myAction Research Project.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 26 One of the target audiences is Earl Warren High School’s leadership team. The leadershipteam is a collaborative team of individuals designed to share problems and make decisions.Together, this team involves principals with others to gain insights of problems throughout theschool. Many benefits come from the team members coming together. Some include: seeingproblems from various points of view, engaging teachers and staff with administration, andsharing the commitment to implement change. Our campus has a discipline leadership team thatis made up of individuals such as: the principal, and administrator, the academic dean,coordinators, and teachers. The team meets regularly (every three to four months) to discussdisciplinary problems or issues, make decisions collaboratively, plan changes, and oversee thechanges. This is a target audience because they can/will discuss the beneficial results of myproject and discuss the possibility of expanding the idea to other departments on our campus. The second target audience is the campus’ Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).PLCs create an environment of learning with and from others. This network of individuals meetregularly to study teaching practices. The meetings are structured and are generally focused on acertain topic for discussion. Often, PLCs conduct an inquiry, and then may share their findings orsuggestions outwardly. Earl Warren High School has PLCs for every department. Staff membersare not limited to participating with one PLC. Some individuals work with more than onedepartment (for example: special education and English) therefore will participate in more thanone PLC groups. The leader or coordinator for the PLC will get the group started on the agendaand encourage participation from all group members. This is a target audience because PLCgroups can discuss using personal electronic devices as tools in their specific departments and intheir classrooms. Throughout the duration of the Action Research Project, the goal has been to get solid,
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 27results that can be shared. Once shared, the results can/should be used to make improvements toour classes and campus, ultimately benefiting students. Others will see the purpose, rationale,and intent of the project and view the results as a professional development vehicle as the resultsare shared effectively. Oral presentations, although common for sharing information, will be used as a “first-step” in communicating the results of the Action Research Project. During the oral presentations,I will ask a volunteer student to attend the meeting(s) and discuss what he/she liked about usinghis/her personal electronic communication device in class as a tool for books and/or novels.Hearing first-hand from a student will not only capture my audience’s attention, but also providea reference that change is beneficial. Handouts will be given with and example of the surveys. Student testimonial exampleswill also be provided in the handout as further emphasis of the project’s effectiveness and impacton student success. PowerPoint slides will be used during the presentation to demonstrate graphs,charts, and main points on screen. I will also be using the PowerPoint slides to give backgrounddata and comparisons of the past and present trends in technological growth and development.Contact information (including my blog site) will be provided for individuals who many havefurther questions or inquiry. At the end of my presentation, I will provide concluding thoughts. These thoughts willinclude first and foremost, thanking the faculty and staff for allowing me to pursue the actionresearch project in the various classrooms. It is essential to thank the members of this team fortheir time and attention. I will then propose that my action research does not end just because mypresentation does. Recommendations for further inquiry will be presented. I have additional
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 28inquiries/ideas for future action research projects and wish to receive the support to implementthose plans as well. Additionally, I will propose the possibilities for future action research plans/projects that will springboard from this one (such as: use of planner or calendars to improvestudents’ assignment completion).
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 29 Appendix ALeadership PlanAs part of my internship or practicum, I was the leader in developing, implementing, monitoring,and evaluating my Action Research Project. The following is a list specific actions in each of thetwelve areas I propose to do in order to: Build trusting relationships – To build trusting relationships, others need to feel andknow that you are trustworthy. The dictionary provides a definition of trust as, “reliance on theintegrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence” (Merriam-Websters,2011). Throughout the proposal, implantation, data dissemination, and sharing of results, I mustprove that I am reliant and have integrity and strength. To do this, I will practice leadershipskills such as doing exactly what I say and/or promise. I will also show my strength byfollowing through with my proposed plans at all costs. Throughout every teachers’ school year,they experience trials and challenges that often create the desire to slow down in the progressionof set plans or show signs of stress. This can often lead to creating shortcuts or shortfalls inplans. To build trusting relationships, I will show that I can handle every challenge that maycome into my path and follow through with established plans and goal. Create a shared vision – The shared commitment for this Action Research Project beganwith a conversation between my site supervisor, Mr. Paul Black and myself. Upon his approvaland full support of the Project and its potential results, approval was also sought from theEnglish Department Coordinator and the freshman English Teacher who would be involved. Ourcampus’ vision supports the increase and improvement of technology use in the classroom. EarlWarren High School’s Academic Dean encourages teacher and student usage of technology.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 30 Currently, the campus handbook does not allow students to use their personalcommunication device in the classroom, but for this Action Research Project, special permissionhas been granted by the Principal, Academic Dean, my site supervisor, the English DepartmentCoordinator, and the teacher involved. As many individuals were involved, provided feedback,and approved this project, the sense of a shared vision was created. Collaborate on decisions - Motivating teachers and staff members to “buy in” to theproject’s main objective occurred with verbal communication of the Project and reviewing thevisual Action Research Plan and Timeline. Communication strategies with participating studentswill be conducted during the freshman English class. Parents will be aware of the Project aswilling-participant students will take home a contract describing the purpose and vision of theproject, what is and is not allowed for participating students, my contact information, and theagreement for student participation. Students will have open communication with me regardingtheir e-Book usage and feedback is encouraged. Prior to beginning the project, I spoke withseveral teachers and administrators to gather their collaborative thoughts of my ideas. Theyprovided useful information that guided my decisions for creating the planning and timelineprocess. Throughout the project, I have additionally asked for ideas and advice to make decisionscollaboratively. Communicate effectively – At the start of the Action Research Project, I communicatedwith the campus Principal, Academic Dean, my site supervisor, the English DepartmentCoordinator, and the English teacher involved to ensure all parties were aware and approve thePlan. Upon completion of compiling and analyzing the Project’s and the Final Draft of theAction Research Final Report is finalized, the results will be discussed with my site supervisor toreceive feedback and/or suggestions for campus implementation. After editing the Final Report, I
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 31will submit the findings to the campus Principal, Academic Dean, my site supervisor, and theEnglish Department Coordinator in a presentation. Upon discussion and approval, I will ask thatthe Principal and Academic Dean allow me to share the results during a staff development orWELL meeting for campus Coordinators. This will assimilate the vision throughout our campusand encourage other Coordinators to allow and support the use of student usage of personalcommunication devices to download academically relevant information. Effectivecommunication has been essential in preparing for this project. Additionally, revealing the resultsof this project will be equally as essential. Utilizing leadership communication skills is amandatory skill used in every aspect of this project. Lead productive groups – As an upcoming school leader, I will lead many groups in myfuture. This Action Research Project allowed me to gain experience leading small groups duringthe consent of beginning the project, in the classroom with the students, as well as during thecommunication of the project’s results. Leaders should capture the attention of their audience.Because my Action Research Project’s topic is pertaining to using technology in the classroom,the audience and groups I lead were focused and excited about this topic. Technology isemerging and advancing and the school districts and campus goals are grow and change alongwith technology. Resolve issues or conflicts – During my Action Research Project, I anticipatedencountering issues and conflicts. It is understood that issues or conflicts occasionally occurwithout warning. To prepare for issues or conflicts throughout the project, my site supervisor,Mr. Paul Black and I discussed some potential issues and conflicts. We discussed severalsolutions to many conflicts we proactively thought could occur during the project. It wasdecided that the Action Research Project may potentially observe additional issues or conflicts at
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 32any time. To prevent unnecessary conflicts, such as the ones we discussed, the Action ResearchProject Timeline and Plan proactively created to discuss potential issues or conflicts with theteachers involved in this project so they are aware and understand potential issues and ways tosolve challenges and/or problems that might occur as to not impact the study. Fortunately, myAction Research Project did not experience any of the issues or conflicts that Mr. Black and Idiscussed. I learned that being proactive is key to preventing or knowing what to do if/when aconflict or issue arises. Although I did not experience any issues or conflicts during this ActionResearch Project, I believe that it is important to be prepared. Motivate others – Motivation was a large part of this Action Research Project becausethe project required the others, especially students, to be the main participants in which resultswould be derived. Without motivation, students might not want to participate and the resultsmight be skewed or altered. To motivate students to participate in the project, I initially provideda clear and concise description of the goals of the project, then I described what their roles wouldbe if they volunteered to participate. Showing excitement upon my description as well explainingthe benefits they will experience, motivated students to consider participation. Manage a positive culture and climate – This Action Research Project has a directimpact on promoting a positive school culture. Technology is ever-expanding and growing andwe, as teachers, may as well embrace these changes in our classrooms and teach our studentshow to use their personal electronics for academic gain. I believe that the results/conclusions collected throughout this Action Research Projectwill prove that students who are able to use their personal communication device in theclassroom for books, research, and/or related information will increase their engagement in the
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 33classroom during lessons, increase reading in the class and for homework, and ultimatelyimprove student grades. This Action Research Project focuses on students’ future in education.Understanding the components and the goals/objectives with this project will create a positiveculture and climate throughout the campus and among students. Use appropriate leadership style – As the main organizer, manager, and leader of thisAction Research Project, I must utilize many leadership styles and skills learned throughout myMasters degree plan in Educational Administration through Lamar University. I have learnedthat I am a “people person” and one who is able to see the big picture, but also focus on thedetails to reach end results. I will use the leadership styles that come naturally to me; however, Irecognize that other styles and skills will need to be practiced even if they do not come asnaturally. For example, I strive to manage time effectively and seek the advice and assistancefrom others even through this does not come easily to me. To lead this project effectively andsuccessfully, I will need to use a collaborative leadership style as well as apply many appropriateleadership skills. Empower others – This action research project was almost entirely planned, leads,managed, and concluded by me. The few others that were involved in the project played smallroles or had only minor responsibilities. As a future school leader, I plan to empower others withmore responsibilities. During the communication with other individuals on campus regarding thisaction research project, I ensured that each person had full understanding of the project and it’scomponents. Upon asking others for their contribution(s) to the project, maintainingprofessionalism and striving for clarity in communication, I was able to utilize leadership skillsto instill buy-in. Additionally, the other individuals involved felt empowered as I continuouslyasked for their opinions and/or ideas regarding the progress of the project.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 34 Manage change – Changes occur during most Action Research Projects no matter howmuch planning is done beforehand. One important part of managing and leading the project, isresponding quickly and appropriately to change. When change occurs, the project leader mustmaintain composure and adequately review all components of the project in order to makeappropriate and productive changes. During this project, I found that the timeline createdoriginally needed adjustments to accommodate the way students preferred to respond. To quicklymanage this minor change, I verified the plan’s alteration with my site supervisor and continuedwith the plan throughout the timeline without hesitation. If larger changes were needed, I wouldhave taken the same approach – verifying the changes, with all parties affected, prior tocontinuation. Evaluate self and overall study - Self-reflection and self-evaluation is a continuousprocess that entails unending evaluation for continuous improvement. During my previous self-assessments, I found that, generally, I am a people person. In conjunction with my leadershipstyle(s) and self-assessment results, I have conducted this action research project while growingas a learner and leader. I lead this project and the majorities of actions performed throughout thisproject were lead and performed myself. When evaluating the overall project, I realize theevaluations focus on two main areas: how the project was managed and concluded overall andhow I managed and lead the project. As I have reviewed and evaluated the overall study, I feelthat my planning and organizational skills have shown throughout the planning, implementation,and analyzing process. As I conduct, manage, and/or lead future action research projects, I willuse the self-evaluations done throughout this project to improve and aid in conducting anothersuccessful projects.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 35Students will complete an agreement of participation, which is to be signed by a parent and/orguardian. Data will be collected through teacher and student interviews, surveys, questionnaires,grade collection, and observations.
STUDENT USAGE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM 36 ReferencesAndersen, E. (2009, August 30). Cell phones in school: Tools or toys? Retrieved from Lincoln Journal Star: http://journalstar.com/lifestyles/article_b851282e-941c-11de-b6d1-001cc4c002e0.htmlDomenech, D. A. (2009, October). Harnessing kids’ tech fascination. Retrieved from American Association of School Administrators: http://www.aasa.org/SchoolAdministratorArticle.aspx? id=6884Greg Toppo, U. T. (2009, June 17). Survey: Many teens use phones in class to text or cheat. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-06-17-cellphones-in-class_N.htmMerriam-Websters collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). (2011). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.Trim, D. (2010, October 27). Should students be allowed to use digital devices at school? Inside the school. Retrieved from http://www.insidetheschool.com/articles/should-students-be-allowed- to-use-digital-devices-at-school/Watters, A. (2011, April 3). What do kids say is the biggest obstacle to technology at school? Retrieved from Read Write Web: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/what_do_kids_say_is_the_biggest_obstacle_to_techn o.php