Caila Bishop Technology Paper With the continuous advancements in technology, new technology is emerging and canbe noticed in schools. The instructional effectiveness of technology supported instruction isbeing put to the test. Some schools have decided to use an “immersion” method with technology,where they immerse schools in technology rather than implement technology over time. Otherschools have continued to use their traditional method with minimal use of technology supportedinstruction or no use of technology supported instruction. The controversy arises when decidingwhich method will work better in the school for both teachers and students. There are studies thatsupport the immersion method however studies also show the complications that arise as a resultof using an immersion method of instruction. According to Goodwin nearly a decade ago schools were using millions of dollars topurchase laptops for every student. Districts believed that one-to-one computer programs wereeffective and worth the expense. According to Goodwin’s article “a survey of 364 leaders oflarge districts with one-to-one initiatives found that 33 percent believed that laptops were havinga significant effect on student achievement and another 45 percent believed they were having amoderate effect (1).” However, according to Goodwin, now schools that are participating in one-to-one initiatives have begun to get rid of these programs because of a variety of problems thatrange from budget costs, maintenance costs, and concerns about how students are usingcomputers. Researchers who have examined one-to-one laptop initiatives have taken intoconsideration the quality of implementation of these programs along with immersion supportedinstruction. According to Shapley support for technology Immersion is based on leadership,teacher support, parent and community support, technical support and professional development.
In addition classroom immersion is best supported with technology instruction, learner-centeredinstruction, student classroom activities, and communication. The Technology Immersion Pilot (TIP) created by the Texas Legislature conducted a fouryear study. The four year study focused on 21 treatment schools progress in implementingTechnology Immersion. The study looked at the strength of implementation and student’sreading and mathematics test scores. The study found that those immersed in the laptopimmersion program were less likely to have disciplinary problems than student who did not haveaccess to laptops (Goodwin, 1). Project RED which is one of the first large scale study toidentify and focus on the factors that make some technology implementations performdramatically better than others, did a report that showed how reducing the number of dropoutsthrough the use of technology saved over $56,000 per student tax revenue (Hayes 2). The Texasstudy also found that technology skills in students improved after three years. Low incomestudents in the laptop immersion program displayed equal levels of technology proficiency as thewealthier students in the controlled schools (Goodwin 1) On the other hand, some researchers have found mixed or no results on the benefits ofone-to-one initiatives. One of Maine’s statewide programs found little student achievement withthe one to one programs with an exception of writing scores that bumped up 3.44 points in fiveyears. (Goodwin 1). In addition the Texas middle school study showed progress in studentsmathematics but no progress in reading, compared to Maine whose students reading scoresactually decreased after engaging in the laptop group study(1). Moreover, a Michigan one-to-one laptop program, examined eight matched pairs of schools. The program found “higherachievement in four laptop schools, lower achievement in three and no difference in the final pair(1)”.
The Texas Study that focused more on the implementation of Technology revealed somesurprising results. The study found that teacher’s attitudes and beliefs about technology affectedimplementation (10). In addition the study revealed that teachers participated in on average 37hours or fewer of technology related professional development (26). Moreover, teachers at onlytwo campuses reported having received a full level of support (24). Similarly a study conductedthat looked at three experienced high technology schools showed that teachers encounteredseveral persistent problems that affected their use of technology. These problems ranged fromtechnical problems, the time needed to find and evaluate resources and to learn to use the newtools, student attitudes towards technology and the Web, and school cultural issues. Teachersalso expressed their concerns about the unreliability of student computers and network problems(Learning and Assessment, 39). On the other hand the Texas Study found that teachers wereusing the technology for themselves rather than for their students (39). A few solutions for immersion programs include professional learning for administratorsand uses of the technology to help reduce schools costs. Professional learning for administratorswould reduce a variety of the problems that result from an immersion program in schools.According to the Project Red Team “professional learning is the key leverage point for ensuringopportunities for ongoing school improvement practices by educators to increase studentachievement”(9). Schools need to commit to ongoing, technology related professionaldevelopment and training opportunities for teachers and administrators. In addition, teachers whoutilize the technology properly will reduce the cost of technology. Project Red research hascalculated an overall 8 percent cost reduction by using online courses, digital content, onlineassessment, and professional development(10). Teachers who use digital content in place oftextbooks save the school money because digital context is less costly than text based context
and is easily indexed and searched via the districts network and web(11). Moreover, onlinecoursework can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection which helps with cost savingsin custodial care, electricity, administration and other overhead expenses that accumulate at theschools. I feel that it is imperative that schools use an immersion method with technology forsupporting instruction in the schools. I believe that the immersion method allows students to bemore active learners rather than passive learners versus a classroom with minimal technologywhere learners are often passive recipients of information. In addition, I believe that schools thatuse the immersion method allow for students to place greater emphasizes on deep learning andunderstanding as well as increased student responsibility and accountability. According toProject Red students using this method often drive their own learning, work at their own paceand motivate themselves(10). On the contrary I believe schools that use minimal technology willlimit the creativity of their students and hinder their higher-order thinking. I believe that schoolswould do their students a disservice in preparing them for their future endeavors rather it be theworkplace or continuing their education goals if they do not immerse their students withtechnology. All in all, research shows that technology supported instruction can be beneficial to someschools. The use of technology is helpful in enhancing curriculum. Students have shownimprovements in certain content area as a result of technology. Research also shows thatTechnology alone is not the root of a child’s success. There are many problems that arise whenimplementing technology into the schools. Improper implementation of equipment does notbenefit student learning or success. Despite the problems and concerns with implementing
technology, “when used right, technology is an essential driver in accelerating forwardmomentum” (Goodwin 2). Bibliography Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment. 2010. Volume 9: Special Edition: Educational Outcomes and Research from 1:1 Computing Settings. http://escholarship.bc.edu/jtla Texas Center for Educational Research. (2009). Evaluation of the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot. http://www.tcer.org/research/etxtip/documents/y4_etxtip_final.pdf Goodwin, B. (2011). One-to-one Laptop Programs are No Silver Bullet. Educational Leadership 68:5, 78-79. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/feb11/vol68/num05/One -to-One_Laptop_Programs_Are_No_Silver_Bullet.aspx Project RED, 10/2010, Technology Factor: Nine Keys to Student Achievement and Cost Effectiveness (survey research), press release http://projectred.org/uploads/T+L%20Press%20Release%20DR%203%20(2).doc, full report http://newbay.ebookhost.net/k12/projectred/1/index.php Mayo, M. (2009). Video games: A route to large-scale STEM education? Science Vol. 323. no. 5910, pp. 79 – 82. http://www.eegame.cn/upload/2009_01/09011409205049.doc