STUDENT EXPERIENCES IN A PROJECT-BASED LEARNING
TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM AT
A SUBURBAN HIGH SCHOOL
A Doctoral Dissertation Re...
ii
 
STUDENT EXPERIENCES IN A PROJECT-BASED LEARNING
TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM AT
A SUBURBAN HIGH SCHOOL
Copyright ©2013
Danie...
iv
 
STUDENT EXPERIENCES IN A PROJECT-BASED LEARNING
TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM AT
A SUBURBAN HIGH SCHOOL
Abstract of Doctoral ...
v
 
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the group dynamic in PBL
task delegation and technolo...
vi
 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would never have been able to finish my dissertation without the guidance of
my committee members,...
vii
 
DEDICATION
I dedicate this dissertation to my son Dylan, whose smile helped motivate me in
the toughest days. I hope...
viii
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
TABLE OF FIGURES...............................................................................
ix
 
Collection of Data......................................................................................................
x
 
APPENDICES 112
xi
 
TABLE OF FIGURES
Figure Page
1. Group 1 Planning and Layout.............................................................
xii
 
TABLE OF APPENDICES
Appendix Page
A. Principal Access Request..........................................................
1
 
CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM AND ITS COMPONENTS
Introduction
The instructional model Project Based Learning (PBL) engages ...
2
 
and interaction with one another. “Project based learning is rooted in the idea that a
problem or question drives lear...
3
 
Student learning in collaborative environments using technology enabled them to
share skills and organize group tasks ...
4
 
Multimedia Hypermedia Classroom Environment
Academic curriculum designed with multi and hypermedia creation skills foc...
5
 
future workplace environment will be a place in which workers will be judged on their
performance and evaluated not on...
6
 
students create should emphasize the context of the conditions in which students
completed the tasks, how their skills...
7
 
problems while completing tasks. Students constructed real world connections between
the curriculum and outcomes (Herr...
8
 
independently. The research also assists in the identification of the different roles
students take within the group a...
9
 
interruptions during group work and improve shared learning experiences by better
utilizing group knowledge resources....
10
 
Research Questions
The following research questions guided this study:
1. What are the benefits of a Project Based Le...
11
 
form due to the students’ energy level or focus. The single classroom environment, even
though rich in its transcribe...
12
 
Definition of Terms
The following terms will be addressed in this study:
21st Century Skills: The education skills de...
13
 
Communication Styles: Indicate choices of language or participation in verbal or
nonverbal components of collaboratio...
14
 
Flash: Defines multimedia software that uses Actionscript Languages and FLV
video. Software uses timeline setup to cr...
15
 
Nvivo: Windows desktop application that is available in 32-bit and 64-bit
versions. NVivo lets users organize, analyz...
16
 
Screencasts: Digital recordings of the computer screen often with narration;
these are often 3-5 minute videos with a...
17
 
profession. PBL is ideal for connecting factual knowledge, principles, and skills to their
application within a profe...
18
 
helps connect PBL curriculum as it relates to 21st century skill building in a high school
classroom environment.
The...
19
 
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
This literature review covers the current range of research in the areas of pro...
20
 
address key questions in their process of learning and apply applied technology skills in
presentations or cumulative...
21
 
Hakkarainen (2009) provided the idea that in developing PBL curriculum it is
important to embrace small learning grou...
22
 
solve and work through projects (Mioduser & Betzer, 2007). Engaging students with
technology, while still increasing ...
23
 
environments were beneficial for the development and sharing of student e-portfolios to
showcase their work. The posi...
24
 
and Neo, 2010). Neo and Neo, (2010) concluded that it is the connection between the
technology tools and the methods ...
25
 
getting introverted students to participate and the presentation of the problem over more
traditional courses which m...
26
 
experiences solving authentic questions using multimedia in a project based,
constructivist learning gave insight int...
27
 
constructivist approaches. A look into the research of mathematics instruction reveals
that there is actually limited...
28
 
following concepts relate to their perceived e-learning outcome: personal relevance,
student uncertainty, critical vo...
29
 
Authentic Learning
Results of Neo and Neo’s (2010) research showed that using authentic tasks with
a multimedia proje...
30
 
uncertainty, critical voice, shared control, student negotiation. These components were
the basis of the hypothesis o...
31
 
the importance of team work as it relates to real world settings. Student interaction
improved using technology and s...
32
 
components of the learning environment to be examined using Gagne’s nine events of
instruction (Neo et al., 2010).
Th...
33
 
management of the satellites and cooperation between students in different locations.
The multiple skills learned in ...
34
 
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
The instructional model Project Based Learning engages students in learning
knowledge and ...
35
 
collected to gain insight into a project based learning classroom environment using
technology.
The collected data re...
36
 
environment. Specific language and themes that students use while engaged in this
environment was defined. According ...
37
 
Finally, permission was granted from the principal to conduct research at the high school.
Proper permissions were al...
38
 
well as their time working collaboratively with the multimedia software to create their
projects, revealed the studen...
39
 
students’ completion of projects, their collaboration between each other and during the
utilization of technology too...
40
 
Thirdly, task factors and student responses to the central authentic question and the
complexity in which students an...
41
 
Limitations
The sample size which may have fluctuated on the students who agreed to
participate and the number signed...
42
 
tasks. Time was another limitation since the audio collection period may not have been
long enough. Communication may...
43
 
Delimitations
All students in this study were from upper middle class families in a suburban city
outside of Boston. ...
44
 
among group members. The group dynamics was a delimitation of the PBL learning
groups.
Data Analysis
The researcher c...
45
 
During the research period, students documented their personal learning
experiences related to the projects in a web ...
52
 
students exported their mobile application into an .APK format (Blum, 2012) and tested
the application on a device. D...
47
 
available for teachers to use, it is important to stay grounded to the benefits of better
understanding how technolog...
48
 
CHAPTER FOUR: FINDINGS
Introduction
This qualitative phenomenological research methodology was designed to
uncover an...
49
 
Population Description
The participants in this study consisted of 18 high school students in a suburban
school distr...
50
 
the study and transcribe audio files from the groups work periods. Word queries were
determined by identifying the 10...
51
 
students exported their mobile application into an .APK format (Blum, 2012) and tested
the application on a device. D...
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the group dynamic in PBL task delegation and technology skill fluency through the language of its participants. The researcher collected themes, experiences, and decisions depicted in the language of high school students as they negotiated a final project using computer technology tools to create mobile applications for their high school community.
Often in groups, teachers are not always part of the exchange of learning and necessary communication between students to complete tasks and negotiate ideas. This research assists teachers in developing strategies to better organize and guide groups in a PBL curriculum with technology so students can more effectively address the needs of projects independently.
In this research, the PBL curriculum promoted conversation and communication for delegated tasks amongst students and developing a sense of familiarity and cohesiveness in student centered groups. Scenarios which required the management of group members to complete the tasks required in the project were also prevalent. Group members shared critical vocabulary related to technology and the process of the project. Additional benefits included group approaches with the consideration of continually improving the project and also an increased awareness and appreciation for the technology used in the project.
The final mobile applications of the groups represent the combination of group process, technology, and addressing the authentic question in the PBL curriculum. Students were able to develop authentic projects which were the results of a variety of technology based skills, project management and conceptualization.

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Daniel Downs: Student Experiences In A Project Based Learning Technology Curriculum At A Suburban High School

  1. 1. STUDENT EXPERIENCES IN A PROJECT-BASED LEARNING TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM AT A SUBURBAN HIGH SCHOOL A Doctoral Dissertation Research Submitted to the Faculty of Argosy University, Sarasota College of Education In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education By Daniel M. Downs Argosy University, Sarasota January, 2013
  2. 2. ii   STUDENT EXPERIENCES IN A PROJECT-BASED LEARNING TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM AT A SUBURBAN HIGH SCHOOL Copyright ©2013 Daniel M. Downs All rights reserved
  3. 3. iv   STUDENT EXPERIENCES IN A PROJECT-BASED LEARNING TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM AT A SUBURBAN HIGH SCHOOL Abstract of Doctoral Dissertation Research Submitted to the Faculty of Argosy University, Sarasota College of Education In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education By Daniel M. Downs Argosy University, Sarasota January, 2013 Sharon D. Jackson, Ed.D, Chair Rosine M. Dougherty, Ed.D, Member Department: College of Education
  4. 4. v   ABSTRACT The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the group dynamic in PBL task delegation and technology skill fluency through the language of its participants. The researcher collected themes, experiences, and decisions depicted in the language of high school students as they negotiated a final project using computer technology tools to create mobile applications for their high school community. Often in groups, teachers are not always part of the exchange of learning and necessary communication between students to complete tasks and negotiate ideas. This research assists teachers in developing strategies to better organize and guide groups in a PBL curriculum with technology so students can more effectively address the needs of projects independently. In this research, the PBL curriculum promoted conversation and communication for delegated tasks amongst students and developing a sense of familiarity and cohesiveness in student centered groups. Scenarios which required the management of group members to complete the tasks required in the project were also prevalent. Group members shared critical vocabulary related to technology and the process of the project. Additional benefits included group approaches with the consideration of continually improving the project and also an increased awareness and appreciation for the technology used in the project. The final mobile applications of the groups represent the combination of group process, technology, and addressing the authentic question in the PBL curriculum. Students were able to develop authentic projects which were the results of a variety of technology based skills, project management and conceptualization.
  5. 5. vi   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would never have been able to finish my dissertation without the guidance of my committee members, help from friends, and support from my family and wife. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Sharon Jackson, for her excellent guidance, caring and patience during my research. I would also like to thank Dr. Dougherty for helping guide my research and provoking new insights into the Project Based learning technology curriculum. I would also like to thank Anna Maria Schrimpf for providing me with professional mentorship during the course of my studies and Dr. Thomas Gwin for his support for Project Based Learning with technology curriculum in his school. A special thanks to Dr. Marc Kerble for sharing his experience and professional advice during my doctoral study. I would also like to thank my parents, as they have always been supportive in my endeavors in education. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Shachenka, and son Dylan for their endless patience in this process.
  6. 6. vii   DEDICATION I dedicate this dissertation to my son Dylan, whose smile helped motivate me in the toughest days. I hope he keeps his imagination sacred as he makes his way in this world.
  7. 7. viii   TABLE OF CONTENTS Page TABLE OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................x TABLE OF APPENDICES ............................................................................................... xi CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM AND ITS COMPONENTS 1 Introduction 1 Constructivist Approaches 2 Multimedia Hypermedia Classroom Environment 4 Authentic Assessment 5 Purpose of the Study 7 Statement of Problem 9 Research Questions 10 Limitations and Delimitations 10 Definition of Terms 12 Significance of Study 16 Study Overview 16 Chapter Summary 17 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 19 Project Based Learning’s Role with Instruction and Multimedia Instruction 19 Social Learning 22 Integration of Multimedia Tools 23 Barriers 24 Constructivist Approaches with Multimedia 25 Significance 26 Student Perceptions 27 Authentic Learning 29 Implementation and Approaches 31 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY 34 Research Design 35 Sampling Procedures 36 Data Collection Methods 37 Methodological Assumptions & Limitations 40 Analysis 44 Summary 46 CHAPTER FOUR: FINDINGS.........................................................................................49 Introduction........................................................................................................................49 Population Description.......................................................................................................50 Collection of Data and Data Analysis................................................................................50
  8. 8. ix   Collection of Data..........................................................................................................50 Project Artifacts .............................................................................................................51 Findings and Results..........................................................................................................52 Design Strategies ...........................................................................................................52 Project Conceptualization..............................................................................................52 Problem Solving.................................................................................................................54 Visual Approaches.........................................................................................................55 Technology Integration .................................................................................................56 Communication Trends......................................................................................................57 Management Language..................................................................................................58 Task Language...............................................................................................................59 Collaboration......................................................................................................................60 Technology ........................................................................................................................61 Learning Behaviors............................................................................................................63 Cohesiveness..................................................................................................................63 Group Learning Challenges...........................................................................................64 Project Challenges .............................................................................................................65 Technology Learning.....................................................................................................65 Time Management .........................................................................................................66 Role Development .............................................................................................................67 Task Based Roles...........................................................................................................67 Leadership Roles............................................................................................................69 Evaluating Final Projects...................................................................................................70 Authentic Rubric.............................................................................................................70 Problem Solving..............................................................................................................70 Task Factors....................................................................................................................71 Indicators of Success..........................................................................................................72 Overall Themes of Study ...................................................................................................73 Summary............................................................................................................................74 CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS ......76 Summary............................................................................................................................76 Discussion of Results.........................................................................................................79 Implications of Study.........................................................................................................91 Implications for Educators.............................................................................................91 Implications for Technology Teachers ..........................................................................96 Implications for Students...............................................................................................98 Limitations.......................................................................................................................100 Recommendations............................................................................................................101 Recommendations for Further Research......................................................................101 Conclusions......................................................................................................................103 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................107
  9. 9. x   APPENDICES 112
  10. 10. xi   TABLE OF FIGURES Figure Page 1. Group 1 Planning and Layout......................................................................................122 2. Group 2 Planning and Layout......................................................................................123 3. Group 3 Planning and Layout......................................................................................124 4. Group 4 Planning and Layout......................................................................................125 5. Learning Journal Words...............................................................................................127 6. Group 1 Learning Journal Word Query.......................................................................129 7. Group 2 Learning Journal Word Query.......................................................................129 8. Group 3 Learning Journal Word Query.......................................................................130 9. Group 4 Learning Journal Word Query.......................................................................130 10. Group 1 Audio Word Query ......................................................................................134 11. Group 2 Audio Word Query ......................................................................................134 12. Group 3 and 4 Audio Word Query ............................................................................135
  11. 11. xii   TABLE OF APPENDICES Appendix Page A. Principal Access Request...........................................................................................113 B. Parent Permission Request.........................................................................................115 C. Authentic Rubric ........................................................................................................118 D. Group Planning and Layouts......................................................................................121 E. Learning Journal Words .............................................................................................126 F. Learning Journal Word Queries..................................................................................128 G. Audio Transcription Words .......................................................................................131 H. Audio Word Queries..................................................................................................133 I. Groups 1-4 Presentation Video Links .........................................................................136
  12. 12. 1   CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM AND ITS COMPONENTS Introduction The instructional model Project Based Learning (PBL) engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process. Markham, Larmer and Ravit’s (2003) study described the process as structured around authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks. These projects and authentic assessments validate the collaborative process of an engaged group working towards a final presentation. The language that students use in this interaction drives the exchange of information to complete critical tasks on the way to completion of final products such as written products, portfolios, checklists, teacher observations, and group projects (Olfos & Zulantay, 2007). PBL approaches used in teaching multimedia projects suggest that the project be guided by a driving question in which the research allows students to apply their acquired knowledge (Bell, 2010). It is the driving question which initiates communication and a team approach necessary to solving the central problems in the creation of a project in PBL curriculum. PBL curriculum inquiry process, while using technology and multimedia software tools, relies heavily upon the participant’s use of language to learn and collaborate. Students working and communicating effectively in groups to create multimedia projects defines an exciting question driven construct of PBL. PBL curriculum is dependent on the ability of individuals to show teamwork, communication, collaboration and increased fluency in key skill areas (Kramer, Walker & Brill, 2007). The final product, cumulative presentation or performance of students for proper assessment, depends on the quality and effectiveness of student communication
  13. 13. 2   and interaction with one another. “Project based learning is rooted in the idea that a problem or question drives learning activities toward the construction of a concrete artifact in an authentic context” (Papanikolaou & Boubouka, 2010, p. 135). To gain a better understanding of the process of this curriculum, it is important to understand the language between its participants during the process of project development, acquisition of critical skills, and the presentation of the final project. Constructivist Approaches Group learning while integrating technology in a PBL environment engages students in multiple forms of communication. According to Vygotsky (1990): Through conversational language used in a social context the emerging patterns are negotiated into meaning and the construct of the “zone of proximal development” is bridged via deeper learning. So, learning occurs through joint problem-solving between partners and social interaction. Dependence on group communication and exchange of ideas plays a large role in the construct of project based learning. The reliance on individuals to work in groups, to share ideas, and create with technology will facilitate learning. Capturing the language during this process will reveal communication and language trends critical to better understanding of student learning. PBL curriculum has a strong component of group construct and promotes more enriching learning experiences. Students can focus on the development of their fluency and skills with the collaborative use of technology tools. Curtis & Lawson (2001) found the following: The collaborative learning process allows students to construct a scaffold for critical thinking and provides immediacy of feedback in which peers give and receive help, exchange resources and information, give and receive feedback, challenge and encourage each other and jointly reflect on progress and process. (p. 21)
  14. 14. 3   Student learning in collaborative environments using technology enabled them to share skills and organize group tasks on their way to completing project based assignments. The language students used and the interactions they encountered in the project based learning environment with technology defined and differentiated their experiences. Students were engrossed in learning with a high level of accountability within their group and created projects which can be relevant in a real world context. Bell (2010) found the following: The group dynamic creates an interdependence in which students must each do their part, and as a result, a natural consequence exists for those students who do not demonstrate accountability—others may no longer want to be paired with students who do not do their fair share. (p. 40) This dynamic becomes an important component to evaluate and discover the inner workings and directions of these groups. The language used during this dynamic and the corresponding work trends will be insightful to its effect on the group structure. Group learning is facilitated by the successful completion of the project tasks and the application of the technology. According to Jonassen, Howland, Moore, and Marra (2003), “for constructivists, knowledge is socially constructed through structured interaction and collaboration around meaningful tasks” (p. 152). In a group learning environment, intercommunication between participants will be critical to students sharing and retaining information. This research focused on language used by students in the successful delegation, prioritization and fluency of technology skills during a project based multi/hypermedia project. This research disseminates the meaningful learning gained from students managing their own learning through meta-cognitive, self-reflective and collaborative processes (Vale, Weaven, Davies & Hooley, 2007).
  15. 15. 4   Multimedia Hypermedia Classroom Environment Academic curriculum designed with multi and hypermedia creation skills focuses on students’ ability to work collaboratively with multiple forms of technology. Students should become active participants in their learning process and construct new knowledge by thinking critically and while using multiple types of information (Neo & Neo, 2010). PBL strategies such as driving questions, collaboration and final presentations within the multimedia/hypermedia curriculum will enable students to learn relevant real world skills (Frank & Barzilai, 2004). According to Devaney (2008), information media and technology skills are viewed as critical needs for future employment in the global economy. These skills are central as starting points for developing and implementing curriculum that will help students gain beneficial aptitudes that will prepare them for career and work-related experiences. As described by Steelman, Grable, and Vasu (2005): Multimedia projects provide a vehicle for students to use technology in an authentic context and to create an expression of acquired knowledge. Students, by constructing their own knowledge through a complex combination of experiences, resources, and tools, use digital multimedia projects as process and product to demonstrate what they have learned. (p. 1) A set of computer technology based tools and skills (HTML/CSS/Actionscript 3.0 languages, web based collaborative tools, media creation software suites) are embedded into the curriculum model of project based learning research using authentic assessment. These tools enabled students to create, collaborate and present an authentic learning product. Students were challenged to collaboratively manage projects according to necessary skills and fluency with computer technology. As noted by Bell (2010), the
  16. 16. 5   future workplace environment will be a place in which workers will be judged on their performance and evaluated not only on their outcomes but their collaboration, negotiation, planning and organization. Tools available to students enabled them to work in small groups in class at personal desktop computers with all the necessary software for media creation. Students were also be able to present their projects to small or larger groups, post them to the web, or upload them to mobile devices or servers for sharing. The multimedia authoring tools became a vehicle for students to create and present information in such a way that allows the students to analyze and synthesize their learned experiences (Steelman et al., 2005). Authentic Assessment Authenticity in the assessment of student projects in the PBL curriculum using technology was driven by a driving question which will replicate a possible real world scenario. The assessment of students’ work was based within the understanding of the real world experiences and achievement (Archibald & Newmann, 1988 cited in Burton, 2011). The descriptive questions drove project development and replicated real-world scenarios. Herrington and Herrington (1998; 2006) defined four major groups related to authentic assessment: context, student factors, task factors and indicators. Each of these factors is a point of evaluation in the final cumulative project of students in the technology course in a PBL curriculum. The context of the groups’ projects will emphasize the challenge of real world questions. Students must have the ability to work within the curriculum and technology based environment to make connections to realistic project outcomes. The projects that
  17. 17. 6   students create should emphasize the context of the conditions in which students completed the tasks, how their skills can relate to real world instances and make a connection which blends the classroom understandings to real world instances (Herrington & Herrington, 1998; 2006). Student factors in the authentic assessment of PBL curriculum with technology include problem-solving skills, higher order thinking, the production of knowledge rather than the reproduction of knowledge, significant student time, collaboration, effective performers, polished products and depth of knowledge (Herrington & Herrington, 1998; 2006). The assessment of these skills provide deeper insight and understanding to how students respond to the authenticity of the problem and the fluency of their collaboration with the technology tools. The final projects and skills used to produce them show the integration of these skills in the process of addressing the problem and the results of their group work. Task factors include the wide range of responses to the central authentic question, the complexity in which students answered and solved the components to the question, the addressing of the multiple steps necessary to complete their project, and how the groups integrated forms of assessment were satisfied (Herrington & Herrington, 1998; 2006). Indicators of success in the authentic assessment of the projects are a groups’ ability to create a valid and reliable product which addresses the needs of the question. Other indicators include specific technology based skills shown in the final product. The final project was judged on its validity, reliability and technology components. With authentic assessments, students were provided opportunities to address real world
  18. 18. 7   problems while completing tasks. Students constructed real world connections between the curriculum and outcomes (Herrington & Herrington, 1998; 2006). Authentic assessment pushes curriculum to align with the skill needs necessary and to ask important questions of the participants involved. Students used technology to connect to learning opportunities and the more authentic application of technology. Using authentic tasks requires complex thought and allows time for exploration (Vale et al., 2007). As a result, new areas to develop authentic assessments will be developed to determine the students’ level of real world context acquisitions. Assessing students in this way provides a realistic approach to instructing in real world scenarios and prepares learners to address the range of problems and necessary skills to complete tasks successfully. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to understand the group dynamic in PBL task delegation and technology skill fluency through the language of its participants. The themes, experiences, and decisions depicted in the language of students as they negotiated a final project using computer technology tools benefits teachers in understanding the transfer of knowledge and shared skills between students and will also assist in the organizing of groups and content for productive PBL environments. Often in groups, teachers are not always part of the exchange of learning and necessary communication between students to complete tasks and negotiate ideas. This research assists teachers in developing strategies to better organize and guide groups in a PBL curriculum so students can more effectively address the needs of projects
  19. 19. 8   independently. The research also assists in the identification of the different roles students take within the group and how these roles influence the final projects. Project based learning with technology in this research is defined as high school aged students’ working on a collaborative, independent, self-motivated project using technology. According to Bell (2010), technology is highly engaging to students because it will tap into their fluency with computers. The students’ fluency with technology tools and their success in real world contexts is indicated in the authentic learning environment. This research provides student descriptions of their adaptability to this environment and process of learning within their groups and will help educators better structure the integration of technology tools into the classroom. Student experiences with multimedia based curriculum will help structure the development of new curriculum using these tools by providing rich descriptions of student experiences and learning goals. Jones, Ramussen and Moffitt (1997) stated in their study, “Project-Based Learning is a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks” (p. 26). In this research, students self-direct their projects and use resources and tools collaboratively. This approach also includes collaboration and relies heavily on student communication. Learning is transferred by the group process and needs of the project. This research examines the students’ process of inquiry into their projects by capturing their verbal commands, choices and selections of delegated tasks. This information assists teachers in creating better approaches to guiding students who are working collaboratively. Insight into the workflow of the groups’ normal workflow will help prevent unnecessary teacher
  20. 20. 9   interruptions during group work and improve shared learning experiences by better utilizing group knowledge resources. Statement of the Problem The problem for guiding students in a PBL curriculum is the teacher’s lack of knowledge about the sharing of ideas, concepts and strategies within a group as they negotiate a problem without direct supervision. Teachers in PBL curriculums using technology must directly teach real world applications of hypermedia and multimedia tools while students work collaboratively on projects. PBL projects with technology rely on the students ability to share and adapt technology skills to projects on higher cognitive levels in order to address questions related to a cumulative project based on an authentic question. Teachers cannot be central to this process but must always find new ways to guide and instruct according to the variety of needs of each group. Students must develop an independent fluency with technology tools and have opportunities to grow and build skills away from direct instruction of the teacher in the community of the group. Students should share their skills collaboratively in groups and apply shared ideas and presentation strategies to gain the best results in final projects. This is the ideal, but as projects evolve the end results are not always consistent. To best address this dynamic, teachers need to be prepared in a variety of different ways to foster the collaboration, sharing and deep integration of tools into the design of final projects. This research helps address this preparation and also the necessary strategies to help identify issues in the process of PBL with technology. The research also addresses the problems teachers face in addressing collaboration strategies, sharing of information, acquisition of skills and student process.
  21. 21. 10   Research Questions The following research questions guided this study: 1. What are the benefits of a Project Based Learning curriculum in group projects using technology? 2. How does Project Based Learning curriculum encourage the group dynamics of learning collaboratively with technology? 3. How does Project Based Learning curriculum promote conversations and communication amongst students as they delegate tasks? 4. What outcomes will emerge as a result of students’ participation in a Project Based Learning Technology curriculum? Limitations and Delimitations This research had several major limitations due to the location and context of the research environment. The first limitation was the age of the participants in the class. Students ranged in ages 15-18 and choosing to take the course based on availability in their schedule and personal interests. The ability of the students was also a limitation in this study. Students represent a diversity of technology skills and academic strengths. This influence in the research also presented the limitation of students’ ability to complete final projects in the specified time range. The influence of the students’ schedule and other academic demands made on the students in the course of a typical school day was a limitation of this study. Students may have been burdened by outside work pressures, extracurricular activities and academic workload. This may have influenced the collection of qualitative data in written or audio
  22. 22. 11   form due to the students’ energy level or focus. The single classroom environment, even though rich in its transcribed audio data from the working groups, was not diverse in terms of ethnicity or socio-economic backgrounds. Delimitations Assuming the concurrent roles of teacher and researcher was a major delimitation in this study. Practicing both roles can cause bias since reflections of success and failures are revealed in this study. This limitation is countered with the student participants understanding that their assessment was made by an outside assessor qualified to assess the projects based on a defined rubric. Delimitation in this study was the length of the research data collection period of four weeks. This delimitation allowed proper data collection in all phases in the context of the classroom. Four weeks of data collection allowed collaboration time, skill development and creation of final projects. This period of data collection may not reflect all of the possible variations in a PBL curriculum which may arise such as extended skill lessons or longer collaboration periods. Further, the methods of data collection in this research represent another delimitation. This research used audio from group work periods, writing from learning journals, final project outcomes and observations. These sources of data demonstrate the wide range necessary to reflect the context of the research and to develop insightful data. Another delimitation of this research was the size of the group participants. There were 18 students divided into four groups of four to five students. Since the sample size is so small, it would not be realistic to generalize this study to other populations.
  23. 23. 12   Definition of Terms The following terms will be addressed in this study: 21st Century Skills: The education skills deemed necessary to be successful in the 21st century global workforce. The skills include students’ ability to collaborate, communicate and negotiate (Bell, 2010). These skills also include a commitment to embedding technology in the curriculum and continual reformation of assessment models for these new skills (Rotherham & Willingham, 2009). Android Device: A variety of electronic devices that operate using android operating systems; these devices include phones, televisions, watches and tablets (Petrovan, 2012). .APK: File format used to distribute and install software (usually games or applications) on the Android operating system. Downloading the .APK allows users to install programs without needing access to sites like Google Play [or AndroidPIT] (Blum, 2012). Authentic Learning Experiences: Authentic learning asks participants to actively perform and learn in contexts that relate directly to the environments existing in real world settings (Olfos & Zulantay, 2007). Authentic learning experiences include student learning which ties the skills learned in the learning environments with the anticipated skills needed in the work force. Authentic learning ties directly to a performance assessment on the skills gained during the learning. Click Stream: The process of interaction of a user with a websites interface content. An analysis of this activity indicates how users navigate the content and potential visits to different pages (Silvestron, 2013).
  24. 24. 13   Communication Styles: Indicate choices of language or participation in verbal or nonverbal components of collaboration. The variety of language and approaches used by students will assist in adding knowledge and skills in the collaborative discussion phases of project development. Students’ use of their “critical voice” should be a dominant component of the constructivist learning environment while communicating (Sultan et al., 2011). The critical voice will offer extensive opportunities for students to critically judge their learning environments and enable individual decisions away from the teacher’s guidance. The “critical voice” will direct individual students’ style of communication and enable critical thinking and direction within the group (Sultan et al., 2011). Collaborative Learning Techniques: Approaches students and teachers will take in placing participants together to complete final project goals. Small group work based in specific content areas or assigning of group leaders to manage workloads. The benefits of collaborative practice include: ethical practice, knowledge in practice, frameworks of learning, team structures and processes, inter-professional working, collaboration and communication, sharing of knowledge, and reflection. The benefits of collaborative practice will lend itself to help define core domains of competence (Suter, Arndt, Arthur, Parboosingh, Taylor, & Deutschlander, 2009). Constructivist Theories: According to Gazi (2009, p. 2), “Constructivist pedagogy enables students to manage their own learning through meta-cognitive, self- reflective, and collaborative processes.” The diversity of the groups learning is dependent on the transfer of information between participants collaborating.
  25. 25. 14   Flash: Defines multimedia software that uses Actionscript Languages and FLV video. Software uses timeline setup to create animations with vector graphics (Jun, Zu- Yuan, & Yuren, 2009). Icon Graphic: Graphic that represents an application. Launcher icons are used by Launcher applications and appear on the user’s Home screen. Launcher icons can also represent shortcuts into an application [for example, a contact shortcut icon that opens detailed information for a contact] (Launcher Icons/Android Developers, n.d). Learning Styles: For the purpose of this research, “learning style” will be the idea of how individuals have preferences for taking in, analyzing and synthesizing information. Researcher anticipated that learners in this study would have preferences to group constructs (collaborative or independent thinking approaches) and how to organize and present particular components of the project (Hardaker, Dockery, & Sabki, 2010). Mobile Applications (used interchangeably with “app”): Computer software designed to help the user perform singular or multiple related tasks. The software is loaded onto a variety of mobile devices such as phones, tablets, readers (Franklin, 2011). Multimedia/Hypermedia Technology Classroom: Computer classroom equipped with the hardware and multimedia creation software for complex graphics, coding computer languages, animation, or collaboration with technology tools. As stated by Teoh & Neo (2007), “Akin to hypermedia, multimedia presents an immeasurable interconnectivity to information in a variety of possible combinations, sequences and mixture of resources which shapes the higher-order thinking in students” (p. 1). In this research it is the availability of these tools for projects which will drive learning.
  26. 26. 15   Nvivo: Windows desktop application that is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. NVivo lets users organize, analyze and visualize information—anything from Word documents and PDFs to videos, podcasts, photos and database tables. Users can organize their material by topic and uncover trends and emerging themes. The visualization tools let them create diagrams, charts or models to present and clarify their discoveries (QSR Technical Resource Center, n.d). Photoshop: Photo editing software with a variety of tools for resizing, adding graphics (text, images) and direct editing of photos and graphic documents. The software also provides a range of options for saving images and files [JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF] (Stitzer, 2005).   Project Based Learning: According to Markham (2011), students in a Project Based Learning environment focus on a problem or challenge, work in teams to find a solution to the problem, and often exhibit their work to an adult audience at the end of the project. Increasingly, PBL students take advantage of digital tools to produce high quality, collaborative products. All of these components are consistent with this research project. Project Based Learning Outcomes: The learning outcomes of students will be a measurable cognitive dimension that occurs through the learning process of PBL. The processes of acquiring skills, which will include critical thinking, high-order cognitive processes, problem solving capability, knowledge, and skills in the key learning areas, will assist students in transferring knowledge or skills (Sultan, Woods, & Koo, 2011). Specifically for this research, the goals of the Project Based Learning curriculum were for students to develop a final multimedia project created by a group.
  27. 27. 16   Screencasts: Digital recordings of the computer screen often with narration; these are often 3-5 minute videos with a specific purpose (Gormely & McDermott, 2011). Venn diagrams: A Venn diagram is a useful graphic too to help organize sets, logic and counting. Venn diagrams often consist of 3 congruent circles to separate and organize information. The diagram helps shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of sets ( Myers, 2012 ). Significance of the Study This research adds insight into approaches teachers use when designing project based curriculum as well as the means for assessing project based learning outcomes. “Project-Based Learning has a proven record as a teaching tool. The constructivism learning theory suggests that people learn better by actively participating in the learning process. In order to involve students in the participatory learning process, the interaction among students and between students and the instructor in a classroom becomes very critical” (Verma, 2011). The national trend towards students gaining skills with 21st century learning outcomes is also examined through the lens of this research. The examination of learned outcomes and the capturing of the language used by students during group work and student trends in communication during PBL will reveal new questions about the best approach and format to deliver project based curriculum. This research adds insight into the perception and approaches of authentic assessment with technology tools. Study Overview Project based learning has helped facilitate the efforts of what has become known as “bridging the gap” between academics of a profession and the practice of that
  28. 28. 17   profession. PBL is ideal for connecting factual knowledge, principles, and skills to their application within a profession (Verma, 2011). It is the bridging of PBL and authentic assessment of students’ projects using technology that creates a dynamic context for an inquiry into communication styles and themes in the transfer of learning. Current 21st Century Skills education initiatives create a framework which represents the skills which will be valued in the 21st century workforce. “Advocates of 21st century skills favor student-centered methods for example, problem-based learning and project-based learning that allow students to collaborate, work on authentic problems, and engage with the community (Rotherham & Willingham, 2009). These components, combined with developing a fluency using technology in applying these skills, are aimed at making students more prepared for the technology driven workforce. The facility in which the research was conducted is in a suburban high school classroom located in Winchester, Massachusetts. The technology classroom will as a one: one environment which means that for each student there was a computer with equal access to the web and relevant software. This research also took place within the predefined curriculum of PBL with a focus on the group construct while using technology to create multimedia and hypermedia projects. Participants were allowed to group themselves and asked to complete projects based on questions which would be asked in real world scenarios, including authentic assessments. Chapter Summary This chapter provided an outline of the study. This research captures the language, learning styles, assessments and themes central to students’ application of technology in a self-directed, sustained collaborative project environment. The data
  29. 29. 18   helps connect PBL curriculum as it relates to 21st century skill building in a high school classroom environment. The significance of this research is the focus on the students’ communication and trends in completing the project. Behaviors are captured during the process of creating project mobile applications. The findings and themes related to the students’ communications provide insight on how they create and manage tasks while using technology collaboratively in small groups.                            
  30. 30. 19   CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE This literature review covers the current range of research in the areas of project based research, constructivist approaches in education, multimedia creation in the classroom, and authentic assessment. The topics are organized in terms of the relevance to the central themes in the research project. The instructional practice of PBL is defined as well as the components of social learning with constructivist approaches which are aligned with PBL. The importance of the integration of a variety of media tools in PBL and examples of research which defines current barriers is also explained. Project Based Learning’s Role with Instruction and Multimedia Instruction Markham (2011) described the traditional context of PBL as requiring the role of the teacher as an instructional coach in the curriculum. This role has become challenged as new ways of integrating technology into the PBL curriculum has included asking students to develop multimedia projects using technology tools. The traditional role of the teacher in a PBL environment has the additional tasks of managing tools and resources to complete projects. PBL challenges learners to adapt to a self-directed environment while learning specific skill based knowledge. Bell’s (2010) research addressed the core component of PBL curriculum: “The project is guided by an inquiry question that drives the research and allows students to apply their acquired knowledge” (Bell, 2010, p. 41). This curriculum approach focuses on a cumulative project, and in many classrooms these projects rely heavily on the use of technology tools to make final presentations. Inquiry based projects allows students to
  31. 31. 20   address key questions in their process of learning and apply applied technology skills in presentations or cumulative projects. PBL has become a common and current instructional practice to engage students on a wide range of levels with technology (Bell, 2010). A concern expressed by Markham (2011) in the classroom implementation of PBL with technology is a hope that the technology will be used to empower students in their learning and that the students’ projects drive the questioning. This concern has been tempered by current research by Hernandez, Ramos, and Lapaz (2009) who conducted research in a middle school history classroom using technology assisted project based learning curriculum. The benefits of their research identified that integrating a multimedia project into a PBL curriculum provides great benefits to learning in specific content areas. Hernandez et al.’s (2009) research concluded that a specific PBL strategy using technology helped assist students in knowledge acquisition in the core subject. In addition, the project based model also improved attitude towards learning history with the use of technology assistance. PBL approaches improve student attitudes towards technology based projects and motivation to learn the key skills to complete advanced technology based projects. The research of Hakkarainen (2009) described the process of designing, implementing and refining a PBL course for the creation of educational videos on the college level. The results of teaching digital video with a PBL suggested that the production of Digital Video presented meaningful personal learning opportunities (Hakkarainen, 2009). This research reflects on the individual and group benefits of a PBL pedagogy using digital video production.
  32. 32. 21   Hakkarainen (2009) provided the idea that in developing PBL curriculum it is important to embrace small learning groups for learning context, collaboration, conversational and emotional involvement components. The video production project revealed that students not only gained the technical skills needed in video production, but students also learned project management, collaboration, co-operation, and problem solving within the curriculum (Hakkarainen, 2009). The suggestion is that PBL is a good option for integrating multiple skills such as dramaturgy, video expression, video production, copyright regulations and journalism which are generally taught in multiple disciplines and programs (Hakkarainen, 2009). This research describes the challenges of integrating these different teaching and learning skills into the same environment. This research presents PBL as a viable tool for doing this and describes the benefits of providing an authentic question to the students in a PBL environment. Based on the students’ experiences, the authentic questions support the cycles of tutorials which enable the skill based learning. The research of Mioduser and Betzer (2007) looked at the impact of a PBL curriculum within technology education by high school high achievers. The central research questions in their research related to the learning of machine control concepts, the technological use of patterns, design skills acquisition and design skills performance in a PBL curriculum. This research also looked at the students’ attitudes towards technology learning after learning in a PBL curriculum. The population for this study was high school aged students from technological high schools and comprehensive high schools. All students were considered high achievers. Results indicated an increase in technology skill development in the PBL environment and better motivation to problem
  33. 33. 22   solve and work through projects (Mioduser & Betzer, 2007). Engaging students with technology, while still increasing skill development, is a major benefit of using a PBL curriculum with technology based curriculum. Social Learning PBL with technology and multimedia tools enable the social integration of multimedia tools and plays an important role in the integration of collaboration, independent learning and student centered approaches of the PBL curriculum (Bell, 2010). “PBL promotes social learning as children practice and become proficient with the twenty-first-century skills of communication, negotiation, and collaboration” (Bell, 2010, p. 40). The components of social learning require a student centered approach which helps improve each student’s ability to work in groups and acquire skills. These tools are important in the traditional classroom and play an even larger role in the technology based multimedia classroom in which students are acquiring important skills to better collaborate and present (Bell, 2010). Kan’s (2011) research established the impact of student centered learning environments using web 2.0 tools by examining the student perceptions, learning experiences and cooperative environment of students working cooperatively creating blogs. Students created learning communities within the class environment of Kan’s research. They revealed the positive components of a student centered course in which students developed blogs as groups including: cooperative influences of positive interdependence, promoted interaction, individual accountability, interpersonal work skills and group processing. Kan’s (2011) study concluded that student centered
  34. 34. 23   environments were beneficial for the development and sharing of student e-portfolios to showcase their work. The positive results of this research are a reflection of what they had achieved and the benefits of a cooperative environment using web 2.0 tools. Student centered learning using technology naturally fosters a community of task building and fluency with tools. Interactions in this environment are filled with knowledge sharing and the development of fluency using technology tools. The research of Bell, Galilea, and Tolouei (2010) implemented a scenario centered curriculum for students in an engineering curriculum. Authentic scenarios in learning environments of these students included acquiring technical skills and having project driven approaches to address authentic scenarios. Bell et al. (2010) found positive student impact using scenario based outcomes for learning skill outcomes. The curriculum embedded a project based approach with the traditional tools of lecture and laboratory work (Bell et al., 2010). This approach received a positive student response and provided a livelier class environment and increased motivation of the students. Integration of Multimedia Tools Students use a variety of technology tools to display their learning (Bell, 2010). Bell stated that the application of various types of technologies in group settings empowers students to realize appropriate uses of technology. In the PBL research of Neo and Neo (2010), students are responsible for using authoring tools for their multimedia and were solely responsible for the development of their projects in project based learning environment. This adds to the ownership of projects and the connection that ICT tools (Information Communication Technology) play in the development of instructional content and the methods of communicating information to the learners (Neo
  35. 35. 24   and Neo, 2010). Neo and Neo, (2010) concluded that it is the connection between the technology tools and the methods of instruction which drive the most interesting components of the research. Barriers Implementing a PBL curriculum is not without barriers and major issues. Kramer, Walker, and Brill (2007) explored the issues which face practitioners who use project based learning approaches with technology across continents. A true examination of what is preventing this curriculum from gaining ground in a wider range of classroom scenarios will be helpful to this research. Kramer et al.’s (2007) research showed an existence of underutilization of PBL approaches with technology in current curriculum across North America, Eastern Europe, and Africa, and also looked at how the barriers existing are represented across those regions. Many of the barriers found in this research are connected with the lack of teacher training and is associated with the inequality of access to technology to implement a PBL curriculum using technology and, multimedia tools (Kramer et al., 2007). A lack of teacher training in the implementation in countries of Europe and North America and a lack of world-wide connectivity, especially in countries like Africa, does not allow collaboration between students across continents. The trend of citing National Examinations for reasons to not use the curriculum did not show any correlation between those exams and an ability to implement the curriculum. (Kramer et al., 2007) Bell et al. (2010) cited negatives of the PBL curriculum integration which included increased workload for students who may be taking other courses, difficulty in
  36. 36. 25   getting introverted students to participate and the presentation of the problem over more traditional courses which may be more theory based. Even though the perceptions of student learning in Bell et al.’s (2010) research were noticed to increase the perception of teacher quality in this approach, the perception was decreased. This could have been based on the teachers’ unfamiliarity with the curriculum approach or the students’ new needs within the curriculum not being met (Bell et al., 2010). Proper teacher training and familiarity with PBL approaches is a necessity. The overcoming of the barriers of student participation and even more prevalently the barriers of teachers’ perceptions and ability to implement the curriculum hold back PBL from gaining traction in many classrooms. Constructivist Approaches with Multimedia Constructivist approaches with Multimedia has been addressed in the research projects of Neo & Neo (2010). Neo and Neo’s research provided insight into how students construct their own learning development experience with the multimedia. Constructivist learning environments often include approaches which contain student centered approaches and socio-cultural theories. The socio cultural theories include concepts related to personalized learning, independent learning, autonomous learning, and authentic learning (Vale et al., 2007). The components must work in conjunction with the technology in classroom. Students in Neo and Neo’s (2010) research were asked to interpret the problem, find information to help them solve their authentic question, and cognitively to help them negotiate the problem and use conversation and collaborative tools to help learners construct the problem as a learning group. Analysis of student’s perceptions of their
  37. 37. 26   experiences solving authentic questions using multimedia in a project based, constructivist learning gave insight into the critical role of the instructional methods in implementing multimedia and the benefits of a constructivist environment (Neo & Neo, 2010). Significance The significance of the research by Neo and Neo (2010) relates to the connection ICT tools (Information Communication Technology) plays in the “instructional content development and the methods of communicating information to the learners” (Neo & Neo, 2010). It is the connection between the technology tools and the methods of instruction which drive the most interesting components of the environment of multimedia development in a constructivist project based environment. Neo and Neo’s work shows that using authentic tasks with a multimedia project in a constructivist learning environment increased motivation amongst students in their learning and increased the development of their active learning process. This research provided encouragement for the use of this curriculum model in the Malaysian education system and showed the benefits of implementing multimedia technology in their classrooms in terms of instructional content and constructivist learning opportunities (Neo & Neo, 2010). The benefits of a project based learning constructivist environment can go beyond improving multimedia instruction and it can actually improve instruction in disciplines such as math. The research of Vale et al. (2007) gained personal accounts from teachers and math leaders who accepted and committed to student centered learning approaches after participating in professional development and training with student centered
  38. 38. 27   constructivist approaches. A look into the research of mathematics instruction reveals that there is actually limited research related to student centered approaches and math instruction. This makes this critical research to the benefits of a constructivist, authentic environment having an overlapping presence between disciplines (Vale et al., 2007). Student Perceptions The research of Neo and Neo (2010) investigated the perceptions of students in developing a multimedia project within a constructivist learning environment with students working in groups with multimedia. In this research, students were responsible for using authoring tools for their multimedia and were solely responsible for the development of their projects. The perceptions of students are critically important in multimedia projects as students’ motivation and commitment to the projects are important to the success of the final outcome (Neo & Neo, 2010). The concept presented by Sultan et al. (2011): The ‘critical voice’ of students is the ‘extent to which a social climate has been established in which students feel that it is legitimate and beneficial to question the teacher’s pedagogical plans and methods, and to express concerns about any impediments to their learning and find room and other ways of knowing. (p. 151) This important concept helps direct the individual student’s learning and approach to the environment. The critical voice defines the internal ability of the student to organize and to arrange their cognitive approach to solving a problem with the teachers’ direct assistance. Sultan et al. (2011) defined the importance of “learning outcomes” and their connection to the learning environment. Learning outcomes in this study were defined as “measurable cognitive dimension that occurs through the learning process” (Sultan et al., 2011, p. 152). The outcomes of the construct of this research sought to look at how the
  39. 39. 28   following concepts relate to their perceived e-learning outcome: personal relevance, student uncertainty, critical voice, shared control, student negotiation. These components were the basis of the hypothesis of a connection between the research and the outcomes. The research of Neo et al. (2010) showed students’ perceptions during constructivist learning to have positive attitude and enjoyment in using the curriculum to learn multimedia. The research showed it was an “effective instructional method which could be used to enhance and increase students’ understanding of the subject matter and engage them actively in their learning process” (Neo et al., 2010, p. 32). Overall, the constructivist learning environment was effective and beneficial for delivering instructions to students learning multimedia. The research of Garran (2008) described the experiences of a teacher implementing a PBL approach with her students in a social studies project using the approaches of Gardiners Multiple intelligences, Newman’s model of Authentic Assessment and Sizer’s focus on student exhibitions (Garran, 2008). Students in this curriculum are enabled to showcase a wide variety of skills across disciplines. The influence of authentic strategies in the students’ projects played a critical role in this research. According to this research student project difficultly levels were determined by their own level of academic and intellectual intelligence in a PBL curriculum. The choices students make within the constructivist approach of PBL actually drives the level in which the students in this research learn. This includes students’ ability to learn across disciplines and to apply these skills in groups in cumulative projects.
  40. 40. 29   Authentic Learning Results of Neo and Neo’s (2010) research showed that using authentic tasks with a multimedia project in a constructivist learning environment, increased motivation amongst students in their learning and increased the development of their active learning process. This research provided encouragement for the use of this curriculum model in the Malaysian education system and benefits for implementing multimedia technology in their classrooms in terms of instructional content and constructivist learning opportunities. This study looked closely at how students construct their own learning experience. Students were asked to respond to questions which evaluated their interpretation of the problem, information to help them solve their authentic question, cognitive to help them negotiate the problem and conversation and collaborative tools to help learners construct the problem as a learning group (Neo and Neo, 2010). The use of these constructivist components to look at the perceptions of student experiences to solve authentic questions using multimedia in a project based constructivist learning gave insight into the critical role of the instructional methods in implementing multimedia and the benefits of a constructivist environment (Neo and Neo, 2010). Sultan et al. (2011) defined the importance of “learning outcomes” in constructivist learning with multimedia and their connection to the learning environment. Learning outcomes in this study are defined as “measurable cognitive dimension that occurs through the learning process” (Sultan et al., 2011). The outcomes of the construct of this research seek to look at how the following concepts relate to their perceived e-learning outcome: personal relevance, student
  41. 41. 30   uncertainty, critical voice, shared control, student negotiation. These components were the basis of the hypothesis of a connection between research to the outcomes (Sultan et al., 2011). The aim of this study was to assess students’ perceptions of their classroom experiences with 1:1 learning of computing quantitatively and their understanding of the dimensions of Constructivist Learning Environments (CLE's) identified in this study. This study suggested that students’ CLE's for classroom practice is positively related to their “perceived e-learning outcomes” (Sultan et al., 2011). This research adds to the knowledge and understanding of constructivism in education. The main contributions of this study revealed that constructivist learning is grounded by the students’ desire to work within the constructivist learning environment (CLE) to complete cumulative projects with groups. In Burton’s (2011) research a framework of various authentic assessment theories are combined to evaluate a law course. This research provides a broad and definitive description of many of the current definitions of authentic assessment. Using guidelines from Herrington and Herrington (1998; 2006) strategies for authentically assessing learning contexts can be identified. This research’s use of four groups; context, student factors, task factors, and indicators can immediately define an environment of authentic learning. These factors and the framework they provide for authentic learning assessment creates a guide to evaluate how well projects can be assessed in real world scenarios. Yoon Jin and Hyun-Hwa’s (2012) research centralized providing students with a real world experiences by incorporating an authentic learning scenario into the curriculum of a fashion merchandising curriculum. This research provided evidence of
  42. 42. 31   the importance of team work as it relates to real world settings. Student interaction improved using technology and students learned how to better navigate the proper communication over distance and how to improve their description of needs. The importance of teamwork and the necessity of proper research to properly solve problems were revealed in the students’ experience in this research (Yoon Jin, & Hyun-Hwa 2012). Quantitative and qualitative data proved the study provided students with beneficial learning experiences with practical competencies, professional experiences and problem solving skills. The critical benefits of authentically driven curriculum are that students are able to participate in real world scenarios with guidance from the instructor and collaboratively with small groups to experience how world experiences can inform learners. Implementation and Approaches There are a variety of documented approaches to integrating multimedia into classrooms using a constructivist approach. The research of Neo et al., (2010) is critical to examining the benefits of better understanding how digital learning has changed the instructional strategies of teachers. It also establishes another attempt of a major university attempting to use a student centered approach to integrating multimedia learning (Neo et al., 2010). The surveys used in the research were utilized to ascertain attitudes which were prevalent in the learning environment of the student. Questionnaires were created to attain information about the effectiveness of the learning environment. This research focused in several areas: Motivation and Learning Objectives, Content Organization, Navigation and GUI, and Multimedia and Interactivity. These represented the central
  43. 43. 32   components of the learning environment to be examined using Gagne’s nine events of instruction (Neo et al., 2010). The research of Vale et al. (2007) is directed at better understanding the implementation student centered, constructivist based learning environments in mathematics instruction. The focus of the research is “the ways in which it is being defined and implemented by regional and school leaders and teachers, the practices of teachers, and their perceptions of its impact on student learning.” Nielsen and Kolmos (2010) identified new approaches to problem based approaches with students. Their research, which used the GENSO project, organized the collaboration of multiple universities in the management of student space satellites in ICT based intercultural and interdisciplinary environment (Nielsen & Kolmos, 2010). This research is based on “knowledge creation “metaphor that students in the PBL environment actually create their own knowledge as they problem solve. This is opposed to knowledge acquisition in traditional curriculum of understanding how students learn. The research showed that it is not enough to improve individual learner understanding but it is necessary to develop new culturally shared knowledge objects (Nielsen & Kolmos, 2010). The collaborative components of the GENSO project included online discussions, workshops, face to face meeting, document sharing, and weekly chat sessions. The findings in this study showed the PBL is a tool which can assist students with “knowledge creation” as opposed to knowledge acquisition (Nielsen & Kolmos, 2010). The PBL experience increased level of motivation towards learning and increased ownership. The GENSO project improved students’ understanding of critical aspects of
  44. 44. 33   management of the satellites and cooperation between students in different locations. The multiple skills learned in the PBL curriculum in groups supports multidisciplinary approaches that can be used with this pedagogical approach (Nielsen & Kolmos, 2010). According to Nielsen and Kolmos (2010): From the perspective of knowledge creation, learning is a process of knowledge creation which concentrates on mediated processes in which common objects of activity are developed collaboratively. The knowledge building and learning processes are not only processes in which technological working skills are gained; they also include the social process in which the skills of collaboration, communication and productive work with knowledge are developed. Thus, the PBL environment provides sufficient opportunities for learners to develop these skills. (p. 185) Engaging students in these contexts supports a wide range of learning and improved individual and group skills.
  45. 45. 34   CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY The instructional model Project Based Learning engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process. Markham, Larmer and Ravit’s (2003) study described this process as structured around authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks. Technology was utilized during collaborative group projects and the communication of student groups engaged in group work leading to authentic final presentations. This research helps teachers to better identify the benefits of using a group approach with technology and to also better understand the communication between students without the direct knowledge of the teacher. The language was captured that students used in their interaction and collaborative exchange of information required to complete critical tasks on the way to creating final products. Understanding the exchange of skill learning and task delegation between students during group technology projects and the communication between members will help teachers better organize group learning scenarios and identify strategies for assisting groups which may have a wide range of skill levels, abilities, or problems communicating. Project based learning is a comprehensive instructional approach that engages students in sustained, cooperative investigation using technology applications, student collaboration, and cumulative long range projects focused on the development of 21st century skills (Project Based Learning Space, 2009). Collected the opinions, feelings, strategies, cooperation and other evidence of communication between students in the working groups in transcribed audio, observations, learning journals and artifacts were
  46. 46. 35   collected to gain insight into a project based learning classroom environment using technology. The collected data related to students communication and acquisition of technology skills in a group technology project revealed which topics and issues related to the students’ completion of the project were the most common and influential within the group dynamic. The experiences and language of students’ learning collaboratively were vital to the process of their problem solving. These experiences and student driven strategies resulted in a cumulative technology driven group project outcome. Communication and language trends of students were better defined as they interacted with each other during projects using multimedia technology. Technology’s influences on the student’s acquisition of tasks and the choices students make while problem solving in a PBL learning environment was also examined. Results benefits mostly teacher practitioners of PBL environments who will be able to better identify strategies for organizing classes into productive groups and recognizing opportunities to engage in guiding groups successfully without disrupting their own natural communication and interaction with technology. The final cumulative projects created in this environment reflected the collaborative exchange of students using technology and provided deep insight into how the choice of communication and the diversity of groups influenced final products. Research Design A phenomenological approach was used to unearth the central themes and qualitative method of data collection. An endeavor was to better understand the learning approaches of students using technology collaboratively in a project based learning
  47. 47. 36   environment. Specific language and themes that students use while engaged in this environment was defined. According to Creswell (2009), “Phenomenological approach to research is a strategy of inquiry in which the researcher identifies the essence of human experiences about a phenomenon as described by participants” (p. 15). It was important to capture the phenomenon of students’ rich experiences in the PBL curriculum using technology during their participation to reveal the variety of interactions, communications and reflections of the experience. Sampling Procedures Purposeful sampling allows for the selection of the specific unit of a computer education course which permit opportunistic sampling of the group the researcher could learn the most from (Teddlie & Yu, 2007). This method also assisted in the collection of the dominant themes as they arose in the phenomenon and allow for focusing on the depth of data collected (Teddlie & Yu, 2007). Participants for the study were 18 high school aged students participating in a computer education course at a suburban public high school located in New England. Many of the students had taken computer education courses throughout their educational background in the district. The students enrolled in this course had taken some web development previous to this course and they are skilled in most basic computer functions through web and computer literacy courses up through the ninth grade. This course is a semester long course elective. The students participated in a project based learning curriculum with computer technology. Each participant had the opportunity to withdraw from the study at any time without any negative consequences. Projects were assessed by an outside assessor in order to limit ethical concerns between the participants and researcher.
  48. 48. 37   Finally, permission was granted from the principal to conduct research at the high school. Proper permissions were also gained from the parents for minors to participate in the study. The researcher followed all guidelines according to Argosy University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). This sample represents the work process of students in a project based learning curriculum. It also indicates the groups’ experiences working in a technology based one: one environment in which each student has access to a computer. If this research were done in a different scenario, it is advised to be conducted in a single classroom environment and use the inquiry driven project based curriculum with each student having access to a computer. Data Collection Methods Students were grouped into groups of four and asked to create a mobile application which answers an authentic question over the course of four weeks. Prior to the group project students were instructed in task based lessons to help them to complete individual tasks of the mobile application lessons. During group work time and project planning time students’ group audio was recorded. After completing each work period students were asked to write a two paragraph entry into a learning journal to gain their perspectives and experiences of working in groups with technology. The final projects were examined and analyzed for indicators of success in each group process using a rubric based on creating an authentic project. Questions were answered central to the experiences of the student’s participation in a project based learning curriculum using technology. The collection of audio recordings, while the students were participating in project development activities, as
  49. 49. 38   well as their time working collaboratively with the multimedia software to create their projects, revealed the students choice of vocabulary and communication style. Other perceptions and experiences were collected from learning journals which were completed by participants in class. Learning journals allowed students to reflect on the following: experiences with each other, technology; and their processes of learning within the curriculum. Students were required to write a minimum of two paragraphs after each collaborative work period. Collecting statements used by students working collaboratively in a project based learning curriculum with technology while working in their groups provided insight into the process of learning and group interaction which were critical to the research. The audio also provided a record of dialogue between students; which may not always be heard by the instructor. This dialogue provided insight into how PBL groups communicate as they completed tasks with technology independently as the teacher monitored. The most commonly spoken statements made by students revealed approaches students used in the process of learning collaboratively. The collection of audio communication measured the student’s choice of terms, delegation of tasks and patterns in the collaborative interaction. Procedures used for data collection included: transcribed audio recordings of group interaction; student learning journals; observations and field notes of student experiences; and the final projects in photo and digital video format. Data collection took place over forty-five minute increments of classroom work time. Audio recordings were conducted during planning and collaborative creation during the groups’ development stages of the mobile applications; also, throughout the
  50. 50. 39   students’ completion of projects, their collaboration between each other and during the utilization of technology tools. By audio recording the students’ interactions and language, a better understanding of the words, language use and collaboration trends were captured. Each group was digitally recorded working together in their assigned areas. Students completed individual learning journals during the process of this study which captured their perspectives on completed projects. Their responses and writings provided insight on how well the students perceived they collaborated and negotiated tasks of the project. In addition, explanations were provided as to whether their group interactions were successful or not. The student group outcomes were evaluated based on completion of the necessary tasks of an authentic mobile application. The final projects were also analyzed against the audio data used by particular groups. The following rubric was used to assess the projects for authenticity. The rubric for authentic assessment for the cumulative projects was based on the work of Herrington & Herrington (1998; 2006) and focused in four major areas. The first area of focus was context, emphasizing challenges of real world question students were asked. The ability of the students to work within the curriculum and technology based environment in order to make connections to realistic project outcomes. Another area in the students’ authentic assessment of PBL curriculum with technology includes problem- solving skills, higher order thinking, the production of knowledge rather than the reproduction of knowledge, significant student time, collaboration, effective performers, polished products and depth of knowledge (Herrington and Herrington, 1998; 2006).
  51. 51. 40   Thirdly, task factors and student responses to the central authentic question and the complexity in which students answer and solve the components to the question reveal a greater depth of learning. A final indicator of the group projects success was the ability to create valid and reliable products that addressed the needs of the question. The cumulative final project indicated success of communication strategies used among students in each group for completing the project. Methodological Assumptions and Limitations An assumption was students would provide a level of communication, negotiation, teamwork and task management completing their cumulative projects. This assumption also included compounding factors of integrating technology and multimedia design into the expected final outcomes. Generalizability of this study is based on providing a similar context of project based curriculum, technology enabling tools and instructor approach with authentic assessment. The removal of any one of those components would change the anticipated reactions, responses and data collected for generalizability. Another assumption was all participating students were computer literate and capable of managing technology efficiently. It was also assumed they were familiar with common language related to mobile applications, web design and the modern web environment. A final assumption was students were readily able to adapt to the construct of the research in terms of basic skills and content knowledge. It should be noted that students did not need to be completely fluent in all skills related to the curriculum prior to taking the course.
  52. 52. 41   Limitations The sample size which may have fluctuated on the students who agreed to participate and the number signed up for the course presented major limitation in size and scope of potential outcomes for analysis. Students participating may not have been able to complete all aspects of the project outline in the curriculum. Also, students may not have been able to provide audio in their work group. This would reflect on whether insight was added to communication among group members. These limitations reflect more on the potential variables of students’ work ethics in the projects and their choice of verbal communication as a means to express while working on projects and their choices of verbal communication as a means of expression. Student limitations as they relate to their abilities to track learning and describing their experiences in journals also existed. Students may not have reflected thoroughly on their experience in the groups relative to the research or may not have provided data that could be analyzed based on the research questions. Their choices made by the students in writing about their skill learning may have been outside the research context. The final cumulative technology projects of each group may have been a limitation as well. The projects presented a variety in style, needs addressed, color schemes, technology application used and cohesiveness. Potential analysis of the construct which created them was also added. The variety of these projects reflected each group’s dynamics and technology skills applications, but the independent creations reflected choices made by participating in the process. Data collected from audio recordings presented a limitation if the audio did not clearly reflect the communication of students as they worked on projects and delegated
  53. 53. 42   tasks. Time was another limitation since the audio collection period may not have been long enough. Communication may not have been pertinent for completing tasks or included in the data collected. Conclusively, students controlled what they said during audio data collections was a definitive limitation. Also, students may or may not have been working on projects during audio or communicating using their voices. The groups created were their own limitations since they defined their own process and work habits. Decisions related to how the groups addressed the PBL curriculum was in their control. Each group decided how and when to move forward on projects as the teacher’s role was facilitator. Collective choices made in motivating themselves and integrating specific components of the project defined the groups. Students organized the order of tasks and delegated with their discretions. Student decisions on the use and range of technology tools to complete the project was a limitation in this study. Students had clear understandings of specific skills using the multimedia technology from classroom training, but their methods of integrating the tools defined their purpose and their utilization making the product was in their control. Each group chose the necessary tools, usage, and managed their efficiency to complete the projects. Students also utilized web based sources to assist them in project completion with the instructor’s knowledge. This variable was not directly encouraged but was allowed during the data collection period. Students expressed these factors in the content learning journals.
  54. 54. 43   Delimitations All students in this study were from upper middle class families in a suburban city outside of Boston. A major focus of their families have been on learning technology skills. The classroom laboratory in which this research took place was designed with 24 computers capable of running sophisticated multimedia software. Each of these variables makes the replication of this study less feasible. The delimitations to this study were based around the curriculum choice, the demographics of the sample, and school location. The technology tools used were a clear delimitation since students had access to specific multimedia software (Adobe Design Suite), web based collaboration tools (Google Docs), web based collaboration tools (Google Docs), word processing and presentation (Microsoft Office) software. All software was specific to the classroom laboratory in which they worked. Students had access to other classroom laboratories during the research project. This delimitation enabled the analysis of data related to the project creation to remain aligned with these tools. All groups were introduced to the technology tools in the laboratory previous to the research phase. They also received direct instruction on the utilization of the technology tools and tutorials identifying critical lessons which enables students to complete final projects. Access to the lessons was permitted throughout the project in the form of web based video tutorials. Students participating were included in groups of four and asked to address an authentic question. The groups represented the team approach to inquiry of an authentic question. This limitation was the driver of communication and the sharing of knowledge
  55. 55. 44   among group members. The group dynamics was a delimitation of the PBL learning groups. Data Analysis The researcher coded and categorized the audio of the collaborative experiences of students’ working during the group process with the assistance of Nvivo word querying software to develop themes that revealed common experiences of the participants. Themes that evolved from this process disclosed both strengths and deficiencies in the curriculum and common issues while interacting with technology tools. The themes produced overarching understandings of how students worked with the curriculum. Additional indicators were the groups’ perceptions of the instructor and the project itself. The language of students revealed strategies for completing the final cumulative project, but it also indicated the group dynamics and management of tools utilized to complete critical tasks. With the curriculum centered on an authentic assessment, it demonstrated the connection to critical terms and real world scenarios that assisted in their project designs. The audio recordings also illustrated the choice of language that reflected the use of specific language relevant to technology, collaboration and communication that facilitated collaboration or task completion. Groups that create inquiry based authentic projects have specific language or words necessary to successfully complete projects. Students who employed successful negotiations and task delegations used collaborative approaches with a variety of vocabulary. The coding and categorization of the audio for specific language revealed each group’s approach and communication.
  56. 56. 45   During the research period, students documented their personal learning experiences related to the projects in a web based learning journal. Students were asked to write after each group work period and reflect on their learning experiences in the groups. Additionally, they included positives and negatives of working collaboratively with technology. This data showed the inner experiences of each individual within the groups. The artifacts in this project are represented by a cumulative final project; which indicated various approaches the groups used to complete an authentic technology driven project. Analysis of the student groups’ final projects revealed the experiences of students participating in a project based technology curriculum. The outcomes of students’ authentic project creations were analyzed against the perceived group constructs and approaches. The fluency of the groups’ applications of the technology components of the curriculum provided insight into how the groups’ language or interaction may influence outcomes. It also shows the extent to which each group attempted to create an authentic project. Researcher collected audio data, categorized and then coded according to the dominant themes that evolved from the research. Themes were analyzed within the context of the Project-Based Curriculum and the application of technology with the groups’ projects and collaborative language. Researcher used collected audio data to address the research questions based on student communication and use of language. Researcher evaluated the final cumulative projects against the authentic assessment rubric and analyzed on how well the groups addressed the needs of the
  57. 57. 52   students exported their mobile application into an .APK format (Blum, 2012) and tested the application on a device. During the testing period, students corrected errors and issues with designs and technology integration. Finally, students republished a final application with an icon graphic representing the group’s project. At the conclusion of the project, each group created a 10-minute video screen-cast presentation of their projects. These projects concluded the final presentation phase by asking students to reflect on their learning as well as to describe the importance of their projects to real world outcomes. The aim of the presentations was to connect the components of the project and describe the various roles included in the process of completing the projects. Findings and Results Final project artifacts in the research along with collected transcribed audio data, and learning journal support the findings in this study. The findings were grouped into general themes, which reflect the nature of the results. Mobile Application Design Strategies During their final presentations, participants expressed the importance of the continual process of improving the mobile application design. Participants recognized the experience as beneficial to improving the overall final product. Quotes made by the students revealed their desire to improve the professional quality of the app as well as describing the student’s experiences modifying the design and working through the planning stages successfully. Project Conceptualization
  58. 58. 47   available for teachers to use, it is important to stay grounded to the benefits of better understanding how technology drives students’ communication and management of tasks differently. This research indicated how group interaction drives the use of technology. A detailed description of findings appears in the following chapter.
  59. 59. 48   CHAPTER FOUR: FINDINGS Introduction This qualitative phenomenological research methodology was designed to uncover and describe the dynamics of group participants working on a Problem Based Learning project using technology. The purpose of this study was to determine themes, experiences, and decisions depicted in the language of students as they negotiated a final project using computer technology tools. This research design utilized three methods of qualitative data collection in order to achieve triangulation: written individual student learning journals; transcribed audios of group sessions working together on the project and final project artifacts created by each group. The following research questions guided this study: R1: What are the benefits of a Project Based Learning curriculum in group projects using technology? R2: How does a Project Based Learning curriculum encourage the group dynamics of learning collaboratively with technology? R3: How does Project Based Learning curriculum promote conversations and communications among students as they delegate tasks? R4: What outcomes will emerge as a result of students’ participation in a Project Based Learning Technology curriculum? The remainder of this chapter consists of sections containing the following: a description of the population, data collection, analysis of data, research questions and their findings, and a summary.
  60. 60. 49   Population Description The participants in this study consisted of 18 high school students in a suburban school district located in the western area of Massachusetts. All participants in the study were Caucasian consisting of 17 males and one female. Their ages ranged from 14 to 17 years. All students in the sample socioeconomic status were from the middle class or above. Most of the students had taken introductory computer courses leading up to this elective course in web design. Data collection occurred from the participants in a single classroom environment with a computer available to each student. One of 18 participants was not present for the first week of data collection. Collection of Data and Data Analysis Collection of Data Data was collected over a four-week period with a total of 13 work sessions. Students were audio recorded as they worked collaboratively in their groups for 45 minutes each class period. The groups met three times a week for three weeks and four times in the final week for 13 sessions. Students could form their own groups as long as groups were balanced in number of members. The students comprised four groups. Group 1 consisted of three males and one female. In Group 2, there were five males. Group 3 contained four males. Finally, Group 4 consisted of five males. At the conclusion of the group work, students provided two paragraphs of reflective writing in a web based learning journal. Nvivo, qualitative analysis software, (QSR Technical Resource Center, 2012) was used to analyze the typed information from the learning journals of individual students in
  61. 61. 50   the study and transcribe audio files from the groups work periods. Word queries were determined by identifying the 100 most often-used words within the transcribed documents. Nvivo was used to produce word trees that illustrated the 100 most dominant words in the documents and their relevance according to frequency of use. The word trees were the basis of the coding and categorization process, thus creating the inductively developed themes for analysis. Project Artifacts Participants in the technology-based PBL curriculum were asked to answer the authentic question, “How can you plan, design, and develop a mobile application for your high school community?” In the process of answering the authentic question, students created project artifacts that reflected the planning of the layout graphics of the application using Adobe Photoshop software and a click stream interpretation of how users will interact with the design. Students created Venn diagrams using Photoshop Software and identified the desired content, context of use, and required technologies needed for their mobile application ideas. The planning process of students included developing a layout for the vision of their design based on intended users and the location of technology content into their applications. Students used the Flash software (Jun, Zu-Yuan, and Yuren, 2009) to develop a layout, integrate and create graphics and implement a variety of web and mobile technologies into a mobile application addressing the authentic question. Students were required to have artifacts representing the planning process (Venn diagram, Photoshop graphic layouts) and a downloadable mobile application exported onto an Android device. The mobile application was to have five pages of content and an integration of a minimum of three technologies and color schemes developed using software tools. Next,
  62. 62. 51   students exported their mobile application into an .APK format (Blum, 2012) and tested the application on a device. During the testing period, students corrected errors and issues with designs and technology integration. Finally, students republished a final application with an icon graphic representing the group’s project. At the conclusion of the project, each group created a 10-minute video screen-cast presentation of their projects. These projects concluded the final presentation phase by asking students to reflect on their learning as well as to describe the importance of their projects to real world outcomes. The aim of the presentations was to connect the components of the project and describe the various roles included in the process of completing the projects. Findings and Results Final project artifacts in the research along with collected transcribed audio data, and learning journal support the findings in this study. The findings were grouped into general themes, which reflect the nature of the results. Mobile Application Design Strategies During their final presentations, participants expressed the importance of the continual process of improving the mobile application design. Participants recognized the experience as beneficial to improving the overall final product. Quotes made by the students revealed their desire to improve the professional quality of the app as well as describing the student’s experiences modifying the design and working through the planning stages successfully. Project Conceptualization

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