Positive Effects of Technology Use 1 Running Head: POSITIVE EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY USE The Positive Effects of Technology Use in K-12 Education Susan M. Ferdon Boise State University
Positive Effects of Technology Use 2 AbstractResearch and meta-analyses show that technology use in K-12 settings has a positive effect onstudent achievement of basic skills, higher order thinking and is particularly effective for speciallearners and has been linked to increases in student motivation. Teacher ability to differentiateinstruction and provide opportunities for improved communication and collaboration, throughtechnology use, has a positive effect on the development of 21st century skills that will enablestudents to achieve greater success in the workforce.
Positive Effects of Technology Use 3 The Positive Effects of Technology Use in K-12 Education Each year, school districts across the country spend a large portion of their budgets onhardware, software and infrastructure improvements. Critics and proponents alike seekassurance that monies allocated for technology are well spent and that student education ispositively affected by the investment. Data regarding the effect of technology on studentachievement is sometimes conflicting, so one must be mindful of the limitations of that research.“Technology effects are difficult to assess in schooling, because technology is generally not adirect cause of change but rather a facilitator or amplifier of various educational practices”(Lesgold, 2003, p. 2). Further, high stakes assessments are not adequately aligned withobjectives and fail to accurately measure 21st century skills (CEO Forum, 2001, Fouts, 2000,Protheroe, 2005). Despite the challenges, existing research and meta-analyses show thattechnology use in schools can positively affect student achievement, allow for more effectivedifferentiation of instruction, and better prepare students for the challenges of the 21st centuryworkplace. In studying the impact of technology on student learning, research relating to studentachievement produces quantifiable data supporting the use of technology in education. In hisanalysis of available research, Schacter (1999) determined that “students with access to (a)computer assisted instruction, or (b) integrated learning systems technology, or (c) simulationsand software that teaches higher order thinking, or (d) collaborative networked technologies,show positive gains in achievement” (p. 9). Meta-analyses included in Schacter’s report showthat educational uses of technology have a positive effect on student achievement, specificallyrelating to basic skills, higher order thinking, special learners, and students motivation. As noted by Valdez et al. (2000), the educational use of computers has gone through
Positive Effects of Technology Use 4 phases, the first of which included drill and practice software. The positive effect of computer-based instruction (CBI) was noted at Patriot High School in 2001, when it was part of a coursefor 10th grade students at risk of failing the state competency exam for math. The passing ratefor students at PHS increased 44 percentage points compared to 28 statewide. “A signiﬁcantcorrelation was identiﬁed between the MCAS scores and the program usage data, with studentCBI module mastery correlated with higher MCAS scores” (Hannafin & Foshay, 2008, p. 147).Studies have also found that computer enrichment programs have a positive effect on writingskills and that word processing programs that include “prompts could amplify the benefits ofword processing” (Kulik, 2003, p. vii). Kulik (2003) goes on to note that Grejda and Hannafin’sstudy “found significant differences for both mechanical and organization revisions in favor ofthe students who used word processors” (p. 41). Benefits of technology are not, however, limited to development of basic skills. InWeglinsky’s (1998) statistical analysis of the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress(NEAP) in mathematics, results indicated that the use of technology for higher order thinking ispositively related to academic achievement. “In eighth grade, students using computers forhigher-order thinking skills show gains of .42 of a grade level (Weglinsky, 1998, p. 30).Moreover, Waddoups’ (2004) analysis of 25 comparative studies found that “technologyintegration is most effective in the context of inquiry-based classroom instruction; the impact isespecially pronounced in developing students’ higher-order thinking skills” (p. 3). Researchregarding simulations, interactive video software and educational computer games are just a fewof the examples supplied that substantiate the assertion that “research and evaluation shows thattechnology tools for constructing artifacts and electronic information and communicationresources support the development of higher-order thinking skills” (Crandler et al., 2002, p. 48).
Positive Effects of Technology Use 5 As Crandler et al. go on to say, advantages of technology use are not limited to highachieving students. Disadvantaged students who took part in the Higher Order Thinking Skills(HOTS) Program “achieved twice the national average gains on reading and math scores”(Crandler et al., 2002, p. 49). Sivin-Kachala and Bialo (2000) report that students with learningdisabilities, as well as low-achieving students, from preschool through higher education havebeen found to make greater progress and achieve higher levels of academic success in reading,writing and math with the aid of technology. Sivin-Kachala and Bialo (2000) cite Swan in theirlisting of the advantages of computer-based instruction for the educational disadvantaged: (1) it is ‘perceived by students as less threatening than traditional instruction’; (2) it provides ‘extensive drill and practice with immediate feedback’; (3) it offers individualized diagnosis of student strengths and weaknesses; and (4) implementation of such instructional systems ‘provides students with greater academic support’ (p. 40).Not only has technology proven to be effective, findings indicated that use of technology forremediation and support can be “a cost-effective alternative that can significantly enhance LDstudent performance in a variety of areas” (Sivin-Kachala & Bialo, 2000, p. 39). Individuals with learning disabilities are not the only ones that find technology to be amotivating factor. The Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) research and developmentstudy has shown that in high schools, “when technology is a routine part of their schoolexperience, student attendance improves and dropout rates decline” (Apple, 2002, p.3). As notedby Crander (1994), students who are deemed “at risk,” demonstrate increased confidence andimproved attitudes. In an analysis of research and a review of literature, “educational technologyhas been found to have positive effects on student attitudes toward learning and on student self-concept. Students felt more successful in school, were more motivated to learn and hadincreased self-confidence and self-esteem when using computer-based instruction” (Sivin-Kachala & Bialo, 2000, p. 11).
Positive Effects of Technology Use 6 Some conclude that one reason technology use increases student motivation is that itallows for greater differentiation of instruction. From math students at Patriot High School tostudents in the HOTS program, technology has been selected and utilized to meet individualstudent needs. Text, audio and visual formats of technology tools take advantage of students’individual learning styles and recent learning theory research, focused on dual coding, cites thebenefits of multimodal learning. “When the average student is engaged in higher-order thinkingusing multimedia in interactive situations, on average, their percentage ranking on higher-orderor transfer skills increases by 32 percentile points over what that student would haveaccomplished with traditional learning” (Metiri, 2008, p. 14). Technology use that meetsindividual needs, is directed toward student learning preferences, and also takes advantage ofnew understandings in learning theory, can prove a powerful combination. For students whose needs are not met with a traditional classroom format, distancelearning has proven to be an effective alternative (Smith, Clark & Blomeyer, 2005). TheNational Technology Education Plan of 2005 includes seven action goals, one of which is forschool districts to provide e-learning opportunities for their students and e-learning training fortheir teachers. While earlier reports found online learning to be at least as effective as face-to-face instruction, “in recent applications, online learning has been modestly more effective, onaverage, than the traditional face-to-face instruction with which it has been compared” (U.S.Department of Education, 2009). In addition to online and hybrid instruction, web resources arebeing increasingly used as part of more traditional, face-to-face instruction. Though examples indicate that technology, as a learning tool, can have a positive effecton student achievement, the use of technology as a data tool and enabling force will help toprepare students for the workforce. Proponents of 21st century skill development note that
Positive Effects of Technology Use 7 effective communication and collaboration skills are necessary for success in an ever-changingglobal economy. Technology use for communication and collaboration provides rich educationalopportunities not possible with traditional instruction alone. “When used appropriately,computer technology in classrooms stimulates increased teacher/student interaction, andencourages cooperative learning, collaboration, problem solving, and student inquiries”(Stratham & Torrell, 1996, p. 42). In 2003, NAEP was used as a vehicle for problem solving inthe Technology-Rich Environments (TRE) study. While this was an exploratory study oftechnology’s role in the assessment problem solving, “study outcomes suggest that we cansuccessfully measure aspects of 21st century skills that cannot be measured on paper” (Bennett,Persky, Weiss, & Jenkins, 2007, p. 6). Thus, technology can both enable development ofproblem-solving skills and measure the degree to which those skills are attained. Research cited throughout this report show that technology use in schools positivelyaffects student achievement, allows for more effective differentiation of instruction, and betterprepares students for the challenges of the 21st century workplace. Technology use has a positiveeffect on student achievement of basic skills, higher order thinking, is particularly effective forspecial learners, and has been linked to increases in student motivation. However, technology isnot solely responsible for positive impacts on student learning. Proper implementation,extensive teacher training, and technical support are cited as key to successful integration oftechnology (Fouts, 2000, Metiri, 2006, Protheroe, 2005, Sivin-Kachala & Bialo, 2000, Stratham& Torrell, 1996, Sweet et al., 2004, Valdez et al., 2000, Waddoups, 2004, Weglinsky, 1998).Technology can provide teachers with tools, data and means to engage their students, but“teachers, not technology, are the key to unlocking student potential. A teacher’s training in,knowledge of, and attitude toward technology and related skills are central to effective
Positive Effects of Technology Use 8 technology integration” (Protheroe, 2005). Current research has found technology to have positive effects on many aspects of K-12education, but more information is needed to take full advantage of all that technology has tooffer. While research studies should to be replicated to better determine the accuracy of theresults, no two schools or classrooms are alike, which makes replication difficult and impractical.Though research in education is often problematic, results are valuable nonetheless. Studies areoften limited to one group of learners in a unique learning situation, but researched-basedchanges can be implemented with a test groups prior to initiating more substantive changes.There is an ongoing need for data to drive decision-making and curricular planning, and researchat the classroom level, in the form of curriculum-based measures, can help to guide technologyintegration and drive educational planning.
Positive Effects of Technology Use 9 References:Apple. (2002). The impact of technology on student achievement: A summary of research findings on technology’s impact in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.apple.com/education/research Bennett, R.E., Persky, H., Weiss, A.R., & Jenkins, F. (2007). Problem solving in technology-rich environments: A report from the NAEP technology-based assessment project (NCES 2007–466). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from: http://nces.ed.gov/Pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007466CEO Forum. (2001). Year 4 report key building blocks for student achievement in the 21st century. Retrieved from http://www.ceoforum.org/reports.htmlCradler, J. (1994). Summary of research and evaluation findings relating to technology in education. San Mateo, CA: Educational Support Systems. Retrieved from http://www.wested.org/techpolicy/refind.htmlCradler, J., McNabb, M., Freeman, M., & Burchett, R. (2002). How does technology influence student learning? Learning and Leading, 29(8), 46-49 & 56. Retrieved from http://caret.iste.org/caretadmin/resources_documents/29%5F8%2EpdfFouts, J. T. (2000). Research on computers and education: Past, present and future. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.esd189.org/tlp/ images/TotalReport3.pdfHannafin, R., & Foshay, W. (2008, April). Computer-based instruction’s (CBI) rediscovered role in K-12: An evaluation case study of one high school’s use of CBI to improve pass rates on high-stakes tests. Educational Technology Research & Development, 56(2), 147-160., doi:10.1007/s11423-006-9007-4Kulik, J. (2003). Effects of using instructional technology in elementary and secondary schools: What controlled evaluation studies say. Arlington, Virginia: SRI International. Retrieved from http://www.sri.com/policy/csted/reports/sandt/it/Kulik_ITinK-12_Main_Report.pdfLesgold, A. (2003, October). Determining the effects of technology in complex school environments. In G. Haertel and B. Means (Eds.), Evaluating Educational Technology: Effective Research Designs for Improving Learning. New York: Teachers College Press. Retrieved from https://www.ewi-ssl.pitt.edu/psychology/admin/faculty- publications/lesgold_2003.pdfMetiri Group (commissioned by Cisco Systems). (2006). Technology in schools: What the research says. Retrieved from http://www.metiri.com/Metiri Group (commissioned by Cisco Systems). (2008). Multi-modal learning through media: What the research says. Retrieved from http://www.metiri.com/
Positive Effects of Technology Use 10 Protheroe, Nancy. (2005). Technology and student achievement. Principal- Effective Intervention - Research Report. 85 (2), November/December 2005, 46-48. Retrieved from http://www.learning.com/resources/NAESP-Technology-and-Student- Achievement.pdfResearchers use virtual peers with children with autism. Northwestern University. Retrieved from http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2008/03/cassellautism.htmlSchacter, J. (1999). The impact of educational technology on student achievement: What the most current research has to say. Santa Monica: Milken Family Foundation. Retrieved from www.mff.org/pubs/ME161.pdfSivin-Kachala, J., & Bialo, E.R. (2000). Research report on the effectiveness of technology in schools. 7. ed. Washington, DC: Software & Information Industry Association. Retrieved from www.sunysuffolk.edu/Web/Central/InstTech/projects/iteffrpt.pdfSmith, R., Clark, T., & Blomeyer, R. L. (2005). A synthesis of new research on K-12 online learning. Learning Point, Naperville, IL. Retrieved from http://www.ncrel.org/tech/synthesis/Stratham, D. S., & Torell, C. R. (1996). Computers in the classroom: The impact of technology on student learning. Boise, ID: Army Research Institute, Boise State University. Retrieved from http://www.temple.edu/lss/htmlpublications/spotlights/200/spot206.htmSweet, J. R., Rasher, S. P., Abromitis, B. S., & Johnson, E. M. (2004). Case studies of high- performing, high-technology schools: Final research report on schools with predominantly low-income, African-American or Latino student populations. Learning Point, Naperville, IL. Retrieved July 20, 2009 from http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Research/NECC_Research_Paper_Archive s/NECC_2005/Sweet-James-NECC05.pdfTartaro, A. & Cassell, J. (2006). Using virtual peer technology as an intervention for children with autism. In J. Lazar (ed.), Towards Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 231-262. Retrieved from http://articulab.northwestern.edu/publications/U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. (2009). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.htmlValdez, G., McNabb, M., Foertsch, M., Anderson, M., Hawks, M. & Raack, L. (2000). Computer-based technology and learning: Evolving uses and expectations. North Central Regional Laboratory (NCREL). Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nf pb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED456816&ERICExtSearch_SearchType _0=no&accno=ED456816 ISBN-1-929800-10-X
Positive Effects of Technology Use 11 Waddoups, G. L. (2004). Technology integration, curriculum, and student achievement: A review of scientifically-based research and implications for EasyTech (executive summary). Portland, OR: Learning.com. Retrieved from www.learning.com/documents/Learning.com_WP_Summary.pdfWenglinsky, H. (1998). Does it compute? The relationship between educational technology and student achievement in mathematics. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from ftp://ftp.ets.org/pub/res/technolog.pdf