Posted by: eheino | March 19, 2014

EER500 Assignment 1a

Assignment 1a was a wiki post that described my initial ideas for my research.

Research Topic

There has been a lot of positive press about the inclusion of mobile technology in the classroom, but some sceptics argue that the rollout of this technology has been too quick and lacks the proper planning necessary for its successful integration (Banchero & Phillips, 2013). It has not yet been positively proven that the use of mobile technology in primary classrooms is more beneficial than the traditional methods of teaching and learning, so should this technology be rolled out to all schools yet?

This research will look specifically at the benefits of mobile technology for the mathematics curriculum because in my experience many teachers that have access to tablets for their classroom are using them for skills practice via game apps. I would like to know if the use of these apps is actually more beneficial than using physical materials for the same purpose, or if there are better ways to employ tablets to support the mathematics curriculum for primary students.

I am also interested in the potential role the teacher-librarian could play in the identification of appropriate applications for this technology and would also like to integrate this into the research.

Research Question

Does the use of mobile technology in the primary mathematics classroom truly result in higher student achievement levels?

Connection to the literature

The articles by Attard & Curry (2012) and Ciampa & Gallagher (2013) clearly demonstrate that mobile technologies can have a positive impact on student learning and engagement if they are integrated effectively into the curriculum. These articles explore the ways that iPads and iPod Touches can be used in the classroom, from the use of mathematics game apps to practice skills (Attard & Curry, 2012), to providing tutorials students can complete at their own pace (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2013). Both studies noted that the immediate feedback given by the games motivated students to try harder because they were competing against themselves and could watch their own progress. They also noted that many students downloaded the apps for their personal iPads at home, thus bridging the gap between home and school.

Attard published a second article in 2013 which explored teachers’ experiences with the integration of iPads into their programs. This article supported the results of the above studies, but also exposed the limitations of the mobile technology when teachers are unclear about how best to use it.

However, these were all small-scale examinations, with the technology being introduced for the purposes of the studies. It is thus unclear whether the results were skewed by the novelty of using new technology, and if the results would be similarly positive after students had been using the technology for a longer period of time.

Another issue that was common to the above articles was the amount of time and planning that was required to implement this technology successfully. I would like to explore the potential role the teacher-librarian could have in alleviating this issue as part of my research.

Practical Importance

Research in this area could demonstrate just how important the use of mobile technology is for student achievement in primary mathematics, and provide some practical examples of how it can and should be deployed in the classroom to complement other teaching methods.

References

Attard, C. (2013). Introducing iPads into primary mathematics pedagogies: An exploration of two teachers’ experiences. Paper submitted to the thirty-sixth annual Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Conference, Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved from: http://www.merga.net.au/documents/Attard_MERGA36-2013.pdf

Attard, C. & Curry, C. (2012). Exploring the use of iPads to engage young students with mathematics. Paper submitted to the thirty-fifth annual Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Conference, Singapore. Retrieved from: http://www.merga.net.au/documents/Attard_&_Curry_2012_MERGA_35.pdf

Banchero, S. & Phillips, E. (2013, October 14). Schools learn tablets’ limits: Districts grapple with glitches as some say devices can supplement lessons. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304500404579129812858526576

Ciampa, K. & Gallagher, T. (2013). Getting in touch: Use of mobile devices in the elementary classroom. Computers in the schools 30(4). 309-328. DOI: 10.1080/07380569.2013.846716

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