Does training teachers in technology improve student achievement?
Student achievement on Algebra I tests improved when teachers were trained in technology, according to a new four-year study that is part of Ohio State's Classroom Connectivity in Mathematics and Science research project. Researchers found that students whose teachers were trained in the TI-Navigator program -- which allows teachers to follow students' progress on graphing calculators -- performed better on tests. However, researchers say it's not clear whether the technology or the training led to the boost.
Educators: Technology has changed education, but won't replace in-person teaching!
Study Links Tech to Algebra Achievement
By Ian Quillen on | EdWeek Digital Ed Blog | http://bit.ly/aOClWB
September 2, 2010 11:20 AM -A summary of findings (follows) from a four-year study released Thursday concludes that Algebra I teachers who were trained in and used a program that allowed them to monitor students' progress on graphing calculators led to significantly improved achievement by their students on a researcher-designed test.
The study, part of Ohio State's Classroom Connectivity in Mathematics and Science research project, illustrates a direct link between the implementation of classroom technology and professional development with academic achievement, say the summary's authors. The research, conducted from 2005 to 2009, was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Texas Instruments supplied classes with the TI-Navigator program, which allows instructors to view students' work in real time and offer feedback.
"There's details that we don't quite understand about how teachers did it," said Jeremy Roschelle, the director for the Center for Technology in Learning at nonprofit research firm SRI International, and a consultant on the study. "But there's so much noise out there [about technology] and so few studies out there that have significant results, that it's very important when one of these comes out."
Roschelle's comments indicating a dearth of research surrounding education technology echo those by other experts in the field. Even Karen Cator, the U.S. Department of Education's ed-tech chief, has stressed the need for more thorough research as one of the major pillars of the National Education Technology Plan released this past spring.
The study included 127 teachers from 28 states and two Canadian provinces in its first year. Roughly half of the 1,760 students enrolled were placed in a treatment group where their teachers received a week of training in the TI-Navigator system before the year began, as well as continuing professional development. The other half were placed in a control group where teachers received neither the program nor the training.
Of the more than 1,200 students who yielded dependable data, those in the treatment group tested about 10 percent better, on average, on an exam created to reflect Algebra I standards in 13 states that accounted for the majority of students studied.
In subsequent years, teachers who taught in the control group the year before were placed into the treatment group, and compared not only against the control group of that year, but also against their own results as the control group the year before. In all but one year, students in the treatment group continued to make statistically significant gains against the control group from that year. Gains by teachers in the treatment group who were part of the control group in a previous year were also consistent.
Through qualitative analysis, researchers also found that teachers using the technology engaged in deeper and more conceptual discussions with their students about math principals than teachers who were not using the technology.
Lead researcher Doug Owens cautioned that the reasons behind the increase in achievement on the test were not completely understood, and that not all of the data had been analyzed. He also stressed that the results should be looked at as linking the combination of technology and professional development to increased achievement, rather than taking either the technology or the professional development by itself as causal factors.
"We consider the treatment to be all of those things," said Owens, a professor of education at Ohio State. "We have no ways to sort those out."
For more information on the study, check out this video.
Schools getting more tech friendly
By Keith Uhlig • Wausau Daily Herald | http://bit.ly/9LKFE2
September 1, 2010 Wisconsin begin a new school year today, they will use high-tech gadgets and Internet-based systems like no generation before.
Students will learn in virtual classrooms, read books on iPads and other digital devices, take quizzes online and conduct research on laptops connected to Wi-Fi networks. They will get notes from teachers' websites, blog about what they're learning in their classes and listen to podcasts of lectures.
"I personally think that technology (in education) has changed more in the last two years than it has in the last 10," said Lois Alt, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology for the D.C. Everest Area School District. It's a reflection of American society as a whole, Alt said. "We're digital in just about everything we do."
Educators say the Internet and 21st century computers won't soon take the place of face-to-face teaching, but they do say it opens up new possibilities for reaching students in the high-tech ways children already are immersed.
Stephanie Thomson, 18, a senior at Wausau's Newman Catholic High School, which started its school year Friday, has been taking her laptop to school to use the school's new Wi-Fi network. It allows her to sit in a study hall and surf the Web to do research about Darfur, and also spend study time working on an advanced-placement economics course she's taking online.
"We have more freedom," Thomson said. "I think that's important."
Newman Principal Larry Theiss said the wireless network -- installed this summer -- will help students better prepare for college, where laptops are as common as three-ring binders were 15 years ago.
"It's the 21st century," Theiss said. "The way students are learning, laptops, Internet and technology are so integral to it."
He envisions a time in the near future when high school classrooms will look like college classrooms, with everyone sitting at laptops and the Internet is a part of lectures.
Newman English teacher Amy Raddatz uses an educational website that has blogging, e-mailing and Facebook-style comment capabilities to enhance the lessons she gives in the classroom.
"It's a way for us to extend the classroom outside of the school," Raddatz said.
Classroom Connectivity in Promoting Mathematics and Science Achievement Research Project Background
Texas Instruments TI-Navigator technology with teacher professional development linked to higher Algebra I student achievement according to a study by the Classroom Connectivity in Promoting Mathematics and Science Achievement Research Project
Summary of Results
Algebra I students whose teachers used TI-Navigator™ networked mathematics classroom technology from Texas Instruments, achieved higher test scores according to initial findings from the Classroom Connectivity in Promoting Mathematics and Science Achievement Research Project. The independent research also indicates that the impact of the TI-Navigator classroom network system on teacher effectiveness, together with sustained training on the technology’s use, is equivalent to 10-15 years of teaching experience in Algebra I. The TI-Navigator system connects students’ TI graphing calculators to the teacher’s computer, enabling shared learning experiences.
In the four-year national study from 2005-2009 funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and U.S. Department of Education, teachers for the first year were randomly assigned to use or not use the TI-Navigator system in their classrooms. Those using the technology received professional development training during a one-week, residential summer institute and also attended the Texas Instruments Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T3) annual conference each year they participated in the study.
Gains in Algebra 1 Student Achievement
The researchers enrolled 127 Algebra I teachers from 28 states and 2 Canadian provinces, and 1,761 students in the first year of the study. In that year, students with complete data of those teachers using TI-Navigator scored 10 percentage points higher on a researcher-designed Algebra I test, compared to those students with complete data taught by teachers not using the connected classroom technology. Teacher knowledge about students as a result of professional development and use of the TI-Navigator system was related positively to student performance, and students held higher expectations for their mathematics achievement. The results of the research did not connect these outcomes with frequency of connected classroom technology implementation or level of instructional change made with the technology.
During the next three years, the approximately 3,300 students in TI-Navigator classrooms produced annual achievement gains in the range of 6 to14 percent, according to at least one analysis approach and with one exception. Students who scored higher on the Algebra I test did better regardless of teacher experience or differences in student ability versus the non-TI-Navigator control group.
“In a normal mathematics classroom, students say, ‘This is math, I have to do it,’” said Dr. Douglas T. Owens, an education professor at The Ohio State University and the project’s Principal Investigator. “In a connected classroom, students say, ‘This is math, and I understand it. I can do it.” Students are engaged with the activities in the classroom and with the tasks the teacher has set.”
Change in Algebra 1 Classroom Discourse
The researchers also investigated the interactions in 33 Algebra I classrooms in nine states of those teachers using the TI-Navigator system. A preliminary analysis of this subset of teachers suggests a change in the questioning patterns in typical mathematics classrooms, which often are dominated by teacher-led dialog that require short responses of known information from students. While both treatment and control classrooms were dominated by these types of interactions, control teachers asked more questions overall than those with the TI-Navigator system in their classrooms, and these questions typically elicited lower-order responses from students, such as statements about calculating the correct answer without explaining the underlying mathematical reasoning. The study also found a trend toward teachers using the TI-Navigator system providing longer mathematics-related comments in the classroom.
When researchers examined the relationship between teacher-student interaction and student achievement, their initial findings indicate that student achievement is associated with teacher behaviors that require mathematical thinking. Achievement was positively related to the ratio of higher-order to lower-order questions and the number of words uttered by students when making mathematical statements regardless of whether the technology was being implemented in the classroom. Higher order questions, in part, involve the combination of facts and ideas to arrive at a conclusion or interpretation.
Research Funding & Support
Classroom Connectivity in Promoting Mathematics and Science Achievement research project is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education through a $3 million grant to The Ohio State University. Texas Instruments provided technology and support for this project. For more information, visit http://www.ccms.osu.edu/publications.php.
NOTE: This project accumulated a great amount of data, some of which has not yet been fully analyzed.
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