The effects of technology on urban high school students' sense of classroom community
Mervyn John Wighting, Old Dominion University, United States
Old Dominion University . Awarded
This study measured the sense of classroom community among students from two different grades in an independent urban high school (N = 181). A standardized instrument was used to compare sense of community in classes whose teachers used computers frequently and consistently in their instruction with others in which the teachers seldom or never included computer use in the classroom. Quantitative analysis revealed that there was a significant difference between the classes in terms of one of the sub-scales of the instrument; students whose teachers used computers frequently and consistently scored higher on the learning sub-scale of the sense of community. The data also showed a significant difference between grade levels as measured by the spirit subscale of the sense of community; the older students scored higher.
A sample of the participants was selected for interview. Qualitative analyses of students' responses revealed three factors that they considered important to their sense of classroom community and its importance for learning: a feeling of belonging; trust of peers and teachers; and use of computers. The analyses showed that students considered the most important variable in the development of a sense of classroom community was a sense of connectedness with their peers. These results suggest the following policy implications for urban education: (1) sense of classroom community is important and may plausibly be linked to academic success; (2) use of computers in teaching does not detract from, and may add to, that sense of community.
Wighting, M.J. The effects of technology on urban high school students' sense of classroom community. Ph.D. thesis, Old Dominion University.
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