Technology and math: The relationship between using computers in the fifth grade and demonstrating math competencies
Vickie C. Duke, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
This study examined technology in fifth grade mathematics instruction in one school district. A survey determined teacher beliefs about technology, teacher practices, and frequency of use. Chi Square tests were performed to determine the relationship between frequency of technology use and student competencies measured on the state's criterion-referenced competency test. A survey of the fifth grade math teachers (N=15) indicated that although teachers were satisfied with administrative support, they were less satisfied with availability of hardware, software, and technical assistance. While most teachers reported staff development was needed to implement technology in the classroom, most were satisfied with the amount of training they had received and stated they had gained most of their knowledge of technology on their own. Only one reported anxiety when using technology. They believed technology improves student achievement, indicated technology agreed with their instructional style, made their job easier, and is useful for data management. In practice, all had access to computers for instruction either in labs (40%), classrooms (20%), or both (40%). Only one teacher had over five classroom computers. A majority used technology for individualizing assignments, assessments, managing data, drill, and standardized test preparation indicating teachers primarily used technology for traditional purposes rather than to encourage higher order thinking. One-third rarely used technology in the classroom, 26.7% used it monthly, 26.7% used it 1 to 2 days per week, and 13.3% used it 3 to 5 days per week. To determine the relationship between frequency of computer use and student achievement on the state's criterion-referenced competency test, students (N = 668) were placed in frequency groups. Statistically significant differences between observed and expected values were found at the .05 level in number sense and numeration, patterns and relationships, statistics and probability, problem solving, and total math score. The differences were not significant in geometry and measurement and computation and estimation. Based on the significant differences between expected and observed values, monthly usage of technology optimized student performance. Future studies could include larger samples to examine the correlation between frequency of technology use and teacher experience, beliefs, and personal learning about technology.
Duke, V.C. Technology and math: The relationship between using computers in the fifth grade and demonstrating math competencies. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
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