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REL Midwest Reference Desk

Technology Integration

November 2015

Questions:

1. What does the research say about successfully integrating technology into curriculum and instruction?

2. What does the research say about the impact of technology integration on achievement, particularly in high-poverty, urban settings?



Background:

REL Midwest received a request for information on integrating technology into curriculum and instruction, with an added focus on high-poverty and urban settings.

Following an established REL Midwest research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive and policy-oriented briefs and articles on technology integration in schools. We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed schools in high-poverty, urban areas. The sources included federally funded organizations, research institutions, several educational research databases, and a general Internet search using Google.

We also searched for appropriate organizations that may act as resources on this issue. We have not done an evaluation of these organizations or the resources themselves but offer this list for reference only.

Research References

1. What does the research say about successfully integrating technology into curriculum and instruction?

Anthony, A., & Clark, L. (2011). Examining dilemmas of practice associated with the integration of technology into mathematics classrooms serving urban students. Urban Education, 46(6), 1300–1331. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ940690

From the abstract: "This article contributes to research on contextual influences on technology integration in urban mathematics classrooms through an investigation of five middle-grade teachers’ participation in a laptop program. Drawing on activity theory, findings illuminate teachers’ dilemmas and coping strategies in their efforts to integrate technology. Dilemmas of practice included (a) determining the role of technology, (b) meeting misaligned expectations, and (c) gaining knowledge and skills despite limited professional development. Coping strategies included (a) integrating multiple institutional goals, (b) breaking rules, and (c) redistributing instructional responsibilities across colleagues and students. Implications for administrative practice, teacher education, and future research are discussed."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Banister, S., & Fischer, J. (2010). Overcoming the digital divide: The story of an urban middle school. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 23(2), 2–9. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ942890

From the abstract: "Access to appropriate technological resources in schools has become an issue, commonly labeled the ‘digital divide.’ While the debate ensues in regards to an explicit definition for this phenomenon, research overwhelmingly demonstrates that students of marginalized populations remain on the lower end of access to and innovative use of current digital technologies. Accordingly, advocates of social justice point to the disparities of resources and quality learning opportunities experienced by students in poverty, including their exposure to dynamic technology integration in teaching and learning. This study narrates a five-year struggle to impact the digital divide on an urban middle school campus."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Campbell, T., Longhurst, M., Wang, S., Hsu, H., & Coster, D. (2015). Technologies and reformed-based science instruction: The examination of a professional development model focused on supporting science teaching and learning with technologies. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 24(5), 562–579. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1074447

From the abstract: "While access to computers, other technologies, and cyber-enabled resources that could be leveraged for enhancing student learning in science is increasing, generally it has been found that teachers use technology more for administrative purposes or to support traditional instruction. This use of technology, especially to support traditional instruction, sits in opposition to most recent standards [for] documents in science education that call for student involvement in evidence-based sense-making activities. Many see technology as a potentially powerful resource that is reshaping society and has the potential to do the same in science classrooms. To consider the promise of technology in science classrooms, this research investigated the impact of a professional development project focused on enhancing teacher and student learning by using information and communication technologies (ICTs) for engaging students in reformed-based instruction. More specifically, these findings revealed positive teacher outcomes with respect to reformed-based and technology-supported instruction and increased ICT and new literacies skills. When considering students, the findings revealed positive outcomes with respect to ICT and new literacies skills and student achievement in science."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Frey, N., Fisher, D., & Lapp, D. (2015). iPad deployment in a diverse urban high school: A formative experiment. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 31(2), 135–150. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1050510

From the abstract: "We explore the use of iPads in a diverse urban high school and the ways in which teachers and students were supported to integrate these tools into their instruction. We provided 4 English teachers with 20 iPads with little or no professional development about how to integrate them into their instruction. Using a formative experiment design, we examine what it took to increase the use of the technology tools with a group of diverse students. Over the course of the year, we made several modifications, each of which increased the use of the iPads."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Peck, C., Kappler Hewitt, K., Mullen, C., Lashley, C., Eldridge, J., & Douglas, T. (2015). Digital youth in brick and mortar schools: Examining the complex interplay of students, technology, education, and change. Teachers College Record, 117(5), 1–40. Retrived from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1056707

From the abstract: "The past decade has witnessed a sustained emphasis on information and communication technologies (ICT) in education, coupled with the rise of online social media and increasing pervasiveness of personal media devices. Research Question: Our research question asked: How has this changing context affected the educational experiences of American high school students? Setting: The exploratory, qualitative study took place at two high schools in a large metropolitan district in the southeastern United States. One high school was in a downtown area, and the other was in a suburban setting. Research Design: The researchers used various qualitative research approaches, including interviews, on-site observations, and document analysis. Our interview participants included classroom teachers and support staff as well as students drawn from across each school’s grade levels. We also shadowed 10 of the student interview participants through their entire school days. Findings: In terms of classroom instruction, we found that ICT had affected school, teacher, and student practices in some ways, but traditional teacher-centered practices such as student completion of printed worksheets were still prevalent. However, widespread student access to personal media devices and online social media site influence had a noticeable effect on the two high schools. The researchers encountered specific ‘types’ of students whom technology particularly influenced: ‘Digital Rebels,’ ‘Cyber Wanderers,’ and ‘eLearning Pioneers.’ In addition, we discovered that computer-based remedial programs served as problematic educational lifelines for students at risk of dropping out. Conclusions: The two study high schools presented a complex portrait. In the end, technology functioned both as an imperfect school reform effort that produced only partial instructional change and as a successful though uninvited disruptive innovation that allowed students to challenge and unsettle existing educational norms. We close by considering implications of our findings."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Skoretz, Y., & Childress, R. (2013). An evaluation of a school-based professional development program on teachers’ efficacy for technology integration: Findings from an initial study. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 21(4), 461–484. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1017009

From the abstract: "The purpose of this program evaluation was to determine the impact of a school-based, job-embedded professional development program on elementary and middle school teacher efficacy for technology integration. Participant bi-weekly journal postings were analyzed using Grappling’s Technology and Learning Spectrum (Porter, 2001) to determine the change in levels of technology integration in classroom practice. The Computer Technology Integration Survey (Wang, 2004) was used to determine differences in efficacy levels for technology integration between the experimental and comparison groups. Study findings indicated there was no statistically significant change in levels of technology integration after experimental group participation in a school-based, job-embedded professional development program. Statistically significant differences in levels of efficacy for technology integration between the experimental and comparison groups were found with moderate effect sizes. Additionally, findings indicated statistically significant differences in the experimental group’s levels of efficacy for technology integration based on years of teaching experience, whether teachers taught in an elementary or middle school and whether teachers taught multiple subjects or a single subject, with effect sizes ranging from moderate to large. The relationship between efficacy for technology integration for the experimental group and technology integration in classroom practice was not statistically significant."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Staples, A., Pugach, M., & Himes, D. (2005). Rethinking the technology integration challenge: Cases from three urban elementary schools. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 37(3), 285–311. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ690973.pdf

From the abstract: "Case studies of three urban elementary schools were conducted to document the integration of technology given identical resources from a local university’s PT3 grant. Data sources for this qualitative study included participant observers’ field notes and journal entries, school personnel interviews, timeline and chronicle of technology-related priorities and events, and children’s and teachers’ technology artifacts. Cases were summarized with respect to prior technology context, agents of growth and development, and changes and future directions. The analysis identified three scaffolds that appear to have a significant influence on—and redefine the challenge of—technology integration: alignment with the curriculum/mission, teacher leadership, and public/private roles for technology recognition."

Wachira, P., & Keengwe, J. (2011). Technology integration barriers: Urban school mathematics teachers’ perspectives. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20(1), 17–25. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ913118

From the abstract: "Despite the promise of technology in education, many practicing teachers face several challenges when trying to effectively integrate technology into their classroom instruction. Additionally, while national statistics cite a remarkable improvement in access to computer technology tools in schools, teacher surveys show consistent declines in the use and integration of computer technology to enhance student learning. This article reports on primary technology integration barriers that mathematics teachers identified when using technology in their classrooms. Suggestions to overcome some of these barriers are also provided."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

2. What does the research say about the impact of technology integration on achievement, particularly in high-poverty, urban settings?

Keengwe, J., & Hussein, F. (2014). Using computer-assisted instruction to enhance achievement of English language learners. Education and Information Technologies, 19(2), 295–306. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1053016

From the abstract: "Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) in English-Language environments offer practice time, motivates students, enhance student learning, increase authentic materials that students can study, and has the potential to encourage teamwork between students. The findings from this particular study suggested that students who used computer assisted program had a greater chance of closing achievement gap and meeting NCLB requirements than those students who did not use computer-assisted instruction. Additionally, the students that used computer-assisted classroom instruction gained scores in reading and math. Based on these findings, teachers, school administrators, and other educational stakeholder should explore strategies for technology integration to close the achievement gap."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Lara-Alecio, R., Tong, F., Irby, B., Guerrero, C., Huerta, M., & Fan, Y. (2012). The effect of an instructional intervention on middle school English learners’ science and English reading achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(8), 987–1011. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ979397

From the abstract: "This study examined the effect of a quasi-experimental project on fifth grade English learners’ achievement in state-mandated standards-based science and English reading assessment. A total of 166 treatment students and 80 comparison students from four randomized intermediate schools participated in the current project. The intervention consisted of on-going professional development and specific instructional science lessons with inquiry-based learning, direct and explicit vocabulary instruction, integration of reading and writing, and enrichment components including integration of technology, take-home science activities, and university scientists mentoring. Results suggested a significant and positive intervention effect in favor of the treatment students as reflected in higher performance in district-wide curriculum-based tests of science and reading and standardized tests of oral reading fluency." (Contains 5 tables.)

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Moratelli, K., & DeJarnette, N. (2014). Clickers to the rescue: Technology integration helps boost literacy scores. Reading Teacher, 67(8), 586–593. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1024742

From the abstract: "Literacy assessment scores in an urban 5th grade classroom left much to be desired. In this diverse classroom population, typical urban distractions such as poverty, crime, English as a second language, and lack of parental support contribute to extremely low literacy scores. This classroom study examined the effects of implementing clickers, a student response system, in an urban 5th grade literacy class. Each week children were tested according to the district’s adopted basal literacy curriculum series. The weekly tests assessed various story elements such as plot, comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary. The classroom teacher implemented a weekly teacher-led review session prior to testing which incorporated clicker response system technology. This review session engaged students through the use of technology while supporting them on their learned literacy skills. The clicker review sessions proved to be a valuable teaching tool in this urban elementary classroom."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Neill, M., & Mathews, J. (2009). Does the use of technological interventions improve student academic achievement in mathematics and language arts for an identified group of at-risk middle school students? Southeastern Teacher Education Journal, 2(1), 57–65.

From the abstract: "Computer-assisted instructional programs offer another avenue of support for student achievement. This study was conducted to investigate the influence of two computer-assisted instructional programs on the math and language arts academic achievement of two groups of academic at-risk middle school students compared to a group of students who were not at-risk in a traditional instructional program. This study utilized correlation statistics to analyze student achievement by these subjects as measured by Rausch Unit (RIT) scores on the state mandated assessment. The results of the study indicated only a small gap in academic achievement between the at-risk students receiving computer-assisted learning interventions compared to those students engaged in the traditional instructional strategies. There was a 22% increase in the number of students who met or exceeded the state-mandated growth targets in language arts and math after the first year of the computer-assisted learning interventions."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Shapley, K., Sheehan, D., Maloney, C., & Caranikas-Walker, F. (2011). Effects of technology immersion on middle school students’ learning opportunities and achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 104(5), 299–315. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ934897

From the abstract: "An experimental study of the Technology Immersion model involved comparisons between 21 middle schools that received laptops for each teacher and student, instructional and learning resources, professional development, and technical and pedagogical support, and 21 control schools. Using hierarchical linear modeling to analyze longitudinal survey and achievement data, the authors found that Technology Immersion had a positive effect on students’ technology proficiency and the frequency of their technology-based class activities and small-group interactions. Disciplinary actions declined, but treatment students attended school somewhat less regularly than control students. There was no statistically significant immersion effect on students’ reading or mathematics achievement, but the direction of predicted effects was consistently positive and was replicated across student cohorts."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Sternberg, B., Kaplan, K., & Borck, J. (2007). Enhancing adolescent literacy achievement through integration of technology in the classroom. Reading Research Quarterly, 42(3), 416–420. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ767777

From the abstract: "Adolescent literacy achievement across the United States is in crisis. More than eight million students in grades 4 to 12 are identified as struggling readers. These students, who perform below grade level in reading and writing, are at high risk for failure in all content subjects and ultimately for dropping out of school. Professionals in the field must pursue additional research around technology integration to enhance adolescent literacy achievement so that states across the nation can best create and promote the necessary programs to reverse the adolescent literacy achievement crisis. In this article, the authors take the state of Connecticut as an example that is expanding its focus by seeking sound research to inform the preparation of adolescents for success in further education and training through integration of technology in the classroom. Connecticut continues to explore key elements in programs designed to improve adolescent literacy achievement in middle and high schools, such as those outlined by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Recognizing that important research has already been completed in the area of educational technology, this article suggests seven areas for further research that are of interest to state policymakers, focusing particularly on enhancing adolescent literacy achievement through the integration of technology across all content areas. Empirical research in these areas can be used to inform future practice in Connecticut and across the nation: (1) state-offered virtual courses and delivery systems, (2) communication tools, (3) artificial intelligence, (4) word processors, (5) new literacies practices, (6) professional development, and (7) technology for parents."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Additional Resources

Blankenship, M., & Margarella, E. (2014). Technology and secondary writing: A review of the literature. Contemporary Educational Technology, 5(2), 146–160.

From the abstract: "This article reports a review of the literature that focused on relationship between writing instruction and technology in the secondary classroom since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act over the past two decades. Based on the search, six themes have emerged across the fields of writing instruction and assessment. Within writing instruction, it was found that researchers often focused on a third space (Bhabha, 1994) where writing can take place in meaningful ways. Also, technology often served as a motivator during the instructional process of writing and worked to engage students in varied lessons. Finally, researchers found an increase in the amount of writing for secondary students when technology was introduced into the instructional classroom. Within writing assessment, the research focused on special populations including special education students, minorities, economically disadvantaged and English language learners."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Hancock, R., Knezek, G., & Christensen, R. (2007). Cross-validating measures of technology integration: A first step toward examining potential relationships between technology integration and student achievement. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 24(1), 15–21. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ833923.pdf

From the abstract: "The use of proper measurements of diffusion of information technology as an innovation are essential to determining if progress is being made in state, regional, and national level programs. This project provides a national level cross validation study of several instruments commonly used to assess the effectiveness of technology integration in instructional programs." (Contains 10 tables, 6 figures, and 1 footnote.)

Slavin, R., Lake, C., Hanley, P., & Thurston, A. (2014). Experimental evaluations ofelementary science programs: A best-evidence synthesis. Journal of Research in ScienceTeaching, 51(7), 870–901.

From the abstract: "This article presents a systematic review of research on the achievement outcomes of all types of approaches to teaching science in elementary schools. Study inclusion criteria included use of randomized or matched control groups, a study duration of at least 4 weeks, and use of achievement measures independent of the experimental treatment. A total of 23 studies met these criteria. Among studies evaluating inquiry-based teaching approaches, programs that used science kits did not show positive outcomes on science achievement measures (weighted ES = +0.02 in 7 studies), but inquiry-based programs that emphasized professional development but not kits did show positive outcomes (weighted ES = +0.36 in 10 studies). Technological approaches integrating video and computer resources with teaching and cooperative learning showed positive outcomes in a few small, matched studies (ES = +0.42 in 6 studies). The review concludes that science teaching methods focused on enhancing teachers’ classroom instruction throughout the year, such as cooperative learning and science-reading integration, as well as approaches that give teachers technology tools to enhance instruction, have significant potential to improve science learning."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Tanner, P., Karas, C., & Schofield, D. (2014). Augmenting a child’s reality: Usingeducational tablet technology. Journal of Information Technology Education, 13, 45–54. Retrieved from http://www.jite.org/documents/Vol13/JITEv13IIPp045-055Tanner0464.pdf.

From the abstract: "This study investigates the classroom integration of an innovative technology, augmented reality. Although the process of adding new technologies into a classroom setting can be daunting, the concept of augmented reality has demonstrated the ability to educate students and to assist with their comprehension of a procedural task. One half of the students of a sixth grade class were exposed to augmented reality technology when they were assigned the procedural task of building Lego™ robots. As a control group, the other half of the class learned how to construct their robots using only the static paper manual that was provided by the manufacturer of the robot kit. The students who experienced the augmented reality technology did so by interacting with an animated version of the same static manual where they observed video tutorials that were overlaid onto the static manual to provide an augmented representation of each step. This technology solution was developed using the Aurasma™ augmented reality application which ran on Apple iPads™. Results have indicated that the students who used the animated manual to learn the procedural task showcased significantly higher comprehension scores when compared to those who only used the static manual. Our findings support the claims that the integration of augmented reality into a classroom setting may be beneficial to student learning."

Additional Organizations to Consult

  • Project Tomorrow
    (http://www.tomorrow.org/)

    Selected text from the website: “The vision of Project Tomorrow is to ensure that today’sstudents are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens ofthe world. We believe that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math andtechnology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop thecritical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the21st century.”

    “We approach our mission through national research projects, the replication of model excellence projects in schools and communities, online tools and resources for students, teachers and parents, and national and regional advocacy efforts.”

Methods

Keywords and Search Strings Used in the Search

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Technology integration AND schools

  • Technology AND achievement AND schools

  • Technology integration AND urban AND schools

Search of Databases and Websites

Institute of Education Sciences sources: Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program, National Center for Education Research (NCER)

Criteria for Inclusion

When Reference Desk researchers review resources, they consider—among other things—four factors:

  • Date of the publication: We include the most current information, except in the case of nationally known seminal resources.

  • Source and funder of the report/study/brief/article: We give priority to IES, nationally funded, and certain other vetted sources known for strict attention to research protocols.

  • Methodology: Randomized controlled trial studies, surveys, self-assessments, literature reviews, policy briefs. We generally give priority for inclusion to randomized controlled trial study findings, but the reader should note at least the following factors when basing decisions on these resources: numbers of participants (just a few? thousands?); selection (Did the participants volunteer for the study, or were they chosen?); representation (Were findings generalized from a homogeneous or a diverse pool of participants? Was the study sample representative of the population as a whole?).

  • Existing knowledge base: Although we strive to include vetted resources, there are times when the research base is slim or nonexistent. In these cases, we presented the best resources we could find, which may include, for example, newspaper articles, interviews with content specialists, and organization websites.
The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Reference Desk is a service provided by a collaborative of the REL Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). This response was prepared under contract ED-IES-12-C-0004 with IES, by REL Midwest, administered by American Institutes for Research. The content of the response does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.