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Technology Effect and Effectiveness Introduction

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Technology Effect and Effectiveness Introduction


Back to Technology Effects and Effectiveness Menu 


A 21st century learner needs to be creative, a critical thinker, problem solver and be able to use technology effectively.  The question posed to us in this course is how do we know if technology integration is effective?  What will be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively?  Does the term effect and effectiveness measure the same things?  What tools can we use with students to make them effective learners while we affect student achievement? (Reiber)

We may be able to measure qualitatively when students are using integrated technology, “the effect of technology” on students is that they are more engaged, more in charge of their own learning, able to connect or construct their learning.  Quantitatively we may be able to compare a traditional teacher with that of a techno-constructivist teacher and compare formative or summative assessments.  What school administrators want to know is if state testing will reveal the effectiveness of technology usage in the classroom? (Reiber)

One study in Maine conducted by Alexis Berry and Sarah Wintle supports that we can measure both the effects “hard fun” and the effectiveness of using technology rich tools and resources.  This study found (2009):

Pre- and post assessments illustrated greater comprehension levels among the students who were assigned to complete a technology-rich project in comparison to students who were asked to complete a more traditional science project.  In addition, a retention assessment revealed greater retention of information among those who had completed the technology-rich project.  Lastly, student engagement appeared to be higher among those who were working directly with their laptops to complete their science projects.  The post-assessment and the student interviews revealed that many of the students found technology-rich projects to be more challenging and time-consuming; however, many of the students also agreed that the project was more fun and engaging. . . .the idea that children enjoy being challenged and that they have greater learning outcomes when they are given the opportunity to actively construct new knowledge is an exciting way.

Our goal is to move all teachers from the traditional role to techno-traditional and finally to the techno-constructivist teacher.  The techno-constructivist teacher would be equipped to use the following technologies:  blended learning, classroom based learning, cost-cutting, distance learning and mobile learning.  The following pages will examine the effects of these technologies on student learning and if we are able to measure their effectiveness. (Reiber)

When reflecting upon this question one needs to consider learners of all ages and therefore teachers that are teaching students from pre-kindergarten through adulthood.  The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at The University of Michigan conducted an extensive controlled evaluation study in 1991 with 254 learners of all age ranges (elementary through adult) to see if computer based instruction (CBI) has an effect on students.  In this study they have come to the conclusion that it usually does and the outcomes are typically positive.   "Since the early 1960s educational technologists have been developing programs of CBI to drill, tutor, and test students and to manage instructional programs.  In recent years these CBI programs have been used increasingly in schools to supplement or replace more conventional teaching methods.  Many educational technologists believe that CBI will not only reduce educational costs in the log run but that is will also enhance educational effects.  Some envision a day when computers will serve all children as personal tutors: a Socrates or Plato for every child of the 21st century." (Kulik, 1991) 

Some positive points to the research were regarding the flexibility within the classroom and the tools used, as well as the attitudes towards technology for both teachers and students (if facilitated properly and positively), along with the time savings for students.  On the other hand the study was inconclusive with respect to student achievement completely because it could be relative based on the knowledge, help and support the instructor has for the students.  Cost effectiveness was also a key factor not completely covered.  This is an interesting study and something that could be conducted again due to all of the changes and advancements over the past 8 years since the research. (J Gonsiewski) 


There is an interesting study, conducted by the U.S. Department of Education regarding the Effectiveness of Educational Technology.  The full document can be viewed at:



Basically no concrete recommendations came from the study, however the nine areas of focus that they used could be implemented by school districts to design their own technology plan. (M Gonsiewski) 





Bernie Poole has identified "10 Pillars of Successful Technology Integration."  In this article, Poole has revised and updated his original list of items that makes the integration of technology in to the classroom a success.  These pillars include active leadership and support, encouraging everyone to "buy into" the technology initiatives, investing in professional development, keeping current with technologies, on going training, on going technical support, using the technology available, student and parental involvement, planned and systemic financial backing, recognizing the technology and life long learning go hand in hand.  Poole, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, states that the children of today are "digital natives", meaning that their lives are encompassed by technology.  Technology has become so ubiquitous that we could hardly imagine our lives without it.


The scope of Poole's technology integration strategies goes beyond the classroom.  Poole's ten pillars look at technology integration takes on multiple levels of inclusion from the classroom level to the community level.  However, in the classroom t is important to remember that the effectiveness of technology use in the classroom can become a function of the quality and thoroughness of the instructional design process or lack thereof.  Teachers and administrators should reflect upon their practice and continually look for ways to improve the effectiveness of their instructional approaches and use technological resources as a tools to help facilitate this process. 



Many teachers struggle with the concept of integrating technology in the classroom. There are various scenarios that many educators have encountered in their tenure as teachers that illustrate the difficulty of successful implement of solid programs. Bill Robertson, a Ph.D. student at The University of New Mexico, has created a five-step process which he describes as, “not a linear formula, but a set of guiding principles that at any time may be revisited depending on the progress of the teaching and learning,” for the implementation of various technologies in the classroom (Robertson, 2000). With each step, he introduces a different kind of technology, from basic software programs, to building websites, as an attempt to illustrate the basic process of putting the use of technology into practice.

Robertson’s five stages are as follows: (Robertson, 2000)


Objective: To define the current knowledge base and to develop the foundation for the organization of learning

Tools: Inspiration Concept Mapping Software



Objective: To allow the learner to explore the content area and to deepen their knowledge base

Tools: Browsers for the Internet (Netscape, Internet Explorer), e-mail



Objective: To provide the learner with the opportunity to construct their knowledge following the curriculum materials and scope and sequence of the instruction

Tools: Inspiration, word processors



Objective: To further the development and to lead the learner to the implementation phase

Tools: Inspiration, word processors, WYSIWYG editors, HTML instruction



Objective: To demonstrate the learning that has taken place through the phases

Tools: Inspiration, word processors, WYSIWYG editors, HTML instruction, FTP, Fetch


Utilizing this format is one way to build a curriculum, lesson plans, instructional units, or presentations that integrate the tools of computer technology with classroom content. In this way, the tools are not the focus of the instruction, but are imbedded in the facilitation of the learning process (Robertson, 2000).While this may work for some, it is not the end-all, be-all of technology implementation strategies. However, this offers districts that may truly be starting from scratch, a great place to begin planning their own curriculum centered around technology. 


Technology Effects and Effectiveness 


Technology Effect and Effectiveness Introduction


Blended Learning Technologies


Classroom Based Learning Technologies


Cost-Cutting Technologies


Distance Learning Technologies


Mobile Learning Technologies


Technology Effects and Effectiveness Conclusion




Contributors Fall Semester 2009

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