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Promoting meaningful uses of technology in a middle school

Description

Federal education policies call for school district leaders to promote classroom technology integration to prepare students with 21st century skills. However, schools are struggling to integrate technology effectively, with students often reporting that they feel like they need to power

Federal education policies call for school district leaders to promote classroom technology integration to prepare students with 21st century skills. However, schools are struggling to integrate technology effectively, with students often reporting that they feel like they need to power down and step back in time technologically when they enter classrooms. The lack of meaningful technology use in classrooms indicates a need for increased teacher preparation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact a coaching model of professional development had on school administrators` abilities to increase middle school teachers` technology integration in their classrooms. This study attempted to coach administrators to develop and articulate a vision, cultivate a culture, and model instruction relative to the meaningful use of instructional technology. The study occurred in a middle school. Data for this case study were collected via administrator interviews, the Principal`s Computer Technology Survey, structured observations using the Higher Order Thinking, Engaged Learning, Authentic Learning, Technology Use protocol, field notes, the Technology Integration Matrix, teacher interviews, and a research log. Findings concluded that cultivating change in an organization is a complex process that requires commitment over an extended period of time. The meaningful use of instructional technology remained minimal at the school during fall 2010. My actions as a change agent informed the school`s administrators about the role meaningful use of technology can play in instruction. Limited professional development, administrative vision, and expectations minimized the teachers` meaningful use of instructional technology; competing priorities and limited time minimized the administrators` efforts to improve the meaningful use of instructional technology. Realizing that technology proficient teachers contribute to student success with technology, it may be wise for administrators to incorporate technology-enriched professional development and exercise their leadership abilities to promote meaningful technology use in classrooms.

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Date Created
2011

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Leveraging faculty and peer leaders to promote commuter student co-curricular engagement: a collegiate retention intervention study

Description

It is commonly accepted that undergraduate degree attainment rates must improve if postsecondary educational institutions are to meet macroeconomic demands. Involvement in co-curricular activities, such as student clubs and organizations, has been shown to increase students' satisfaction with their college

It is commonly accepted that undergraduate degree attainment rates must improve if postsecondary educational institutions are to meet macroeconomic demands. Involvement in co-curricular activities, such as student clubs and organizations, has been shown to increase students' satisfaction with their college experience and the rates by which they might persist. Yet, strategies that college administrators, faculties, and peer leaders may employ to effectively promote co-curricular engagement opportunities to students are not well developed. In turn, I created the Sky Leaders program, a retention-focused intervention designed to promote commuter student involvement in academically-purposeful activities via faculty- and peer-lead mentoring experiences. Working from an interpretivist research paradigm, this quasi-experimental mixed methods action research study was intended to measure the intervention's impact on participants' re-enrollment and reported engagement rates, as well as the effectiveness of its conceptual and logistical aspects. I used enrollment, survey, interview, observation, and focus group data collection instruments to accommodate an integrated data procurement process, which allowed for the consideration of several perspectives related to the same research questions. I analyzed all of the quantitative data captured from the enrollment and survey instruments using descriptive and inferential statistics to explore statistically and practically significant differences between participant groups. As a result, I identified one significant finding that had a perceived positive effect. Expressly, I found the difference between treatment and control participants' reported levels of engagement within co-curricular activities to be statistically and practically significant. Additionally, consistent with Glaser and Strauss' grounded theory approach, I employed open, axial, and selective coding procedures to analyze all of the qualitative data obtained via open-ended survey items, as well as interview, observation, and focus group instruments. After I reviewed and examined the qualitative data corpus, I constructed six themes reflective of the participants' programmatic experiences as well as conceptual and logistical features of the intervention. In doing so, I found that faculty, staff, and peer leaders may efficaciously serve in specific mentoring roles to promote co-curricular engagement opportunities and advance students' institutional academic and social integration, thereby effectively curbing their potential college departure decisions, which often arise out of mal-integrative experiences.

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Date Created
2011

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Collaboration across organizational boundaries: developing an information technology community of practice : Arizona State University

Description

Rapidly increasing demand for technology support services, and often shrinking budgetary and staff resources, create enormous challenges for information technology (IT) departments in public sector higher education. To address these difficult circumstances, the researcher developed a network of IT professionals

Rapidly increasing demand for technology support services, and often shrinking budgetary and staff resources, create enormous challenges for information technology (IT) departments in public sector higher education. To address these difficult circumstances, the researcher developed a network of IT professionals from schools in a local community college system and from a research university in the southwest into an interorganizational community of practice (CoP). This collaboration allowed members from participating institutions to share knowledge and ideas relating to shared technical problems. This study examines the extent to which the community developed, the factors that contributed to its development and the value of such an endeavor. The researcher used a mixed methods approach to gather data and insights relative to these research questions. Data were collected through online surveys, meeting notes and transcripts, post-meeting questionnaires, semi-structured interviews with key informants, and web analytics. The results from this research indicate that the group did coalesce into a CoP. The researcher identified two crucial roles that aided this development: community coordinator and technology steward. Furthermore, the IT professionals who participated and the leaders from their organizations reported that developing the community was a worthwhile venture. They also reported that while the technical collaboration component was very valuable, the non-technical topics and interactions were also very beneficial. Indicators also suggest that the community made progress toward self-sustainability and is likely to continue. There is also discussion of a third leadership role that appears important for developing CoPs that span organizational boundaries, that of the community catalyst. Implications from this study suggest that other higher education IT organizations faced with similar circumstances may be able to follow the model presented here and also achieve positive results.

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Date Created
2011

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Factors that influence teacher expectations of Africian American, Hispanic and low-income students

Description

There is a nationwide gap in which African American, Hispanic and low-income students perform significantly lower than their peers. Research suggests that teachers hold lower expectations for these students resulting in lower achievement. There are four main factors that influence

There is a nationwide gap in which African American, Hispanic and low-income students perform significantly lower than their peers. Research suggests that teachers hold lower expectations for these students resulting in lower achievement. There are four main factors that influence teacher expectations: stereotypes, teacher self-efficacy, school culture, language and formal policies and programs aimed at increasing teacher expectations. The purpose of this study was to inquire into the following questions: (1) What are the factors that influence teachers' academic expectations for low-income and minority students? (2) What are teacher's perceptions on the effectiveness of formal policies and programs that are aimed at increasing teacher expectations? More specifically, do teachers feel that top-down formal policies, such as teacher evaluations, uniform curriculum, and performance-based pay are effective in impacting their expectations, or do teachers believe that bottom-up policies, such as book studies and professional learning communities, make more of an impact on increasing their expectations? Ten teachers were interviewed in a school district that is consistent with the state and national achievement gap. The findings revealed that teacher expectations are influenced by the four factors I found in the research as well as two other factors: a cultural disconnect among teachers and students and teachers' level of motivation. A combination of top-down and bottom-up formal policies and programs are needed as teachers are individuals and all respond to various forms of formal policies and programs differently.

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Date Created
2011

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The impact of local wellness policies on school meals and wellness in public schools

Description

There has been a push to create and implement school wellness policies. Childhood obesity statistics suggest that schools may have an important role to play in promoting wellness. Childhood obesity has become a significant problem in the United States. The

There has been a push to create and implement school wellness policies. Childhood obesity statistics suggest that schools may have an important role to play in promoting wellness. Childhood obesity has become a significant problem in the United States. The percentage of obese children in the United States has more than doubled since 1970, and up to 33% of the children in the United States are currently overweight. Among the 33% of children who are overweight, 25% are obese, and 14% have type 2 diabetes, previously considered to be a condition found only in adults. This mixed-method study with a string qualitative component study examined three aspects of federally mandated local wellness polices. The study investigated the policies themselves, how the policies are understood in the local school setting, with a particular focus on the impact the policies have had on school meals. The bulk of the research data was generated through 8 in-depth interviews. The interviews were conducted with key stakeholders within 2 elementary school districts in Arizona. In addition, the evaluation of 20 local wellness polices was conducted via a rubric scoring system. The primary component found to be lacking in local wellness policies was the evaluation method. Recommendations for school districts include the establishment of a clear method of measurement.

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Date Created
2011

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Bridging divides through technology use: transnationalism and digital literacy socialization

Description

In this study, I investigate the digital literacy practices of adult immigrants, and their relationship with transnational processes and practices. Specifically, I focus on their conditions of access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their life trajectories, their

In this study, I investigate the digital literacy practices of adult immigrants, and their relationship with transnational processes and practices. Specifically, I focus on their conditions of access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their life trajectories, their conditions of learning in a community center, and their appropriation of digital literacy practices for transnational purposes. By studying the culturally situated nature of digital literacies of adult learners with transnational affiliations, I build on recent empirical work in the fields of New Literacy Studies, sociocultural approaches to learning, and transnational studies. In this qualitative study, I utilized ethnographic techniques for data collection, including participant observation, interviewing, and collection of material and electronic artifacts. I drew from case study approaches to analyze and present the experiences of five adult first-generation immigrant participants. I also negotiated multiple positionalities during the two phases of the study: as a participant observer and instructor's aide during the Basic Computer Skills course participants attended, and as a researcher-practitioner in the Web Design course that followed. From these multiple vantage points, my analysis demonstrates that participants' access to ICTs is shaped by structural factors, family dynamics, and individuals' constructions of the value of digital literacies. These factors influence participants' conditions of access to material resources, such as computer equipment, and access to mentoring opportunities with members of their social networks. In addition, my analysis of the instructional practices in the classroom shows that instructors used multiple modalities, multiple languages and specialized discourses to scaffold participants' understandings of digital spaces and interfaces. Lastly, in my analysis of participants' repertoires of digital literacy practices, I found that their engagement in technology use for purposes of communication, learning, political participation and online publishing supported their maintenance of transnational affiliations. Conversely, participants' transnational ties and resources supported their appropriation of digital literacies in everyday practice. This study concludes with a discussion on the relationship among learning, digital literacies and transnationalism, and the contributions of critical and ethnographic perspectives to the study of programs that can bridge digital inequality for minority groups.

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Date Created
2011

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A funny thing happened on the way to the hippocampus: the effects of humor on student achievement and memory retention

Description

ABSTRACT Research literature relating to the use of humor as a teaching method or curricula specifically designed to include humor was reviewed to investigate the effects of humor on student learning in various environments from elementary schools to post-secondary classrooms.

ABSTRACT Research literature relating to the use of humor as a teaching method or curricula specifically designed to include humor was reviewed to investigate the effects of humor on student learning in various environments from elementary schools to post-secondary classrooms. In this multi-method study, four instruments and a humor treatment were selected to test the hypothesis that students who receive humor-embedded instruction would perform better on assessments than students who did not receive humor instruction. These assessments were analyzed to show student growth in achievement and memory retention as a result of humor-embedded instruction. Gain scores between a pre- test and two post-tests determined student growth in achievement and memory retention. Gain scores were triangulated with student responses to open-ended interview questions about their experiences with humor in the classroom. The gain score data were not statistically significant between the humor and non- humor groups. For the short-term memory gain scores, the non-humor group received slightly higher gain scores. For long-term memory gain scores, the humor group received higher gain scores. However, the interview data was consistent with the findings of humor research from the last 20 years that humor improves learning directly and indirectly.

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Date Created
2011

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Influencing social capital in times of change: a three pronged approach to instructional coaching at the middle school level

Description

This mixed methods participatory action research study explored how an instructional coach influenced a state mandated curriculum adoption at a Title 1 urban middle school. The purpose of this study was to identify ways in which an instructional coach supported

This mixed methods participatory action research study explored how an instructional coach influenced a state mandated curriculum adoption at a Title 1 urban middle school. The purpose of this study was to identify ways in which an instructional coach supported a veteran staff during the adoption of new curriculum standards. The instructional coach/action researcher employed a three pronged coaching approach that incorporated individual and team coaching sessions and increased networking to encourage and support the development of social capital. This study was informed using Vygotsky's Social Learning Theory, Wenger's Communities of Practice, Coleman's Social Capital Theory, and Hall and Horde's Concerns-Based Adoption Model. The study is heavily weighted in favor of qualitative data which includes participant reflections, coach individual session and team session reflections, field-notes, team meeting videos, and exit interviews. Several themes emerged supporting the use of a differentiated coaching approach, the promotion of social capital, and the identification of initiative overload as a barrier to curriculum adoption. The quantitative data analysis, pre and post study Stages of Concern Questionnaires, produced evidence that participants experienced minor shifts in their concerns relating to the adoption of Common Core State Standards. Results were used to inform coaching decisions based on individual participant needs as well as to augment the qualitative findings. Ideas for further research are discussed.

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Date Created
2014

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From the Common Core to the classroom: a professional development efficacy study for the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Description

In this mixed-methods study, I examined the relationship between professional development based on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and teacher knowledge, classroom practice, and student learning. Participants were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. The 50-hour professional

In this mixed-methods study, I examined the relationship between professional development based on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and teacher knowledge, classroom practice, and student learning. Participants were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. The 50-hour professional development treatment was administered to the treatment group during one semester, and then a follow-up replication treatment was administered to the control group during the subsequent semester. Results revealed significant differences in teacher knowledge as a result of the treatment using two instruments. The Learning Mathematics for Teaching scales were used to detect changes in mathematical knowledge for teaching, and an online sorting task was used to detect changes in teachers' knowledge of their standards. Results also indicated differences in classroom practice between pairs of matched teachers selected to participate in classroom observations and interviews. No statistical difference was detected between the groups' student assessment scores using the district's benchmark assessment system. This efficacy study contributes to the literature in two ways. First, it provides an evidence base for a professional development model designed to promote effective implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Second, it addresses ways to impact and measure teachers' knowledge of curriculum in addition to their mathematical content knowledge. The treatment was designed to focus on knowledge of curriculum, but it also successfully impacted teachers' specialized content knowledge, knowledge of content and students, and knowledge of content and teaching.

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Date Created
2013

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The effects of the American Dream Academy on Hispanic parents' beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors regarding pre-kinder to post-secondary education

Description

ABSTRACT The high percentage and the steady growth of Hispanic/Latino students in Arizona demand that special attention be placed on improving academic achievement and attainment. The need to support Hispanic/Latino parents in becoming meaningful positive contributors to their children's schooling

ABSTRACT The high percentage and the steady growth of Hispanic/Latino students in Arizona demand that special attention be placed on improving academic achievement and attainment. The need to support Hispanic/Latino parents in becoming meaningful positive contributors to their children's schooling continues to surface as a critical issue in school improvement efforts in many Arizona districts. American Dream Academy, part of the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights at Arizona State University, has aimed to address this critical issue. Their focus has been to change Latino parents' beliefs about, knowledge of, and behaviors related to their children's education from pre-kindergarten to the post-secondary level. The Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler model, Realizing the American Dream, for parental involvement was the basis for the design of the curriculum used by the American Dream Academy. The purpose of this study was to analyze the efficacy of the American Dream Academy in changing the beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors of parents. The data sources were demographic and pre- and post-academy surveys taken by 719 parents representing 42 Title 1 school districts throughout Maricopa County, Arizona during the spring semester of 2012. Two tailed t tests and the significant p values revealed statistically significant changes after participation in the academy for each one of the survey statement constructs, beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors. A computation of the effect sizes using Cohen's d revealed that there were moderate to large effect sizes for each of the constructs. The knowledge construct had the largest effect size. Pearson correlation coefficients revealed that the gains for each construct were positively correlated with each of the other constructs and that the relationships were statistically significant. The significant effects of the American Dream Academy's curriculum were considerable in changing parents' beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors as to pre-kindergarten and post-secondary education. Of special notice is the effect that the academy had on parents' knowledge of how to help their children as they navigate through the United States' educational system. It is recommended that school districts partner with the American Dream Academy in efforts to engage parents in meaningful participation.

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Date Created
2013