Annotated Bibliography Week 13

Greenhow, C. (2011). Youth, learning and social mediaJournal of Educational Computing Research, 45(2),139-146.

In this journal article, the author discussed the uses for and the impact of social media on both formal and informal learning for youth. The introduction is built through discussion of the growth of social networking sites and the different platforms available at the time. Greenhow also specifically points out the potential benefits of social media, including positive effects on cognitive, social, and emotional skills, but notes that because research was lacking in this area, it was still unclear if SNS for learning could be beneficial or detrimental. Then, the author discusses five articles that have recently explored the effects of youth’s social media use in both informal and formal learning constructs. Studies range from exploring the connection between teens’ use of SNS and their reported social capital to the impact of media multitasking and video content on reading comprehension ability. The author concluded by noting the important aspects that the mentioned studies investigated and by stating that many possible complications concerning the use of social media in education remain still to be explored. 

In a brief introductory article, Greenhow offers a well-varied view of the uses of SNS in both formal and informal contexts. Though only five studies are mentioned, they are reviewed in sufficient detail to give the reader a perspective of the many uses of SNS and their potential academic, social, and emotional gains. The studies also range across a variety of disciplines such as Language Arts, sub-groups’ perceptions and uses of SNS, and exploring if predictors such as internet access and parent use effect SNS participation for youth. This review of studies, as well as Greenhow’s assertions on the lack of research, help to give a thorough introductory understanding of SNS and youth education and endeavors for future research.

This article connects to my current research interests because it discusses the potential impact of SNS for education for youth. I am interested in the uses of technology for classroom differentiation, particularly at the middle school level, and social media could be a useful tool for offering different ways that knowledge can be constructed in order to meet the needs of all students.

Annotated Bibliography Week 12

Carter, E., Williams, J., Hodgins, D., & Lehman, L. (2014). Are Children with Autism More Responsive to Animated Characters? A Study of Interactions with Humans and Human-Controlled Avatars. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(10), 2475-2485.

In this article, the authors used four conditions to observe and compare the responsiveness of twelve children (ages 4 to 8) on the autism spectrum. The authors began by reviewing current literature and theory surrounding the use of Computer-Assisted Technology and responsiveness and engagement for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They noted that current literature and parent feedback seem to indicate that students with autism perform better and make more improvement with interventions that are computer-assisted. This is based on the assumption that non-human interventionists are preferable and do not induce as much anxiety. They also noted the increase in the creation of Computer-Based Interventions (CBIs) in recent years but also pointed out that research actually comparing student performance with CBIs to human interventions was limited. Carter and the research team described the specifics of their study and how the children’s interactions would be observed with a human interventionist, an avatar from the game Turtle Talk with Crush, cartoon characters from Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer, and a human actor imitating the avatar from the game. They evaluated attention as well as gestural and verbal responsiveness in each of these four conditions. Their results demonstrated that the children had the most responsiveness with the human therapist, mid-level responsiveness with the avatar and the human actor, and the poorest responses with the cartoon characters. The researchers also discovered that attention levels were consistent through all four conditions. Their discussion reviewed possible limitations such as small sample size and also indicated connections to theoretical questions in this area.

Carter and the other authors demonstrated a clear need for their research questions in their literature review. They discussed the assumptions of previous research that CBIs would create improved social and communicative responses for students on the autism spectrum due mainly to their non-human characteristic. They also discussed the large increase in development of CBIs in recent years. They built off of these citations to demonstrate that although this is a particular intervention for students with autism that has been seeing a lot of growth, research actually comparing response to CBIs with human intervention is lacking. The authors also provided an in-depth description of each of their conditions, which provided clarity on the specific setting for each condition, how they were all modeled to be similar to the game/avatar, and how they worked to elicit responses from the children. This is beneficial for future replication of studies and generalization purposes.

This article connects to my current research interests because it addressed the topic of a specific type of assistive technology: Computer-Based Interventions. Other research details the beneficial uses of avatars to increase communicative patterns and social responses and I was interested to see if avatar use had similar effects for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Also, student engagement with assistive technologies is an area of research that specifically interests me. I have the assumption that CBIs would increase engagement for students on the spectrum, but this article’s results demonstrate that to be untrue as the children had similar attention levels in all conditions.

Annotated Bibliography Week 11

Ertmer, P., Richardson, J., Belland, B., Camin, D., Connolly, P., Coulthard, G., Lei, K., Mong, C. (2007). Using Peer Feedback to Enhance the Quality of Student Online Postings: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 12(2), 412-433.

In this article, the authors used a case study analysis as their method for investigating the effects of peer feedback in online classroom discussions. They began by reviewing literature concerning the effects of discussion in general on learning and cited references demonstrating that many classroom discussions trended towards personal information sharing and comparing and lacked critical thinking skills and analysis. The authors also reviewed existing literature surrounding what constitutes quality feedback in general instructional use as well as the use of feedback in online learning. It is noted that quality feedback is a time consuming endeavor so many are evaluating the positive and negative aspects of utilizing peer feedback for online environments. Ertmer and the other members of the research team outlined their research focus which was to investigate the impact of peer feedback on the quality of students’ postings as well as students’ views on the value of giving and receiving peer feedback. The authors outlined the specifics of their mixed-methods study methods and the tools that were use for their case study of graduate level students, which included surveys, interviews, and scoring of students’ discussion postings for level of quality using Bloom’s taxonomy. Their results showed no significant difference in quality of discussion postings from instructor to peer-provided feedback. However, qualitative data showed that students did utilize peer feedback to improve upon their posts. Pertaining to students’ perceptions of the value of peer feedback, results indicated that students still preferred feedback from their instructor. The study also showed that students found the same level of value in giving and receiving feedback. Finally, the authors discussed their findings and possible limitations to their study, including the ideas that only two levels of Bloom’s taxonomy scoring might not have left enough room for growth and that the discussion questions may have encouraged more personal information sharing versus higher-order thinking.

Ertmer and the other authors provided a well-organized literature review that led directly to the need for their study. By outlining the importance of discussion in general and its current inadequacies as well as the importance of feedback and the current challenges for quality, instructor-provided feedback, the researchers demonstrated a clear need for studies evaluating the effectiveness of peer feedback as a possible solution and instructional strategy. The use of a case study allowed the authors to collect in-depth data with detail pertaining to the views of each of the seven participants. Also, the mixed-methods study provided quantitative data concerning scoring and quality level of postings but also qualitative data from interviews that gave more insight to specific perceptions, opinions, and reasoning. These two different types of data helped to bring a clear picture to overall results of the study.

This article connects to my current research interests because it addresses the issues of the time and effort it takes educators to provide students with quality feedback in online learning environments. I’m interested in the use of instructional technology as a means of providing differentiation in the K-12 setting. Sometimes in order for those tools to be implemented effectively, there is an increase in the amount of time expected from and required by the teacher. In order for time to not become a factor that takes away from the effectiveness of those tools in providing differentiation as well as inclusion of collaboration, the implementation of peer-provided feedback for K-12 becomes a consideration. However, the challenges associated with peer provided feedback at the K-12 level may be even greater than post-secondary levels so the findings of this study and the final recommendations provided for implementation could be useful.

Annotated Bibliography Week 10

Leu, D. J., & Forzani, E. (2012). New literacies in a Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, …∞ world. Research in the Schools, 19(1), 75-81.

In this article, the authors share a review of various studies addressing the important aspects of and changes to literacy, mostly within the past decade. They achieve this by discussing findings related to the changes with youths’ Internet and social media practices and the implications for this within the school setting. They also make recommendations for how educators can use the findings from previous studies to reengage students in the classroom. They also discuss the need for redefining literacy assessments within the K-12 setting and also altering teacher education programs in order to better equip teachers to utilize multimodal literacies with students. Finally, they discuss the dual levels theory of new literacies and how the two levels (lower case and upper case) interact with one another and help to inform one another.

Leu and Forzani point out the essential need for further discussion of this topic in their introduction as they mention the unique time we live in where literacy is constantly changing in its mediums, uses, and meanings to many people. They also organize their review effectively by first sharing findings pertaining to the ways in which youth use social media and digital spaces in general in contexts outside of school. Then, they connect this to research discussing how these uses of new literacies can inform classroom practices in order to make learning with digital tools authentic and collaborative, especially within the context of English Language Arts. They then connect these findings to studies discussing the potential for teachers to design multimodal units and classroom opportunities if the gap in teachers’ experience with and knowledge of new literacies is bridged with appropriate professional development and teacher education.

This article connects to my current research interests as it discusses the ever-changing nature of digital technologies and literacy. The concept of new literacies and the idea that digital tools can be used together and in multiple ways to collaborate, meet individual goals and interests, and demonstrate learning connects to the use of technology for K-12 differentiation. The expansion of the way students can utilize new literacies within the classroom setting to access learning, experience learning and social collaboration, and demonstrate the learning they’ve achieved would help to meet individual needs and unique skill sets and interests that all students bring to the classroom.

Annotated Bibliography Week 8

Picciano, A., Seaman, J., Shea, P., and Swan, K. Examining the Extent and Nature of Online Learning in American K–12 Education: The Research Initiatives of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Internet and Higher Education, 15: 127–135 (2012).

In this article, the authors further break down and discuss the results of significant studies conducted from 2005-2010 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that surveyed administrators of K-12 public schools in America. The original surveys were conducted with the purpose of evaluating the prevalence of, barriers to, and benefits of online and blended courses in K-12 education. Picciano and the other research team members break down the data concerning when students first took an online or blended course in various districts, the varying levels of importance of reasons necessitating online courses, and barriers impacting online and blended courses. They also evaluate the results from high schools in particular and discuss the advantages of online courses in relation to high school reform and improving the drop out rate. The authors conclude with a presentation of implications and needs going forward such as the opportunities to meet various needs and differentiation for students through options such as credit recovery. They also call for the need of funding and policy reform and careful evaluation of online and blended course offerings to ensure quality and address teacher concerns.

Picciano and the other authors evaluate the data from past studies from multiple lenses. For example, their clear graphs break down the specific size of districts that offer various types of online courses such as credit recovery and Advanced Placement courses. While showing and discussing the popularity of online options such as credit recovery, they also share particular concerns and areas for future research such as the fact the many administrators stress that students participating in online courses require a certain level of maturity and self-direction but that these may be characteristics that many students who need credit recovery courses are lacking. The article also points out the extreme growth in online participation in K-12 schools from 2007 to 2009, even beyond predictions made. They use this growth rate to encourage the continued evaluation of, research of, and improvement of online and blended courses in the future.

This article connects to my current research interests through the benefits of online and blended courses that were rated by administrators. The advantage of being able to meet various student needs was a reason for online courses that was specifically discussed by the authors. This seems to demonstrate that online courses could have specific uses for differentiation, especially at the high school level, that could help to better meet the needs of all students regardless of learning differences.

Annotated Bibliography Week 7

Niess, M., van Zee, E., & Gillow-Wiles, H. (2011). Knowledge growth in teaching mathematics/science with spreadsheets: Moving PCK to TPACK through online professional development. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27(2), 42–52.

Niess, van Zee, and Gillow-Wiles sough to expand upon the TPACK construct by exploring how an online course could impact teachers’ levels within TPACK. These five levels, originally identified by Niess, Sadri, and Lee in 2007, are: recognizing, accepting, adapting, exploring, and advancing.  In this specific study, the authors studied how an online course focused on implementing spreadsheets as a teaching tool in math and science would impact teachers’ beliefs and placement within those levels. They found that the participants all appreciated what they had learned about spreadsheets and found it valuable for considering the use of spreadsheets as an instructional tool, but many of the teachers fell into various TPACK levels concerning the actual use of these tools within the math and science classroom. Four of the teachers were identified as being at the higher levels of TPACK at the conclusion of the course, while the other eight were placed at the accepting level.

The authors created a detailed case study to explore their multiple research questions concerning the impact of the online course on teachers’ TPACK levels. Their data collection plan was in-depth and included various elements such as pre-survey evaluating self-efficacy and TPACK, a pre-observation of the teachers’ math and/or science instruction, assignments completed throughout the course, transcripts of course discussions, and transcripts of a detailed interview that was conducted after the conclusion of the course. Cross-analysis of observation data was done as well as cross-analysis of binder collections of data collection on the individual participants. The researchers also provide detailed descriptions of the five TPACK levels and share specific quotes from teacher interviews demonstrating their beliefs and where that would place them in the TPACK levels. Finally, the article discusses various implications and recommendations such as the need for expanded opportunities for teachers to not only learn about new technologies but also to practice implementation of them in order to develop and strengthen TPACK.

This study connects to my current research interests mainly due to its implications and recommendations. My interests fall into the areas of assistive technology and differentiation with instructional technology and although it has many complexities, I like the basic constructs behind TPACK. I think that technologies used for differentiation need to have pedagogy and content intertwined in order for greater chance of success and effectiveness for both instructors and students. In some aspects, an even greater consideration needs to be given to pedagogical strategies and scaffolding for differentiation purposes. The authors’ suggestions that professional development and practical opportunities need to be greatly expanded really resonated with me.

Annotated Bibliography Week 6- 2

Shelton, C.C., Warren, A.E. & Archambault, L.M. Exploring the Use of Interactive Digital Storytelling Video: Promoting Student Engagement and Learning in a University Hybrid Course. TechTrends 60, 465–474 (2016).

In this article, Shelton, Warren, and Archambault discuss the purpose, methods, results, and limitations of their study concerning the use of interactive digital storytelling in a hybrid course for preservice teachers. Their study looked at student experiences with interactive digital storytelling as the main source of online instruction for a hybrid course. The authors begin with a brief literature review focusing on the popularity and pedagogical benefits of digital storytelling. They also share a need for their research by stating that previous research on the use of digital storytelling for learning has been primarily focused on K-12 student created videos while their study focused on instructor-created videos. Next, some background information is shared concerning interactive videos including the features that interactive videos may include (based on previous studies) as well as the gaps that remain in current literature (such as the need for more longitudinal research). The authors discuss the mixed methods used in their survey research design, discuss possible limitations, share their findings based on categorized results, and discuss implications for the future.

Shelton, Warren, and Archambault lay out a clear and specific need for their research. By sharing the gaps in previous literature, especially with instructor-created video content for hybrid learning and a study that looks at more than one “snapshot” of effects, they demonstrate the importance of their study. They also point out a practical, field-based need for their research by stating that “flipped” content that creates true engagement and accountability is a current and serious need for online and blended learning. In order to compare conventional digital storytelling and interactive video, they incorporated various tools in their mixed-methods study in order to best fit and measure their three different research questions: two of which were based on student perceptions/experiences and one that was based on actual learning gains. The authors also openly address challenges related to their study such as usability and technology issues and they share solutions for these issues that they actually implemented later on, such as an in-class demonstration and tutorial for the online program.

This article connects to my current research interest in differentiation and assistive technology because it focuses on how interactive features in flipped video content might increase student engagement, accountability, and learning gains. When using technology to supplement, support, or deliver instruction for students with diverse learning needs, the technology needs to be engaging and able to offer scaffolded support for students in order to be a sustainable tool that students will be self-motivated to use. Although perceptions on increased accountability with the interactive videos were divided and quiz results showing learning gains couldn’t be directly correlated to the interactive videos, this study still showed some promising benefits for student engagement and scaffolding.

Annotated Bibliography Week 6- 1

Hung, C. M., Hwang, G. J., & Huang, I. (2012). A Project-based digital storytelling approach to improving students’ learning motivation, problem-solving competence and learning achievement. Educational Technology & Society, 15(4), 368–379.

In this article, Hung, Hwang, and Huang share the findings of their quasi-study that combined the use of project-based learning (PBL) with digital storytelling. The authors begin with a review of literature showing the effectiveness of project-based learning in encouraging self-learning and higher-order thinking skills, and they also discuss some of the previous challenges with practicality and implementation. The use of technology-integrated PBL is also briefly discussed from the viewpoint that it has helped to solve some of the challenges associated with implementation. From there, the article reviews the importance of digital storytelling and shares some of its benefits found in previous literature. Next, the authors discuss the design and specifics of their study which was conducted with fifth-grade science students. They used tools such as a science learning motivation scale, a problem-solving competence scale, a science achievement test, and individual student interviews to measure if the combined use of PBL and digital storytelling would improve students’ learning motivation, problem solving competence, and learning achievement in science courses. Finally, the authors share that they found positive associations between all of these factors and the PBL with digital storytelling. They found that the PBL engaged learners and increased achievement while the digital storytelling helped to motivate the students and increase interest. Hung, Hwang, and Huang conclude with a discussion of their study’s limitations, including that generalization to another course content may be challenging.

The authors give a thorough review of previous literature concerning PBL as well as digital storytelling. They also setup an evident need for their research by pointing out the continued challenged with implementing PBL in an effective way. The research questions are clearly defined and the researchers describe their participants, the differences between their control and experimental groups, the use of each of their tools, and the specific learning activities that were conducted with sufficient detail for replication. Their experimental results are shared in a clear and meaningful way with the use of tables and description. Finally, the authors discuss the importance of their positive findings that PBL and digital storytelling can be used to motivate and engage students as well as encourage higher-order thinking and improve learning achievement. They also give an honest discussion of possible limitations and directions that future research may take, such as replications with more flexible digital storytelling software and the learning performance of students with different cognitive profiles and learning styles.

I find this study applicable to my current research interests because of the focus on increasing student motivation, engagement, and critical thinking with use of digital media. My research interests include the use of instructional technology to increase differentiation options across the classroom, and I think that student engagement plays a significant role in the effectiveness of this. If more options for learning differentiation are offered via technology, the options need to be effective options that students will be motivated to participate in and further their learning. I think digital video is an important option to consider and I would be interested in replications of this study that included learners with various needs as the authors suggested.

EDU 800 Annotated Bibliography Week 5

Kuiper, E., Volman, M., & Terwel, J. (2005). The Web as an information resource in K–12 education: Strategies for supporting students in searching and processing information. Review of Educational Research, 75, 285–328.

Kuiper, Volman, and Terwel discuss that although the use of the Web in K-12 learning environments continues to increase, the Web itself doesn’t actually support learning very effectively on its own. Throughout the article, they share findings of studies that demonstrate how students’ are most often using search strategies. They also include a review of literature, mainly from 1997-2003, that discusses the interface of the Web and how that affects its uses in K-12 education. For example, the factor that search engines don’t accept natural language and the pre-selection of websites for children are topics that the authors believe should be addressed.

The authors cover their topic well through a review of both empirical studies and theoretical literature. They even categorize studies into those that evaluated the effects of student characteristics, such as prior knowledge, gender, and age differences, on student search skills and Web usage. Kuiper, Volman, and Terwel highlight the overall trend that students preferred to browse and often struggled with the proper use of keywords and evaluating if sites were reliable and relevant. They covered the age range of available research well (upper elementary through secondary). Finally, the authors discussed various characteristics of the Web in categories as well (such as scope, accessibility, and visual character) and share implications of how this can relate to student use of the internet and how K-12 education might support students in further effective use of the Web.

Although this article was written in 2005, it still offers valuable insight and applications into internet use in K-12 education today. From my professional observations in 6-8 education, many of the student characteristics and they ways in which they access the internet for information continue to ring true. My specific research interests are in the area of assisitive technology and the use of technology for differentiation and this article specifically points out the lack of research in the area of students with special needs and internet use. This may have, and seems to, have been improved upon in the last decade or so, but I think it is still an area that needs further research. The internet provides many useful resources and tools for all students and stakeholders should continue to work together to find ways to better equip students with the strategies they need to access these resources.

EDU 800 Annotated Bibliography Week 4

Ross, S., Morrison, G., Lowther, D. (2010). Educational technology research past and present: Balancing rigor and relevance to impact school learningContemporary Educational Technology, 1(1), 17-25.

In this article, the authors discuss the importance of shifting the focus of research in educational technology as the use of technology in K-12 education continues to grow. They advocate for this shift to lean away from proving the effectiveness of technology and towards using rigorous mixed-method studies to build stronger relevance between educational research and the classroom contexts that utilize technology for assisting the learning process. Ross, Morrison, and Lowther share some of their concerns on current and past educational technology research and offer three domains that researchers should focus on in the future. They also review historic trends and topics in educational technology research and delve into their suggestions that in order for research to be truly rigorous and relevant it should balance external and internal validity and deal with meaningful topics connected to teaching and learning in modern classrooms.

Ross, Morrison, and Lowther offer an encompassing view of historical educational technology research trends in an efficient manner. Their main focus is to share how research can be more rigorous and relevant moving forward in order to “…help solve real-world education problems…” and they maintain that direction throughout the article (Ross et al., 2010, p.24). The brief review of past trends, such as the media comparison debate, helps the reader to understand areas where past research may have been lacking and how this can be improved upon. In their discussion of balancing internal and external validity, the authors discuss a few research designs (experimental, true experiments, quasi-experiments, and mixed methods) and offer potential strengths and weaknesses of each. They demonstrate a preference for mixed method designs without seeming biased and share some specific mixed method studies that were found to be truly impactful in K-12 education. They also support their article with some quantitative analysis of what kinds of educational technology research has been published within various time periods in past years.

I find this article to be applicable to my research interests because of the author’s attention to research that will actually help to solve problems within the K-12 school setting. As I’m starting to see that my research interests fall into the categories of “questions about technology implementation” and “questions about the effectiveness of an intervention”, these seem to be areas where relevancy will be extremely important. I also appreciate the concerns the authors raised concerning growing publication of qualitative studies and their worries about rigor. I used to lean toward the use of qualitative methods in my personal research interests but Ross, Morrison, and Lowther’s article gave me new perspective. Also, I found the domains they suggested for future studies to be relevant to my interests as I think the use of assistive technology within the K-12 classroom setting fits into the domain of technology as a learning tool.

Citation for Extra Article- Kale, U., & Akcaoglu, M. (2018). The role of relevance in future teachers’ utility value and interest toward technology. Educational Technology Research and Development, 66(2), 283-311.

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