EdTechMA Cohort #3


Julia Wong Christian Cevallos Dawn Herbert Sandra Caesar
Brianna Marchand Karob Hedges Diana Ta Sergio Millan
Matthew E. Getze Steve Ignacio Etan Kelman Wes Williams
Amber N. Kaiser Kierstyn Olson Janice Nardella Kenneth Bernas
Amie Hull Marla Mains Donley Karineh M Masihi
Javier A. Sanchez Connie G. Choi Kimberly Gooze

Ed Tech MA Abstracts and images:

Web 2.0 Tools for the Classroom: Customizing Blog Themes for Additional Pedagogically Driven Functionality
Julia Wong

There can be little argument that computers and Internet access is ubiquitous today. Most homes have at least one computer, and most families have at least one source of Internet access. The prevalence of social networking is a testament to the Internet’s ubiquity in students’ lives. Teachers are poised to tap into the technology as a resource to enhance students’ education. However, there are many who do not have the technological foundation to take advantage of most of the existing and emerging Web 2.0 technologies. In this development project, I created pedagogically driven WordPress theme allowing teachers to more easily customize a blog for classroom use. Specifically, I created a theme where comments are hidden from readers until they are logged in and have submitted a comment to the blog post.

Fusing Web Technologies with Literature to Increase Literacy Among Struggling Readers
Brianna Marchand

Student literacy has become a greater focus in the classroom. While schools work to improve test scores, some students are still left behind and the literacy gap among students in a classroom widens. This development project was an attempt to provide support for the use of web technologies as a resource to promote literacy levels among struggling readers. Mirroring the curriculum of the second semester of ninth grade English, English IB, I constructed a website to function as a companion piece to the English class. The topics in the website were in the same chronological order as the assigned curriculum. Therefore, the independent study school students using the website could easily use the website as they work though each unit of English IB. Five case study students were selected to pilot the website based on their low test scores in Reading. While the limited sample size made correlation data analysis difficult, the small sample made it easy to get individual student feedback and interaction. For the most part, students thought the website was helpful. Test scores increased a little for most students between what they earned last semester in English IA and what they earned this semester in English IB, but though student interviews, I learned that while their overall grade may not reflect it, a lot of the students felt they learned a lot via the website.


Second Language Acquisition Pedagogy and Learning with Computer-Mediated Communications
Matthew E. Getze

In the Communicative Approach to foreign language learning, the most effective way to learn a foreign or second language involves face-to-face interaction. Computer-mediated communications (CMC) technologies such as discussion boards and podcasting offer a way for foreign language students to interact with each other. However, students have a bias towards inperson, face-to-face interaction to learn a foreign language. Students do not think that using CMC technology to learn a foreign language is as effective in learning foreign languages. Additionally, research on using CMC to aid foreign language learning is scarce. My research examines foreign language writing, reading, and oral development in conjunction with student bias towards using discussion boards and podcasts, as auxiliary aids, to learn Japanese at the university level. I used classroom observation over the course of a semester and data collection instruments—surveys and interviews—to gather student perceptions of the effectiveness of using CMC technologies to learn a foreign language. Results were mixed. Most students did not have a negative view of discussion boards and podcasts as originally hypothesized. Most students viewed discussion boards and podcasts either neutrally or favorably.


Grading Efficiency: By Hand versus Online Technology
Amber N. Kaiser

Grading has been defined as the process of calculating or measuring a student’s work and assigning a letter grade (Smith, 2008). Smith would also argue that grading is an evaluation of students’ efforts, answering questions, commenting on partial and/or completed effort. By and far the most time consuming task educators face. Can online technology be the tool to help save some of that time? An hour a week? Five hours? And is it beneficial and effective? These are the questions I propose researching in my study. The literature indicates that time saving and best practices are widely used by teachers and teaching communities. What the research is still lacking is the amount of time saved, which is where I will focus. The emergence of technology may be a significant factor in answering the question, especially with the growing number of Distance Learning, online classes, and Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). Can this transfer to the classroom?

Field Trips and Virtual Field Trips
Amie Hull

A Virtual Field Trip (VFT) is a self-guided exploration through a website that takes students on a journey through museums, parks, zoos, countries, laboratories, and more.   An Internet connection and an imagination is all that is required to embark on a virtual adventure.  VFTs may provide an inexpensive solution to traditional field trips that engage students outside the classroom allowing them to explore and experiment a given topic in a more hands-on setting.  In a growing economically stressful environment, VFTs may be supplemented for actual field trips while serving the same purpose: to provide students with an interactive, fun learning environment unique to the traditional classroom setting.  Field trips and VFTs are a vital part of students’ education and learning process that require educators to integrate into their curriculums.  The purpose of this research study is to compare the advantages and disadvantages of virtual and actual field trips including their educational impact on subjected students. In this study, students were exposed to a VFT for the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California using the online content at www.reaganfoundation.org.  For the VFT, the students viewed a guided tour of the library; and explored activities on the website including a timeline and independent navigation.  A sample of students also participated in an actual self-guided tour of the Library where they could explore firsthand such attractions as Air Force One, a replica of the Oval Office, and an actual piece of the Berlin Wall.  Several of these students participated in both events.


Javier A. Sanchez

The purpose of this study was to examine the development of a multimedia podcast and increasing on-task behavior to engage students in the learning process. Additionally, the study explored whether or not viewing the podcasts under a controlled and filtered browser as opposed to viewing the podcasts on standard web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, had an impact on on-task behavior and on-time assignments. The students involved were 5th graders at an elementary charter school in low-socioeconomic region of Pacoima, California. By reviewing the raw data files, surveys, and completed podcasts of the 5th grade group of students selected in 2011 at Pacoima Charter School, this study compared the following data for each participant in the study: the internet browser utilized, the deadlines met for completed podcast assignments, and the student‟s surveys and interviews. It was hypothesized that there would be a significant effect of the choice of viewing the podcasts under a controlled and filtered browser has on the on-task behavior of the students achieved deadline on assignments. This hypothesis was proven right because there was a significant difference in deadline and on-task behavior averages among the students utilizing two different web browsers. Students viewing the podcasts on Kido‟z outperformed students viewing and working on podcasts through internet explorer. In addition, students who reached deadlines and created their own podcasts using Kido‟z outperformed students who did not reach deadlines and merely completed their assignment. Further study needs to be conducted to validate these findings.


Video Self-Modeling Case Studies
Christian Cevallos

Video Self-Modeling (VSM) is a research based instructional intervention strategy documented in the behavioral sciences to address student’s social-communication skills, academic, functional skills, behavioral and play skills. VSM involves students watching video of positive examples of him or herself engaging in a targeted behavior. This case study examined the effectiveness of VSM intervention intended to develop gross motor skills in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Four male high school students enrolled in less-inclusive adapted physical education participated in the study for 4 weeks. The interventionist is a credentialed adapted physical education specialist trained to administer the norm-referenced adapted physical education assessment scale to compare results before and after intervention. VSM methodology is efficacious for visual learners. VSM intervention strategy benefits students with autism as the use of video restricts the field of focus and eliminates environmental factorst hat contribute to student’s undesirable social attention or interaction. Results suggest that VSM is an effective intervention strategy for addressing gross motor delays and play skills for students with autism spectrum disorders.


Technology in Secondary School (Multimedia info for digital natives)
Karob Hedges

This paper examines the effects of computers and technology on secondary children.  It discusses ways to use student interest to prepare them for a future where computer skills are essential.  The review chapter begins with research on the “Net Generation” defined as those who have grown up with technology.  Information and studies of the effects technology has had on the lives and education of these secondary school children is examined and explained.  The next chapter introduces and details the multimedia career website that was created to give students information, links and examples of various job fields and computer programs in the multimedia industry.  In the final chapters of the paper the process of creating the website is discussed.  Screen captures of web pages and explanations of page elements are used to bring the reader into the creation process of the site.  Computer technology is present in most areas of student life today.  It is important to examine the affect technology has on children so that we better understand how to integrate it into their lives without changing what it means to be a child.


Effects of Electronic Learning Aids on Elementary Math Scores and Attitudes
Steve Ignacio

This study investigated whether first grade students who played Math Missions software on Leapfrog Leapster electronic learning aids improved math test scores and developed increased positive attitudes about math compared to students who did not play the games. Participants were 100 first graders from four classes of a suburban elementary school in Southern California. A pre-test and post-test with control group design was used for the study. The experimental group played the math games for 20 minutes once per week in a computer lab for 10 weeks. A 12-item math test developed by the student’s teachers was used along with a 6-item math attitude survey. The math test and attitude survey were administered pre-study and post-study. Results from data analyses indicated that the experimental group’s final math scores showed little difference compared to the control group's. Results from the math attitude survey also showed little difference between the experimental group and control group.

Understanding the Elements and Principles of Art Through an Interactive Website
Kierstyn Olson

Recognizing and using the elements of art is a standard learning requirement for all California secondary art students.  The elements of art include line, shape, color, space, and texture.  In recent years there has been a push in our schools to utilize technology and create art utilizing digital computer media. I created the Recipe4art.com website to help students familiarize themselves with the principles of art.  Due to the lack of interactive websites on this subject, I felt that the Recipe4art.com website would give students an interactive educational experience to better learn the elements of art.  The website, created in Adobe Flash, gives students visual, animated examples of how the elements are used in art.  Recipe4art.com also has an interactive element that will interest the student and motivate them to learn these principles in art. To determine the effectiveness of my website I conducted several tests and interviews on students.



Online Student Learning and Collaboration
Marla Mains Donley

The field of online collaboration using open source programs  such as Google is in its infancy.  Research on students and teachers using online collaboration is lacking.  This paper summarizes the data collected from students who worked collaboratively online using Google Sites, Documents, Forms, and Blogger, and students that worked in a traditional collaborative group setting.  Both groups created a presentation that would reteach the Algebra 2 standards that would be assessed on the midterm.  The study examined data from four different Algebra 2 classrooms.  A control group of two classrooms and a treatment group of two classrooms.  The results showed that students who collaborated online produced a better presentation than their counterparts that did not collaborate online.  However, the study was inconclusive as  to achievement on common  assessments and as to student learning gains and understanding of Algebra 2.  Implications for teachers gleaned from the research are that students should be allowed to collaborate online when working on group projects.

Using Music to Teach American History
Connie G. Choi

The greatest challenge to teaching history is connecting students to the content with relevance. Music as an educational tool to hook students‘ interest as well as teach historical content is an invaluable tool more teachers need to consider. This action research focused on the effect of teaching history with music on student understanding and the classroom environment. The subjects of the study consisted of two periods of 8th grade social studies class, one assigned as the treatment group and other as the control group. The research was divided into two parts: part I) where period 4 was assigned as the treatment group and period 3 as the control group and part 2) where the groups were switched around and period 3 became the treatment group and period 4 as the control group. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from each part of the study and a comparison was made between the group‘s pre and post-test as well as the treatment group versus the control group from both parts of the study. The results did not prove conclusively that music had helped them increase their knowledge of history, but it reflected a favorable response by the students in that the music helped them to engage in the lesson and it created a positive classroom environment.



Current Action Research Paper – Four-Fold Way in Algebra
Dawn Herbert

There are many students that struggle with the typical lecture, notes, homework classroom structure that teaching Algebra needs to change. One change could be institute teaching Algebra with the Four-Fold Way. The purpose for this research paper is to verify that the Four-Fold Way will help students learn and achieve more in an Algebra 1 course. This work would be important for any educator, especially an Algebra educator. The Four-Fold Way could improve students understanding and achieving Algebra 1 standards. The Four-Fold Way would help students improve their articulation of Algebra concepts. If students show improvement in an Algebra 1 course using the Four-Fold Way, then the Four-Fold Way should be used in other Math curriculum. The Four-Fold Way could be the answer for so many struggling math students. This study took place during the second semester of the 2010-2011 school year, beginning in mid-January and ending in the end of May. Students in both periods of Algebra C classes will take part in the same Algebra C curriculum. Each period will receive direct instruction and textbook practice, but only period 2 will receive the Four-Fold Way worksheet as shown in Appendix E. Period 7 will continue with traditional Algebra classroom: additional notes, additional class work (worksheets), whiteboard activities, and redoing homework assignments. Quantitative data, taken via standardized content driven assessments, was collected on five separate occasions. Period 2 Algebra C classes improved after the first initial Four-Fold Way activities. Period 2 improved with correctly solving quadratic equations with the Quadratic Formula by 36%. Period 2 improved graphing quadratic equations by 148%. After the Quadratic Formula post-test period 2 decreased by 55%. After the graphing post-test period 2 increased an additional 12%. Period 7 Algebra C classes improved after the completing notes, class work activities, and homework. Period 7 improved with correctly solving quadratic equations with the Quadratic Formula by 48%. Period 7 improved graphing quadratic equations by 208%. After the Quadratic Formula and Graphing post-test period 7 also showed a decrease of 55%. After the graphing post-test period 7 increased additional 114%. Both periods should an overall increase in their graphing concepts and skills, while showing a decrease in calculating x-intercepts and Quadratic Formula. This research paper has a few very interesting conclusions. Both periods showed improvement with the writing component of the Four-Fold Way, while showing decrease in the symbol component of the Four-Fold Way. Having students write about graphing and label graphs is key to the consistent increase of scores for both periods. Students’ scores, with regards to the Quadratic Formula, fell by a high percentage. This could have been because they may have been focusing more on graphing and using MS Excel.


Do Audience Response Systems (“Clickers”) Improve Learning in High School History?
Diana Ta

Audience Response Systems were used a high school history class to see if there were increases in student test scores, student participation and student perception of learning. One class acted as the control group (N=25). The control group took all exams and weekly quizzes by a traditional paper or Scantron and pencil format. Another class took all exams the same way except with the use of Audience Response Systems or “clickers” on weekly quizzes. This group was the treatment group (N=30). Both groups took the same pre-test on Scantrons. The exam with the same questions was given to both classes as a post-test. Pre-test and post-test differences, weekly quiz scores and two unit exam scores measured student learning. The number of students who completed at least three of the five quiz questions measured student participation. Student perception of learning was reported by student surveys. The research found no significant increase of students learning measured by test scores. However, student participation and student perception of learning as reported by the student increased.


Collaborative Learning in the Cloud
Etan Kelman

Students are taught to perform well in school on an individual basis and educators evaluate their students based on others’ performance. Yet, in the professional world, rarely are people successful without the help of others. The benefits of collaboration are clear – two heads are better than one. Imagine an entire class. Collaboration is essential to being successful. We must allow students to collaborate. In addition, we live in an increasingly digital world and students today live a digital life. Students learn and behave differently today and educators need to use different means of grabbing student interest. In order for students to be the most successful, educators must utilize students’ interest and expertise in collaborating in their learning process. I researched the impact that collaborating over the Internet (the cloud) has on students understanding, achievement, and interest in their learning. Their performance, interest, and understanding were assessed through classroom observation, surveys, and interviews. The result is that students like using technology but do not really know how to collaborate. They review for tests over the Internet but when it comes to assignments they do what they need to do and what is expected of them. They do not help each other improve or help be more successful. Using technology to gain students interest and use a media they enjoy is useful and preferential to the old methods of education. However, students must be taught how to collaborate effectively in order to be successful after their education ends.


Sign to Learn – A Master’s Development Project
Janice Nardella

Learning American Sign Language as a child has been shown to have great benefits. Children who know American Sign Language have shown increased vocabulary and potentially higher IQ’s than children who are unfamiliar with American Sign Language. The goal of my project was to create a multimedia application that allowed people to practice the American Sign Language alphabet and test their knowledge using my Sign to Learn quiz game. I wanted to discover if people can learn sign language from a computer application. American Sign Language is an interactive language that usually requires face to face contact for communication, but through my development project I have established many people can learn sign language from a computer application. In order to conclusively state people can learn sign language from a computer application, it would be essential to have a vastly larger test sample and pre and post tests to determine if there were improvements from practicing American Sign Language with a computer application.


Effect of Illustrations In Children’s Reading Books & The Negation of Mental Imagery
Karineh M Masihi

The purpose of this experiment was to investigate the effects of illustrations in children’s story on mental imagery and specifically if it negated imagery. During two weeks in November 2010, in a causal–comparative research, fifty-eight comparable groups of 6 – 8th grade students were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: picture and no-picture group. After receiving instructional steps, subjects read a narrative story with or without picture and drew an illustration of the story immediately followed by a post-questionnaire. This was an open ended hypothesis that any statistically significant score that demonstrated similarities of the student drawing to the accompanying picture would suggest that students were affected by the picture in the story and therefore not need to imagine. Analysis using two sample t-test revealed that the difference between the mean of the two groups were not statistically significant for the effect of illustrations on imagination and statistically not significant for negation of imagery. There is a great potential for deeper understanding of mental imagery in this research and a future research is recommended at a much larger scale, with an illustrated story that is not too familiar and with a much more stringent environment eliminating the possibility of the no-picture group subjects having accidental access to the picture group folder.


Using the WebQuest to enhance art instruction
By, Kimberly Gooze

The WebQuest is a teaching tool that utilizes the following three teaching strategies: online learning, cooperative learning, and problem-based learning. A study was conducted in an Art classroom to determine how students responded to these different teaching strategies. Survey results indicate that students liked all three strategies. However, the data shows that online and collaborative learning experiences should be closely monitored by the teacher. Student survey results indicate that students found the problem-based learning activity the most enjoyable part of the assignment. All educators should consider using problem-based learning assignments in their classrooms. These assignments are relevant to students and encourage them to utilize their critical thinking skills.


The Effect of Tablet PCs in the Middle School Math Classroom
Wes Williams

Tablet computers have become increasingly popular in society and in the classroom thanks to the iPad. As schools look into adopting one to one tablet or laptop programs in middle and high school, more research needs to be done to justify the cost of a one to one program. Research has shown that the tablets have a positive effect in the collegiate classroom (Fisher and McCarthy 2007). Performance increased by 16% at Murray State according to a study by Fisher and McCarthy. However, little research has been done on the effects of tablet computers on middle school students, much less on a middle school math classroom. This paper looks at qualitative and quantitative data to show that tablets have a positive, but not quite statistically significant effect on the middle school math classroom. The effect of classroom management software is also examined.


Is Drupal Accessible?
Sandra Caesar

Drupal is an open source, free online application that allows people to add content to a webpage  without having to know HTML or CSS. Usually to create a web page, the person adding content  to the page needs to know a moderate amount of HTML and CSS. Drupal is a popular  application that has been used by many organizations around the world to share their web  content. Some corporations that use Drupal are AT&T, Mattel.com, and McDonalds Australia.  Duke University and Stanford also chose to use Drupal as their content management system.  Drupal may be the answer to sharing content on the web accessibly. Being an accessible site  means that the pages are structured so that more devices can properly interact with the web  pages. At California State University, Northridge, there is an Accessible Technology Initiative  which encourages faculty and staff to create accessible materials. Accessibility online is  important for all users because it provides a way for people to access information on the web  regardless of their ability. This means people who use assistive technology will be able to  navigate the website and be able to access all of the information. Many educators do not create  their own web pages and post their material to the web because they do not have the skill needed  to do so. Drupal may be a solution for everyone from non-technical to advance.


Can a teacher website and the internet help close the achievement gap?
Sergio Millan

This study has come about after reflecting on the role of technology the classroom.  The computer and the internet have opened the door to innovative pedagogy that integrates the use of technologies like websites, wikis, blogs, and other dynamic and interactive digital tools that exist today.  Unfortunately, like with anything that comes anew, some students will lack the novelty.  This study looks at the educational impact that a teacher website can have on a 5th grade classroom and how access to computers and the internet may help students’ academic achievement in math.  The study examines the impact of students that have access to a computer and internet at home versus the ones that don’t.  I hypothesized that the students that had the technology at home would do better than the ones that did not.  Being that I was in a 5th grade elementary classroom, I thought that measuring the effect in all the subjects would be too difficult to measure so I decided to focus on one subject, mathematics.  The treatment group, who had the technology at home, was asked and encouraged to access the teacher website at home during homework time to review the days lesson and visit additional educational links. How much could a teacher website contribute to learning gains.  The control group just used their workbook and notes taken in the classroom.


Comparing Heart Rate During High Tech Physical Education Activities as Compared to a Traditional Physical Education Activities
Kenneth Bernas

Technology has worked its way into almost every aspect of our lives, so it is not a surprise that  when you walk into some physical education classes you will see active video games and  technology at use. Studies show that there are benefits to active video games when compared to  stationary games.  When active games were compared to weekly physical activity as  recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine, they only met minimum  requirements.  This study is the first to compare traditional physical education activities to those  of a high tech physical education program. This study compared the average heart rate for 28  seventh grade middle school students using Polar heart rate monitors during physical education  class.  The data showed a significant difference in the average heart rate (t(280)=1.97, p<.01),  indicating the high tech P.E. class provided a better high intensity workout. The data also showed  that the traditional physical education program was in or above the target heart rate zone for 56%  of the time during the activities while the high tech students were in or above the target heart rate  zone 93% of the time.

Last modified: Thursday, 19 May 2011, 1:52 PM