CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Martha Snyder

Committee Member

Gertrude W Abramson

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Abstract

Strategies have been put into place to affect improvement in science achievement, including the use of Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) in science instruction. IWBs enable rich resources, appropriate pacing, and multimodal presentation of content deemed as best practices. Professional development experiences, use of resources, instructional practices, and changes in professional behavior in science teachers were recorded. Also recorded were differences in the engagement and motivation of students in IWB classrooms versus IWB-free classrooms and observed differences in students' problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration.

Using a mixed-method research design quantitative data were collected to identify achievement levels of the target population on the assumption that all students, regardless of ability, will achieve greater mastery of science content in IWB classrooms. Qualitative data were collected through observations, interviews, videotapes, and a survey to identify how IWBs lead to increased achievement in third grade classrooms and to develop a record of teachers' professional practices, and students' measures of engagement and motivation. Comparative techniques determined whether science instruction is more effective in IWB classroom than in IWB-free classrooms.

The qualitative findings concluded that, compared to science teachers who work in IWB-free settings, elementary science teachers who used IWBs incorporated more resources to accommodate learning objectives and the varied abilities and learning styles of their students. They assessed student understanding more frequently and perceived their classrooms as more collaborative and interactive. Furthermore, they displayed willingness to pursue professional development and employed different engagement strategies. Finally, teachers who used IWBs supported more instances of critical thinking and problem-solving. Quantitative findings concluded that students of all ability levels were more motivated and engaged in IWB classes.

Best practices distilled included combining IWBs with handheld peripherals to maximize assessment; the determination that formal professional development is more effective than peer coaching; that effectively managing an IWB classroom is as vital as learning how to use board itself; and that IWB teachers should be able to modify resources to tailor them for the circumstances of their classroom.

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