CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

E-Learning for Advanced Learners in Multi-Ability Classrooms

Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Helen St. Aubin

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Abstract

The study questions: How can heterogeneous, technology-rich, classrooms support successful advanced or enriched e-learning experiences for teachers and gifted learners? Advanced learners in multi-ability classrooms are not afforded the opportunities to experience enriched or accelerated learning based on their individual needs due to the nature of traditional classroom instruction and management. Consequently, because instruction is targeted at the average learner, advanced students do not reach their full potential and do not show progress consistent with their ability. In light of No Child Left Behind, school reform initiatives, and standards-based learning, all children should have the opportunity to excel to their fullest potential. Differentiating for all students is an expectation of 21 51 century schools and heterogeneous classrooms. Technology is a largely untapped resource for reforming and restructuring instructional activities within the classroom. Strategies used with the gifted population as well as differentiation processes that help all students learn were used in an e-learning environment. Teachers were surveyed to establish current use and then provided with professional development for using e-learning technologies with their advanced learners. Advanced learners used e-learning to support individualized instruction. Teachers and students took part in three individual interviews as the e-learning modules were experienced in the classroom. They discussed the entire experience in a facilitated focus group at the end of the research process.

Teachers learned how to manage e-learning activities to provide alternative instruction with advanced learners in their classrooms. Advanced learners experienced an independent method for learning that provided opportunities for enriched and advanced learning within heterogeneous classroom settings.

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