CCE Theses and Dissertations

Self-Esteem and Intrinsic Motivational Effects of Using a Constructivist and a Behaviorist Approach to Computer Usage in Fifth Grade Hispanic Classrooms

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Elva G. Laurel


An experimental study was conducted with students from four fifth grade classrooms designed to evaluate the non-cognitive effects (self-esteem and intrinsic motivation) of using two different approaches to computer usage with predominantly Hispanic students. The two approaches were broadly categorized as a behaviorist and a constructivist approach. An experimental and a control group of fifth grade students were used to implement the study.

The constructivist experimental group integrated computer technology into the classroom curriculum by using a variety of utility/creativity mind tool software applications and used their computer skills to solve problems, create presentations and research projects. Follow-up activities reflected school-wide thematic units that were aligned with state mandated TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) objectives. The behaviorist control group integrated computer technology into the classroom curriculum by using Integrated Learning System (ILS) courseware that is aligned with state mandated TEKS objectives. The ILS courseware incorporated a management system that evaluated and diagnosed academic needs of students, designed an improvement path for each individual student and placed them at an appropriately challenging academic level within the ILS courseware. Data required for the study was derived from pretest and posttest results from the Culture Free Self-Esteem Inventory (CFSEI) and the Children's Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (CAIMI). Two hypotheses were tested twelve weeks after the two technology approaches to computer usage were implemented. The two hypotheses were tested for a .05 level of significance. The constructivist group showed a significant difference in intrinsic motivation on four of the five subtests over the behaviorist group. They also showed a significant difference in self-esteem over the behaviorist group on the self-esteem academic sub-scale. Included with the results and recommendations is a list of related questions for further study.

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