Student Responses to Technology Integration in a 7th Grade Literature Unit

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Title: Student Responses to Technology Integration in a 7th Grade Literature Unit
Author: Warren, Thomas Perrine
Advisors: Dr. Candy Beal, Committee Member
Dr. Lori Holcomb, Committee Member
Dr. Carol Pope, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative research study was to investigate student responses to a tech-integrated unit of literature study in a Middle School setting. The research question driving this study was, what are 7th grade student responses to a tech-integrated Language Arts unit of literature study? Through direct observation, student surveys, and teacher interviews, this study reported student responses to a tech-integrated unit of literature study that utilized Beverly Naidoo's young adult novel Journey to Jo'Burg as a centerpiece for instruction. Students in the class which participated in the study completed several tech-integrated activities over a five week unit time-frame that centered on Language Arts instruction at the 7th grade level (a directed online scavenger hunt, undirected online research, document creation in MS Word, a web quest, website development in MS Publisher). Data were reviewed throughout and at the end of the unit, using content-analysis and constant-comparison methods to determine recurring themes. A qualitative research software application was used to code and to arrange data transcribed into e-format by the principal researcher (NVIVO) for thematic discussion in Chapter Four of the thesis. Seven re-occurring themes emerged from the analysis of data: 1) Student Engagement with Tech-Integrated MGLA Curriculum, 2) Teacher Engagement with Tech-Integrated Units of LA Study, 3) Enhancing and Improving Critical Thinking Skills, 4) Evidence of Multiple Intelligences and Knowledge Sub-Domains, 5) English/Language Arts Competencies Development, 6) Student Digital Proficiency Development, and 7) Unit Challenges. Insight gleaned from this broad array of data underscores the importance technology can play in best practice tech-integrated MGLA instruction, and the overall positive response of students to tech-integrated Middle Grades Language Arts curriculum. Lastly, the culminating projects of the students, their Journey to Jo'Burg websites, serve as intriguing visual models for tech-integrated presentation media from the 7th grades age group.
Date: 2006-11-07
Degree: MEd
Discipline: Middle Grades Education

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