Student achievement in and student and teacher attitude towards the integration of technology in the New York State living environment course
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For more than twenty years, considerable amounts of research have been conducted on the integration of technology into the classroom-learning environment and the effect of technology on student achievement. In an attempt to improve the effectiveness of schooling, educators and policymakers are making substantial investments in infrastructure and teacher training to support successful technology implementation and integration in schools.Contemporary research strongly suggests that in order for students to compete globally in the 21st century workplace, pedagogy must be transformed to include the integration of technology into the curriculum. Technology has been linked to improved student learning and achievement when the teacher effectively incorporates innovative teaching strategies into lessons. Since there is an association between teacher attitude and the use of technology in increasing motivation and engagement, it is necessary to examine teacher attitude toward technology as a tool for improving student learning and achievement.This research study conducted in one large suburban school district on Long Island, New York in the United States of America, examines students’ attitudes toward learning with technology and their achievement in the Regents Living Environment science classroom when technology is used as an instructional strategy. The effect of the technology on grade level and were also conducted. An examination of the research study district was conducted because of the sizeable investment both financially and in human resources to implement and integrate technology into the curriculum. Nearly 700 students and 11 teachers participated in the research. A co-educational sample represented a diverse population of students.To obtain quantitative data, a pilot study was conducted with nearly 200 students in April 2010 using a combination of two existing questionnaires, the Pupils’ Attitude Toward Technology – USA (PATT-USA) and one scale – Technology Teaching – from the modified Technology-Rich Outcomes-Focused Learning Environment Inventory (TROFLEI). The researcher embedded district-specific items to make the study more meaningful to the students in this research district. Using the response of students to the PATT-USA and one scale from modified TROFLEI, several items were omitted resulting in 79 items that were administered to almost 700 students across grades 9-12 between May and June of 2010.In turn, these student responses were subject to principal component and principal factor analysis resulting in the deletion of items and the creation of new scales that demonstrated high Cronbach alpha reliabilities. There are statistically significant gender differences in all the scales of the questionnaire. However, only two scales demonstrated significant differences when tested for grade level. This new instrument: Learning Environment Questionnaire - Assessing Students’ Attitude to Technology can be used by future researchers. To supplement and validate quantitative data, qualitative data were collected using the Students’ Reaction Towards Learning Science in a Technology-Supported Classroom interview schedule. To investigate teachers’ views toward technology, the Teachers’ Views of Technology and Teaching Instrument (TVTT) were used.Results indicated that while both students and teachers had positive attitudes and views toward technology integration in the Regents Living Environment classroom, significant increases in achievement were not found over a two-year period. Additionally, the results suggest that there are significant differences toward technology integration based on grade level and gender in favour of grade 12 and males. Information obtained from this research implies that the value of technology integration shows promise in improving learning and achievement, but the ability of achievement based on current standardized assessment and transform technology tools to accommodate differences in grade level and gender have not been attained. Furthermore, implications for educators and policymakers must be in adapting the use of technology into their assessment of achievement to incorporate the preparation of students to learn and achieve in the global society.
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