Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2015

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

Karp, Karen

Committee Member

Brown, Elizabetht Todd

Committee Member

Ronau, Robert

Committee Member

McGatha, Maggie

Committee Member

Landrum, Timothy

Author's Keywords

mathematics; elementary education; tablet technology; fractions

Abstract

Data reported locally and nationally show that students struggle to understand fractional concepts. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an interactive tablet application on student achievement in fractions. Students in grades three through five at the treatment school worked with an interactive tablet application designed to facilitate student construction of fractions knowledge. The interactive tablet application is an open-platform that allowed teachers the autonomy to work with the researcher to load their desired content activities on the topic of fractions to develop instructional sessions for students. Students worked independently during the math workshop to complete ten instructional sessions on fractions using the tablet application. These instructional sessions allowed students to construct responses to help develop better conceptual understanding. Students in the control group completed instructional activities without the use of the technology application. This study used a quasi-experimental design with an untreated control group with dependent pretest and posttest samples. The study used the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) to examine differences in observed teaching and learning environments between the treatment and control groups using a repeated measures one-way analysis of variance. The results of these observations indicated that the learning environments of the treatment and control groups did not differ significantly (p=.262> .05). Thus, narrowing the effects to the differences in treatment. Power was established with six groups (2 classrooms at each of grades three, four and five). A minimum sample size of 162 participants was required to have adequate power with an effect size of .4, alpha level at .05, power at .95, and because this study had 258 participants it met that level. Student knowledge of fractions prior to the treatment was examined with pretests and analyzed using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Posttest scores of students’ fractional knowledge after the treatment (for both treatment and control groups) were also analyzed using an ANCOVA. The results of the pretest analysis established that students’ prior knowledge was a good indicator of their performance on the posttest. Findings on posttest scores between treatment and control revealed that overall in grades three through five, no differences in treatment and control groups were significant (= .140 >.05). Therefore, the treatment, interactive tablet application, had no impact on student proficiency results in fractions concepts. However, when examining interactions in the groups an effect was found significant (=.03< .05) at grade level. A difference in treatment and control groups was observed at the fifth grade level. The treatment effect, interactive tablet technology, did have a statistically significant effect on students’ posttest scores (=.02 < .05).

The results of this study provided an answer to the impacts an interactive tablet application have on student achievement in fractions. The implications of this study may require additional research with more in-depth observations of teacher technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK), student engagement in technology, and the effects of teacher feedback to students. Technology is a rapidly changing field and efforts to determine effective strategies in instruction with technology are a growing research need. This study adds to the current field of knowledge by offering research on an open-platform tablet application and its effects on fraction achievement.

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