Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Transforming a Traditional Science Classroom with Technology-Integrated Project-Based Learning to Meet the Needs of 21st Century Learners
by Miller, Afsaneh, Ed.D., Concordia University Irvine, 2019, 433; 27736395
Abstract (Summary)

This study examined the relationship between administrative support for teacher-led educational innovation in a private school and students' achievement scores on standardized achievement tests in an interrelated planning process to determine the feasibility of the successful use of technology-integrated PBL in science while attempting to mitigate all the challenges involved in the implementation of technology-integrated PBL. Additionally, the researcher looked at the effect of teacher’s attitude and administrative support for the use of technology-integrated PBL in middle school science classrooms on the students' attitude and aptitude, and their levels of academic achievement on the standardized science test (CTP4).

The qualitative portion of this study was conducted using an ethnographic methodology to explore how the implementation of technology-integrated project-based learning could impact a middle school science classroom culture with the assumption that multiple educational theories such as constructivism, situated learning, the theory of change and the theory of learning and awareness impact of the implementation of technology-integrated project-based learning (PBL) in a middle school science classroom.

In developing each unit of study, the researcher considered students' prior knowledge and curriculum standards before selecting the topic of study that served to organize and drive classroom activities. Students worked collaboratively on cross-curricular academic tasks in small groups, producing an artifact as evidence of learning in a designated amount of time (Cheng, Lam, & Chan, 2008). The students then reviewed and evaluated their final product with help from the teacher before presenting their projects to their community of learners. The primary sources of data (Figure 3) collected included classroom researcher observations, structured student and staff surveys, classroom, and standardized science testing assessments (CTP4), classroom artifacts, extensive note-taking, and developed written forms for recording the information gathered (Creswell, 2013).

The results of this research support the findings of Falik, Eylon, and Rosenfeld (2008) that showed despite the high positive impact technology-integrated PBL implementation could have for students, teachers require training and support to overcome their misconceptions and reluctance for implementing technology-integrated PBL in their classroom successfully. This study also confirmed that the students participating in PBL treatments showed significant increases in their Science Standardized Testing Scores on CTP4 during the testing cycle following the implementation of the technology-integrated PBL (2018–2019) as compared to the previous two testing cycles (2016–2017 and 2017–2018).

The researcher utilized triangulation and member checks to analyze and confirm the results of the study based on the data collected. The non-random convenience sampling from a single for-profit school may have generalized form this study population to other populations more difficult. Many variables outside of the researcher’s control such as small class sizes, the level of the technological expertise of the individual teachers and students, the degree of scientific knowledge and ability, availability of technical infrastructure, student aptitude and attitude toward science and school and students' level of English language proficiency could have changed the outcome of the study. Analysis of the study data supported the study’s hypotheses.

Due to the small sample size, the data collected were analyzed using non-parametric inferential statistical test including Spearman’s Rank Correlation (Spearman Rho), Wilcoxon Signed Rank test. Despite the study’s limitations, the overall findings support the use of PBL in science instruction since students in PBL treatment groups experienced significantly more growth in Science Standardized Testing Scores (CTP4) and process skills. Moreover, a significant increase for these students suggested that sustained implementation is desirable. PBL is an effective instructional method in science process skills for this population. The study conclusions provided valuable contributions to the understanding of how the culture in a middle school science classroom culture affected the learning of science. This study’s unconventional approach to collecting educational research data helped to inform efforts for effective means of monitoring the progress of science education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dunnick Karge, Belinda
Commitee: Schulteis, Michael, Randall, John
School: Concordia University Irvine
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Science education, Middle School education, Curriculum development, Educational technology
Keywords: Curriculum development, Middle school, Project-based learning, Science, Technology-integration, Twenty-first century learners
Publication Number: 27736395
ISBN: 9781392868492
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