Time to Survey

Lavin, A. M., Korte, L., & Davies, T. L. (2011). The impact of classroom technology on student behavior. Journal of Technology Research, 2, 1–13. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=57522954&site=eds-live

Technology plays a big role in our lives today. However, the amount of technology we use in our everyday life does not always translate into the amount used in education. At any level, one can find classes that use technology effectively and extensively and classes that do not utilize technology at all. The more technology has become a tool in education, the more important it becomes to understand all the aspects it impacts.

Student behaviors can alter depending on what resources they are using. “The Impact of Classroom Technology on Student Behavior” tries to understand the impact technology has on specific student behaviors. A couple examples are:

  • The level of preparedness for each class.
  • The quality of notes taken.
  • The level of participation in class discussions.

The authors surveyed 700 students, of which 557 were returned and usable. The survey was distributed to students in all levels of business classes at a Mid-western university. “Both versions of the survey used the following five point scale to collect student opinions: “1” was significantly positive, ‘2’ was somewhat positive, ‘3’ was no difference, ‘4’ was somewhat negative, and ‘5’ was significantly negative”(Lavin, Korte, & Davies, 2011, p.4). In order to determine if there were significant effects, the answers were compared to the “neutral”, which is 3. Means above 3 showed a negative impact and means below 3 showed positive impact. The questions were specific for two groups of students, but the way the questions were approached was different. The first group of students came from classes where the professors identified a moderate to extensive use of technology, while the second group of students had professors who indicated that no technology was used.  For the group in classes with technology they were asked how an absence of technology would affect each behavior. For the group in classes without technology they were asked how the addition of technology would impact each behavior.  Overall, the results of the survey showed technology had a positive impact on student behaviors (Lavin et al., 2011).

The most important impact this article has to the field is that it gives researchers a starting point. As with most of the research I have read, it tends to develop more questions than answers. As the researchers pointed out, this is just a first step. There needs to be further studies that include a larger base of students and studies that focus on what technology has the greatest impact on learning. To make the article a little easier to read, especially in the results section, I would have broken it down into sections based on each group, rather than trying to address both at the same time. It made the conclusion a little difficult to track. The authors discussed a few theories and nicely connected them to other literature, but until I got to the “Current Study” section, I wasn’t sure what the focus of the research was. I didn’t feel the discussion of other theories was necessary to discussing the current study. The authors included their data in table format, which I found helpful since the discussion of the results was difficult to track. Additionally, since I plan on including surveys in my work, this gives me a good idea of how to approach. I was surprised to find a few grammatical errors, but they were minor and the meaning of the sections was not lost.

I was expecting the results to be a little different than they were. There were a few areas the group with technology said would improve without technology. This wasn’t a result I would have guessed, however, it also brought additional questions to mind. For instance, the group with technology indicated that the absence of technology “would have a positive impact…on the amount of time they study for class each day” (Lavin et al., 2011, p.5). Had I been the one doing the survey, I would have done a follow-up survey to clarify their reasons. Would they study less because of the amount of notes they would have to take in class or would they study less because without technology they have no distractions? Or, do would they study less because they have fewer materials to look at? In my own research I could do follow-up surveys as needed or I can provide a comments section under each question in which the respondent would be able to clarify their answer. Although, this would complicate the mathematics, as it is difficult to put a value on answers that could vary from person to person. One insight I had while I read through the tables showing the data is that I need to build my mathematical knowledge. There were some sections I vaguely recognize, but I am unsure as how to use them now and there were some that were totally foreign to me. So, either I need to increase my math skills or find a partner who already possesses such skills and will help me.

A survey I would like to do within my community would be how technology affects student achievement from multiple views: the teachers, the administrators, the parents and the students. I would like to address if they feel technology affects their achievement and how, meaning it helps them learn quicker, deeper or if it makes learning more difficult. In the study by Lavin, Korte and Davies they ask specially about how technology affects the students behaviors (Lavin et al., 2011). I would like to address that, but in addition look at if the responders feel there is a specific technology that allows them a deeper understanding of the content. One thing I will have to consider is the number of surveys (one large survey or multiple smaller surveys) and what will be more reliable.

This study brings focus onto the community and gives them a voice. If students feel their opinion matters, they are likely to be more motivated. I think that the surveys in my research will hold valuable information and will play a big role in my research. Teachers do not need to add technology in for the sake of technology. Teachers need to add technology in because it gives the students a deeper understanding for the concept. I suspect that student achievement is impacted by technology when it requires the student to take charge of their learning.