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Using Educational Technology in Elementary Math Curriculum. Jennifer Dennis.

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“In 2009, it was estimated that about 12% of America’s high schools have become drop-out factories... (Therefore,) developing new measures for good teaching in the digital age and installing new systems of preparation…for those who

teach are important.”

-Barnett Berry (2011). Teaching 2030(p. 13).


Kim, Gendron, Toro, and Fairborn (2011) found that students “who had lower levels of school enjoyment, lower emphasis placed on (math) grades, and those with peers who place a lower emphasis on school were more likely to drop out of school.”

naep math 2011 4 th grade report
NAEP Math 2011 – 4th Grade Report

naep math 2011 8 th grade report
NAEP Math 2011 – 8th Grade Report

my thinking process
My Thinking Process

Students are dropping out of High School


Because they aren’t performing well in math

Why aren’t students succeeding in math?


Marc Prensky (2006) quotes Dr. Bruce Berry of Baylor College of Medicine: “Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures.”

So what experiences have our students gone through that we didn’t while growing up?


“Digital Natives crave interactivity – they expect an immediate response to their each and every action. Traditional school… provides very little of this.”

–Marc Prensky (2006)

my questions
My Questions

Main Question

How are second grade students’ attitudes of mathematics affected by technology integrated curriculum?

Sub Questions

How are teachers’ practices effected by technology integration standards?

How does technology integration affect the students’ engagement levels?

site and participants
Site and Participants
  • The school is in a college town
  • There are 24 children in the classroom
  • The kids are ages 7 and 8
  • The teacher holds a masters degree in education and has taught for 4 years
  • The teacher is the lead teacher for second grade
  • The majority of the class is labeled as on grade level
technology available in the classroom
Technology Available In The Classroom

2 student computers

2 headphones

1 teacher laptop

1 document camera

1 Promethean Board

1 ceiling-hung projector

issues with technology
Issues With Technology
  • The 2 student computers were mainly used for a reading program.
  • Reading program schedule must be followed.
  • Document Camera AND Promethean Board attached to student computer.
  • Computer Lab difficult to get into and must sign up weeks in advance.
  • One set of headphones doesn’t work all the time.
  • Student computers loud (fan dying) and very slow.
activities completed
Activities Completed
  • Observations of the classroom
  • Assisted the teacher with finding technology ideas for curricular use
    • Videos
    • Websites
    • Games
    • Activities with technology integrated
  • Created a math technology game for the students to play
  • Met with students to find out their opinions on various lessons and curricular activities.
articles books and websites
Articles, Books, and Websites
  • Bauerlin, M. (2008). The Dumbest Generation: How The Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans And Jeopardizes Our Future [Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30]. London, England: Penguin Books.
  • Berry, B. (2011). Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public School… Now and in the Future. New York City, New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Dawson, K. (2006). Teacher Inquiry: A Vehicle to Merge Prospective Teachers' Experience and Reflection during Curriculum-Based, Technology-Enhanced Field Experiences. Journal Of Research On Technology In Education, 38(3), 265-292.
  • Harris, J., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers' Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Learning Activity Types: Curriculum-Based Technology Integration Reframed. Journal Of Research On Technology In Education, 41(4), 393-416.
  • Herron, J. (2010). Implementation of Technology in an Elementary Mathematics Lesson: The Experiences of Pre-Service Teachers at One University. SRATE Journal, 19(1), 22-29.
  • Kim, T., Gendron, B., Toro, R., & Fairborn, S. (2011). Individual, Peer, and School Effects on Math Achievement and High School Dropout. Journal Of Emerging Trends In Educational Research & Policy Studies, 2(4), 256-260.
  • Means, B. (2010). Technology and Education Change: Focus on Student Learning. Journal Of Research On Technology In Education, 42(3), 285-307.
  • NAEP – Mathematics 2011. (2011). Retrieved April 17, 2012, from
  • Prensky, M. (2006). “Don’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning!” St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House.
  • Wehrli, B. (2009). Technology as a Fence and a Bridge. Horace, 25(1).

Dawson (2006)

  • 5 year study following pre-service teachers into being a teacher
  • Reflective journals written weekly about their feelings towards the technology integrated curriculum
  • " use did not bring about fundamental changes in instruction but instead either replaced, improved, or extended traditional instruction" (Discussion section, page 285).
  • "teacher inquiry should be explored as a strategy to help prospective teachers in the process of learning to become effective technology-using teachers" (Conclusion section, page 288).

Harris, Mishra, & Koehler(2009)

  • technology integration is usually focused on the training of how to use the technology instead of focusing on curriculum and pedagogy
  • stress the importance for a reform in technology integration techniques
  • Request a tool to help reform tech-integration called TPACK (technology, pedagogical, and curriculum knowledge).

Herron (2009)

  • qualitative study on 125 pre-service teachers
  • These future teachers were required to teach a math course that integrated technology into the curriculum.
  • Purpose: to gain insight on the pre-service teacher’s feelings towards the integration of technology during math instruction.
  • Struggles:
    • caught off guard by the different assortments of technology available that they had not been trained on.
    • Could not rely on technology because of its unpredictability of usage.
    • Computers horribly slow
    • Some students had no computer skills

Kim, Gendron, Toro, and Fairborn (2011)

  • 8,531 respondents
  • Studied different influences on an individual to see what causes drop outs
  • “The most robust predictor in our study of high school dropout was peer dropout.” (General Conclusion, p. 258)


  • went to several schools and conducted surveys and interviews with teachers, principals, and technology leaders.
  • Seven different types of software were provided to the schools for their use and integration into their curriculum.
  • The data was separated between high gain and low gain schools.
  • All high gain school principals supported technology integration while most low gain principals did not.


  • laptop being both a fence and a bridge; negative (fence) and a positive (bridge) tool in learning.
  • explains that educators need to see that technology should be integrated into schools yet with precision and care, so not to overrun and replace the irreplaceable teacher.
project observations
Project: Observations
  • Mainly used white board at first
    • Student Centered: high engagement
    • Direct Teach: low engagement
  • Slowly began using technology such as the document camera
    • Students excited when they could write “on” it; bored when not their turn.
  • Showed math videos
    • Engagement high

Use of worksheets in every lesson observed

    • When asked a little over half the students exclaimed that they didn’t mind the worksheets and half of that group said they enjoyed the worksheets.
  • Children talked to me about their love of videogames and technology at home.
  • Students would explain to me how math was fun when they were the ones writing on the board or on the document camera.
  • Math Videos were engaging but after around the 10 minute mark students began to zone out.
technology search
Technology Search
  • I met with the teacher before class every day I was there and I attended a planning day.
  • I searched through books that I have read during my graduate classes for Ed. Tech.
  • I would look through the web for free easy-to-use, on grade-level math activities.
integrating technology
Integrating Technology

Taking the knowledge that I gained from the students about how they enjoy video games and taking into account that the teacher was having difficulty integrating technology regularly into her schedule, I decided to focus on creating enriching game activities for classroom math use.

why games
Why Games?

Taken from Marc Prensky’sDon’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning!

“When I watch children playing video games at home or in the arcades, I am impressed with the energy and enthusiasm they devote to the task. Why can’t we get the same devotion to school lessons as people naturally apply to the things that interest them?” –Donald Norman, Author and Educator

the results
The results?

The students were highly engaged and eager to play again – even asking the following week if we could once again play.

my findings
My Findings
  • “Traditional Teaching” (teaching without technology) can keep students engaged if it’s meaningful and exciting for them.
  • The integration of technology into lessons can be thrilling and lead to great engagement and conversation, if the technology isn’t such in a direct teach manner.

A mixed approach of using both “traditional” and technology-integrated curriculum is a great way to peak and keep students interested; however, no matter what, the lesson has to be meaningful, exciting, and student-centered – not teacher centered.

goal 1
Goal 1

Develop leadership in promoting a friendly teaching environment that supports growth and learning.

I wasn’t the teacher, however, I was placed into a leadership role by conducting this project. I made sure to stimulate a friendly yet teacher-like disposition in the classroom by learning the teacher’s and students’ names and talking to them on a regular basis. I explained to the teacher and the students that I was there to learn from them; and I constantly reminded them how grateful I was for allowing me into their classroom. I made sure to always take everyone into consideration and to know when not to try to be the “leader of the classroom” since I wasn’t the classroom teacher.

goal 2
Goal 2

Integrate developmentally appropriate practice perspectives into teaching methods

When looking for lessons I took into consideration not only what the students were interested in, but also what level they were at and what knowledge I wanted them to gain or to spiral over. I made sure to not do this by myself because I wanted others opinions: the classroom teacher, the fellow second grade teachers, and other educators who I happen to know personally. I also would review the TEKS (standards) to make sure that the lesson were DAP (developmentally appropriate practices). After that I would pitch the lesson or activity to the teacher, half the time it would be shot down for not being on target and I learned quickly how to be OK with that.

goal 3
Goal 3

Fosterdevelopment of attitudes and dispositions to uphold the values related to equity and access.

I opened my mind to learn from others and their experiences. I wanted to learn and gain knowledge about the teacher and what the educator needs to be successful in assisting our students in gaining math knowledge either through technology or through “traditional” styles. I wanted to learn via the students by talking to them, hearing what interests them, and what is a total waste of an educator’s time (and money). At the end I did share my findings with the students and teacher, so I left with a win-win solution for all where everyone had learned and prospered from this project.

goal 4
Goal 4

Experience guiding programs designed to form collaborations among schools, families, and communities.

At the beginning of my project I sent a note home explaining what I was doing and who I was, then at the end I sent another explaining my findings and expressing my gratitude of allowing me the chance to conduct this project. Lastly, I’m presenting this to you and am attempting to get this project published so that it will reach other educators as well.

how are your teacher practices affected by your project
How are your teacher practices affected by your project?
  • I will start being more careful about HOW I use technology
  • I will start being more reflective on how my students are responding to my lessons
  • I am going to start the “open dialogue” that Freire discussed in his research to foster a more open relationship where I learn from the students, families, and the community
  • I will conduct more research in my own classroom to further my knowledge of education and educational practices
Questions or comments?Jennifer DennisGrad Student: Texas State UniversitySan Marcos,