INFORMATIOON-SEEKING STRATEGIES AND SCIENCE CONTENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS USING ON-LINE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/11290/607856
Title:
INFORMATIOON-SEEKING STRATEGIES AND SCIENCE CONTENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS USING ON-LINE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
Authors:
Hoffman, Joseph Loris
Abstract:
Educators in the 20th century have seen a number of technological innovations and theapplicationofnewfangledtoolsintoscienceclassrooms. Examplesoftheseeducational tools include filmstrip projectors, televisions, hand-held calculators, videotape cameras and players, and more recently the use of stand-alone, networked, and portable microcomputers. Advancements in the performance of microcomputers and associated software have allowed designers to construct simulations, lab interface apparatus, communication tools, tutorials, and a variety o f student assessment and evaluation materials. Although a number of these innovations have seen widespread implementation in classrooms, their appropriate application and impact on student learning continues to be a source of constant debate. The most recent innovation for classrooms, the World Wide Web, offers yet another opportunity for enhancing the ways in which teachers teach and students leam —although this claim has been left largely unexamined. This dissertation explores this new learning environment through a year-long study of middle school learners as they undertake information-seeking activities using on-line resources. Of importance will be the strategies utilized to locate and make sense of information, and the content understandings that emerge as a result. Recent studies by the United States Department of Education show substantial growth in the use of World Wide Web resources in classrooms. Surveys conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (1996) state that in 1994, 35 percent of schools had access to the World Wide Web, in 1995 the number had grown to 50 percent, and in 1996 school connectivity had reached 65 percent. In support of this increase in use, a recent governmental initiative by the United States Department of Education describes how Internet technology has a potential to enhance student learning. Getting America's Students Readyfo r the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge (1996) centers on the use of technology in elementary and secondary education as a vehicle to improve student achievement. This report stems from a national goal (Technology Literacy Challenge, 1996) envisioning a 21st century where all students are technologically literate. The report sets four priorities as the cornerstone to achieve this goal: • All teachers in the nation will have the training and support they need to help students leam using computers and the information superhighway. • All teachers and students will have modem multimedia computers in their classrooms. • Every classroom will be connected to the information superhighway. • Effective software and on-line learning resources will be an integral part of every school’s curriculum, (p. 11) The report encourages federal government agencies, state and local communities, institutions of higher education, businesses, foundations, parents, and teachers to combine efforts to achieve this significant goal. The Technology Literacy Challenge has been well received by Congress resulting in a $200 million dollar appropriation for the first year to fund technology studies at the state level. Initiatives like these combined with growing popularity in both home and business have contributed to the increased use of the World Wide W eb in classrooms. The increased reliance on the World Wide Web for providing educational experiences to K-12 learners requires the immediate attention of the research community. Policy makers and educators are moving forward at a rapid pace to incorporate this resource in classrooms with little concrete guidance from theory on learning or empirical studies. Althoughanumberofscholarshavepresentedvariousargumentsregardingits potential for learning, the literature falls short o f providing substantial evidence to support their claims. For example, advocates speak to the potential of the World Wide Web as an instructional tool for classrooms: The Internet and WWW provide us with the potential to change the nature of learning. W e can use it to increase access to effective instructional materials in a variety of media. (Kinzie, Larsen, Burch, & Boker, 1996, p. 59) Access to the Internet provides an opportunity to enhance students’ reading and writing proficiency and to promote their skills in information gathering and problem solving. (Ryder & Graves, 1997, p. 244) By its nature, the World Wide Web is a tool ideally and uniquely suited for the advancement of education. (Barrie & Presti, 1996, p. 371) Others imply more definitive possibilities: Network collaborations, mentoring programs, access to supercomputers and instruments and, of course, access to the decentralized resources on the Internet, have enriched education. (Tinker & Haavind, 1997, p. 1) However, while a large collection of literature speaks to the positive nature of the use of World Wide Web resources in science classrooms, other sources remain pessimistic on its application as an instructional tool. Winebrener (1997) suggests surfing the World Wide Web is a “current educational panacea, bandwagon, magic bullet, fad” and recommends educators proceed with caution before integrating it into the classroom. He describes how students can become mislead by viewing falsified information posted on the Web, frustrated due to an inability to locate specific information easily, and confused with varying forms of navigation found on individual pages. Winebrener (1997) describes his frustration with the lack of consistency in design and presentation of Web-based resources:“The Internet flies in the face of this philosophy [common principles of design]. Every site is unique with different buttons, dissimilar organization, unique paths to follow, and disparate information presented” (p. 21). Maddux (1996) supports these cautions and describes other problems related to the open-ended nature of the World Wide Web: It is intellectually appealing to think that hypermedia and open-ended exploration of data are more consistent with the way children think and leam than is linear exploration on which traditional print media is based. However, this assumption has yet to be verified through research, and I suspect that the truth is very much more complex than this. (p. 28) Stoll (1998) provides an additional critical perspective on the impact of technology use on learning. He suggests extensive use of computers and the World Wide Web can dull skills (i.e. analytic, critical thinking, synthesis) instead of improving learning. He states, “on the surface, all of these wonderful teaching machines are teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, physics, science, history, but... the reality is they’re teaching facts, but not skills” (p. 3). Still others maintain that research has been unable to prove using a computer or any other technology improves learning (Lookatch, 1995). In his critical assessment of educational technology studies, Lookatch makes a number of comments: “[There is] a blind belief in a new and novel machine which students find more interesting and easier to accept than a talking head in front of the class”; “There are no unique educational benefits from multimedia or its attributes” (p. 6). His harsh critique of educational technology is founded on a belief that a majority of current technology research contains inappropriate methodologies for controlling a host of conditions that may account for the observed impact on learning. Lookatch (1995) suggests a teacher’s pedagogical approach contributes to gains in student learning and achievement while the sole implementation of technology does not. The complexity of these issues and messages continue to provide uncertain guidance to policy makers and educators who will implement these tools in classrooms across the United States. Clearly, there is a need to broaden the scope of research with students’ use of the World Wide Web and provide insight into its impact on teaching and learning.
Affiliation:
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Issue Date:
1999
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/11290/607856
Submitted date:
2015-09-29
Document Source:
Dissertation/Thesis
Language:
English Paper
Type Of Resource:
Empirical Research
Empirical Methodology:
Quantitative
Learning Environment:
Formal
Subjects:
Middle/Secondary School
Construct:
Content Knowledge General Teaching Strategies TECHNOLOGY
Content:
General/Broad Knowledge of Astronomy Content
Nation:
USA
Appears in Collections:
Astronomy Education Research

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorHoffman, Joseph Lorisen
dc.date.accessioned2016-05-04T08:56:26Zen
dc.date.available2016-05-04T08:56:26Zen
dc.date.issued1999en
dc.date.submitted2015-09-29en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11290/607856en
dc.description.abstractEducators in the 20th century have seen a number of technological innovations and theapplicationofnewfangledtoolsintoscienceclassrooms. Examplesoftheseeducational tools include filmstrip projectors, televisions, hand-held calculators, videotape cameras and players, and more recently the use of stand-alone, networked, and portable microcomputers. Advancements in the performance of microcomputers and associated software have allowed designers to construct simulations, lab interface apparatus, communication tools, tutorials, and a variety o f student assessment and evaluation materials. Although a number of these innovations have seen widespread implementation in classrooms, their appropriate application and impact on student learning continues to be a source of constant debate. The most recent innovation for classrooms, the World Wide Web, offers yet another opportunity for enhancing the ways in which teachers teach and students leam —although this claim has been left largely unexamined. This dissertation explores this new learning environment through a year-long study of middle school learners as they undertake information-seeking activities using on-line resources. Of importance will be the strategies utilized to locate and make sense of information, and the content understandings that emerge as a result. Recent studies by the United States Department of Education show substantial growth in the use of World Wide Web resources in classrooms. Surveys conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (1996) state that in 1994, 35 percent of schools had access to the World Wide Web, in 1995 the number had grown to 50 percent, and in 1996 school connectivity had reached 65 percent. In support of this increase in use, a recent governmental initiative by the United States Department of Education describes how Internet technology has a potential to enhance student learning. Getting America's Students Readyfo r the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge (1996) centers on the use of technology in elementary and secondary education as a vehicle to improve student achievement. This report stems from a national goal (Technology Literacy Challenge, 1996) envisioning a 21st century where all students are technologically literate. The report sets four priorities as the cornerstone to achieve this goal: • All teachers in the nation will have the training and support they need to help students leam using computers and the information superhighway. • All teachers and students will have modem multimedia computers in their classrooms. • Every classroom will be connected to the information superhighway. • Effective software and on-line learning resources will be an integral part of every school’s curriculum, (p. 11) The report encourages federal government agencies, state and local communities, institutions of higher education, businesses, foundations, parents, and teachers to combine efforts to achieve this significant goal. The Technology Literacy Challenge has been well received by Congress resulting in a $200 million dollar appropriation for the first year to fund technology studies at the state level. Initiatives like these combined with growing popularity in both home and business have contributed to the increased use of the World Wide W eb in classrooms. The increased reliance on the World Wide Web for providing educational experiences to K-12 learners requires the immediate attention of the research community. Policy makers and educators are moving forward at a rapid pace to incorporate this resource in classrooms with little concrete guidance from theory on learning or empirical studies. Althoughanumberofscholarshavepresentedvariousargumentsregardingits potential for learning, the literature falls short o f providing substantial evidence to support their claims. For example, advocates speak to the potential of the World Wide Web as an instructional tool for classrooms: The Internet and WWW provide us with the potential to change the nature of learning. W e can use it to increase access to effective instructional materials in a variety of media. (Kinzie, Larsen, Burch, & Boker, 1996, p. 59) Access to the Internet provides an opportunity to enhance students’ reading and writing proficiency and to promote their skills in information gathering and problem solving. (Ryder & Graves, 1997, p. 244) By its nature, the World Wide Web is a tool ideally and uniquely suited for the advancement of education. (Barrie & Presti, 1996, p. 371) Others imply more definitive possibilities: Network collaborations, mentoring programs, access to supercomputers and instruments and, of course, access to the decentralized resources on the Internet, have enriched education. (Tinker & Haavind, 1997, p. 1) However, while a large collection of literature speaks to the positive nature of the use of World Wide Web resources in science classrooms, other sources remain pessimistic on its application as an instructional tool. Winebrener (1997) suggests surfing the World Wide Web is a “current educational panacea, bandwagon, magic bullet, fad” and recommends educators proceed with caution before integrating it into the classroom. He describes how students can become mislead by viewing falsified information posted on the Web, frustrated due to an inability to locate specific information easily, and confused with varying forms of navigation found on individual pages. Winebrener (1997) describes his frustration with the lack of consistency in design and presentation of Web-based resources:“The Internet flies in the face of this philosophy [common principles of design]. Every site is unique with different buttons, dissimilar organization, unique paths to follow, and disparate information presented” (p. 21). Maddux (1996) supports these cautions and describes other problems related to the open-ended nature of the World Wide Web: It is intellectually appealing to think that hypermedia and open-ended exploration of data are more consistent with the way children think and leam than is linear exploration on which traditional print media is based. However, this assumption has yet to be verified through research, and I suspect that the truth is very much more complex than this. (p. 28) Stoll (1998) provides an additional critical perspective on the impact of technology use on learning. He suggests extensive use of computers and the World Wide Web can dull skills (i.e. analytic, critical thinking, synthesis) instead of improving learning. He states, “on the surface, all of these wonderful teaching machines are teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, physics, science, history, but... the reality is they’re teaching facts, but not skills” (p. 3). Still others maintain that research has been unable to prove using a computer or any other technology improves learning (Lookatch, 1995). In his critical assessment of educational technology studies, Lookatch makes a number of comments: “[There is] a blind belief in a new and novel machine which students find more interesting and easier to accept than a talking head in front of the class”; “There are no unique educational benefits from multimedia or its attributes” (p. 6). His harsh critique of educational technology is founded on a belief that a majority of current technology research contains inappropriate methodologies for controlling a host of conditions that may account for the observed impact on learning. Lookatch (1995) suggests a teacher’s pedagogical approach contributes to gains in student learning and achievement while the sole implementation of technology does not. The complexity of these issues and messages continue to provide uncertain guidance to policy makers and educators who will implement these tools in classrooms across the United States. Clearly, there is a need to broaden the scope of research with students’ use of the World Wide Web and provide insight into its impact on teaching and learning.en
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dc.language.isoEnglish Paperen
dc.titleINFORMATIOON-SEEKING STRATEGIES AND SCIENCE CONTENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS USING ON-LINE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTSen
dc.typeDissertation/Thesisen
dc.contributor.departmentTHE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGANen
dc.type.resourceEmpirical Researchen
dc.istar.learningenvironmentFormalen
dc.istar.constructContent Knowledge General Teaching Strategies TECHNOLOGYen
dc.istar.contentGeneral/Broad Knowledge of Astronomy Contenten
dc.istar.nationUSAen
dc.istar.empiricalmethodologyQuantitativeen
dc.istar.subjectMiddle/Secondary Schoolen
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