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Lavin, A., Korte, L., & Davies, T. (2009). The impact of classroom technology on student behavior. Journal of Technology Research, 1–13.

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What issue is being addressed?

The focus of this journal article is not on how well technology performs within the classroom, or how to optimise its use, the authors are more concerned with student perceptions of the usefulness of technology in the classroom. The most interesting issue that is addressed in this text is one of student perceptions of the teacher in the classroom depending on if they have a bias towards technology or not. For instance, an  observation made in the article is that students percieved a teacher to be more organised and forward thinking if they integrated power points presentations into their classroom teaching.

The journal article pays particular attention to the variation of opinion between students that are used to technology in the classroom and those that are not. It is also important to note that participants of this research were all enrolled in courses around business studies and that the research was based in Midwestern America, the researchers were based at The University of South Dakota.

What are the main argument and the evidence to support the argument?

The main argument in this journal article is

“students who are not currently exposed to technology in theclassroom generally responded more favorably to the prospect of adding the technology than did students who imagined the technology being withdrawn.”

Which backs up the good old proverb “the grass is always greener on the other side”.

It was interesting to read that the students percieved technology not to have an affect on such a wide variety of activities within and outside of the classroom. The author lists six activities that were unaffected by technology enhanced learning. They go as follows:

  • Amount of time you study for class each day.
  • Amount of time you study for exams and quizzes.
  • Quantity of notes.
  • Overall attendance.
  • amount of interaction with the instructor during class.
  • Amount of interaction with the instructor outside of class.

I was most surprised by the fact that the participants didn’t percieve the addition or withdrawl of technology would affect the amount of interaction with the instructor outside of class. Perhaps students don’t feel like they should harass instructors outside of class be it via technology or not?

What are the methods by which the information has been gathered, tested or evaluated and any underlying theoretical perspective?

The main method of data gathering used in this research was surveys; the results were analysed using statistics. Arguments and conclusions were formed through the mean value of the data, which excludes the reader from the researchers thoughts and conclusions on the edge case scenarios.

The surveys followed a five-point scale where 1 equaled extremely positive and 5 meant very negative. The researchers include a brief summary of the demographic in the appendix but in the article they say the number of useable surveys they compiled was 550. For a better understanding of their overall data set it would be really interesting to find out what constitutes a useable survey.

Are there any strengths or weaknesses in the views expressed?

Overall, I believe the arguments are backed up well by the statistics calculated from the surveys. The main weakness that I can see is that the mean is the only calculation used to back up the argument. I wonder how the results would look for the mode and median as well.

I feel as though the research should have been taken further as well. The surveys could have been backed up by some more qualitive research, not a lot of value has been given to the participants thoughts and feeling of the researchers results.

Maybe the trainers should have been surveyed as well to test their awareness of the student’s perceptions of the usefulness of technology in the classroom. Perhaps the trainers who use PowerPoint know that it gives them the upper hand, maybe they don’t?

What is the resource’s scholarly pedigree (is it peer reviewed?)

The Academic and Business Research Institute published this research article in the Journal of Technology Research, 2009. The fact that this article has been passed through AABRI’s editorial advisory board means it is of a fairly high scholarly pedigree. AABRI also have note on their website:

“All AABRI journal authors have agreed to serve as manuscript reviewers as a part of the submission and review process. Authors having published in appropriate topics are selected to review newly submitted manuscripts as needed.”

I believe this means that all papers released by the AABRI have been peer reviewed as well.

How it relates to your understanding and experience of teaching and/or supporting learning? 

At first glance this article would seem to be an invaluable resource if you were trying to game-ify student satisfaction and tick all the boxes in terms of student expectation. If a trainer uses technology enhanced learning in a training session they will automatically appear to be more organised, engaging and favorable over trainers that boycott tech. Deeper reading suggest of this article suggests otherwise. The researchers quote Burbules and Callister (2000) in saying, “technology can be used well or poorly, and thus its effectiveness is dependent on how it is used”. They also observe from their findings that often students have become complacent to technology-enhanced learning and just expect a good level of technology in the classroom.

I am entrigued by angle this research has taken. There are so many papers around utilising technology in the classroom, the do’s and don’ts and common pitfalls, but hardly ever is the research purely investigating the students perceptions of the topic. I feel as though this might be an interest direction to go in with my research.