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- Current and Future Trends in Computer Use in Elementary School Settings
- The study examined current and future trends in computer use in elementary school settings. A survey instrument was developed and validated for distribution to a random sample of 200 technology coordinators in the public school districts in the state of Texas from whom 95 responses were received. The survey instrument was used to obtain information about five areas of computer use in elementary schools. These areas are: physical configurations, instructional uses, implementation issues, training and staff development, and Internet use. The study found that all public school districts that participated in the study have acquired computer hardware in their elementary schools. In addition, some other advanced computer technology components are starting to be found in elementary schools, such as teacher workstations, CD-ROM, interactive video, computer multimedia, LCD panels, and laser printers. Respondents reported that elementary school teachers in their districts have incorporated computers into their classrooms as an instructional tool and many changes have occurred in teachers teaching styles due to computers. However, there are some problems that hinder the effective use of computers. The major problem is lack of training. A high percentage of respondents, 81.3%, indicated that the majority of their elementary school teachers had completed less than 30 hours of technology related professional development. Another problem was lack of funding which prevents most school districts from acquiring computer hardware and software. Currently, elementary schools in 87% of districts that participated in the study are connected to the Internet and the plan is that by the year 2001 all elementary schools will be connected.
- The Effect of Increased Collaboration Among the Library Media Specialist and School Personnel on Perceptions of the Roles and Responsibilities of the Library Media Specialist
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This study measured and explored changes in perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of the library media specialist when the level of collaboration increased. Seven library media specialists targeted four members of their educational communities with whom to increase collaborative activities. Before and after the collaboration began, the library media specialists, the teachers with whom they chose to collaborate, other members from the same educational community, and a control group that did not participate in increased collaboration were given a roles and responsibilities rank-order form. This form was used to measure changes in perceptions regarding the importance of the three roles and selected responsibilities related to the three roles before and after the collaborative experience. The library media specialists and the targeted teachers also kept reflection logs to record factors that enhanced collaboration, factors that inhibited collaboration, and any changes in their teaching style as a result of the collaborative experience. Results indicate that the participating library media specialists themselves experienced the most change. Role identification remains a problem as library media specialists seek to become teaching partners with classroom teachers yet still must keep the library media center aligned with school and district goals and move toward making it an information center that provides information resources for all members of the educational community in an effective, efficient and timely manner. Major enhancers to increased collaboration included flexible scheduling of the library, sharing ideas and resources, partnership in teaching, and student achievement. Major inhibitors included time, wanting to keep things the way they were, and lack of resources. Changes in teaching practice included working with another professional instead of in isolation, integrating many resources into the lesson to provide for the learning needs of all students, the incorporation of technology into the lesson, and an awareness of the roles of both library media specialists and teachers.
- Examining the nature of interactions which facilitate learning and impact reading achievement during a reading apprenticeship: A case study of at-risk adolescent readers
- The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the interactions that take place during a reading apprenticeship which facilitate the learning of reading strategies by adolescent students who are at the middle school level and are still at-risk for reading failure and to investigate how a reading apprenticeship affects reading achievement in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and the self-perception of the reader. The case study was descriptive and interpretive in nature, and examined two students, each of whom was part of a one-to-one reading apprenticeship. The researcher served as participant observer in both cases and was the teacher in each of the one-to-one reading apprenticeships. The primary data set was qualitative in nature, and elements of quantitative data were also considered. Sessions included pretesting and posttesting using the Classroom Assessment of Reading Processes (Swearingen & Allen, 1997), reading from narrative or expository books, working with words, writing, and dialoguing about the reading. Reading strategies were directly taught, modeled, and reinforced by the teacher/researcher with the goal of the students internalizing the strategies and improving their reading in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension, as well as improving their attitudes toward reading and their self-perception about their reading ability. This study described a reading apprenticeship which positively impacted reading achievement for two students in the areas of fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary development, as well as influencing their motivation for reading and their self-perceptions as readers. The environment of the reading apprenticeship, the dialogue that occurred throughout the reading apprenticeship, and strategy instruction, modeling, and reinforcement were found to be factors and interactions which facilitated learning during this intervention.
- From Theory to Practice: A First Look at Success for Life - A Brain Research-Based Early Childhood Program
- Success For Life (SFL) is a brain research-based program for children, birth through age six. This research examined the development and implementation of SFL in 13 early childhood settings. Participants were 24 female early childhood teachers and 146 (73 male) children. Teachers included seven infant, four toddler, nine preschool and four kindergarten teachers. Children included infants(n=29), toddlers(n=27), and prek/kindergartners (n=90). A Request for Proposals was disseminated to identify possible implementation sites. After participation was confirmed, teachers attended a full day's training which included a description of brain development/function, the latest brain research, how to implement SFL and other logistics of the study. Program implementation occurred over approximately four months. A field site coordinator visited each site bimonthly to provide on-going technical assistance. This was an intervention project with a pre and post implementation design. Four instruments were used: a teacher questionnaire, a classroom environment measure, a child measure and teacher journals. Results suggested that teachers became more knowledgeable about brain development research and about how children grow and learn. Teachers were better able to make connections between brain research findings and how to apply these findings to their programs and daily activities. Likewise, the environment measure indicated that teachers were better able to arrange environments for learning. They reported that children showed significant increases in skills development and performance in the following areas: physical mastery, social relations/interactions, cognitive development, and language/communications. Additionally, teachers reported improvements in emotional expression and well-being among infants and toddlers. Toddlers and preschoolers showed significant increases in creative/ artistic expression. Finally, teachers indicated that preschoolers showed increases in initiative, use of logic/mathematics skills, and musical coordination and movement. Research findings suggest that Success For Life is able to bridge the gap between theory and practice and benefits children, teachers and programs.
- Parents' understanding of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education.
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The intent of this study was to determine what understanding and knowledge parents had of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). The study examined whether the beliefs of parents who enrolled their children in a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited program had any impact on their expectations for a philosophy and curriculum that is centered around DAP. In addition, the study examined whether parents' understanding of DAP changed when their children transitioned from infant and toddler programs, to preschool. The study group consisted of parents with children in two privately owned NAEYC accredited centers in 1998 (N=131). Results from parent reports indicated a high level of parent knowledge regarding DAP.
- The Response of a Public School District to Charter School Competition: An Examination of Free-Market Effects
- The purpose of this study was to examine a school district's responses to charter schools operating within its boundaries. The selected district was the only one in the state with two large academically competitive charter schools for at least two years. Four questions guided the research: In terms of instruction, finance, communication, and leadership, how has the traditional district been impacted due to charter school existence? The exploratory research was timely since charter schools are proliferating as tax-supported public choice schools. While many have speculated about free-market effects of charter school competition on systemic educational reform, the debate has been chiefly along ideological lines; therefore, little empirical research addresses this issue. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to present a comprehensive case study. Twenty-six school officials and teachers were interviewed; 159 teachers and 1576 parents were surveyed. District, community, and state education department documents were analyzed. Since charter schools have existed in the district, numerous activities have taken place. Instructional initiatives included a high school academy, expanded technology, gifted and talented, tutoring, and dropout prevention. All elementary and middle schools required uniforms. The district's state accountability rating improved from acceptable to recognized. A leadership void was perceived due to students leaving to attend charter schools initially. The district was perceived as making efforts to improve communication with the community. The financial impact of charter schools was neutralized due to the district's student population increase, property wealth, and state charter funding structure. The data supported all of the hypotheses in terms of the impact of charter schools in the district on these activities: free-market effects of charter school competition were not established as the primary reason for internal organizational changes that occurred in the district. Anecdotal evidence suggested that charter schools may have played some role, but primarily they seemed to reinforce trends already occurring in the district.
- A study of block scheduling and instructional strategies and their influence on algebra achievement in classrooms throughout north central Texas
- The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of block scheduling and instructional strategies on student achievement in Algebra I. The study was conducted during the 1997-98 school year. This study was comprised of two components, a quantitative study and a qualitative study. The quantitative study focused on block and traditional scheduling and the influence identified through scores on the Texas End-of-Course exam for Algebra I. The sample for this study consisted of 59 school districts from five counties in the north Texas area. The qualitative portion of this study focused on 10 classrooms, 5 block and 5 traditional, taken from the sample of 59 districts. Data for the qualitative study included questionnaires, interviews, and observations. The End-of-Course scores were analyzed using an ANOVA at the .05 level of significance, no significant difference was identified in the achievement levels of the two groups. The qualitative data was organized by categories derived from the NCTM teaching standards. Data from this portion of the study indicated that teachers in both block and traditionally scheduled classes spend their class time in a similar manner, using similar materials, and using more traditional strategies. Additional analyses of data based upon usage of the graphing calculator and manipulatives also resulted in no significant difference. Although all comparisons between block and traditional scheduling and usage or non-usage of technology and/or manipulatives resulted in no significant difference, the block groups and those using technology and/or manipulatives had higher mean scores. This indicates that allowing teachers more time to use alternative instructional strategies would benefit the student, but this will not take place without the teacher receiving training and support.