Digitally Curious: A Qualitative Case Study of Students’ Demonstrations of Curiosity in a Technology-Rich Learning Environment
Description: Curiosity is an important construct for educators as it is connected with knowledge and higher-order thinking, goal-oriented behavior, motivation, and persistence. It is also negatively correlated with boredom and anxiety. While research documents this strong connection between learning and curiosity, no studies existed exploring curiosity in a technology-rich learning environment. The purpose of this study is to identify and examine whether students demonstrate curiosity in a sixth grade mathematics classroom with technology-integrated learning and if so, how and why. Technology-rich work was designed for students and included in the study to examine students’ demonstrations of curiosity while learning mathematical procedural knowledge, conceptual knowledge and problem solving knowledge. A case study methodology was used with 13 students purposefully selected from a Title I sixth grade class to participate. Data were collected from interviews using a semi-structured interview protocol and triangulated with observations and students’ reflective writings. Interviews were transcribed and coded. A total of 60 codes and four categories were identified. Three themes emerged: 1) digital play; 2) welcome and unwelcome scaffolds; and 3) action is power; power follows ideas. These themes identified ways in which students demonstrated curiosity in the sixth grade mathematics classroom and thus can inform educators.
Date: August 2011
Creator: McLeod, Julie Kiser
Partner: UNT Libraries