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Running head: STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE

SCHOOL

Study of Student Anxiety and Internet Access Outside School


Sarah Lukas
Colorado State University

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

Abstract
The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a link between student anxieties about
internet and homework and a lack of internet access outside of school. The researched data will
attempt to determine if there is such a correlation and how to potentially provide solutions for
students, parents, and school administration. This research and its solutions are student-based in
effort to reduce any anxieties that might arise. Data and analysis is conducted through classroom
surveys of three Social Studies classrooms in a Northern Colorado middle school. Classroom
surveys look into internet access outside of school, school and classroom culture surrounding
internet use, and home cultures mostly based on if students can stay before and after school.
Based on the data collected and analysis, students without internet access outside of school are
not experiencing more anxieties, though there is evidence that students would like to feel more
supported in school with their internet use. At the end of this study, future teachers and
administrators should feel more empowered to discover their school demographics and internet
needs.

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

Background Information
This study is conducted in a Northern Colorado middle school in Thompson School
District which has has 653 students across three grades. Over 300 students are enrolled in a
Free/Reduced lunch program, 39 are English Language Learners, 66 are Gifted/Talented, and 97
are Special Education. Conrad Ball is also a 1:1 iPad school.
I work with three consecutive periods of 6th graders in Social Studies. First period has
29 students. Many are Caucasian, a handful are Latino, even smaller group are African
American. Three students have reading accommodations. Second period has 31 students. Nearly
half are Caucasian and the other is almost half Latino and African American. Four students have
reading accommodations and I am aware of two students who have emotional counseling. Third
period also has 31 students. In this class only a small number of students are Latino and African
American. In all three of these classes students have expressed their status on the Free/Reduce
lunch program. My role in this setting is that I am participating in practicum experience. I
observe, facilitate learning, and help my cooperating teachers with various duties and activities.
I wish to improve the approach towards access for students. Those that do not have
little/no access to internet at home, I would like to improve the true availability for students.
Along with that I would hope to change the stigma around the lack of access for students I
would like to feel empowered and to normalize the different types of access that each student
has. Critical factors that affect my focus include the general ability for students to access internet
outside of school. Other factors include the atmosphere student feel around using their
technology outside of the classroom; these can include timid attitudes towards asking for help
finding resources or for assignments to have different due dates due to access.

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

Research Purpose and Rational


Considering all the components of internet and technology based anxieties that students
can experience from various origins we need to consider how student anxiety can be
alleviated through various school-based programs. Gauging student anxiety and need is essential
to creating solutions for students who do not have internet at home in ways that are accessible
and functional. Students in the observed school have at some point mentioned their states of
internet access at home. Students worry if they can complete their assignments because they do
not have internet access at home. Helping to alleviate those stressed and anxiety can help
productivity. This area of study is essential to education fields as we can improve the resource
availability outside of school for students who need it.
Research Questions
-To what extent do students experience stress/anxiety in relation to their internet availability
outside of school?
-What are student perceptions of iPads in relation to their internet availability at home?
-What solutions might be already out there, and what ideas for solutions do students have?
Literature Review
Throughout school careers students experience many types of anxieties and worries.
Teachers and administration have difficultly providing support for students because they cannot
see the issue in their classrooms. Unfortunately, leaders make assumptions about what sort of
anxieties can form based on local socioeconomic statuses. Both of these scenarios can be
extremely harmful to student achievement, and thus teachers should consider and value student

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

input based on their experiences in school. In schools that have 1:1 iPad ratio program students
unknowingly to teachers and administration can experience anxieties over the iPads based on
a lack of Internet access outside of school.
As technologies have increased their popularity in the classroom many aspects of
research surrounds how Internet and media have negative effects on student anxieties. While
these assumptions and research can be discussed, it is important to break apart the different
anxieties that students experience. Plenty of research surrounds the complexities and origins of
internet and technology-based anxieties; however the data lay in different, non-concurrent areas
of education. Though researchers have written plenty of articles on these areas of research,
gauging anxieties in relation to outside access to Internet is lacking in scope. Access to Internet
is also highly researched but only in the sense of academic achievement.
Social Anxieties
Internet access and technology effects on students social awareness and attentiveness
have been highly studied for years. Often, a lack of Internet access and increased technology
drives the assumption that student social anxiety increases for various reasons. Access to Internet
and increased uses of technology and social anxieties do play into one another in classroom
settings. Students who frequently engage in Internet-based technologies can have decreased faceto-face social interactions. According to Pierce (2009) technologies can hinder and become a
substitute for social interactions, but still have a positive effect on students who might have
social phobias (p. 1368). Understanding social constructs though not directly related to
anxieties about a lack of Internet access helps to build framing for collecting and analyzing
data for this study. Technologys effects on social constructs play into those social constructs
that are formed from students that might be self-conscious about their Internet situation at home.

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

While new technologies that are providing young people.with novel and different
ways to communicate with others (Pierce, 2009, p. 1370), social anxieties are only increased for
the students that do not have Internet access at home. Those students who cannot access Internetbased interaction platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are missing a component of social
interaction that their peers are exposed to outside of school. Regardless if Internet interactions
are positive or negative, it is my belief that 21st Century students should be able to experience
each of the elements of Internet based interactions. Based on a lack of Internet outside of school
(where students are already interacting) students are losing opportunities for social engagement
on a different platform. As these anxieties grow for students, student should receive support from
their schools to support 21st Century learning despite access problems, especially if schools
require students to do homework electronically outside of classrooms. To find what students
truly need from their environments, further research will be conducted in this study.
Technological Anxieties
Technological anxieties befall students, teachers, and parents alike. Understanding the
internet and technological anxieties that occur for each party sheds light on how further research
should be conducted and can actually support our students. Students who learn in a 1:1
technology based setting are also teaching a third learner.
Parental Anxieties
Not only should research observe student achievement, it should also include an
understanding of parent engagement with using these technologies and that impact on student
achievement. Parents with technological anxieties are less included to fully support their students
with Internet, regardless of access. However, as soon as parents can feel a part of their childs
education, programs and policies are more accepted (Smith, 2006, p. 48). Parent anxieties can be

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

alleviated with more supportive programs for their students. Student achievement increases and
student perception of Internet shifts to homework-related activities with more parent
involvement (Mumtaz, 2001, p. 350). Once students have support from their school, parent
anxieties decrease and a lack of Internet access can be overcome with correlated school
programs. Parent anxieties that can occur over a lack of Internet access outside of school are
essential to study for the success of possible before or after school programs.
Teacher Anxieties
One of the most studied aspects of Internet topics is the technological phobias
experienced by teachers. Teacher anxieties about technology transfer over to students and can
hinder the support a student without out-of-class Internet needs. Teacher anxieties need to be
considered in order to properly support the students who are eager for before and after school
programs for Internet purposes. A teacher with technological and Internet concerns cannot
properly demonstrate the actions and support necessary for in-need students, and often the topic
is then avoided (Rosen and Weil, 1995, p. 28). Additionally, students without Internet access
need to see roles models and supporters within their schools. According to Warschauer et al
study (2004) shows that student success is achieved when more emphasis was frequently put on
mastery of hardware or software functions rather than on underlying learning outcomes (p.576).
Understanding and addressing general teacher anxieties over technology and Internet will only
increase the proper support that students need.
Student Anxieties
Technological anxieties also arise for students, especially those without Internet access
outside of school, because some teachers assume students know and are comfortable with most
computer activities; emails, web searching, etc. While teachers need to develop instruction for all

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

students, considering their access and use of computers at home is vital (Kuhlemeier and
Hemker, 2005, p. 461). Statements like these support the case for this study as an effort to
support the needs of students based on their access and abilities. Students with a lack of Internet
also are lacking the practice that teachers sometimes assume they have and thus there is a greater
importance on studying how students can be most impacted based on their experience and needs.
Academic Anxieties
Scholars have heavily researched using online sources for education since the
introduction to the topic. While Internet-based educational resources are a great tool to have in
the classroom, they cannot be the only source (Field, 2009, p. 22). There is also the fact that a
relationship between computers and student learning differs strongly between the mere
availability of computers and their use as a communicational and educational device (Fuchs and
Woessmann, 2004, p. 2). Considering whether or not students can access online resources at
home is a significant point to focus on for their success. Keeping an open mind that online
resources are not the only way to effectively teach students outside of class is essential for the
support of students without Internet access at home. Disregarding assumptions and
understanding that students may have different experiences with Internet access, can open the
possibilities to students expressing concerns over academic success. To support students with a
lack of Internet access outside of school includes a reconstruction of how online learning sources
are provided and expected. Gauging the level of student academic anxiety based on their internet
access will only help create more effect school programs.

For students that do not have access to Internet at home, school can be the first place they
experience Internet usage. Roughly 37 percent of students report that they first experienced the
Internet while at school (Aslanidou, 2008, p. 1381) however, it was not frequently exploited for

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

educational purposes. Considering such data, educators should be worried about the actual time
students are purposefully accessing the Internet while in class. Bearing in mind students without
Internet access highlights how valuable Internet time must be for those students.
Methods
This study is conducted at a Northern Colorado middle school with 653 students across
three grades; 6th, 7th, and 8th. Over 300 students are enrolled in a Free/Reduced lunch program,
39 are English Language Learners, 66 are Gifted/Talented, and 97 are Special Education. This
middle school is also a 1:1 iPad school.
There are three consecutive periods of 6th graders in Social Studies. In first period there
are 29 students. Many are Caucasian, a handful are Latino, even smaller group are African
American. Three students have reading accommodations. Second period has 31 students. Nearly
half are Caucasian and the other is almost half Latino and African American. Four students have
reading accommodations and I am aware of two students who have emotional counseling. Third
period also has 31 students. In this class only a small number of students are Latino and African
American. In all three of these classes students have expressed their status on the Free/Reduce
lunch program.
This middle school and these three classrooms are the appropriate setting for my topic
because some of my students have expressed their lack of access to internet once they get home,
while others have commended their internet availability in relation to the one at school. I saw the
discrepancy between my students access and wondered how useful their iPads become once
they reach home. In a school where a majority of the students are on free/reduced lunch, I would
imagine that there can be a correlation between variable access to internet at home and school.

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My classes are also the appropriate place for research because each student is a part of the 1:1
iPad program.
Participants
The participants of this study are 6th grade students of Social Studies classrooms. This
study included the participation of all students through a Google Forms survey. The survey was
provided to all students during class time and included each student regardless of gender or racial
demographics. After data collection, a sampling of students was randomly selected for personal
internet use interviews.
The survey collection of this study was intended to provide the most information about
anxiety and internet access through a means that is accessible to students. Doing a survey in class
gave the students the ability to access and complete the survey in a comfortable environment.
The second portion of individual interviews was on a volunteer basis; if students opt out of the
conversation, they were welcome to do so.
Study Design
This study is intended to gather qualitative data about anxieties around iPads without or
limited access to internet outside of school. Understanding student anxieties can help teachers
and schools create environments and resources for students to lower their anxieties. Qualitative
data can also highlight essential information regarding cultural perceptions and student-centered
resources. All three periods of 6th grade Social Studies were given the Google Forms survey at
the beginning of their class period, as part of the Do Now a daily warm up. Since all three
classes are set up under the same expectations, providing the survey the same way is appropriate.
Each response submitted is uploaded to a Google Sheet for further analysis. The goal of the

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survey is to determine general perceptions around iPad use and internet use and access outside of
school.
Data Source
Data will originate from initial surveys provided to all students during class time. Data
from the survey is collected and organized in a connected Google Sheet (Appendix A). Collected
data is analyzed from the Google Sheet.
Validity, Reliability, and Credibility
The research design of this study is targeted for student engagement and student-centered
resources after data collection and analysis. Using an internet survey with a variety of questions
provides an avenue for students to access the content and answer accordingly. The survey is
provided in the classroom so students can have the availability to answer the questions. Students
who are able to answer the survey questions can focus on some of the elements of internet access
for themselves. Since students can focus on themselves for the duration of the survey, the
answers are more genuine and reflective of a students situation. The questions and statements of
the survey vary from a Linkert scale, multiple choices, and personal answers allow each student
to answer on a level that they are comfortable. Interviews in conjunction with an online survey
accurately gauge students perceptions and feelings about anxieties and internet access.
The validity of this research also extends to its credibility, as the data is collected with the
intention of providing environments for internet access for students currently without access (or
even for those who need a comfortable place with internet access). While the ultimate goal is to
determine if and what students wish for based on the collected data. The data from this study
probe into the lifestyles and cultures of students outside of class and possible emotional stances

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as a result. The data reflects the complexities of the cultural and emotional aspects of the
research. The survey also takes into consideration these complexities and is thus organized to
capture and reflect a variety of answers. Extended results from this research will be used to help
students based on their needs and wants which require constant contact and reflection between
teachers and students, parents and administrators.
The survey is conducted in a consistent manner to avoid any discrepancies, especially
while concerning complex issues. The data is also collected in the same manner for all
participants and will be analyzed accordingly. Since the collection tools will always remain the
same for all students, this research and its methods can transfer to any other school environments
and for various other hidden concerns.
Working with students with varying opinions can inevitably create a sense of
generalization during data analysis; collecting data that might vary forces a sort of
generalization. While this can be considered a threat to the research, keeping a sense of unbiased
analysis and detailed examination will reduce or eliminate potential generalizations.
Procedures/Timeline
Ideally, the survey would be initiated as soon as possible. It should not take long to link
for the students and for them to take it. Again, their data is uploaded immediately to a
spreadsheet, where I can analyze data. All combined, the data collection will take 4-5 weeks.
More time is necessary to digest the data and move forward with possible solutions and ideas
that might come up during this investigation.

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Data Analysis
Findings
The data yield showed a significant number of students without internet access at home.
Based on some socioeconomic and school indicators, a number of students to be without internet
access are expected. Over 10 percent of students sampled are without internet access at home
(Appendix B) and the remaining 89 percent of student indicated that they do have access to
internet at home. Understanding exactly how many students who do not have internet access in
their homes sheds some light on potential anxieties that come from iPad use when they are in
school. Since almost 11 percent of students do not have home internet access, following their
responses from the Personal Internet Survey (Appendix A) was particularly important to
determine if they have anxieties about internet work during class and homework. Data showing
those results were inconclusive, though a majority of these particular students did not show
significant signs of anxiety. Students without home internet access could demonstrate anxieties
by answering the survey questions low on the Linkert Scale. These particular students did not
answer in such a way, thought the data demonstrated other potential anxieties. The data reflected
other anxieties that students are having and it appears to affect students beyond the 11 percent of
those without home internet access.
While a majority of students answered 10 on the scale to the questions, a notable
population answered moderately (5 on the Linkert Scale) according to the data (Appendix C).
This data should be taken into consideration as it reflects that students are having insecurities
about the support and ability to complete homework in and out of school. Regardless of internet
access student appear to view the iPads as useful for homework completion. Students on average

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answered 8 on the scale and a majority of students answered 10 based on how much the iPad has
helped them complete their homework (Appendix C). In regards to the original questions of this
study, this data concludes that students are not necessarily experiencing anxieties with
schoolwork coming home and completing their work on the iPad outside of school. While
students generally felt empowered with their iPads at home, one student did answer 1, and
should be taken into consideration solutions are discussed later.
Student anxiety about iPad use at home without internet access may be eased due to
teacher involvement and consideration. Based on the subsequent Personal Internet Survey
(Appendix A) question, students reflected an overall positive attitude towards teacher ability to
help students outside of school. Once again a majority of students answered 10 on the Linkert
Scale (Appendix D) towards the inquiry if teachers allot more time for students to complete
homework. The data also reflects observations over 15 weeks at the studied school; teachers
consistently allow more time or other options for students to complete their homework. Again,
these results do not necessarily indicate a high rate of anxiety in conjunction with home internet
access.
Though students without internet access at home do not dominate the data in a negative
way, the surveys reflect a generally positive attitude towards internet and iPad use in and out of
school. However, two other analyzes of survey question responses were concerning in the
manner of internet support at school. Students were asked if there are other ways their school can
provide internet activities outside of class (Appendix E). This question was aimed at
understanding if students have a sense of freedom with their internet use outside of class and if
that creates or adds to any anxieties. Twenty three students surveyed answered 10: that their
school could have more ways to provide internet activities which reflect restrictions and access

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to internet use outside of the classroom but within the school. Additionally, students were asked
how supported they feel to use internet before and after school (Appendix F). The purpose this
question was to gauge the support by administrators with before and after school internet use,
particularly concerning students who might need access only at school. If school is the only place
for students to use internet, administration must consider those accommodations for particular
students or the entire school population. Students mainly answered 10: that they feel supported at
their school for this internet use. While this data shows positive experiences, the next highest
frequency is 5: meaning students are feeling neither supported nor unsupported. Considering the
internet need of some students, this data demonstrates a lack of access, help, or support for those
who need it and they are not quite receiving it to the best of the schools ability.
Discussion
While most students demonstrated a positive experience with iPad use regardless of
internet access outside of school, there are points of interest for this study. Students are
comfortable using their iPads and seem to know where they can access the internet outside of
school if need be. However, it is inside the school that students are showing slight discontent
from support surrounding their internet usage. At this point it is important to note that internet
blocks and observations are essential to the academic and social development of young learners
particularly in middle schools. The analysis of the data for this study did consider student
discontent may come from anti-authoritarian practices. Despite this notion, the volume of
students who indicated a concern in the support they receive from the school to use their iPads
and the internet outside of class should be considered equally.

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Correlations between dissatisfaction of internet support at school and internet access


outside of school is inconclusive. Students without internet access outside of school did not
consistently answer that they are disgruntled with support at school. Again, while a majority of
student appears to be pleased with their schools policies and support system, a fair number of
students would like to see more support especially before and after school. This study
demonstrates that there is not a clear link between a lack of internet access to anxieties in the
classroom concerning iPads. Throughout the process, student dislike or anxieties about internet
use comes from school support before and after school hours.
Creating environments where students can feel trusted and enabled with their internet use
while still in school can be important to lessening the discontented margin. Students without
internet access at home need to use school as a resource; however plans that discourage internet
use before and after school can hinder those students. While the intentions are well planned, they
can marginalize a population of students who require internet for one reason or another. Even
though students surveyed approve of their experience, the marginalized student demographic
appeared within the survey. Administration and teachers can use such data to provide safe and
secure (technically and physically) spaces for student internet engagement outside of the
classrooms.
Conclusion
This study should act as an awareness forum for parents, teachers, and administrators.
While there is little correlation between student anxieties and internet access, students surveys
show a significant enough disparity between support and their internet use outside of the
classroom. All school systems intend to keep their students digitally safe, however this study

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should demonstrate the need to consider the student voice in regards to their internet use.
Students would like to see more support for before and after school use and I would encourage
administrations to determine routes to hear student need in an effort to provide student-based
solutions.
Even though the correlations are low between internet access and anxieties, students
without internet access outside of school still need internet access. However the place the
requests internet use outside of school, decreases access before and after classes. This study
should serve as a starting point to understanding that while not the majority a significant
number of students need and use school for internet access. Administration should consider how
to incorporate a resource into the school environment outside of the classroom. Creating clubs,
home rooms, or library availabilities for just internet use outside of the classroom are a good
place to start in order to consider the student population without internet access at home and
those who need to feel more supported by their school.
Based on these suggestions, there is a requirement for more action research on how to
include student and internet use in an effort to support the student population. Action research
can fill as data collection tool for school administrations to find how best to support students
while still considering digital safety and authenticity.
Dissemination Plan
This study and its findings will be presented to a group of panelists and peers.
Additionally, this study will be available for colleague use through open discussion and for those
who are interested. Any peer with interest will have this study shared with them.

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Action Plan
Based on this study and its findings, the next steps would include sharing information and
solutions for student iPad support. Presenting this information benefits all students of the sample
school population, regardless of internet access outside of school though they might be highly
impacted for other reasons. Meeting with teachers and administrators about how to actively
engage student concern for means of creating an environment where students are free to securely
use internet (and iPads) before and after school. Additionally, in teaching at other schools, I will
take this understanding and research and subsequently provide the safe space for students before
and after school. My primary purpose would be to open a space for students to use internet
access outside of school hours in effort to create responsible and intentional internet users. I
would open my own class; however based on the school administration I would consider
organizing a club with these intentions in mind.

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References
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Field, G. B. (2009). The effect of using Renzulli Learning on student achievement: an
investigation of internet technology on reading and comprehension. International Journal
of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 4. Retrieved from http://online-journals.org/ijet/article/view/629
Kuhlemeier, H., Hemker, B. (2007). The impact of computer use at home on students Internet
skills. Computers and Education, 49, 460-480. Retrieved from http://ac.elscdn.com/S0360131505001399/1-s2.0-S0360131505001399-main.pdf?_tid=39affa5a7ac9-11e5-977500000aab0f02&acdnat=1445744218_c4be2199919170376a05499dc6f94e1a
Mumtaz, S. (2001). Childrens enjoyment and perception of computer use in the home and the
school. Computer and Education, 36, 347-362. Retrieved from http://ac.elscdn.com/S0360131501000239/1-s2.0-S0360131501000239-main.pdf?_tid=2f77a4067aca-11e5-9c5400000aab0f6b&acdnat=1445744630_c6bb5fe3a57224e89960c876ed9fdc97
Pierce, T. (2009). Social anxiety and technology: Face to face communication versus
technological communication among teens. Computers in Human Behavior, 25, 1367-

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1372. Retrieved from http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0747563209000971/1-s2.0S0747563209000971-main.pdf?_tid=2b9dc1b4-7ac8-11e5-897f00000aab0f01&acdnat=1445743764_39ff20fd89263807ca106da7f800f6e1


Rosen, L. D., Weil, M. M. (1995). Computer availability, computer experience and technophobia
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Smith, J. G. (2006). Parental involvement in education among low-income families: a case
study. School Community Journal, 16(1), 43-56. Retrieved from
http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ794804
Warschauer, M., Knobel, et al (2004). Technology and equity schooling: deconstructing the
Digital Divide. Educational Policy 18(4), 562-588 . Retrieved from
http://epx.sagepub.com/content/18/4/562.full.pdf+html
Woessmann, L., Fuchs, T. (2004). Computer and student learning: bivariate and multivariate
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Appendix

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STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

Appendix A
Personal Internet Survey

22

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

Appendix B

23

STUDY OF STUDENT ANXIETY AND INTERNET ACCESS OUTSIDE SCHOOL

Chart of Students with Internet Availability

Appe

Appendix C

24

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iPad Homework Completion Chart

iPad Homework Completion


35
30

Frequency

25
20

Having an iPad has really helped


me with completing my
homework

15
10
5
0
10

Linkert Scale Responses


10: Most agree - 1: least agree

Appendix D

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Teacher-Allotted Time Graph

Teacher-Allotted Time
30

25

Frequency

20

15

If I need to finish homework that


requires the internet at home, my
teachers give me options and
time to complete it

10

0
10

Linkert Scale Responses


10: Most agree - 1: least agree

Appendix E

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Outside Class Internet Activity Graph

Outside Class Internet Activity


25

Frequency

20

15

I believe CBMS can have


other/more ways for students
to use internet outside of
class

10

0
10

Linkert Scale Responses


10: Most agree - 1: Least agree

Appendix F

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Before and After School Internet Support Graph

Before and After School Internet Support


30

25

Frequency

20

15

I feel supported at CBMS to


use internet before or after
school

10

0
10

Linkert Scale Responses


10: Most agree - 1:Least agree