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University of Connecticut

DigitalCommons@UConnX
Northeastern Educational Research AssociationX
NERA Conference Proceedings 2012X 10-19- Ann
2012 ual
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(NERA) ce
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c http://digitalcommons.uconn.ed
The Effect of h
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Education Commons
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Student's o Recommended Citation
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Motivation and i Granito, Mark and Chernobilsky, Ellina, "The
Effect of Technology on a Student's
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Knowledge s
Motivation and Knowledge Retention"
(2012).

Retention k
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@ Paper 17.
http://digitalcommons.uconn.edu/nera_2012
Mark Granito c /17
a
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East Brunswick Public Schools, d
markgranito@gmail.com w
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Ellina Chernobilsky l
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Caldwell College, .
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention 1

TheEffectofTechnologyonaStudent's
MotivationandKnowledgeRetention

MarkD.Granito
EllinaChernobilsky

Abstract

Thepurposeofthisstudywastoexaminetheimpactthattechnologyhasonastudent'smotivationto
learnnewinformationandretainsaidinformation.Theprocedureinvolvedthecompletionoftwo
projectsoverthecourseofanineweekstudy.Onegroupwastocreatetraditionalstorybookprojects.
Asecondgroupwastocompletecomputerbasedprojects.Athirdgroupwasgiventhechoiceofwhich
projecttocomplete.Aprepostretentiontest,Likertscalesurveys,andpostprojectinterviewswere
usedtocollectthedata.Theresultsofthisstudysupporttheideathatwhengiventhechoiceofproject,
studentsretainknowledgenomatterwhichprojectischosen,traditionalorcomputerbased.

Introduction

Inaneverchangingtechnologicalworld,computersseemtobeattheforefrontofeducation.Atthesame
time,theexactimpactofusingtechnologyforinstructionisstillunknown.Somequestionsteaching
communitiesgrapplewitharetechnology'sroleinstudent'sdesiretolearnandhowtechnologyaffectsthe
retentionoftheinformation.Morespecifically,itwouldbeusefultoknowwhetherstudentsrespondina
morepositivemannertoparticipatinginasocialstudiesclasswhenusing

st
web2.0toolsversuswhenusingpaperbasedmethods.Foraneducatorinthe21 century,itisimportantto
gainadeeperunderstandingoftheimpactoftechnologyoneducation.Thegeneral
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention2questionthatguidedthisstudywasTowhat
extentdoestechnologyhelpstudentmotivationand

th
retentionofinformationina7 gradeSocialStudiesclassroom?Tothisend,forthisinvestigation,the
researchersoutlinedthreemajorgoals.First,thepurposeofthisstudyistouncoverstudents'
motivationforlearningwhenengagingwithtechnologyduringtheinstructionaltime.Thesecondgoal
istomeasuretheretentionofinformationafterusingtwodifferentmethodsofteaching.Thefinalgoal
ofthisstudyistoanalyzeasmallerspecialneedsgroupandhowtheirmotivationandretentionare
affectedbytechnologybasedprojects.

LiteratureReview

Motivationisafundamentalconcernamongteachers(LinnenbrinkandPintrich,2003).Motivating
studentsisacontinualproblemthroughouteducationandalthoughtherearenoclearcutsolutions,
thereareseveralstrategiestohelpteacherswiththedilemma(LinnenbrinkandPintrich).Motivationis
generallydefinedasaninternalconditionthatinitiatesbehavior(Motivation,2009).Motivationgets
humansgoing.Motivationarousesinterests.Motivationcreatesthewanttoachieveagoal.Teachers
arealwayslookingtoseewhatmotivatestheirstudents.Motivationisthekeytoacademicsuccessas
wellaspromotinglifelonglearning(Sanacore,2008).Thereluctancetolearnmustbeturnedintothe
wanttolearn.

Therearereluctantlearnersineveryclassroom.Reluctantlearnersaretheindividualsthatdonotfinish
theirassignmentsand,sometimes,avoidtasks.Reluctantlearnersarecontentwithjustgettingby.One
commonthreadamongreluctantlearnersistheirperceptionofthemselves,knownasselfefficacy
(Sanacore,2008).Iftheirselfefficacyislow,thentheirmotivationtoperformwillbelow.When
studentsareconstantlyberatedwithnegativecomments,theirselfesteemandselfefficacybecome
diminished.Student'sreluctancetolearnisalsoaffectedbytheassignmentsteacherscreate.Ifan
assignmentistooeasyortoodifficult,reluctantlearnersareunmotivatedtosucceed.Studentsare
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention3motivatedwhentheyfeelexcitedaboutatask
orfeelthatwhattheyaredoingisworthwhile(LinnenbrinkandPintrich,2003).Teachersmustadjust
theirteachingtomatchthemotivationsoftheirstudents.

Inatraditionalclassroom,teachersneedtoencouragestudents'intrinsicmotivation(Sanacore,2008).
Intrinsicmotivationstemsfromfactorssuchasinterestorcuriosity(WoolfolkHoyandHoy,2009).
Extrinsicmotivationfocusesonrewardsorincentives.Inordertomotivate,teachersmustencourage
andchallengetheirstudents(Sanacore,2008).Studentspresentedwithtooeasyortoodifficultmaterial
willeventuallybecomeboredandunmotivated.Inatraditionalclassroom,teachersmustdifferentiate
activitiesinordertoplacesomepowerintothehandsofthestudents(Sanacore).Thisfreedomcan
positivelyaffectthemotivationforastudentwhoisunwillingtoparticipate.Greatmotivatorsin
traditionalclassroomshouldencouragestudentstolovelearningandhelpstudentsmaintainhighself
efficacybeliefs(LinnenbrinkandPintrich,2003).Thisoftenprovestobethemostdifficulttaskfor
someteachers.Tomotivatestudents,teachersmustrelyonwhatinterestsstudentsandwhatthey
alreadyknowandwithwhichtheyaresuccessful.

Creatingactivitiesthatstudentsenjoyandrespondtoisachallengingtaskforteachersofallsubjects.
Introducingtechnologyinfusedlessonsmayprovetobeabeneficialmotivatorforeverygradelevel.
Digitalnativesrespondwelltotechnologyinfusedactivitiesbecauseoftheirfamiliaritywith
technology(Prensky,2001).Technologyandteachermotivationhavepositiveeffectsonstudent
motivation(Atkinson,2000).Becausestudentsrespondpositivelytotechnologyandaremotivatedby
technology,teachersshouldmakeconsciouseffortstocreateactivitiesthatencompasssomeformof
technologicaltool.Motivatedstudentswillbemorelikelytoperformattheirhighestlevelsbecauseof
theopportunitiesthattheirteachershavemadeavailable.

Retention

Insteadofmemorizingfactsforatest,teacherswanttheirstudentstoretaintheinformationlongerthana
week.Teachersfinditdifficulttoteachmoreandmorecurriculum(Wolfe,2001).Just
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention4coveringtheexpansecurriculumdoesnot
buildstrongconnectionsinstudent'smemory(Wolfe).Becauseofthepressuresofstandardizedtests,
teachersmustfinddifferentwaystoteachtherequiredcurriculumandhelpstudentsretainthe
necessaryinformation.

Inmanytraditionalclassrooms,teachersengageintraditionalstylesofteaching.Somegivelectures
wherestudentsareexpectedtotakecopiousnotes,whileothersassignvocabularywherestudentsare
expectedtomemorizedefinitionsandspellingsofimportantwords.Thesetwostylesofteachingfall
underthecategoryofroterehearsal(Wolfe,2001).Therepeatedrehearsingofinformationmayhelpa
studentstudyforavocabularytest,butdoesnothelpastudentretaininformation(Wolfe).Instead,
studentsshouldusethestrategyknownaselaborativerehearsal(Nuthall,2000).Onceastudent
elaboratesoninformation,theyaremorelikelytoretaintheinformationoveralongerperiodoftime
(Nuthall).Asstudentscollectnewinformationthatisunfamiliarandrelatethatmaterialtoinformation
theyalreadyknow,thentheywillbeabletoretainthisnewinformationmoreeasily.Studentsneedto
seemeaninginordertoremember.

Becausetodayschildrenhavegrownupwithadifferentdigitallandscapethantheirteachers(Jukes,2008),
they,mostlikely,areinspiredandmotivatedbydifferenttechnology.Todaysdigitalnativesspeaka
differentlanguagethantheirteachersdo(Prensky,2001).Forthesereasons,studentsof

st
the21 centurymayretainmoreinformationifitcomestothemthroughadigitalmedium.Inamore
digitalworld,onlineteachingtoolsarebetterforastudentsmemory(Miller,2009).Notonlyonline
tools,butdigitaltoolsingeneralarebetterforastudentsmemory.SMARTboards,digitalclickers,
andcomputersallspurinterestinachildandaremorelikelytomotivateastudenttoperformathisor
herhighestlevel(Miller).Onlinetoolsthatpromotecontentcreationamongstudents,suchasvideos,
audiopodcasts,andwebpages,aremoreeffectivestrategiesthantraditionalmethods(Miller).

LearningwithTechnology

Theeffectivenessoflearningwithtechnologyhasbeentackledfrombothsides.Thereis
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention5evidencethattheuseoftechnologyincreases
achievementandselfefficacy(Liu,Hsieh,Cho,andSchallert,2006),butsomestudiesindicatethatthe
useoftechnologyincertainareasisnotbeneficialtostudents(CramerandSmith,2002).Stillyet,
somestudiesshownolinkbetweentechnologyandachievement,butapositiverelationshipbetween
technologyuseanddiscipline(Garthwait,2007).

Technologyuseinschoolshashadmixedresults.Technologyintegrationmusthaveapurposeinorder
forittobebeneficialforproducingpositiveresults(CramerandSmith,2002).

Web2.0.VoiceThreadisapopularwebsitethatallowsuserstocreate,share,andlearnfromeachother.
VoiceThreadisawebbaseddigitalstorytellingtoolthatallowsuserstocreatedigitalslideshowswith
captivatingimages.ThesocialaspectofVoiceThreadallowsalluserstolearnandgrowwitheach
other.Usingdigitaltoolsallowsstudentstousetechnologywhileachievingthesameobjectivesof
thosestudentsusingtraditionalmethodsoflearning.

DigitalStorytelling.Storytellinghasbeenaneducationalmethodforcenturies.Aschildrenbecome
personallyinvolvedwiththestory,theyaremorelikelytolearnfromit.Digitalstorytellinghelps
childrenactivelyparticipateinthelearninginsteadofpassivelywatching(Ohler,2005).Childrengain
manyskillsthroughstorytelling.Thetellingofstoriesorallyhelpsstudentsdeveloptheirlistening
skills,planningskills,andallowsstudentstocreateacademiccontentintheirownlanguage(Ohler,
2008).Criticalthinkingskillswilldevelopasthelistenerisguidedthroughthestory.Listeningtoand
creatingstoriesprovidesachildwiththeframeworktotelltheirownstoriesabouttheirownlives
(Ohler).

Withtheadventoftechnology,storytellinghastakenonadigitalmedium.Storytellinghasgonefrom
spokenwordstotextandnowtomediawiththearrivalofthedigitalage(Gils,2005).Digitalstorytelling
offersnewwaystoeducatepeople(Ohler,2008).Duringthecreationprocess,studentscanpersonalize
theircreationwithrelevantpicturesthatalignwiththestory.Notonlyarestudentsaffordedtheopportunity
tousetechnology,buttheyalsohavethepotentialfordeeperlearning(Ohler).Digitalstorytellingallows
studentstheopportunitytobecomemorecreativewiththeirstories(Robin,2008
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention 6

Method

Participants

Theparticipantsinvolvedinthisactionresearchstudyconsistedof102seventhgradestudentsenrolled
inaWorldHistorycourseinfivesocialstudiesclasses.Allparticipantswerebetweentheagesof12
and13yearsold.Therewere50boysand52girlsinvolvedwiththisactionresearch.Therewere5
ethnicitiesinvolvedwiththisactionresearchstudy:86Caucasian,2Black,5Asian,2Indian,and7
LatinAmerican.Sixoftheparticipantshadindividualizededucationplans(IEP)andwereclassified
withspecialeducationneeds.Threeoftheparticipantshelda504educationplan.

Thestudentsinthestudyweresplitintothreegroups:experimentgroupA,experimentgroupBanda
controlgroup.ExperimentgroupAconsistedofthosestudentsinthetwoclassesthathadhistory
duringtheperiods4and5.ExperimentgroupBwasagroupofstudentsinanInClassSupport(ICS)
classthathadanadditionalspecialeducationteacher.Thecontrolgroupofstudentswerethestudents
inthetworemainingclassesthatmetduringtheperiods1and3.

Participantswerebrokenupintothreedifferentgroupsduringthisprojectinordertotesttheoriginal
researchquestion.GroupBwaschosenastheexperimentgroupbecauseoftheneedtodifferentiate
assignmentsforthevarietyofdifferentlearnersintheclass.

ThestudytookplaceinasuburbanmiddleschoolinNewJersey.Theteacherinallfiveclasseswhat
thefirstauthorofthisstudy.

TheUnitofStudy

Allparticipantsincludedinthestudywereenrolledintheregularseventhgradesocialstudiescourse.
TheseventhgradesocialstudiescurriculumcoveredEarlyMan,EarlyCivilizations,AncientEgypt,
AncientIndia,AncientChina,AncientGreece,andAncientRome.Thestudywasconductedatthe
timewhenthestudentsstudiedAncientChina.

Materials

Thequantitativemethodsthatwereusedincludedaseriesoftests.Studentstookonepretestat
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention7thebeginningoftheunitofstudy.Thistest
consistedof35multiplechoicequestions.Thepurposeofthispretestwastoseewhatthestudent
previouslyknewaboutAncientChina.Attheendoftheunit,studentstookaposttest.Thistestwas
identicaltothepretest.Thepurposeofthistestwastomeasuretheextenttowhichstudentslearned
thecontentofstudyimmediatelyaftertheteaching.Finally,aretentiontestwasgiventwoweeksafter
thestudywasover.Again,thistestwasidenticaltothepreandposttest,exceptfortheorderofthe
questions.Thisquantitativemeasurewasgiventostudentsinordertoseehowmuchinformationthe
studentsinbothgroupsrememberedaftertheAncientChinaUnitwaswellover.Thethreetests
allowedtheresearchertoseewhetherornotthestudentslearnedandthenretainedtheinformation.

Onequalitativemethodofdatacollectionincludedadailyjournal.Aftereachclass,theresearcher
wrotedownwhatoccurredinclassthatday.Theresearcherlookedfordiscontent,motivation,
excitement,engagement,andfocus.Thismethodofcollectingdatawaschosenbecauseitallowedthe
researchertoexaminenotonlywhatthestudentsdid,butalsohowtheyfeltabouttheprocess.

Anotherqualitativeinstrumentofdatacollectionincludedasurveycompletedattheendofthe9week
study.Eachofthethreegroupsofstudentswasgivena12questionsurvey.Theuseofthegroup
surveyprovedbeneficialinassessingtheoverallemotionsofthe9weekstudy.Thesesurveyswere
importanttothisparticularactionresearchprojectbecauseofthedifferentgroupsinvolved.

Becausethetriangulationofdatawasextremelyimportant,afourthqualitativeinstrumentofmeasure
wasincludedinthisstudy.Theresearcherconductedtenminuteinterviewsofparticipants.The
participantswereallowedtoelaborateonseveralquestionswithoutjudgmentorencouragementfrom
theresearcher.

Procedure

Duringthecourseofthisresearch,thethreegroupsofstudentswereinvolvedwithtwoprojects.
ExperimentgroupAcompletedthesetwoprojectsinacomputerlab.ExperimentgroupBstudentshad
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention8achoiceofwhethertousetechnologywhile
workingontheprojectornot.Finally,thecontrolgroupdidalltheirworkintheclassroomwithoutthe
useoftechnology,nevervisitingthecomputerlabduringthisresearch.

Onthefirstdayofthestudy,allstudentsinthestudytookthepretesttoassesstheirpreviousknowledgeof
AncientChina.Afterfourteendaysofinstruction,studentsenteredintoaprojectweek.Overthecourseof
fiveschooldays,studentscreatedastorybook.TheexperimentgroupAcreatedadigitalstoryutilizing
VoiceThreadinthecomputerlab,theparticipantsintheexperimentgroupBhadtheoptionwhethertouse
thetechnologyornot,andthecontrolgroupcreatedapaperbasedstorybook.

DuringthefirsttwoweeksofFebruary,studentsreenteredtheclassroomfortenmoredaysof
instruction.Aftertenmoredaysofinstruction,studentsenteredintoasecondprojectweek.Again,the
experimentgroupAcreatedadigitalstoryutilizingVoiceThreadinthecomputerlab,theparticipants
intheexperimentgroupBhadtheoptionwhethertousethetechnologyornot,andthecontrolgroup
createdapaperbasedstorybook.

DuringthethirdweekofFebruary,studentstookthesurveysthatmirroredtheconditionineachgroup,
i.e.studentsintheexperimentgroupsAandBweredirectedtoanonlinesurveyinwhichtheiranswers
wereemaileddirectlytotheresearcher,andthecontrolgroupparticipantsweregiventheLikertsurvey
onpaper.

ThefinalweekofFebruarywasdedicatedtoanymakeupsurveysand/orinterviewsthatneededtobe
conductedbecauseofabsenteeism.Afterallsurveysandinterviewswerecompleted,twoweeksafter
thecompletionoftheunit,theparticipantstookaretentiontest.

Results

Theaveragescoreonthepretestwas19.08outof35possiblepoints.Theaverageposttestscorefor
allparticipantswas27.15.Theaveragescoreontheretentiontestforallparticipantswas28.07.Table
1summarizestheresultsbyeachgrouponallthreetests.
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention9Theresultsofthepretestwerelowforallthe
groups.Theaveragemeanscoreforthepretest

forallthreegroupswas19.08withastandarddeviationof3.48,indicatingquitearangeofresponses
onthepretest.

Theaveragemeanscore(themeanscoreforthethreegroups)fortheposttestwas27.15witha
standarddeviationof3.95.Thestandarddeviationof3.95,whichissimilartothepretest(3.48)
indicatesthatthespreadofresponsesremainedequalonthetwotests.Twofactorsmayexplainlower
thanexpectedposttestscores.First,certainstudentsmaynothavepreparedforthetest.Second,
studentabsencesthroughoutthestudymayalsoexplainthelowerthanexpectedposttestscores.

Table1

MeanandStandardDeviationsforthethreetestgroupsonPre,Post,andRetentionTests

Group
N
PreTest
PostTest
RetentionTest

ExperimentGroupA(computer)
42
19.24(3.33)
26.48(4.23)
26.64(5.30)

ExperimentGroupB(option)
17
19.47(2.96)
27.47(3.74)
29.18(4.45)

Control(paper)
43
18.77(3.83)
27.67(3.75)
29.02(4.10)
Themeanscorefortheretentiontestforallthreegroupswas28.07withastandarddeviationof4.79.
Seventyeightpercentoftheparticipantsachievedretentiontestscoresequaltoorhigherthantheir
respectiveposttestscores.Atthesametime,thestandarddeviation,whichincreasedontheretention
test,indicatesthatattheretentiontest,thereweremorescoresdeviatingfromthemeanineither
directionthantherewereateitherpreorposttest.

Table1showsaretentiontestscoreof26.64fortheexperimentgroup.Whencomparingexperimentgroup
A'smeanscoreontheretentiontest(Table1)withthemeanscoreoftheretention
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention10testfromtheparticipantsthatchosethe
computerbasedprojectfromexperimentgroupB(Table2),yougetadifferenceof3.03points.Onecan
explainthisdifferenceifonetakesintoaccountthattheparticipantsinexperimentgroupAwereallforced
toworkonthecomputer,whiletheparticipantsinexperimentgroupBhadtheirchoiceofproject.Tosee
whethertherewasasignificancedifferencebetweenthegroups,theANOVAanalyseswerecarriedout.
TheANOVAshowsasignificantdifferencebetweenthegroupsattheretentiontestF(2,99)=3.316,p<
0.040.PosthoccomparisonsindicatedthatthedifferenceisbetweenexperimentgroupAandexperiment
groupB,Dunnettt=2.543,p<.051.

Table2demonstratesabreakdownofexperimentgroupB.Theparticipantsthatcompletedthe
computerbasedprojectinexperimentgroupBhadthehighestoverallretentiontestscore,29.67(SD=
4.18).TheparticipantsthatcompletedthepaperbasedprojectinexperimentgroupBhadamean
retentiontestscoreof28.33(SD=5.09).OftheseventeenparticipantsinexperimentgroupB,only
twoswitchedprojectshalfwaythroughtheresearch.Thesetwoparticipantsscoredameanretention
testscoreof29.50withastandarddeviationof6.36.SinceexperimentgroupBhadtheirchoiceof
project,theseparticipantschosethetypeofprojectthatbestsuitstheireducationalneeds.

Table2

Means(andStandardDeviations)onPre,Post,andRetentionTestofthreesubgroupswithin
ExperimentGroupB

No.
PreTest
PostTest
Retention

Test

ExperimentGroupB(Paper)
6
19.00(1.67)
26.00(5.22)
28.33(5.09)
ExperimentGroupB(Computer)
9
19.33(3.74)
28.11(2.71)
29.67(4.18)
ExperimentGroupB(switchedprojects)
2
21.50(2.12)
29.00(2.83)
29.50(6.36)
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention11
TotalParticipation
17
19.47(2.96)
27.47(3.74)29.18(4.45)

Inaddition,experimentgroupBhadsixparticipantswithIEPs.Bythesecondproject,thesestudentsall
completedthecomputerbasedproject.Sincethesestudentsweremoreawareoftheireducational
disabilities,theyweremorelikelytochoosetheeducationalmethodsthatmatchedtheirlearningstyle.
Byusingcomputerbasedmethods,thesesixparticipantswithIEPssucceededontheirpostand
retentiontestsbecauseofhowtheyvisualizedtheinformationonthecomputerscreen.

Table3showstheresultsfromtheLikertscalesurveygiventoexperimentgroupA.Theresultsofthe
Likertscalesurveyforthisgroupindicatethatparticipantsfromthisexperimentgroup,onaverage,
agreedthattechnologyhelpedthemremembertheAncientChinaUnitandmotivatedthemtolearn.

Table3

MeansandStandardDeviationsofLikertscalesurveyquestionsgiventoexperimentgroupA.

Standard

Question
Mean
Deviation

IlikedusingTechnologyforthistypeofproject.
4.59
0.72

IwouldwanttouseVoiceThreadinthefuture.
4.33
1.00
ByusingTechnology,I'llremembertheAncientChinaUnitbetter.
4.03
1.20

Usingtechnologymotivatedmetolearn.
4.07
1.17

VoiceThreadwaseasytouse.
4.87
0.44

Iwouldliketousecomputerstolearnhistoryinthefuture.
4.42
1.02
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention 12

Table4showstheresultsfromtheLikertscalesurveygiventoexperimentgroupB.Sincethere

aretwodistinctivelydifferentgroupsansweringthissurvey,itwasimportanttoincludetwodifferent
meansandstandarddeviations;onefortheparticipantswhocompletedthecomputerbasedprojectsand
onefortheparticipantswhocompletedthepaperbasedprojects.

Table4

MeanandStandardDeviationvaluesofLikertscalesurveygiventoexperimentgroupA.

Computer
Paper

Question
Mean
SD
Mean
SD

IpreferVoiceThreadforthisproject.
4.59
0.96
1.79
0.8

IwouldwanttouseVoiceThreadinthefuture.
4.73
0.55
1.21
0.43
Byusingtechnology,I'llremembertheAncientChinaUnitbetter.
4.27
0.83
2.21
1.12

Usingtechnologymotivatedmetolearn.
4.23
0.97
1.86
0.86

IwillnotremembertheAncientChinaUnitbecauseofVoiceThread
1.64
0.66
3.79
1.19

Iprefertoworkonatraditionalprojectthanusethecomputer.
1.55
0.96
4.07
0.83

Iwouldwanttousepaperforthistypeofprojectinthefuture.
1.27
0.55
4.79
0.43

Byusingpaper,I'llremembertheAncientChinaUnitbetter.
1.73
0.83
4.07
0.83

Completingapaperbasedprojectmotivatesmetolearn.
1.77
0.97
4.14
0.86
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention 13

Iprefertoworkonacomputerthanworkonapaperbasedproject.
4.45
0.96
1.93
0.83

WhenaskediftheywouldremembertheAncientChinaUnitbecausetheyusedtechnology,theparticipants
whochosethecomputerbasedprojectstronglyagreed(Mean=4.27,SD=0.83),whileparticipantsthatchose
thepaperbasedprojectdisagreedasindicatedbyalowmeanof2.21(SD=1.12).Itwasevidentthatthose
participantswhoworkedonthecomputerbasedprojectpreferredusingtechnologyoverpaperbasedmethods,
whilethosewhoinitiallychosetraditionalpaperbasedprojectclearlydidsobecauseoftheirdislikeofor
discomfortinthecomputeruseinlearning

Table5showsthemeanandstandarddeviationvaluesfromtheLikertscalesurveygiventothecontrol
group.

Table5

MeanandStandardDeviationvaluesofLikertscalesurveygiventocontrolgroup

Standard

Question
Mean
Deviation

Ilikedusingatraditionalmethodforthistypeofproject.
4.04
0.82

Iwouldwanttoparticipateonthistypeofprojectinthefuture.
3.40
1.13

Byusingtraditionalmethods,I'llremembertheAncientChinaUnitbetter.
4.18
0.93

Usingtraditionalmethodsmotivatedmetolearn.
4.07
0.95

Theprojectwaseasytouse.
4.50
0.81

Iwouldliketousepapertolearnhistoryinthefuture.
3.62
0.95

ParticipantsinterviewedfromexperimentgroupAthoughttheircomputerprojectwasfunandeasyaswell.
WhenaskedwhyhelikedtheVoiceThread,oneparticipantresponded,itwasfuntohavetheheadseton.
Thesameparticipantclaimedthathiseyesaredrawntoelectronics.Atthesame
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention14time,notalltheparticipantsinterviewed
fromexperimentgroupAlikedtheVoiceThread.Oneintervieweefeltthepressuresofthetimeframe
oftheprojects.ThissameparticipantfeltthattheVoiceThreadprojectdidnothelpherlearnabout
AncientChinaandthatwasalsoevidencedinthelowscoreofherretentiontest.However,eventhough
shewasnegativeabouttheVoiceThreadprojectandofferednosuggestionsforimprovingtheproject,
shestillfeltitwasbetterthancompletingthepaperbasedproject.

IntervieweesfromexperimentgroupBwerestrategicallypicked.Theresearcherwantedtochoosea
participantthatcompletedthepaperbasedproject,aparticipantthatcompletedthecomputerbased
project,andaparticipantthatswitchedprojects.OftheparticipantsfromexperimentgroupB,onlytwo
switchedfrompapertocomputerswhencompletingtheirsecondproject.Thesetwohappenedtobe
twinbrotherswiththeIEPs.Whileinterviewingthesetwinsseparately,theresearcherheardvery
differentopinions.Oneoftheparticipantslikedtheprojects,whiletheotherdidnot.Oneparticipant
switchedhisprojecttotheVoiceThreadbecausehewantedtolearnwithtechnology,whiletheother
thoughtitwaseasiertocomplete.OneparticipantwasmotivatedtogetstraightA's,whiletheother
justwantedtogetitdonequickly.Theretentiontestscoresforthesetwoparticipantsalsodiffered.
TheparticipantthatwasmotivatedbystraightA'sscoreda34onhisretentiontest,whiletheother
scoreda25.Sinceeachparticipantinthisexperimentgrouphadthechoice,realmotivationswere
clearlyevident.

Wheninterviewed,participantsfromthecontrolgrouphadonecommonfeelingtowardsthepaperbased
project:itwasfunandeasy.WhenaskedhowthisprojecthelpedthemlearnaboutAncientChina,one
intervieweeresponded,writingsentenceshelpedmemakeconnectionswiththepictures.Most
participantsinthecontrolgroupagreedthatcompletingtheprojectwasbetterthanbookwork.

AnalysisofData

Ifthechoiceofprojectweregiventoallparticipants,itislikelythattheresultswouldbedifferent.When
giventhechoice,participantswillchoosetheprojectthatbestsuitstheireducational
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention15needs.Therewereparticipantsin
experimentgroupAthatwouldhavechosentoworkonthepaperbasedassignments,whiletherewere
participantsinthecontrolgroupthatwouldhavechosentoworkonthecomputerbasedassignments.
Eventhoughstudentsmayseemmoreinterestedandmotivatedwithcomputers,thisdoesnot
necessarilymeantheylearnbestwithcomputers.

TheparticipantsinexperimentgroupAhadlowerlevelsoflearningandretention,butenjoyedlearning
withtechnology

Whentakingacloserlookatindividualscoresonthequantitativetests,theresearchernoticedanother
phenomenonwiththeresults.Afterexaminingtheresults,therewasanoticeablegroupingof
participantsineachofthethreegroupstherewerestudentswhodidnotretaininformation,students
whoretainedsomeinformation,andthosewholearnedandretainedalotofinformation.Figure1
displaysindividualresultsofpretest,posttest,andretentiontestscorestakenfromselectparticipants

fromexperimentgroupA.Participants1and2showlowerretentiontestscoresthanposttestscores.
Whensurveyed,Participant1claimedthatusingtechnologyhelpedremembertheAncientChinaUnit.
Participant2wasanextremecasewhere,althoughahighpretestandposttestscore,theretentiontest
scoreislow.
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention16Wheninterviewed,Participant2strongly
disagreedthatusingtechnologywouldhelpremember

theAncientChinaunit.Participants3and5showedsomesignsoflearninggiventheirpretestscores.
Eventhoughtheseparticipant'sretentiontestsscoresincreasedfromtheirposttestscores,theywere
notfullyconvincedthattheyenjoyedusingtechnologytolearn.

Figure2displaystheresultsofpretest,posttest,andretentiontestfromallparticipantsinexperiment
groupB.Thisgroupdisplayedoverallgreaternumbersontheirposttestandretentiontestscores.The
Figureindicatesthattheparticipants10,13,and17hadretentiontestscoresslightlylowerthantheir
posttestscores.Ontheirsurveys,bothparticipants10and13claimedthattheuseoftechnologywould
nothelpthemremembertheAncientChinaunit.Whengiventheopportunity,Participant13switched
fromthepaperbasedprojecttothecomputerbased.Allthreeoftheseselectparticipantsclaimedthat
thecompletionofapaperbasedprojectwouldnotmotivateorhelpthemremembertheinformation.
Thesethreeparticipantsalsohappentobeclassifiedasspecialeducation.
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention17Eventhoughtheyhadtheopportunityto
choosetheirownproject,thesestudentscontinuallystruggledwiththecontentbeingtaught.

Participants2,3,and15showedsignsoflearningalittlegiventheslightincreaseintheirposttest
scoresandsubsequentslightlyhigherscoresontheirretentiontest.

Participants1,4,and6showedsignsoflearningalotgiventheirlowerpretestscoresandrelatively
higherposttestscores.Theseparticipantswerealsoabletoretainthisinformationandscored30or
aboveontheirretentiontests.

OnenoteworthycaseisParticipant8.Althoughthelowpretestscoreandevenlowerposttestscore,
Participant8scoredaslightlyhigherretentiontestscore,whichshowssignsoflearning.Eventhough
testscoreswerelow,thisparticipantwasstillcapableoflearning.Eventhoughthisparticipant'sscores
werelow,therewasnoswitchfrompaperbasedtocomputerbasedproject.Thisstudentstuckwiththe
storybookbecausesheknewshedidnotwanttotryherluckonthecomputer.

Figure3exhibitstheresultsofselectsixparticipantsfromthecontrolgroup.Unlikethepatternthatcanbe
seeninFigures1and2,thisfigureindicatesthatallparticipantsperformedbetteratposttestthantheydid
atthepretest.ExaminingtheFigurefurther,onecanseethatParticipants1and2had
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention18retentiontestscoresthatwereconsiderably
lowerthantheirposttestscores.EventhoughParticipant2scored30ontheposttest,informationwas
notretained.Whenreviewingthesurveyresultsfortheseparticipants,theresearcherdiscoveredthat
participants1and2scoredrelativelylowonaquestionthataskedifthetraditionalprojectwasa
motivatorforlearning.

Participants3and5scoredhigherontheirposttestthanpretestandyetevenhigherontheirretention
tests.Thisshowsinformationwaslearnedandretainedaftertwoweeks.Theseparticipantsboth
stronglyagreedthatthepaperbasedprojectwasastrongmotivatortolearn.Also,bothparticipants
agreedthattraditionalmethodswillhelpthemremembertheAncientChinaunit.Althoughparticipant
3stronglydisagreedabouttheeaseoftheproject,thisparticipantstillretainedinformationafterthe
completionofthestudy.

Finally,Participants4and6,whosepretestscoreswererelativelylow,butretentiontestscoreswere
equaltoorgreaterthantheirposttestscores,bothstronglyagreedwhenaskedifthepaperbased
projectwouldhelpthemremembertheAncientChinaunit.Eventhoughthispaperbasedprojectdid
notnecessarilymotivateParticipants4and6tolearn,theystillscoredhighontheposttestand
sustainedthatscoreontheretentiontest.

Discussion

Itwasdiscoveredinthisresearch,thatstudentswhochosetocompleteprojectsusingavailable
technologyscoredsignificantlybetterthanstudentswhowereforcedtouseavailabletechnology.
Muchtotheresearcher'ssurprise,whengiventhechoicebetweencompletingapaperbasedprojector
completingacomputerbasedproject,theclasswasvirtuallysplitdownthemiddle.Previous
assumptionswouldhaveledthisresearchertobelievethatmoreseventhgradestudentswouldhave
chosentoworkonthecomputerovertraditionalmethodsoflearning.

Thisresearchfoundamixofstudentsthatwouldnothavechosentoworkonthecomputerifgiventhe
choice.Whatwentwrongforthesedigitalnativesintheirpreviousschooling?Didtheyhaveateacherthat
didnotknowhowtousetechnology?Didtheyhaveateacherthatpoisonedtheirminds
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention19withhatredtowardstechnology?Dothey
havetherightequipmentathomeandaretheyallowedtouseittogaintheproficiencytheyneedto
learnthetechnologylanguage?Thesestudentswereobviouslyuncomfortableinfrontofacomputer
becausecomputersdidn'tlikethemorcomputersweretoodifficulttounderstand.Butthenthere
wasanothergroupofstudentsthatwouldhavechosentoworkonthecomputerifgiventhechoice.
Whywerethesestudentsacceptingoftechnology?Didtheyhaveapreviousteacherthatencouraged
themtousethecomputerorwasenthusiasticwhenteachingwithtechnology?Didtheyhaveaparent
thattaughtthemtousethecomputeratanearlierage?Thesestudentspreferredthecomputerand
succeededincreatingmeaningfulVoiceThreads.Theseareallthequestionsthatthefutureresearch
studiesmusttakeintoconsiderationandtrytoexplore.

ImplicationsforTeaching

Theresultsofthisstudybroughtmixedfeelings.Althoughtheresultsfromtheprepostretentiontests
indicateagreaterposttestscoreforthecontrolgroupandexperimentgroupBthanexperimentgroup
A,itseemedasthoughparticipatingintheVoiceThreadprojectwasmoredesiredthanparticipatingin
thepaperbasedstorybookproject.MotivationforlearningwashigherwithinexperimentgroupAand
groupB,buttestscoresweregreaterinthecontrolgroup.Eventhoughthereisadesirefortechnology
use,thisresearchpointstogreaterachievementandknowledgeretentionwithouttheuseofcomputers.
Previousyearsofschoolingmaypointtothereasonsbehindthisphenomenon.

Researchshouldbetakenonparticipantsthatchoosetheirstyleofproject.Participantswillchoosea
projectthatbestsuitstheireducationalneeds.Ifsupposeddigitalnativesdonotchoosetechnology,
thenresearchmustdelveintotheirpreviousschooling.Perhaps,alongitudinalstudyofschoolprojects
completedovermanyyearscouldpointtosomeinsightastowhyaparticularstudentisuncomfortable
aroundtechnology.

Duringthisresearchproject,Ibecamemoreawareofhowstudentsmaywanttolearnas

st
opposedtohowtheylearnbest.Manystudentsinthe21 centurygravitatetowardstechnologybecause
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention20theythinkitisfunandeasy.Sometimes,
justbecauseaprojectisfunandeasydoesnotmeanthatstudentwilllearninformation.

Conclusion

Theresearcherconcludesthattechnologyhasthepotentialtobeapowerfuleducationaltoolforthose
thathaveinterestinit.Forstudentswithnointerestinusingtechnology,theywillstillbenefit
educationallyfromtraditionalmethods.Thisresearchalludestothefactthatassigningacomputer
basedprojecthaphazardlytoagroupofstudentswillnotnecessarilygeneratehightestscores.There
needstobeinterestandmotivationwithusingtechnologyinthefirstplaceforstudentstosucceed.As
withanyinstructionaltopic,technologyneedstobetaughtandembracedatanearlyage.Ifstudentsare
taughttohatetechnologyatanearlyage,thentheirdisdainfortechnologymayfollowthemintotheir
lateryears.
http://wwwhome.cs.utwente.nl/~theune/VS/Frank_van_Gils.pdf
TechnologyanditsEffectonMotivationandRetention 21

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