Presentation on theme: "The Use Of Computer Technology For Literacy Intervention: Factors contributing to the use of computer-delivered skills-based literacy software. John Morgan."— Presentation transcript:
The Use Of Computer Technology For Literacy Intervention: Factors contributing to the use of computer-delivered skills-based literacy software. John Morgan Toronto Catholic District School Board Institute of Child Study, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Nicholas White Toronto Catholic District School Board Jennifer Lasenby Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Andrew Portal Toronto Catholic District School Board Marina Vanayan Toronto Catholic District School Board
2 Secondary School Literacy Provincial, National, and International assessments indicate that a sizable proportion of the adolescent and adult population is below grade/age expectations in reading and writing. E.g., EQAO, SAIP, and PISA assessments refer to concerns in overall achievement, as well as concerns about group differences.
4 Background: Information Computer Technology (ICT) in the Schools In the past several years, there has been a strong push to bring technology into the schools, and to integrate it into the curriculum; Research indicates that there are a variety of benefits resulting from bringing ICT into the classroom; However,there are also a variety of challenges.
5 Background: Challenges of ICT in the Schools A review of research literature found: Teachers perceive that a lack of sufficient money to provide the professional development required for teachers severely limits the ability to put ICT to appropriate use. Teachers would also make better use of ICT in their classroom if they saw reliable evidence that it is beneficial. Many teachers feel that they have not received enough professional development to use ICT in their classroom in a way that allows them to use technology within their particular subject. In addition, teachers need training to use computers in a way to integrate them into the curriculum with a focus on literacy development.
6 Background: Other reasons why teachers dont use ICT –There is not enough technical support in the schools to make sure that the computers and the software are running properly; many computers sit unusable because they are not functioning. –Not enough computers to run the software. –Not enough time for teachers to try out the software. –Academic subjects suffer while teachers take the time to teach ICT to their students, as well as figure it out themselves. –Not enough time in the teachers college curriculum to train teachers to use ICT. –Some teachers believe that ICT is not the best way to help students learn, they need more individual and personal contact with teachers. –Difficulty finding software that suits individual teacher and student needs. (Trotter, 1999)
8 Secondary school staff in a large urban school board were surveyed on their use of computer-based literacy interventions; Specific questions focused on the Academy of Reading software program; Survey questionnaires also probed more general issues of literacy instruction in secondary school.
9 Current Study: The Academy of Reading Software Program The Academy of Reading is a computer based training program designed to help underachieving students develop effective reading skills. The program is built on a solid foundation of research-based principles (Autoskill, 1999). The software uses a balanced approach to reading instruction, incorporating elements of phonemic awareness, fluency and decoding skills, automaticity principles, and reading comprehension, and utilizing a mastery approach to learning. The software package has been made available to all schools in the school board.
10 Current Study: Survey Responses Survey questionnaires were received from 1,128 respondents; Respondents included 55 administrators, 201 department heads, and 852 teachers; 24% of all teachers responding to the survey had graduated from a pre-service teacher-training program in the past 5 years.
12 Main Findings: Literacy Only 41% respondents indicated that their pre-service teacher-training program provided them with sufficient knowledge and skills to address secondary school student literacy (23% responded definitely no, 36% respondedno). Some respondents indicated that their training focused on content areas, and that secondary school teachers address subject content not literacy skills (teachers also indicated that literacy was an elementary concern – not a secondary concern).
13 Main Findings: Literacy A large proportion of respondents indicated a need for additional professional development training. However, teachers and department heads indicated that the three most significant factors impeding student progress were: –student emotional, attitudinal and behavioural –instructional, curriculum and administrative –reading proficiency and writing proficiency Principals vice-principals responded quite differently than teachers (identifying a large range of student, administrative, and professional development factors impeding progress).
15 Main Findings: Academy of Reading and ICT: Attitudes Only 16% of all teachers indicated that they believed that computer- based literacy interventions were more effective than non-computer- based interventions; 18% of all teachers indicated that computer-based literacy interventions were less effective than non-computer-based interventions; 43% of all teachers indicated that they were not sure. Attitudes about the Academy of Reading were similar: –22% of teachers indicated that the software had improved literacy levels; –9% of all teachers indicated that the software had not improved literacy levels; –70% of all teachers indicated that they were not sure Again, administrator responses differed dramatically from those of the teachers (they were far less unsure, and had much more positive attitudes in toward the Academy of Reading and in general).
16 Main Findings: Academy of Reading and ICT: Obstacles to Implementation Among respondents in schools not using the software, several factors emerged as reasons for not implementing: –The first factor focused on staff time, work-space and administrative issues, and computer hardware issues. –The second focused on lack of staff and student interest, along with lack of time. –The third was comprised of staff who did not know why Academy of Reading was not implemented in their school. –The fourth was comprised of staff who thought that other interventions were more effective for students who did not achieve well in literacy. A large number of these respondents answered Dont know. 8% referred to another software package they felt was more effective; 11% referred to one-on-one instruction as being more effective than computerized intervention packages.
17 Main Findings: Academy of Reading and ICT: Impediments to Implementation Teachers in schools using the software were asked about the difficulties and problems they encountered implementing the software. Items included (in order of magnitude) : –Insufficient training, –Monitoring difficulties / lack of personnel, –Network problems, –Computer hardware difficulties, –Computer software difficulties, –Lack of computer hardware (including peripherals), –Lack of staff interest, –Lack of a successful implementation plan, –Loss of student data, –Lack of student interest, –Difficulty registering students.
18 Main Findings: Academy of Reading and ICT: Impediments to Implementation When teacher responses were analyzed two main factors emerged: –Factor 1 (accounting for 43% of the variance) focused on hardware, network and software problems. Between 50% and 79% of participants reported computer related problems. –Factors 2 (accounting for an additional 14% of the unique variance) focused on problems with training, staff and student interest, supervision issues and implementation problems.
20 Discussion: Training and Professional Development Most teachers dont believe that they have sufficient training in terms of general literacy or in terms of specific interventions such as the Academy of Reading; Not all secondary school teachers feel literacy is their responsibility; In many cases, teachers and administrators agree that they could address literacy demands to a much greater extent if they received substantially more professional development – however, professional development appears to occurs infrequently. One of the major impediments to implementing the software program was reported to be limited professional development and training.
21 Discussion: Challenges to Implementation In schools using the intervention software, the greatest challenge to implementation was hardware, network, and software difficulties. Respondents from these schools reported a variety of training, time, and staff/students issues impeding implementation. In schools not using the software intervention, the main reasons reported for not using the software included staff time, administrative and hardware issues. In addition, respondents identified lack of staff (and student) interest, as well as a lack of time within the school day timetable as reasons for not using the software. These findings are in line with more general ICT implementation research (Trotter, 1999).
22 Discussion: Challenges to Implementation McKenzie (2000) emphasizes that teachers would make better use of ICT in their classrooms if they saw reliable evidence that it is beneficial. In the current study, teachers and department heads are consistently unsure whether computer-based interventions are superior to non- computer-based interventions. As well, the respondents appear to be unsure whether the specific intervention, the Academy of Reading, is effective in addressing literacy concerns. This uncertainty about the efficacy of the Academy of Reading and other computer-based interventions may underlie some of the hesitancy of teachers to implement the software program.
23 Discussion: Attitudes of Administrators and Teachers Results from the study indicate substantial differences in attitudes between administrators (principals and vice- principals) and teachers. Large differences appeared in: –Attitudes toward the efficacy of computer-based literacy interventions (as opposed to non-computer-based interventions), –Attitudes toward the effectiveness of the Academy of Reading software package to improve reading levels. Further research is needed to explore these differences in attitudes toward ICT in the classroom.
25 Conclusion: Current research indicates that more general computer/ICT concerns tend to be the greatest impediments to implementation of computer- based literacy interventions. This study confirms that ICT/computer concerns were perceived by teachers as being central reasons for not implementing. However, more general literacy attitudes and training must also be considered when assessing the use of literacy intervention software. Future research is required to determine which of these factors is most salient with respect to implementation of computer-based literacy intervention software.