Technology, Measurement and Assessment in Education

Learning with Technology: The impact of Laptop use on Student’s achievement

The use of technology in learning institutions is seen to motivate students to engage in studies in a more serious and better way. The article generally indicates how students could realize increased performance through the application of technology in learning. Technology is utilized in many ways and can be beneficial in many ways in learning. One way is through connecting learners, where they can work jointly. Like many other studies carried out, the authors may seem to support the idea that technology can foster learning through better and easier collaboration among learners. Of course, this has been expressed by other studies. Students using laptops can work jointly engage in project-based studies and improve their research skills compared to those using other conventional modes of learning. Thus, it can be extrapolated that technology is important in enhancing learning through carrying out research.

Slightly far from the discussion in this article, research may be regarded as important in the enhancement of the success of a student in and out of school. Thus, the application of technology is a well-advised strategy in learning. In the U.S., there has been a proliferation of laptops in school especially from the mid of the last decade. The study features a comparison of the application of traditional or conventional techniques of learning with the application of technology and note that better results would be realized with the application of technology.

Technology is also useful in the evaluation of students. It may be said outside this article that there has been a large focus on the assessment of students in the learning environment.

The teacher needs to be able to assess the performance of the students. Not only assessment is important but also the application of faster techniques of assessment and evaluation. On evaluating students, it was noted that when using laptop as an instructional tool, apart from working on project based tasks and working collaboratively, students also improved on their research skills, writing skills, direct their own learning, and develop greater dependence on active learning. They also increase their access to information for their studies. Of course, it can be mentioned here that information is a key driver to learning. Access to this information is also an important aspect of learning. The authors have also mentioned other authors of studies supporting that there is enhancement of learning among students with the application of technology as an instructional tool (for instance Berger, 1984; cited in Gulek, and Hakan, 2005).

The authors seek, in this article to answer a number of questions, including whether the program launched “Harvest Park Middle School’s laptop immersion program” had an impact on the learning of students (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). In essence they, ask whether it impacted on the “grade point average” for the students, whether it influenced their grades at the end of the course, if their “essay writing skills” were impacted upon by the program, and whether their “standardized test scores” were impacted upon through the program (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005).

The authors analyze a program where laptops were provided to students of the Harvest Park Middle School in California. This was possible through the “partnership between the offerings of the high-tech businesses in the community and school’s search for innovative programs” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). Students were tested for the demonstration of how they mastered curriculum through the “use of technology” after there is delivery of the curriculum. In this case, students used laptop for various purposes including (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005); essay writing and online grading in English, researching information on the web, and developing power point presentations for projects in history/social science classes.

Others included the designing of posters as well as taking notes for all subjects in the classroom. Those provided with laptops, either through buying of the machines by their parents or through alternative funding, were initially grade six students but latter on seventh and eight graders. In addition, there was allowance to join the program any time the student was available for it. There was interest for participation in the programs as time progressed because many more joined the program. The authors utilize a number of measures in their study in order to scrutinize and find evidence whether this technology impacted on learning. Cumulative “grade point averages (GPAs)”, “end-of-course grades”, “district writing assessment scores”, “California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR)” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005) as well as other criteria are utilized by authors for this purpose.

The study also shows that these students develop critical thinking and problem solving values and show subterranean understanding and flexibility in using technology.

On the part of teachers, the study shows those using the gadget apply a more constructivist approach. Their creativity is boosted. They also feel more empowered in their work. To add on that, they use less hour lecturing since learning material can be access easily by students. It also emerges that laptop application in learning equip students with multidisciplinary knowledge due to ability to wide access to information, sharing and active learning approach. When students are motivated, they show commitment in class work and in their personal learning. When teachers use laptops in teaching, they also experiences less class management problems.

The writer seems to insinuate that use of technology in teaching/learning can motivate both teachers and students in transferring and acquisition of knowledge. However, motivation in learning is mainly achieve through improved performance as a result of valuable instructions from the instructor not from the mere instructional tool. Though laptops can be of greater use especially in expanding one’s access to information, it can also be underused in acquiring knowledge. The point here is the value of knowledge that a student can access through a computer as opposed to seeing a computer as a end to the mean. In fact a common phenomenon in computing is WYPIWYG i.e. What You Put in is What You Get.

The article ought to have put more weight on the instruction than to the instructional tool. A mere machine cannot motivate a student to study smart as we also know laptops open up other portals to other fields such as entertainment and sports and which are sometimes students’ favorite sites. On the part of critical thinking and problem solving, the author needs to come out clear and explain how that is achieved, may be by elaborating that access to internet and online libraries can widen a student’s understanding on different concepts. Instructor’s material quality, mode of teaching and students’ concentration through motivation are what determine student’s performance. If students are motivated by the quality of information they can access to through laptops, they can be motivated to access to it to enhance their performance.

The authors utilize “three-layered approach” in their analysis to investigate the impacts of the laptop program. They first seek to identify whether there are any “notable differences between laptop and non-laptop students to warrant further analysis” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). The initial analysis led to a further examination of the data through the application of the “inferential statistics”, and this was meant to reveal whether there were any “differences between laptop and non-laptop students prior to enrolling in the program” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). The analysis found non-significant results “prior to program enrolment, but significant results after enrolling in the program” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005).

For those students utilizing the laptops provided in the program, there was noted higher GPAs than those who were not participating in the program “in their respective grades” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). Six grade GPAs had the greatest difference. This showed prove that the program had an impact on the performance as far as GPAs was concerned. For the case of the end-of-course results, mathematics and English were investigated where it was found that there was “substantial difference between laptop and non-laptop students” as far as the end results were concerned. as far as writing was concerned, those students who benefited from the laptop program had better performance because most “met or exceeded grade level expectations in writing compared to Harvest Park school-wide averages” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005).

The authors seek also to analyze the area of study using more complex method. Particularly, they apply a “model-based statistical analysis”, which is not as the single point analysis. cross-sectional analysis per se generate inconsistencies or come problems such as “missing data and correlations among outcomes that may not be captured in cross-sectional analyses” are addressed in the longitudinal analysis that is more complicated (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). This complicated analysis employed “NTR mathematics and language arts scaled scores, and overall cumulative GPA scores” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005) as well as “cumulative math GPAs” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). The authors notice that there has been studies linking a variety of social issues among students, with technology. These social issues include “student motivation, disruptive classroom behavior, classroom participation/engagement, and students’ interaction with their peers or teachers” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005).

Although there were attempts to link technology with some of the factors they analyzed, the authors indicate the strength of their study; that it introduces a link between technology and “multiple indicators of learning” and not “just one indicator” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). They indicate that there was noted that students used to perform similarly before some participated in the laptop program. The authors link their findings that use of laptops contributed to improvement in writing, with another finding earlier on regarding computers’ impact on writing, which found that especially for those at secondary schools, there was production of better quality writing works, lengthy ones, and students were motivated and more engaged in their writing (Goldberg, Russell & Cook, 2003; cited in Gulek, and Hakan, 2005). The authors identify one of the flaws of the study; it failed to analyze the impacts on “special education students” (Gulek, and Hakan, 2005).

Slightly away from the discussion in this article, studies are necessary in providing evidence to particular trends in learning. Such studies would be applied and multiplied elsewhere in the country with expected results that learning would improve. Such analysis may seek to support the essence of enhancing learning through application of technology. Technology must not be ignored as far as learning is concerned. The study can also be used to prove that research needs to provide a basis for the activities in school.

Formal Assessment plan for K-12 setting

Formal assessment is based on results of controlled tests or exams which are taken under controlled/regulated test taking conditions. After the test, data on the student performance is taken to determine his/her academic performance. Without assessing what learners have made of what has been offered, there cannot be teaching. Formal assessment seeks to identify the progress in student’s academic endeavor through regulated testing.

Area of Assessment

To develop a formal assessment test, the instructor identifies areas to be tested; Listening, reading, remembrance, writing, cognitive skills development such as ability to solve a problem and realize existing relationship between entities and application of what has been learnt.

Here is an example of a Formal Assessment plan.

Assessment plan

  • Course
  • Instructor:
  • Phone:
  • Office:
  • Email:
  • Mail box:
  • Blackboard:
  • Office Hours:
  1. Course objective and Description. EDF 4430 is designed to help you develop skills necessary for planning your teaching career in a more constructive and situation-based approach with student’s achievement being the focal point. This course will equip you with knowledge to:
    1. Develop elaborate plan for your course work
    2. Identify students, needs in and beyond classroom
    3. Identify gaps in learning process, materials and tools and plan on how to remedy for the same.
    4. Understand assessment Standards and regulations for controlled testing and grading.
  2. Grading and Assignments.Grading will be based on a 100 percent system as shown below:

Grading and Assignments

Group discussions

Every student must belong to a group of at least five individuals which will research on a given topic and make a presentation before their respective classes. All group members must participate equally in presenting and answering question pertaining to their topic of discussion. Each group presentation will be marked out of 7 ½ marks.

Continuous Assessment Tests

There will be two CATs in a semester aimed at identifying students’ progress and understanding of concepts being taught to them. One will be a take – away and the other a sit- on in a classroom. Take away CATs must be submitted on or before the stipulated deadline. Each Assignment will be marked out of 15 points.

Classroom participation

Students must actively participate in learning. Contributing to classroom learning sessions will be encouraged by awarding active and participative students ten marks.

Examination

At the end of the semester, students will sit for an exam that will cover all about the course. This will be a two hour sitting session where every student will work in solitary in answering questions. Exams will only cater for 55% of the whole course works.

NB: Not anyone of the above assessment modes will be missed by a student without good reasons.

Office Hours

All students must commit some time to meet me during office hours as it will be communicated to them.

Interaction and Participation

Students must commit themselves to participation in classroom discussion in order to explore on course issues at greater depth. All students must participate in all lessons without missing. Students must also actively participate in group discussions, group works and during lectures.

Course Schedule
Course Schedule

Alternative assessment plan for a standard based assignment completed in a K-12 classroom

This represents a rather holistic approach to students’ response to assessments as opposed to the traditional approach that provides options to choose answers from. Instead of providing an answer from a list of options, students create a response to the problem posed. It tries to evaluate student’s critical thinking and approach to an open ended that often take more than one class period to complete. It seeks to demonstrate students’ ability to tackle problems that are more complex than what true/false and timed-multiple options can accomplish to assess.

  • For instance: African countries are arguably the richest nations in the world. Natural resources: minerals, favorable climatic condition, wild life and human resource are some of characteristics of these countries. However, when it comes to development, they lag behind; corruption is rampant in public and private sectors. Hunger and manageable diseases are major killers in these countries. Civil wars are order of the day in many African countries to an extent that international intervention is necessary. There is perpetual vicious cycle of poverty in almost every African state. Some schools of thought put it that poor governance and lack of political will are to blame for such atrocious state of affairs in these nations.
  • Requirement: Discuss rationale behind this argument clearly indicating how improvement of governance and recovery of political will help African states realize and utilize their potential for development and prosperity.
  • Instruction: Base your discussion on vicious cycle of poverty and poor governance.

References List

Berger, C. (1984). Learning more than facts: Microcomputer simulation in the science classroom. In Peterson, D. (Ed). Intelligent school house: Readings on computers and learning. Reston, VA: Reston Publishing Company.

Goldberg, A., Russell, M., & Cook, A. (2003). The effect of computers on student learning: A meta-analysis of studies from 1992 to 2002. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 2, (1).

Gulek, J., and Hakan, D. (2005). Learning with Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student’s Achievement. Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment, Vol. 3 (2): 3-6. Web.