Journal of Technology Research
The impact of classroom technology on student behavior
Angeline M. Lavin University of South Dakota Leon Korte University of South Dakota Thomas L. Davies University of South Dakota ABSTRACT The trend toward technology enhanced classrooms has escalated quickly during the past five years as students have become increasingly tech-savvy. Classrooms across the nation have become “wired” and textbook publishers now offer a wide variety of computerized teaching supplements. In fact, some may argue that technology is now expected in the college classroom. The objective of this research is to examine whether the use of technology in university classes impacts student behavior and student perceptions of instructional quality. This paper summarizes the results of a survey administered to students enrolled in business courses at a mid-sized Midwestern university. The results suggest that adding technology in courses where it is not currently used is likely to have a positive impact on student perceptions of the instructor and on student behavior. However, removing technology from courses that already use it would not appear to have a negative impact on all aspects of student behavior. Overall there are certain aspects of student behavior (the amount of time that students study, the quantity of notes they take, their attendance, and their interaction with the instructor) which appear to be technology neutral. In contrast, technology tends to have a meaningful impact on student preparation for class, attentiveness, quality of notes taken, student participation in class, student learning, desire to take additional classes from the instructor or in the subject matter, and the overall evaluation of the course and the instructor. Keywords: class technology, instructional quality, student behavior, student perceptions
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Journal of Technology Research INTRODUCTION Technology, it seems, is everywhere these days. As computers have become more commonplace, the use of information technology has become pervasive in most everyone’s lives. For most of us, it is hard to image daily life without the influence of technological devices, be it handheld video games, personal digital assistants, cell phones or any number of computers. This is especially true for younger generations. In academia, we have likely reached the point where the use of technology is expected, by both students and their parents (Christensen, 1999). The trend toward technology enhanced classes has escalated quickly during the past five years as students have become increasingly tech-savvy, classrooms across the nation have become “wired” and textbook publishers now offer a wide variety of computerized teaching supplements. Lowerison, Sclater, Schmid, and Abrami (2006) suggest that technology has the potential to transform the learning environment from passive to active and more subject to the control of the learner. According to Roblyer (2003), technology may enable the learner to be more actively involved in his or her own learning. While technology may enhance the classroom and engage today’s student more effectively, most do not believe it replaces the need for a structured, content-driving learning process that is grounded in theory. To be effective, technology-based tools must accompany appropriate pedagogy (Laurillard, 2002). That said, a 2001 national study showed that 87% of faculty believe computer technology enhances student learning (Epper and Bates, 2001). Despite this widespread belief that the use of technology in the classroom is generally good, such may not always be the case. Burbules and Callister (2000) suggest technology can be used well or poorly, and thus its effectiveness is dependent on how it used, by whom and for what purpose. Instructors use varying amounts of technology in their classes. For example, some professors utilize PowerPoint slides or similar technology...
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Journal of Technology Research APPENDIX Demographic Information for Undergraduate Students in the Sample Technology = Technology Used; Impact of the Absence of Technology No Technology = Technology Not Used; Impact of the Addition of Technology Major for Undergraduate Students in Sample Technology No Technology (N = 329) (N = 155) Accounting 19% 15% Economics Finance Health Service Administration Management Marketing Business Undeclared Other – Non-business 5% 8% 8% 26% 13% 14% 7% 5% 13% 8% 23% 8% 18% 10%
Year for Undergraduate Students in Sample Technology No Technology (N = 329) (N = 155) Freshman 18% 3% Sophomore Junior Senior 22% 32% 28% 52% 23% 22%
Χ2 tests for differences in the distribution of majors between the two groups and for differences in the distribution of undergraduate years did not reject the null hypothesis. It was assumed there were no significant differences in the distribution of undergraduate majors or in the distribution of students in terms of academic progress when comparing the two groups. Technology (N = 329) Female Male Student gender 40% 60% No Technology (N = 155) Female Male 49% 51%
A test of proportions suggested no significant difference in the proportion of female to male students when comparing the two groups included in this study.
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