ERIC Number: ED464830
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
An Exploratory Study of the Implementation of an Interactive Learning System in Two Eighth Grade Mathematics Classes.
FitzPatrick, Sarah B.; Faux, Russell
During the last decade, U.S. K-12 schools have approximately tripled their spending on increasingly powerful computers, expanded network access, and novel computer applications. The number of questions being asked by educators, policymakers, and the general public about the extent to which these technologies are being used in classrooms, for what purposes, and to what effects, has likewise increased. Recent research is characterized by an awareness that the process of implementing educational technologies in schools is much more human than technological and can only be understood in context. Exploring the human implementation process is thought to be one key to understanding how educational technologies find purchase and evolve in local classroom environments. This naturalistic inquiry explored the semester-long process of implementing an interactive learning system in two math classes in a rural mid-Atlantic Junior-Senior High School. Schwab's (1978) curriculum contexts (teacher, student, subject matter, milieux) provided loci for identifying, describing, and interpreting the students' and teacher's experiences of the interactive learning system. Data collection was based on field observations, periodic interviews with individual students and their teacher, exploratory and culminating focus group interviews with students, and document analysis. Grounded theory methods were used to analyze the data. It was concluded that there was no significant change in the teacher's instructional model during her implementation of the interactive learning system. Conditions that supported the teacher in her decision to adopt the educational technology curriculum innovation did not sustain her instructional evolution during the implementation process. The teacher reached a point of implementation impasse while simultaneously using the traditional district-controlled, teacher-proof curriculum and the interactive learning system with her two eighth grade math classes. The level of mismatch between the traditional math curriculum and the curriculum represented by the novel educational technology emerged as a critical factor influencing the implementation process. The students' primary implementation experiences focused on learner-control via the tools of the system, opportunities for spontaneous peer interactions, and increased motivation in the technology-enhanced math class. Recommendations for future research and for the implementation of educational technologies in schools are provided. (Contains 35 references, 3 tables, and 2 figures.) (Author/MM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 1-5, 2002). Some charts may not reproduce well.