Sunday, July 29, 2012

Action Research Progress Report

Bringing Your Own Technology: How effective is it within a classroom setting?

Amy Obenhaus

Lamar University

B. Needs Assessment
I determined my need for observing BYOT, when it was introduced into our district about a year ago. Several teachers were reluctant about this transition and I felt it would be necessary to observe for the year and determine if BYOT was effective for the teachers, as well as, the students. Although I understand that even through my findings, the implementation of BYOT was not going to change based off of my findings, but I did feel it could help with the transition process. At my school we have over 800 students with a population consisting of about 43% white, 9% African American, 24% Asian, 23% Hispanic, 1% other.

C. Objective and Vision
My action research project will be over how effective teachers think “BYOT” has been within their classroom. What improvements can be made to make it more effective? What are the concerns with the use of students bringing in their own technology? What improvements have they seen in the students learning environment because of “BYOT?” How will “BYOT” increase student achievement? How can we better prepare teachers in feeling encouraged to incorporate “BYOT” into their own classroom lessons?

D. Review of Literature
It is known that this generation of students is known as the igeneration. They are constantly using technology and developing their educational needs while using devices such as an iPad, laptop, cell phones and computers. My action research will be based on finding if bringing your own technology will increase student learning and how effective teachers think BYOT has been within the classroom. Although one may or may not like changes, it is always better to see how well the change has been, after something new and drastic to the educational setting has occurred. The reality of teaching black and white is longer the students needs, in fact, it’s not about a stand and deliver type of environment, it’s about helping them find the answers to the materials; being their instructional guide. The DfES (2005, 26) strategy document, Harnessing Technology, states that:

We need a new understanding of the pedagogies appropriate for a 21st century education     system. Traditional methods have not achieved enough. The wider availability of new technologymeans that we have both the opportunity – and the responsibility – to explore new approaches to teaching and learning. The familiar and effective teaching methods of listening, reading, writing and class discussion will of course remain important. But our teaching institutions ought to be advancing beyond the traditional formats that are still so prevalent.

Through my research, I hope to create a self reflection on this change and develop conversations about how we can go about improving this concept in our schools and what we need to continue.

E. Articulating the Vision
I chose to do my action research project on “BYOT,” bringing our own technology. Over the past year, my district decided to implement the concept of students allowed to bring in their own technology devices into the classroom. These devices could be laptops, cell phones, iPads, etc. My current school that I am located at, we were determined or set as a technology school for implementation for things such as BYOT.  In my school we have sixth through eighth graders, which range at about 900 students. Although if you were to visit our school, you would think we have high social economic demographics, but that is not the case. We have an extreme mix of our demographics.  I currently teach 7th grade, but I wanted to venture out to the entire school with my findings, as BYOT involved all students within the school. In Literature Review for Mobile Devices, Naismith (2004) indicates how mobile devices can support constructivist learning activities in which learners actively construct new ideas or concepts based on both their previous and current knowledge.

They suggest that mobile technologies can help create a constructivist learning framework  which encourages students to discover principles for themselves.  In order to transform learners from passive recipients of information to active constructors of knowledge we must give them an environment in which to participate in the learning process, and the appropriate tools to work with that knowledge. Mobile devices give us a unique opportunity to have learners embedded in a realistic context at the same time as having access to supporting tools.

With such a drastic change to the environment of the educational setting, I wanted to do the research and find out how effective teachers think “BYOT” has been within their classroom after a year of implementation. What improvements can be made to make it more effective? What are the concerns with the use of students bringing in their own technology? What improvements have they seen in the students learning environment because of “BYOT?” How will “BYOT” increase student achievement? How can we better prepare teachers in feeling encouraged to incorporate “BYOT” into their own classroom lessons?  I knew that by finding out the feelings of all involved with BYOT, I could provide significant information to administration and staff about the positives and negatives of the usage of technology within the classroom. With such a new concept in our district, I felt this could benefit not only my school, but I could provide my finding with other schools as well. Knowing how teachers and the students felt about BYOT, could help provide additional strategies and provide feedback on how to improve and continue for the next school year. My study will also add to the knowledge base of bringing in technology devices into the classroom and how effective they can or can not be.

F. Manage the organization
Implementing the organization of my action research was easy, as it was a requirement for us to allow students to bring in their own technology this past year. How we implemented it into our classrooms was up to us, but we did have to allow them to bring them in the classroom, unlike how it used to be where they always had to have them put up and kept in their lockers. The responsibility of my research was to give myself check points throughout, so that I could begin to hopefully see a change in this process. Throughout the research I conducted several surveys, asked questions to both teachers and students and even polled parents and administration. For them, I was putting a priority on student learning because this was involving the learning of students by allowing more technology to be brought into the classroom. Teachers were holding back about this change in the classroom setting, as most were worried about the concept not being used correctly. I hoped that through my research this could ease the minds of those teachers that feared the change.

G. Manage Operations
In order for me to begin my process, I wanted to ensure that by no means did I want to disrupt the classroom setting when conducting my research or sway the student or staff in any way on how I felt the outcome should be. I simply made my strategy for leading the operations of it all to be done simply through the internet with the use of surveys or a quick walk through from myself in the classroom. Bringing your own technology concept didn’t cause a problem for us, it just caused discomfort for some. The idea of the unknown and not knowing how to implement it was a problem. Their truly were no guidelines set from the district to help with this transiton. Therefore, my researched helped some, as I wasn’t trying to resolve conflict, I simply just wanted to help by allowing others to see how this changed has evolved our classrooms and what reflections could we take from it.

H. Respond to Community Interest and Needs
As we all know, we are creating 21st century learners and developing them into life long learners that will guide others into the world the educational wants as well. Through my action research I will be able to help the needs of all students, by better understanding their mindset of thinking and how we as teachers can better implement this change for all students. Although through the this process, I knew that not all students have the ability to bring in their own technology, but by understanding how the technology is incorporated, this could allow for more grant opportunities to be placed for those students that might need additional help to gain access to a laptop or iPad for educational needs. By knowing how BYOT has been effective or uneffective, I could relay this information to our own community by asking for the needs that we need for those unable to purchase their own devices.

I feel confident that through my action research I can help make the concept of bringing your own technology a reflection for collaboration to begin and help transform our 21st century learners into better students.


DfES. 2005. Harnessing technology: Transforming learning and children’s services. London: DfES.

Naismith, L. 2004. Literature review in mobile technologies and learning report 11. Bristol: Nesta Futurelab.