Strategies for Defining and Understanding Critical Technology Integration Terms
Fagehi, Ahmed Yahya
University of Kansas
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
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Educational technology scholars believe that teachers should understand how to effectively integrate technology in their teaching. This study identified key terms related to integrating technology in education and investigated the effectiveness of three online instructional strategies (Text-only, Text plus Video, and Text plus Video plus Question) in conveying meaning to native and non-native English speakers. During the term identification phase, educational technology experts reviewed 79 terms and after a second analysis, reduced the list to 21 key technology integration terms such as collaborative eLearning, ePortfolios, WebQuests, synchronous learning, and digital storytelling. The second phase of the study engaged 42 native and 53 non-native English speakers (95 total) in learning terms from three instructional strategies. In a within-subject repeated measures design, participants studied 21 terms (7 for each strategy), and completed a comprehension test. Results revealed that instruction using Text plus Video (M = 4.70, SD = 1.55) and Text plus Video plus Question (M = 4.72, SD = 1.63) were both significantly more effective at the p < .01 level than Text-only (M = 4.04, SD = 1.93) for non-native English speakers. There was a significant correlation (r (53) = .31, p < 0.05) between the Text-only comprehension scores and the self-rated level of English proficiency for non-native English speakers. Differences between the instructional strategies on comprehension scores were not significant for native English speakers. Non-native speakers learned more when terms were presented using both tangible (images) and arbitrary (language) symbol systems. Non-native English speakers may have benefited more from images because tangible symbol systems are more universally understood than arbitrary language symbols. Thus, native speakers easily understood these terms from written descriptions in their native language, whereas non-native speakers had more difficulty in drawing meaning solely from descriptions in their second language. Results indicate that when key concepts are presented using both tangible and arbitrary symbol systems, a wider range of learners will understand them. Learners with higher levels of English proficiency also understood terms better. Native speakers easily understood these terms from the written descriptions. This ceiling effect may have concealed benefits of the video and question strategies. Future studies might use more difficult terms and more challenging questions. Other studies might consider relative benefits of these instructional strategies under incidental as opposed to intentional learning conditions.
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