Student Grouping Strategies In Technology Rich Learning Environments At The Intermediate Grade Level
Craig Hare, Jana
University of Kansas
Curriculum and Teaching
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the various student grouping strategies used within the learning environment of technology rich and typical general education classrooms. Participants included technology rich and typical, general education classrooms at the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade levels. The categories of grouping strategies observed in this study were: independent, pairs, small groups, mixed groups and independent, whole class with attention to the teacher or another student, whole class with attention to media and transition. Cognitive activities in relation to grouping strategies were also explored. Observation data collected through a momentary time sampling process was analyzed. First, an independent-samples t test was conducted for the independent variable, the classroom, analyzed against the observed dependent variable, student grouping strategies. To extend this analysis, a one-way repeated measures ANOVA was conducted. A final analysis calculated the correlation coefficient to examine the relationship between the student grouping strategies and the level of cognitive activities observed in the classroom. The results indicate that there is a difference in grouping strategies between technology rich and typical classrooms. The quantitative analysis of the data showed few changes in student grouping strategies occurring throughout the school year in technology rich and typical general education classrooms. Although classroom teachers vary the grouping strategies used in the classroom, the differences were not statistically significant throughout the school year. When analyzed between years, technology rich classrooms showed an increase between Year 1 and Year 2 in Mixed Groups. The results of the correlational analysis for cognitive activities and technology rich classrooms indicate that 5 out of 12 correlations were statistically significant; 3 out of 12 correlations in typical general education classrooms. The research discussed in this study points towards a need for teachers to engage students through pairs and small groups. The presence of computers adds to the potential for engaging students in meaningful learning with authentic tasks in a social setting. Research into how technology rich learning environments are structured and what strategies teachers successfully use to group students is an important issue surrounding educational technology and should continue to be investigated.
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