Learner Outcomes of a Blended Classroom for Third Grade Multiplication and Division
Mallory E. Lawler
The Learner Outcomes of a Blended Classroom
As technology continues to rise, students are becoming more exposed to technological advances than ever before. It is rare to find a student that does not have a computer, tablet, smart phone and other devices. Due to this, the way students learn and retain information has altered. In the past, student engagement was easily achieved with hands on activities involving manipulatives and projects. However, today’s generation is motivated through technology and the use of it within their academic career. A technique that is becoming increasingly popular within the world of academia is the blended classroom model. This model was developed with the idea of utilizing technological aspects in conjunction with traditional instructional techniques within a classroom. A balance of the virtual and physical worlds are presented in the learning environment to expose the students to a variety of instructional methods and activities. Avenues of technology such as the internet, social media, and videos can be used in this form of learning environment. The traditional instructional methods such as lectures, group projects and class discussions are implemented within the classroom as well. A blended classroom is designed to eliminate student mistakes in demonstrating, understanding and mastering the material. In theory this instructional technique is extremely beneficial to the student. Many studies have explored how technology in general is an effective tool in student learning. These studies shed light on the topic of the blended classroom design and the possible benefits it has in regards to the future generations of students. The paradigm shift of education in general is inevitable therefore; strategies and techniques must adapt to meet the needs of these new learners.
Review of the Literature
Traditional Learning Environment
It has been said that “…teaching and learning are human activities and human interaction is very necessary to achieve learning” (Toon et. al, 2009, p.1). The traditional learning environment consists of a classroom in the classical sense. Therefore, the environment includes teacher lectures, collaboration, cooperative learning and hands-on activities. Students find great benefit through traditional instruction due to the fact that they are able to engage in class discussions, group projects and other forms of active learning (Crews & Butterfield, 2014). The traditional classroom provides the opportunity for the teacher (1) to start conversations and give a general description of the goals and what is expected from the groups/students, (2) to ask students to provide information about their on-going work, (3) to comment and give immediate feedback, (4) to inform and remind students about the general matters, schedules and goals of the material and (5) to provide face-to-face learning materials (Poutanen, et. al, 2011). The benefits of a traditional classroom cannot be replicated in other avenues of learning. Classroom lectures, exercises, and other activities provide a genuine experience in which the students can be active in their learning (Toon, et. al, 2009). In addition, the traditional classroom provides an avenue of learning for students who may not be technologically trained and find using technology to be challenging (Toon, et. al, 2009).
Technological Learning Environment
The use of technology in day to day life has become the norm within society. Children and adults alike are continuously exposed to technological advances that provide easy access to information that support communication and that promote development of skills. Teachers must become fluent in technology and utilize it in their daily instruction. Ming-de Wu and Shih-chuan Chen (2008) reported that all of their teachers within their study utilized internet and technology prior to developing any instructional activities. This shows that technology is not only important for students but, is also an essential tool for teachers. Teachers can utilize technology to remain up to date on information, instructional techniques and subjects in addition to implementing it into their daily instruction (Wu & Chen, 2008).
Students find that technology in the learning environment is beneficial for a variety of reasons. Technology provides (1) facilitators with a tool to follow student progress and to recognize a need for possible interventions and (2) a convenient way to inform and remind students about general issues, schedules, lectures and materials (Poutanen et. al, 2011). The use of technology in the classroom provides an avenue for flexibility, organization and expectations to be readily available (Crews & Butterfield, 2014). In the study conducted by F. Dampil (2015) students who utilized the e-connect tool in regards to internet learning were far more successful on the tests administered than students who were not exposed to the e-connect tool. The e-connect technology included immediate feedback, unlimited practice and a review of the lecture for the students (Dampil, 2015). This provides valuable information in terms of how technology can improve the learning experience for a student. An e-learning environment provides an opportunity for sharing of knowledge and experiences in a readily available manner (Wan, 2015).
In addition, the e-learning model can offer the opportunity for an instructor to develop a Learning Management System (LMS) for each student. A LMS refers to the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of e-learning satisfaction (Diaz & Diniz, 2014). A personalized learning system is designed and developed as a means to enable learners to take an active role in their online learning process with steps of setting goals, identifying resources, planning learning activities, measuring performance, and self-reflecting (Kim, 2012). Communication tools, collaborative and interactive networking and clear expectations are available within the LMS environment. The LMS structure allows for: (1) an adjustable and dynamic ecosystem that can integrate different interactive learning activities, (2) the facilitation of the teacher’s ability to foster an intrinsically motivating environment and (3) an opportunity for the students to achieve better learning performance and higher levels of satisfaction (Diaz & Diniz, 2014). A learner profile can be developed under a LMS to create a more efficient system of tracking student progress which allows for the instructor to maintain a close and accurate account of a student’s weaknesses and strengths. Research shows that teachers and instructors find e-learning management systems to be effective online learning tools (Hussein, 2011).
Blended Learning Environment
In the on-going effort to achieve the optimal learning environment possible, the blended learning technique has surfaced within research. “Blended learning environment is the combination of traditional face-to-face learning and computer mediated or online instruction” (Wu & Chen, 2008, p.1). The blended learning model utilizes different aspects from the virtual and physical world of academia. As previously mentioned, there are many benefits to both forms of teaching. Blended learning can consist of various technological tools to be utilized to fuel communication and collaboration between students and can be used for a variety of subjects and content areas including oral speaking, math, and science (Bolley, 2013; Bottge et. al, 2014; Crews & Butterfield, 2014; Kirkgoz, 2011; Shih, 2010; Smith, 2012). The study conducted by Petro Poutanen, Olli Parviainen and Leif Aberg (2011) explores the idea of utilizing technological aspects in conjunction with traditional instructional techniques. Within this study, technological tools such as Facebook, Etherpad, Slideshare, Dropbox, Google Docs and Blogs were used by the students (Poutanen, et. al, 2011). The researchers studied a graduate level course that included six physical meetings, one online lecture and a Facebook-group where materials, reports and work were published online and free to access. Facebook was primarily utilized for collaboration. On-site meetings were utilized to discuss in person problems and ideas chosen prior to the meeting. Therefore, the problems were introduced via a technological portal and the students were required to attend the on-site meeting with this material read and understood. Prezi was utilized as a presentation resource to perform virtual presentations. The students found that the role of face-to-face meetings in combination with the virtual aspects of the course were imperative in creating a well balanced learning experience (Poutanen et. al, 2011).
In addition, other video-based learning methods have been shown to be effective within the blended learning model. Students have responded with positive attitudes towards the use of video-based blogs within the blended learning environment (Shih, 2010). Motivating factors, within the video-based blog, including free access to the blogs, ease of revision in creating student blogs and maintaining interesting material were reported and identified as high priority by the students (Shih, 2010). Video recordings have also been shown to be effective tools in assisting students with presentation and communication. The use of video, as a technological tool, has a positive impact on students’ viewing and critically evaluating their speaking and oral communication skills (Kirkgoz, 2011). A major benefit of utilizing videos for instructional or student product use are the stop, rewind, and pause features available. Students have the opportunity to view the instructional video at their own pace allowing them to review any necessary parts of the material. This flexibility with technology is a hugely added benefit to the blended classroom (Dickfos et. al, 2014). Smith (2012) found that students viewed each online instructional multimedia lesson two and a half times within the classroom using mobile multimedia devices and an additional one and half times at home. This added feature can assist the students in fully grasping the material and understanding the content being discussed in class.
Research shows that highly motivated students greatly benefit from the use of independent technology and e-learning tools whereas less motivated students prefer the traditional instruction (Toon et. al, 2009). Any given class consists of students with differing learning styles, abilities and motivators. Therefore, the blended environment provides a means to meet the needs of the vast range of students and their preferred learning style. The obvious benefits of the traditional classroom such as lectures, collaboration, cooperative learning, hands-on activities, class discussions, group projects and other forms of active learning are extremely important to ensure that students are engaged in their learning physically, mentally and socially (Crews & Butterfield, 2014). Technology offers a means for immediate communication, provides easily accessible information as well as opportunities to create presentations, videos and other forms of media (Poutanen, et. al, 2011). The use of technology in general, in terms of students and teachers, is beneficial to the entire instructional and learning process (Wu & Chen, 2008).
Multiple approaches have been utilized to gather information regarding the blended learning environment including qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research methodology. These studies have a common conclusion in that the equal balance of traditional instructional techniques and the implementation of technology are essential in creating the optimal learning environment (Crews & Butterfield, 2014; Poutenan et. al, 2011; Toon et. al, 2009; Wan, 2015). It is important to recognize that current studies conducted primarily focus on upper level education including high school, college and graduate level courses. Therefore, the results and information presented best reflects the students of that age group. Further research is needed to determine if these conclusions are applicable for primary education as well.
“Accordingly in a learning environment three components are essential: Human, knowledge, and technology” (Wan, 2015, p.1). The balance of human activity, the presentation of knowledge and the use of technology formulates a learning environment that meets the differing needs of each student. Teachers should utilize technology as an instructional and planning tool while students have the opportunity to use it as a means of communication, collaboration, and information. Face-to-face learning provides an authentic form of education that engages the students in active learning. Technology meets the needs of today’s students who are experiencing the shift in education and society as a technological entity. The combination of these methods creates a blended learning environment in which students are exposed to the benefits of both techniques.
Demographic Data for the Proposed Project
The current study will be conducted in a middle class neighborhood within an urban city in the Midwest. The research will take place in a private Catholic grammar school. The community consists of approximately 50% Caucasians, 16% Asian, 16% African American, 16% Hispanic and 2% other (Urban Mapping, 2015). The median annual household income within the community is $47,569 which is consistent with the average income for the city as well. 7.6% of the population are non native English speakers. Approximately 35% of the population has obtained a bachelor’s degree and approximately 18% has earned a master’s degree (Urban Mapping, 2015). The specific school demographics reflect that of the community as well. 533 students ranging from pre-K to 8th grade attend the school (Eyedeal Lab, 2015). 79% of the families are Catholic and 21% are of other faiths. The majority of the students are Caucasian (67%) while 11% are Multi-Racial, 8% Hispanic, 7% African American and 7% Asian. 13% of the student population is eligible for the free/reduced food service program (Eyedeal Lab, 2015).
The students who will be directly impacted by the research study and the results will consist of three third grade classes. This will be a total of 54 students. The students will be experiencing a blended classroom in which they will undergo technology as an instructional method as well as traditional lectures/class discussions as a learning tool. The students will be tested on multiplication and division skills after using technology and will also be assessed after receiving traditional instruction. The scores will be compared and contrasted between these two methods of delivery. The overall goal of this study and the use of the blended learning method is to improve the basic skills of multiplication and division for third grade students.
The current school takes the Terra Nova Standardized test. The math scores between third and fourth grade has decreased over the years (Eyedeal Lab, 2015). This may be due to the fact that the third grade students are not fully mastering third grade math material prior to entering fourth grade. Therefore, they are scoring lower on the fourth grade assessment (Eyedeal Lab, 2015). Within current research conducted on the blended classroom results have indicated a positive correlation between learner outcomes and the implementation of technology. Multiple approaches have been utilized to gather information regarding the blended learning environment including qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research methodology. These studies have a common conclusion in that the equal balance of traditional instructional techniques and the implementation of technology are essential in creating the optimal learning environment (Crews & Butterfield, 2014; Poutenan et. al, 2011; Toon et. al, 2009; Wan, 2015). The purpose of this study is to decipher if a similar conclusion can be made in regards to a third grade classroom.
The aforementioned benefits of the blended learning model have been supported throughout educational research on technology in the classroom. The studies conducted on the blended classroom have a common conclusion in that the equal balance of traditional instructional techniques and the implementation of technology are necessary in order to expose students to the experiences gained within the natural social aspects of traditional instruction and the amount of information within technology (Crews & Butterfield, 2014; Poutenan et. al, 2011; Toon et. al, 2009; Wan, 2015). While the idea of the blended model is has evoked positive reactions it is important to discuss how to effectively implement this model to create a meaningful learning experience for students.
The most prominent solution to the finding the answer to the question “What are the learner outcomes of multiplication and division skills in a third grade blended classroom?” is to determine what form of technology is most effective in creating a blended classroom. Traditional instruction typically consists of lectures, class discussions and group projects. These are known to be effective strategies. In terms of technology a teacher can utilize internet, videos, social media, blogs and other forms. In addition, the presentation of content within these forms of technology is an essential part of determining the effectiveness of a blended classroom. The possible solutions to the current research question include the use of social media, videos or the internet.
Within the blended classroom, social media has been used to create a forum for students to interact with one another (Poutanen et. al, 2011). Facebook was the primary source of social media utilized (Poutanen et. al, 2011). This allowed the students to collaborate and communicate in regards to the material presented. Videos can be used to recap lessons and lectures to make available for students to watch at home. This can be effective in allowing the students to view the lesson at their own pace, stopping, rewinding and pausing when they feel fit. Finally, the internet can be used to play review games, view videos, and access resources. The use of these forms of technology in conjunction with traditional instruction can be extremely beneficial for the students. However, which form of technology is most effective?
In the current research the main focus is emphasized on the use of videos within the blended classroom. Videos can be effective due to the fact that the student can view the lesson at his or her own specific pace and learning speed. In addition, parental involvement can increase if the student’s parents are able to view the lesson with their child. This allows them to truly understand the material being taught in school and can increase their involvement in assisting their child prepare for assessments, complete homework and master the material.
Data Collection and Analysis Methods
A mixed method research study will be conducted in which data will be collected with the use of both qualitative and quantitative measures (McMillan, 2012). In order to ensure that all of the students are receiving an equal education they will be exposed to all of the research groups. Therefore, every student will have the opportunity to experience the technology group and the traditional instruction group. The students will be assessed with two quantitative measures, a pre-assessment and a post-assessment, where their multiplication and division skills will be tested (See Appendices A, B). The students will be assessed with a qualitative measure where they will respond to a questionnaire about their experience with technology and traditional instruction (See Appendix C). The qualitative measure is adapted from Naaj, Nachouki and Ankit (2012). However, due to the fact that this survey will be given to third graders language has been adapted and some questions removed.
The quantitative measures consist of a test in which the students will have to answer basic multiplication and division questions. The score will be assessed; number correct out of number of problems, and the percentage out of 100% will be calculated. The students will take the assessment after undergoing the technological research group as well as the traditional instruction research group. The scores will then be compared. A possible issue in this within-groups research design is the order effect or practice effect occurring (Nolan & Heinzen, 2008). Due to the fact that the participants will be experiencing all levels of the independent variable there may be a practice effect in their multiplication and division scores. The “order effect refers to how a participant’s behavior changes when the dependent variable is presented a second time” (Nolan & Heinzen, 2008, p. 26). In order to collect accurate results and to deter from order effects occurring two different analyses on the results will be conducted. The first will be a comparison of mean scores within a research group on the two different measures (technology and traditional instruction). The second will be a comparison of the mean scores between the research groups on the two different measures. This will provide information regarding the individual student scores and if there is an increase or decrease in percentage between using technology as an instructional tool or traditional instruction. In addition, this will provide information regarding the two research groups to see if there is a difference between experiencing technology first and traditional instruction second and vise versa. The qualitative measurement will be a questionnaire in which the students will respond to questions regarding their experiences learning through technology and traditional instruction.
Utilizing this approach to gather data on the current research question essentially combines the effective strategies found in the studies that have been reviewed. The information presented in these articles has been synthesized and the instructional techniques that can are applicable to primary aged have been determined. Technology is best presented in video form to be viewed by the students and the traditional instructional methods will include lesson introduction (lecture) and collaborative student groups. These techniques are most commonly used throughout the literature. As presented in the study conducted by F. Dampil (2015), it is expected to find that technology will have a positive impact on the learner outcomes. This study poses the closest comparison to primary aged groups due to the fact that the researcher’s participants were high school students. The results in this study indicated that the students who were exposed to the E-connect technology performed better than the students who only experienced traditional instruction on all three of the measures (Dampil, 2015). Dampil’s (2015) study is a basis for the current research in that the participants in the current study will be exposed to technology and traditional instruction. However, Dampil (2015) conducted a between-groups research design in that the participants only experienced one level of the independent variable (Nolan & Heinzen, 2008). In regards to the students’ education, it is essential that they are exposed to both the technology and traditional instruction to ensure an equal educational experience. Therefore, the current study will be a with-in groups design.
As with many research studies conducted it is expected to find positive student responses, flexibility in learning and increased motivation as major themes within the data and results in the current study. Positive student responses are a common conclusion throughout the qualitative measures found in current research (Crews & Butterfield, 2014; Dickfos et. al, 2014; Hussein, 2011; Shih, 2010; Wan, 2015). The participants who completed a satisfaction survey or reflection survey after the study was conducted indicated that the blended learning environment enhanced the learning experience in some way. In addition, it is expected to see that flexibility in learning in terms of speed, pace and amount of information will have a positive change. Throughout the literature students have commented on the ability to control how information was presented to them and the speed at which it was viewed within the technological aspect of the blended classroom. Finally, research shows that highly motivated students greatly benefit from the use of independent technology and e-learning tools where as less motivated students prefer the traditional instruction (Toon et. al, 2009). The blended environment provides a means to meet the needs of the vast range of students and their preferred learning style while continuing to motivate student learning.
Ideas for Sharing Findings
When sifting through research and synthesizing information gained from the various studies, it has been concluded that this research topic is an essential agent of change in regards to technology and how it is implemented within the classroom. Technology is a motivator and a driving force for students to learn and experience their education rather than sit by idly viewing information presented to them. The blended classroom offers a means for students to benefit from the effective strategies within traditional instruction and technological instruction. The main idea of conducting research and implementing studies is to gain new information regarding the topic at hand. Within the realm of academia this information plays a larger role than a list of data and results. The conclusions made from educational studies afford teachers the opportunity to learn from the research and experience what occurs in and outside of the classroom (Efron & Ravid, 2013).
The researcher plans to implement a blended classroom and administer the measures that have been discussed. While doing this, student portfolios will be created to record the scores on the students’ tests. After completing the research, data will be shared with the faculty and a meeting will be held to inform colleagues of the possible benefits of utilizing the blended classroom method.
It is strongly encouraged for others to teach and share ideas to expand their own learning. By reaching out to others a community of parents, educators and administrators will be created who are familiar with the method and have positive views on its implementation (Efron & Ravid, 2013). Finally, in regards to the research community, the researcher will be conducting an innovative study in that this particular model has not been widely or commonly researched at the primary level. By utilizing younger participants the data will shed light on the blended classroom in terms of its effectiveness for all students regardless of age.
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Multiplication and Division Pre-Assessment
Directions: Solve for the product or the quotient.
- 3 x 4 = 10 ÷ 2 =
- 4 x 5 = 12 ÷ 6 =
- 7 x 9 = 35 ÷ 5 =
- 6 x 6 = 40 ÷ 10 =
- 10 x 11 = 60 ÷ 6 =
- 9 x 8 = 40 ÷ 8 =
- 3 x 5 = 72 ÷ 9 =
- 6 x 4 = 20 ÷ 4 =
- 2 x 5 = 32 ÷ 8 =
- 4 x 3 = 49 ÷ 7 =
- 12 x 7 = 100 ÷ 10 =
- 9 x 8 = 24 ÷ 2 =
- 5 x 8 = 24 ÷ 6 =
- 6 x 3 = 80 ÷ 10 =
- 2 x 2 = 81 ÷ 9 =
Multiplication and Division Post Assessment
Directions: Solve for the product or the quotient.
- 3 x 4 = 10 ÷ 2 =
- 4 x 5 = 12 ÷ 6 =
- 7 x 9 = 35 ÷ 5 =
- 6 x 6 = 40 ÷ 10 =
- 10 x 11 = 60 ÷ 6 =
- 9 x 8 = 40 ÷ 8 =
- 3 x 5 = 72 ÷ 9 =
- 6 x 4 = 20 ÷ 4 =
- 2 x 5 = 32 ÷ 8 =
- 4 x 3 = 49 ÷ 7 =
- 12 x 7 = 100 ÷ 10 =
- 9 x 8 = 24 ÷ 2 =
- 5 x 8 = 24 ÷ 6 =
- 6 x 3 = 80 ÷ 10 =
- 2 x 2 = 81 ÷ 9 =
Directions: Write 1-4 in the box to the right of the item.
Table 1: Student Satisfaction Survey Form (SSSF) Group
|1 = I Completely Agree
2 = I Somewhat Agree
3 = I Somewhat Disagree
4 = I Completely Disagree
|Interaction||I1||A blended learning lesson always keeps me alert and focused.|
|I2||I am able to ask the teacher questions when he/she is on the other side of the classroom during a blended learning class.|
|I4||It is important to get extra help from the teacher in a blended learning classroom.|
|I5||I cannot interrupt the teacher to ask a question when he/she is on the other side of the blended learning classroom.|
|I6||I am happy how I can work with everyone in the classroom.|
|I9||I am unhappy with how I can work with everyone in the classroom.|
|I10||I am happy with the way I talk with other students.|
|I11||I am happy with my participation in the class.|
|I19||The use of blended learning technology in this course encourages me to learn independently.|
|Instruction||I20||My understanding lessons better than I did before in similar subjects.|
|I21||I have received better grades on tests than I did before.|
|I22||I am happy with the level of effort this class required.|
|I23||I am unhappy with my performance in this course.|
|I24||I believe I will be happy with my final grade in the course.|
|I25||I am happy with how I am able to use what I have learned in the class.|
|I26||If I had known this was going to be a blended learning class, I would not have taken it.|
|I27||I am willing to take another class using the blended learning system.|
|I28||I am happy enough with this course to recommend it to others.|
|I29||Compared to face-to-face course settings, I am unhappy with this learning experience.|
|I38||I enjoy working on assignments by myself.|
|I7||The teacher makes me feel that I am a true member of the class.|
|I16||The instructor uses blended learning technology in a way that works for me.|
|I32||Class assignments were clearly assigned to me.|
|I33||Feedback on tests and other assignments were given in a timely manner.|
|Course Management||I31||The teacher always takes attendance.|
|I39||I use the technology to learn in the same way that I learn in face-to-face lessons with the teacher.|
|I12||The instructor’s voice is audible.|
|Technology||I13||Information shown or displayed on the smart board is clear.|
|I14||The microphone is in good working condition.|
|I15||The video image is clear when the teacher is on the other side of the blended learning classroom.|
|I17||Technical problems are not often and they do not negatively affect how I learn.|
|I18||The technology used for blended teaching is reliable.|