Computer-Assisted Instruction in an Urban School Setting: Fifth-Grade Teachers’ Perceptions and Students' Attitudes Toward Science
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The purpose of this dissertation study was to investigate a specific computer-assisted instructional software, Study Hall 101, in fifth-grade science. The study was conducted on an urban, elementary school campus in a northeastern school district in Texas. A mixed-methods approach was utilized in an attempt to understand two teachers’ perceptions about its use in fifth-grade science and evaluate its impact on fifth-grade students’ attitudes toward science. The first inquiry employed a qualitative research design in an attempt to understand teachers’ perceptions towards the use of Study Hall 101. Data collection methods used in this study included interviews, focus groups, and electronic-mail (e-mail) responses to open-ended sentence stems. Four favorable themes emerged from teachers’ responses: (1) students' attitudes toward science, (2) students’ participation in science class discussions, (3) content individualization, and (4) students’ engagement. Teachers’ frustrations also emerged into themes: (1) time constraints, (2) technology glitches, and (3) specific design elements. The second inquiry employed a quantitative research design in an attempt to investigate the impact of Study Hall 101 on seventy fifth-grade students’ attitudes toward science after an eight-week period. The Modified Attitudes Toward Science Inventory (mATSI) was used for data collection and was administered to students on two occasions, before and after treatment. Results indicated no statistically significant change in fifth-grade students’ overall attitudes toward science as a result of its use; however, two statistically significant findings did occur when data were analyzed across attribute variables of gender, ethnicity, and economic status, as well as specific domains within the mATSI. First, the use of Study Hall 101 was associated with males’ and females’ attitudes in opposite ways in regard to one domain of the mATSI: self-concept toward science. Second, students in the control group experienced a decline in another attitude domain of the mATSI: desire to do science. The results of this study contribute to the field of K-12 education as we search for effective educational tools to reach diverse student populations. This study concludes that teachers’ perceptions of this software are favorable and that its use in fifth-grade science should be considered as a tool to engage students in their own learning process.
Howell, Leanne (2010). Computer-Assisted Instruction in an Urban School Setting: Fifth-Grade Teachers’ Perceptions and Students' Attitudes Toward Science. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from