Florida’s Enhancing Education Through Technology (FL EETT)

Leveraging Laptops: Effective Models for Enhancing Student Achievement

2007-2008 EVALUATION REPORT: Classroom Practices

This report summarizes the 2007-2008 evaluation that focused on investigating one primary question: What changes occur in tool-based, student-centered teaching as a result of the infusion of technology and professional development? The research methodology involved the use of trained external researchers from FL EETT schools conducting multi-class and targeted classroom observations in each participating school during two time periods: baseline (Fall 2007) and end of year one (Spring 2008). A total of 267 hours of direct classroom observations were conducted in 494 FL EETT classrooms in 61schools representing 11 districts. Observation data were collected with the School Observation Measure (SOM©) and the Observation of Computer Use (OCU©). The SOM was used to collect data regarding overall classroom activities, while the OCU was used to assess student use of computers. Both descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted. The Mantel-Haentzel procedure was used to infer statistical differences between the fall and spring classroom observations.

Positive trends were seen from both the multi-class and targeted SOM and OCU classroom observation results, yet there were only significant differences between fall 2007 and spring 2008 for two items. Specifically, SOM targeted results revealed a significant increase in teacher “Use of higher-level questioning strategies” and a significant decrease in the use of “Independent seatwork (self-paced worksheets, individual assignments)” for students. The most notable positive fall to spring increases were with student engagement in experiential, hands-on learning activities, teacher use of higher-level questioning strategies, use of project-based learning, cooperative learning, and classroom teachers acting as a coach or facilitator during student-centered learning activities. The changes most directly aligned with the Florida EETT goals were the increased frequency with which students were observed using the laptops as learning tools and with which “Meaningful use of computers” and “Very meaningful use of computers” were observed in the FL EETT classrooms.

These results reveal that the FL EETT program introduced positive changes in classroom practices, such as shifting from more traditional teacher-directed instruction to student-centered learning that engaged learners in higher-order thinking and use of computers as problem-solving tools. However, the data also reflected a couple of trends that reveal the need for continued professional development. First, there was a slight decrease in the frequency with which high academically-focused class time was seen during spring targeted observations. Second, although the use of student-centered practices increased between the fall and spring observations, the frequency with which they were observed was still fairly limited. An additional consideration when reviewing the evaluation results is the possible bias that may occur due to observer involvement in the Florida EETT program.

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