Week Four Article Review


K-3 Mobile Learning Category

Article Title: Examining the Influence of a Mobile Learning Intervention on Third Grade Math Achievement.

Authors: Kiger, D., Herro, D., and Prunty, D.

Journal: Journal of Research on Technology in Education

Publication Date: Volume 45, No. 1, 2012

A nine week mobile learning intervention (MLI) was administered to third-graders in addition to their Everyday Math curriculum. This research was done in a Midwestern elementary school in Wisconsin using four different third-grade classrooms. Two of the classrooms received the MLI and two of the classrooms had daily practice with “business as usual” techniques such as flashcards. All of the classrooms had teachers with over twelve years of experience. Two of the teachers had master’s degrees.

The MLI was imparted to students using iPod touch devices. The two teachers in the MLI classrooms did whole class modeling using a document camera and an iPod touch to introduce one application a day and then allowing ten minutes of practice time. Students were restricted to using only two apps during each practice session. Practice occurred daily. The apps which were introduced included the following: Multiplication Genius Lite, Mad Math Lite, Pop Math, Flash To Pass, Math Drills Lite, Math Tappers: Multiples, Multiplication Flashcard To Go, Brain Thaw, Math Magic, and Flow Math.

The two comparison classrooms practiced multiplication ten minutes a day using such things as flashcards, games, fact triangles, and number sequences.

Students were given a pre-intervention survey to determine their home technology environment. They were given a postintervention, paper and pencil, 100 item multiplication test. The goal is for students to achieve automaticity with x0, x1, x2, x5, and x10 multiplication facts and using strategies for finding other facts up to 10 x 10.

The article outlines the cost of purchasing the 24 iPod touch devices, the Sync cart, math apps and the technical and instructional support. The wireless mobile cart with an Airport Extreme wireless hub and laptop was used to store, charge, and sync the iPod touch devices. There are eight informational tables in the article. Table 1 analyses the total cost and per student cost of the MLI. Table 2 shows the study conditions for the MLI vs. the Comparison groups. Table 3 gives the pre-intervention student demographics and achievement. Table 4 gives student home technology environment information. Table 5 shows teacher characteristics and technology use. Table 6 shows control variables and their data source. Table 7 gives the influence of MLI participation on a postintervention multiplication test for total items correctly answered. Table 8 shows the influence of MLI participation on postintervention multiplication test for double-digit items.

Figure 1 gives a timeline for MLI intervention. Figure 2 shows the iPod touch devices and cart used in the MLI. Figure 3 depicts four of the math apps that were used for the MLI.

On average, MLI students answered more items correctly (M=54.5) on the postintervention multiplication test than the Comparison students (M=46.3). MLI students also answered a greater number of double-digit multiplication problems correctly compared to the comparison students. MLI is shown to be less expensive per student than one-to-one laptop programs. The article emphasizes the need for commitment and training of teachers and administrators as well as an onsite resource person for teacher support, device management and trouble shooting. The study was limited by the similar demographics of the students, the similar home technology use of students, and the similar experience of the teachers involved. It is also limited by the brief and ideal nature of the implementation. Further study would be needed in typical education settings.

I found this article interesting because last year I was working in a third-grade setting. Most of the math interventions were done with traditional math games, and flashcards for multiplication. A Smartboard was used for some whole group instruction and review. Concepts were presented to the whole class followed by small group instruction. The computer lab was also used occasionally for math instruction. This was usually done by directing students to certain software selections and specific skill practice. Though iPod touch devices are not available at every school, I found this article to give compelling results for using technology to practice math facts. I think students would find this type of practice preferable to flashcards, as it mirrors their real-life use of technology and most apps use a fun, game approach to learning. The use of iPod touch devices would also give students choice which increases their motivation to complete the practice. I currently use iPad math apps such as math magic with students who have special needs.

The following NETS were demonstrated by this study. NETS*S 3c. Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks. I believe that this NETS standard is addressed because students are selecting a digital tool from a list of 10 possible in order to practice the specific task of gaining automaticity with their multiplication facts. NETS*S 5a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology. I believe this standard is addressed because students are shown “responsible use” of the iPod touch devices. The goals and settings of the apps are reviewed. The article gives a 12 point bulleted list of how responsible use of the technology was modeled.  NETS*S 6a. Understand and use technology systems. I believe this standard is achieved by the MLI because students learn 10 math apps and use them to increase their learning of multiplication facts. NETS*S 6b. Select and use applications effectively. Students accomplish this standard by selecting two apps per practice session, so that they do not waste time jumping between 10 different apps in a short amount of time. NETS*S 6d. Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies. The students in the MLI groups transfer the knowledge that they gain from their standard curriculum to the newly learned math applications.

NETS*T 2b. Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress. The students in the MLI groups eventually choose between 10 iPod math apps to practice their multiplication skills. NETS*T 2c. Students in the MLI classrooms were able to customize and personalize their learning activity using a digital tool. NETS*T 3a. Two of the contributing researchers to the study demonstrated a fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies by aligning the math apps that were selected with the curriculum, and standards that were already in place. They also considered the authenticity, user-friendliness and entertainment value of the apps. NETS*T 4a. &b. The MLI teachers modeled safe use of the iPod touch devices, and allowed all to use these learner-centered apps. NETS*T 5c. The researchers did a literature review of current research prior to their study and also made suggestions for further research.

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5 Responses to Week Four Article Review

  1. Ian Condron says:

    Kelly, although I have never taught 3rd grade math I can certainly imagine that the appeal of using the iPod touch device would far outweigh the desire to use flash cards. Anything that will encourage the kids to practice and improve their basic math skills is important. I found it interesting to note that the iPod users were more proficient than the flash card users after the nine week period but it was a little disturbing that they were still only averaging just above 50%. Due to my inexperience in teaching 3rd grade and the fact that it is some 45 years since I was actually a student in 3rd grade I would like to know if you can tell me at what stage does this percentage approach a 90%+? It would seem that although the iPod produces better results there is some way to go!
    I have to express a little frustration (not too much) at the reference to table and charts but not being able to see either immediately! Perhaps I can search out your document or maybe there is a link to it that I have initially missed.

  2. How exciting! I love using technology in my classroom and this article makes me want to write a grant for iPod Touches even more! I think that kids are so much more engaged when they have a choice in what they want to do….and when it’s something they can hold in their hands! Kinds love to use technology (most of them) and i think it really increases their learning. I used a new kind of tech in my room just the other day and my kids are BEGGING me to use it again! They love it! This just goes to prove that all elementary school classrooms should have iPods. Now, that would be the day! I chose to study video this week, but mobile devices on k-3 was already chosen for my next topic. This made me more excited to dig in more! Thanks for sharing!

  3. lonimc says:

    This sounds like a very interesting study and it had impressive results, the students who used the I-Pods scored significantly higher than those who didn’t. I really appreciated that you pointed out that our students are using this technology in their daily lives. Kids aren’t using flash cards anymore they using their (or mom’s) smart phones, they can relate to the I-Pods and find it much more engaging. You didn’t mention how much the school paid for all of the equipment for this program; I would be interested in knowing how much it cost and if they had to write a grant for it.

    • kfrisk12 says:

      Total cost was a whopping $ 10,319.00. They did not mention writing a grant, but I have heard of this being a way to get iPods for the classroom. The 24 iPods were $5300 and the sync cart $3500.

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