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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The use of interactive learning technologies in elementary and middle school classrooms

  • Author(s): Restrepo, Carmen L.
  • et al.

Audience Response Systems (ARS) increase interactions and active engagement by providing the means for students to electronically respond to questions presented to them during class. ARS immediately aggregates data and teachers and students have access to real time formative assessments of student knowledge. A large body of research exists for ARS in higher education, which supports ARS as tool for increasing interactivity, engagement, and participation in large university lecture halls. A gap exists in research that explores ARS at the elementary and middle school levels. This study examined how ARS is used in elementary and middle school classrooms and focused on teachers' goals for using ARS, current classroom practices, and teachers' perceptions of how ARS effects student engagement. Activity theory provided a framework for examining the teaching and learning environment within the classroom setting. A principal component analysis revealed that teachers used ARS for two specific goals, to enhance teaching and learning, and to enhance assessment. Three types of ARS classroom use were found for teachers in K-8 classrooms. The first type of classroom use included strategies that promoted discussion and student thinking. The second type of use utilized ARS feedback to modify and adjust instruction. The third type of use capitalized on ARS feedback to monitor student understanding without assigning grades. Teachers perceived that students were more actively involved and engaged in their learning while using ARS. Future research should look at classroom uses and pedagogical practices that promote the greatest growth in academic learning

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