The Impact of Using Computers and Technology on Engagement and Achievement in an 8th grade Social Studies Unit


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Masters of Education

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The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine whether instruction delivered via technology and computers as opposed to traditional methods affected student engagement and achievement in an eighth grade history class. Students initially completed a survey regarding their interest and access to technology then were divided into groups, one of which received instruction and completed assessments using technology and one of which did not while completing a ten days long social studies unit on Slavery in the Americas. Engagement in the unit was measured by scoring student analyses of primary source materials throughout the unit. Achievement was assessed with a unit test, which was administered at the completion of the unit. No significant difference was found between the control and treatment groups’ mean scores on the survey assessing the students’ interest in technology before the intervention, suggesting the groups were similar in that regard. No statistically significant differences were found between scores reflecting the groups’ mean engagement in the unit materials/content or their unit test scores. Therefore, all three null hypotheses were retained. Suggestions for future studies regarding using technology for instruction and assessment include examining the impact of using more varied methods of technology and studying its impact across topics and age levels.