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Advantages of Technology Reading Intervention vs. Traditional Approach

Educational issues came to a head when NCLB came into play. Each state is doing its best to confront these issues with intervention methods. This occurred in my district two years ago as with adopted a new Language Arts program. Our district chose to use an animated software program to help students with five different areas: phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary.

At first when I looked at my topic, I wanted to research just the gains in fluency of technology based intervention vs. tradition intervention. However, as a classroom teacher, reading online articles and conferring with my online peers, it seems that I should not limit my research to just fluency but all areas that affect the reading program. I decided that just because a child is fluent in reading does not mean the comprehension is there. I want to research the whole picture of the child in reading.

So here is my revisited problem statement:

I plan to investigate if K-5 students who are provided with technology based reading interventions have an increase in learning gain as compared to students who receive traditional reading interventions on standardized tests.

Those students who test on Tier 2 or 3 will utilize the online interventions. Students on Tier 1 will continue with the “normal” classroom instruction. My hope is to research these students as they progress from grade to grade. The students studied will change slightly if students leave the school. I plan to include literature from a variety of online reading intervention programs; however, I want to make sure they are scientifically based interventions.

Because we are in a highly technology world, I believe that the students utilizing the online intervention program will progress faster, and I will find the intervention to be more effective than the traditional approach. I am eager to read more articles and to do my own research. With that being said, I do have some initial questions:

*Did the online interventions in all 5 areas of reading prove to exceed that of the traditional approach?
* Who did the research?
*How many schools and what grades utilized the programs?
*What was the demographics of the schools involved?
*What type of intervention was the traditional group using?

There are outlying factors that weigh into a study such as this:
*Was the same teachers there during the entire research (was there a substitute or student teacher)?
*Were the teachers who participated in the program all tenured teachers--how many years of experience did each have?

I believe my problem appears to be a quantitive analysis because of the numbers and statistics that are involved.

Let me know if you think I should change anything or give me any advice.


Views: 270

Comment by Jennifer H on November 21, 2009 at 9:48pm
Your research topic took me back to my days of being a first grade teacher, I remember being judged as a teacher through my students quarterly DIBELS assessments. One of the assessments the students under went was a fluency measurement, I told my students the stop watch ladies were coming, which meant "Read for SPEED". It was one time when understanding what they read was not important, what a horrible thing to request a student to do, reading without comprehending.

I wonder if one software based product can produce the most gains across all reading areas, phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary. In particular my district utilizes Earobics to improve Phonemic awareness, but it does not have a strong influence on comprehension or vocabulary, is their a product available that produces a learning gain in all areas? Is it possible to have one stop software solution?

Your questions were great but I was wondering if the traditional and technology based interventions times should be analyzed? What if technology based interventions were quicker? As you know educators are required to teach more and more material in the same amount of time as decades ago, as educators we need to become more efficient. I liked your thoughts of looking at tenured teachers since there is a difference between teachers due to their experience level, that thought had never entered my mind. Good luck with research, I can't wait to read more.
Jennifer Hardy
Comment by Kathy Price on November 21, 2009 at 11:17pm

The program that we use called imagination station is supposed to be one (If not the) of the top programs that shows gains in phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary. I just started delving into all the data that is produced from the students working on the program. I think it's neat that this program also lets me know when a student just sits there idling OR if they are just clicking on the same answer every time. It can give a pretty detailed report. I look forward to charting these students as they progress to the next grade.

In my blog, I mentioned that I thought that this research is heavily based on quantitative data, but reading other blogs, I wonder if the Mixed-Method design might be better perhaps the Explanatory Design. I thinking because I have questions about teachers and experience that this might fit into the qualitative data. Let me know what you think!

Comment by Stephanie Richardson on November 22, 2009 at 2:35pm

I think I would agree that the Mixed-Methods Explanatory design might be a nice fit for your research. That would let you start with the quantitative data and then get into the qualitative data that might help you explain "why". I think it is wonderful that you are planning to continue with your own research in this area. It will make what you find out so much more meaningful.

Good luck!

Comment by Lori Powers on November 22, 2009 at 8:41pm
I learned my lesson to respond in a word document first and then save it. First you deleted my comment and then I deleted my second response before I hit send!!! Frustrating and now I think, I am all out of the pure genius my last comments were made of!!! 

I was commenting on our research being similar and our technique being similar in that we are planning to use data collected from former studies and not planning on doing our own experiment to collect data. I wanted to make sure we are on the right track.

Second I wanted to comment on the fact that your last questions “*What type of intervention was the traditional group using?” Since you address time in your statement and questions, I was wondering if you should check on the amount of time the traditional methods are working. If you are looking to see if the technology method would be faster to show success than I would think you would have to know how fast the traditional method reaches their goal.

Anyway … I believe this was all I wrote but good luck and remember to put your responses in word first for your own good. This was too funny tonight! Hopefully this one sticks!!!

Have a great day! LORI POWERS
Comment by Lori Powers on November 22, 2009 at 8:43pm
ALso Kathy, I told you about my children's program at school. Compass Learning is a web based program and the children have access to it from home. I would think that this would have a major impact on the programs value. Students get excited to move up along the program so they work at home because they want to. This type of motivation is difficult to compete with for the traditional teaching methods that often do not get voluntary homework done to promote success. NO matter how much the child wants it!!!

Thansk -- LORI
Comment by Kathy Price on November 22, 2009 at 8:49pm
Thanks so much for resending. I actually do save my post but I thought it was just because I was crazy. You make excellent points of which I will now rethink some things.
One thing I remember from the original post was whether I was actually going to do this research. Since my school does utilize imagination station as their response to intervention, I can easily track the students. Tier 2 and 3 will be using istation and Tier 1 will be using me. I realize they are the top group but they are also tested periodically using the same program. Lots of questions are now going through my mind.

Comment by Jamie Simpkins on January 9, 2013 at 12:38pm

Our school district starting using istation this year. Our reading coach and myself are using the Interventions strategies found in Teacher Tools as small group instruction methods for those that are Tier 3 and need specific instruction as well as the online individual pathway intervention They are improving. All students are assessed at the beging of each month. We alson DIBEL three times a year to check progress, students are tested on STAR Early Literacy, Star Reading, and Star Math. Depending on their level, depends on how often they are tested for progress. Intensive are tested every 2 weeks and strategic/benchmark students are tested every 4 weeks also when the district requires them to be tested. Information from these assessments are also used in planning interventions with intensive students, for both the regular classroom teacher and reacing coach/reading aides. My question that I have is, for those who have been using istation, have you seen benefits of using the program with your students?


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