Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

David C. Webb

Second Advisor

Victoria Hand

Third Advisor

Kris Gutierrez

Fourth Advisor

Alexander Repenning

Fifth Advisor

Finbarr Sloane

Abstract

This study examines two weeklong implementations of technology-enhanced mathematics units. Pre and post-survey data, student interviews, audio and video recordings of classroom sessions, and participation log data were collected and analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods. Constructs measured included self-efficacy in mathematics and computers, triggered and maintained interest, future pursuits, and engagement.

Survey constructs were verified using factor analysis procedures, and t-tests and effect sizes were calculated for pre and post-survey differences of means. Further analysis using ANCOVA and mixed ANOVA procedures examined constructs and sub-populations flagged as potentially having statistically significant differences of means. No statistically significant differences were found between pre and post-survey means for any construct or population of students. Students reported high self-efficacy and interest in both mathematics and computer use overall on both surveys.

Analysis of interview and observation data found evidence of students’ interest states shifting from triggered to maintained situational interest during the course of unit implementation. Students with repeated exposure to the Simulations in Statistics units were more likely to show evidence of transitioning interest states. Analysis of participation logs showed that, on average, students were highly engaged throughout the units. Engagement rates did not differ by gender, but the nature of engagement did. Female students engaged in more collaborative behavior, while male students engaged in more independent work and off-task behaviors. Two teachers simultaneously implemented the units in two separate computer labs. The learning environments in these two labs were different: one emphasized collaborative work and student self-directed use of online wiki and tutorial resources; the other teacher did not. In the collaborative focused lab, a larger percentage of behavior was on-task for all students, especially female students. The learning environment was critical to the engagement of female students.

Latino/a students reported lower self-efficacy beliefs than white students especially in mathematics. Participation in these units gave students the opportunity to develop new self-efficacy beliefs in math and computer use in this context.

These findings inform research efforts to increase interest and motivation for women and people of color to pursue STEM related careers.

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