Graduate Student Research in Oregon

Marilyn Williams, a graduate student in Oregon, has received a grant from NCSeT to support her dissertation research.

Marilyn Williams a graduate student at the University of Oregon has received a grant from NCSeT to support her dissertation research.

Ms. Williams is conducting a planned comparison study analysis design to investigate the effectiveness of delivering reading comprehension summarizing strategy and self-monitoring instruction utilizing iPod Touches. Reading comprehension has been shown to improve when students learn to use specific reading strategies such as paraphrasing, summarizing, and identifying main ideas. By incorporating reading comprehension strategy instructional prompts in text, students benefit by receiving additional instruction in an alternate form of representation. This process is further enhanced when students receive this instruction in a digital format. This allows them to access and review the instruction as often as needed, thus differentiating the instruction and learning environment for students.

The iPod Touch provides this increased level of portability and accessibility. Digital files can easily be shared and stored via email, Internet portals, servers and external hard drives. This convenience factor is important as educators seek to make these materials as widely available and accessible as possible. Once stored, the digital files can easily be downloaded to a variety of tools including computers and hand-held devices such as phones, PDAs and MP3 players. Once accessed, the files can be used in a variety of electronic and physical environments.

In this study, approximately 100 students received reading comprehension strategy instruction via their iPod Touches. Additionally, all groups are reading digital text taken from their language arts textbook on their iPod Touches. The Text Only (TO) group (n= 33) simply read the digital text. The Text plus Prompts (TP) group (n= 33)) read and listen to the digital text with embedded reading comprehension strategy prompts. The Text plus Prompts plus Audio (TPA) treatment group reads and listens to text with embedded strategy prompts. All students are completing reading comprehension questions after completing each selection. Students who receive prompts respond to these using either pencil and paper or an online form.

Participants receive instruction during four to five twenty-minute sessions over the course of four weeks. All instruction is delivered via the iPod Touch. Teachers are available in the classroom but do not provide instruction.

Data analysis is being conducted using an ANOVA model in order to determine if the Independent Variable (type of use of iPod Touch instruction) has a significant effect on the Dependent Variable (student reading comprehension). The hypothesis is that providing reading comprehension strategy instruction using iPod Touches will produce increased scores in reading comprehension tasks.