An excerpt from my Action Research Paper: What are the effects of Digital Tools (Nearpod) on reading comprehension and engagement?
"According to a study about curriculum-based technology integration, (2009) effective teaching requires knowledge of both the activity structures/types that are appropriate for teaching specific content and the manners in which particular technologies can be utilized as part of the lesson, project, or design. In this vein, it is suggested that the use of an interactive digital response system can and should be used to facilitate book discussion sessions, but may not be appropriate or effective for administering traditional comprehension questions. When students were provided a list of comprehension questions before reading, they were more comfortable answering the questions as they went along through the chapter in the traditional approach. Some of the open-ended answers from students indicated that the wait-time in between reading and getting to the questions on the digital tool was a source of frustration. Having said this, questions used in the interactive digital response system should concentrate on bigger picture questions that include plot, character development and deeper thinking questions.
Based on triangulated data collection, the researcher would recommend using Nearpod in the classroom to help with reading comprehension, focus and engagement at the high school level. The tool provides visual images to help engage multiple senses, provides a way for students to think about their own individual responses prior to discussing in a group, and provides a way of engaging with the material that echoes students’ digitally connected lives outside of the classroom. It is important to note that engagement levels were higher than those in the traditional method, but that further adjustments to when and where the tool is used could cause an even greater increase in engagement."
In that vein, next year, I will be introducing the same classroom book to a new group of Game Design students and will be using Nearpod to deepen the classroom discussions of each chapter as we read. I would like to refine how I measure engagement with the material so that it better reflects engagement with the reading, regardless of whether the plot has flattened out a bit or not. I believe that concentrating more on discussion questions, instead of comprehension questions could help continue the study while eliminating the reticence on the part of the students to have to pay attention to "irrelevant facts and information" and allow us to think about the bigger picture of plot, character development, as well as ethical, social, and moral issues.
I would also like to introduce a classroom book to my 3D printing/digital storytelling class and am reviewing books this summer. I believe that the make-up of the 3D printing class may vary a bit from the Game Design class and may include more students who are at the Below Basic, or Basic levels of reading, but will have to wait until I can see who is in that class. I am curious as to how Nearpod can help make reading more engaging to those students for whom reading may not be their favorite activity.
I do not think my driving question will change, but I would like to go deeper with question and spend more time collecting data. I still have to figure out a way to measure engagement that provided useful and accurate data. I'm looking forward to exploring further.
Lisa Gottfried is a CTE teacher with 20 years experience as CEO of her own Video and Motion Graphics Production house. She currently teaches Intro to Digital Media, Video Production and Game/3D Design. She loves her job and her students!