The use of digital devices with high-performing students in elementary schools

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christie S. Abernathy (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Carl Lashley

Abstract: Encouraging the academic growth of every student is an important part of providing a free appropriate public education in America. Each school should be focused on providing the best education for all of our students, including our top performing who will be competing with other students from all over the world for college entry and career opportunities. This group of high-performing students sometimes do not receive targeted instruction due to their above-grade-level performance on state accountability measures. Additionally, students are surrounded by the use of devices for a large portion of their daily lives. It remains crucial in developing future leaders and productive citizens for schools to engage students and provide strategies for student growth through the use of devices. There are many ways that districts have implemented devices. Multiple studies that I have explored have highlighted positive integrations using technology and there is also research that identifies negative integrations of digital devices in the classroom. There is much research that provides data on specific programs using devices, but little research has been conducted on how devices have been used to provide differentiation. Due to the lack of research in this area, I felt that it would be enlightening to administrators and districts to investigate how teachers are leveraging digital devices in elementary schools in order to provide enrichment for their high-performing student subgroup. Today school systems are spending millions on purchasing devices for each child, therefore it is important for districts to have a strong implementation plan and provide teachers the training they need to capitalize on their investment. In this qualitative research study, I closely examined a group of teachers who had shown growth on accountability measures with their high-performing students in the elementary classroom. My research examined how those teachers were using one-to-one digital devices in the classroom to provide high-performing students with learning opportunities that offer an engaging learning environment that facilitates academic growth in this group of students. This study included three different schools. I conducted interviews with two teachers in each of those schools and completed observations of their classrooms. I selected the schools due to the teachers being identified in EVAAS as making growth with high-performing students on their state accountability measures. They were also selected because they have integrated one-to-one devices for at least 2 years in their classrooms. The goal of my study was to identify resources and strategies teachers are using in the elementary classroom with their high-performing students by utilizing devices to help students make growth. Through interviewing six different teachers, conducting observations, and facilitating a focus group session, I was able to identify multiple strategies and resources that are being used with devices. I was able to answer my primary research question by identifying how teachers are using the devices. I also focused on several secondary questions to fully understand how academic content was being delivered, if enrichment was being provided, and if higher-order and critical thinking skills were being taught. In my research, I found that the teachers who participated in the study are using one-to-one devices to provide differentiated instruction to their high-performing students through multiple resources and venues. Hopefully the results of this study will prove helpful to teachers and leaders that need ideas on how to grow their high-performing students by preparing them with the most engaging environment by using one-to-one devices.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Differentiation, Digital Devices, Enrichment, High-Performing
Education, Elementary $x Effect of technological innovations on
Gifted children $x Education (Elementary)
Computer-assisted instruction
Individualized instruction

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