Just to note, I changed research groups this month so my scholarly articles reflect this change. I went from the games group to a group focusing on technology and gifted education. This is quite interesting for me because I teach quite a few gifted students by teaching online electives courses. It will be interesting!
October’s Scholarly Critiques –
Questions to Consider When Writing a Scholarly Critique
1. How did you find this journal article, book chapter, or scholarly resource?
2. How is this resource related to your action research (generally) and research question(s) specifically?
3. What are, if applicable, the research questions pursued in this source?
- How, if at all, are the research questions relevant to your own action research?
5. What type of study design and research process is demonstrated?
- How, if at all, does the research design relate to your action research?
- If applicable, what type of statistical analyses were used? How might these methods be applicable to your action research?
- If applicable, what type of qualitative analyses were used? How might these methods be applicable to your action research?
- Do the results seem valid?
- What do any figures, graphs, and tables tell you about the study and its results?
- Are the conclusions drawn consistent with the study design and results?
- How might you mitigate similar confusion in your own research and writing?
Gifted Adolescents’ Talent Development Through Distance Learning by Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Seon-Young Lee
I found this article on Google Scholar by searching for technology for gifted students. This one struck me because I am a distance learning teacher. I wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for distance learning. A good amount of my students take my courses because they are able to experience a class that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to take.
My group’s project this semester on gifted students and how technology can help differentiate instruction for them. We are interested to see how technology can be used in the classroom most effectively to help gifted students. This paper was particularly interesting because it started out with the importance of distance learning. I have often felt like I am not having as much of an impact on my students as brick and mortar teachers. I liked that this article pointed out the importance of distance learning also. Distance learning is changing because of improved technology so this is something we will have to keep in mind when we are writing our research project.
The research questions in this article all involved using technology-based distance learning programs for gifted students. The author explored why gifted students take distance learning courses, if they’re satisfied with those courses, how they perform on examinations, and how distance learning courses are received by schools. All of these questions will be important for my team’s research.
The only thing that confused me about this article was that the researchers only seemed to target students in the Learning Links program. The answers for different programs would vary widely. We were also told in our proposal review that we should not target specific technologies, which is counter to what this is doing. I think the researchers should have tried to cater to a larger variety of companies offering distance learning.
I would be eager to ask the authors if they thought it was more beneficial for students to take courses through distance learning or if they should stick to the traditional classroom. The results say that it was not possible to do this but that seems like a very valid point to study. If gifted students learn better though distance learning then maybe this is what they need to be doing rather than attending a traditional classroom.
Technology in the Family: What is a Parent to Do? By James T Webb and Janet L Gore
I found this article by searching Google scholar for articles about gifted students and technology. This one caught my eye because I am a parent. We are constantly being told how much technology our kids should be exposed to and what types are okay and which are not. It’s a constant struggle to do what is considered right or wrong. With technology everywhere we have to teach them how to use it responsibly but how much is too much?
This article also relates to our research project this semester because it talks about technology and kids. Students who are not exposed to technology will be much less likely to take a distance learning course since the learning curve would be so great. This impacts me and my job because I rely on students wanting to take distance learning courses. This is also important because technology can often motivate students and keep them engaged in content, which is what we are studying in our research project this semester.
This article addresses technology and how it is effecting how kids grow up. It asks if kids are learning less because they aren’t experiencing other types of learning. It also addresses questions about physical activity and social activity. If technology decreases the amount of time that kids spend outside and the amount of time that they spend face to face with friends, how will this affect them in the long run? The article found that there are both positives and negatives to using technology.
This article confused me at first because it started out as more of a newspaper column article. I kept reading because it interested me and found that it was actually a research study. I’m glad that someone went into depth with a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. The researchers did a very thorough job of addressing aspects of kids using technology that were both positive and negative. This list was very helpful and I will think of it when monitoring my own children’s technology access.
I would be eager to ask the authors how much time they would recommend kids be on technology each day. The authors cited very real positives and negatives to using technology so when is enough enough? I would obviously like my kids to gain some of the positive aspects of games and technology but I wouldn’t want them to be on it all the time and not experience the world around them.
Learning with Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement by James Cengiz and Hakan Demirtas
I found this article by searching on google scholar for technology and student achievement. This one caught my eye because my local school district is starting to hand out laptops and ipads to all of its students. My son’s teacher carries a school issued ipad around with her everywhere too. I am intrigued by what this type of mobile technology can and will do for our school systems.
This article directly relates to our research project this semester because we are studying how technology can have an effect on how students learn. This study compares students who have been issued laptops with students who have not been issued laptops. This was based on prior research that found that students who do have laptops participate in more collaborative and project based learning than their non-laptop bearing counterparts. These students also are better at directing their own learning. This is important to me as I teach distance learning because most of my courses are self-guided and the students have to keep going in the course on their own in order to finish it.
The article addresses if the laptop program has improved student GPAs, end of course grades, essay writing skills, and standardized test scores. The researchers conducted their study at one school in California. This is interesting to me because it is in an area of the country that is very wealthy. It would be interesting to see how laptop programs across the country, especially in less wealthy areas, compare to this one.
The results of the study are best outlined in the tables within the article. It definitely seems that students who have laptops are achieving higher GPA’s, end of course grades, and are doing better on standardized exams. I like that the article broke the information down into grades 6, 7, and 8 rather than just lumping them all together. That way we could see that non-laptop students were actually achieving higher than laptop students in the 8th grade English courses. However, the other two grades were achieving higher with laptops. That is an interesting difference and it makes me wonder why there is a change in the 8th grade.
I would be eager to ask the researcher why they only studied test scores rather than also studying communication skills, presentation skills, etc. These skills will be important in the workplace and they won’t be based on a computer. One of the drawbacks of using technology is that it is so distanced from face to face communication with others. If the researchers looked at communication and presentation skills they might find that laptop programs actually decreased these skills. It would be interesting to see if this were true.
Effects of Technology on Critical Thinking and Essay Writing Among Gifted Adolescents by Felicia Dixon, Jerrell Cassady, Tracy Cross, and David Williams
I found this article by searching for technology and gifted students scholarly articles. This one stuck out to me because critical thinking and essay writing are a couple of the aspects of education that I could see going by the way side if students start using technology more and more. Technology seems to streamline thinking so students may not have to work as hard and think critically about how to solve a problem. On the other hand technology could present new problems for them to solve so maybe technology is just changing how we educate our students. Essay writing has also changed because we have grammar and spelling checkers.
This article is related to our research because we are looking at how we can educate gifted students and keep them engaged in the classroom through technology. We are hoping to find some ways to motivate these students to keep learning instead of switching to doing other things in the classroom. We would like them to learn deeper topics or even mentor other students if they have already mastered the basic concepts – technology is one way to do that.
This article studied many different aspects of critical thinking and essay writing. Critical thinking was assessed using the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. It is a multiple choice test of reasoning skills. Critical thinking was also assessed at two different points in the study. These essays were scored using a rubric. Some students used computers to compose their essays and other students used pen and paper. The researchers also identified differences based on gender.
I was confused about why this article chose these two very specific and very different topics to study. I think it would make more sense if they chose just one topic and studied that one very thoroughly. It certainly would streamline the study. I felt like I was jumping back and forth between two different things as I was reading it. I understand that they are connected but they are still different enough that maybe it would be helpful to write them as separate studies.
I would ask the authors about why they didn’t have some students do the first essay on the computer. Some students might just be better at writing on the computer so they would already have an improvement over the handwritten essay. Other students might prefer the handwritten way so they would do worse if given a computer based assignment. The researchers could have let the students choose which way to write the essay and that might have helped them perform their best on both assignments.