Week 5 “What Am I Finding As I collect Data?”

This week has been super busy, but I was able to gather some good information for my research question.  I have decided to use previous data on the students in the 4th through 6th grade, which in Chugach School District’s level system is at level 4 for the most part.  For the sake of time I have decided to use their standing vocabulary level as a base.  Since I already know that technology has not been used to instruct vocabulary in the past, introducing it for this research project will be a first for these students.

So far I have used Visual Thesaurus, Wordle, and VisuWord in the classroom during reading/word study.  What I have done is ask the students while they are reading to circle words they come across that they don’t know or are curious about.  At the end of reading time I had them write down their words and then circle the ones that were really hard for them.  As a class we would compile the list of words in Wordle with the circled words being entered in multiple times.  They would print this out and we have begun a really cool word wall with each day’s Wordle printout.  To really make things interesting students worked in pairs with each group using a computer.  Each group uses Visual Thesaurus, or VisuWord to enter in the words from the Wordle Wall anyway they like and see what comes up.  So far we have had the best time and although I have not directly quantified their vocabulary learning to date, I have noticed an increased awareness and use of some of the words we have studied through this method.

Observation has been my main method thus far of collecting data.  Searle (1993) points out  “One way of conducting action research is to engage in participant observation.” I have directly observed an increased excitement with reading and writing.  These students are having so much fun with the technology that they are motivated to read more!  Not only that, but in free writing they delight in using words from previous days to impress each other.  Also, they will skip breaks to plug words into VisuWord just to see what will come up.  They are actively constructing their own vocabulary learning!  Considering this is the first week of this experiment I am pleased that they latched on to the digital tools introduced to them and so far I have observed positive feedback.  In three more weeks I will administer a survey utilizing a Likert-type scale questionnaire (Robertson, 2012) to solidly quantify reaction to the use of digital tools to teach vocabulary.

References:

Robertson, J. (2012). Likert-type Scales, Statistical Methods, and Effect Sizes. Communications of the ACM, 55(5), 6-7. doi:10.1145/2160718.2160721

Searle, J. (1993). Participant Observation: A Way of Conducting Research. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED359259 on 30 September, 2013

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6 thoughts on “Week 5 “What Am I Finding As I collect Data?”

  1. It’s interesting that the technology and the new vocabulary are inspiring students to read more. I am curious about the staying power. It would be interesting to do another measure at the end of the year when they are used to the technology. I wonder if they will still have gains after many months of technology use.

  2. This sounds amazing. I love this blog!!!! This is one of the first blogs that I could actually picture how I may use some of the technology that was mentioned.
    I work with 3rd graders and have used Golgster to create posters of their word maps. I created a lesson on Edmodo for the students to access. It included the word map as an attachment as well as a link to Glogster. They created a word map for a math word (any word they were unsure of). For my maps I have the students write the definition, use it in a sentence, draw a picture of it and then list synonyms. After they filled that out they were to create a poster on Glogster (using their word map as a guide) and print it to put on the word wall. Some students need assistance with the picture design but that is to be expected. Overall they really liked using it. I could then reference it during lesson to let them see the use of the word wall and that we do use these words and they need to be able to recall their meaning. When I did this they all said “OH yeah, I remember that.” and then blurt out the word. Although my students were not as far along as yours seem to be in their vocabulary skills we still have to start somewhere.

    • Howdy,
      These kids are really happy with this stuff so far, but like Barbra said how much endurance can the new tech have? Honestly, much of it is a lot of fun. With Wordle they mess around with the various patterns until they get the one they like and then we print them out. I also, sit with my computer and plug words in to VisuWord to see what comes up. I am hoping my own enthusiasm as well as a handful of other websites will keep things going. I love it that they are reading more, but hope their comprehension doesn’t decrease because they are so busy looking for big words. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Have you ever used Quizlet.com for vocabulary flash cards? Allows for multiple students to login to a “class” set of flash cards. They can new add cards, definitions, and there’s different ways to view / arrange the words. Worth checking out!

  4. I like that you’re not only integrating the tech, but you are giving the students ownership in their learning. I really appreciated that you’re posting their wordles on the wall! What fun! I am glad that you’re students are responding positively to the activity. The increased awareness of the students with their words is fantastic! I am hoping that your data shows an increase in learning on top of increased enthusiasm!

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