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Using Alternative Lenses to Examine Effective Teachers’ Use of Technology with Low-Performing Students


by Julie A. Edmunds — 2008

Background: Much of the literature on the use of technology with low-performing students can be seen as contradictory and limited, primarily because it examines technology use through a single lens: the technology itself.

Purpose: This study used two lenses—teachers’ instructional practices and the research on effective technology use—to examine the use of technology by effective teachers.

Population: Short interviews were conducted with 20 teachers (in 13 elementary schools) nominated by their principals as effective at improving the achievement of their low-performing students and as considering technology an important part of their instruction. Three of those teachers were chosen for a more in-depth examination.

Research Design: The study used a collective case study approach to examine the ways effective teachers used technology with their low-performing students.

Data Collection and Analysis: Data sources included screening interviews with 20 teachers; extended interviews with three teachers chosen for the case study; five days of observations in three case study classrooms; and interviews with seven students and their parents. Analysis used the constant comparative approach to develop themes that cut across the classrooms and interviews.

Findings: The teachers in this study used technology in a balanced way that was continuous with their general instructional practices. Their use of technology reflected nine primary roles: to target instruction more effectively; to incorporate a variety of strategies; to support teacher-guided instruction; to increase student involvement in instruction; to facilitate remediation and reinforcement; to promote advanced thinking strategies; to increase access to resources; to motivate students; and to meet the needs of the whole child.

Conclusion: Examining the use of technology in the context of teachers’ instructional practices provides a fuller picture of the different roles technology can play to support the learning of low-performing students.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 110 Number 1, 2008, p. 195-217
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14568, Date Accessed: 12/15/2017 12:58:51 PM

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About the Author
  • Julie Edmunds
    SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    E-mail Author
    JULIE A. EDMUNDS, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Specialist at SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research interests include effective approaches to working with diverse student populations, program evaluation, and school reform.
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