Computers in Education: Research Methods and Practice

University of Maryland, College of Education, EDHD-779N & 499N, Fall 2002

Readings for the Course
The following subject areas will be covered with a selection of readings:
1) General Impact of Technology on Education
2) Technology Impact on Course Content
3) Collaborative Learning Supported by Technology
4) Online Environments
5) Special Education Supported by Technology
6) Developing New Technologies for Education
7) Final Project Materials

1) General Impact of Technology on Education:

Report to the President, (February 24, 1999) President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC)

Report to the President Information Technology Research: Investing in Our Future

PITAC Report:


Sabelli, N (June 2001). The Goals behind the Rhetoric: Why We Don't Always Talk about Technology When We Talk about Technology in Education. iMP Magazine.

". . . two lines of argument can be brought to bear in discussing the educational and learning importance of technology: as a tool in itself, and as a tool that enables a curriculum and a school environment more appropriate for a society so drastically impacted by advances in science and technology."


Wartella, E.A. & Jennings, N. (Fall/Winter 2000). Children and Computers: New Technology—Old Concerns. The Future of Children: Children and Computer Technology, 10(2).

An overview of the recurrent themes and patterns in media research throughout the past century, placing current research on children and computers in a historical context with earlier research on film, radio, and television.


Resnick, M. (2001). Closing the Fluency Gap. Communications of the ACM, 44 (3).

We need to develop a new generation of computer technologies worthy of the next generation of children. These new technologies should provide children with “design leverage,” enabling them to create things that would have been difficult for them to create in the past. At the same time, the new technologies should provide children with “conceptual leverage,” enabling them to learn concepts that would have been difficult for them to learn in the past.


Papert, S. & Caperton, G. (1999). Vision for Education: The Caperton-Papert Platform

This essay was written for the 91st annual National Governors' Association meeting held in St. Louis, Missouri in August of 1999.


2) Technology Impact on Course Content:

Roschelle, J. M, Pea, R. D., Hoadley, C. M., Gordin, D. N., & Means, B. (Fall/Winter 2000). Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer-Based Technologies. The Future of Children: Children and Computer Technology, 10(2).

This paper explores the various ways computer technology can be used to improve how and what children learn in school.  Several examples of computer applications are highlighted to illustrate ways technology can enhance how children learn.  The paper concludes with a discussion of the structural and organizational changes needed to help ensure computers are used effectively for learning.


ISTE White Paper Report (2000). Information Technology and Writing—the Research. Research on Technology in Education, ISTE.

It is relatively easy to determine that the changes in reading and writing are improvements for both readers and writers. It is less easy to determine if these same changes are improving the learning that occurs when students read and write with new forms of technology. The question of improved benefits for students is still being researched. Do students read and write with greater skill as a result of the new tools? Do they learn better as a consequence of the new tools?


Falba, C. J., Grove, K., Anderson, D. G., & Putney, L. G. (Summer 2001). Benefits of Laptop Computers for Elementary Teachers. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 33(5).

This paper describes the benefits of providing laptop computers to elementary teachers. They found that access to laptops at school and at home positively affected these teachers' technology use.


Assey, J. (2000). The Future of Technology in K-12 Arts Education. White Paper for the U.S. Department of Education, Requested as a result of: Forum on Technology in Education: Envisioning the Future.

The purpose of this white paper is to discuss the future role of technology in arts education while addressing the impact technology has on teaching and learning in this content area. The paper begins with an overview of national standards for music, theatre, the visual arts, and dance.  The paper goes on to discuss integrating technology into the curriculum, instruction and assessment in these disciplines.


3) Collaborative Learning Supported by Technology:

Inkpen, K. M.,  Ho-Ching, W., Kuederle, O., Scott, S. D., & Shoemaker, G. (1999). This is fun! We're all best friends and we're all playing. Supporting children's synchronous collaboration. Proceedings of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) '99. December 1999. Stanford, CA.

This paper presents preliminary results from a research study which examined pairs of elementary school children playing a puzzle solving game in various collaborative conditions. Children's activity and engagement levels when playing on a computer with multiple input devices was compared to other traditional collaborative settings (paper-based, common desktop configuration).


Aphek, E.  (June 2001). Kamrat: The Story of a Virtual Multicultural Learning Community in Israel. iMP Magazine.

This paper is about the creation in 2000 of an ongoing learning community Kamrat, a multicultural online learning community, between two schools in Israel: one Israeli Arab school (A) and the other an Israeli Jewish school (J). The tools used for the creation of this community were two: a closed network in Hebrew and the Internet.


Mulder, I., Swaak, J., & Kessels, J. (2002). Assessing group learning and shared understanding in technology-mediated interaction. Educational Technology & Society 5(1).

This study focuses on ways of assessing shared understanding. A conceptual framework is described that makes a distinction between the process of reaching shared understanding and the resulting shared understanding. The conceptual ideas lead to a coding scheme for observing the processes of shared understanding and to the definition of product measures, among others a scale to assess perceived shared understanding. Then an empirical study is presented, in which the model is applied.


Guzdial, M. & Turns, J. (2000). Effective Discussion Through a Computer-Mediated Anchored Forum The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 9(4), 437-469.

In the last decade, distance education has changed significantly with the use of computer-mediated learning, two-way interactive video, and a variety of other technologies.  In this paper, we explore the idea that specific features of a discussion forum may increase the likelihood of effective discussions taking place within the forum. We define effective discussions as those that are sustained and are focused on topics related to class learning goals. We then describe the specifications for an electronic discussion forum-a computer-mediated anchored discussion forum-that we propose makes sustained on-topic discussion more likely. We report on the results of two studies that support this proposal. We end by exploring implications for research into computer-supported discussion tools for learning and their design. &reqidx=/catchword/erlbaum/10508406/v9n4/s3/p437


 4) Online Environments:

U.S. Web-Based Education Commission (December 19, 2000). The Power of the Internet for Learning: Moving from Promise to Practice. Washington DC. (For class: Chapter 1- The Power of the Internet for Learning)

Starting in November 1999, the 16 members of the Commission-appointed by President Clinton, Education Secretary Richard Riley, and the Democratic and Republican leadership of Congress-met with hundreds of education, business, policy, and technology experts. The legislative authority for the Commission expired n March 19, 2001.

As a result of these meetings and the input provided by witnesses at hearings and through e-Testimony submitted on the web site, the Commission developed the report,


Bruckman, A. (1998). Community Support for Constructionist Learning. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 7:47-86.

In experience with over 180 children and 90 adults using the system since October 1995, it was found that the community provides role models; situated, ubiquitous project models; emotional support to overcome technophobia; technical support; and an appreciative audience for completed work. This paper examines the nature of that support in detail, and argues that community support for learning is an essential element in collaborative work and learning on the Internet's essential support for the children.


Kranich, N. (June 2001). Why Filters Won't Protect Our Children: Libraries, Democracy and Access. iMP Magazine.

We do not help people when we simply wall them off from information and ideas that are controversial or disturbing. If people are to succeed in the information age, they must learn to be discerning users of information. Simply put, people who aren't logged on won't be literate in the 21st century.


Preece, J. (2000). Online Communities. John Wiley & Sons (For class: Chapter 1- Introduction).

The term ‘online community’ is used for many kinds of social interactions. This chapter examines the meaning of the term, suggests a definition and raises some key issues regarding its use. The chapter also introduces the terms sociability and usability, the key themes running through the book.


Bisciglia, M. G. & Monk-Turner, E. (2002). Differences in Attitudes Between On-Site and Distance-Site Students in Group Teleconference Courses. The American Journal of Distance Education, 16(1) 37-52.

In this study we show that students who attend class off campus and who work full time generally have a more positive attitude toward distance education when compared with others. Distance-site students are also more likely to be motivated and willing to take another distance education class compared with their on-site peers. Off-site students were much more likely than on-site students to feel the grading process was not a fair one.


5) Special Education Supported by Technology:

Hasselbring, T.S. & Glaser, C. H.W. (Fall/Winter 2000). Use of Computer Technology to Help Students with Special Needs. The Future of Children: Children and Computer Technology, 10(2).

This paper offers an overview of the various ways computer technology can help the nearly five million students with disabilities become active learners in the classroom alongside their nondisabled peers.  Examples of the use of word processing, communication, and research projects using multimedia will be discussed.


Gillette, D. (June 200). Designing Adaptive Technology for Those with Learning Disabilities. iMP Magazine.

Some of the limiting factors of adaptive technology have been reliability, portability, complexity/too many features, cost and interfaces that directly stress the individual's weakest skills. This article discusses some new trends in adaptive and mainstream technology that, if adopted by the design community, could mean greater autonomy for those with learning disabilities and better tools for all.


National Council on Disability (May 31, 2000). Federal Policy Barriers to Assistive Technology. Washington, DC

NCD's research for this report included (a) a review of the professional literature; (b) a review of federal policies; (c) stakeholder surveys; and (d) a review and analysis of findings by Tech Watch. As a result of this research, NCD identified four major barriers and makes 11 recommendations for reducing barriers to assistive technology access for individuals with disabilities.


Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2000). The future is in the margins: The role of technology and disability in educational reform.  White Paper for the U.S. Department of Education, Requested as a result of: Forum on Technology in Education: Envisioning the Future.

The purpose of this white paper is to discuss the future role of technology in the lives of students with disabilities. New technologies that change the nature of learning, teaching, the concept of media, and classroom assessment will all be discussed in this paper.


6) Developing New Technologies for Education:

Inkpen, K. M. (1999). Designing Handheld Technologies for Kids. Personal Technologies Journal, 3(1&2), pp. 81-89.

This paper investigates issues surrounding the design of handheld computers for children's use in learning environments. It focuses on child-centered design, engaging children as active participants in the design of handheld technologies.  Two central issues are addressed: mobility and sharability.


Cassell, J. & Ryokai, K. (in press). Making Space for Voice: Technologies to Support Children's Fantasy and Storytelling. Personal Technologies 3(4).

This paper introduces StoryMat, a system that supports children's own voice in their own storytelling play. StoryMat offers a child-driven play space by recording and recalling children's narrating voices, and the movements they make with their toys on the mat. This paper addresses the importance of supporting young children's fantasy play and suggests a new way for technology to play an integral part in that activity.


Colella, V. (2000). Participatory Simulations: Building Collaborative Understanding Through Immersive Dynamic Modeling. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 9(4), 471-500.

This article describes and analyzes a set of participatory simulations that were conducted with a group of high school biology students. The students' experiences are tracked from their initial encounter with an immersive simulation through their exploration of the system and final description of its underlying rules. The article explores the educational potential of participatory simulations. The results of this pilot study suggest an opportunity to further investigate the role that personal experience can play in developing inquiry skills and scientific understanding.


Druin, A., Bederson, B., Hourcade, J. P., Sherman, L., Revelle, G., Platner, M., & Weng, S. (2001) Designing a Digital Library for Young Children: An Intergenerational Partnership. Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL 2001).

As more information resources become accessible using computers, our digital interfaces to those resources need to be appropriate for all people. However when it comes to digital libraries, the interfaces have typically been designed for older children or adults. Therefore, we have begun to develop a digital library interface developmentally appropriate for young children (ages 5-10 years old).


Alborzi, H., Druin, A., Montemayor, J., Sherman, L., Taxen, G., Best, J., Hammer, J., Kruskal, A., Lal, A., Plaisant Schwenn, T., Sumida, L., Wagner, R., & Hendler, J. (2000).  Designing StoryRooms: Interactive Storytelling Spaces for Children. Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2000.

Limited access to space, costly props, and complicated authoring technologies are among the many reasons why children can rarely enjoy the experience of authoring room-sized interactive stories. Typically in these kinds of environments, children are restricted to being story participants, rather than story authors. Therefore, we have begun the development of "StoryRooms," room-sized immersive storytelling experiences for children.


7) Final Project Materials:

NSF Proposal Guidelines.

CHI Conference Paper Format.

CHI Guide to Successful Paper Submissions.