The Impact of Digital Education on Learning and Teaching
A doctoral thesis presented by
The School of Education
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Education
College of Professional Studies
The purpose of this study was to identify how teachers can transform teaching and learning by integrating 21st century digital technology. In this paper, teacher action research was used to investigate the impact of digital education on teaching and learning. The main research question was ‘How can teachers integrate digital technology into their teaching practice in order to transform teaching and learning?’ The study was conducted in a suburban Jewish day school in the Northeast, in the teacher-researcher’s seventh and eighth grade social science classes. In an iterative cycle of research, reflection and revision, the teacher-researcher integrated technology interventions into his teaching while also collecting data. Two surveys and one interview were conducted to triangulate the data collected from examining student work and the teacher’s reflexive journal. The findings from the study suggest: (a) student motivation can lead to deeper student engagement; (b) digital projects can represent a ‘high water mark’ of student learning; (c) the teacher’s technological-pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) is vitally important and (d) technology has tremendous potential to contribute to constructivist learning environment. Teacher choices determine whether student enthusiasm translates into deeper engagement with course content. Digital assignments that encourage deeper student learning were identified as representing a ‘high water mark’ of student learning, where the finished project captures the depth of the students’ conceptual understanding. This did not always occur and was dependent on alignment between the assignment goals, students and technology. The implications for this research are that teachers must learn to apply their emerging TPACK in order to effectively integrate technology into their teaching. Even when teaching with technology, teaching and teacher still matter.
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