The Effectiveness of Integrating Interactive Technology in Reading Comprehension: A Case Study of Jamaica’s Grade SchoolNew Article

Ngozi Fidelia IYARE, Julia S James, Tom M Amonde
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 17  •  2018  •  pp. 227-246

There is growing number of countries embarking on large-scale, government-supported initiatives (e.g., Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, India, Iran, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates) to distribute tablet devices to students in the K-12 schooling sector. The review of the government-supported initiatives concluded that the majority of these initiatives have been driven not by educational frameworks or research-based evidence but by the tablet hype. The goal of this study is to provide research-based evidence by investigating if the learning experience for grade-three learners with interactive technology improves knowledge and skills in reading comprehension compared to learning in the traditional chalk and talk environment.

Prior studies provided limited evidence based mainly on data from developed countries about the influence of the use of interactive technology on reading comprehension at lower grade school level.

Employing a mixed-method case study research approach, this study aims to investigate the effects of integrating interactive technology in reading comprehension and examine the perspectives of students. This case study employed a sample of 30 public school third-grade students located in a relatively poor residential area in St Catherine, Jamaica as well as the two classroom teachers. Thirty students were divided into two groups – an experimental group, which included 16 participants and a control group, which included 14 participants. The intervention program was carried out over a period of eight weeks.

This study has provided (a) additional data to show evidence for the effectiveness of interactive technology in reading comprehension and (b)research based evidence for the distribution of computer devices to students in the K-12 schooling sectors.

We found empirical support for the positive effects of technology-based approaches for addressing reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. Our results were based on the pre-test and post-test assessments. Additional data was collected using a survey questionnaire which was given to the students before and after the intervention. The change from pretest to posttest was significantly different between the two groups as measured by the Mann Whitney U test.

The empirical support for the effects of technology-based approaches for addressing reading comprehension and vocabulary skills identified in this study will assist teachers with strategies and programs that should improve students’ motivation as well as their grades.

For future studies, we recommend focusing on a longer intervention period and using a larger sample size that would likely yield more definitive and generalizable results.

interactive technologies, reading intervention, comprehension, grade school, Jamaica
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