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Review of Literature
The purpose of this literature review is to examine the influence of interactive technology on second grade students’ math fluency. The themes within this review include (a) Constructivist Theory Interactive Technology, (b) Interactive Technology, and (c) Math Fluency.
Literature Research Strategies
Research for this literature review entailed using the Graceland University Library online databases including ERIC and Education Research Complete. The keywords used to find articles were technology in the classroom, technology to support students, interactive technology, constructivist theory, and math fluency.
Theoretical Framework: Constructivist Theory
Sharma (2014) claims that constructivism can change the thinking and practice of the traditional framework of schools and educational systems. With constructivism, students take an active role in their learning while the teacher acts as a facilitator. According to Juvova, Chudy, Neumeister, Plischke, and Kvintova (2015), “The learner activity and development get into the centre of attention” (p. 345). These authors acknowledge the fact that students are currently regarded as an educational subjects who actively manages his/her own education. Juvova et al. believe when using constructivism in the classroom, the classroom teachers become less of a director and more of a mentor and facilitator. Mokros, Russell, and Economopoulo (as cited in Poncy, McCallum & Schmitt, 2010) Reminds us that a belief of the constructivist orientation is that students be given the chance to solve math problems by using their own methods.
Technology offers students needed opportunities to solve problems using their own strategies. Juniu (2006) states “According to constructivist theory, various technologies may be used to promote learning” (p. 69). While various technologies may be useful, Juniu cautions that using technology does not ensure quality education or guarantee success, it depends on how technology is implemented. Juniu’s research revealed “computer software used as Mindtools support interactive, collaborative, and student-centered classrooms” (p. 69). Another point from Juniu’s study is that students activate higher order thinking through the use of software such as Mindtools. However, technology used for drill and practice tends to drive the curriculum, which is not the desired effect.
The evolution of technology has transformed the way we teach. Terri, Simons, and Eastman (as cited in Eastman, Iyer, & Eastman, 2009), mention that teachers can use technology to improve interaction in the classroom. The results of the research study conducted by Eastman et al. (2009) that was composed of eight research questions focused on attitude and behavioral aspects of students toward interactive technology, verified several different benefits of using interactive technology. Some of the benefits included improvement in students’ attitudes, engagement, and the availability of instant feedback for students and educators (p. 32). Additionally, the authors pointed out that while the aspects of learning such as attendance and preparation stayed neutral with the use of interactive technology, the benefits increased: students’ attitude and engagement while also providing effective feedback for students.
In another study, Berry and Letwinsky look at the effect of technology integration on mathematics fact fluency. According to the authors (2017), “The infusion of technology to promote automaticity may be more motivating and have positive outcomes” (p. 2). While some educators believe the best strategy for students to achieve automaticity with their math facts is through drill and practice, William and Kling (as cited in Berry and Letwinsky, 2017) believe that teachers need to determine if technology tools can be an effective method for students to increase their fact fluency. The reason for this belief is that students in this generation are saturated in technology, and technology can be an engaging alternative to math fact practice. Along with this belief, Prensky (as cited in Berry and Letwinski) notes that educators believe students today learn differently than past students because this generation has been inundated with technology. However, the results of the study conducted by Berry and Letwinski indicated that technology did not have a significant effect on mathematic achievement. According to Letwinski and Berry (2017), believe that learning the basic math facts can be learned through technology or traditional worksheets. The researchers did not find a major difference because they found the most important part in developing math fluency to be consistent reinforcement.
On the same note, while both technology and traditional methods work sufficiently for math fluency, technology can bring engagement and motivation to the learning process. Goos (2010) speculates that teachers are afraid of technology having a negative impact on students’ mathematical achievement. Olive and Makar (as cited in Goos, 2010) argue that math knowledge and math practices are linked and as such can be strengthened by using technology. Goos concludes from the brief research summary on the role of technology, that digital technology offers students new ways to learn, and helped them understand mathematics at a deeper level. It was also noted by Goos that students should understand when to use technology, and when it would be better to use a pencil and paper. For example, in second grade, when students come across two step or word problems on their devices, it would be wise for them to get out a pencil and paper and work out the steps. Musti-Rao (as cited in Rich, Duhon, & Reynolds, 2017), suggest that “math practice apps allow for explicit timing, individual goal setting, and immediate performance feedback” (p. 124). However, Duhon et al. (as cited in Rich, Duhon, & Reynolds, 2017) argues that using math practice apps only results in computer-based fluency achievements.
Binder (as cited in Ramos- Christian, Schleser, & Varn, 2008) believes students that are fluent in their mathematics facts can successfully apply those skills in new mathematics concepts. Binder’s definition of fluency is “The fluid combination of accuracy plus speed of response that characterizes competent behavior” (p. 543). Haughton & Starlin (as cited in Ramos- Christian, Schleser, & Varn, 2008), note that research has demonstrated that students who practice fluency daily achieve a high performance in their mathematics curriculum perform well in all courses (p. 543). This emphasizes the importance of students getting a substantial amount of class time to work on fluency, instead of just focusing on state standards.
Fluency is a foundational math skill. In their study, Poncy, McCallum & Schmitt (2010), found that not having math fact fluency can negatively impact students’ inclination to complete other math tasks. Students who lack math fact fluency are also more likely to suffer from math anxiety (p. 917). Students must have confidence in their math fact recall in order to have confidence in any other future math skill. Poncy, McCallum & Schmitt (2010) also made the point that if students’ lack of math skills, it can negatively impact students’ life outside of math (918). This study demonstrated the importance of students having automaticity with a foundational skill such as math fact fluency.
Gersten et al. (as cited Cozad & Riccomini, 2016) explains that “students should practice fluency for approximately ten minutes each day following instruction in the targeted facts” (p. 4). Gersten also noted that in order for fluency practice to be effective, it should focus on giving students proper wait time, and giving timely and remedial feedback. Riccomini Stocker, and Morano (2017) suggests that in order for students to become fluent in math they should practice around ten minutes each day after getting instruction in targeted facts. Technology is a useful resource when individualizing facts based on students’ readiness. It is also a helpful tool for monitoring student progress, so teachers know when students have mastered facts, and are ready to work on new facts. As a final note, Roccomini, Stocker, and Morano (2017) stated “as more research emerges supporting the importance of fluency development to overall mathematical proficiency, it is crucial that effective and efficient practice becomes standard in the K–8 mathematics classroom” (p. 325).
- Berry, M. D., & Letwinsky K.M. (2017). Technology Integration and the Effect on Mathematics Fact Fluency in the Middle East. Journal of International Education and Leadership,7(1), 1-14. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- Cozad. L., & Riccomini. P. (2016). Effects of Digital-Based Math Fluency Interventions on Learners with Math Difficulties: A Review of the Literature. The Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship, 5(2), 1-19. Retrieved November 9, 2018
- Eastman, J. K., Iyer, R., & Eastman, K. L. (2009). Interactive Technology in the Classroom: An Exploratory Look at Its Use and Effectiveness. Contemporary Issues in Education Research (CIER), 2(3), 31-38. doi:10.19030/cier.v2i3.1084
- Goos. M. (2010). Using technology to support effective mathematics teaching and learning: What counts? Teaching Mathematics? Make It Count: What Research Tells Us About Effective Teaching and Learning of Mathematics, 67-70. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
- Juniu, S. (2006). Use of technology for constructivist learning in a performance assessment class. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 10:1, 67-79, doi:10.1207/s15327841mpee1001_5
- Juvova, A., Chudy, S., Neumeister, P., Plischke, J., & Kvintova, J. (2015). Reflection of Constructivist Theories in Current Educational Practice. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 3(5), 345-349. doi:10.13189/ujer.2015.030506
- Poncy, B. C., McCallum, E., & Schmitt, A. J. (2010). A Comparison of Behavioral and Constructivist Interventions for Increasing Math-Fact Fluency in a Second-Grade Classroom. Psychology in the Schools, 47(9), 917–930. https://doi-org.graceland.idm.oclc.org/10.1002/pits.20514
- Sharma, R. K. (2014). Constructivism-An Approach to Enhance Participatory Teaching Learning. GYANODAYA: The Journal of Progressive Education, 7(2), 12–17. https://doi-org.graceland.idm.oclc.org/10.5958/2229-4422.2014.00003.6
- Ramos-Christian, V., Schleser, R., & Varn, M. (2008). Math Fluency: Accuracy Versus Speed in Preoperational and Concrete Operational First and Second Grade Children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(6), 543–549. https://doi-org.graceland.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s10643-008-0234-7
- Riccomini, P. J., Stocker Jr., J. D., & Morano, S. (2017). Implementing an Effective Mathematics Fact Fluency Practice Activity. Teaching Exceptional Children, 49(5), 318–327. https://doi-org.graceland.idm.oclc.org/10.1177/0040059916685053
- Rich, S. E. H., Duhon, G. J., & Reynolds, J. (2017). Improving the Generalization of Computer-Based Math Fluency Building through the Use of Sufficient Stimulus Exemplars. Journal of Behavioral Education, 26(2), 123–136. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.graceland.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1141247&site=ehost-live
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