What inspired this project?
Growing up in Napa, CA, I know the struggles English Language Learners go through in mainstream classrooms because I was once an ELL all throughout kindergarten and first grade. When teachers and peers don’t understand your needs it can be frustrating. Then, becoming a teacher and being bilingual, I knew that I was going to be able to support any ELL that would walk through my classroom. Boy was I wrong. There is so much more then to just be able to verbally communicate with ELL’s in the classroom. I noticed that the ELL’s in my class were struggling with basic math skills when given homework assignments or assessments. But I knew they had the necessary skills to be successful from times that I would assess them in the classroom by conversing with them about the math. And this is just talking about students who have been in my classroom from the beginning of the school year, because there are always brand new students coming into my classroom who have just arrived into our country and into our community. This is where my driving question came to life. Being in a technological world and where my school site has the goal of supporting all students with 21st century skills, I knew I had to incorporate technology into my classroom especially to support my ELL’s.
Background and Need
In order to progress and have students perform better, there is a need to teach and apply 21st century skills across all of our classrooms, especially with our English Language Learners. At the school site where the action research study was held, they are committed to prepare students for college and careers, provide equitable access and opportunities, and instill 21st century skills. These are important pillars if we wish to prepare our students for their futures. Therefore, instilling curriculum that has students practice communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking (4 C’s) will enhance their abilities and get them ready for their journey after high school and college.
According to the CAASPP scores from 2017 across all students, the score was that 44.22% of students scored at Level 1, which means these students did not meet the standards. ELL’s who have been here for at least 12 months or more, of that student group, 85.42% scored at Level 1. ELL’s who have been here for less then 12 months, of this student group, 70.82% of those students scored at Level 1. This shows that ELL’s scored lower at a significant level compared to the rest of the students in the state of California. The graphic below shows the math scores ELL's earned across different grade levels. These were ELL's who have been enrolled in a U.S. school less then 12 months which represents most ELL's in my math 1 classes.
Literature Review and Action Research
The influence of multimodal writing on the communication of mathematical ideas through digital writing technologies was explored by Freeman, Higgins, and Horney (2016). Their findings showed that when using these digital technological tools, students’ ideas were understandable to their peers and students collaboratively explored solutions. They focused on two groups of students, one in a Texas school and the other in Oregon. One of their models showed that when these students posted ideas on digital platforms, their responses were correct or partially correct on their personal digital notepads and were 95.6% correct of the time on their social math blogs.
Hwang, Lai, Liang, Chu and Tsai (2017) investigated the findings in issue-based mobile learning activities through the relationship between students’ perceptions of mobile learning and their type of peer interaction and higher-order thinking. Their research framework focused around developing mobile learning activities around collaboration, communication, critical-thinking and creativity, the 4 C’s. In their data analysis procedures, one of their three study phases, exploratory factor analysis, showed that students’ responses related to their higher order thinking tendencies were favorable for explaining their perceptions of the learning activities. In regards to collaboration, the student average response from a scale from “1-strongly disagree” to “5-strongly agree”, was 3.68. Another finding was that students felt comfortable being in mobile learning environments with an average response of a 3.16 from the same scale mentioned before. Hwang et al, found that through their research, the 4 C’s relate and work well together when students engage in these categories throughout mobile learning activities and the aspect of interactions among learners.
Link to my blog: ED 790 New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies