THE EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL POWER OF TIME TO KNOW DIGITAL TEACHING ENVIRONMENT
Meaningful learning and achievement gains are more likely to emerge from innovative teaching and learning involving individualized, problem-based instruction, increased motivation, and engagement (Cuban, 2003, 2006; Jonassen, 2008; Salomon, 2002). The goal of this study was to examine the impact of a comprehensive teaching and learning one-to-one computing environment on Mathematics and ELA learning achievement. The subjects were 59 4th grade students, who joined a Time To Know program in Dallas and 68 4th grade students who learned in traditional settings.
Time To Know teaching and learning environment is designed with a social-constructivist approach to learning and teaching (Fosnot, 2005; Prawat & Folden, 1994; Roschelle, Pea, Hoadley, Gordin & Means, 2000; Von Glasersfeld, 1995) and it is aligned with the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS). The program consists of four main components (Walters, Dede & Richard, 2009; Weiss & Bordelon, 2010): (a) Infrastructure: one-to-one laptop environment with a workstation for the teacher; (b) Interactive year-long digital content: Recommended sequences of interactive learning activities that are aligned with state standards. Teachers can modify these sequences by uploading their own "best practice" materials directly into the lesson flow; (c) Digital Teaching Platform (DTP): A platform that enables the teacher to conduct or plan a lesson, and to receive formative and summative assessment reports for data-driven instruction. The platform also enables teachers to create their own content and adjust the recommended ready-made interactive learning activities to their teaching needs; (d) Pedagogical support: Every teacher who joins the program takes part in comprehensive professional learning and ongoing guidance from an instructional coach.
The findings showed that learning in Time To Know environment significantly affected Mathematics and ELA students’ achievements, as well as Mathematics reasoning. The study showed a differential impact of Time To Know program. Lower performing students were contributed even more from the participation in the program than higher performing students. Moreover, the achievement gap between at-risk and non at-risk students was narrowed. These empirical evidences are consistent with other studies’ emphasizing the role of technology in promoting at-risk students in Mathematics (Edmonds & Li, 2005), ELA (Blachowicz et al., 2009; Goetze & Walker, 2004) and the social-educational importance of bridging the digital divide (Moore et al., 2002). Overall, the findings of the current study are showing the high potential of one-to-one computing learning environments, in which a comprehensive digital content is combined with a constructivist-oriented teaching platform.
Further research is recommended to examine qualitatively changes in teaching and learning practices underlie the effects of Time To Know program on academic outcomes, as well as the possible affective processes (i.e. engagement, motivation, self-regulated learning). In addition, given the relatively small sample, it is essential to conduct large-scale studies to examine the effects of comprehensive one-to-one laptop learning environments.