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MirandaNet Fellowship Casestudy

Membership List | Publications | Research | Specialist Area List | Braided Learning Ejournal

APPS Research Proposal – Junior Primary Phase

Gail Rossini

Year of posting: 2005


Research Proposal – Junior Primary Phase


1.    Project Aims:

To investigate the effectiveness of Interactive White Boards in literacy development at the Grade One Level.

Using the Learning Outcomes of the Revised National Curriculum Statement (C2005) as the framework, we will investigate whether:

·        listening

·        speaking

·        reading and viewing

·        writing

·        thinking and reasoning

and language structure and use can be extended and enhanced using the new IWB technology.


Topics that will be investigated will include:

whether the use of the IWB will better facilitate the learning and teaching of emergent literature in the following areas.

·        will the learners be able to listen for information and respond appropriately and critically? (LO1)

·         will the learners be able to communicate more confidently and effectively in spoken language?


·        will the learners be able to find information from visual stimuli, pictures and texts and be able to respond critically to these? (LO3)

will the learners be able to respond verbally so that a facilitator can draw upon these ideas in order to teach early creative writing skills? (LO4 )

·        will the learners be able to use language in different forms to enhance thinking and reasoning? (LO5 )

·        will the learners be better able to use sounds, words and grammar to create and/or interpret texts? (LO6 )


2.    How will research help to improve teaching and learning?

        As teachers we are always concerned about the effectiveness of our teaching methods and the impact of these on our pupils’ learning.  Facilitators that are alert to the latest research are generally thought to be more enthusiastic, more open to new ideas and more likely to draw on new techniques in order to improve teaching and learning.  One of the goals of research is to explain, predict and provide greater understanding of how pupils learn and how teachers teach.  This knowledge, if undertaken scientifically, can contribute to what is already known and provide evidence of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ practices.  Research:-

·        identifies problems

·        initiates procedures

·        initiate data collection

·        allows statistics to be applied

·        and provides valuable data for interpretation and generalizations.

By following the above ‘procedure’ a great deal of light will be thrown on the impact of IWBs at our school.  As this is totally ‘new’ technology in South Africa we have no benchmarks or previous local knowledge to draw upon.  Hopefully this study will provide some of that information and by sharing our finding with teachers in other countries, we will have a better understanding of IWB techniques and their perceived ‘successes’ and ‘failures’.


3.              What are the expected outcomes?  How will the research process be helpful?

Research needs to be open-minded.  Outcomes can therefore not be anticipated in one way or another.  There is no doubt that the study will open our eyes to new possibilities and launch us into ‘uncharted waters’.  If the results of our project are shown conclusively to improve learning and teaching (in even the smallest way), we will have to rethink our strategies and incorporate what has been positive and successful in future planning.


4.    How will relevant data be identified and how will it be collected, analyzed and evaluated?

        As mentioned previously, the Revised National Curriculum will be used as the framework for our study.  By identifying Learning Outcomes, we will be able to judge whether objectives laid down by the C2005 have been met.  We have two Grade One classes at our school.  One will be the ‘control group’.  The teachers will decide initially exactly what areas in the emergent literacy curriculum will be covered.  (checklists will verify this)  Teachers will be given a free rein in deciding on the methodology.  One class will have access to all learning material including the IWB while the second class will have access to the same learning material but not the Promethean Board.  (Please note:  For ethical reasons, the control group will not be excluded from using the ActiveBoard in other areas of the curriculum)


        It is felt that outcomes could be judged by an initial and final questionnaire, an interest inventory, pupil interviews, written dialogue (accessed from tape recordings and filming) as well as pupil projects and class work.  Assessment will be both formal and informal.  The Internet and mentors will be a valuable link in deciding upon other strategies that might be suitable.


5.              What data will be collected?

Examples of the pupils’ class work in the form of portfolios, projects, a class journal with dates and activities, observation records; interviews with the pupils and parents will be collected. (what, for example, has been the impact of the ‘project’ at home??) In this way the program can be evaluated and monitored.


6.              How will data be validated?

Validity in research indicates how well an assessment measures up to what the constructor intends it to measure or monitor.  Using carefully structured questioning techniques using checklists, and other instruments should provide some indication of pupils’ general understanding of ‘new’ knowledge.  Open-ended and What, When, Why, How, Who type questions should provide insightful findings.  Attitudes and values can also be judged by observation in the classroom, on class visits and outings and on the playground.  A checklist of the types of books the children choose at the library may also provide useful information.


7.              How will conclusions be drawn and data be analyzed

Colleague interviews, discussion groups and should identify emerging patterns.  Conclusions, negative or positive can then be drawn.


8.              How time will be allocated to the project. 

Because this project will be language based, there will be no need to allocate extra time for input.  The entire project will use the Language Experience Approach which can be summed up as follows:

If I can think about something, I can talk about it.

If I can talk about something, I can write it down or get someone else to write it down for me.

If I can write down my ideas, I can read what I have written.


Weekly planning will take the needs of the research into account.  Daily comments and observations of learning will be made and analyzed.  This will prevent a build up of information that could lead to possible resentment and stress for the teachers concerned.


The project will be short, and take place within a three-week period initially.  This will give us time to evaluate our methods and findings.  At this point adjustments can be identified and made.  We aim to have made considerable progress before meeting with mentors in Stellenbosch in July.

Time line:

Start project in the first week of the second term.

Collect and analyze data daily. (Quick comments and observations in a journal)

Meet with colleagues at the end of May to discuss findings and problems.

Contact mentors re progress and write up.

Present initial findings in October 2005.


9.              How will professional development during the research be monitored?

Regular report-back sessions to monitor and review progress will be arranged during weekly staff meetings.  Colleagues will be asked to contribute by visiting classrooms and lessons when invited to do so. 

Regular report-back sessions may alter methodology.

Lessons that go well will form the basis of future lessons while ‘flops’ will be analyzed to try and establish why they did not work.  Adjustments will be made and data shared.  Support from colleagues will be invaluable at this stage!


10.        Dissemination of research findings:

Results and findings will be discussed with Promethean Ambassadors from APPS and St Mary’s.

Discussions will take place via the Internet with mentors and colleagues in other countries.  Hopefully this ‘open forum’ will provide a good source of support and input.


Once we are happy with the results, we will forward our findings to Miranda Net for comment and perusal.


MirandaNet Members can go to the Log on/off area to edit their own casestudies.

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