Impact of the Living History Online project on students' computer use, skills, attitudes toward computer technology and history learning in four western Massachusetts public schools
This study examined the impact of a local history project on students' computer use, skills, attitudes toward computer technology and history learning. The variables of gender, grade level, etc. were also investigated. This one-year project integrated computer technology into history curriculum using primary sources. The participants were 64 students from four Western Massachusetts public schools.
The Likert scale pre and post surveys were used to gather quantitative data as a main research method. Class observations and informal interviews were conducted for qualitative data as supplementary information for the research. To analyze the pre-post differences at the item level, approximation to binomial distribution was applied. To analyze the data at the aggregate level, One-way ANOVA, a univariate analysis of variance tests was employed.
The data results showed significant differences in students' computer use and computer skills between the pre and post surveys. However, the data didn't show significant differences in students' attitudes towards computer technology and history learning. The reason for this may be due to the fact that the students already had positive attitudes prior to the project.
The trend for computer skills indicated that as girls got older their skill level went up, but as boys got older, their skill level went down. The same trend was also reflected in students' attitudes toward computer technology. As for students' attitudes toward history learning, the older students had more positive attitudes than the younger students.
The qualitative data also indicate the positive impact of the project on student learning. Most of the students “enjoyed working on the project” and believed “computer technology was useful”. Many students commented that they “learned not only the local history, but also computer technology”, and they “learned much more from researching on the Internet than from the textbook”. However, the biggest challenge for the students in doing this project seemed to be teamwork, and some students had difficulty cooperating with other people in the group.
Social studies education
0710: Educational software
0534: Social studies education