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In December 2003, the Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood (the Center) at Western Illinois University received funding from the U.S. The ACTTT integrated curricular model (see Figure 1) implemented a two-pronged approach to training teachers.
All ACTTT curriculum activities were aligned with learning standards established by the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association, the National Council for Teachers of Math, the National Research Council, the National Council for the Social Studies, the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, and the International Society for Technology in Education.
A variety of early childhood demonstration and training models developed at the Center provided the foundation for ACTTT. An integrated curricular approach connects diverse elements of study by cutting across subject matter content and unifies concepts in natural contexts that are meaningful to children.
ACTTT activities were embedded in an integrated curriculum that incorporated use of computer hardware, a variety of software, and the Internet.
If you have benefited from free access to ECRP, please consider making a financial contribution to ECRP so that the journal can continue to be available free to everyone. A purpose of this study was to extend the literature on use of computer technology tools to enhance learning in the early elementary school grades. Does implementation of the ACTTT curriculum model lead to gains in children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding of technology as well as to improvements in children’s social, communication, and research skills?
Does the teacher training associated with the ACTTT curriculum model lead to improvement in teachers’ computer technology skills as well as to greater self-confidence in their use of technology to support and enhance their curriculum?
Kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade classrooms in three elementary schools in a rural midwestern community served as demonstration sites for the ACTTT model. During the 3-year study, ACTTT staff collected data for 483 children in the treatment group and 451 children in the comparison group.
Each year, ACTTT staff made weekly visits to treatment classrooms from mid-September through mid-to-late April.
The quantitative data (see Table 2 for an overview) were related to the research questions that were generated prior to this study’s beginning.
At the beginning and end of each school year, ACTTT staff members collected TABS data for every treatment and comparison child (with parental permission).
To test the differences in children’s technology skills after implementation of ACTTT, an independent samples t-test (comparing treatment to comparison children) was computed for each item on the measure. Note: For items 23-28 on the TABS, children had no opportunity to complete the tasks on the pretest or the posttest.
To determine how much progress children in treatment classrooms made toward independence through use of the technology tools, a crosstabs analysis was run comparing the number of children for each group at pretest to the number of children for each group at posttest.
Note: For items 23-28 on the TABS, children had no opportunity to complete the tasks on the pretest or the posttest. Analysis of observations from ACTTT staff members revealed that children gained knowledge, skills, and understanding specific to several kinds of digital technology.
Many of the skills that the children learned were specific outcomes anticipated by the teachers, such as learning how to use a digital microscope or researching an outdoor environment to identify flowers. Finally, to gain additional information about ACTTT's impact on children, teachers were interviewed once a year in a focus group format at each site to provide feedback on ACTTT activities and information about children’s reactions and progress. The activities helped children in this small, rural community connect to the world outside of their own schools and community.
First, teachers in the treatment group commented that ACTTT activities helped many of the children connect to the world outside of their classrooms. Second, the majority of treatment teachers commented that while the activities did not resolve all of the attention issues their students experienced, students were generally well focused during the technology activities. At the beginning and end of their participation, teachers completed the ACTTT Skill Attainment Survey. At the end of the study, paired samples t-tests, comparing pretest scores to posttest scores, were calculated for both treatment and comparison teachers to test whether there were any changes over time.
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Units of work, lesson plans and student activities all mapped to the Australian Curriculum. Conduct student-led waste audits to measure things like landfill, recycling, organic waste and paper. You will also find out what other schools are doing for sustainability.All Cool Australia workshops include a mixture of hands-on activities and time on the web. Bring your laptop or tablet and be ready to have a play!
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Use these free images for your websites, art projects, reports, and Powerpoint presentations! Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for a model development project titled Accessing Curriculum Through Technology Tools (ACTTT). Throughout this article, the terms technology-based, technology tools, and technology devices refer to the hardware, software, and digital technologies listed in this paragraph. Activating Children Through Technology (ACTT), for example, provided technology experiences using computers and assistive devices, including switches, touch tablets, and communication devices to target independence, communication, and acquisition of developmental goals for children from birth to 8 with moderate to severe disabilities (Hutinger, 1996). By drawing upon young children’s curiosity about the world around them, teachers can offer opportunities that allow children to construct meaning, confirm predictions, generate new questions, synthesize ideas, and make connections across content or subject matter areas. As a result, literacy educators have a responsibility to effectively integrate these new technologies into the curriculum, preparing students for the literacy future they deserve” (International Reading Association, 2009).
The community was chosen because of its relative closeness to Western Illinois University and because each school building had at least two classrooms per grade level. For each group, approximately one third of the participants represented each of the three grade levels. Teachers were randomly assigned to groups and stayed in those groups for the duration of the project. Teachers in the treatment groups received both formal and informal training on the ACTTT model. Because no two teachers in a building would be doing the same classroom activities, informal training was specific and individualized. While all three schools had basic technologies, a computer lab, and at least one computer and printer in each classroom, ACTTT introduced teachers to using digital video cameras, digital cameras, and digital microscopes.
The qualitative data, which included ACTTT staff observations and teacher interview data, provided contextualized information about changes in students and teachers. Children’s computer technology skills were assessed using the Technology Assessment Based on Standards (TABS) instrument. The testing process was constrained by both the time that teachers would allow for the testing and the technology available at the schools. An independent samples t-test comparing treatment to comparison children was computed for each item on the measure. However, learning to share a microscope or explaining to a friend how to use it were considered by-products of the experience. To determine whether there were significant differences in teachers’ computer technology skills prior to the implementation of ACTTT, an independent samples t-test (comparing treatment to comparison teachers) was computed for each item on the measure. Children in treatment classrooms participated in ACTTT’s technology-based curriculum activities on a weekly basis.
Technology-based activities developed by the Center's early childhood staff (ACTTT staff) were conducted and tested in kindergarten, first-, and second-grade classrooms.
Some of the literature also suggests that use of computers and appropriate software can help children develop critical thinking, problem-solving skills, creativity, and mathematical thinking (Clements, 1999a, 1999b). Jackson (2009) argues that K-2 students can and should use technology to develop information literacy and technology-use skills that will assist their learning in future grades and beyond the classroom. ACTTT staff conducted formal training sessions during the school year and summers, with the majority of teachers opting for summer training. Equipment was purchased by ACTTT staff, loaned to each school to use during ACTTT activities, and rotated among schools, depending on which activities were being implemented. Results of these analyses indicated an advantage for children in comparison classrooms at significant levels for two items.
Students in treatment classrooms scored significantly higher than their comparison classroom peers on 8 of the 22 items; the comparison classroom children scored higher on 1 of the 9 items.
ACTTT staff also observed that children in treatment classrooms honed social and communication skills as they worked in pairs or teams on various activities, sharing and discussing ideas during the planning stages, during their investigations, and when problem solving. One kindergarten teacher reported, “Computer activities helped the children connect to the real world. Results of this analysis indicated no significant differences at the .01 level for the 35 items compared.
For treatment teachers, statistical significance was found for 19 of the 35 items as well as for the total score.
AtReks math apps include math facts covering kindergarten through 3rd grade school curriculum.
The second prong related to the technology devices used by ACTTT staff to support and enhance the classroom curriculum. Its objectives are "Children will recognize and photograph geometric shapes as those shapes exist in their environment. At each school, two classrooms (one treatment and one comparison) at the kindergarten, first-, and second-grade levels were involved in the project.


While participating schools were a convenience sample, assignment of teachers to the treatment or comparison groups was random.
Identified disabilities included learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, behavior disorders, autism, Fragile X, speech and language disabilities, and schizophrenia.
One comparison teacher retired during the research period, and another opted out of the project.
After school was the most common time for additional training; some teachers preferred to have training a short time before implementing a specific activity. As time passed, teachers began offering suggestions and assisting with activity planning and revision. ACTTT staff demonstrated equipment and software use during formal and informal training sessions. At the end of each school year, teachers were asked a series of questions about (1) the types of computer technologies and activities they utilized in their classrooms, (2) the impact of these activities on their students, (3) difficulties they encountered with the technology, and (4) their future plans for using digital technologies in general.
Content validity was established for the TABS since it was based on K-12 standards developed from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 1998). Teachers’ technology tool knowledge and skills were assessed using the ACTTT Skill Attainment Survey (see Table 4 for a list of the items). They learned to use concept mapping to organize information that they were learning in class. Three items were significant at the .05 level, all of which favored the comparison teachers. Children in treatment classrooms scored higher than children in comparison classrooms on all but 3 of the 22 technology skills assessed.
Each of the 33 activities was tested by ACTTT staff, and each was used successfully in one or more of the treatment classrooms. ACTTT was also guided by research and professional literature in two areas: the constructivist approach to teaching and learning and the integration of digital technology in education. Children and teachers in both treatment and comparison classrooms had access to classroom computers, software, and computer labs. Risk factors included such indicators as low family income, parental illiteracy or unemployment, and limited-English proficiency.
As their years of participation increased, teachers from the first school became more independent and selected activities from among those ACTTT offered. Participating treatment teachers received $100 each year through ACTTT to purchase technology-related items to enhance and support their use of the ACTTT curriculum. Survey items were based on the 2004 ISTE standards for K-12 teachers, thus establishing content validity.
Overall, these results suggest that the two samples were relatively similar prior to the intervention. They gained research skills by using digital microscopes to examine specimens and by taking photographs of objects to provide evidence of concepts learned. For comparison teachers, statistical significance was found for only 2 of the 35 items (items 27 and 28) and was not found for the total score. However, unlike the teacher in the comparison group, teachers in treatment classrooms received training in use of the technology, and ACTTT technology-based activities were implemented in their classrooms.
During the following two years, when teachers had more responsibility for implementation, training sessions lasted two full days. They used the technology to create books, movies, and podcasts, participating in each step from planning to completion and gaining new knowledge and skills as they did so. These results reveal greater change for treatment teachers than for comparison teachers regarding computer technology skills.
All treatment teachers increased their technology skills, as well as their confidence with respect to technology over the course of the project and, as a group, outperformed comparison teachers. During formal training, teachers learned information related to the hardware and software that ACTTT staff would use in their classrooms.
The hardware included Macintosh computers in the schools' computer labs and laptops furnished by ACTTT staff for in-classroom and outdoor activities, as well as digital cameras and microscopes, printers, scanners, video cameras, switches, and white boards.
Teachers also became familiar with several types of software, including Kid Pix Deluxe 4, Photo Kit Junior, iPhoto, Kidspiration 2, Garageband, Classroom Photo Publisher, and iMovie. Software used for this project was determined by (1) availability at the school so that teachers could continue to use it after the project was completed, (2) teacher interest in particular types of software, and (3) alignment of software with particular activities. Training sessions included time for teachers to brainstorm ways to use the software and other tools to support their curricula.



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