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Chromebook, classroom technology, English Language Arts, high school, one-to-one deployment, online instruction, vocabulary


Cassandra Helen Hawley-Davis, Pamela A. Redmond, Jim O'Connor


This research project examined and determined the best instructional practices for closing achievement gaps with students confronting competency gaps in their ELA instruction using technology. As technology tools become more common in the classroom environment, teachers need to know how to use it effectively, especially for lower performing students. As the theoretical basis for this study, Vygotsky's idea of the ZPD model, specifically proper scaffolding during instruction, inevitably leads to improved mastery of curriculum and improved student engagement. This pre-experimental study uses mixed methods to examine whether traditional or student-driven online instructional has the greatest positive affect on student achievement. The study compares student­ driven mastery of vocabulary with one-to-one devices to traditional vocabulary instruction. Study results show that students improved by 25.7 percentage points with the student-driven treatment. Student levels of comfort with this approach, however, varied widely, with some difficulty adjusting to the level of discomfort. Vygotsky's theories about proximal development helped to explain this result and suggests additional support from the "knowledgeable other" when using new digital tools. Students, when using technology and developing their own study plans, improved by a greater margin than when they followed the teacher-provided study plan, even though the vocabulary for the student-driven vocabulary was considerably more difficult than the vocabulary used in the traditional teacher-led approach. This suggests that students will have greater improvement when they are "able to take ownership" of their own learning and tailor instruction to precisely meet their own needs, when given the opportunity to do so.