An investigation of the relationships between educational technology and mathematics achievement of students with learning disabilities
Educators are continually looking for ways to use technology that will help students who struggle with mathematics, especially students with learning disabilities. There is limited research on the effects of instructional technology resources on the achievement of students with learning disabilities in the state selected for this study. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of instructional technology resources on the mathematics achievement of students with learning disabilities. This study used a mixed-method triangulation concurrent design. In the quantitative portion of the study, the independent variable was 8th grade AMRT math scores in 67 school districts in the state selected for this study. The dependent variables were students per computer, internet access per students and teachers level of certification. The qualitative portion of the study involved interviews with twelve teachers across the state selected for the study. Teachers were asked four questions that covered implementing technology in the classroom, educational technology and student achievement, technology skill level, and financial issues. Grounded theory analysis was used to interpret qualitative interviews for the purpose of discovering and labeling variables. Emerging categories and sub-categories were analyzed. The quantitative date was analyzed using multiple regression analysis. This statistical model was chosen because this research is concerned with relationships between three independent variables and a dependent variable. Results were mixed. School districts with lower ratios of students to computer and Internet access per students did not outperform districts with higher ratios (Beta= .064, p>.05). Districts with a higher percentage of teachers with advanced certification did outperform districts with a lower percentage of teachers with advanced certification (Beta= .289, p<.05). Teachers' interviews revealed a number of themes. Teachers believe that instructional technology is improving achievement of students with learning disabilities in mathematics. Teachers also believe that technology should be used to reach students' individual learning styles and technology should be used daily for instruction. All teachers interviewed reported that students are motivated by the use of modern technology. Most teachers believe they have the necessary skills to implement technology and the resources are available for them to do so.