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Computer software use in a seventh grade social studies class

1 June 1997


In this study I asked the question: how does introducing new computer software uses in a seventh grade social studies class affect student motivation? Sub-questions that enabled me to collect data and analyze the use of the software in the room were: How do students collaborate when working with educational game or simulation software; how will students react to the introduction of new computer software; what are students' general attitudes about computer use and what are students' reflections about the software after having used it in class I found that students were able to work collaboratively while the software was being used, and that peer coaching came naturally and was often used positively in class. I also found that students reacted, at first, with a novelty effect to the new software use. As the computer software game and activities were new and different to these seventh graders, they responded with some frustration and negativity after the novelty effect wore off. This response was interesting in that it was the same as how students often respond to new and different activities. Using initial and ending surveys, I discovered that students generally have positive attitudes about computers, and would have felt the same about the game, had they had more direct control over the use of the game. This was difficult, however, due to only one computer in the room. Students' reflections after having used the game software provided me with excellent suggestions for how to use the game in the future. I found that speeding the game up, allowing students more turns to actually 'play', and pairing students for optimal peer coaching would provide good teaching and learning experiences for both myself and the students in the future.


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