The research design will include blended learning and a traditional teacher-led BIM (Business Information Management) classroom. The study will compare one teacher’s traditional classes and other teachers classes implementing blended learning, to determine the effect blended learning has on student achievement and student engagement. The blended learning environment combines traditional teaching methods with online resources (Horn & Staker, 2015). The model that will be used in the classroom study, consists of students being provided choices with how they learn content. Students are given the option to watch that a video created by the BIM teacher, or follow along with teacher-led instruction. This allows students opportunities to work at their own pace, or have small group instruction with the teacher. The traditional classroom will consist of teachers providing the lesson through teacher-led instruction only. In the traditional classroom model, students will not have a choice in which they learn, and will not be provided additional learning methods. To provide relevant local data on determining effects of blended learning on student engagement and students achievement, research will be conducted. This research will occur during the school year of 2018-2019 at a North Texas suburban middle school. This will consist of eighth-grade students taking the BIM (Business Information Management) course. It is important to note that this is an elective high school credit course offered to eighth-grade students only. This course is self-select, and students have all chosen to take this course. The course currently consists of four sections of ninety-six students, which will likely be consistent with the study conducted. The current demographic for the current BIM classes for the 2017-2018 school year across the campus was: 48.7% White, 17.1% Hispanic, 17.1% Asian, and 17.1% African American. The gender for these courses was 32% female and 65% male. This demographic will be re-assessed for calendar year of 2018-2019, but it is predicted for the demographics to be similar.
Collect & Analyze Data
This research will be conducted using many methods of qualitative and quantitative data with informal and formal testing, surveys, interviews, and observations. Qualitative and quantitative are the most appropriate combination to effectively provide information regarding student achievement and student engagement. The qualitative data will provide opportunities for students and teachers to express their opinions, while quantitative data will provide a statistical analysis using various collection methods (Mertler, 2016). The combination of using both methods may provide a better understanding of the problem, than using one method alone. The mix of these types of research will provide strength in the research and confidence of formed conclusions.
Develop the Action Plan
Teachers will form a committee the summer of 2018 to develop resources needed to implement research design in for the school year of 2018-2019. The teachers will range in experience from five years to twenty, all teaching BIM across different middle school campuses within the district. During this time, teachers will create daily assessments, pretests, and post-tests, for students to take throughout the year. The daily assessments will be both formal and informal consisting of class games, exit tickets, and discussions. The students will take a pre-test at the beginning of each software Unit taught and then compare the results to the post-tests at the end of the Unit. These tests and daily assessments will be compared across campuses to provide an understanding of student achievement in a blended learning environment versus a traditional classroom. In addition, the teachers will also produce anonymous Likert scale surveys and open-ended questions in Google forms to be conducted at three points throughout the year, beginning of the year, mid-year, and end of the year. It is critical to keep willing participants information confidential for the study to remain ethical (Mertler, 2016). The documentation collected will be stored in Excel or similar software and will only allow teacher participants to view findings. These surveys will provide insight of students opinions of their level of engagement, and their student achievement progressing throughout the year.
During the fall of 2018-2019, the teacher committee will determine which classes will be selected for the study. The teachers will examine previous student records to develop traditional classes and blended classes with similar demographics, gender, and achievement level. Per district policy and with administration approval, the teachers will compose a formal letter to be delivered to students and parents of these classes to inform them of the study, and determine which students agree to participate in the study. Then using the pool of students participating in the study, focus groups will be formed. As these groups are formed, interview questions will be conducted to collect consistent data across all campuses.
Share & Communicate Ideas
The teacher committee will conduct another meeting at the end of the school year. This will be an opportunity when teachers can openly compare standardized tests, daily assessments, interviews, classroom observations, and surveys. The data will be organized to directly compare the results of how students were effected in blended learning classrooms against the traditional classroom model. Teachers will be able to divide the data further into two categories of student achievement and student engagement. These results will then be shared district-wide and a future plan will be put forth to make changes to the following year, based on the data obtained.
Horn, M., B., & Staker, H. (2015). Blended. San Francisco: Josey-Bass. Mertler, C. A. (2016). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-1483389059