Web 2.0 Tools for Teaching Millennials

Introduction and background of the study

Introduction

Technology in modern times provides a platform for the improvement of modalities of imparting knowledge (Mei-Ju, 2012). The emergence of different web-based technologies and the deployment of technology in the education sector is something that needs not is overemphasized. Among these technologies are new media tools that make learning and accomplishment of educational tasks practical for most people. New media, a second-generation web technology, focuses on the ability of people to create, collaborate and share information online. According to the International Journal of Education and Development, using Information and Communication Technology (2012), blogs, wikis, and other web technologies are some new media tools currently in use. Schneckenberg, Ehlers, and Adelsberger (2011) indicate new media tools as an effective two-way medium that has changed the way people use the web for sharing, collaborating, and creating knowledge. Teachers improve the pedagogical growth of students using new media tools in teaching (Abdous, Facer & Yen, 2012; Laborda, Magal-Royo, de Siqueira Rocha & Álvarez, 2010, Mishra & Koehler, 2006).

A substantial number of states in the US have adopted the common curriculum, while others have instituted The Common Core State Standards (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School, 2010). According to Loertscher (2013), the Common Core State Standards is a step in the direction toward the establishment of a common curriculum between states. The focus of the common curriculum is the most pertinent skills necessary for youth to be successful in the workforce. The common state standards are an attempt to standardize transferable skills across curriculum across the nation such that students will stand to be competitive in the globalized economy.

The Common Core State Standards are based on a constructivist approach. The common core curriculum is designed to encourage students to create knowledge on existing experiences and collaborate with other students to build further on that knowledge. Infused within this curriculum is the expectation for learners to be proficient in 21st-century technology skills. The teaching curriculum is, thus, geared toward using technology and digital media so that students can strategically and capably use technology (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School, 2010, p. 7).

Nikirk (2012) argued that the way teachers deliver lessons must change to prepare the iGeneration for the modern world. Progressive teachers can develop and inspire collaborative learning by integrating blogs, wikis, podcasting, YouTube, Facebook, Flicker, and various another web 2.0 technology tools in teaching students and engaging them in learning (Amir, Ismail & Hussin, 2011; Chong, 2010; Halic, Lee, Paulus & Spence, 2010). Some researchers indicate that new media technologies help teachers and students to be creators and producers of knowledge (Martin et al., 2011). New media tools support learning and offer a combination of visual, auditory, and tactile learning styles that enable learners to use a variety of tools to create, modify and share knowledge (Franklin & van Harmelen, 2007).

Some studies have shown that the level of technology integration in-class curriculum and its impact on teaching remains low (ESA/Deer, 2010; Romeo, 2006). Other research studies denote that a significant percentage of teachers are not using technology-integrated teaching and skills in class (Combes, 2009; Walreven, Brand-Gruwel & Boshuizen, 2008). According to Wells, Lewis, and Greene (2006, p. 4), “most US schools have access to technology, but this access has not translated into increased use of technology by teachers and has not altered century-old teaching practices.” The discussion results in a conclusion that if schools do not adopt and upgrade-teaching practices to meet the needs of students, educators will not be preparing them for the modern information technology-driven world. Teachers’ expectations and motivation significantly influence students’ achievement and their motivation to learn purposefully. Technology is valued by teachers, yet it has not been fully deployed in the learning environment. As this study develops, this researcher will find the factors that may influence educators’ decisions about adopting and integrating new media technologies in their curricula.

Whether or not educators adopt and use new media in their teaching is influenced by various factors. Among these factors is the desire to integrate new media in their teaching, their opinion regarding the technology’s usefulness, and if the district, school administrators, other teachers, and students want to learn the modern way (Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008). This study seeks to support the constructivist approach of the common core state standards using social constructivist theory in the literature review. This research seeks to bring out practical approaches that can be used by educators to integrate new media technologies into their curriculum (Akyeampong, 2011). This study will also analyze educators’ views and experiences on how adoption and integration of new media technologies could affect high school teaching and pedagogical relationships between students and teachers.

Background of the Study

O’Reilly (2005) created the term Web 2.0. O’Reilly described the change in the technology world that brought the web to users as a platform for creating and sharing knowledge. O’Reilly discussed that Web 1.0 was static surfing and browsing based and its advanced version is new media, which is about learning by creating, collaborating, sharing ideas, and developing knowledge. Anderson (2007), as well as Johnson, Levine, and Smith (2009) also identified new media technologies as emerging tools for enhancing teaching and learning. The new media environment consists of software applications, Internet connection points, technologies, hardware, and other elements. Together they enable new media to fulfill its mission of social interaction. This environment consists of content creators such as Yahoo, Google, and Facebook, technology providers, and users who share and create information on the Internet. New media technologies offer a platform for users to interact with each other and to create online communities. Table 1 illustrates the evolution of new media technologies over the years.

Ehlers (2008) discovered that the development of web-based technologies inspires and facilitates educational practices more than the diffusion of static knowledge from teachers to students, which depicts students as passive learners. Therefore, with the task of preparing students for a digitally-driven future, district leaders and other educators must plan creatively to meet the needs of all students. New media tools present both challenges and convenience to users. Some of the challenges are bandwidth, filtering software, and funding to make new media technology accessible to all schools. Ajjan and Hartshorne (2008) suggest that educators must use best-practice models to further ease the adoption of new media tools in teaching because there is an array of different new media technology choices.

Bran (2009), Halic, Lee, Paulus and Spence (2010), Chong (2010), Amir, Ismail and Hussin (2011), Lomicka and Lord (2012), Conole and Culver (2010), Arnold and Paulus (2010) and Uzunboylu, Bicen and Cavus’s (2011) findings contribute to the growing evidence that new media technologies have evolved over the years from the application of formal, informal, thematic, or general blogging to social networking. Ertmer (2011), Gokcearslan and Ozcan (2011), Lai and Eugenia (2011), Abdous, Facer and Yen (2011), and Chandra and Watters (2011) studied how students, also known as Millennials and multiliteracies, use other new media technologies such as podcasting, websites, and wikis to create and share knowledge with other users.

New media technologies inspire and motivate students and educators to collaborate and develop pedagogical relationships (Trilling & Fidel, 2009). This researcher’s experience as an educator, concerning the literature review and the data collected through observation, and interviews will conclude how adopting new media technology influences teaching. Collected data will be used to reveal technology-related ideas that provide teachers with the assistance they need to ably use new media as a teaching tool because creating, sharing, and collaborating knowledge between a collection of users is key to the adoption of new media tools. Over time, education has adapted and used the changes arising from cutting-edge web technologies. This has led to certain changes in teaching and learning practices. Some teachers have adopted and integrated new media technologies in teaching following the ever-increasing emphasis on technology incorporation in US education (U.S. Department of Education, 2010).

During the past decade, several studies were conducted related to the integration of new media tools in education in general (Halic et al., 2010; Uzunboylu et al., 2010). Although there is research about accessibility, practicality, and the need for new media technologies in education, acceptance, and use of new media tools have not been embraced across all schools (Jonathan & Josep, 2009). This depicts the prevalence of gaps that are brought about by social, institutional, as well as technical factors. Therefore, an effective research problem based on a comprehensive literature review focusing on this problem has been framed. This will help find ways to resolve the problem through the deployment of research tools (Creswell, 2009).

Attwell (2007), Bonk (2009), and Downes (2005) describe new media technology tools that facilitate adapted learning where users can acquire knowledge from school and work by collaborating and sharing with other users who may not necessarily be learners. Technology has changed people’s lifestyles, as well as their communication and learning styles over the years (Moresch, 2010). Therefore, teaching styles and tools need to change to fit into the current learning styles and personality of the learners to be able to educate modern learners. Crook and Harrison (2008) indicate that the studies that have been done are insufficient. The goal of this investigation is to study the collected data and develop recommendations that can accord educators the necessary assistance to ably use technology as a teaching tool, thus resulting in the transformation of education.

Problem Statement

Although a substantial number of teachers and administrators value technology, they may not want or be able to adapt and use new media technology to support classroom instruction. It is not known if the use of new media technology tools will enable all teachers and administrators to improve teaching because most teachers recognize that they need more training and preparation to effectively integrate technology into their curricula. Sang, Valcke, van Braak and Tondeur (2010) and Mishra and Koehler (2006) found school districts to show limited effort to align technology with daily instruction. According to Boyd (2007), Roland (2006), and Richardson (2010), teachers must integrate current digital literacy and web-based communication and collaboration skills in teaching.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) also supports the adoption and use of technology in modern teaching to enhance the development of problem-solving skills and improve decision-making skills in students (Jones & Cuthrell, 2011). Teachers must adopt and use new media tools to educate students in the multiliteracies of technology, which are practical and oratorical so that students can better identify, understand, and effectively adapt to modern professional needs (Taylor, 2012). Multiliteracies need to be able to learn and use the basics of language and multimedia to facilitate learning within an environment where society is quickly turning away from print to web-based technology (Anstey & Bull, 2006).

According to Akyeampong (2011), technology use in the classroom is now universal, with over 98% of public schools in the US having Internet access. Educators have an ongoing debate on whether or not the adoption of new media tools in high schools will promote learning. Adoption and integration of technology into the curricula have largely been dependent on educator’s preferences. In his research, Livingston (2011) argues that the investment in technology in US schools is yet to show benefit in educational practices. Research studies also indicate that a lot of teachers consider technology integration as a supplement to meet the evaluation requirements (Ertmer et al., 2011). Common reasons why few teachers adopt and use new media tools are that it is not known if all school districts have finances to cover technology needs. Moreover, the new media tools have been blocked because administrators fear websites that might have inappropriate content for students (Jones & Cuthrell, 2011).

Technology is an integral part of education and a major contributing factor in career readiness. With recent technological advances beyond and through the Internet such as texting, using Skype, Facebook, and YouTube, most students are familiar with basic technologies to be career-ready. Most teachers engage students in learning and collaborating in a respectful learning community (Bloom, 2009). Students will be expected to construct knowledge, defend their arguments, and take part in argumentative writing and collaboration with other students as part of the Common Core Standards (Common Core State Standards, 2010). California is a governing member of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC, 2012). The consortium is developing a new digital library and new computer-based tests to measure student progress toward career and college readiness. Therefore, Common Core State Standards and new media tools will be the right blend to involve teachers and students to adeptly engage actively in constructivist knowledge construction (Richardson, 2003).

Schuck, Aubusson, and Kearney (2010) attribute the slow adoption of new media technologies in schools to the limited teacher familiarity with these tools, and partly to the supposed risks of using these technologies in the classroom. Based on a gap in the existing literature, the importance of these findings illustrates that educators must adopt new media tools to improve modern teaching (Boote & Beile, 2005). This study will also discuss challenges faced by teachers who want to adopt and use new media tools. As a high school teacher, this researcher is inspired to study the educators’ perspectives about adopting and using new media tools in teaching (Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008; Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon & Byers, 2005).

Research shows that new media adoption in schools is shaped by a myriad of factors, which will be investigated. Therefore, teachers and administrators from a school district located in Central Valley, California will be interviewed to ascertain the range of factors that shape new media adoption in schools.

Purpose of the Study

There is evidence that a good number of people are engaged in technology-based learning because new media technology is user-centered, provides a multi-media experience, is socially rich, and communally innovative (Cranmer, 2006). However, some researchers believe that more teachers should be inspired to adopt and use new media tools (Berners-Lee et al., 2006). According to Hannay (2009), new media tools provide the technical platform users need to share, create, and acquire knowledge. Research studies explain that certain important factors such as state and school districts providing effective technical and institutional solutions to issues of curriculum standardization and security, ownership and control of resources and sharing knowledge, institutional, individual and cultural factors shaping collaboration, and the quality and source of information can shape new media adoption in schools. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to examine educators’ perceptions about adopting and using new media tools in high school classrooms in a school district in Central Valley, California.

The specific purposes of this study are to identify factors that enable the effective integration of new media technology in high school curricula and what challenges and advantages they pose to modern teaching. In addition, the study seeks to identify the extent to which new media tools can be deployed in high schools. The overarching research question in this study is: “What are educators’ perceptions about new media tools used in teaching?”

Research Questions

This study will use qualitative research questions to collect data in the form of answers to the questions designed to gather views from teachers and administrators from a unified school district located in Central Valley, California (Cresswell, 2005). These views will focus light on the new media tools teachers integrate into teaching. The study results may promote web-based teaching and give new topics for educators’ ongoing debate regarding whether adoption of new media tools in high schools will promote learning (Digest of Education Statistics, 2010).

Yin (1994) stated that the case study research methodology allows an in-depth analysis of phenomena within its real-life context. This study will examine the factors that enable the adoption and effective integration of new media technologies in teaching through answering the following questions:-

  • R1. What are educators’ perceptions about new media tools used in teaching?
  • R2. What challenges and advantages to modern teaching do new media tools present?
  • R3. To what extent can high schools utilize new media tools to support collaboration and communication among educators and students?

The literature review and collected research data will answer the over-arching research questions mentioned above, together with other sub-questions within the main questions.

Advancing Scientific Knowledge

Teachers cannot make all students learn, but they can create an enabling learning environment for all students (Corder, 1981). For this reason, this researcher will gather the views of some high school teachers and administrators about new media tools that help them create a productive learning environment for students. It is, therefore, necessary to gather a variety of data with different scopes (Creswell, 2003). This study will give voice to the views and experiences of educators about the adoption and integration of new media tools. Four forms of data, discussions, observations, open-ended face-to-face, and Skype interviews, will give a richer and more inclusive description of the phenomenon under study. Multiple sources of data will also improve the validity of this study by providing evidence to support the reported findings.

The results of this study will answer the research questions and relate directly to educators’ perceptions about adoption practices of new media tools. Answers to the research questions will also support the assumptions.

Research question 1 (R1)

Technology is a major contributing factor in career readiness. For this reason, research findings and the answer to research question one (R1) will enable teachers to learn and understand the importance and effective uses of new media tools. It will help teachers to align the current curriculum to Common Core State Standards because they emphasize a shift from teacher-centered learning to technology-centered and student-centered learning.

Research question 2 (R2)

Research findings and answers to research question two (R2) will suggest possible solutions to the challenges and highlight how some teachers incorporate new media tools in modern teaching. The answer will also suggest how teachers can plan curriculum based on Common Core State Standards and incorporate technology into teaching. The answer may encourage teachers not to struggle, but to embrace and use technology tools that exist. The answer will also suggest how technology tools support effective teaching, engage students, and provide practical ways to incorporate instructions tied to accepted teaching standards, such as the Common Core State Standards, thereby embracing efficiency and effectiveness.

Research question 3 (R3)

Research findings and answers to research question three (R3) will suggest ideas on how teachers and administrators can support and improve collaboration and communication among themselves and with the students in limited time and with strained resources. The answer will also help teachers to adapt new media tools, effective teaching strategies, and ideas to experience a smooth transition from No Child Left Behind to new and more effective Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Teachers will find ideas on how to align curriculum and instruction to Common Core standards, adopt new assessment methods to measure student attainment of the standards, and test results. These measures are viewed as evidence of student learning.

This study will project on the special feature of new media-related findings and provide a complete approach that will increase the possibility of future investigations related to this topic (Patton, 1990). Figure 1 indicates how new media technologies have evolved over the years. It illustrates a substantial increase in the number of websites and web users over the years. The content has changed from reading to read-write and easier and faster access are two major changes that make new media tools more assessable and user friendly.

Significance of the Study

It is not too long ago when educators asked students to read, write and do arithmetic as the essential skills for literacy. Today’s literates need to acquire new skills, learn to use technology tools, understand science, and be flexible and ready to keep learning to gather, experiment, process, analyze, synthesize, and present information, as well as communicate and collaborate (Solom & Schrum, 2007). The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) suggests that the use of technology among K-12 children enhances the development of problem-solving skills and improves their ability to make decisions (Jones & Cuthrell, 2011). Free, easy to use, and versatile new media tools, therefore, play an important role in supporting students’ acquisition of these skills. It is important that teachers try new media tools and have a reflective effect on students and teaching in the current intensely networked age where cooperation and collaboration works better than direct competition. This will cause a significant change in thinking (Zolli, 2006). Using new media tools also enables students’ use of “critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research manage projects, and make informed decisions” (Smith & Dobson, 2011, p. 323).

Some researchers note the usefulness and justify the extent to which educators believe that the use of technology enhances teaching and has a positive influence on integrating new tools in teaching (Hartshorne, Ajjan & Ferdig, 2010). Although new media tools cannot replace the importance of teacher assistance, these innovative and versatile tools can certainly support modern learning. Schuck, Aubusson, and Kearney (2010) suggest that the increase in usage of new media tools makes it necessary for teachers to better understand how students want to learn. Researchers have studied possible barriers to technology integration across the curriculum using qualitative methods, mixed methods, and surveys (Bauer & Kenton, 2005; Stolle, 2008). Some studies have investigated teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools.

However, only Honan (2008) has investigated barriers specific to teachers’ digital literacy. Honan conducted open-ended interviews with four teachers working with students in grades two to four to determine barriers to using digital texts in their classrooms. Studies of educators’ perceptions and opinions are critical because administrators’ and teachers’ experiences and perceptions are crucial in the application of technology tools and improvements in high school teaching and learning.

Teachers can develop and transform present teaching by integrating learning tools with technology-based strategies. Educators already using new media technology ascertain that it is easy to use the tools to facilitate teaching and create collaborative learning. Availability of information and new ideas on the Internet increases chances that open-minded educators and community members may take advantage and learn to use and be in a position to teach students to learn in a modern way.

The notion of Prensky’s (2001) ‘digital natives’ is debatable in schools, but based on some studies it would be safe to say that most school students today are better handlers of mobile phones and computer games than many teachers. However, teachers need to teach students about the cognitive and social aspects of using the technological tools and educational technologies that are specific to discipline areas.

Honan (2008) in her ongoing research applied Freebody and Luke’s (2003) Four Resources Literacy Framework as a mapping tool to study the types of resources teachers preferably use in their literacy teaching practices around digital texts. The teachers studied the teaching of digital literacy practices as co-researchers and reflected on their practices (Kincheloe, 2003). Honan (2008) also engaged teachers in self-reflexive work to develop new pedagogical practices to improve the use of digital texts in literacy classes. Educators who use new media tools form part of a program for educational change through the development of knowledge and perception for enriching education through individual and collaborative activities (Goodfellow & Lea, 2007). In this study, the researcher will interview teachers and administrators to study their perceptions of the skills students adopt by practicing new media technologies. This study will also find how integrating new media tools can improve teaching and enable students to take control of their learning to make it learner-centered (Common Core State Standards, 2012). This study will help in unearthing answers for the ongoing debate on how to use new media tools in high school classrooms in an effective manner that promotes learning instead of distraction (Digest of Education Statistics, 2010).

Rationale for Methodology

Stake (1995) noted that data collection and analysis methods hide some details in experimental studies, whereas case studies bring out details from the viewpoint of the participants by using multiple sources of data. Creswell (2003) suggests that it is necessary to gather a variety of data with different scopes. Taking this into consideration, a case study approach with the primary research methodology will be used to collect information for this study (Creswell, 2007).

A case study method is applicable in real-life situations, such as developing new practical insight based on observation and experiment; hence, it will be applied in the exploration of the research questions (Eisenhardt & Graebner, 2007). Three forms of data will give a richer inclusive description of the phenomenon under study. Case studies are bound by time and activity, thus data and information will be collected and analyzed by observing and interviewing educators (Stake, 1995).

This case study is analytical and an attempt to understand and define the views of educators about how the adoption and integration of new media tools have affected their teaching (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2010). The purpose of choosing a case study is to listen and give a voice to the views and experiences of teachers and administrators concerning the problem under study. The results of this case study will relate directly to educators’ experiences and limitations in order to understand the current educators’ adoption practices and willingness to use new technology tools. A case study will provide a complete approach and increase the possibility of the investigation for this research (Patton, 1990).

Nature of the Research Design for the Study

Duffy (2008) suggests that new media tools create new opportunities for teachers to engage students and enhance their learning. This study will, therefore, examine teachers’ and administrators’ views and experiences about adopting and using new media technologies in teaching. Several high school educators will be selected to take part in open-ended face-to-face interviews and/or Skype interview and may be observed at work. This researcher will interview teachers from a school district located in Central Valley, California to collect data and study what new media tools they have adopted and integrated with high school curriculum to enhance student learning and engagement (Rutherford, 2010; Schuck, Aubusson & Kearney, 2010).

The collected data for every interview will be noted systematically and methodically. The dragon voice recorder will record and transcribe educators’ interviews. A table will be created that will list all new media tools used in teaching based on educators’ ideas and experiences. The table will show the role of the participant and the new media tool used by them. Interview results, observations, and research notes will be analyzed to find answers for both the overarching research question and the two sub-questions. Research, data, and literature review will be used to develop answers to the study problem.

Definition of Terms

The web and democratization of information and new media technology are key in transforming the world from a primarily vertical “command and control” universe to a horizontal “connect and collaborate” one (Fridman, 2005, pp. 233-234). The following definitions will help readers to understand these terms in the context of this study.

Web 2.0: Web 2.0 is any web technology that enables the user to create and publish content on the Internet (O’Reilly, 2005, p. 1). Web 2.0 and other new media tools assist in creating, sharing, and collaborating about knowledge with other students and users to share information online. Current media technologies include blogs, podcasts, wikis, and social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook.

Digital Natives: Digital natives “think and process information fundamentally differently” (Prensky, 2001. p.1) to digital immigrants. Digital natives, according to Prensky, process information quickly, enjoy multi-tasking and enjoy gaming.

Digital Immigrants: Digital immigrants mainly process information slowly, work on one thing at a time, and do not appreciate less serious approaches to learning.

Multiliterate: A person who is flexible and strategic in his/her literacy. A multiliterate can understand and use literacy and literate practices with a range of texts and technologies, in socially responsible ways, within a socially, culturally, and linguistically diverse world. This is someone who can participate fully in life as an active and informed citizen (Anstey, 2002).

Wikis: A “wiki” is a collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone with access to contribute or modify content using a simplified markup language. A “wiki” is often used to create collaborative Websites. Wikis can be used in education to facilitate knowledge systems powered by students (Raman, Ryan & Olfman, 2005).

Blogs: A blog (web log) is a type of Website usually maintained by an individual with regular commentary entries, event descriptions, or other materials such as graphics or videos. Blogs can also be a collaborative endeavor among instructors and students. Wagner (2003) has addressed the use of blogs in education by publishing learning logs.

Social Networks: A social network is a social structure made of nodes, generally individuals or organizations, which are connected to one or more specific types of interdependency. Facebook, with more than 500 million active users (Facebook, 2012), and MySpace are the two largest social networks.

Twitter: Twitter is a combined social network and micro-blog service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets.

Assumptions, Limitations, Delimitations

Assumptions

This researcher has been an educator with the current school district for over eight years. Educators have known, taught, and worked with the researcher in various class activities, professional development, district, staff, and department meetings. A detailed email and possible personal talk to all the participants and principals will help this researcher to inform them about the importance of the research. Therefore, it is assumed a higher level of certainty will be attained in the responses that will be given by the educators. It is also assumed that the interview responses and observation notes will provide sufficient necessary explanation to support the topic under study.

In addition, the answers will be assumed to be a replicate of the technology adoption situation in other high schools in Central Valley, California. When educators will integrate new media technology and strategies in regular classes, it is assumed student achievement will improve and meet modern education standards. Therefore, it is evident that teachers integrating new media technologies could improve teaching and have a positive effect on student learning when combined with other teaching strategies and practices. This will be backed by answers to the research questions.

Limitations/delimitations

  1. New media technologies are easily available and user friendly; some educators are apprehensive about adopting and using these tools in teaching. Trinder et al. (2008) indicate that teachers as users get discouraged because of the limited access to new media technologies in most schools. Research has no control over the number of participants who have adopted and use new media tools for this reason the number of users may limit the scope of this study.
  2. Focus: The selected literature describes only selected new media tools being adopted and integrated into the curriculum by high school teachers (Jones & Cuthrell, 2011).
  3. Time Frame: Although most high schools in California have had Internet access and Web access for more than 10–15 years, this research will be conducted on current new media tools adopted and integrated by teachers during October 2013 through December 2013 (Greenhow, Robelia & Hughes, 2009).
  4. Observations and interviews of high school educators and administrators will be delimited to only four high schools. Some administrators and teachers from four high schools in a school district in Central Valley, California will participate in this study. Limiting the demographic sample will help this researcher to use four different ways namely, informal and formal open-ended face-to-face interviews and Skype interviews and observations to collect data for this study.
  5. Interviewing teachers and administrators will help this researcher to collect different opinions, ideas, and experiences of teachers and administrators. The participating teachers and administrators may represent different high schools and departments or different positions in the school district in Central Valley, California.
  6. This study will analyze the data and determine the impact of the use of new media tools on high school teaching and learning. However, there will be several limitations when generalizing findings. This researcher will strictly maintain professional contact with participants and will not discuss anything related to the research. The data collected from this study may reflect the beliefs of only high school teachers and administrators of a school district located in Central Valley California. Therefore, these findings may not be generalizable to elementary and middle school teachers and elementary school administrators in the United States.

Summary and Organization of the Remainder of the Study

The focus of Chapter 1 was to establish the base for the study, starting with the introduction and background on the topic under study. Chapter 1 explained the problem statement, the purpose of the study, followed by the rationale for the methodology, which will be discussed again in detail in chapter 3. There is supporting reference on the relevance of the study upon its deployment in the modern education environment. Chapter 1 also explored the nature of this study and what is, if any, the assumptions, limitations, and delimitations of this study. Discussion and related findings discussed in Chapter 2 will support and help in finding answers to the research questions designed in Chapter 1 and again in Chapter 3.

Chapter 2 will discuss the theoretical foundation for this study followed by an introduction to the literature review, which will support the purpose of the study and help in finding answers to the research questions. Chapter 2 will also focus on the constructivist theoretical foundation for this study and present a review of current research on the significance of the topic under study (Brooks & Brooks, 2001). Relevant literature review in research preparation will provide certain practical approaches on why educators may and should adopt and integrate new media tools in teaching (Akyeampong, 2011).

This study addresses why some teachers feel comfortable in adopting new media technology tools, while others feel less apprehensive. This study will also discuss how the integration of new media tools in the curriculum will prepare teachers in adopting Common Core State Standards, enhancing teaching and learning, and affecting student motivation and engagement in class. This research will rely on educators’ views about their experience with new media technology and construct the meaning of the situation. Chapter 3 will cover an introduction to the methodology, the problem statement, and research questions same as designed in Chapter 1. Chapter 3 will further explain why case study methodology has been selected, followed by a description of the study design, a general review of the case study methodology, and data collection and analysis processes that will be deployed in this study.

Dissertation Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3 will be complete and reviewed by the committee by the end of September end 2013, following which will be the AQR and IRB paperwork before starting the research and writing Chapter 4. Following these segments, this chapter will cover population and sampling, and sources of data for the study. In the end, the chapter will conclude with a discussion on the trustworthiness, transferability, and dependability of new media tools.

Having developed a framework on which the understanding of the problem is based, it is important to develop a theoretical framework on which the attributes of the problem will be investigated. From the background, it is worthwhile to say that a significant amount of research on the role of information technology tools in the enhancement of education already exists. In addition, a substantial number of researchers keep staging researches to establish the impacts of the emerging information technology tools in the administration and development of an efficient teaching and learning environment. Therefore, it is critical to incorporate an incisive learning theory as a basis on which to articulate between learning and new media tools as implicated by the research problem.

Literature Review

Introduction to the Chapter and Background to the Problem

Current technology promises innovative ways to educate students. This chapter covers related topics and research findings that support or respond to the topic under study. Teachers improve students’ pedagogical growth by using new media technology tools in the classroom (Pop, 2010; Abdous & Facer & Yen, 2012; Gimeno, Seiz, de Siqueira & Martínez, 2010; and Girgin, 2011). This chapter describes the research methodology for this study that has been drawn from Piaget’s cognitive constructivism theory and Vygotsky’s social-constructivist learning theory, and their relations with the use of new media tools. This chapter will discuss how new media tools help teachers and students to be learners, creators, and producers of knowledge (Martin et al., 2011). These tools support learning as a resourceful activity and offer a combination of visual, auditory, and tactile learning styles that enable learners to use a variety of technology tools to create, modify, and share information (Franklin & van Harmelen, 2007).

In their study, Lewis and Fabos (2005) report that rapid technological changes make it very difficult for the school districts and education systems to respond quickly to new technological demands in teaching. Research has also shown one of the main barriers to effective and sustainable integration of technology in schools is the lack of technical skills and knowledge of teachers and the time required to develop them (Hew & Brush, 2007; Mishra & Koehler, 2006). A significant number of teachers have either limited access to Internet resources, or they lack knowledge about the characteristics and pedagogical applications that they should practice in teaching to enhance students’ literacy gains and critical information literacy skills (Owston, 2009). Honan (2008) in one of her studies found teachers’ lack of awareness of students’ knowledge of digital technologies influences literacy practices.

Lewis and Fabos (2005) report rapid technological changes make it difficult for the school districts and education systems to respond and adapt to new technological demands in teaching. The National Professional Standards for Teachers (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, AITSL (2011) focused on the integration of technology into teaching and learning. The study found that teachers with a higher level of digital literacy could better use technology to differentiate the curriculum to cater to the diverse range of abilities and interests in the classroom, as well as engage students with more meaningful learning that is not confined to classroom learning.

Although the aforementioned findings state the use of new-media tools has increased hugely in recent years, this study will examine and focus to narrow the prevailing literature gap. A substantial number of studies and their findings concerning the research problem will be brought out. The findings will also help reveal how educators can meet the needs of technology in the modern education environment. Walsh, Asha, and Sprainger (2007) report that despite intensive research and exemplary practices, digital technologies have not been integrated into the curriculum and being intensively used by teachers. Honan (2008) observed the teachers’ lack of awareness of students’ knowledge of digital technologies influenced classroom literacy practices.

Teachers must, therefore, focus on students’ pre-existing conceptions and knowledge, learning skills, limitations, learning disabilities, if any, and guide student-centered activities to address and build on them. To comply with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2012), administrators must encourage teachers to involve students in student-centered communication, collaboration, and construction of knowledge in class.

The literature is derived from recent studies that capture the new developments in information technology. There are many significant pieces to look at when considering the effectiveness of new media tools in modern high school teaching. The first section will seek to define new media tools. Some illustrations will project changes and progress due to the adoption and use of new media tools in teaching.

The second section of the literature review will examine the importance of student-centered active learning about Common Core State Standards (2012) which will soon be adopted in 45 US States. Change from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning is a crucial component in the modern teaching process. This researcher will tie these two concepts to establish a clear understanding of the importance and effect of teachers integrating new media tools in the modern teaching process. In addition, the literature will discuss how a collaborative learning environment can be created and sustained amidst the adoption of new media tools.

The third and final section of the literature will be the population and sampling section of the literature review, which will seek to justify the selection of the participants. The school district and four high schools will be the sources of data. This chapter will discuss how new media tools help teachers and students to be learners, creators, and producers of knowledge (Martin et al., 2011). This study will also investigate how these tools support modern teaching and offer a combination of visual, auditory, and tactile learning styles that enable students to create, modify, and share information (Franklin & van Harmelen, 2007).

The literature review section will act as a stepping-stone and provide a concrete background for this study (Miller, 1991). The focus of the literature review is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of the researchers during 2005-2013 without adding new contributions and concepts. This period incorporates most of the new media tools that are highly embraced. This will provide the foundation for a contributory study in the field of adoption and use of new media tools in high school teaching. The literature review will also provide an argument for the selection of the research topic, the research questions, and support the choice of research methodology introduced in the previous chapter. The literature review will most importantly focus and fill in the existing gaps in the research (Cooper, 1984; Marshall & Rossman, 2006).

Adoption of Common Core State Standards is still in its initial stages, thus there are no studies that focus on the promotion of technology-centered learning and how teachers and administrators play a major role in adopting and integrating technology-based standards in the curriculum. The focus of the literature review is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of other researchers without adding new contributions and concepts. Answers to the research questions will enable educators to find and adopt more effective teaching strategies and ideas. Administrators and teachers will be able to refine their daily teaching strategies, curriculum planning, and adoption of media tools in teaching. Teachers and administrators will be able to reflect and find answers to some, if not all, challenges and advantages related to media tools best suited for all students, including English Language Learners and students with learning and physical disabilities. Technology experts, administrators, and teachers will find better solutions and ideas to support collaboration and communication among themselves.

The literature review will most importantly focus and fill in the existing gaps in the research (Cooper, 1984: Marshall & Rossman, 2006) and the knowledge and ideas that support the research problem. Some older literature has been used to give context to this study. The majority of the literature chosen for this study is from peer-reviewed relevant scholarly publications (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). Literature by authors considered as an authority on the subject through experience or research has also been chosen for inclusion in Chapter 2 (Smith, 2006). Most articles and publications were collected from the Grand Canyon University library (2012-2013).

Theoretical Foundations

The theoretical framework that will serve as a foundation for this investigation has been drawn from Vygotsky’s social-constructivist learning theory and its relations to the use of new media tools. Vygotsky’s social-constructivist learning theory supports the nature of collaborative learning in terms of classroom and group discussions and other activities teachers can create by integrating new media technologies in teaching. These frameworks make meaningful links between the collaborative new media tools and teaching based on the learning theory.

It is true that most high school students are familiar with and use some new media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and texting but it is also true that many students lack the critical thinking skills and creativity needed for a world embedded in technology. Although they spend hours each day online, on their mobile devices, on computer games, or social networking sites, they do not necessarily know how to properly use these technological resources educationally or professionally (Conley, 2008; Lippman et.al., 2009, Office of Educational Technology U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Students learn new information and create connections with their prior knowledge, with the teacher functioning as the creator and facilitator of knowledge. Likewise, new media technologies support the conception and construction of new knowledge through active collaboration and based on learners’ pre-existing knowledge (Brooks & Brooks, 2001). According to Vygotsky’s social-constructivist learning theory, learning is an effective transition from teacher-centered to a student-centered approach.

This discussion explains how the constructivist learning theory is related to the research question of this study; R1. The literature review and research data will answer the two sub-questions, and together they will answer the over-arching research question. In a classroom, the constructivist view of learning has led to the development of various teaching practices. For example, in a science class, constructivist-learning theory inspires teachers and students to integrate and practice experiments, real-world problem solving, and inquiry-based learning.

Similarly, constructivist theory and new media tools motivate teachers to involve students in reflection and discussion about what they are doing and how their understanding is evolving. The social constructivist theory will be deployed in the analysis of the motivational aspects on the side of the instructors and students as far as the adoption of web 2.0 tools in the school curriculum is concerned. Richardson’s (2005) suggestion about the “Push” model indicates that teachers can anticipate student needs and design work based on a common curriculum. However, modern teaching requires planning and constructive activities, and assignments are based on students’ learning capabilities, cognitive understanding, and pre-existing conceptions.

Therefore, teachers must motivate all learners to create and construct knowledge through active inquiry. Adoption, integration, and application of new media technologies in high school teaching can be the right step to inspire collaborative learning. Cobb (2002), for example, describes Vygotsky’s (1978) social constructivist theory as a theoretical assumption that people learn by collaborating and supporting the construction of knowledge and skills by modeling, scaffolding, and facilitating learning. The social construction of knowledge is highly supported by the new media tools.

Depending on students’ learning needs and pre-existing knowledge, available technology, and pedagogical needs, teachers determine the Web tools that are most suitable to integrate and develop a collective interlinked knowledge set. Linn (2006) noted that collaboration and communication inspire students to build on their pre-existing knowledge and share it with other learners, thereby extending and enriching their learning. This theory suggests that a variety of instructional tools influence educational practices in teaching. On a related note, Kafai (2006), Harman and Koohang (2005), and Weible (2011) also suggest that constructivism fosters collaboration and knowledge construction among students.

Ayeampong (2011) suggests today’s educators should consider how to incorporate the new technologies that Millennials use daily in their teaching practices to improve and support meaningful learning. Teachers must, therefore, design a curriculum that supports a collaborative search for knowledge by utilizing the teaching potential of new media technologies. Educators and students who use new media technologies actively participate in learning by collaborating and constructing knowledge when other users (students and teachers) support them in a shared social setting.

Bloom’s Taxonomy (2001), Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory of learning, Common Core State Standards (2012), and Brooks and Brooks (2001) about the constructivist theory state that student-centered, inventive, collaborative, and constructive learning provides an opportunity to create knowledge. Similarly, new media technologies provide tools, inspire, and support students to be active knowledge creators.

Schuck, Aubusson, and Kearney (2010) raised questions for school education and present an argument for studying the area in culturally sensitive ways how students want to learn. This study shows strong links between new media and the cognitive constructivist and social constructivist learning theories, which are supported by inquiry-based and collaborative learning strategies (Chin-Chung, 2009; Doise & Mugny, 1984; Vygotsky, 1978). Both social-constructivist learning theory and cognitive constructivist learning theory explain that knowledge is created through collaboration and a process of active construction with an emphasis on social and cultural environments. Research study theories explain that knowledge construction depends on students’ experiences and pre-existing knowledge.

As evidenced in the application of Common Core Standards (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School, 2010) and classroom experience, teachers and administrators see the need to allow students to construct knowledge in experiential ways based on key concepts that have evolved based on prior learning (Gordon, 2009). Technology has become an integral part of modern learning due to globalization. Social learning expectations may be different from students’ social-cultural backgrounds (Moore & Lewis, 2012). The constructivist approach requires teachers to hand over their role as sole information-dispensers to students. Therefore, teachers should provide a structured learning environment and encourage students to try to use new media tools, create and construct knowledge and collaborate with other students to share that knowledge (Stuckart & Glanz, 2010). Vygotsky observes that culture and social environment create an impact on a learner’s construction of knowledge; it is also evident in the application of the combo of Common Core State Standards with new media tools.

The adoption of technology in educational environments can be effectively investigated through the deployment of Rogers’ diffusion of innovations theory. Rodgers argued that adoption entails complete deployment of technology as the most desirable course of action. Therefore, the failure to adopt technology, according to Rodgers, can as well be considered as a decision in itself. Technology adoption is a decision, and unless it is taken and enforced, it becomes daunting to identify its benefits and setbacks, which are critical in streamlining it. Therefore, a conceptualization of how students and teachers perceive the proposed adoption of web 2.0 tools in the curriculum is founded on the diffusion of innovations theory. Research question 1 (R1) can be explored based on this theoretical conception. The definition of diffusion in the theory can also be aligned to the research problem. Diffusion is defined as the process of communicating innovation through a certain set of channels over a given period among the members of a given social system (Sahin, 2006). Different sets of functions are implemented in high schools, which in this case will be taken as a social system.

According to Minishi-Majanja and Kiplang’at (2005), the diffusion innovations theory can be considered as a social process in which there is a subjective perception of information about a new idea. Owing to this observation, it can be argued that the new standards of learning that embraces the use of web 2.0 technology can be taken as a social process to create an environment that embraces feedback; communication. Given the fact that the theory has been used as a foundation for information and communication technologies’ adoption in a substantial number of organizations, it could as well be used to embrace the adoption of web 2.0 tools as an instructional method of teaching in high schools, as the case is in this study. The schooling environment, in this case, can be likened to the organizations explained in Minishi-Majanja and Kiplang’at’s (2005) study. The channels of communication are critical in the adoption of technology. According to Rodgers, information creation and sharing are important as far as the deployment of technology at full scale is considered (Sahin, 2006). Therefore, the behavior of students and those of the teachers or instructors in line with the adoption of web 2.0 tools in the classroom environment need to be closely monitored. This can help to provide answers to research question 2(r2) and research question 3 (R3).

Minishi-Majanja and Kiplang’at (2005) observed that the development of the theory is deeply founded in the socio-economic environment in which the research is being done. This is to say that the ‘social system’ focus is one of the main foundations of the theory that befits the context of the study. The social and economic perspectives are greatly featured in the deployment of technology in the school environments, which are to a large extent considered to be social environments.

Chuttur (2009) ascertained the worth of deploying the technology acceptance model in evaluating the attributes of behaviors and how they influence perceptions of people to accept and use technology. Of a greater essence as far as the deployment of technology in different institutions is concerned is the development of psychometric scales that can be used to assess the views of users on the technology in question and the environment in which the technology is being applied. In addition, Yuqiong (2008) extended the validity of the diffusion research within an organization by integrating the diffusion of innovation theory and the technology adoption model in his empirical exploration of the adoption of the Internet among journalists in China. Both the voluntary and forced adoption of technology is founded in the theoretical explanations in the technology adoption model, as well as the diffusion of innovations theory.

According to Park and Kim (2013), the technology adoption model is best suited for examining and justifying the levels of technology acceptance. In their study, Park and Kim (2013) tried to link the psychological factors and the intention of technology adopters/users in which they ascertained a significant influence of the psychological factors on the adoption and use of technology. In the study to ascertain the sets of behaviors that affect the attitudes of students toward the adoption of e-learning in Korea, Park (2009) found out that the perceptions are affected by both the internal factors that are personally generated, as well as the external factors that are shaped by the e-learning environment. Therefore, Park concluded that researchers in the field need to deploy the technology acceptance model to deeply comprehend the factors that shape the perceptions of the learners about the adoption of e-learning. Therefore, it is vital to make use of the technology acceptance model to answer research question 1, which dwells on the perceptions about web 2.0 technology’s adoption in learning.

Review of literature

O’Reilly (2005) states that new media is a web-based platform from which interactive open-source software (OSS) programs, such as Weblogs (blogs) (Perrone, 2004); wikis (Wikipedia, 2007); podcasts (Maag, 2006); (Yensen, 2005); YouTube (Skiba, 2007); Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Presentations; and social networking (Google, 2008; Michael, 2007), and interaction, collaboration, and problem-solving skills are available for users.

Millennial students want to create and communicate knowledge, and new media tools are designed to provide student-centered learning so that students can meet these learning needs (Marzano, 2006). Modern students operate at what Prensky (2004) described as “twitch speed.” They expect instant responses and feedback from their teachers and friends. They demand free access to the Internet to stay in touch with friends and other users. Bonk (2009), Brown and Adler (2008), and Downes (2005) indicate that new media technologies have the potential to create open learning communities where users can discuss real-world topics and collaborate with other users.

Research studies also indicate that professional and technical training are essential for educators who plan to adopt and integrate new media technology in teaching (Deaney, Ruthven & Hennessy, 2005). A substantial number of case studies have tried to describe and measure the developing changes in modern teaching and learning practices. Geijsel and Meijers (2005) considered the psycho-social perspective and suggested that some teachers find the integration of technology in teaching is insufficient for preparing students for current learning and construction of students’ knowledge because they believe direct instruction plays a more important role in teaching and learning.

The new media tools have evolved from static, read-only, and linear to read-write, nonlinear, and social media tools. Some other changes, for example, are from mp3 to podcasting, blogging, publishing to participation and collaboration, and RSS-syndication. Therefore, an evolving social fabric is created under the influence of excellent networking (Ali, Reynolds, Ali, & Salhieh, 2011). These examples provide teachers and students with the platform for collaboration in a social environment where they can exchange knowledge and develop content.

Findings from research also suggest that teachers may use and motivate students to use new media tools and strategies to improve social and cognitive skills and increase self-directed learning skills for better personal potential. A major transformation has occurred in modern teaching to meet the learning needs of digital natives. New media technologies act as powerful mediators among teachers, students, and the world around them (Rovai, 2002). Although some teachers have adopted and integrated technology tools in teaching, new media tools are still new in schools.

Tim O’Rielly (2005) provides a comparison between websites and functions of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. The following illustration of Web 1.0 and 2.0 (Table 2) demonstrates some major development and changes in the websites and functions of the technology tools.

These innovative tools and modern learning needs are changing the way students and teachers interact with each other. In student-centered learning, teachers are project designers who coordinate, moderate, and mentor students, while students inquire, understand, investigate, and take the responsibility for their learning progress and collaborate with their peers. It is important to understand that innovative technologies need modern and advanced equipment and changes in school and educational policies and guidelines. The policies may need to be more flexible and open, yet safe for all users.

Educators must challenge themselves and transform teaching into more engaging and successful means. Supporting this thought, Munoz (2009) and Kayri and Cakır (2010) indicate that educators should adopt new media technology as an educational tool to collaborate, communicate, and sharing ideas with the learners and with other teachers. Mason and Rennie (2008) and Vijayakumar (2011) ascertained that new media tools can even help English language learners improve their writing skills.

Educational benefits of new media tools

Richardson (2006) observed that students could use blogs to make use of language and acquire creative, communicative, and collaborative skills. Likewise, the Educause Learning Initiative (2006) suggests that teachers could create a learning community in their class and let students create and share knowledge using different new media tools. As a result, students could learn to write and respond analytically. New media applications also promote critical thinking in the form of a visual medical dictionary and a visual Merriam-Webster dictionary for an anytime reference with visuals and related explanations. Conway (2006) recommends examples of how YouTube could be used as a virtual library to support class quizzes, assignments, project presentations, and lectures. Teachers and students can share wikis for discussion, collaboration, brainstorming, and developing research projects in what is known as learning communities (Okada, Connolly & Scott, 2012).

Some researchers approve of Vygotsky’s (1978) statement: “What the child is able to do in collaboration today, he will be able to independently tomorrow” (p. 220) and practice it in teaching. For instance, Weible (2011) designed a video-podcast to explore how it could support student content learning and guide the construction of knowledge by groups and individuals. Another example is from Duschl and Osborne (2002), who indicate that the teacher must inspire students to take part in logical reasoning and academic discussion to construct and develop knowledge.

Likewise, Jaramillo (1996) studied how people interact with each other to discuss, collaborate, and communicate their findings and interpretations of knowledge. Some other researchers have also defined how web technology support constructivist-teaching practices (Anderson, 2008; Roland, 2005). Roland (2005) believes that the decentralized nature of the web encourages users to explore ideas and knowledge, while Anderson (2008) believes that being active participants in learning allows users to contextualize the information and re-create knowledge. Anderson (2008), Roland (2005), and Prater (2001) suggest the use of web technologies to enhance learning and highlight the social aspects of using web technologies in teaching.

New Media Technologies Encourage Constructivist Approach

Roland (2005), Yueh-Min, Yang, and Chin-Chung (2009) suggest that incorporating new media technologies in modern teaching encourages the constructivist approach, which refers to the idea that learners create and construct knowledge by observing, asking questions, inquiry, and/or using scientific strategies. Brooks and Brooks (2001) suggest that the constructivist view of learning is to encourage students to use active methods and skills, ask questions, and use them to create more knowledge and share with other learners. This is expounded in figure 2.

Figure 2 explains the mind of a digital native at any time of the day because they are busy multitasking, parallel thinking, texting, listening to music, checking emails, and Facebook updates, in addition to checking lectures, reading, or homework assignments that may be posted online. Some native students also follow Twitter and picture updates on Flickr. However, many teachers may still be busy trying to figure out how to text, upload, or attach a picture to a document, set or secure their Facebook page, and respond to their professor and peers on a new online class or professional development survey response. Therefore, teachers must encourage and regularly involve students in self-reflection and collaboration processes with other students, and they must note how their students’ learning is affected and how it evolves with time. Teachers must also focus on students’ pre-existing conceptions and knowledge, learning skills, limitations, learning disabilities if any, and guide student-centered activities to address and build on them.

For this reason, and to comply with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2012), teachers must encourage and involve students in student-centered communication, collaboration, and construction of knowledge in class. CCSS may be adopted in 45 states by the end of 2015-2017. About CCSS and sensing a gap in theories to support the adoption and use of web technology in education, some researchers have explored and examined the theories to learn the effects of new media technologies on users, education, community, and other professions. The interactivity of new media tools and sites allows users to create, add, or modify and share content with other users.

Researchers also recognize the difficulties in bringing technologies into schools and how district and school administrators can adopt new policies and motivate teachers to adopt new media tools and improve teaching (Buffington, 2007; Prensky, 2005; Richardson, 2006; Roland, 2005). Roland (2009), for instance, indicates that the web has evolved from a collection of static web sites containing information to a more interactive, social, and sharing culture, which allows interaction between the content creators and the readers. Similarly, Churchill (2009) suggests that teachers can use new media tools to inspire students to create and add to existing knowledge and share and collaborate with other students and teachers. Buffington (2010) and Roland (2005) emphasize the fact that educators may take it as their obligation to adopt new media technologies in high school teaching and introduce students to modern learning.

Popular New Media Tools

While new media technology is a key component to the success of educators and learners alike, the problem of adoption and practice remains the momentum for the problem statement of this research. According to Buffington (2008), popular new media technologies used today include blogs, wikis, podcasts, photo, and video sharing sites such as Flickr and YouTube. According to Bearners-Lee (2010), the role of new media is to strengthen educators’ ability to teach modern students. Therefore, the constant advancement of technology, the use of new technology in education, and the popularity of digital technology among educators and students give teachers the added responsibility to motivate students to use the knowledge and become technology literate.

Research indicates that educators must use pedagogy 2.0 strategies to learn how to integrate new media tools into their curriculum. For instance, Thorne (2003) and Lantolf and Thorne (2006) used a cultural-historical framework to understand how internet-based tools inspire communication. New media tools also encourage peer learning and sharing knowledge and ideas. This is expounded in the discussion of the new media tools below:

  • Blogs: Blogs have evolved as a set of “social and informational phenomena that include mainstream media and news reporting. Blogs usually provide commentary or information on a particular issue, event or topic” (Barger, 1997). In some cases, blogs cover a particular person or function as an online, personal diary (Thorne & Payne, 2005). Some users find blogs better than magazine articles because they are concise, published more frequently, and often facilitate quick, constructive dialogue. Ducate and Lomicka (2005) suggest that blogs enhance students’ reading and writing.
  • Wikis: “A wiki allows readers to collaborate with other users in writing and adding, editing, and changing the Web page contents at any time” (Solomon & Schrum, 2007). Wikipedia is a free Internet encyclopedia. It facilitates the creation of information by users (Ebersbach et al., 2006). Users create, communicate with, collaborate on, and edit web spaces that have information and share it with other users (Farabaugh, 2007; Oskoz & Elola, 2008). Lankshear and Knobel (2007) describe wikis as “collaborative writing that influences collective intelligence for knowledge production in the public domain” (p. 17). Wikis are available at no cost for educational users and viewers. Wikis lack any defined authorship on sites such as Wikipedia (Thorne, 2008), although Wikipedia provides restricted access to registered users for professional and workgroup wikis (Cych, 2006).
  • Twitter: Some users take self-expression to a new level and share opinions and commentary synchronously. Twitter is a free micro-blogging service in which messages are limited to 140-character lines of information called “tweets.” Users can include links to other content in their tweets, and broadcasts can be public or private. Celebrities, journalists, politicians, and other public figures have established significant followings on Twitter. Media outlets use Twitter as a way to broadcast breaking news. Users respond or follow by typing “#,” known as the “hash tag.”
  • YouTube: YouTube is a video-sharing website where users can upload, share, and view videos. More than 100,000 new videos are uploaded every day, and the site receives about 200 million video views every day (YouTube, 2013). YouTube is the third most visited website on the Internet, behind Google and Facebook. Students and other registered users can load videos, and all users can watch videos on YouTube. Educators also post lectures and presentations on YouTube.
  • Podcasts: Users use podcasting to distribute multimedia files such as music and speech over the Internet for playback on mobile devices or personal computers (Solomon & Schrum, 2007). A podcast is a digital audio and video file or recording, generally part of a themed series that can be downloaded from a website to a media player or computer. With podcasts, users can choose what they want to listen to. Most podcasts are free.
  • Webinar: Webinar is a live, online educational and/or professional presentation, lecture, workshop, or discussion during which participating viewers take part in the discussion and submit questions and comments on the Internet. The webinar allows participants in different locations to see and hear the presenter. Transmission of the webinar is scheduled at a particular time or on-demand over the Internet. Professionals, educators, researchers, and students make the best use and save time and resources by attending the webinar.
  • Skype: Skype is similar to face-to-face conversation. Recently, a Skype-like service was integrated into Grand Canyon University, DC Network. Skype is an Internet telephone service provider that offers free calling between computers and low-cost calling to regular telephones that are not connected to the Internet or are not connected to mobile service. Educators, students, professionals, and others use Skype for online discussion, communication, and collaboration.

Rose (2007) suggests users enjoy using communication tools, which allow them to collaborate via online social networks, instant texting, blogging, and sending electronic messages. Dixon and Siragusa (2009) applied constructivist-learning theory and found that the iPod Touch and language laboratory could enhance second language teaching and learning. Scarino and Liddicoat (2009) and Dixon and Siragusa (2009) discussed how emails, texting, Skype, and audio and video conferencing have revolutionized communication and collaboration and social and economic development and play a significant role in cultivating modern teaching.

Yang and Chen (2007), Bran (2009), and Kufi and Ozgur (2009) identified that the use of new media technologies is limited in schools due to either the lack of adequate classroom technology or professional development and motivation. Figure 3 below illustrates “The innovative potential of Learning 2.0” in technology, businesses, and the education field. This figure explains new media tools are innovative and they support modern ways of learning, communication, and collaboration. These tools enhance learners’ performance, provide networking and community building, and support bridging distance by virtual presence; therefore, helping in achieving learning goals.

New media tools support new ways of creating new methods and practices for learning and increase student motivation, participation, and reflection skills that make them self-directed learners. Figure 3 accentuates five important elements that support new media tools in modern education: society, diversity, networking, achieving, and learning. The figure illustrates- The innovative potential of learning new media tools in technology, businesses, and the education field. This figure exemplifies that new media tools are innovative and they support modern ways of learning, communicating, and collaborating, enhance learners’ performance by providing networking and community building, support bridging distance by the virtual presence, thus they help in achieving modern learning goals. New media tools support new ways for creating new methods and practices for learning and increase student motivation, participation, and reflection skills that make them self-directed learn. It brings out five critical elements that support new media tools in modern education, and they are society, diversity, and networking, achievement, and learning.

Munoz (2009), as well as Kayri and Cakır (2010), found that educators should adopt new media technology as an educational tool to collaborate, communicate, and in addition, sharing ideas with the learners and with other educators. Mason and Rennie (2008), and Vijayakumar (2011) also found that new media tools improve the writing skills of all students. Murray and Maag (2006) and Erdley et al. (2007) studied how new media tools enhance health professionals’ and learners’ proficiency, thus they improve communication, information management, and collaboration with peers and staff.

Yang and Chen (2007), Bran (2009), and Kufi and Ozgur (2009) identified that use of new media technologies is limited in schools due to either lack of adequate classroom technology or professional development and motivation. The discussion leads this investigator to conclude that educators will not be preparing learners for the modern world if schools do not adopt and upgrade teaching practices to meet the needs of the students. Although teachers and administrators value technology, they do not all use new media tools to support teaching due to either lack of relevant knowledge or low self-efficacy (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007; Mueller et al., 2008).

New Media Tools and Current Standards

In the modern world students are not passive learners; they want to create, learn, and share knowledge with other students and educators to collaborate. They can do so, if new media technologies are made available at schools, and if educators adopt and use new media in teaching. With the task of preparing students for a digitally-driven future, district leaders and other educators think and plan creatively to meet the needs of all the students. Anderson (2007), as well as Johnson, Levine, and Smith (2009) also identified new media technologies as emerging tools to enhance teaching and learning. According to Ehlers (2008), the development of new media tools and, most importantly the emerging learning theories are inspiring and facilitating educational practices more effectively than the diffusion of static knowledge from teachers to students as passive learners.

New Media Tools and Current Standards

Over time, education has adapted and used the changes arising from the latest web technologies and has led to certain changes in teaching and learning practices. With the ever-increasing emphasis on technology integration in US education, many teachers have adopted and integrated new media technology in teaching (US Department of Education, 2010). Although there are studies about the accessibility, practicality, and the need for new media technologies in education, the acceptance and use of new media still has not reached all the schools (Jonathan & Joseph, 2009).

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (2012) encourages and emphasizes inquiry-based learning. According to Yueh-Min, Yang, and Chin-Chung (2009), new media tools encourage the constructivist approach for learning supported by the inquiry-based learning strategies. Creating an inquiry-based process in a classroom creates a climate of intellectual discovery for students. An inquiry-based curriculum is one of the most effective teaching methodologies for teachers to help students deepen their retention and comprehension.

Innovative approach

New media technology is innovative and easy to use; it inspires students to learn and share learning. Students need teachers who use these technology tools to learn and use 21st-century technologies that prepare them for the future. While some students use and understand certain aspects of technology, many still need guidance in using new media tools for learning. There are some limitations in terms of the quality of the research conducted to date on educational uses of new media applications and the research conducted on the general use of a more student-centered learning approach (Wilson, 2008). Murphy and Lebans (2008) found that teachers play a complex role in using new media tools to shape the learning experience of their students. They adopt technology for their own professional needs and self-efficacy and they set high expectations and achievement goals for their students.

Bennet, Maton, and Kervin (2008), Hargittai and Walejko (2008) suggest that web users’ engagement with new media technologies is not simple, but influenced by learning needs, availability of the Internet, good hardware to access it, and the diverse social and cultural backgrounds of the users and trained and experienced educators who think and practice modern teaching tools. Some of the challenges are bandwidth, filtering software, and funding required in making new media tools accessible to all schools.

This researcher will use the collected data to reveal technology-related ideas that provide teachers the assistance they need to use new media as a teaching tool. New media tools also promote the development of new ways to collaborate, share, and learn. Cobb (2005) suggested technology is more helpful in learning languages, while Weible (2011) examined how new media technologies also inspire and develop academic discussions in science classes. For example, some online students feel the lack of face-to-face interaction, but they can communicate, collaborate, share information and ideas, work on projects, exchange notes, and ask questions by using Skype and by using sites like joinme.com.

New media Tools and Blooms Taxonomy

Adopting and integrating various new media technologies in teaching can help educators to create and use curricula based on Blooms’ Taxonomy. Blooms’ Taxonomy and Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock’s (2001) studies examined and summarized research findings with emphasis on creating an inquiry-based process in teaching. Inquiry-based learning creates a climate of intellectual discovery for students. Inquiry-based teaching is one of the most effective methodologies for teachers to help students deepen their comprehension and retention.

The findings are consistent with what other researchers have reported regarding the pedagogical benefits and potentials of new media technologies in teaching (Alexander, 2006; Brown & Adler, 2008; Hartshorne & Ajjan, 2010; McLoughlin & Lee, 2007; Richardson, 2007). Many schools are planning how to overcome financial challenges by incorporating easy-to-use and affordable applications based on new media tools. Banas (2010) emphasized that teacher training, leadership, technical support, and teacher attitude towards technology are strong predictors of intention to use the technologies, which in turn predicts actual eventual use.

Several new technologies, articles, and websites describe how educators can incorporate an organized framework, such as Bloom’s Taxonomy (2001), in their teaching to motivate and support their students through modern learning processes. Anderson (2001) describes how new media tools support and develop better collaboration in cognitive (knowledge-based), psychomotor (skills-based), and affective (attitudinal-based) skill-building among teachers and students. The following figure (Figure 4) illustrates the blend of and connection between the new media technologies and Bloom Cognitive Taxonomy (1956) as revised by Lorin Anderson (2001).

Therefore, to implement and use new media technologies, teachers must explore, try new media tools, and observe the effects on student learning. For example, Google Docs and EatherPad are two new media tools that all educators and other users who use Microsoft Word can use (Garner, 2010).

Bloom’s taxonomy (2001) revised for 21st-century learning inspires teachers to focus on student-centered learning and use strategies that will help students to remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, problem-solve, and create knowledge. Some new media tools such as Google Docs, Wiki, Zoho, CarrotSticks, del.icio.us, VISUWORDS, YouTube, and GO2WEB20 shown in Figure 4 support similar functions and help students to inquire, create, apply, analyze, construct, and share knowledge.

Teachers must analyze how learning is affected to make a decision. It is also very important to observe and study student understanding of the concepts, test scores, engagement in class, and research skills. Hughes (2009) and Nellison (2007) have discussed strategies and potential benefits of using new media technology tools in teaching.

The usefulness of New media Technologies in teaching

Although it is important to encourage educators to adopt web literacy, doing so does not come without complications. According to Prensky (2006), not all schools can provide one-to-one computing to all students, and they face the challenge of some teachers resisting to change and adopt new technologies and methods in modern teaching. Buffington (2008) quantified that updates are easily available and most students will use the technology because new media technologies are cost-effective and user-friendly.

Adopting and integrating new media within the curricula will benefit modern teaching. Roland wanted to motivate educators to adopt and integrate new media technologies into their curricula, thus he created the Art Education 2.0 Manifesto (2009). The manifesto discussed several ideas and strategies that art teachers could consider when they want to adopt and integrate new media technologies in teaching. Lamb and Johnson (2010) suggest it is essential that teachers learn modern teaching concepts, strategies, and technology tools to be able to collaborate and communicate with students who also want to learn the modern way to construct and share knowledge.

Bran (2009) suggests that learners can benefit from using new media technology in learning, creating, collaborating, and connecting with people all around the world with no time or age limit. New media technologies support art and drawing, communication, and collaboration, and as Yang and Chen (2007) suggest a new media-based language-learning program could enhance students’ knowledge of computers and improve their English language abilities. Language is empowerment and the English language is one of the key elements needed everywhere in the world in the professional and social realms. As technological advances have made communication a click or a call away, and populations have become more diverse, a common language, English, will be required in this modern techno-savvy world.

Technology and English are two innovative aspects of the modern world that bring about societal and political changes (Tsui & Tollefson, 2007). New media tools offer support for English language learners and students with special learning needs or students who need linguistically accommodating instructions in all content areas to focus on listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Some new media tools also provide scaffolds for English language learners. For instance, Blogger.com offers language choices to get their message across, TheFreeDictionary.com helps learners with translation, and VozMe.com reads the words to the listener. WikiSpaces.com supports English language learners with handouts and assignments, while Ning.com offers free English classes. Various other websites like SchoolTube.com support content for English learners, Flickr.com helps in sharing photos, the iTunes Store provides free music, DiscoveryStreaming.com supports free discovery-related videos, LibriVox.org offers free e-books, Skype.com offers free communication, and many other similar tools offer great lessons, entertainment, and learning skills.

Therefore, special education and English language teachers must explore and adopt new media tools to create a learning environment that fosters authentic opportunities for all students to apply and practice English language skills. Kayler and Weller (2007), Moura (2007), and D’Souza (2007) suggest new media tools have lots of potential because they are easy to use and support effective collaboration and communication.

These days more teachers value the importance of technology in teaching. However, Lei (2009) found that not all teachers practice technology use. There is a lot of evidence that many teachers do not use technology when they teach with the exceptions of the overhead projector, email exchanges, and PowerPoint presentations (Kiridis, Drossos & Tsakiridou 2006; Tezci 2009; Yalın, Karadeniz & Şahin 2007; Goktas, Yıldırım, & Yıldırım (2008). E-Science projects would not be possible without new media tools that provide excellent communication and collaboration options for the users. For example, the E-Science movement provides students with access to expensive and scarce high-level tools, allowing them to engage in the kinds of research conducted by professional scientists. As a high school science teacher, I find it exciting to share the “Bugscope project” example, which gives K-12 students access to a scanning electron microscope located at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois. To participate in this project, students from any school can send any insects or other small creatures that they have collected to the University of Illinois. They can then log on to their computers to control the microscope in real-time and view their specimens (http://bugscope.beckman.uiuc.edu/).

Teachers’ Role

This study will develop educators’ effectiveness as leaders to encourage, support adoption, and use of new media technologies to improve students’ cognitive growth (Green & Hannon, 2007; Grunwald, 2007). New web technologies continue to emerge every day. Teachers who use new media tools play an important role (Parker & Chao, 2007). Teachers also teach students how to use and make innovative uses of various new media tools. Some students have pre-existing knowledge or have natural skills that help them adapt to the constantly changing and updating new media tools, but often students need teacher assistance and special interventions to learn to use modern technology tools proficiently (Kim, Hong, Bonk, & Lim, 2009). Prensky (2010) on the other hand, indicates that teachers should encourage and inspire students to explore new media tools and should not necessarily teach them how to use these tools. Buffington (2008), Overby (2009), and Richardson (2010) found that new media tools influence teaching skills and strategies.

Lenhart and Madden (2005) found that some high school students read and create their blogs, and Parker and Chao (2007) found that students could use wikis to communicate and stay in touch with other users. Students can also write assignments within the classroom and post-work where teachers can read and make revisions, and students can make corrections. Buffington (2010) explored another interesting web tool: audio blogging and Podcasts. The following figure (figure 5) projects that about 70% of college teachers actively use new media in teaching and encourage their students to do so as well, but for some reason, there is not much information explaining why public school educators have not been integrating technology in their teaching.

Teacher and Student Attitude towards New Media Tools

Richardson (2010) found that blogs are widely adopted tools because they are easy to create, and Overby (2009) found that blogs have the potential to enhance student learning and facilitate teaching. Millennial students have a positive attitude toward interacting with the web environment in learning, but Kufi and Ozgur (2009) and Girgin (2011) found that students favor face-to-face teaching in learning English. Teachers’ attitudes and approaches toward using new media tools in teaching have a catalyst effect on students and other teachers who plan to implement new media tools in teaching. More often than not, technically trained and organized teachers have positive attitudes and high levels of acceptance of new media technologies in teaching (Baltaci-Goktalay & Ozdilek, 2010).

Eyyam, Menevis, and Dogruer (2011) found that most teachers do not experiment with new tools, but they use wikis, social networks, and instant messaging software more often in their classroom teaching. To make other professions such as law, engineering, designing, teaching, art, and many other professions possible for students, teachers must explore new media tools and involve students, encouraging them to imagine, ask questions, explore, experiment, write, construct, plan, read, create, draw, share, communicate, collaborate, present, and evolve (Information Resources Management Association, 2010).

Reflection and Meta-Cognition

De Laat (2007) studied various research findings, which indicated that collaboration among students working on learning projects requires the development of a wide range of learning skills. For instance, Xie et al. (2008) studied the interaction effects of peer – feedback and blogging on undergraduates’ thinking skills and learning styles. The researchers used an empirical design for this one-semester long study and found that when the students updated their blogs every week, their reflective thinking levels showed a significant increase. All the students used Wiki as a knowledge management tool. Similarly, Barth (2007) also found that Wikis support self-reflection processes.

Carletti, Rossi, Magnoler and Giannandrea, (2008) studied the use of blogs and reflective work diaries in an Italian post-graduate online master’s program in education. Teachers worked on their blogs, but they did not have many activities. On the other hand, the work diaries had reflective activities, supporting the learning skills. Therefore, these examples support that educators must integrate reflection activities in teaching. Kanuka, Rourke and Laflamme, (2007) indicate that teachers must design clear roles and responsibilities for all learners and support a structured approach for all students to develop cognitive skills.

The researchers observed a collaborative wiki-project among economics students of the Zurich International School. The students contributed their ideas on a common forum about 200 pages long for their AP microeconomics class. Students collaborated with other students and took part in online discussions, which were hosted the night before tests. Students found that online collaboration improved their knowledge in AP microeconomics.

It is important to note that the discussed examples indicate the usefulness of some new media tools that motivate students to collaborate with peers and teachers and improve individuals’ knowledge and learning skills in unique and creative ways (Başal, Ergüzen & Gürol, 2011). These evidences also suggest that group activities, discussions, and collaboration inspire and encourage students to overcome weaknesses, become authors of content, build on pre-existing knowledge and skills, take part in peer reflection, and improve learning significantly (Antoniou & Siskos, 2007; Cobos & Pifarre, 2008; Liaw et al., 2008; Makri & Kynigos, 2007; Laurinen & Marttunen, 2007).

Limitations of New media Tools

It is true that some teachers find it difficult to blend direct instruction time with the new technologies because they need more time and training to adopt new ideas and strategies and to be able to integrate them into teaching. McMahon (1997) suggests that technologies create new learning situations, thus teachers can use them to create opportunities that inspire students to become motivated to acquire new information and knowledge.

However, some studies indicate that limited experience and confidence in technology can hold teachers back from using modern technologies. Brown (2011) explained that the availability of so many new media tools could confuse students and discourage them from using any tools. Therefore, teachers could start with simple tools that can contribute to a collaborative learning environment by using the Communicative Language Ability (CLA) approaches in an authentic language learning and teaching context (Bran, 2009).

Moser (2007) focused his study on the difficulties and the need for professional training during all the stages of adoption of new media technologies in teaching. Moser interviewed teachers and observed classrooms and focus groups to collect data for his study. He observed that school administration must develop support models during all phases of the technology adoption cycle in order to support educators in using technology and to motivate them to utilize the tools.

Summary

Chapter 2 focused on the constructivist theoretical foundation of the study in progress and presented a review of current research on the significance of the topic under study (Brooks & Brooks, 2001). The literature review also focused on the educators’ attitude, role and effectiveness as leaders to encourage, support adoption, and use new media technologies to improve students’ cognitive growth (Green & Hannon, 2007; Grunwald, 2007). Relevant literature review in research preparation provides functions and limitations of new media tools and practical approaches on why educators may and should adopt and integrate new media tools in their curriculum (Akyeampong, 2011). The literature review highlights how new media tools play a vital role in developing curriculum and learning based on Blooms’ Taxonomy (2000), developing Vygotskys’ social constructivist theory approach (1978) and Robert Marzanos’ theory (2001). The literature review addresses how new media technology tools support new Common Core State Standards (2012), thereby enhancing teaching, student learning and improving student motivation and engagement in class. In addition, the literature review highlighted the significance of the needed move from the old teaching style to the innovative 21st century technology-based learning approach and evolving shift from the teacher-centered to the student-centered learning approach using new media tools.

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