Technology as a tool: The use of technology in the classroom and after school club
Technology usage within schools is prevalent and research has focused on the value, challenges, and benefits of using technology within classrooms (Brown, Englehardt, & Mathers, 2016). However, little research exists to provide guidelines for evaluating technology usage once implemented within the classroom.
The purpose of this research study was to illustrate and exemplify how a teacher created an inquiry-based culture through the use of technology. The theoretical lenses Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory (1994), Wenger’s community of practice (2001), and Ribble’s digital citizenship (2012, 2015) allowed for the creation of a framework that encompassed the teaching pedagogy and usage of technology. Ethnographic case study methods illuminated the teaching practices and interactions of students and teachers within an elementary classroom and after-school animation club. Data collection methods included interviews, observations, audio recordings, transcriptions, field notes, contact summary sheets, and reflexive journals. A constant comparative analysis of data, in addition to three peer review processes and member checking, helped to ensure rigor and trustworthiness of findings.
Research findings included the importance of a constructivist teaching paradigm and practices that encouraged student inquiry. Technology was used as a tool to extend activities and encourage student collaboration to strengthen learning. The digital citizenship element of digital literacy was expanded and the element of digital collaboration-was created to fully explain the importance of student to student and student to adult interactions and collaborations. Subsequently, the research results highlight the importance of reflective teaching practices in modifying classroom expectations based on student learning, needs, and feedback.