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The impact of interactive educational multimedia software on cognition

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Title:
The impact of interactive educational multimedia software on cognition
Creator:
Fabry, Darla L. Dee
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
140 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Cognition ( lcsh )
Human-computer interaction ( lcsh )
Interactive multimedia ( lcsh )
Computer-assisted instruction ( lcsh )
Cognition ( fast )
Computer-assisted instruction ( fast )
Human-computer interaction ( fast )
Interactive multimedia ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 133-140).
Thesis:
Educational leadership and innovation
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Darla L. Dee Fabry.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
40462285 ( OCLC )
ocm40462285
Classification:
LD1190.E3 1998d .F33 ( lcc )

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THE IMPACT OF INTERACTIVE EDUCATIONAL MULTIMEDIA SOFTWARE ON COGNITION by Darla L. Dee Fabry A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 1998

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1998 by Darla L. Dee Fabry All rights reserved.

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This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Darla L. Dee Fabry has been approved by Barbara McCombs 1tflarcL 21 /&? 9 Date

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Fabry, Darla L. Dee (Ph.D. Educational Leadership and Innovation) The Impact of Interactive Educational Multimedia Software on Cognition Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Judith Adrienne Duffield ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of multimedia software on cognition, to determine the attributes of multimedia software that either support or hinder cognition and to ascertain if there were differences in cognition between skill levels of students. A pilot study was conducted prior to the data collection for the dissertation research. The data were collected for both the pilot study and the dissertation at a suburban elementary school. In the dissertation study six students were selected from a voluntary pool of twenty-five. Data collection methodology included videotaped think-aloud protocols, audiotaped debriefing interviews, and field notes. Data analysis for this study included eight stages for the individual in-depth analysis and three stages for the comparison of participant analysis. Findings were that the learners' level of cognition in this study was limited by the features and the design of the software. The impact of the iv

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software on cognition was varied and the students' cognition was limited by the design features of the software. The features of the software that supported cognition were the graphics, photos, hypermedia elements, story text, and the activities. The interactivity was an element that provided stimulation for learning. Conversely, some of these same elements, as well as design features hindered cognition. While the activities provided interactivity and were engaging, the lack of prompts and guidance caused frustration. Inconsistencies in the navigational features also caused confusion for the learners. Marked differences between the reading ability of the students and how they interacted with the software were of significance. The differences in reading may be attributed to their Independent Reading Levels and the purported reading level of the stories. Conclusions were that interactive educational multimedia materials have the potential to mindfully engage learners. The strengths of interactive educational software, as seen in this study, are the variety of cognitive opportunities available to students through colorful, action oriented graphics and photos; current, relevant stories that engage students in discussion and reflection; and activities that require interaction. The weaknesses can be ascribed to design elements and how the material is v

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used in the classroom. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed Judith A. Duffield vi

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DEDICATION To Martha C. Howard Honors English Professor West Virginia University and In Memory Of John Howard And to think I learned so much on Mulbery Street

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would like to thank the staff and students at the suburban school in Denver, Colorado who so willingly participated in this research study. Due to the promise of anonymity their names cannot be listed, but they know who they are. Thanks also goes to the Ingenius staff who have supported this journey, especially David Valdez, Jennifer Maginn, Rob Martin, Jamie VonFeldt, and Jenny Thomas. To my committee I owe undying gratitude for the wonderful discussions, suggestions, direction, and support. Thanks to Judy Duffield for the innumerable hours that have gone into this dissertation and my entire degree program. Alan Davis has continuously provided methodology support and direction for which I am very grateful. May Lowry provided a fresh viewpoint and guidance during the process. Linda Farley asked pointed questions that kept me focused. Thanks to Barbara McCombs for stepping in at the last minute as my Outside Committee Member. Thanks also to my family, my husband Jim, my parents, Ray J. and Emma Lee Long, my brother, Ric, my step daughter, Cherrie and my dear friends, Nancy Cox, Janell Sueltz, Kim Me Kissick, Candice Miller, and Ed Gisselbrecht. It takes a village to get a doctorate completed.

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CONTENTS Figures .......................................................................................................... 1 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION .............................................................................. 2 What Research Shows About Cognition and Technology ................. ; ............................................................ 3 Problem Statement ....................................................................... 6 2. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE ......................................... 10 Part 1: Contemporary Cognitive Theories ............................. 11 Gagne's Cognitive Categories ........................................ 13 Assumptions of Constructivism .................................. 16 Vygotsky and the Socio-cultural Perspective within Constructivism ................................................................ 19 The Impact of Cognitive Theories and Technology 21 Summary ........................................................................... 23 Part II: The Media Theory Debate ............................................ 24 A Historical Perspective of the Media Theory Debate ................................................................................. 25 Refocusing the Perspective ....................................................... 28 ix

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Summary ....................................................................................... 29 Part III: Multimedia and Interactivity ..................................... 30 Multimedia .................................................................................... 30 A Historical Perspective .................................................. 32 Human Factors Elements ............................................... 33 Interactivity ....................................................................... 37 Summary ...................................................................................... 39 Part IV: Conclusions .................................................................. 40 3. METHOD ............................................................................................ 43 Materials ........................................................................................ 44 Multimedia Elements of What On Earth ................... 45 Content Factors ................................................................. 46 Activities ............................................................................ 47 Instructional Elements .................................................... 53 Software Analysis ........................................................................ 53 Program Weaknesses ...................................................... 56 Program Strengths ........................................................... 60 Software Cognition Cross-Analysis ........................................ 61 Pilot Study ..................................................................................... 64 Procedures ......................................................................... 64 X

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Researcher Role ................................................................ 64 Sam's Classroom .............................................................. 66 Data Collection ................................................................. 66 Subjects .............................................................................. 68 Results ............................................................................................ 71 Summary ....................................................................................... 73 Dissertation Study ........................................................................ 7 4 Subjects ............................................................................... 7 4 Procedures .......................................................................... 75 Data Collection .................................................................. 76 Data Analysis ................................................................................ 79 Summary ....................................................................................... 82 4. RESULTS ............................................................................................. 84 Student Cognition Analysis ...................................................... 84 General Observations ................................................................. 85 Navigation Trails ........................................................................ 87 Summary ..................................................................................... 103 Comparison of Ability Levels .................................................. 104 Cognition and Software ............................................................ 106 Summary ...................................................................................... 107 xi

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5. DISCUSSION ..................................................................................... 108 The Impact of Multimedia Software on Cognition .............. 108 Attributes of Multimedia Software that Either Support or Hinder Cognition ....................................................................... 113 Graphics ....................................................................................... 114 Activities ..................................................................................... 114 Reading Levels ............................................................................ 115 Navigation ................................................................................... 116 Summary ...................................................................................... 116 Differences in Cognition Between Skill Levels .................... 117 Conclusions and Recommendations ...................................... 118 APPENDIX A. STUDENT ANALYSIS MATRIX .................................................... 121 B. SOFfW ARE ANALYSIS MATRIX ................................................. 124 C. WHAT ON EARTH ACTIVITY MODULE CHART WITH BLOOM'S TAXONOMY LEVELS ................................................... 127 D. WHAT ON EARTH ACTIVITY CATEGORIES WITH BLOOM'S TAXONOMY: SUBCATEGORIES OF COGNITIVE DOMAIN .............................................................................................. 129 E. WHAT ON EARTH ACTIVITY BRAIN POWER ....................... 131 REFERENCES ....................................................................................................... 133 xii

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FIGURES Figure 2.1 Events of Instruction Pertaining to Data Analysis .................... 16 3.1 Glossary Words ................................................................................. 47 3.2 Sort It Out Activity ........................................................................... 49 3.3 Get A Clue Activity .......................................................................... 49 3.4 Pick and Choose Activity ................................................................ 50 3.5 This and That Activity ................................................................ .... 50 3.6 Viewpoint Activity .......................................................................... 52 3.7 Software Data Matrix ................................................................ 54 -55 3.8 Software Analysis of What On Earth 3.0 ........................... 57 -59 3.9 Comparison of Software Analysis and Cognition .............. 62 -63 3.10 Stages of Data Analysis ..................................................................... 79 3.11 Example of a Navigation Trail for Student 4 .............................. 81 4.1 Matthew's Navigation Trail ........................................................... 88 4.2 Student Cognition Matrix ................................................................ 91 4.3 Michelle's Navigation Trail ............................................................ 92 4.4 Mark's Navigation Trail .................................................................. 95 4.5 Jennifer's Navigation Trail ...................................................................... 98 4.6 Ashley's Navigation Trail ............................................................. 100 4.7 Michael's Navigation Trail ............................................................ 102 1

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The United States has experienced continuous growth in the acquisition of computer-based technology for instructional use in the classroom. In the 1996-97 school year, $261.7 billion was spent on hardware, software, training and support for educational technology in the United States (SPA Education Market Report, 1997). The present school reform movement is demanding that current technology be placed in schools to assist educators in developing curricula that meets the unique needs of students today (Gillani, 1997). Despite the installation of computers and the beliefs held about the effects of technology, student success has not been guaranteed (Sivin Kachala & Bialo, 1995). While it is a widely held belief that technology can motivate students to learn and to improve their attitudes about themselves and learning (Dalton, 1990; Newbold, 1993), there is a lack of research concerning the cognition associated with the role of technology in learning. When the infrastructure discussion about wiring and hardware quiets down, an important learning issue emerges. Educators, parents, and students want to know how the technology is being used to increase 2

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student achievement. They are raising questions about the connection between computer-based technology and student learning. In these discussions multimedia and the Internet are often touted as the innovations that will revitalize the failing educational system (Gillani, 1997). It is important to remember that computers and related technologies are simply tools. They have the power, when applications are appropriately designed, to create innovative, dynamic learning environments where students construct new knowledge, collaborate to solve problems, reflect on their own learning and share that new knowledge with others (Jonassen, 1996). Unfortunately, there are few published studies that support the use of these expensive technologies to increase student achievement in the classroom (Delclos & Hartman, 1993; Gillani, 1997). Educators in the 1990s and beyond need research-based information about the effect and role of computers in education. What Research Shows About Cognition and Technology In the early 1980s through the early 1990s, research on the role of technology in education focused on the media. Richard Clark (1983) hypothesized that video, television, and computers, like other media, do not improve learning unless they are designed and used correctly. Robert 3

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Kozma (1994) strongly disagreed with Clark's assumptions, stating that we need to understand the relationship between media and learning. A media theory debate ensued between the two that continues today. Kozma, too, focused on the media, not the learning. Questions concerning the impact of technology are complex and require that we look at more than just the media, whether it is video, television, or the computer. While Clark and Kozma referred to various media, this study dealt with a more specific medium: computer-based technology. Most of the research to date on the effectiveness of technology in the classroom has focused on comparison studies of computer versus non computer instruction, or the benefits of one type of software over another (Kulik & Kulik, 1980; McQuillan, 1994; Rice, 1994; Sharp, et al., 1995). While meta-analyses show positive effects of computer-based instruction ranging from .26 to .66 standard deviations for student achievement, researchers criticize the methods used to collect this data (Sivin-Kachala & Bialo, 1995). In addition to the criticism of methods, there are disagreements as to the questions that should be studied. Research that focuses only on comparisons of software or comparisons of computer based instruction to conventional methods may be somewhat simplistic. In the 1990s, the questions about the use of technology in educational settings began to change. Gavriel Salomon (1990) believed that 4

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the argument about the role of the medium should shift from questions about the medium itself to the effects on learners' cognition when using technology as opposed to the effects of technology. In other words, the learning that is occurring while the student is interacting with the technology is of importance. David Jonassen (1994) stated that the media theory debate should not focus on the role of the media at all. This shift in emphasis provides a new direction for technology-based research. Instead of focusing on the media, the process of learning should be examined first. Then the role of context and the kinds of environments and cognitive tools needed to support learning should be investigated. This shift in thinking about the focus of research was aided by major developments in theories of learning. Contemporary cognitive theories of learning view learning in terms of the processes of thinking, shedding new light on how the learner acquires new knowledge, the role of the learner in this process, the roles of cultural tools in the knowledge building process, and the socially negotiated influences in learning. Among the important theorists who made significant contributions to contemporary cognitive theories are Piaget (1967), Gagne (1985), and Vygotsky (1962,1978) whose theories are variously referred to as interactionism, information-processing, constructivism and social 5

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cognition. Their assumptions and research on contemporary cognition shifted research away from the behavorist paradigm to a viewpoint where the learner is an active constructor of his/ her own knowledge, learning is a collaborative process, knowledge is a product of the ways learners are engaged in the activities and resources in the classroom, and learning is both an individual and a socially negotiated activity. Problem Statement Technology, defined in this study as computer-based tools for learning, is becoming increasingly prevalent in today' s classrooms (SPA Education Market Report, 1997). At this point there is not research available to support the impact of technology-based programs on cognition or to provide designers with information on how to effectively design multimedia interactive products that enhance cognition. This research study was an exploratory qualitative study that, first of all, analyzed the cognition students used when they were interacting with an educational multimedia software program. This study sought to find out if students acquired and constructed new knowledge, practiced skills, reflected on their learning, and formulated questions about the information and the processes of acquiring new knowledge while they were engaged in a multimedia learning program. 6

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Secondly the study determined the attributes of the multimedia software program that contributed to cognition. And lastly, the study looked at the differences in cognition between the skill levels of the students as they interacted with the multimedia software. Results from previous research, using computer-based tools for learning that are now outdated, cannot be generalized to the multimedia interactive technologies learners use today. Early generation black-and white text-heavy programs cannot compete for the attention of learners who are used to color, graphics, and interactivity. Studies done on products with static pages resembling worksheets and early drill and practice computer-based applications can not be applied to today's generation of computer software. The research questions for this study focused on emerging computer-based technology. Understanding what cognition occurs when students are immersed in a multimedia interactive environment is essential if technology is to be effectively used to enhance learning. We seem to have placed the technology in the classroom before understanding what cognitive opportunities it affords the learner. The purpose of this study, then, is to add to the knowledge concerning what cognition students actually use when they are engaged in an educational interactive multimedia learning environment. If educators know what cognition is occurring, they can better select the most 7

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appropriate software to support their instructional objectives. In addition, this knowledge can be used to design more effective software for educational use. In order to influence changes in the development of electronic technologies, it is necessary to have evidence of the cognition occurring during the use of the software. By providing this information, programs can be designed that are based on contemporary cognitive theories. Education and industry need to design and engineer environments for the transferable learning that the Information Age requires. Theory and practice need to be unified through the development of research informed electronic learning systems that work in educational settings. 11Computers may provide the most extraordinary cognitive technologies thus devised" (Pea, 1985, p. 168). We can work to help children learn for themselves how to seek out, organize, and use information for different purposes. Research and development activities can be united in the creation of educational software that provides sophisticated learning environments for students and as research tools to develop knowledge. Criticism concerning the quality of educational software and multimedia is not new. By combining the contemporary theories of learning with the power of emerging technologies, we can create learning 8

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environments to prepare our students to access, interpret, organize, and build new knowledge. It is the purpose of this research to contribute to this process. The research questions posed in this study are: 1. What is the impact of multimedia software on cognition? 2. What are the attributes of multimedia software that either support or hinder cognition? 3. What are the differences in cognition between students of different skill levels interacting with the multimedia software? 9

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CHAPTER2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE The purposes of this chapter are to identify and support the underlying assumptions behind the research questions, to provide the reader with knowledge about research related to the questions, and to provide evidence that research into these questions will contribute to the growth of knowledge in the field of technology and learning. The research questions posed in this study are: 1. What is the impact of multimedia software on cognition? 2. What are the attributes of multimedia software that either support or hinder cognition? 3. What are the differences in cognition between students of different skill levels interacting with the multimedia software? The chapter is organized in four parts. Part I presents contemporary cognitive theories as they apply to children's learning and those theories' impact on our perspective on technology use in education. Part II analyzes the theoretical debate on the influence of media on learning and how the perspective has shifted with the development of more sophisticated, complex technology. The impact of contemporary 10

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cognitive research on the media theory debate presents a foundation for this study. Part III provides an evolutionary overview of multimedia, defines the terms multimedia and interactivity, and defines interactive educational multimedia within the context of this research study. Finally, Part N of this literature review summarizes this information to support research into the cognition that students use in an educational interactive multimedia environment. Part I: Contemporary Cognitive Theories One of the major phenomena that has impacted education in the past three decades is the emergence of contemporary cognitive theories of learning (Gillani, 1997). These learning theories move away from behaviorism in which the processes of learning involve establishing patterns of stimulus and response through the use of conditional rewards and punishments (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). They move toward cognition which views learning in terms of the processes of thinking and how information is stored, organized, and retrieved (Gagne, 1985). And finally the contemporary cognitive theories arrive at constructivism which covers a wide spectrum of beliefs about cognition Gonassen, 1992). Constructivism frames learning in the context of the active learner who 11

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manages available cognitive, physical, and social resources to create new knowledge (Shuell, 1988). David Merrill (1991) goes on to define constructivism as knowledge that is constructed from experiences preferably situated in realistic settings. Resnick (1989) adds that the instruction in a constructivist environment must provide information for learners' knowledge construction processes. Contemporary theories shift the focus from what is occurring with the instruction to what the learner is doing. These theories are learner centered, focusing on both the individual and social construction of knowledge (Duffy, Lowyck, & Jonassen, 1991; Grabinger & Dunlap, 1995; Vygotsky, 1962). In this section the critical components of the contemporary theories of cognition will be reviewed, including the cognitive categories of Gagne, the assumptions of the broad theoretical framework of constructivism, socio-cultural theory which is based on constructivism, and the views of Vygotsky all of which build the framework for the analysis of data for this study. Contemporary cognitive theories view cognition in terms of the processes the learner uses to acquire new knowledge, the role of the learner in this process, the roles of cultural tools in the knowledge building process, and the socially negotiated influences in learning (Reed, 12

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1982). In this section Gagne's human performance classifications, the broad-based constructivist spectrum, and the work of Vygotsky which rest within the constructivist framework will be reviewed. Gagne's Cognitive Categories Gagne (1985) classified human performance into five categories: intellectual skills, verbal information, cognitive strategies, motor skills, and attitudes. For this study, the focus is on the first three categories which provide part of the framework for the data analysis. The acquisition of intellectual skills ranges from the simple to the complex. These skills include discrimination, conceptualization, rule acquisition, and higher-order rule acquisition. Discrimination is the ability to tell the difference between variations in objects. An example of discrimination is being able to tell the difference between the color blue and something that is not blue. Colors, shapes, sizes, textures, and letter patterns are discriminations early learners experience. Concepts are subcategorized by Gagne as concrete and defined. A concrete concept labels items, such as cat. A defined concept requires a definition of the item with specific characteristics. The concept mammals is a defined concept. 13

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Rule acquisition is a more complex skill. Rules, such as the rule for long division, requires prerequisite knowledge and skills. There is a specific sequence of steps that must be completed in order to arrive at the correct answer using the rule. Higher-order rules are combinations of rules and concepts that produce more complex rules. Higher order rules become rules with practice. An example is the person who automatically drives home from work every day without giving much thought to the route. However, when trying to find a new restaurant in a part of the city that is unfamiliar, the driver may resort to a map. In the latter, the driver combined several skills to reach the destination. A second major category of learning involves verbal information. We learn a great deal of verbal information throughout our lives. Verbal information is in the form of facts, such as the capitals and states or the alphabet. The third category of learning of interest for this study requires cognitive strategies. Cognitive strategies are processes that learners use to attend, learn, remember, and think. According to Gagne, 11Cognitive strategies are internally organized skills whose function is to regulate and monitor the utilization of concepts and rules" (Gagne, 1985, p. 138). Learners acquire a variety of cognitive strategies that increase their 14

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capability of self-instruction and independent learning. Examples of cognitive strategies are: A "mnemonic system" for remembering foreign language vocabulary and devising a solution for the problem of P10 particulates. These strategies assist learners in encoding incoming material and problem-solving. Cognitive strategies are highly desirable as learning outcomes because they help learners to become independent learners (Gagne, 1985). Gagne's Events of Instruction (1985) describe the essential elements that usually occur within the learner or the learning environment in order for learning to take place. These events contributed to creating the frame work for the Student and Software Analysis Matrices (see Appendices A and B). The events were used in two different ways. First, as the data were analyzed for the students, the events were discussed in terms of how the students cognition was impacted by the features of the software. For example, in gaining attention, the photos and graphics in the program gained the students' attention and provided motivation for selecting a certain story. In some instances, the photos were the only source of knowledge for the students. In the Student Analysis Matrix, this was noted under the Gaining Attention column. This same event of instruction in the Software Analysis Matrix was noted as a feature that the software had that could impact cognition. Figure 2.1 summarizes the 15

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events of instruction that pertained to the student cognition data analysis. The events that were used to analyze the software features matched those for the student analysis with the addition of stating an objective and stimulating recall for the software. Figure 2.1 Events of Instruction Pertaining to Data Analysis 1. Gaining attention 2. Presenting new information 3. Guidance 4. Feedback 5. Assessment 6. Retention and transfer Using the events in this manner provided a parallel analysis of the data. If the software provided an opportunity for cognition to occur, such as presentation of new information, it was then matched with the learner's interaction to see if it did or did not occur. Cognitive strategies and verbal information also provided additions to the framework for the analysis of the software and data in this study. As mentioned above, cognitive strategies are highly desirable for learners because they help them become more independent learners. The activation of prior knowledge helps learners make connections to previous learning while the practice and feedback loop allow for the application of new skills and knowledge. The acquisition of verbal 16

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information is essential to creating new knowledge. In addition to Gagne's categories and events of instruction in the development of an analysis framework, the assumptions of theories based on the constructivist perspective including socio-cultural theory and the views of Vygotsky were drawn upon. Assumptions of Constructivism Wilson (1995) describes the constructivism theoretical framework which includes criteria for the learner to be successful at learning from instruction. The student in this theoretical perspective is an active, constructive learner who manages available cognitive, physical and social resources to create new knowledge by interacting with the information in the environment and integrating it with information stored in memory. Simons (1991) concurs and suggests that the characteristics of reflection and self-diagnosing are essential for student learning. Constructivism includes these assumptions: (a) learners are constructors of their own knowledge, (b) learning is a collaborative process, (c) knowledge is a product of the ways in which the student's mind is engaged by the activities and resources in the classroom, and (d) learning involves a continual process of building, interpreting, and modifying experiences (Grabinger & Dunlap, 1995; Jonassen, Campbell, & 17

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Davidson, 1994; Nuthall, 1996; Savery & Duffy, 1995). Constructivist teaching practices, then, facilitate the learner in the internalization and transformation of new information (Brooks & Brooks, 1993). The implications of constructivist theories, which are based on a broad framework, involve a change of focus from teacher-centered to student-centered learning. For instance, repeated research has shown that lecture or front-of-the-class demonstration leads to little understanding of science concepts (Zemelman, Daniels, & Hyde, 1993). A classroom using the constructivist approach encourages questioning, information gathering and concept building processes. One example of a constructivist approach is the science literature circle. It provides learners with the opportunity to generate thought-provoking questions, test hypotheses, explore topics, and collaborate on projects. In this situation, the students select science-related books and form groups based on their interests. They read the books using a variety of strategies including oral reading, silent reading, and round robin reading. The difference is that the students select the strategies. They stop to discuss and interpret information and generate a list of questions. The groups then research to learn more about their topics and plan experiments to find the answers to their questions. Each group shares their learning with the entire class. This constructivist approach to scien(e affords opportunities for the use of cognitive processes 18

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(Zemelman, et al., 1993). The constructivist assumptions of active learning, collaboration, and mindful engagement are included in the framework for analyzing the software and data. Vygotsky and the Socio-cultural Perspective within Constructivism The socio-cultural theory of learning, which is based on the assumptions of constructivism, focuses on the collaborative processes of learning in socially negotiated situations (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). The propositions in this perspective include: (a) the idea that the meaning and purpose of activities are socially constructed through negotiation, (b) cognition occurs through the mastery of cultural tools within a social context,-and (c) authentic activities are the ordinary practices of the culture (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Jonassen, 1995; Lave & Wenger, 1991; and Nuthall, 1996). In 1934, Vygotsky stated that the origins of all mental processes can be found in the social interactions of the culture. The child develops first in the social milieu, then as an independent individual (Vygotsky, 1962). Meaningful learning encompasses individual and social experiences including: (a) active learning, (b) constructing new knowledge, (c) collaborative work, (d) intentional learning, (e) building communities via 19

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social construction, (f) authentic tasks and (g) reflection (Jonassen, 1995). In a socio-cultural learning environment, the children are apprentice learners (Brown et al., 1994). An activity in this community of learners might be a discussion about a reading selection. The leader, who is a student, begins by asking a question. The participants discuss the question and may reread to clarify or make a point. The group may decide that additional research needs to be done on the question and adjourn to gather more information. When the group reconvenes, they share the information they have found and add it to their collective knowledge. In the technology world described in Brown et al. (1994), much of this collaboration is done via the computer. Children in this learning environment are constantly gathering, interpreting, modifying, and sharing their new knowledge. They use a variety of cognitive processes to construct new knowledge. In the constructivist viewpoints of contemporary cognitive theories, the complex cognitive skills are acquired through active learning, through both socially-negotiated and individual learning, and through a continual process of building, interpreting, and modifying representations of reality based on each learner's experience with reality. Learners construct their own knowledge as they engage in the process of interpreting and making sense of their learning environment (Grabinger & Dunlap, 1995; Jonassen, 20

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1995; Nuthall, 1996; Savery & Duffy, 1995). The teacher in this environment is a facilitator and coach and the learning is student centered. The assumptions from Vygotsky and the socio-cultural perspective, which are based on the foundations of constructivism, are integrated into the analysis framework. The Impact of Cognitive Theories and Technology The degree of intellectual partnership with the computer is determined by the social setting in which the computer-based activity occurs (Salomon, 1990). Technology can be used to support cognitive learning, knowledge construction, social construction, and meaningful learning in simulated real-world contexts (Jonassen, 1995). Technology can be used to evaluate, organize and manage the vast amounts of information that are available for learners. Successful programs that utilize technology in this manner include Computer Supported Intentional Learning Environment (CSILE) (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1992) and Computers in a Community of Learners (Campione, Brown, & Jay, 1992). The assumptions of the CSILE project are: (a) the student should be doing the diagnosing, goal-setting and planning, (b) students are active 21

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learners in creating their knowledge, (c) successful learners use a variety of cognitive strategies, and (d) learners work in communities to share their learning (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1992). The computer becomes a tool for creating an intellectual partnership with the learner. Fifth and sixth grade students in the CSILE classroom build a collective data-base of their thoughts on a topic using both written notes and pictures. This information is entered by each student into a database and is available to all students. This hypermedia based system allows the text notes, drawings graphs and timelines to be accessed, linked to other information, and commented on by other students so that a feedback loop is continuous. Students gather and analyze information, share what they learn, reflect on ideas and comments generated by other students, and revise their knowledge. This learning environment was developed to foster students' control over their own learning (Scardamalia et al., 1989). Research that supports the CSILE assumptions is found in the Campione study (1992). This integrated curriculum was designed to assist students in acquiring higher-order thinking through reading and writing in order to acquire and understand scientific content using computers. Fifth and sixth grade students in this study selected from three science units on the topic of interdependence in nature. They learned to work collaboratively, to generate critical thinking questions, to use a variety of 22

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cognitive skills across multiple domains, and to create their own knowledge while reading, writing, and researching on the topic. Students utilized a hypermedia program to facilitate communication, to plan and revise their learning goals, to monitor and reflect on their own progress, and to construct a personal and shared knowledge base (Campione et al., 1992). In both of these research studies, technology played an integral part in the gathering, sharing, and revision of knowledge. Once again, the role of computer software in this type of learning environment is one of a partner in constructing the new knowledge. Summary The work of Gagne, the assumptions of constructivist theory, and the research of Vygotsky provide the framework for the analysis of the software and the data for this study. The design of educational software and the opportunities it provides for the acquisition of higher-order thinking is problematic for educators today. There is a potential conflict between the principles that inform most software development and those that ought to guide development of educational software. In most software design it is presumed desirable to make the software as intelligent as possible and to demand as little intelligence as possible from the user. Educational applications, on the other hand, should be aimed at developing the intelligence of the user (Scardamalia et al., 1989). 23

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These theorists provide a cognition continuum that ranges from basic knowledge acquisition to more complex higher level cognition strategies. Because of this available range, the combination of these contemporary theories of learning provides a solid framework from which to begin an inclusive analysis of cognition for this study. Part II: The Media Theory Debate The debate over the influence of media on learning, referred to in Chapter 1, began over a decade ago between Richard E. Clark and Robert B. Kozma (Clark, 1983, 1994). The basic points of their debate are: (a) Clark hypothesized that computers, like other media, do not influence learning and, (b) Kozma (1994) hypothesized that media, including computers, can be analyzed in terms of their cognitively relevant attributes. While Clark and Kozma have been the most vocal participants in this debate, Salomon (1979, 1993), Lintern and Roscoe (1980), Petkovich and Tennyson (1984), Newman, Griffin, and Cole (1989), Pea (1992), and Jonassen, Campbell, and Davidson (1994) have made significant contributions to this discussion and will be discussed more in depth. This media theory debate has implications for the use of interactive multimedia materials in educational settings. 24

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If Clark is correct and the medium has no effect on learning, schools are uselessly wasting billions of dollars on technology that has no impact on learning. If Kozma and the researchers who support the use of technology in the classroom are correct, computers may provide a solution to how to mindfully engage learners in creating and constructing new knowledge. If Jonassen is correct that media should be tools that enhance cognitive processing and affect learning efficiencies and the process of learning should be examined first, then the role of context and the kinds of cognitive tools needed to support that learning should be investigated and the media theory debate is a moot point. It is time to move forward. A Historical Perspective of the Media Theory Debate As early as 1979, Salomon proposed that media can be analyzed in terms of its cognitively relevant capabilities or attributes. Salomon's study (1979) on the effects of Sesame Street on preschool children showed that children who viewed the program more achieved more cognitively. Lintern and Roscoe's (1980) research showed that once the perceptual and information processing demands of a task are understood, the media attributes one uses are crucial in influencing learning. Lintern and Roscoe claim that the selection of a medium to support learning should correlate to the instruction and the student's learning style. 25

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Clark and Kozma continued to focus on the medium, rather than human factors elements. Even though researchers were focusing on the cognitive effects of media during this time period, attention became centered on the debate between Richard Clark and Robert Kozma, who presented counter arguments in the media theory issue. Clark (1983) based his argument on research that suggests the supposition that the use of media has no learning benefits. His question focused on the media and his assumptions were based on behavorist learning theory. His assumptions included: (a) it is the method that influences learning, (b) one media attribute can be substituted for another and it will accomplish the same learning goal, and (c) learning is influenced by the content and instructional strategy, not the medium. Levie and Dickie (1973) studied this line of research by investigating the attributes of the media that will facilitate learning. They concluded that the question changes to the more complex problem of discovering the conditions under which different levels of attributes are differentially effective. In this research, the medium for instruction was still the focus. Clark believed that it is the method, not the medium, that influences learning. Clark (1983) claimed that media can be compared to delivery trucks; media are the vehicles by which the instruction is delivered. The delivery method does not influence student achievement. 26

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Kozma (1994) strongly disagreed with Clark. He felt we will understand the relationship between media and learning when there is a consideration of the medium creating an interaction between cognitive processes and the characteristics of the mediated environment. Kozma (1994) reframed Clark's question from, 'Can media influence learning?' to 'Will media influence learning?' because the medium, in this instance, computer-technology, is already in the classroom. It is no longer a question of whether or not to place the medium in the classroom. The medium is there. Shuell (1988) stated that learning is an active, constructive, cognitive, and social process where the learner manages available resources to create new knowledge by interacting with information in the environment and integrating it with prior knowledge. Kozma went on to say that in order to establish a relationship between media and learning, we need to examine it from the objectivist paradigm of learning presented by Shu ell rather than Clark's behavorist view of learning. Kozma agreed with Salomon (1979) that media can be analyzed in terms of its cognitively relevant capabilities or attributes. Understanding the ways in which students use the unique processing capabilities of the computer is essential to understanding the influence computers have on learning and to building media theory. The other half of media theory is understanding when and how to employ these symbolic and 27

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processing capabilities so that cognitive and social processes, so influenced, result in learning for certain students, tasks, and situations. (Kozma, 1994, p. 14) Refocusing the Perspective This debate was joined by Jonassen (1994) who presented a strong case for viewing the influence of media from a different perspective. From his viewpoint, media should be tools that, when properly selected, enhance cognitive processing and affect learning efficiencies. He concluded his argument with the point that the media theory debate should not focus on the role of the media. Instead, the process of learning should be examined first, then the role of context and the kinds of environments and cognitive tools needed to support that learning should be investigated. While Jonassen (1994) agreed with Clark that media could be substituted, and with Kozma that media were synergistic combinations of technology, task, and context, he believed that the debate should focus on the attributes of the human learner involved in the learning and in the construction of knowledge. In this viewpoint the role of the media is supporting, not controlling, the learning process. Jonassen also agreed with Salomon (1990) that the argument about the role of media should shift to the effects of learners' cognition with 28

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technology as opposed to the effects of technology. In support of Jonassen's viewpoint expressed in Teachers and Technology: Making the Connection (Office of Technology Assessment, 1995): A more fruitful research approach than merely asking whether a particular technology works is to ask about the 'value-added' to instruction when technology is present in schools; in other words, when, why, and how do technologies improve teaching, professional development, and ultimately, learning for children? ( p.l4) While Clark (1994) believed that learning was situated in the instructional methods that manipulate learner processing and Kozma (1994) focused only on context delivered though the media, contemporary socio-cultural and cognitive constructivist theories of learning seek to integrate learning and instruction within the environment. These learning theories examine the cognitive processes rather than the behaviors required of students for the completion of learning tasks. Jonassen's viewpoint provided support for the direction of this study. He believed that the debate should focus on the attributes of the human learner and that the media supports learning. The research question for this study evolved from this line of thought. Summary The media theory debate moved from a focus on the media to a 29

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focus on the learner. A decade of concern over whether media influences learning shifted to the concern of the effects of learners' cognition with technology as opposed to the effects of technology. Jonassen redirected the focus of the debate to the learner and cognitive issues in the technology environment. In this study, the focus is on the learner and the cognition the learner acquires in a technology-rich educational setting, utilizing an interactive, educational, multimedia software program. Part III: Multimedia and Interactivity What is multimedia? How does interactivity influence the technical definition of multimedia? How does the introduction of the human factors element reconceptualize the definition of multimedia in the educational domain? Multimedia The definition of multimedia has evolved from a simple, technical definition to one that encompasses a more holistic perspective. For this study, the multimedia discussion will always include the computer element. While multimedia can be a writing tablet, a human speaking, and a big book, in this study, multimedia focuses on the use of electronic media and the definitions presented will be limited to that context. 30

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Technical definitions included those by Tolhurst, Northrup, and Lopuck who worked in the multimedia development domain. Tolhurst (1995) defined multimedia as the use of two or more media formats for the presentation of information, including text, still or animated graphics, movie segments, sounds, and music. Northrup (1995) described multimedia as a collection of two or more technologies having the capability to access and manipulate text, graphics, animation, video, and sound. Lopuck (1996) added that these elements combine together to form a single unit. While these definitions are technically accurate and useful for developers, they are limiting for educators. Using these definitions of multimedia, the Kodak multiscreen presentations where each screen showed a different slide and there was music synchronized to create an ambiance, is multimedia. The purpose of those presentations were to sell a product, which is a valid use of multimedia. However, this example did not take into consideration human factors elements which include interactivity, the function or purpose of the materials, and the cognitive factors. In defining multimedia in 1998 for the educational domain, a broader, more inclusive definition is needed. 31

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A Historical Perspective To understand the need for a broader definition we can look at the history of the development of multimedia for instructional purposes. While one could argue that the history of multimedia might go back to the cavemen and their telling of stories with the aid of shadow puppets reflecting off flickering walls, we begin with the concept of educational multimedia and Vannevar Bush (Duchier, 1994). In 1945 Bush visualized a machine that was capable of storing vast amounts of textual information that could be called up at will, with many features resembling the World Wide Web of today. The purpose of this storage machine would be to access information quickly when it was needed. The human accessed the material made available via the machine. While this machine was never a reality, the idea of such a device was conceptualized. Move forward to the Augment Project in 1962 conducted by Doug Engelhart (Gillani, 1997). The goal of this project was to develop a computer system that would store large amounts of information and create links to find the information. The project did indeed store close to 100,000 documents. The programmer was in control of how the material was accessed. In the fall of 1968, Engelhart demonstrated the first interactive hypertext system. Learner-control was quite limited, but the access to large amounts of information quickly was the intention of this 32

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system. Up until this point, the purpose of multimedia systems was to collect large amounts of information in one area for easy access. In 1978, Andrew Lippman and his colleagues at MIT (Gillani, 1997) created the first hypermedia system which was a simulated drive through Aspen, Colorado on a computer screen. True interactive multimedia became a reality with the introduction of HyperCard designed by Bill Atkinson in 1987. The elements of learner-control, branching, and interactivity were combined for the purpose of educational instruction. For the first time a multimedia product was focusing on the learner instead of the machine. Since that time more powerful authoring systems such as Authorware and Director have allowed designers to create interactive multimedia environments which provide learners opportunities for constructing their own knowledge. The emphasis has shifted from what the machine can do to what opportunities can be provided to enhance learning. Of course, not all products are designed with the learner in mind, but the technology is available and sophisticated enough to create inteilectual partnerships between the learner and the machine. Human Factors Elements With the addition of the educational perspective, the definition of 33

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multimedia begins to broaden. In addition to the criteria of multiple media elements, Welsh (1997) added the qualifier of learner-control. Multimedia was material combined together for creating compelling learning environments that includes rich graphics, sound, animation and learner-control through the ability to branch to desired sections within the program. The learner controlled the navigation and flow of information. The definition now begins to add human factors elements: cognition, interaction, learning and content. However, there are still essential elements missing in developing a definition of multimedia for the educational domain. Gillani (1997) made the case that the technical definitions are not adequate for educational multimedia. Educational multimedia is much more involved than simply putting together some text with hyperlinks to sound and animation. Most people with minimal training can create a HyperCard stack filled with sound and animation. However these stacks are not necessarily educational because they may lack an intentional outcome or an effective educational consequence. Gillani (1997) stated that, "Educational multimedia, drawing on its heritage, is a series of holistic interactive activities that are intentionally designed to integrate various media to be distributed through any medium in order to have effective educational consequences" (pg. 2). This definition includes 34

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several elements omitted from the technical definitions of multimedia. Intentional design, multiple distribution capabilities, effective educational outcomes, and interactivity are core to this definition. This complex definition presents a clearer direction for the development and use of multimedia in educational settings. Intentional design. Intentional design implies that the material has a specific purpose (Gagne, Briggs, & Wager, 1988). A piece of software that teaches mapping skills, such as GeoSafari (Educational Insights, 1997), is an example of intentionally designed multimedia. The developers of GeoSafari want learners to acquire a specific set of skills including the location of geographic sites. Multiple distribution capabilities. If materials can only be used by one student out of thirty at a time in the library, they often become ineffective learning tools. Access on-demand to the materials by the learners and the teachers is highly desirable (Becker, 1994). Effective educational outcomes. Another essential question to consider in the design and use of multimedia materials is what are the education outcomes of the materials and do these materials help the learner construct new knowledge (Gagne, Briggs, & Wager, 1988). In order to be considered educational, the multimedia materials must help learners learn. The outcomes may range from the acquisition of basic skills to more 35

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higher-order critical thinking or problem-solving skills. Whatever the educational outcomes are, though, they need to be defined prior to the development of the software (Park & Hannafin, 1993). Higher-order critical thinking here is defined by Ruggiero (1995) as "reviewing the ideas we have produced, making a tentative decision about what action will best solve the problem or what belief the issue is most reasonable, and then evaluating and refining that solution or belief" (p. 142). Problem-solving is defined by Mayer (1982) as "the formation of a representation or understanding of a problem and searching the problem space for a solution" (p.2). Gagne (1985) adds that problem-solving is "a process by which the learner discovers a combination of previously learned rules and plans their application so as to achieve a solution for a novel problem situation" (p. 178). Interactivity. The final element of this definition is interactivity. Contemporary theories of learning stress the importance of learner interactivity in order to construct knowledge (Grabinger & Dunlap, 1995; Salomon, 1979). The technical definitions of multimedia which focus on the mechanics of the media were adequate for specific purposes and when the media was more simplistic. The holistic perspective adds the elements dealing with cognition and human factors which are more useful in the 36

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educational domain because learning is an important process that we hope occurs while students are using multimedia materials. For the purposes of this study, Gillani's definition of multimedia will be used. This study is done in the educational domain and the definitions will be restricted to this environment. Therefore, educational multimedia, when referred to in this study means a series of holistic interactive activities that are intentionally designed, integrate various media to be distributed through any medium, and have effective educational consequences. Interactivity Salomon (1990) discusses the need for learners to be actively engaged if mindful learning is to take place. The definitions presented here are drawn from both technology and education. The technical definitions, which discuss interactivity on the simplest level, must be expanded to include human factors elements in order for the definitions to be applicable in educational settings. With multimedia, the learning environment is active. The user gives commands and the software responds to these commands. Technically, interactivity is the two-way communicating that occurs between a learner and the educational materials (Milheim, 1995). Lopuck 37

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(1996) explained that the media is structured so that the audience controls and participates with the presentation. Using these definitions of interactivity, a game such as Myst (Broderbund Software, Inc., 1997) qualifies as an interactive multimedia program. The learner makes choices and controls the direction of the activity that occurs. Hyerle (1996) began to add the deeper human factors and cognition elements. He described interactivity as giving students access to driving the learning experience. Interactive learners connect their experiences in the world to the learning context and reflect on their processes and behaviors (Hyerle, 1996). Myst, then, is disqualified as educational multimedia because it does not make connections to a learning context, and materials such as MayaQuest (Earthtreks, Inc., 1997) meet the new criteria. In MayaQuest learners activate prior knowledge, work in collaboration with others to create new knowledge, and reflect on their learning. They even direct the route the explorers take and talk on-line with the archaeologists at the dig sites. Interactivity in a multimedia environment requires the user to be an active participant who controls how he/ she communicates with the software in order to create knowledge. Learner-control is a critical element in interactivity. The learner determines the sequence in which to access the information and builds knowledge from the learning experience 38

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Gonassen & Grabinger, 1990). Learner-control presents problematic issues for the designer of educational materials. How much control is the right amount is a question researchers focus on as they seek the answer to the learner-control question (Reigeluth & Curtis, 1987). Too much control limits creativity and boredom with the software soon sets in. Too little control produces navigational issues where the student becomes lost in the software. Interactivity for the purposes of this study means that the learner is an active participant with the software who has some degree of control over the navigational strategies he uses in the program as he accesses information to build new knowledge. Summary The definitions of multimedia and interactivity presented here have evolved as the function and purpose of the programs, materials, and software have become more sophisticated. The definition of interactive educational multimedia (Gillani, 1997) includes intentionality, educational outcomes, access, and learner-control elements that are specific to the educational domain. For this study, which takes place only in the educational domain, the definition of interactive educational multimedia is very specific. The 39

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definition contains several elements that are influenced by the technological advances of recent emerging technologies and the development of cognitive learning theories including constructivism theories, which will be discussed in the next section. These elements include: (a) the development of intentional learning environments with learning outcomes, (b) learner-control to select and organize information to create new knowledge, and (c) multiple media elements presented in an integrated way to provide multiple learning opportunities for the learner. The definition of interactive educational multimedia for this study, which is a synthesis of the definitions presented, is a software program or tool that was intentionally developed with specific learning outcomes in mind that includes multiple media elements over which the learner has control. Part IV Conclusions As we try to reshape and reform education for the information age, we are reminded that this is not a new issue. In 1915, John Dewey criticized American education for not preparing its youth adequately to take their place in Industrial America (Pea, 1985). Today Pea (1985) criticizes the lack of learning environments that teach students the transferable skills needed for the Information Age. He suggests that we 40

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need research on student learning with emerging cognitive technologies that will redefine educational aims. This research study deals with emerging cognitive technologies and is built on the foundations of contemporary cognitive theories and the media theory debate. The work of Gagne, the assumptions of constructivist theory, and the research of Vygotsky provide the framework for the analysis of the software and the data for this study. These theorists provide a cognition continuum that ranges from basic knowledge acquisition to more complex higher level cognitive strategies. The media theory debate moved from a focus on the media to a focus on the learner. A decade of concern over whether media influences learning shifted to the concern of the effects of learners' cognition with technology as opposed to the effects of technology. The debate was redirected to a focus on the learner and cognitive issues in the technology environment. In this study, the focus is on the learner and the cognition the learner acquires in a technology-rich educational setting, utilizing an interactive, educational, multimedia software program. Definitions have been provided that are specific to the context of this study. The definitions of multimedia and inter activity presented here have evolved as the function and purpose of the programs, materials, and software have become more sophisticated. The definition of interactive 41

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educational multimedia (Gillani, 1997) includes intentionality, educational outcomes, access, and learner-control elements that are specific to the educational domain. For this study, which takes place only in the educational domain, the definition of interactive educational multimedia is very specific. The definition contains several elements that are influenced by the technological advances of recent emerging technologies and the development of cognitive learning theories including constructivism theories. The definition of interactive educational multimedia for this study, which is a synthesis of the definitions presented, is a software program or tool that was intentionally developed with specific learning outcomes in mind that includes multiple media elements over which the learner has control. This software program or tool operates on a computer and thus technology in this study will be defined as computers, unless otherwise stated. 42

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CHAPTER3 JviETHOD This qualitative exploratory research that analyzes the impact of an interactive, educational, multimedia program on cognition, determines the attributes of multimedia software that either support or hinder cognition, and looks at the differences in cognition between skill levels is based on the assumptions of cognitive studies. First, in order to be successful at learning, the learners are a_ctively engaged in the knowledge construction process (Shuell, 1988). The second is that this knowledge construction is both a socially negotiated and an individual process (Vygotsky, 1962). The third is that these cognitive processes can be accessed through the verbal sharing of thinking (Laney, 1993) and the fourth, is that computers, with their accompanying applications, can be intellectual tools in the building of knowledge (Jonassen, 1996; Salomon, et al., 1991). This chapter discusses the selection of the multimedia material, the subjects, procedures, and results from a pilot study, changes made for the dissertation research, and the subjects, procedures and results from the dissertation study. 43

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Materials Two versions of What On Earth were used, one for the pilot study and another for the dissertation study due to version changes by the company. Version 3.0 (lngenius, 1996) used for the pilot study, was a weekly, multimedia, current events news journal written for children ages ten through fourteen. Each week six new stories with their support materials were provided for the user. What On Earth 3.0 provided educators with a variety of support materials including lesson plans, activity sheets for student use, and take home sheets for parents use. The news journal provided a current events news story written for young learners at two reading levels. Students had the option of selecting from one to six stories and then choosing from several activities and games designed to reinforce learning skills. Hyperlinks were available to vocabulary words that had both text definitions and audio pronunciations. Audio and video clips supported and reinforced the text, and activities were based on the content of the story. This cross-platformed product was delivered to the computer via cable, satellite, or the Internet. It was available for the 1996-97 school year. The developers made several changes to Version 3.0 to create Version 3.5 (1997) used in the dissertation study. The product went from a weekly production delivery to a daily product. One new story was posted 44

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each day. Each activity was correlated to national content standards. The Mid-continent Regional Education Laboratory standards (1997) were used for the correlations. In addition, more math and geography activities were added to the daily product. Multimedia Elements of What On Earth The definition of interactive, educational, multimedia materials, as discussed in Chapter 2 includes these elements: (a) the development of intentional learning environments with learning outcomes, (b) learner control to select and organize information to create new knowledge, (c) multiple media elements presented in an integrated way to provide multiple learning opportunities for the learner, and (d) effective educational outcomes ranging from basic skills to critical thinking and problem-solving. What On Earth 3.0 and 3.5 purport to meet the basic criteria for this definition. The intention of the materials, according to the developers, is to teach about current events. Learner-control was available through the navigation of the materials, the selection of the information they chose or were assigned to read, and the activities they completed. The multiple media elements in the material included text, video clips, audio clips, and animation. Students selected from a variety of activities 45

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throughout the story or completed the ones assigned by the teacher. According to the developers, the activities were designed with educational outcomes in mind: to reinforce basic skills and to enhance critical thinking skills. My association with the product, until September 1997, was as a developer of the product. I was the lead educator providing direction for the educational quality of the product. I facilitated the daily production and worked with the educational specialists, writers, and multimedia authors. Content Factors In Version 3.0, six new current events-related stories were produced each week by the Ingenius development team. The entire package was delivered to the receiving computer or server once a week. Version 3.5 was delivered daily. What On Earth 3.0 and 3.5 were written on the fourth grade and eighth grade Instructional Reading Levels (Shake, 1989). The learner or the teacher selected the reading level via the preference button. Vocabulary assistance was available for selected words. These blue glossary words were hyperlinked to an audio pronunciation and a definition appeared at the bottom of the screen (see Figure 3.1). Basic computer literacy skills such as computer keyboard skills and mouse manipulations were expected in 46

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order to navigate through the program. The learner controlled the amount of time they took to read the story. They could move backward or forward through the story at their own pace. The story text was navigated through by clicking on the forward arrow at the bottom of each page. In Version 3.5 the story was presented in a scrolling text box. Activities were selected by clicking on an icon on the left hand side of the page. Figure 3.1 Glossary Words Activities In Version 3.0 the designers based the development of the activities on Bloom's Taxonomy, (Bloom, 1964) of skills (see Appendices C and D), ranging from knowledge to evaluation skills. There were twelve different categories of activities, such as classifying, sequencing, comparing and 47

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contrasting, with each activity written specifically with the story content in mind. Pay offs at the end of each activity, except the writing activities, provided assessment feedback. In Version 3.0 the payoffs were animations, flashing colors, or musical notes. In Version 3.5 the payoffs were changed to provide feedback for the learner such as the percentage of correct answers at the completion of the activity. In addition to the multimedia elements, a printable activity sheet was available for extension or enrichment. Each story had from two to five activities, based on the content of the story, and the 'Did You Know' feature. The activities might include a fill-in-the-blank, matching, ordering, categorizing, or writing activity. For example, the edition of What On Earth 3.0 used in the pilot study included 'Sort It Out', 'Get A Clue', 'Pick and Choose', and 'This and That'. 'Sort It Out' (see Figure 3.2) was a click and drag activity that required the learner to order each planet according to its distance from the sun. 'Get A Clue' (see Figure 3.3) was a comprehension, fill-in-the blank activity. The 'Pick and Choose' activity (see Figure 3.4) was a true and false activity based on information in the story about auroras. The final activity was 'This and That' (see Figure 3.5) which was a sorting activity about the features of Earth and Jupiter. 48

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Figure 3.2 Sort It Out Activity Figure 3.3 Get A Clue Activity 49

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Figure 3.4 Pick and Choose Activity Figure 3.5 This and That Activity 50

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According to the developers, the 'Sort It Out' and 'This and That' activities used analysis skills, the 'Get A Clue' activity tested comprehension, and the 'Pick and Choose' required evaluation of materials. While the same type of activities were available in the 3.5 Version, additional feedback let the user know which answers were correct. In Version 3.5 the student could also get help by clicking on a "Hints' button in the more complex math activities. Writing activities called 'Viewpoints', provided the learner with a prompt question and a box on the screen where they could express their own views on the question. This writing activity could be stored on the word processing program available on the student's computer. It could then be used for evaluation by the teacher or for use in a writing process activity. The student had the option of -mailing their response to Ingenius. In the 3.5 Version the prompt questions were written to provide more critical thinking opportunities (see Figure 3.6). The activities in the program were written to provide a variety of learning opportunities. According to the developers, the users could complete a range of activities that included everything from practicing skills to completing collaborative projects. The benefit to the learner and the educator was to provide a menu of options for learning as discussed 51

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Figure 3.6 Viewpoint Activity Global Surveyor ....as put into orbit around Mara 'With the help ol teamwork by hundreds ol people.lllustration: NASA and operators are in Denver, Colorado. During the next two years, the Mars Global Surveyor will gather enough information about Mars to create a topographic map of the planet. NASA relied on many different people and organizations in many different places to make the Mars Global Surveyor mission a success. For example, the nerve center of the project is in Pasadena, California, while the project's developers Describe an example of teamwork in your own life. How does working together as a team help your family, classmates, or teammates succeed? Type your answer in the space below.lf you'd like to e-mail your answer to us, be sure to include your name, city and state. Your answer: ____EJ Your name: Your age: I Your city and state: I ---.... ---..... ___________ _j in Chapter 2. The learner could select from activities that used concepts and rules, that used knowledge organization skills such as categorizing or 52

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discriminating, or that required complex cognitive skills such as analysis or problem-solving (lngenius, 1997). Instructional Elements What On Earth 3.0 and 3.5 allowed the teacher flexibility in how the program could be used in the classroom. Lesson plans were written to provide a variety of learning options. The lesson plan for each story provided the story headline, dateline, a summary of the story, the educational objectives of the activities, correlations to content standards in Version 3.5 only, a list of vocabulary words and definitions, comprehension questions and critical thinking questions, the activities for students with the answers, a list of related Web sites, related literature, and extension activities. Teachers had the option to use the information in the lesson plans to create a lesson for one class period for the entire class, or for use during a computer lab period, or for assigning as a small group activity. Software Analysis A comprehensive software analysis was completed on What On Earth using the Software Data Matrix (see Figure 3.7). The results of this analysis revealed that the program contained the following opportunities for cognitive skills: (a) gaining student attention, (b) activities that 53

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stimulated recall, (c) presenting new information, (d) providing Figure 3.7 Software Data Matrix What the What the Comments software software is has missing Events of Instruction Gaining attention Stating objective Stimulating recall Presenting new information Guidance Performance Feedback Assessment Retention and transfer Colm!tive Strategies Attention Activating Prior Knowledge Acquisition Practice 54

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Figure 3.7 (Cont.) What the What the Comments software has software is missing Feedback Verbal Information Statement of facts Bloom's Taxonomy Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation Cognition Reflection Modification of learning Generates questions Discussion questions to prompt higher order thinking Avenue for sharing of learning Connects learning 55

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guidance, (e) allowing for performance and practice of skills, (f) providing feedback, (g) activating prior knowledge, and (h) providing opportunities for the acquisition of new knowledge. The program also provided statement of facts through the content and 'Did You Know' feature. Referring to Bloom's Taxonomy (Bloom, 1964), which the developers used to create the activities, there were activities on the knowledge and comprehension levels. Opportunities for higher level thinking skills were presented in the educator support materials, not within the program itself. Program Weaknesses One of the significant discrepancies in the program is in what the program states that it does and what it actually delivers. For example, one of the 'Viewpoinf activities states that it is a Level 6 Evaluation activity (see Appendices C and D). According to the support material provided by Ingenius, evaluation is the ability to judge the value of material being presented. Judgments are based on criteria or standards. Students draw conclusions and judge whether the data supports their views. The prompt question in one of the 'Viewpoinf activities reads: Do you think the Cassini space probe is safe to launch? Why or why not? Users are asked to state their opinion and support that statement. They clearly are not 56

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evaluating material using criteria or standards. Of the four activities analyzed for the software analysis, all four were inaccurately labeled. The software analysis provides examples of other discrepancies in the activities. (see Figure 3.8). Figure 3.8 Software Analysis of What On Earth 3.0 What On Earth Software Analysis Issue of What On Earth : Week of November 18, 1996 Used for Pilot Study Events of Instruction 1. Gaining attention. The thumbnail photos and banners are used to direct attention to the stories. 2. Stating Objective. The front screen presents no objectives. The lesson plans have no objectives. 3. Stimulating Recall. The Integrated Story Challenges, also called activities, are designed for recall of information in the story. 4. Presenting New Information. The main story presents new information.festival." The 'Did You Know' provides additional information.All new materials are presented in text format with audio enhancements, including glossary pronunciations and sound bites. 5. Guidance. Learning guidance in a classroom setting is normally provided by verbal communication. The What On Earth program provides graphic learning guidance via the arrows for navigation, the photos and captions, and the auditory cues. 6. Performance. The activities are designed for students to apply new knowledge. 7. Feedback. The activities have an immediate pay-off, usually a sound and animation. 8. Assessment. There is no assessment in the program. There are no mechanisms to score the activities, no rubrics for the writing activities, no method to assess the answers to the comprehension questions. 9. Retention and Transfer. No opportunities are presented for transfer of knowledge. The student may retain information if they practice via the activities. Cognitive Strategies 1. Attending. The colored hyperlinked words are designed to draw the users attention to selecting important words and concepts. The photos and graphics are designed to draw attention to the stories. 2. Activating Prior Knowledge. There are no specific guidelines or questioning techniques in the lesson plan for the teacher to assist in the activation of prior knowledge. There are no strategies presented for the user. However, learners use prior knowledge when doing the activities. A math activity would require the use of previously learned math skills. 57

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Figure 3.8 (Cont.) 3. Acquisition. The acquisition of new knowledge comes from reading the stories and definitions, listening to the audio components, and completing activities. 4. Practice. The practice of skills in What On Earth appears in the form of the activities. 5. Feedback. An immediate auditory and visual pay-off appears when the activity is completed. No other feedback is provided. Verbal Information The product presents factual information in a story format. Bloom's Taxonomy The program purports to correlate each Integrated Story Challenge with a specific level of Bloom's Taxonomy. The following analysis is of each activity in the Thanksgiving story, the level that the program says it is correlated to and comments. Viewpoint Activity Level 6: Evaluation. Evaluation is the ability to judge the value of the material being presented. Judgments are based on criteria or standards. Students draw conclusions and judge whether the data supports their views. This activity asked students to write from a prompt question: Did the friendship between the Pilgrims and the Indians have to end? The student is not evaluating information. They are being asked to express their opinions. This is really a Level 3 activity where students are applying what they have learned to a new situation. In this case they are using what they comprehended in a new way. Pick and Choose Activity Level 6: Evaluation. Evaluation is the ability to judge the value of the material being presented. Judgments are based on criteria or standards. Students draw conclusion and judge whether the data supports their views. This is a true and false activity. It is a recall of information from the story, a knowledge level skill. This is a Levell Knowledge activity. It requires no evaluation. Think Tank Activity Level 3: Application. Application is the ability to use learned material in new situations. Students will use math skills or information to solve problems. This, too, appears to be a Levell Knowledge activity. Students are asked to measure a linear distance from one point to another. There is no application of a skill to new situations. Sort It Out Activity Level 4: Analysis. Analysis is the ability to break down material and understand the parts. Students distinguish facts from opinions or perceptions, recognize assumptions and evaluate data. In this activity students are asked to click and drag vegetables to the correct slot. This could be a classifying activity requiring analysis, however when the student places the object in the incorrect slot, it immediately bounces out so the student knows to put it in the other slot. This is a Level 1 matching activity. Cognition 1. Reflection. No questions or opportunities are presented for reflection of learning 2. Modification of learning. No. 3. Generates Questions. No. 58

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Figure 3.8 (Cont.) 4. Discussion Questions to Prompt Higher Order Thinking. There are questions in the lesson plan for the educator. The Viewpoint question may elicit higher order thinking from the student. 5. A venue for Sharing of Learning. The user may e-mail their Viewpoint response to the company where it will be published in a weekly edition called InBox. There are no explicit opportunities for student-to-student sharing. 6. Provides for Connecting New Knowledge to Prior Knowledge. This occurs during the activities. Changes to What On Earth Version 3.5 included: (a) The entire story content was presented in one scrolling textbox instead of paging forward like a magazine or book, (b) the Viewpoint activity questions were written to elicit higher order thinking, (c) the feedback in the activities was reported out in a percentage number so that students knew which answers they had gotten correct. These changes add analysis, evaluation, and feedback to the cognition comparison analysis. The assessment opportunities in the program were limited. While the number of correct responses were reported in terms of percentages correct, there were no mechanisms available for the teacher to track learning. While opportunities for higher order critical thinking and problem solving activities were presented in selected activities, such as 'Viewpoint', the questioning strategies and reflection necessary to engage learners to use these skills were available only in the teacher support materials. In both the pilot study and the dissertation research the navigation 59

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of the product required demonstration for most learners. In the activities section, the click, hold, drag and drop navigation caused significant challenges for the students. This may have been due to inconsistencies in screen design. Program Strengths The multimedia elements of the program were designed to enhance the learning experience. The software effectively used multimedia elements to gain learner's attention and keep them engaged. The thumbnail photos on the homepage captured the students' attention and all students commented on the 'cool' graphics. All photos in the software came from original sources: Reuter's Photos and the Bettman Archive. A variety of opportunities for interactivity were available in the software. Students could select from six stories on a variety of topics. Once they were in the story, they could click on hyperlinked words to read and hear definitions. They could elect to learn more about the topic through the 'Did You Know' feature. There were two to five activities from which to select that include writing, math, geography, and science skills. Some activities had a game option to play when they score a certain percentage correct. The on-line version of What On Earth had five to ten links to the Internet on the 60

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topic. Students had control over what they selected to read, the amount of time spent navigating through the software, and the activities they chose. This is when using the program without teacher direction. Software Cognition Cross-analysis The comparison of cognition identified in What On Earth with those skills actually used by the students revealed features of the software that either supported or hindered cognition. The photos gained the students' attention, the activities stimulated recall of previously learned material and the content recently read in the stories, and new knowledge was acquired through the reading of the stories and the completion of the activities. The students practiced and performed skills in the activities and enjoyed the feedback presented on the screen. Many activities required the activation of prior knowledge, such as math skills, in order to complete them. The students summarized the content of the stories and comprehended what they had read (see Figure 3.9). Several cognition opportunities were not available in the software. The learning objectives were not stated in the lesson plans. While the software provided guidance it was not apparent to the students, assessment of cognition was not built into the design, the retention and 61

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transfer of knowledge was not provided for, application, analysis, and synthesis were not observed, there were no discussion questions to prompt higher order thinking in the text, and the avenues for sharing of learning were limited, but not used by the students. Figure 3.9 Comparison of Software Analysis and Cognition What On Earth Students Events of Instruction Gaining attention Yes Yes Stating objective No No Stimulating recall Yes Yes Presenting new information Yes Yes Guidance Yes No Performance Yes Yes Feedback Yes Yes Assessment No No Retention & transfer No No Cognitive Strategies Attention Yes Yes Activating prior knowledge Yes Yes Acquisition of knowledge Yes Yes Practice Yes Yes Feedback Yes Yes Verbal Information Statement of facts Yes Yes 62

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Figure 3.9 (Cont.) What On Earth Students Bloom's Taxonomy Knowledge Yes Yes Comprehension Yes Yes Application No No Analysis No No Synthesis No No Evaluation No Yes Cognition Reflection No No Modification of learning No Yes Generates questions No Yes Discussion questions to No No prompt higher order thinking A venue for sharing of Yes/Limited No learning Provides for connecting Yes Yes new knowledge to prior knowledge Discrepancies between what the software purported to do and the cognition opportunities afforded the learners became apparent as the students navigated through the software. These are further analyzed in the next chapter. 63

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Pilot Study Procedures A pilot study was conducted during the fall of 1996 using Version 3.0 of What On Earth. The purpose of the pilot study was to test the methodology, practice observation, data gathering, and research writing skills and to evaluate and revise processes for the dissertation. It was also designed to establish rapport with the school, the teacher, and the classroom as discussed. The school selected was a partner school with the University of Colorado at Denver and had a strong emphasis on the effective use of technology in the classroom. The school was selected due to its computer infrastructure, the positive attitudes of the staff towards technology, and the involvement of university faculty at the site. All references to the teacher and students are pseudonyms to protect their anonymity. Researcher Role My role in the pilot study was that of a participant observer in the school and the classroom. My involvement started in August 1996. I met with the sixth grade teacher, Sam, who was also the Local Area Network specialist for the building, and the class to begin to build a level of trust 64

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and comfort. I was invited to participate in a two-day University partnership planning meeting which included Sam, the site technology coordinator for the building, the media specialist, a university professor, and a consultant. The purpose of the meeting was to design the 5-year research plan for the building. My purpose was to establish rapport with the group and to obtain acceptance for the pilot study and the full research study. This two-day planning meeting gave us the opportunity to establish credibility and build trust with each other. Following this meeting, Sam visited the offices where What On Earth was produced to meet the development team and observe the development process. I invited Sam to Ingenius to help build rapport and to provide him with additional information about the program. He enjoyed meeting the team that produced What On Earth and this connection proved invaluable later in the classroom. Throughout the fall, I attended functions at the school and frequently brought other Ingenius employees. We attended the school dedication, which was a gala event for the community. We met new faculty and saw the showcase of talents of the staff and students. One of our multimedia authors and an educational specialist visited the classroom and taught Sam's students how to build their own web pages. All of these activities increased our comfort level with the school and 65

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provided me with opportunities to observe the students and staff. The school has very strong community participation and support. Sam's Classroom Sam is a strong proponent of technology use and his enthusiasm is apparent in his classroom. Classrooms at the school have three ffiM computers with a video monitor and a VCR. Sam's students are eager to use technology. Eighty percent of his students have computers at home. Data Collection I made seven site visits to the school from September 12 to November 21, 1996 for this project. I observed the classroom during their geography and current events period to gain an understanding of how What On Earth was being used. Sam started his current events discussions by assigning two to three questions that the students were to focus on for a specified time period. In September, the questions focused on the federal government and their role in passing legislation for education. Sam asked the students to read a daily newspaper and clip related articles, watch the evening news broadcast of their choice, and read related articles in What On Earth. The students had lively discussions about the selected topics and Sam helped the students to make the 66

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connection to their own lives. During one session, students related federal legislation to the building of their new school. Sam used questioning techniques to help students make the connection between federal funding and their building. Relevance helped the students stay motivated about current events. The students became comfortable with my presence in the classroom. Because the school was a new, technology-rich school in the district, it had many visitors and I was just one of the frequent faces that visited their classroom. I continued to interact with the class, observing their use of current events. During one observation period, two boys and two girls were working on their assignment. One girl was orally reading, while the other three were listening and visually following along on the computer. The two boys became distracted and were having a side conversation. I approached the group and asked them what their assignment was. One boy responded that they were to go through the story and write down things they liked and disliked about the story. They were then to compose an E-mail message to the Ingenius team. I asked them to share their thoughts with me. The story they had selected was about loggerhead turtles and their endangered status. As we discussed their viewpoints they became more engaged in the learning. One boy liked the way the pictures supported the text. One of the girls 67

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liked the explanation of why these turtles were important to the ecosystem. The group then began to compose their E-mail. We talked about who would be the most appropriate person at Ingenius to send information and questions about graphics. We talked about the roles of an educational specialist, a journalist and a multimedia author at Ingenius. They selected a multimedia author and sent their E-mail to her. Subjects For the pilot study, two students from Sam's sixth grade class of twenty-five were selected. The study participants were required to have at least a fourth grade reading level and adequate verbal communication skills due to the reading level of the program and the methodologies for the research: think-aloud protocol, interviewing, and observation. The students Sam selected were an eleven-year-old male and a same-age female. The male student was from the high ability end of the class, while the female ranked in the mid-level in order to provide an ability range for the data collection. Sam used building level reading scores, standardized test scores, and his own judgment from interacting with his students in selecting the students. Each student was interviewed, videotaped, and debriefed while interacting with What On Earth. During the fifth visit, I met with the two students, Nathan and Casey, to teach think-aloud protocol (Ericsson & 68

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Simon, 1984). Collecting a protocol consisted of having the student sit at the computer with .me and verbally share their thinking processes as they navigated through the product. This procedure increases the amount of information available on the process by which the learner interacts with the learning environment (Kozma, 1994). Because the students were comfortable expressing their ideas and thoughts, the collection of data provided rich information. The students who participated felt it was an extension of what they were already doing in the classroom. At the first meeting with Nathan and Casey, I had explained the purpose of the study. This included stating that I was interested in what they could learn from the software and how they learned it. I explained that in order for me to understand what they were learning, they would need to share out-loud their thoughts as they navigated through the program. I then modeled an example of the think-aloud procedure using a story from What On Earth. This modeling provided an example of how I wanted them to proceed and they felt more comfortable about the process. I then asked Nathan and Casey to select a story from that week's edition of What On Earth and practice. They both chose the same sports story because they both liked sports. They were neither audio nor videotaped at this session in order to establish comfort and trust. The 69

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students observed each other during this process to gain confidence. After this session, a date was set for the data collection. On the sixth visit, I interviewed and videotaped Nathan. Casey was absent. Nathan assisted in setting up the videotaping equipment. This process provided him with a comfort level and allowed for interaction with me. Nathan talked about the numerous times he had videotaped family members or had been videotaped. He was clearly at ease with this process. During this think-aloud protocol collection both an audio and videotape were made in order to compare information during the transcription of the data. Nathan, during his session, navigated through the program in a sequential order. He orally read the story first, then did each activity in the order they appeared on the screen. Casey, during her session, used a more random approach to the activities and selected only those that interested her. As they read, if the students exhibited confusion or became too quiet, I stopped and asked questions to elicit additional information. Examples of these questions are: Do you agree with that statement?, Could you rephrase that in your own words?, How would you have changed that? The interaction provided rich information into their thinking processes. It also allowed for reflection, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation that the program does not provide when used without human interaction. 70

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On the seventh visit Nathan participated in the debriefing interview. Interviews in qualitative research are sometimes called "conversations with a purpose" and are used to gather valid and reliable information (Marshall and Rossman, 1989). Again, because of the comfort level of the students, the interview process was just another time to share more about themselves. Nathan and Casey both freely discussed their family lives, their favorite computer activities, and what they liked and disliked about school. This informal conversation increased the students' comfort level with the data collection process. Nathan and I watched what he humorously called the 'rerun' of the videotape from the previous session. I audiotaped this session for later reference in the data analysis. Nathan reiterated several points he had made during the think-aloud protocol. I collected data with Casey upon completion of Nathan's debriefing following the same procedures. Results The data analysis for each participant was based on information processing skills, organization of knowledge skills, and complex cognitive skills which occur during both an individual and socially negotiated process, as defined by Gagne (1985), Vygotsky (1962), and the constructivist 71

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framework. The raw data from the video and audio transcriptions were coded to the Student Analysis Matrix (see Appendix A). In addition, an in-depth analysis of each student was completed that identified the cognition and an interpretation of the student's action. The interviews, the videotaping, and the field notes provided data for comparison. The triangulation of materials provided a more objective look at the data and allowed the comparison of one source of material to another (Laney, 1993). The cognition that occurred from the interaction of Nathan and Casey with the program was: (a) gaining attention, (b) stimulating recall, (c) acquisition of new information, (d) performing and practicing, (e) activating prior knowledge, (f) statement of facts, (g) knowledge, (h) comprehension, (i) evaluation, (j) reflection, (k) generation of questions, (1) discussion and (m) connection of new knowledge to prior knowledge. Nathan and Casey both used the photos as visual cues to select the stories. The Hubble Telescope photo caught Nathan's attention. In the debriefing he stated that he had selected the space story because he was interested in space and space exploration. Casey selected the sports story because the photo caught her attention. New information was presented to both students through reading the stories they selected, the 'Did You Know' feature, and the hyperlinked vocabulary words. They practiced skills in the activities they selected. Both students completed five activities 72

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each. Nathan was particularly frustrated by the lack of feedback in Version 3.0. He stated that he did not know which ones he got wrong and which ones were right and that needed to be fixed. It was redesigned for Version 3.5. In addition to the analysis of cognition from Nathan and Casey, I observed the studenf s in Sam's classroom using the program. The analysis of these observations revealed that students learned from each other as they worked in small groups. Students orally read the stories and stopped to comment on information. They asked questions of each other and shared prior knowledge as well as new information. In addition, when an adult was available they asked for guidance and direction about how to use the program. This social interaction created opportunities for questioning, clarification, and sharing of information. Summary The pilot study provided an opportunity to test methodology, practice data collection skills, and evaluate and revise processes for the dissertation study. Changes made include the number of subjects, providing no introduction to the program prior to videotaping, and the analysis process. The changes made for the dissertation study are discussed in the next section. 73

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Dissertation Study Subjects The same school, as described in the pilot study and the same teacher, Sam, participated in the dissertation study. By the time of this study, the population had increased to 530. A total of six new sixth grade students, two at the high end, two at the middle, and two at the lower end of the ability scale, participated in the dissertation data collection. Three males and three females equally representative of the ability levels participated. This was expanded from two in the pilot study because this range of student ability provided a more in-depth view of what cognition students used while interacting with What on Earth. The students were selected by Sam because of his more thorough knowledge of their academic abilities. This selection was based on standardized test scores, in-building reading assessments, and teacher knowledge of their computer literacy abilities and verbal communication skills. The students were each assigned a pseudonym for this study to protect their anonymity. Student levels were coded as follows: Level 1 students were reading and writing on the eighth grade level or above, Level 2 students were reading and writing on the sixth grade level, and Level 3 students were reading and writing on the fourth grade level. These 74

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were their Instructional Reading Levels. Their Independent Reading Levels were one to two grade levels below their Instructional Reading Levels (Shake, 1989). Procedures Several research procedures and tools were validated, revised, or eliminated based on the pilot study results. While the data collection from the pilot study provided rich information, as described in earlier examples, interaction changes were made for the dissertation study. The interaction among the students, the teacher, and the researcher during the pilot study afforded the students multiple opportunities for guidance, direction, and practice of cognition. The teacher I researcher facilitated experiences would not yield the same information than if the students were asked to interact with the product without adult facilitation. The methodology for the dissertation was then revised to accommodate this research direction. The students would interact with the program without teacher I researcher introduction in order to ascertain what cognition the program afforded without facilitation. In a normal classroom setting, students are often observed using software without direct teaching facilitation (Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). The methodology included videotaped think-aloud protocols, 75

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audiotaped debriefing interviews, and the collection of field notes. The think-aloud methodology was retained from the pilot study. Each student would be videotaped while using the program and students would talk aloud while they were navigating through the program. This information would be combined with the data from the audio debriefing interview for analysis. The major difference in the data collection between the pilot study and the dissertation data collection was that the students were given no prior information about the product for the dissertation study as they had been in the pilot study. Another change from the pilot study was in the use of the Student Analysis Matrix. While it provided a foundation for the interpretation of the data and was largely used for the analysis of cognition in the pilot study, in the dissertation study it became one of several tools used for the data analysis. A more in-depth, multi-stage process was developed for the dissertation data analysis that resulted in an iterative process that provided additional verification of data. Data Collection I visited the classroom one time in September 1997 prior to taping in October. Sam introduced me to the entire class and I shared with the students what I was doing, the purpose of the study, and the fact that three 76

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boys and three girls who had volunteered for the study would be participating. We talked about computer-based technology and students shared with me how they used technology to learn. The purpose of this introduction was to establish a comfort level with the students. Sam explained to the class that he would determine the final six students because the study required a variety of students with different interests. The students were not told that they were being selected based on ability level. On the day the data was collected, a laptop computer loaded with the program was set up in a teacher workroom to ensure a quiet environment with minimal distractions. Sam sent the first student to the room and when that student had finished he/ she sent the next one. When each student entered the room the/ she sat down at the computer, was given the microphone to attach to their clothing, and was asked the same set of questions to obtain information about the studenf s computer use and to establish a comfort level. The questions were: 1. Have you ever used What On Earth in the classroom? 2. Do you have a computer at home? 3. What kind? 4. What kinds of things do you do with your computer at home? Question 1 was asked to elicit if the student was familiar with What On 77

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Earth. If they had been familiar with the product an alternate student would have been asked to participate. Questions 2, 3, and 4 established their level of computer use in the home setting and helped to put the students at ease. The students were then asked if they had ever used a computer similar to the laptop they would be using. They were then given a demonstration on how to use the touch pad to navigate and were provided with time to practice. At the point they were comfortable, they were directed to the home page of What On Earth and were asked to navigate through the program, talking aloud as they did so. Each student was provided with as much time as they wanted to go through the program. The following day the students returned to the same place for the debriefing interview. Each student individually watched their videotape and were audiotaped as they were asked questions. The questions varied depending on what the student did. The purpose of the questions was for clarification, for the elicitation of more information about why they chose their particular path of navigation, for how they selected activities, for what strategies they used to solve problems, and for deeper investigation into their thought processes. Each student was thanked for his/her participation in the study and returned to class. 78

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Data Analysis Data analysis for this study included eight stages for the individual in-depth analysis and three stages for the comparison of participant analysis (see Figure 3.10). Figure 3.10 Stages of Data Analysis Stages of in-depth individual participant analysis 1. Researcher watched video tape of think -aloud protocol. Result: Notes and ideas related to cognitive activities. 2. Researcher made navigation trail of video. Result: Addition to cognitive activities and identification of emerging patterns. 3. Researcher watched video tape again and made notations. Result: Verifying and error checking stages 1 and 2. 4. Researcher transcribed audio debriefing. Result: Addition to and clarification of cognitive activities in stages 1 and 2. 5. Researcher read through field notes and notations. Result: Addition to and verification of cognitive activities and emerging patterns. 6. Researcher completed student data analysis matrix. Result: Specific cognitive skills highlighted. 7. Researcher read through transcribed notes and compared them to student data analysis matrix. Result: Addition and verification of cognitive skills. 8. Researcher compared student data analysis matrix and video navigation trail. Result: Verification of specific cognitive skills. Stages of comparison participant analysis 1. Researcher compared results from individual participant analysis for students of similar ability level. Result: Patterns of cognitive activities identified. 2. Researcher compared results of high, middle, and low ability levels with each other. Result: Similarities and dissimilarities of cognitive activities identified. 3. Researcher compared patterns of cognitive activities from Stage 2 to Software Analysis Matrix. Result: Strengths and weaknesses of the software identified. The individual in-depth analysis included: (a) watching the video 79

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tape of the think-aloud protocol, (b) making a navigation trail of the video, (c) rewatching the videotape and error checking it against the navigation trail, (d) transcribing the audio debriefing, comparing the audio debriefing with the video tape and the navigation trail, (e) reading through field notes and comparing those to the above mentioned data, (f) completing the student analysis matrix, (g) reading the transcriptions and comparing them to the student data analysis matrix, and (h) cross verifying the student data analysis matrix with the video navigation trail. The analysis was completed separately for each student who participated in the study and then a comparison of ability groups was performed. Finally this information was compared to the Software Analysis Matrix to determine what cognition opportunities were available for the learner via the software and if the students used these features. A feature-by-feature analysis of the software was completed during the pilot study and updated for the dissertation using Version 3.5 to determine what cognitive opportunities were available for the learner via the software as previously discussed. The eight stages in the individual participant analysis began with a viewing of the think-aloud protocol video tape. During this viewing, notes were made about the cognitive activities occurring. A navigation 80

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trail (Hill & Hannafin, 1997) of the video tape produced an audit of the student's selection process (see Figure 3.11). Figure 3.11 Example of a Navigation Trail for Student 4 WOE opened to Globe Page 1 Selected Tragedy Story 2 Orally read the story 3 Selected Mix & Match activity 4 Orally read the activity directions 5 Chose not to do the activity 6 Selected the ThinkTank activity7 Orally read the activity directions 8 I Started activity 9 t Got 2 incorrect 10 Reread directions lor help 11 t Continued I activity 12 t Selected Viewpoint activity 13 + Orally read the directions 14 t I Chose not to do the activity 15 I + Returned to the Globe Page 16 Selected Space Story 1 17 t Orally read the story 18 t Read the captions the photos 19 t Selected Get A Clue activity 20 t Orally read the directions 21 Chose not to do the activity 22 t Selected Sort It Out activity 23 Orally read the directions 24 81 I I I I I I I I I I I Attempted the activity 25 t Returned to story to lind answers 26 t Tried activity again 27 t Went to the Did You Know to find answers 28 t Back to activijy 29 Went to Unks to lind answers 30 + Successfully found where the answers were 31 t Session ended 28 minutes 14 seconds

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This navigation trail provided additional information in the identification of emerging cognitive skills. In stage 3, the video tape was again viewed and compared with the navigation trail for an error check. The next step was to transcribe the debriefing interviews. This information and the field notes and notations were then coded using the Student Data Analysis Matrix. This resulted in the identification of specific cognitive skills used by each student. In the final stage the information from the matrix was compared against the navigation trail. Each iterative process provided additional clarification and verification of emerging patterns and the identification of cognitive skills. A further analysis was done comparing the students in each ability level group and finally a cross-ability level comparison was completed. The results of these comparisons provided a global view of the cognitive skills used by the students. Summary Six sixth-grade students from a pool of twenty-five volunteers participated in the data collection for this dissertation study. They represented varying ability levels and were equally representative of gender. Each student was separately videotaped and talked aloud as they navigated through an interactive educational software program. A follow-82

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up debriefing was audiotaped the day after the videotaping. A variety of data sources including the videotaped think-aloud protocols, videotape navigation trails, audio taped debriefing interviews, transcripts of those interviews, Student Analysis Matrices, field notes, and a Software Analysis Matrix were used to analyze the data collected for this research study. An eight stage in-depth individual participant analysis and a three stage comparison analysis process were used to identify and compare the cognitive skills students used during their interaction with What On Earth. Results are reported in the following chapter. 83

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CHAPTER4 RESULTS The purpose of this chapter is to report the results of the research study. The data analysis was conducted in eight stages for the individual in-depth participant analysis and three stages for the comparison participant analysis as discussed in Chapter 3. The analysis in this chapter is provided separately for each student who participated in the study and then a comparison of ability groups is presented. Finally, the cognition data analysis is compared to the software data analysis. Student Cognition Analysis As stated in Chapter 3, six students were selected for participation in this study from a voluntary group of twenty-five sixth graders. The students were selected by their teacher based on standardized test scores, building level tests, and teacher knowledge of their computer literacy and verbal abilities. Basic requirements were that the students have a fourth grade reading level or better and be computer literate in order to successfully interact with the program. Each student was separately introduced to the computer equipment used, a laptop loaded with the software. Mter the introduction to the 84

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equipment and how to navigate using the touch pad, each student was videotaped interacting with the software, What On Earth Version 3.5 (lngenius, 1997). The students were asked to talk aloud while they used the software. The videotaped think aloud protocols collected were translated to a navigation trail. A navigation trail is a visual representation of the path taken in a computer-based environment (Hill & Hannafin, 1997). These trails resulted in a visual map that provided emerging patterns of cognitive skills. The audio debriefing interview tapes were transcribed and coded against the Student Analysis Matrix to provide detailed information identifying the cognition that occurred while students interacted with the program. Details of that analysis are provided in Chapter 3. In this section, general observations about the students and their interactions are made, the navigation trails for each student are presented with supporting information, and the differences in cognition and interaction due to level abilities is presented. General Observations All six students had access to a computer at home, used computers at school, and exhibited basic computer literacy skills. They indicated that they enjoyed using computers and appeared to be comfortable with them. 85

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They quickly learned how to use the touch pad to navigate, knew how to scroll through the story, and how to click to select activities. None of the students had previously used the software. The students selectively used features of the software. None of the students utilized all the components of the program. Some of them initially missed seeing the activity buttons. Some clicked on hyperlinked words to explore what was available there. None of the students found the 'Did You Know' feature that contains additional information or the "Links' page that lists Web sites to explore. While their overall comfort level was high with the technology, one of the challenges for the students was in the navigation in the activities sections. The click, drag, and drop activities caused the most problems. These activities required that the students click, hold, drag, and drop objects. The requirement that the button be held down to drag an object was not apparent. This confusion was due to the inconsistency in the design of the activities. In one activity, a simple click on the object would allow the correct navigation, while in another, the requirement was that the button had to be clicked on and held. Once the students were shown how the differences in technique they gained the necessary skill. The students were quickly drawn into the software and the multimedia element of interactivity received multiple comments from 86

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the students. The students liked the ability to select stories based on their own interests, the variety of activities available, and the fact that the program did more than 'just reading'. In addition to learner control elements, the students all commented on the graphics in the program. The thumbnail photos on the homepage caught their attention and helped them to determine which story they selected first. Once in the story, the photos provided additional opportunities for learning. Students were intentionally selected for this study from a variety of ability levels. These differences in ability levels produced pronounced differences in how they used the software and the cognition that occurred while they were interacting. While all the students thought the software was 'cool' and 'fun', the educational outcomes were varied. These and additional observations are discussed in further detail in the following sections. Navigation Trails The first step in the analysis of data from the research study was to create a navigation trail, as previously described, for each student. In this section each navigation trail is presented with supporting information about his/her interactions. Matthew was a Level 1 ability student following the ability coding 87

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described in Chapter 3. Matthew initially used the program as if it were an encyclopedia resource from which to obtain information. He began his interaction with the program by selecting a technology story about cars of the future. He orally read the story, returned to the home page, and then selected a second story on space. Figure 4.1 Matthew's Navigation Trail Clicked on WOE opened to Returned to the hyperlinked word Completed the Globe Page 1 Globe Page 8 conquistadores. activily24 Read the t t definition. 16 t Selected Selected Space Selected the Mix Returned to the Technology & Match activity story 2 Story 2 9 17 Globe Page 25 + t t t Orally read the Orally read the Completed the Session ended Time: 33 minutes story 3 story 10 activity once. 18 45 seconds 26 t t + Clicked on movie Clicked on blue Repeated the hyperlinked word icon 4 "topographic" 11 aclivity 19 + t Read the Selected Space definition. Returned to the Story 1 Ustened to the Globe Page 20 Could not open pronounciation. t 12 t t Asked for Returned to the Selected the assistance 5 Globe Page 13 Politics story 21 t t 1 Opened the Selected the Orally read the Space Story 1 6 Tragedy story 14 story 22 t t t Orally read the Orally read the Selected Sort It story 7 story 15 Out activity 23 88

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Matthew continued to navigate through the stories in a linear fashion, orally reading first. In the second story, he started to explore options. He returned to the beginning of the second story and began to click on hyperlinked words. He read the definition for 'topographic' and listened to the audio pronunciation. Once he heard the pronunciation he repeated the word and confirmed he had pronounced it correctly. Matthew did not self-select activities in the stories. In the third story he selected, I directed his attention to the menu bar on the left side of the screen and asked him what those buttons might do. He said, "I don't know. Should I try them?" He then discovered the activities. When asked why he had elected not to do the activities any earlier in the program he stated, "I really didn't see them at first." Once he did find them, Matthew enjoyed the activities. In the debriefing interview he said, "I liked the 'Mix and Match' thing. Not only do you get to play a game but you get to learn it. I thought that was pretty cool." Cognitively, the software features gained Matthew's attention, he acquired new knowledge, he recalled facts, summarized what he had read, comprehended the information in the stories, evaluated information, reflected, and connected prior knowledge to new knowledge. The action-oriented, colorful photos and graphics gained Matthew's attention. He said, "Graphics, like the pictures and stuff, were neat." He 89

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later stated that the pictures kept the text from being so boring. Matthew acquired new knowledge through reading the stories and connected prior knowledge to new knowledge in the activities. He accurately summarized all the stories during the debriefing interview, discussed important pieces of information, and evaluated what he had read. He particularly liked the story on technology because, "It is important that we have cars that don't pollute." The 'Sort It Out' activity provided rich connections for Matthew. The activity required a matching of dates to international wars for independence. Matthew talked at length about the fact that he had no idea other countries had wars for freedom, like the United States did. He discussed the American Revolutionary War, the French and Indian War, and the War Between the States. He related information he had learned from movies he had seen, books he had read, and sites he and his family had visited. While the software itself did not provide explicit opportunities for evaluation and reflection, the interaction between the researcher and the learner during the debriefing interview allowed for additional dialogue. The only problem Matthew encountered with the software was in navigation. When Matthew had difficulties navigating he would attempt to solve the problem. If he could not find a solution he would then ask for 90

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assistance. The opening of the stories required a double click which he needed helped with. The activities that required a click, hold, and drag were a source of frustration. This lack of systems knowledge, prior know ledge of and experience with a particular information system can inhibit the effective use of the computer software and system (Hill & Hannafin, 1997; Weil, Rosen, & Wugalter, 1990). Figure 4.2 Student Cognition Matrix Matthew Michelle Mark Jennifer Ashley Michael Gained Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Attention !Acquired Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes new knowledge Yes No Yes Yes No Yes facts Summarized Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Com preYes Yes Yes Yes No No hended Evaluated Yes Yes No Yes No No Connected Yes No Yes Yes No No prior to new knowledge Yes Yes No No No No Cognitively, the software afforded opportunities for gaining the attention of the learner, acquiring of knowledge, connecting prior knowledge to new knowledge, recalling information, summarizing, and 91

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comprehending. The interaction with the researcher provided additional cognitive opportunities such as evaluation and reflection (see Figure 4.2). Figure 4.3 Michelle's Navigation Trail WOE opened to Globe Page 1 t Selected Tragedy Story 2 Orally read the story 3 t Returned to the Globe Page 4 Selected the Space Story 1. 5 I + Orally read the story6 t Selected Get A Clue activity 7 t I Read the I directions 8 Chose not to do the activity 9 t Selected the Viewpoint activity 10 t Read the directions to the activity 11 t Wrote a response to the activity 12 Selected the Sort It Out activity 13 t Completed the activity 14 t Selected the VIewpoint activity 15 t Detenninad she had already done this 16 .I I I I Returned to the Globe Page 17 t Session ended 15 minutes 25 seconds 18 Michelle was also a Level 1 student who initially used the program 92

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much like an encyclopedia. She began with a story about a fire that was threatening an historic site. She read through the story for information. Michelle did not explore the links or activities at this point. She returned to the home page and selected a second story. I prompted her to the activities by directing her to the activity buttons on the left-hand side of the screen. When Michelle was asked why she had not selected any of the activities in the first story she said, "I just didn't think of it. I just didn't do it." Once she became aware of the activities, she completed the ones she found interesting. She liked the 'Viewpoinf activity which is a writing activity. She said she chose that one because she likes to write. Michelle said she liked the program because, "It had newer stuff. It had articles from September 17. So it was really updated. I liked how they had all the articles and you could pick from all six. There was a variety." Cognitively, the software's photos gained Michelle's attention. She stated that the photos were interesting and that was how she selected the stories. Michelle gained new knowledge through the reading of the stories and completing activities. She comprehended what she read and summarized the main points of the stories during the debriefing (see Figure 4.2). Michelle also reflected on her learning, found a new strategy to help her find answers, and evaluated an activity. Michelle shared that she had learned a new way to figure out 93

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answers to the questions in the activities. She said she could go back and reread the information as many times as she needed to. She said it was easy because she could just click back on the story. She used this technique in the 'Sort It Our activity. Michelle offered her ideas for changing the "Viewpoint' activity. While she clearly enjoyed the opportunity to express her own thoughts, she thought the question was too difficult. "It was kind of hard to think of how you would put it. There were three questions in one and you had to put your answer together. "When asked how she would change it, she replied, "I would have made the three questions separate. Then I would have answered them each." Once again, while the software does not explicitly provide opportunities for evaluation, the students reflected on their learning and shared how they thought the software should be designed. Navigation difficulties also presented Michelle with a challenge. A matching of dates to events activity required clicking, holding and dragging which prompted Michelle to ask for assistance. The directions provided in the software were not clear for the users. 94

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Navigation Trail4.4 Mark's Navigation Trail WOE opened to Read the Orally read the Read the Globe Page 1 definition 9 directions 17 definition 25 t t t t Selected Clicked on blue Worked on the Ustened to the Technology hyperllnked word activity for 16 pronounclatlon Story 2 Peugot 10 minutes 18 25 t t t Clicked on blue Orally read the Read the Returned to the hyperlinked word story3 definition 11 Globe Page 19 Pasadena, CA t t t 26 Clicked on blue Ustened to the Selected the Read the hyperlinked word pronounciatlon Space Story 1 definition 27 compact car 4 12 20 t Clicked on blue t t Read the hyperlinked word Orally read the Selected Get a definition 5 Frankfurt, story 21 Clue activity 28 Germany13 t t t Clicked on blue Read the Clicked on blue Orally read the hyperllnked word hyperlinked word Berlin 6 definition 14 satellite 22 directions 29 t t t Played Lander Game payoH 32 Read the Ustened to the Read the Completed t definition 7 pronounclatlon definition 23 activity30 15 Session ended t _t J t 33 minutes 45 seconds Clicked on blue Selected Brain Clicked on blue Replayed the hyperlinked word Power activity 16 hyperlinked word game for higher chassis B topographic 24 score 31 95

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Mark was a Level2 student who enjoyed interacting with the software. Mark stated during the debriefing interview, "I thought it [What On Earth] was fun. The articles and answering the questions and stuff made it fun because you usually just read about it and it doesn't do anything else." Mark began his exploration by selecting the technology story on cars of the future. He orally read it and then went back and began to click on the hyperlinked vocabulary words. He read definitions for several words and when he got to 'Peugeot' he listened to the pronunciation. He laughed and corrected his pronunciation. I directed Mark to the activities as I had the other students. During the debriefing he stated that he did not see them initially. Mark then selected the 'Brain Power' activity. Mark showed great persistence in trying to solve the math problems in 'Brain Power'. He spent sixteen minutes and was intensely involved. He kept trying to get the answers right. The problems were miles per gallon calculations (see Appendix E). In the 'Get A Clue' activity Mark did not score high enough the first time (62%) to play the Lander game so he redid the activity and got a 100% score. He then went on and played the game. Mark had no significant navigation problems. He used trial and error to solve the click and drag problem all students experienced in the activities. Cognitively, Mark acquired new knowledge, connected prior 96

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knowledge to new knowledge, summarized the story content, and comprehended what he read (see Figure 4.2). The software photos gained his attention, as with the other students. Mark acquired new knowledge by reading the stories. He stated that he liked the space story because, "It helped me on my science because I didn't know a lot about science." He connected new knowledge with prior knowledge in the 'Get A Clue' activity. This activity had true and false questions about Mars. Mark used navigation strategies that were different from the previous two students. He took more of an exploratory approach, using more of the hyperlinks in the story. Once he became aware of the activities, he not only completed them, but persisted in order to complete them with the highest possible score. Mark's cognition included acquiring new knowledge, connecting prior knowledge to new knowledge, summarizing the story content, and comprehending what he read. Jennifer was a Level2 student who cognitively acquired new knowledge, summarized and comprehended, connected prior knowledge to new knowledge, and evaluated. Like her classmates, Jennifer was attracted to the graphics and they helped her to determine which stories to read. Jennifer liked the program and said, 'You can learn a whole bunch of 97

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stuff without just reading. There is more action to it than just sitting there reading a book." Figure 4. 5 Jennifer's Navigation Trail WOE opened to Selected Space Attempted the Started actMty 9 Story 1 Globe Page 1 17 actlvity25 1 Got 2 incorrect Orally read the Returned to Selected story to lind Tragedy Story 2 10 story 18 answers26 i + Orally rsad the Reread Read the Tried activity directions lor capHonsthe story 3 help 11 photos 19 again 27 t _t + l Continued Selected Get A Went to the Old Selected Mix & You Know to lind Match activity 4 activity 12 Clue activity 20 answers28 Orally read the Selected Orally read the Back to activity activity directions VIewpoint acHYity directions 21 29 5 13 Chose not to do Orally rsad the Chose not to do Went to Unks to lhe activity 6 directions 14 the activity 22 lind answers 30 l + t Selected the Chose not to do Selected Sort It Successfully ThinkTank the activity 15 Out activity 23 found where the activity 7 answers were 31 I + Orally read the Returned to the Orally read the Session ended activity directions Globe Page 16 directions 24 28 minutes 14 B seconds 98

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Jennifer selected the story on the fire near the archeological site first. She orally read the story and then selected the 'Mix and Match' activity on her own. Jennifer was the first student to do this. When she was asked how she selected that activity she said she thought it just looked interesting. During the debriefing interview she stated that the activity did not go with the story. The activity matched continents and cities and had nothing to do with the content of the story. Jennifer explored other activities and chose those that interested her. She used a variety of cognitive strategies to find answers to questions she did not know. In the 'Sort It Out' activity, which required matching dates to space events, she went back to the story to find the answers. When the answers were not in the story she asked for guidance in where to find them. During the debriefing, she reviewed the process she went through to find the answers. She said, It would be easier if the story was beside the activity so you wouldn't have to keep going back and forth." That made finding the answers more difficult. Jennifer also had difficulties with the navigation in the activities. The click, hold, and drag activities needed explanation. Jennifer did not select any of the vocabulary words. Jennifer cognitively acquired new knowledge, summarized, comprehended what she read, connected prior knowledge to new 99

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knowledge, and evaluated. Both she and Mark offered suggestions for how to make the program better for them as learners. Figure 4. 6 Ashley's Navigation Trail B WOE opened to Returned to the Returned to the Selected Globe Page Viewpoint again Globe Page 1 Globe Page 9 17 25 Selected Politics Selected Space Selected the Returned to the Story 2 Story 1 Technology Globe Page 28 10 Story 18 Looked at the Immediately went Looked at the Session ended to the Viewpoint 4 mlnutes32 pictures 3 activity 11 pictures 19 seconds 27 Selected Looked at the Selected the Viewpoint activity picture 12 Viewpoint activity 4 20 Looked at the Selected the Looked at the pictures 5 Sort II Out activity pictures 21 13 Chose not to do Chose not to do Chose not to do the activity 6 the activity 14 the activity 22 Selected the Selected the Get Selected the Brain Power A Clue activity 15 Brain Power actlvity7 activity 23 Chose not to do Chose not to do Looked a I the the activity 8 the activity 16 pictures 24 100

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Ashley, a Level3 student, took a totally different approach to navigating through the software. She began with a story on politics, opened it and looked at the pictures. She selected a 'Viewpoint' activity, looked at the pictures and chose not to do the activity. She selected a second activity and chose not to do it. Ashley continued throughout the program in this manner until she felt she was finished. She spent four minutes and 32 seconds with the program, the least amount of time of the students. When asked if there was anything else she would like to do with the program, she replied, "No, I'm finished". Cognitively, Ashley used the photos and graphics to gain information (see Figure 4.2). She liked the photos. When asked what she learned she said, "I remember seeing some pictures about space and people and I remember that there was lots of information there for you if you were doing research on it." When asked why she chose not to read any of the stories she shrugged her shoulders. Then she said, "If I was doing a space project I could read it and find something I could use." Michael was also a Level 3 student. He began interacting with the software by selecting the space story. He immediately went to the 'Viewpoint' activity and partially read the directions orally. He then looked at the pictures and chose not to complete the activity. He continued in this manner, selecting an activity or story, looking at the pictures, and 101

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Figure 4.7 Michael's Navigation Trail WOE opened to Did the activity Returned to the Read the Globe Page Globe Page 1 9 17 definition 25 t t + t Selected Space Selected Sort It Selected the Selected Space Story 1 Out activity Technology Story 2 2 10 Story 18 26 + + t t Immediately went Looked at the Selected Orally read the to Viewpoint photo and read Viewpoint activity first sentence activity 3 caption 11 19 27 t j _t + Read partial Returned to Chose not to do Looked at the directions story 12 the activity 20 pictures 4 28 t t + t Looked at the Skimmed Selected the Selected the pictures 5 through the story Brain Power Viewpoint activity 13 activity 21 29 + t t Chose not to do Clicked on blue Did the activity Looked at the hyperllnked word pictures the activity 6 satellite 14 22 30 t t t Read the Chose not to do Selected the Get definition and Returned to the the activity A Clue activity 7 listened to story 23 pronunciation 15 31 t Read the Looked at Clicked on blue Selected the directions pictures 16 hyperlinked word Sort It Out activity 8 compact car 24 32 102

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going on to the next one. He did complete one activity, the 'Sort It Out' activity which had true and false questions about Mars. When asked why he had elected to complete this activity he said, "I knew most of the answers because I studied Mars last year. I guessed mostly." When asked why he chose not to read the stories, he stated that he already knew all that stuff. Michael did acquire new knowledge by looking at the photos and reading some of the captions. He shared that in the debriefing interview. He recalled prior knowledge and used it to answers the questions in the activities. Michael also used the photos to select stories and as sources for information (see Figure 4.2). Summary The six students participating in the research study used a variety of approaches to navigating through the software. Each student selected stories of interest to them. All the students thought the photos and graphics enhanced the program. They liked the interactivity and the fact that the program provided activities so you do more than just read. Computer interaction resulted in cognition occurring in gaining attention, acquiring knowledge, recalling facts, summarizing, comprehending, and connecting prior knowledge to new knowledge. Student-to-researcher 103

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interaction during the debriefing resulted in evaluation and reflection. Figure 4.2 summarizes each student's cognition during their interactions with the program and from the debriefing interviews. Comparison of Ability Levels The ability level of the student was an influential factor in the cognition of the students in this program. The reading levels of the students impacted their ability to effectively use the software. What On Earth is written on two reading levels, the eighth grade and the fourth grade. The levels were changed for the students prior to their interacting with the program and without their knowledge. Part of the criteria for the selection of the students was their Instructional Reading Levels. Thus, the two Level 1 students used the eighth grade level because their Instructional Reading Levels were on the eighth grade or above. This meant that their Independent Reading Levels were below that of their Instructional Reading Levels. This became an influential factor in the students' success with the program. The remaining four students used the fourth grade level in the program. The two Level 2 students had an Instructional Reading Level of fourth grade or above. The two Level 1 students had an Instructional Reading level of fourth grade. The Level 1 and Level 2 students acquired new knowledge through 104

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reading the stories and completing the activities. Their discussion of the stories during the debriefing was rich. Matthew discussed why the technology story on electric cars was important to him. He talked about the nonpolluting cars. This story also caught Mark's attention and he shared his fascination with the design of the cars during his debriefing interview. The 'Sort It Out' activity provided discussion about countries and their fights for freedom. Matthew was very interested in history and was amazed that other countries had wars for freedom similar to America's. All students from these ability groups had opinions to share about what they had read and the activities they completed. The students from Level 3, Ashley and Michael, did not read any of the stories. Their strategy for navigation was to open a story, look at the photos, and move onto the next activity or story. The acquisition of new knowledge for them came through the information in the photos and the captions. While Ashley elected not to do any activities, Michael completed activities where he could guess or he already knew the answers. He had done a project on Mars the previous year and therefore was able to answer the true and false questions on Mars. The discussion during debriefing for both of these students was short. The ability to acquire new knowledge, recall factual information from the stories, summarize the main ideas of the stories, comprehend 105

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what is read, and connect prior information to new information in this software program requires reading skills high enough to comprehend the material. Without these skills cognition is limited. Cognition and Software The analysis of the software, previously discussed in Chapter 3, indicated that the software used in this study provided opportunities for the support of cognition, but also hindered it. The features that provided opportunities for cognition were the photos and graphics, the stories written on two reading levels, supporting information, and a variety of activities. The features that were missing that hindered cognition were clear guidance and directions for navigating, prompt questions to engage thinking, an audio component for challenged readers, and interactive feedback that assisted learners in solving problems. In additional to the features of the software, how the software is used in the classroom is of importance. The study had students interact with the software without any prior introduction to the program. Each student used the software in isolation. Because of this method of introduction to the program, the students' knowledge of features was limited to what the software design provided. 106

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Summary The software design, the ability levels of the students, and how the students were introduced to the software all were factors that influenced the cognition that occurred during the students' interaction with the program. The students selected stories based on their own interests and the colorful, action-oriented photos and graphics. They had difficulties in discovering the activities and had to be prompted to find them. The navigation in some of the activities was confusing due to the inconsistency of the design among the activities. Higher level readers were able to comprehend the stories and complete the activities while lower level readers were unable to do this. Overall, the students' knowledge of features available for cognitive opportunities was limited to what the software design provided. 107

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CHAPTERS DISCUSSION In Chapter 4 the results of this research study were presented with individual student analyses followed by a comparison of ability levels. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the results presented in the previous chapter. The research questions that focused the direction of this study are: 1. What is the impact of multimedia software on cognition? 2. What are the attributes of multimedia software that either support or hinder cognition? 3. What are the differences in cognition between students of different skill levels interacting with the multimedia software? This discussion is followed by conclusions and recommendations. The Impact of Multimedia Software on Cognition Interactive educational multimedia software, as defined in Chapter 2, means a series of holistic interactive activities that are intentionally designed, integrate various media to be distributed through any medium, and have effective educational outcomes. The software used in this study met the criteria for this definition. The question, then, became what is 108

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the impact of the software on cognition. What cognitive opportunities does it afford the learners who interact with it? The software utilized in this study simultaneously provided multiple opportunities for cognition, as well as lost opportunities for enhancing student learning. It provided these cognitive opportunities through the stories and the activities. The lost opportunities for cognition came from the design of the software. As the students interacted with the software, they read stories and completed activities. During this interaction they acquired knowledge, recalled information about the story, made connections between the new knowledge and with prior knowledge, summarized major points, and comprehended main ideas. The software provided these cognitive opportunities through the presentation of stories in a text format accompanied by colorful photos and graphics, hyperlinked vocabulary words with text definitions and audio sounds, and additional information to support the main story in text format. The students' interactions with the program clearly that they were engaged in learning and were motivated by the interactive multimedia environment. The discussions about the stories were lively. The story on cars of the future provided Matthew with a forum to express his concerns about pollution. Both Jennifer and Michelle found the fight to save an ancient archaeological dig 109

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a worthwhile endeavor . At the same time engagement and interactivity with the software occurred, it is important to note how and when it happened. When text is the primary method used to present information, and activities in the software and the outcomes of those activities focus on the practice of skills and recall of information, minimal cognitive opportunities result, when compared with the potential (Land & Hannafin, 1996). The discussions about the stories occurred not during interaction with the software, but during the debriefing interviews. This same software, redesigned with additional elements based on contemporary theories, could provide richer learning opportunities for learners. One of the elements in the definition of interactive educational multimedia software is effective educational outcomes. Reflection and evaluation are effective educational outcomes and were a result of student-to-student and student-to-facilitator interactions. While this particular version of the software failed to do that, the possibility for including these elements in a redesign is very realistic. The software did attempt to incorporate questions and activities to prompt evaluation and reflection. However, they were either hidden within the activities or were available only in the lesson plan, which would indicate that the developers expect this program to be used with 110

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teacher facilitation. In order for learners to access these opportunities, the prompts, questions, and guidance need to be located within the story itself or the activities. For example, questions embedded within the actual text as the students are reading, and activities with multiple layers that provide models and examples would be desirable in the design of educational software. This kind of support for learners, known as scaffolding, can be an effective learning tool when properly designed (Hannafin, Hill & Land, 1997). Two other factors affecting the impact of the software on cognition were systems knowledge and learner control. The elements of systems knowledge and learner control combined to decrease cognitive opportunities in this study. One of the limitations of this study was that the students were given no prior introduction to the software. This was done in order to ascertain how the students would interact with the software on their own. The lack of systems knowledge meant that the students did not use all of the features available to them in the software because they were unaware of them. They therefore missed cognitive opportunities. For instance, none of the students found the 'Did You Know' feature which provides additional information on specific people or events in the story. In the pilot study, students were given demonstrations on the 111

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features of the software and had guidance when they needed assistance. The students in the pilot study knew where to find the additional support information provided by the program. Another important note is that the challenges in navigation that occurred during the dissertation study were not evident during the pilot study. In order for students to gain optimal learning from software, an introduction to the features of the software and how to use it, would appear to enhance their educational outcomes. The second element that limited cognition was learner control. This software is designed to allow students freedom in their selection of stories, support information, and activities. The success of learner control varies according to the learners' ability and prior knowledge (Reigeluth & Stein, 1983, Cho, 1995). Students in this study frequently did not discover all the features of the program available to them. They stated during the debriefing interviews that they had not seen the choices. The design of the screens became a factor in learner selection of information and activities. Both the naming conventions and the button design may have contributed to this confusion. For example, it was not apparent that a button with the title 'This and That' had an activity linked to it. The learners' level of cognition in this study was limited by the features and the design of the software. The design of this study had 112

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students work with the software without prior introduction to the features of the program. This provided information concerning how effectively students use software when working independently. The impact of the software on cognition was varied and the students' cognition was limited by the design features of the software. Attributes of Multimedia Software that Either Support or Hinder Cognition Interactive multimedia software has the potential to create active learning environments for students. The features of the software that supported cognition were the graphics, photos, hypermedia elements, story text, and the activities. The interactivity was an element that provided stimulation for learning. Conversely, some of these same elements, as well as design features hindered cognition. While the activities provided interactivity and were engaging, the lack of prompts and guidance caused frustration. While the two reading levels provided a reading range from which to choose, the range was narrow and did not match the range of reading levels typically found in this grade. While the graphics were colorful and action-oriented, the button designs were obscure. Inconsistencies in the navigational features also caused confusion for the learners. Each of these will be discussed below. 113

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Graphics The power of graphics, photos, videos, and hypermedia all combined to gain students' attention and provided opportunities for learning. All six students stated that the photos and graphics were 'cool' and helped them decide which stories they wanted to read. Once in the stories, the students looked at the photos and read the captions. Software that utilizes graphics to support text appears to enhance the learning experience for the students. The photos were colorful and action-oriented which also drew the students' attention into the story. Activities The activities afforded a variety of opportunities for cognition. The 'BrainPower' activity engaged Mark for 16 minutes, but it was not time well spent. He persisted in attempting to get the correct answers to the miles per gallon problems. There were no examples that showed the learner how to solve the problems. Better guidance, perhaps through step by-step examples, would have been helpful to him and would have alleviated his frustration. While the time Mark spent on the task indicates his perseverance, refraining the questions and helping him arrive at the correct answers within constructivist frameworks could have resulted in increased learning. As it was, Mark spent a lot of time guessing to get the 114

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right answers and never learned how to arrive at a solution. Designing the activities so that students could work in groups to solve problems and share knowledge would be desirable. While there were a variety of activities available for the students, the level of the activities determined the level of cognition that occurred. In order for students to construct new knowledge on their own and use reflection and evaluation, the activities need to be redesigned to create those kinds of learning options. Reading Level The developers included two reading levels, a fourth and an eighth grade level. These levels were the Instructional Reading Levels for the students, not their Independent Reading Levels. This is not clearly identified anywhere in the program, so the assumption was that a student identified as a fourth grade reader could successfully use the program. This was not the case, as the two students identified as fourth grade readers could not read the material. In order to reach more students, more audio support in the form of an option for read-along on the fourth grade level and more vocabulary words pronounced on the eighth grade level would be beneficial. One of the students asked if he could click on any word and get the definition and 115

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pronunciation. While this software limited the words, a built-in dictionary in the software would allow learners to control their selection of the words they choose, instead of only having a few select words defined and pronounced. The hyperlinked vocabulary words that were selected by the developers did give the students the ability to read the definition of the word and hear the pronunciation, which they utilized. This feature allowed them to better comprehend as they read. Five of the six students were unaware of the activities available to them. During the debriefing interviews they stated that they had not seen the buttons for the activities. As previously discussed, the obscure design and naming conventions contributed to this confusion. Navigation The navigation features of the program also presented challenges for the students. The navigation was inconsistent in the activities and the students had to stop and ask for help in order to continue. Software needs to be intuitive for learners so that the navigation does not interfere with the learning. Directional arrows, flashing lights, color-coding, and pop-up boxes could all help alleviate this problem. Summary In order for interactive educational multimedia software to support 116

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cognition, it needs to be carefully designed. Observing and interacting with students as they navigate through software provides information that can be used in the design of materials that are both learner-friendly and meet educational outcomes (Reiser & Dick, 1990). Students are very articulate about what either supports or hinders their learning. The students in this research study interacted with the software and cognitively gained what they were able based on the software design and their abilities. Differences in Cognition Between Skills Levels There were marked differences between the Level 1 and 2 students and the Level 3 students as they interacted with the software. Level 1 and 2 students were able to read the stories and work on activities using information from what they had read. The Level 3 students did not attempt to read the stories. The differences in reading may be attributed to their Independent Reading Levels as previously discussed. Levell and 2 students were independently reading at the fourth grade level or above. Level 3 students had an Instructional Reading Level of grade 4, but their Independent Reading Level was lower. This would have presented reading difficulties since the program is written on the fourth grade Instructional Reading Level. The Level 3 students were not able to complete the activities based 117

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on information from the story or resources available through the program. While one of the Level 3 students completed a true or false activity, he used recall of facts from a report done the year before rather than using any of the information provided by the software. Again, without the requisite reading skills, the software was not a good choice for students without appropriate reading skills. In order to reach more students, the software could provide an audio option that would reach a broader audience. During the pilot study, students worked on What On Earth in groups. Students who had reading difficulties were assisted by other students. Students also orally read the text to each other and discussed the information in the story. This social interaction provided opportunities for student-to-student learning (Vygotsky, 1978). The way students are grouped and how they interact with each other while they are using software is another potential avenue for research. Conclusions and Recommendations Interactive educational multimedia materials have the potential to mindfully engage learners. The software used in this study has similarities to other software products. Software available to educators today contains text, colorful graphics and photos, games, and hyperlinks. The strengths of 118

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interactive educational software, as seen in this study, are the variety of cognitive opportunities available to students through colorful, action oriented graphics and photos; current, relevant stories that engage students in discussion and reflection; and activities that require interaction. The weaknesses can be ascribed to design elements and how the material is used in the classroom. Interactive multimedia educational software has the potential to fulfill Pea's prophecy, "Computers may provide the most extraordinary cognitive technologies thus devised" (Pea, 1985, p. 168). The students in this study were actively engaged in their learning. Their comments were: ''I liked all the little boxes you could click on and how you go into one story and do games about it. That was really cool." (Michelle). ''It was fun because you had articles and you have to answer the questions and stuff which made it fun cause you usually just read about it and it doesn't do anything else." (Mark). ''I thought What On Earth was cool because you can learn about things and it's just like the Internet. Not only do you get to play a game but you get to learn it." (Matthew). "I liked it because you can learn a whole bunch of stuff without just reading. There is more action to it than just sitting there reading a book." (Jennifer). While additional research is needed in the area of the effective use of interactive educational multimedia materials to enhance cognition, 119

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guidelines already exist for the design of interactive multimedia based on empirical evidence (Park & Hannafin, 1993). These guidelines include psychological principles concerning how individuals think and learn, pedagogical principles that support effective instruction and teaching, and technological principles that influence the design of interactive multimedia (see discussion in Park and Hannafin, 1993). Adhering to these guidelines would not only enhance the educational effectiveness of multimedia, but would result in software with strong educational foundations. Further research is needed to investigate interactive learning environments, the design of educational multimedia products, and how they can optimally be used to increase student learning. Intentionality and effective educational consequences are critical if materials are to be successful in increasing learning opportunities. A collaborative effort among designers, developers, and users could produce products that meet the learning needs of students as we attempt to create technology-based learning environments that mindfully engage learners. Most importantly, we need to include students in the design cycle (Reiser & Dick, 1990). As this study shows, students can be very articulate about their learning needs. We, as educators, designers, and developers, must be willing to listen. 120

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APPENDIX A Student Analysis Matrix 121

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Student Analysis Matrix What the student What the student Interpretation said did Events of Instruction Gaining attention Stating objective Stimulating recall Presenting new information Guidance Performance Feedback Assessment Retention and transfer Cognitive Strategies Attention Activating Prior Knowledge Acquisition Practice Feedback Verbal Information 122

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Student Analysis Matrix (Cont.) What the What the Interpretation student said student did Statement of facts Bloom's Taxonomy Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation Cognition Reflection Modification of learning Generates questions Discussion questions for higher order thinking A venue for sharing of learning Connection of knowledge Idea sharing Verbal AHa 123

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APPENDIXB Software Analysis Matrix 124

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Software Analysis Matrix What the What the Comments software software is has missing Events of Instruction Gaining attention Stating objective Stimulating recall Presenting new information Guidance Performance Feedback Assessment Retention and transfer Colm!tive Strategies Attention Activating Prior Knowledge Acquisition Practice 125

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Software Analysis Matrix (Cont.) What the What the Comments software has software is missing Feedback Verbal Information Statement of facts Bloom's Taxonomy Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation Cognition Reflection Modification of learning Generates questions Discussion questions to prompt higher order thinking Avenue for sharing of learning Connects learning 126

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APPENDIXC What On Earth Activity Module Chart with Bloom's Taxonomy Levels 127

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There are 12 categories of activity modules. Activity modules are designed for grades four through eight, but can be easily adapted to accommodate all levels. The following chart describes each module, including the targeted skills, and examples of cognitive activities a student may perform. What On Earth Activity Modules Activity Module Name Nadonal Standard Bloom's Level Activity Examples Skills Brain Power Applying Levell Measure Demonstrating Tell time Read a thermometer Sort It Out Classifying Organize data Label a dial!l"am This& That Comparing Level4 Analyze a photo Relating Interpret a graph Identify musical stvles H ypersketch Drawing, Level2 Paint a picture Illustrating Levell Draw Illustrate a scenario Quick Fix Editing Correct spelling errors Punctuating Correct punctuation Capitalizing Correct grammar Correct capitalization Viewpoint Evaluating Explaining Resolve a conflict Describing Justifying Support an opinion Interpreting Debate Get a Clue Identifying Level2 Detine vocabulary Defining Identify a politician Under Construction Making [..:,el 5 Construct Developing Invent Constructing Develop a plan You Guessed It Predicting Level6 Predict an outcome Estimating Estimate volume Say What? Revising LevelS Rewrite Create a new invitation Propose a Qlan Pick & Choose Selecting Le,el6 Make decisions Choosing Avoid obstacles Distinguishing Take action Rate and rank ThinkTank Solving Leve13 Solve a puzzle Crack a code Make an analogy_ 128

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APPENDIXD What On Earth Activity Categories with Bloom's Taxonomy: Subcategories of Cognitive Domain 129

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Activity Categories Each activity module incorporates skills and processes based on National Standards. Activities are designed to stimulate, challenge and develop critical and creative thinking abilities. The What On Earth education specialists assign levels of Bloom's taxonomy to each targeted skill. Bloom's Taxonomy: Subcategories of the Cognitive Domain1 Level 1: Knowledge Knowledge is the ability to remember previously learned material or skills. These activities require the student to match, label or identify. Level 2: Comprehension Comprehension is the ability to grasp the meaning of material. Students are expected to rewrite material or give a summary. Level 3: Application Application is the ability to use learned material in new situations. Students wiU use math skills or information to solve problems. Leve14: Analysis Analysis is the ability to break down material and understand the parts. Students distinguish facts from opinions or perceptions, recognize assumptions and evaluate data. Level 5: Synthesis Synthesis is the ability to assemble parts to form a new whole. To demonstrate their skills, students create, modify, organize and plan. Level 6: Evaluation Evaluation is the ability to judge the value of the material being presented. Judgments are based on criteria or standards. Students draw conclusions and judge whether the data supports their views. 1 "Mastermind for the Primary Grades. Exen:ises in Critical Thinking." by Richard R. Hawkes. Janey L. Montgomery andJoane W. McKay. 1992. 130

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APPENDIXE What On Earth Activity BrainPower 131

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