Investigation of the effect of using data collection technology on students' attitudes to science instruction

R. Douglas Damery



The purpose of this project was to investigate the effect of using of data collection technology on student attitudes towards science instruction. The study was conducted over the course of two years at Madison High School in Adrian, Michigan, primarily in college preparatory physics classes, but also in one college preparatory chemistry class and one environmental science class. A preliminary study was conducted at a Lenawee County Intermediate Schools student summer environmental science day camp. The data collection technology used was a combination of Texas Instruments TI-84 Silver Plus graphing calculators and Vernier LabPro data collection sleds with various probeware attachments, including motion sensors, pH probes and accelerometers. Students were given written procedures for most laboratory activities and were provided with data tables and analysis questions to answer about the activities. The first year of the study included a pretest and posttest measuring student attitudes towards the class they were enrolled in. Pre-test and post-test data were analyzed to determine effect size, which was found to be very small (Coe, 2002). The second year of the study focused only on a physics class and used Keller’s ARCS model for measuring student motivation based on the four aspects of motivation: Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction (Keller, 2010). According to this model, it was found that there were two distinct groups in the class, one of which was motivated to learn and the other that was not. The data suggest that the use of data collection technology in science classes should be started early in a student’s career, possibly in early middle school or late elementary. This would build familiarity with the equipment and allow for greater exploration by the student as they progress through high school and into upper level science courses.