Choose to Use: Scaffolding for Technology Learning Needs in a Project-Based Learning Environment




Weimer, Peggy D

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Project-based learning is one approach used by teachers to meet the challenge of developing more technologically proficient students. This approach, however, requires students to manage a large number of tasks including the mastery of technology. If a student’s perception that their capability to perform a task falls below the task’s difficulty, it may result in cognitive overload or impair cognitive processing. Scaffolding, often provided for other elements in project-based learning, is commonly omitted in meeting students’ learning needs for technology. This study, a quasi-experimental research design, used a repeated mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the effectiveness of one approach, a web-based technology resource (WBTR), to support students’ technology learning needs in a project-based learning environment. Students reported using numerous components provided in the WBTR with reported use (number of times and amount of time) decreasing steadily over repeated projects. The results of regression analysis provided evidence to suggest that scaffolding provided by the WBTR for students’ anticipated technology needs is used for longer amounts of time by students with lower self-assessed levels of confidence in producing the first and second videos and students who used the WBTR more frequently earned a lower quality of product score for the first project and a lower quality of content score for the second project. This might suggest that with repeated use students started to gain confidence in their abilities to perform the needed technology skills and that the quality of content and product were no longer impacted by attempts to master technology skills.



Educational technology, Education, Project-based learning, Scaffolding, Tasks, Technology skills