Using Handheld Computers for Constant Daily Review in Sixth Grade Mathematics




Obenschain, Faye Bland

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This mixed methods study compared mathematics achievement after students reviewed using handheld computer games or using teacher-led reviews. A total of 54 sixth grade students were involved in the study. The study examined achievement by ability level and student gender. The study occurred in one semester time frame during regular school hours in a public middle school. Students participated during their regularly scheduled mathematics classes. Each day in mathematics class, the students reviewed previous concepts taught to help keep the concepts easily accessible to the students’ memory. This is usually accomplished by the teacher leading the review using a projector to ask questions. This was the teacher-led type of review. During the intervention, instead of completing the teacher-led daily review, the students used the same amount of time each day in class to review mathematical concepts using the handheld computers. The units were alternated with handheld computer units being first, third, and fifth; whereas, teacher-led reviews were conducted during the second, fourth, and sixth units. The research questions were examined across multiple units and within each mathematical unit. A within-group equivalent time series design was employed. The three different ability groups were compared across their own achievements over time. They were compared to themselves; not a different comparison group. Quantitatively, a pretestposttest design with multiple measures was used to measure students’ retention of mathematical concepts for low-ability, average-ability, and high-ability learners and for male and female learners. A delayed posttest was used to analyze retention later in the school year. Qualitatively, the teacher kept a journal that contained questions primarily about game design and observations of students’ perceptions. Overall, students who reviewed using the handheld computer mathematical games obtained a mean gain score on unit 1, unit 3, and unit 5 tests of 82.28 (SD = 30.00) and students who reviewed using the teacher-led reviews obtained a mean gain score on unit 2, unit 4, and unit 6 tests of 58.81 (SD = 45.64). Results from the paired samples t-test were statistically significant, t(52) = 4.42, p<.001. For student ability, this study showed that average-ability students using handheld computer mathematical review games do retain more mathematical content on unit tests. As for gender, average-ability female students using handheld computer mathematical review games retained more mathematical content on unit tests.



Hand-held computers, Mathematics, Daily review, Games