Integrated Technology: Impact of Virtual Labs on Student Achievement Regarding Learner-Content Instruction of Physical Science Concepts (within a High-Needs Middle School)




Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Biological Sciences

Document Type



This study attempts to identify the most effective ways of integrating technology for the purpose of student achievement in the middle school physical science classroom. Two distinct methods of integrated technology were used to conduct this study. The IT1 method of instruction given to the control group includes use of SMART Board, PowerPoint presentation, internet usage, and electronic image projection. This type of technology was used primarily to assist in the facilitation of instruction that was given throughout the course of the study. The instructional method used for the experimental group, IT2, mirrored that of IT1. However, additional means of integrated technology were incorporated, specifically the use of a single computer –based virtual lab, referred to throughout the study as E13. Students of both IT1 and IT2 groups were to complete a quiz in hard copy format, identified as VLab2. Students of IT2 were allowed to complete the VLab 2 quiz with the use of E13, whereas students of IT1 were to complete VLab 2 without the use of E13. Instead, students of IT1 received information necessary to complete VLab 2 via SMART Board in colored text display. While students of IT1 were able to work with a classmate during completion of VLab 2 to supplement interactive engagement, students of IT2 were to complete VLab 2 alone, but with the engagement and functionality offered inE13. It was concluded through use of Mann –Whitney tests that use of the computer based virtual lab did not significantly increase overall student achievement, however, significant trends of learning between the two groups did exist. This study did resolve some contrasting views of the effectiveness of educational technology and helped to assert whether technology could be used primarily in the classroom.



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Committee Chair

Larkin, John C



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