Title

Middle School Special Education Reading Teachers’ Experiences Utilizing Study Island Technology to Enhance Male Students’ Literacy: An Exploratory Case Study

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

January 2012

Abstract

This mixed methods study examined the experiences that four middle school special education teachers had implementing an online education program called Study Island in their reading classes. The teachers wanted to increase their students' reading decoding and comprehension skills and also wanted to prepare their students for their state's standardized test. Many male students today are underachieving academically and lack motivation to excel in their studies. Because boys comprise the majority gender in most resource classes (i.e., only special education students), this study focused on the male population in order to determine whether an online education program with a game component such as Study Island would induce them to focus on content-specific reading passages and utilize their analytical skills to answer the associated multiple choice questions correctly. This study used interviews, observations, and analysis of Study Island reporting data in order to understand the experiences of the teachers and determine if the middle school boys were progressing in their literacy ability. The results of this study revealed that Study Island was effective if students were well-behaved and focused on the material, thereby enhancing the teachers' perceptions of personal satisfaction. However, if students were distracted, unfocused, and unmotivated, less improvement was achieved and teachers felt sadness due to the lack of progress. This study also found that if teachers felt comfortable using technology, and received training and mentoring, they were more apt to use an online education program.

Share

COinS