Instructional Technology, Motivation, Attitudes and Behaviors
An Investigation of At-Risk Learners in the Middle School General Music Classroom
In middle schools today, teachers meet many challenges. Students come to school with a wide variety of experiences and economic backgrounds. They come with varying needs and abilities. Middle school is a time of many changes for students. One of the many goals of middle school is to meet the needs of the students in academics as well as the social, physical and emotional needs.
The research question addressed in this dissertation was: What are the effects of instructional technology on motivation, attitudes and behavior of at-risk learners in the middle school general music classroom? The purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of instructional technology, specifically digital piano keyboards and computers, in the middle school general music program would have a positive effect on the motivation, attitudes and behaviors of at-risk learners. To this end, a study was conducted in which at-risk learners received instruction delivered through a higher concentration of technology.
Students completed a pretest and a posttest consisting of the Motivation Achievement Profile, audiation/listening and audiation/reading scales of Level One of the Iowa Tests of Music Literacy and the Middle School Music Attitude Scale. The experimental group received music instruction through a higher concentration of technology while the comparison group participated in an equally desirable music program.
The expected results were that the use of instructional technology would improve motivation, attitudes, and behavior as well as basic music skills in the general music classroom. In addition, through the positive experience they will have, in conjunction with the use of the technology, their attitudes and behaviors such as attendance, attention to task, and persistence in performing certain tasks will improve.
Data was analyzed using an analysis of covariance, in which the posttest mean of the experimental group was compared with the posttest mean of the comparison group with the pretest scores used as a covariate. Overall, no statistical significance was found; however, statistical significance was found on 2 of the 22 measures taken. Furthermore, there was a remarkable degree of consistency for the experimental group. Overall, consistency was seen with the experimental group scoring higher on 18 of the 22 measures indicating that perhaps if there had been more students a significant effect might have been seen. Nonetheless, the consistency leads to the conclusion that the treatment had some kind of effect. There is an implication that a positive, although not statistically significant effect on the motivation, attitudes and behaviors of at-risk learners occurred.