Research on Technology Integration

Stetter, M. E., & Hughes, M. T. (April 25, 2011). Computer assisted instruction to promote comprehension in students with learning disabilities. International Journal of Special Education, 26, 1, 88-100.


Reading comprehension is a necessary skill for all students to be successful in school. However, some students lack this skill making it difficult for them to read and understand the material in their other subjects. These students with learning disabilities often struggle to comprehend their daily lessons. The question arises with the advancements in technology, if there is anything available to help those students. The research involved using a computer program that assisted students with learning disabilities. A comprehension strategy, story mapping, was the focus of the study. Story mapping uses a graphic organizer to help the students learn the components of a story. By using the graphic organizer, they can identify the characters in the story, the plot, setting, the conflict, and the solution. “In the United States, 90% of the school-age population with learning disabilities (LD) have difficulty independently (Vaughn, Levy & Coleman 2002) including problems comprehending”. Different circumstances play a part in a LD student’s inability to read including earlier teachers who did not understand their problems or insufficient assistance with their lack of reading skills. Many of these students become frustrated and unmotivated. Therefore, the responsibility lies with the teacher to develop strategies to help these students with their struggles.

One strategy is story mapping defined in the previous paragraph. Students learn to recognize the characters, the plot, setting, the conflict, and solution of a story. “Studies have examined that students with LD benefit in explicit instruction in these elements thus picking up many of the same skills that their normally functioning peers achieve more naturally” (Stetter & Hughes 2010). In addition, computer programs that provide repeated practice in the use of reading skills have been proven to benefit LD students. “Unfortunately, there is a research gap in the area of reading and computers because of the rapidly changing nature of technology, use of moneys in other areas, as well as emphasis on other reading research subjects” (NRP 2000). “The main purpose of the current study was to use computers to present a text structure strategy, story mapping, to assist high school students with LD in their reading comprehension. The research used a multiple-baseline single-subject design to answer the following two questions:

  1. Does using CAI that incorporates the use of a story map strategy help students with LD improve their reading comprehension of narrative text?
  2. What are the perceptions of students with LD regarding participating in CAI to help them develop their reading comprehension?” (Stetter & Hughes, 2011).



The nine students listed above participated in the study. There were 35 stories used throughout the study. All the stories had at least one conflict with at least two main characters. “The stories were between 830-980 words and with a mean GE readability of 3.7 reading level according to the Fry Readability Formula” (Stetter & Hughes, 2011). After reading the stories the students completed story maps on the computer. Prior to and after the study the nine students completed the Gates-MacGinitie comprehension test. The majority of the students showed improvement on the Gates-MacGinite comprehension test, but not the daily quizzes. It was proposed that the additional concentration on reading 35 stories may have been responsible for the improvements on the Gates-MacGinite comprehension test. “The conclusions of the study determined that reading comprehension strategies and the use of computers are helpful strategies that could benefit students with LD as they move through both their school and work lives. Involving explicit teacher instruction in these areas can better the learning experience of students. The results of this study indicate the need for further work involving teacher instruction paired with computer usage” (Stetter & Hughes, 2011).

After reading this article, I am more aware of the possibilities that exist for LD students. There is more educational software becoming available that provides interaction, positive feedback, individualized training, and repetition of the skills needed to improve reading comprehension. I searched for programs that are available and found several including these;, , and These are just a few that available. If I were in a classroom, I would research the various programs and select the ones that met the student’s needs. Additionally, if the program didn’t include positive reinforcements, I would make certain to praise their efforts daily.


NRP. (2000). National institute of child health and human development Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.


Stetter, M. E., & Hughes, M. T. (2010). Using story grammar to assist students with learning disabilities and reading difficulties improve their comprehension. Education and Treatment of Children, 33(1), 115-151. Retrieved from doi:10.1353/etc.0.0087

Stetter, M. E., & Hughes, M. T. (April 25, 2011). Computer assisted instruction to promote comprehension in students with learning disabilities. International Journal of Special Education, 26, 1, 88-100.

Vaughn, S., Levy, S., & Coleman, M. (2002). Reading instruction for students with LD and EBD: Asynthesis of observation studies. The Journal of Special Education, 36(1), 2-13.



Hutchison, A., Beschorner, B., & Schmidt-Crawford, D. (2012). EXPLORING THE USE OF THE iPAD FOR LITERACY LEARNING. The Reading Teacher, 66(1), 15-23. Retrieved from


Mobile learning has taken the concept of technology into the hands of the students in today’s classrooms. “Traxel (2005) defines mobile learning simply as learning that is supported or delivered by a handheld or mobile device”. “The International Reading Association ([IRA]; 2009) has issued a position statement asserting that;

to become fully literate in today’s world, students must become proficient in the new literacies of 21st-century technologies. IRA believes that literacy educators have a responsibility to integrate information and communication technologies (ICTs) into the curriculum, to prepare students for the futures they deserve” (n.p.).

Ipads and other hand-held tablets are convenient and less expensive than computers when you are looking at access for all students. These tablets provide opportunities to teach the new literacies of the 21st century. The study follows Mrs. Dill, a fourth-grade teacher with 23 students in her class. She plans to use iPads with her students to teach these new literacies. Before beginning she determined that she wanted to teach print based literacy goals while presenting the use of the iPads, the appropriate apps and how they would acquaint her students with the 21st century. Mrs. Dill was not familiar with tablets prior to the study, but she was eager to learn so that she could instruct her students. She followed the necessary steps after selecting her learning goals. She chose the appropriate apps that would be the most effective in instructing her students.

During the three weeks of the study, Mrs. Dill used different apps as she used the TPACK framework. “A theoretical frame that supports the integration of digital technology into literacy and other content areas is the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework” (Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Thompson & Mishra, 2007-2008).


In conclusion, the researchers determined the following; “Thus, we believe that Mrs. Dill was successful in achieving curricular integration, as described previously, rather than technological integration. Keeping the TPACK framework in mind, we guided Mrs. Dill to think about what she was teaching (i.e., literacy content knowledge), how she could best teach it (i.e., pedagogical knowledge), and how the technology (i.e., technology knowledge – iPad and apps) could be used to support student learning” (Hutchison, Beschorner, & Schmidt-Crawford, 2012).

There are many ideas that I could use from this article. Several of the lessons were described in detail along with the appropriate app that the teacher used in the study. There was a table that included a list of iPad Apps That Could Be Used for Instructional Activities. Also, table 2 listed the Advantages and Considerations of Using iPads for Literacy Instruction. Both tables were very informative. At the end of the study, the researchers had included a special section with step-by-step directions on how to create your own literacy activity. I will definitely save this article for future reference.



Hutchison, A., Beschorner, B., & Schmidt-Crawford, D. (2012). EXPLORING THE USE OF THE iPAD FOR LITERACY LEARNING. The Reading Teacher, 66(1), 15-23. Retrieved from

International Reading Association (2009). New Literacies and 21st-Century Technologies: A position statement of the International Reading Association. Newark, DE: International Reading Association

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for integrating technology in teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054.

Thompson, A. & Mishra, P. (2007-2008). Breaking news: TPCK becomes TPACK! Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 24(2), 38, 64.

Traxel, J. (2009). Learning in a mobile age, International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(1), 1-12.



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