Examining the efficacy of using iPod Touches to deliver reading comprehension strategy instruction and to provide electronic text support on the reading comprehension performance of sixth-grade students
Instructional use of the iPod Touch is increasing as evidenced by anecdotal reports of its efficacy as a learning tool. However, research documenting the impact of this technology has been limited. This study was based on the following research questions: (a) Does providing explicit reading comprehension strategy instruction using an iPod Touch increase students' reading comprehension outcomes based on standardized reading tests and multiple-choice probe measures when compared to a No Support comparison group? (b) Does providing different types of electronic text support increase students' reading comprehension outcomes, and if so, which type of support is most effective? (c) Does providing different levels of electronic text support influence students' attitudes toward the use of comprehension strategies as well as using an iPod Touch for this task? Participants included 155 sixth-grade students at a public middle school. Students were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups; (a) Notational Only support (a note-taking sheet), (b) Notational + Instructional support (embedded prompts), and (c) Notational + Instructional + Translational support (audio version of the text and prompts) and received reading comprehension strategy instruction and text support using an iPod Touch. An intact No Support ( N = 61) group that did not receive instruction or text support but read the texts using an iPod Touch was used as a quasi-experimental comparison group. Two standardized reading comprehension measures were employed at pretest and posttest as well as researcher developed probe measures that were used throughout the study. An ANOVA analysis determined that no statistically significant differences existed between the groups at pretest. An ANCOVA with pretest scores as a covariate found no statistically significant differences between groups on the standardized reading comprehension measures. Because of a high level of variation among the probe measure data, including significant missing data, these results were not analyzed statistically and were reported descriptively. Students responded positively to survey questions about using the iPod Touch for summarization strategy instruction and the text supports.