What research purposes generally attract you most? What kinds of questions are you most interested in exploring with your future learning technologies research?

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First, a quick recap of the types of research. I found a simple description online at explorable.com that has the following. “The purpose of research can be a complicated issue and varies across different scientific fields and disciplines. At the most basic level, science can be split, loosely, into two types, ‘pure research’ and ‘applied research’. Both of these types follow the same structures and protocols for propagating and testing hypotheses and predictions, but vary slightly in their ultimate purpose. … Pure scientific research is about finding an explanation to an observed situation or occurrence. … Applied scientific research is about finding an answer to a specific problem.” (Shuttleworth, 2008)

I believe I am more interested in conducting applied research. The question I hope to answer with my future learning technologies research is close to “Can math proficiency in elementary students improve if the students work with a mobile math app before going to sleep for the night?” I may modify this question slightly as I get further into my research or as I learn more about what other researchers have done on this topic.

Most people agree that practice improves performance and I understand that the last thing humans think about at night before falling asleep is processed by their brain over and over again while sleeping. I want to research a combination of these two ideas to find math learning in elementary students improves when the students engage in practice before falling asleep. I would like my research to encourage elementary school math teachers to assign mobile math app homework to students as the last task of the day, and subsequently educate parents about the importance of this last learning task before falling asleep.

Thus far, I pulled five articles in the topic of math apps. It appears it will be easy to gather much information on the subject. I know many math apps exist already and teachers who already use them probably have their favorites. Ultimately, I’d like to work with a math app that gives ten random questions in one of 8 categories and returns to the student and to the teacher the final score of that set of questions. The categories would be

Addition problems with single-digit numbers (3 + 2 = ?)

Subtraction problems with single-digit numbers (4 – 2 = ?)

Multiplication problems with single-digit numbers (4 x 3 = ?)

Division problems with single-digit numbers (4 / 2 = ?)

Addition problems with double-digit numbers (34 + 12 = ?)

Subtraction problems with double-digit numbers (14 – 32 = ?)

Multiplication problems with double-digit numbers (24 x 13 = ?)

Division problems with double-digit numbers (24 / 12 = ?)

The teacher would assign the student to take the test at least once right before going to sleep and specify which test the student should attempt based on the topic being taught in class. This last task assignment would be in addition to any physical homework assignments the teacher assigns. The student would be welcome to test as often as they would like, or repeat the test several times. Each time the test is finished the teacher would receive the students name, the final score, and the date/time the test was taken. I would hope that monitoring this data would indicate that the students that perform the last task assignment show an improvement in math proficiency.

While thinking about conducting applied research and searching online about the challenges I might face, I found that applied research can have direct implication for what should be done in practice. McCall and Groark state in a chapter of X “Classic intervention demonstration project is a good example in which an intervention is tried out under relatively controlled conditions to determine if it produces a specific desirable outcome.” (McCall and Groark, 2010) Based on this description, it sounds like applied research aligns very well with what I’m trying to accomplish with my future learning technologies research project.

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References

Martyn Shuttleworth. (Aug 2, 2008). Purpose of Research. *Explorable.* Retrieved from https://explorable.com/purpose-of-reasearch

McCall, R.B, and Groark, C. J. (2010). Challenges and Issues in Designing Applied Research. *University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development *Retrieved from https://www.ocd.pitt.edu/Files/Publications/Challenges%20and%20Issues%20in%20Designing%20Applied%20Research.pdf