Date of Award

8-15-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Valeri R. Helterbran, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Abstract

Students' initial eagerness and excitement for learning to read are evident when they enter primary grades. Their levels of enthusiasm for reading diminish through elementary (Eccles, Wigfield, Harold, & Blumenfeld, 1993; Mazzoni, Gambell, & Koreamaki, 1999) and middle school (McKenna & Kearn, 1990; Oldfather & McLaughlin, 1993) years. These decreases in motivation result in undesirable learning environments, environments that rely heavily on proficient literacy levels for knowledge acquisition. Blame for demotivation in reading has been attributed to low self-concept of reading (Durik, Vida, & Eccles, 2006); lack of individual motivation for task (Alexander, Kulikowich, & Jetton, 2006); lack of relevancy for reading task (Crumpton & Gregory, 2011); conflicts in interest, attainment, utility, and cost values (Wentzel & Wigfield, 2009); structural changes in schools (Wigfield, 2004); and "dated" methodologies (Prensky, 2012). Technology has been identified as a positive motivational tool for increasing student engagement and interest (Geer & Sweeney, 2012; Petkov, 2011; Rowe, Shores, Mott, & Lester, 2011; Usher, 2012). This study examined ninth-grade students' situational interest when using dedicated e-readers in their language arts class. Students voluntarily participated by completing the Situational Interest Scale (SIS). Participants' responses were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to determine correlations among situational interest components. The triggered-situational interest questions on the SIS were administered at the beginning of the study while the maintained-situational interest components were completed six weeks later. The data indicated that all three components, triggered-situational interest, maintained-situational interest-value, and maintained-situational interest-feeling were strongly correlated. These findings suggest that students were initially excited to use an e-reader in the classroom, and the initial excitement was maintained six weeks later in the form of valuing the e-readers and having positive feelings related to using them. Even when controlling for previous use of an e-reader, the data support using e-readers in the classroom to increase student interest in reading. Recommendations suggest expanding research to determine if the interest leads to higher dedicated levels of student behaviors or intrinsic motivation.

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