Using Alternative Lenses to Examine Effective Teachers’ Use of Technology with Low-Performing Students

Jan. 07, 2008

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 110 Number 1, 2008, p. 195-217


Much of the literature on the use of technology with low-performing students can be seen as contradictory and limited, primarily because it examines technology use through a single lens: the technology itself.


This study used two lenses—teachers’ instructional practices and the research on effective technology use—to examine the use of technology by effective teachers.


Short interviews were conducted with 20 teachers (in 13 elementary schools) nominated by their principals as effective at improving the achievement of their low-performing students and as considering technology an important part of their instruction. Three of those teachers were chosen for a more in-depth examination.


The teachers in this study used technology in a balanced way that was continuous with their general instructional practices. Their use of technology reflected nine primary roles: to target instruction more effectively; to incorporate a variety of strategies; to support teacher-guided instruction; to increase student involvement in instruction; to facilitate remediation and reinforcement; to promote advanced thinking strategies; to increase access to resources; to motivate students; and to meet the needs of the whole child.


Examining the use of technology in the context of teachers’ instructional practices provides a fuller picture of the different roles technology can play to support the learning of low-performing students.

Updated: Dec. 15, 2008