Using Multimedia-Rich Classes to Improve Student Engagement in High School Mathematics

Year: 2015

Author: Chipangura, Addwell, Aldridge, Jill

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Using Multimedia-Rich Classes to Improve Student Engagement in High School Mathematics While there is a general consensus that improving student motivation and engagement in mathematics learning is a priority and a necessary precursor for boosting student achievement, there is less certainty about how to accomplish this. Research has suggested that exposing students to multimedia in mathematics classes can improve their engagement. This study examined whether students’ frequently exposed to multimedia in mathematics classes (that is, a learning environment that combines hypertext and at least one other media format simultaneously) reported different levels of motivation and engagement from their counterparts who were not. The study incorporated a mixed-method approach that involved surveys, interviews and observations of classes. The Student Adaptive Learning Engagement Survey was modified and used to assess students’ engagement in mathematics. The survey was administered to 365 in 16 classes, of which nine classes (n=197 students) were frequently exposed to multimedia while the rest were not. The results from this large-scale overview were used as a springboard from which qualitative data were collected (including observations and interviews with 10 students and three teachers) to provide deeper insight and causal explanations. The results of one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed statistically significant differences (p<0.01) between the two groups with students exposed to multimedia in mathematics classes reporting more task value, self-esteem, learning goal orientation and self-regulation. Further, the results indicated differences in engagement for males and females in classes exposed to multimedia, with males reporting that they valued the task more and had more self-efficacy (p<0.01) than females. Qualitative data analysis indicated that students in classes frequently exposed to multimedia were more focused, interested and attentive and enjoyed their mathematics work. Students’ differences in autonomy, flexibility, interpersonal (classroom) relationships, collaboration and in involvement in learning activities appeared to have contributed to the differences in students’ self-reports of their motivation and self-regulation in mathematics. The results offer potentially important insights into the relationship between students’ exposure to multimedia and their engagement in mathematics classes. In particular, the interactions between exposure to multimedia and sex with respect to the learning environment and engagement adds to the understanding of multimedia learning environments, and how each sex perceives multimedia learning environments. The results from this study could be used by educational institutions to guide their intervention programmes, which may differ in terms of orientation and application for males and females in order to tackle engagement issues in mathematics classes.