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Students participate in research project using data collection phones

Have you ever wished that you could get away with using your phone in class? This week, Bryan Tasior’s second block physics class did just that when they participated in an education research project conducted by Michigan State University.

“Students were given cell phones that randomly alerted them throughout a three day period of time,” Tasior said. “When they were alerted, they had 15 minutes from that time to answer the questions on the phone. It only takes 90 seconds to answer.”

The project began Wednesday September 27 and ran through Friday September 29.

“The phone’s asked questions like what subject you were in, what you were doing in that class, if what you were doing was more like work or play,” junior Jade Harbert, a participant in the study, said.

The staff members of the school were informed of the project and were given a list of student participants, so that teachers knew that those individuals were using the phones for an academic purpose.

“Each of the questions had a scale of one to four,” Harbert said. “They asked how focused you were, if you enjoyed what you were doing, if what you were doing was important to you, and if what you were doing was important for future goals.”

The project data was collected through the phones by data analyst of the research team, Richard Chester from MSU.

“The data collected was used in a Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) Research project that measured student engagement in the project-based Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), aligned instructional methods compared to traditional instruction,” Tasior said.

Participants earned incentives in the form of gift cards for their participation in the project.

“I probably would have done the project without an incentive, because it was only a minor inconvenience,” Harbert said. “I liked the project because it was something I had never done before. A guy gave me a phone that would go off at random times of the day. I had not experienced anything like it.”