School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Tracey Pritchard


Vocabulary, Instructional Methods, Tablet Technology, Content Area, Teaching Strategies, Reading Comprehension


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this collective case study was to provide an understanding of the instructional methods of teachers who use tablet technology in middle school classrooms to teach complex content vocabulary. Dewey’s theory of constructivism guided this study, as it explains that students learn by building upon what they know. Middle school students add new terms to their existing vocabulary banks so that they can learn the related concepts in their content-area classes. The study took place in a southern state with technology standards that require students to use technology for reading and learning purposes. There is extensive research about vocabulary instruction and secondary content-area reading, but there is limited research about how middle school teachers use tablet technology for vocabulary instruction. Data gathered in this study were used to identify and describe the perceptions of technology, successes, and challenges of middle school content teachers using tablet technology in teaching vocabulary as well as the strategies and activities used to incorporate tablet technology in their vocabulary lessons. Data were collected through participants’ lesson plans, interviews, observations of teacher participants, focus groups, and memoing. Data were triangulated and analyzed to detect common themes that described middle school teachers’ perceptions of technology and their successes and challenges using the technology and to provide an understanding of the methods of instruction that the middle school teachers use to teach vocabulary with tablets. The study revealed that teachers use tablet technology to supplement the direct instruction of vocabulary and not as a replacement for teacher-to-student interaction.