Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Denisse R. Thompson, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Eugenia Vomvoridi-Ivanovic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey Kromrey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yiping Lou, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarah van Ingen, Ph.D.


Interactive Textbook, iPad, Middle Grades, Motivation, Rational Numbers


Over the past decade, technology has become a prominent feature in our lives. Technology has not only been integrated into our lives, but into the classroom as well. Teachers have been provided with a tremendous amount of technology related tools to educate their students. However, many of these technologically enhanced tools have little to no research supporting their claims to enhance learning.

This study focuses on one aspect of technology, the iBook, to complete homework relating to fractions, decimals, and percents in a sixth grade classroom. An iBook is a digital textbook that allows the user to interact with the book through various features. Some of these features include galleries, videos, review quizzes, and links to websites. These interactive features have the potential to enhance comprehension through interactivity and increased motivation.

Prior to this study, two pilot iterations were conducted. During each pilot study, students in two sixth grade classrooms used the iBook to supplement learning of fractions, decimals, and percents. A comparison group was not included during either iteration, as the goal was to fine-tune the study prior to implementation. The current study was the third iteration, which included a comparison and treatment group. During this study, three research questions were considered:

1) When learning fractions, decimals, and percents, in what ways, if any, do students achieve differently on a unit test when using an interactive iBook for homework as compared to students who have access to the same homework questions in an online static PDF format?

2) What are students' perceptions of completing homework regarding fractions, decimals, and percents with an interactive iBook compared to students who complete homework in an online static PDF format?

3) In what ways does students' achievement on homework differ when completing homework related to fractions, decimals, and percents from an interactive iBook and a static PDF online assignment?

Thirty students from a small charter school in southeast Florida participated in the third iteration of this study. Fifteen students were in the comparison group and fifteen were in the treatment group. Students in both groups received comparable classroom instruction, which was determined through audio recordings and similar lesson plans. Treatment group students were provided with a copy of the iBook for homework. Comparison group students were provided with a set of questions identical to the iBook questions in a static digital PDF format. The comparison group students also had access to the textbook, but not the iBook nor the additional resources available within the iBook.

The study took place over three weeks. At the commencement of the study, all students were given a pretest to determine their prior knowledge of fractions, decimals, and percents. Students were also asked to respond to questions regarding typical homework duration, level of difficulty, overall experience, and additional resources used for support. During the study, both classes received comparable instruction, which included mini lessons, manipulative based activities, mini quizzes, and group activities. Nightly homework was assigned to each group. At the conclusion of the study, both groups were given a posttest, which was identical to the pretest. Students were asked identical questions about their homework perceptions as prior to the study, but were asked to respond in regards to the study alone. All participating students completed a questionnaire to describe their perceptions of completing homework regarding fractions, decimals, and percents with an iBook as opposed to static digital PDF homework. Lastly, six students from the comparison group participated in a focus group and six students from the treatment group participated in a separate focus group.

Data were collected from the pretest and posttest, pre and post homework responses, collected homework, mini quizzes, audio recordings, teacher journal, questionnaires, and the focus group. No difference in achievement was found between the two groups. However, both groups improved significantly from the pretest to posttest. Based on the questionnaires and focus groups, both groups of students felt they learned fractions, decimals, and percents effectively. However, the questionnaire data showed the treatment group found the iBook more convenient than the comparison group did the textbook.

Data from this study provide a baseline for future studies regarding iBooks in middle school mathematics. Although the data show no difference in achievement between the two groups, further studies should be conducted in regards to the iBook. Questionnaire and focus group data suggest, with modifications, students may be more inclined to use the resources within the iBook, which may enhance achievement with fractions, decimals, and percents.