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Computational Thinking: Perspectives of Preservice K-8 Mathematics Teachers

by Elizabeth K. Barlow, Angela T. Barlow & Louis S. Nadelson
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Advancements in computing have led to increased interest in integrating computational thinking in the K-12 curriculum. Computational thinking can be defined as a problem-solving process with the goal of developing algorithms that can be coded for computer use. With its emphasis on problem solving, the processes associated with computational thinking overlap with those of mathematical thinking, leading to an anticipated reliance on mathematics teachers to teach computational thinking in the K-12 setting. Currently, research related to preservice mathematics teachers’ perceptions of computational thinking is emergent; yet, this research is needed to inform leaders of teacher preparation programs. The purpose of this study was to investigate preservice K-8 mathematics teachers’ views of teaching computational thinking. Participants from three different universities completed an asynchronous, online simulation, responding verbally to prompts related to the importance of and processes for teaching computational thinking to all students. Results demonstrated that participants found value in teaching computational thinking, although the majority either did not connect their ideas specifically to computational thinking or erroneously connected their ideas to mathematical computations and/or technology integration. Further, a large majority of participants demonstrated deficit perspectives of students considered lower achieving. Implications and areas for future work are included.

Exploring Science Teachers’ Distance Education Experiences: A Private School Case

by Seda Kaynak & Ümran Betül Cebesoy
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The COVID-19 outbreak had massive impacts in many areas, including education, all over the world. This pandemic forced education systems to make an emergency shift to remote teaching. The Turkish education system was affected by the pandemic, and all schools were forced to shut down in March 2020. Approximately 18 million students in Türkiye continued their education through distance teaching. Distance education, as a response to this compulsory transition, was carried out through the Education Informatics Network (EBA) and Turkish Radio and Television Corporation Educational Information Network (TRT EBA TV) channels. However, it was not known whether teachers were ready for this compulsory transition and online teaching process. This study aimed to investigate science teachers’ perceptions of the compulsory distance education process and the difficulties they encountered during online teaching. Four science teachers working in a private school during the pandemic voluntarily participated in the study. A semistructured interview was used for data collection. Standard qualitative analysis methods were used. The results revealed the participant teachers were not fully ready for this compulsory transition. They frequently encountered internet access problems, parent/teacher communication issues, problems with the delivery platform, and outdated hardware technologies. Teachers proposed effective professional development programs for developing their capabilities to use online education platforms more effectively.

Editorial: The Metaphor Is the Message: Limitations of the Media Literacy Metaphor for Social Studies

by Lance E. Mason, Daniel G. Krutka & Marie K. Heath
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In this editorial the authors drew upon metaphor studies to identify limitations of the literacy metaphor, which has become a master metaphor for competency in education, particularly through discussions of media literacy. It considers how the literacy metaphor ignores media forms within media literacy education. Building on the authors’ initial editorial as CITE—Social Studies Education editors and drawing on the work of media ecologists, the authors suggest different avenues for media and technology education that view media as environments.

Preservice Teachers Identifying High Leverage Practices Within Virtual Field Experiences

by Sarah Watt & Jason Abbitt
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An exploratory, within-subject study examined the extent to which 34 preservice teachers noticed the implementation of high-leverage practices (HLPs) in special education classrooms within three virtual field experiences (VFEs). The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which preservice teachers could accurately identify HLPs across a variety of classroom settings that embedded different instructional models (i.e., explicit teaching versus inquiry-based models). Overall findings indicated that preservice teachers consistently observed strategies to promote active engagement with high accuracy and observed the implementation of cognitive strategies and scaffolded instruction with low accuracy. Furthermore, preservice teachers identified HLPs with this highest accuracy within classrooms using explicit instructional settings. Implications for teacher educators on how to scaffold VFEs to promote accurate identification of HLPs across settings are provided.

Transforming Assessment in Online STEM Learning: Preparing Teachers to Integrate Computational Thinking in Elementary Classrooms

by Terrie Galanti & Courtney Baker
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With the increasing emphasis on infusing computational thinking (CT) in PK-12 education, developing teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge is essential for CT integration. In a graduate online CT course for elementary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching, the Authentic Integrated Online Assessment model (Galanti et al., 2021b) informed the design of a digital interactive notebook (DINb) as a performance-based assessment of teachers’ CT content and pedagogical content knowledge. Qualitative content analysis of course artifacts revealed the power of the DINb to prompt feedback, revision, and self-reflection. The iterative nature of the DINb deepened CT understandings, normalized incomplete thinking as productive, and enhanced online teacher-instructor communication about CT concepts. Findings indicate that this iterative approach to online assessment developed elementary STEM teachers’ CT skills and dispositions. They demonstrated their understanding of CT as a problem-solving approach that they could learn and integrate in their own classrooms.

Metadata Standards for Educational Objects

by Glen Bull, Steven Greenstein, Joshua Ellis, Sumreen Asim, Ryan Novitski, Elizabeth Whitewolf & Sherry Lake
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An Educational CAD Model Library (CAD Library) is being developed by collaborating educational associations affiliated with the National Technology Leadership Summit coalition. The CAD Library’s Curators’ Council has developed descriptive metadata fields that will be associated with each educational object published in the library. These fields are designed to facilitate search and discovery of objects by teachers who are increasingly well positioned to use these objects in their instruction due to the increasing presence of school-based makerspaces and the 3D printers, digital die cutters, and other fabrication tools. The publication of these metadata standards makes them available to the members of the educational associations participating in the development of the CAD Library and to other relevant stakeholders for feedback to inform ongoing revisions.

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