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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.

Teaching Science via Computational Thinking? Enabling Future Science Teachers’ Access to Computational Thinking

by Ugur Kale, Ashley Kooken, Jiangmei Yuan & Abhik Roy
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Despite the increasing number of coding initiatives to promote computational thinking (CT), their main focus on in-service teachers in large school districts of the big cities far from exemplifies opportunities for preservice teachers (PSTs) to learn how to promote it in rural elementary school settings. As a preliminary step, this research examined how a specific workshop, designed to infuse CT in a science methods course, influenced PSTs’ motivation, skill, and usage access to CT. A pre- and post-test quasi-experimental design guided the research. The two intact classroom sections of an elementary education science method course (N=43) were randomly assigned to either a control group or an experimental group. After the covariates were controlled for, attending the workshop increased PSTs skill and usage access as well as their likelihood to incorporate CT in their lesson modifications. PSTs’ deeper discussion of CT processes and affordances of CT in relation to the phases of 5E Model is essential to helping them connect CT to the science pedagogy.

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.

Preparing Preservice Teachers for Residency Through Alternative Fieldwork Experiences

by Karen Gregory, Gretchen Oliver & Seema Rivera
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This action research project investigates technology-enhanced forms of clinical experience in an online Master of Arts program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The three research questions were as follows: (a) What representations of practice do preservice teachers (PSTs) notice while observing others teach via purposely selected video lessons; (b) how do PSTs make connections between the representations of practice they identified in these observations and pedagogical theories they have learned in their methods courses; and (c) how do PSTs decompose the teaching practices they view in video observations with others in online discussion forums? Analysis of the data revealed that PSTs most often noted teacher actions related to developing a positive classroom culture, classroom management, and best practices for English learner instruction. Through their asynchronous online discussions and written reflections, PSTs developed a better understanding of best practices for teaching English learners, in which they were able to conceptualize and actualize abstract constructs from their methods courses such as trust-building, culturally responsive teaching, the zone of proximal development, and funds of knowledge, while also making theoretical constructs actionable through their shared observation experience and online discussions. Findings indicate that the implementation of video-based fieldwork along with collaborative online discussion may help PSTs to better understand the complex constellation of actions and decisions that lead to effective pedagogy for English learners.

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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