Engagement in game design tasks can help preservice teachers develop pedagogical and technical skills for teaching and promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Through the design process, preservice teachers not only exercise critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, but also learn about an instructional method to support their future students’ problem-solving skills. Becoming comfortable with games and game design, however, requires firsthand design experiences, which teacher education programs hardly provide. Given the limited opportunities and research, this study attempted to gain insight into the implementation of a game design workshop to teach preservice teachers how to integrate game design in their future practices. In this exploratory case study, we analyzed reflections and lesson plans from four preservice teachers who participated in a game design workshop. Overall, the preservice teachers found the workshop to be effective in teaching them the intricacies of the game design process. However, both the participants’ learning experiences during the workshop and the level of pedagogical elements present in their lesson plans varied depending on their technology knowledge and teaching context.
The microblogging service Twitter offers a platform that social studies educators increasingly use for professional development, communication, and class activities, but to what ends? The authors drew on Deweyan conceptions of participatory learning and citizenship aims of the field as lenses through which to consider social media activities. To determine how and why social studies educators use Twitter, 303 K-16 self-identified social studies educators were surveyed in this study. Results from respondents suggested that they valued the professional development experiences afforded by the platform, but were less likely to utilize Twitter for communication or class activities. Themes and examples that point to ways social studies educators use Twitter are described to provide insights for educators aiming to use social media professionally. Questions are also raised concerning whether social studies educators have missed opportunities to use social media to connect across racial and cultural boundaries and for civic purposes.
Teaching mathematics for understanding requires listening to each student’s mathematical thinking, best elicited in a one-on-one interview. Interviews are difficult to enact in a teacher’s busy schedule, however. In this study, the authors utilize smartphone technology to help mathematics teachers interview a student in a virtual one-on-one setting. Free from physical constraints and preconceived biases, teachers can concentrate on building questioning, listening, and responding skills when noticing student mathematical thinking. Teachers engaged in four communication types when working with students through this technology: clarification, verification, and either extension or redirection.
English teacher education programs often look for ways to help preservice teachers engage in critical reflection, participate in communities of practice, and write for authentic audiences in order to be able to teach in the 21st century. In this article, the authors describe how they used Twitter to provide opportunities for reflection and collaboration during methods courses in two English education programs. The authors examined the affordances and limitations of using Twitter in methods courses and suggest revisions to help other teacher educators consider ways to use Twitter in their own courses. Specifically, the authors suggest that Twitter is useful for ongoing reflection and provides potential for preservice teachers to engage with larger communities of practice outside of their own institution; however, preservice teachers may need scaffolding and guidance for developing critical reflection skills and maintaining involvement in communities of practice.
Technology is increasingly positioned by policy makers as a necessary part of 21st-century schools. However, it is not always clear how well preparation programs in educational technology truly prepare educators for such work. In this study, the author critically analyzed official standards documentation for an educational technology specialist program in order to determine the degree to which preservice educators are being prepared for what is expected of them. The author articulated a framework called critical software studies, which seeks to unpack the way software, which is what comprises modern technologies, demands a kind of scrutiny few acknowledge and consider when preparing future educators. The author concluded that the standards themselves do not take a critical stance with regard to technology, but rather presuppose technology as something neutral and purely functional. Recommendations to improve standards and programs are then made to different stakeholders in teacher education.
A test project at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez used GeoGebra applets to promote the concept of multirepresentational fluency among high school mathematics preservice teachers. For this study, this fluency was defined as simultaneous awareness of all representations associated with a mathematical concept, as measured by the ability to pass seamlessly among verbal, geometric, symbolic, and numerical representations of the same mathematical object. The preservice teachers in this study attended a seminar where they were introduced to the underlying concepts and the pedagogical advantages of multirepresentational fluency. For select topics, this idea was reinforced with interactive GeoGebra applets that allowed preservice teachers to alter a parameter and simultaneously view how it changes all four associated representations simultaneously. A qualitative study found that this approach appeared to (a) promote the use of multirepresentational fluency in problem solving approaches used among preservice teachers, (b) change preservice teachers’ perceptions of what it means for a student to understand a concept, and (c) change the nature of evaluations that preservice teachers felt were appropriate for high school students.
This paper explores student interactions from the Virtual Math Teams-With-GeoGebra Project, a computer-supported collaborative learning environment that allows individuals to interact, collaborate, and discuss user-created dynamic mathematics objects. Previous studies of virtual math teams have focused on the coconstruction of a joint problem space and the ways collaborative meaning making can be accomplished in the online environment. Instead, this study explored the development of the students’ argumentation practices. The researchers used Toulman’s (1969) model to analyze and explain the structure of the online interactions and the argumentative practices that become normative among students. In particular, the researchers found that the students made increasingly detailed and mathematical descriptions of the data, developed more abstract warrants, and increasingly acted as if giving reasons was normative in the discussion.
Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are increasingly prevalent in U.S. classrooms. Yet, little is known about how this tool is being used to teach social studies. This case study through classroom observations, interviews, and student focus groups examines how two fifth-grade teachers use t he IWB to teach U.S. history. The data indicate that when the teachers were observed utilizing an IWB in their social studies instruction, they shifted away from the student-centered instructional practices observed when they did not use the device. Their IWB-centered instruction was teacher centered, utilizing the device predominantly for projection. This trend is likely due to a lack of confidence in how to integrate the IWB technology with social studies pedagogy, as well as a perceived lack of ready-made social studies materials for the IWB. Hammond and Manfra’s (2009) giving-prompting-making model of technology-based social studies pedagogy was used to frame the teachers’ instructional practice.
This article advances a continuing line of inquiry into the potential of digital educative curriculum materials to support teachers’ development of professional teaching knowledge. Instead of standalone levers of change, the educative curricula in this study were featured resources within a novel professional development approach. The qualitative, design-based research experiment asked, “Can sustained, collaborative professional development experiences with digital educative curriculum materials help in-service social studies teachers develop professional teaching knowledge?” Following a 13-month study, none of the six participants fully adopted the promoted wise practice pedagogy, problem-based historical inquiry. However, findings suggested that sustained, collaborative experiences with digital educative curricula helped teachers in this study begin to articulate and demonstrate tenets of problem-based historical inquiry (e.g., purposeful student-inquiry grounded in recurring societal concerns, structuring classroom events to promote historical thinking). The authors proposed three features to strengthen future teacher-support efforts: dynamic experiences modeling wise practices, digital curriculum designed for collaboration, and expert mentors to help facilitate learning.
With the emergence of mobile technologies, students’ access to computing devices is omnipresent, as is their ability to collaborate through multiple modalities. This 21st-century affordance has generated a shift in the way preservice teachers are prepared to use, understand. and interact with social media (e.g., blogs) during their academic years. This paradigmatic shift involves a movement toward a participatory culture using Web 2.0 technologies—dynamic environments that are not limited to the interactions of academic classrooms. These changes present both new types of challenges and vast opportunities for teacher educators. Based on repeated observation of minimal interaction amongst members of a peer cohort, a research study was conducted to analyze the interactions of three students who consistently posted comments on each other’s blogs in contrast to the trends found in their cohort. Analysis of their posts and comments illuminated preservice teacher expectations for science teaching roles and how preservice teachers applied their expectations when commenting on their peers. These interactions were professional in nature and revealed that previously established interpersonal relationships did not alter the type of interactions that occurred.
This study examines the use of a digital video annotation tool used by beginning in-service secondary science and mathematics teachers in the Teacher Induction Network (TIN). TIN is an online induction program in its ninth year of existence and has served over 180 teachers. The need to provide spaces for beginning teachers to reflect on their practice and seek support of their colleagues is critical to their professional growth. The current study specifically examines the social interactions and potential supports of a video annotation tool (VideoANT) to promote collaborative interactions toward the development of reflective practices. Results suggest that in the absence of additional scaffolding, teachers overwhelmingly used VideoANT to respond to their peers’ teaching practices with praise and agreement. Given the aims and objectives of the induction course, this finding indicates the need to give beginning teachers specific supports and scaffolds to further their development as reflective practitioners. This study adds to the literature on online video clubs for teacher education and identifies changes intended to improve the current design of the video activity in TIN.
In this paper the authors explored the question of collective understanding in online mathematics education settings and presented a brief overview of traditional methods for documenting norms and collective mathematical practices. A method for documenting collective development was proposed that builds on existing methods and frameworks yet is sensitive to the particularities of interaction in an online setting. This study used data from recent projects to further describe and highlight the steps of the proposed method for analyzing collective development in an online setting and to ground discussions of research and practice.
Many schools are beginning to adopt one-to-one computing with the goal of developing students’ 21st-century skills, which allow students not only to learn content but to acquire critical skills (e.g., creativity, collaboration, and digital literacy) that will lead to future careers. Technology offers teachers the ability to transform the quality of instruction—to achieve a more student-centered learning environment, have more differentiated instruction, and develop problem- or project-based learning, and demand higher order thinking skills. A number of barriers and influences have emerged from the findings of this study on teachers’ practice and integration of technology into their classrooms. This study examines how these barriers, both internal and external, influence classroom pedagogy. Using a technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) framework, this paper examines the classroom practice of two middle grades mathematics and science teachers integrating a 1:1 initiative and the ways they dealt with the barriers in their classroom practices.