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Commentary: Science, Technology, and Society in Guidelines for Using Technology to Prepare Social Studies Teachers: A Reply to Hicks et al. and Crocco and Leo

by Lance Mason
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This essay is a response to both the “Guidelines for Using Technology to Prepare Social Studies Teachers” published in this journal by Hicks, Lee, Berson, Bolick, and Diem (2014) and the rejoinder by Crocco and Leo (2015).  The author agrees with Crocco and Leo’s assessment that removing the principal regarding science, technology, and society is concerning, though for different reasons.  The technology guidelines should include an examination of the nonneutrality of technology, including the psychological and social effects of technology, as part of this principle.  This approach could foster more competent decisions regarding the implementation of digital tools in the social studies curriculum.

Teacher Self-Efficacy in 1:1 iPad Integration in Middle School Science and Math Classrooms

by Lana Minshew & Janice Anderson
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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.

Perceptions of Online Learning Spaces and Their Incorporation in Mathematics Teacher Education

by Deborah Moore-Russo, Jillian Wilsey, Jeremiah Grabowski & Tina M. Bampton
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While digital environments can offer convenient, viable options for preservice and inservice teachers to engage in or continue their studies, little is known about teachers’ experiences with and perceptions of various existing online learning spaces. This paper describes an initial investigation using data from a group of preservice and in-service mathematics teachers who interacted by posting their reflections regarding online learning spaces to an asynchronous, electronic discussion board. Inductive qualitative techniques were incorporated to determine which online learning spaces study participants had experienced as well as their perceptions of each. Results are reported in light of possible implications for teacher education, including specific suggestions for additional study of online learning spaces.

Teacher Beliefs and Their Influence on Technology Use: A Case Study

by Rena Shifflet & Gary Weilbacher
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In this article, the authors describe a case study approach used to examine the complexities and contradictions of ways teachers perceive and implement technology in a seventh-grade social studies class. The participants in this qualitative research study were a 13-year veteran social studies teacher and the student intern who worked with this teacher during a year-long professional development school experience in a culturally and economically diverse middle grades school. Using interviews and classroom observations, the authors portrayed the beliefs and practices of the two participants in relation to their views of technology and its uses in the classroom. The findings support and deepen current literature and suggest that, although teachers believe that technology can be used to help engage students in thinking critically to promote self-regulated learning  and improve literacy skills, such beliefs do not always come to fruition in actual classroom practice.

Investigating the Social Interactions of Beginning Teachers Using a Video Annotation Tool

by Joshua Ellis, Justin McFadden, Tasneem Anwar & Gillian Roehrig
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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.

The Role of Technology in Increasing Preservice Teachers’ Anticipation of Students’ Thinking in Algebra

by Steve Rhine, Rachel Harrington & Brandon Olszewski
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The collision between a growing, inexperienced teaching force and students’ algebra struggles should be one of great concern. A collaboration of four public and private universities in Oregon restructured mathematics methods courses for preservice teacher candidates by using the affordances of technology to counteract this loss of experience. Over time, veteran mathematics teachers develop extensive knowledge of how students engage with concepts. Preservice teachers, on the other hand, do not have the same experience that they can rely upon to anticipate important moments in the learning of their students. To address preservice teachers’ lack of experience with student thinking the Algebraic Thinking Project synthesized 859 articles of research into multiple technology-based resources: (a) Encyclopedia of Algebraic Thinking, (b) Student Thinking Video Database, (c) Formative Assessment Database and Class Response System, and (d) Virtual Manipulatives. The technology is used in coursework to influence preservice teachers’ dispositions toward and understanding of students’ algebraic thinking.

Comparison of Technology Use Between Biology and Physics Teachers in a 1:1 Laptop Environment

by Simon J. Crook, Manjula D. Sharma & Rachel Wilson
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Using a mixed-methods approach the authors compared the associated practices of senior physics teachers (n = 7) and students (n = 53) in a 1:1 laptop environment with those of senior biology teachers (n = 10) and students (n = 125) also in a 1:1 laptop environment, in seven high schools in Sydney, NSW, Australia. They found that the physics teachers and students reported more use of their laptops than did their biology counterparts, particularly in regard to higher order, engaging activities such as simulations. This disparity is consistent with the differences between the prescribed NSW physics and biology curriculum documents. The physics curriculum specifies that students should engage with various technologies (especially simulations) frequently within the course content, while the biology curriculum makes only generic statements within the course outline. Due to the curriculum mandate, physics teachers seemed to be capitalizing on the opportunities afforded by the 1:1 laptop environment, whereas the biology teachers had less of a mandate and, consequently, incorporated less technology in their teaching.

Preservice Teachers’ Ability to Identify Technology Standards: Does Curriculum Matter?

by Carrie L. Lewis
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Both preservice and in-service PK-12 teachers in the United States are expected to create a classroom environment that fosters the creation of digital citizens. However, it is unclear whether or not teacher education programs build this direct instruction, or any other method of introducing students to the International Society for Technology in Education’s Standards for Teachers (ISTE Standards-T; previously known as the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers), into the curriculum. The data from a mixed-method study was analyzed in order to determine the relationship between the preservice teachers, the ISTE Standards-T, and the role technology plays in the curriculum of the teacher preparation program. Results of the analysis indicate that preservice teachers have a minimum ISTE Standards-T awareness at the Literacy level, indicating that they can use technology skills when prompted and explore technology independently.

Preservice Teachers’ Microblogging: Professional Development via Twitter

by Jeffrey Carpenter
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Twitter has demonstrated potential to facilitate learning at the university level, and K-12 educators’ use of the microblogging service Twitter to facilitate professional development appears to be on the rise. Research on microblogging as a part of teacher education is, however, limited. This paper investigates the use of Twitter by preservice teachers (N = 20) in a face-to-face undergraduate teacher education course taught by the author. The participants completed student teaching the subsequent semester, after which a survey was conducted to explore whether they had continued to use Twitter for professional purposes and why or why not. In reflections upon the fall semester’s experience, preservice teachers noted several benefits to the use of Twitter in the course, including support of resource sharing, communication, and connection with educators both inside and outside of the class. During the spring semester, the majority of participants stopped professional Twitter activity, with many citing a lack of time. Those who continued use in the spring most commonly did so to gather teaching resources. The majority of participants maintained a positive opinion of Twitter’s educational potential and indicated intentions to utilize it for professional purposes, including classroom applications, in the future.

Commentary: Revisiting “Guidelines for Using Technology to Prepare Social Studies Teachers”

by Richard Hartshorne & Scott M. Waring
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In Hicks, Lee, Berson, Bolick, and Diem (2014), the authors revisited and revised a series of principles focusing on the preparation of social studies teachers for using digital technologies in the classroom, originally presented in the inaugural issue of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (Mason et al., 2000).  This commentary aims to extend dialog associated with the updated guidelines, through an enhanced discussion of each of the four revisioned principles within the context of time, technology, and teacher education.  The authors’ efforts to more effectively guide the preparation of social studies educators in the utilization of technological applications in more useful, efficient, and appropriate ways is readily apparent and appreciated.

Synchronous Online Discourse in a Technology Methods Course for Middle and Secondary Prospective Mathematics Teachers

by Tina Starling & Hollylynne Lee
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The authors present examples of analysis of online discourse and interactions among prospective middle-grades and secondary mathematics teachers in a technology methods course. The online group met synchronously using Elluminate Live! to study data analysis and probability with dynamic technology tools. Analysis of class sessions included broad lesson maps, which captured instructional decisions, big ideas related to content, use of technology, and general discourse. Critical episodes, where prospective teachers seemed to address common misconceptions and develop their own understandings about data analysis and probability, were identified and analyzed further. Trends related to design and management and discourse in the synchronous, online environment are reported, along with implications for further work with online technology methods courses.

A Case Study of a TPACK-Based Approach to Teacher Professional Development:Teaching Science With Blogs

by Kamini Jaipal-Jamani & Candace Figg
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This paper presents a case study of a technology professional development initiative and illustrates how a workshop approach based on technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) was adapted for professional learning at a school site. The case further documents how three middle school science teacher participants developed knowledge about how to teach with technology as they planned and implemented a blog activity in science over a 4-week period. The design of the professional development was informed by the underlying assumptions of the TPACK framework and characteristics for effective professional development for science and technology-enhanced teaching. To obtain insights into the particular experiences of teachers as they participated in the onsite professional development, a naturalistic case study design was used. Data collection procedures included researcher field notes during workshop sessions and lessons, videotaped classroom observations, audiotaped interviews, and teacher and student lesson artifacts. Data on teachers’ planning and lesson implementation of the blog activity to Grade 8 students were analyzed using content analysis. Overall, the results indicate that TPACK is developed through a combination of workshop experiences and immediate application of knowledge gained in the workshop into practice in the real-life teaching context.

Contemporary Literacies and Technologies in English Language Arts Teacher Education: Shift Happens!

by Marshall George, Carol Pope & Louann Reid
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Three leaders of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference on English Education (CEE) reflect on the changes that have occurred in English language arts teacher education in the past 15 years since the first edition of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE Journal) was published. The authors take a historical look at the development of the CEE and CITE Journal relationship, reflect on the inaugural article in the CITE Journal English Language Arts Teacher Education section and the principles it presented, and provide a history of the evolution of NCTE/CEE belief statements, resolutions, and standards for teacher preparation as they relate to 21st-century literacies and technologies. The piece provides a snapshot of current practices in English language arts teacher preparation and considers the future of the field.

 Putting TPACK on the Radar: A Visual Quantitative Model for Tracking Growth of Essential Teacher Knowledge

by Julien C. Colvin & Ming C. Tomayko
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Since Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) description of technological pedagogical content knowledge (also known as TPACK), scholars have analyzed the various paths preservice and in-service teachers can take to develop their knowledge in each of the subdomains. However, the model of the overall framework can be confusing to teachers, as Venn diagrams are generally used for categorization. Furthermore, no representation of TPACK to date has presented a means to accurately reflect a teacher’s growth in knowledge over time. This paper proposes a visual and quantitative representation of TPACK that will help teachers better understand the TPACK framework and track their growth in the knowledge domains over time. A pilot study was conducted with 24 preservice science and mathematics teachers. Quantitative evidence indicated that an explanation of TPACK using a radar diagram was at least as effective as an explanation using a Venn diagram in terms of these students’ understanding of TPACK. Furthermore, the qualitative evidence supported the assertion that teachers would benefit from a way to track their growth in the essential knowledge areas encompassed by the framework.

Prime Online: Developing Grades 3-5 Teachers’ Content Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics in an Online Professional Development Program

by Stephen J. Pape, Sherri K. Prosser, Cynthia C. Griffin, Nancy Fichtman Dana, James Algina & Jungah Bae
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This study sought to identify components of an asynchronous online teacher professional development program, Prime Online, that potentially affected participants’ mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT). Twenty-three third- through fifth-grade general education and special education teachers completed a yearlong online teacher professional development program focused on improving MKT, instructional practices for all learners (particularly those with disabilities), and practitioner inquiry. Latent growth modeling and focus group data indicated growth in participants’ content knowledge and initial growth in knowledge of students from pretest to midtest, with a decline at the end of the program. Module components are described to highlight the online teacher professional development program structure and specific activities that potentially supported participants’ growth. Mathematical modeling, engaging with practitioner-focused journals and websites, developer-constructed materials, classroom implementation, and reflection and discussion provided participants with the opportunities for professional development resulting in increased MKT.