To address obstacles of adopting lesson study at scale, this study investigated how a technology-assisted lesson study (TALS) approach could remove the obstacle of scheduling while retaining positive effects of traditional lesson study (LS). The TALS approach involves embedding lesson study within teachers’ normal schedules, videotaping the research lessons using Swivl, and asychronously reviewing annotated videos of research lessons before debriefings facilitated by a mathematics specialist through Zoom. A TALS with two third-grade teachers was conducted. Analysis of the data, including lesson plans, research lesson videos, debriefing session videos and interviews with the teachers and the specialist, revealed that, as a traditional lesson study typically does, the research lesson was improved significantly. The participating teachers learned how to implement reform-oriented mathematics teaching through making critical alignments in sharpening learning goals, improving task design, and better orchestrating student work. Participating teachers and the specialist highlighted that the TALS provides teachers the opportunity to conduct LS without missing their own classes, examine student thinking in depth, and review and discus lessons critically. The unique contribution of the study is discussed.
The Game Play and Design Framework is a project-based instructional method to engage teachers and students with mathematics content by utilizing technology as a vehicle for game play and creation. In the authors’ prior work, they created a technology tool and game editing platform, the Wearable Learning Cloud Platform (WLCP), which enables teachers and students to play, create, and experience technology-augmented learning activities. This paper describes a 14-week Game Play and Design professional development program in which middle school teachers played, designed, tested, and implemented mathematics games in the classroom with their own students. Examples are included of teacher-created games, feedback from the students’ experience designing games, and evidence of student learning gains from playing teacher-created games. This work provides a pedagogical approach for educators and students that utilizes the benefits of mobile technologies and collaborative learning through games to develop students’ higher-level thinking in STEM classrooms.
As part of an embedded mixed-method study, qualitative research was conducted to understand how Engineering Is Elementary (EiE) professional development influenced the self-efficacy of K-5 elementary teachers required to teach engineering in a rural school in Southeastern, North Carolina. In fall 2016, proportional stratified sampling was used to select 14 teachers by grade level and specialty area who participated in EiE training. Teachers were interviewed to obtain in-depth information about their perceived self-efficacy. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for content by person, by interview questions, and across all interviews using narrative data analysis methods. The data showed three themes: (a) teachers feel preparation programs lack STEM training, (b) integrating engineering is achievable in the K-5 classroom, and (c) professional support is an issue in improving this engineering initiative. The results demonstrated how elementary educators’ self-efficacy evolved while engaging in professional development to prepare to teach engineering. Implications for educational practice and research are provided.
This study investigated the influence of Engineering Is Elementary (EiE) professional development on teachers’ self-efficacy of integrating engineering into the K-5 curriculum in a rural school district in southeastern North Carolina. In fall 2016, the researchers conducted an embedded mixed-method study. The focus of this paper is the quantitative aspect of the study, which involved using the engineering components of the T-STEM survey to measure teachers’ self-efficacy via Qualtrics. The survey was used to compare teachers’ self-efficacy before and following EiE professional development and 4 weeks after the last EiE intervention. Forty-three teachers completed these online questionnaires. Across the three intervals, the results of the repeated measures were statistically significant. There were increases in teachers’ (a) engineering teaching efficacy and beliefs, (b) engineering teaching outcome expectancy, and (c) engineering instruction. Teachers’ self-efficacy toward engineering was likely influenced by EiE professional development. The findings suggest that elementary teachers’ self-efficacy about integrating engineering into the curriculum can increase by offering EiE professional development over time. This study can help inform future education policy, practice, and research.
Some K-12 social media celebrities, or influencers, have begun to enact influence at a massive scale, possibly shaping the teachers who follow them, while seeking individual profit in the process. In this qualitative study, the authors explored the content edu-influencers share on Instagram, which is an understudied yet increasingly popular social media site, where influencer culture runs rampant. The authors coded publicly available Instagram posts (n = 310) and stories (n = 115) shared by 18 influencers comprising the popular and racially diverse K-12 collaborative, Teach Your Heart Out™. They observed activity across 4 weeks during the 2019 back-to-school season. Edu-influencers’ content encompassed four themes: promoting products and themselves, motivating teachers, soliciting engagement, and advocating for classroom approaches. On one hand, edu-influencers sometimes facilitated teacher networking, provided motivational messages for teachers, shared resources with teachers, provided authentic examples of classroom practice, and promoted social justice orientations. However, some influencers’ activity was overwhelmingly promotional, lacked thoughtful explanation, or missed an opportunity for connection to critical social issues. Findings shed light on the phenomenon of educator influencer culture, highlighting the need for critical digital literacies among teachers who use social media for professional purposes.
Elementary pre- and in-service educators increasingly rely on online instructional resources to supplement their curriculum. As social studies instruction has received progressively less attention in elementary classrooms, prospective teachers have fewer opportunities to observe powerful and purposeful elementary social studies pedagogy. To develop critical analysis of instructional resources found on for-profit marketplaces like Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers, students in a Midwestern teacher preparation program completed an assignment that required them to analyze online resources with a critical media literacy tool. In this qualitative study the authors conducted a content analysis of 10 of these assignments, all related to Martin Luther King, Jr., Black History Month, and the Civil Rights Movement. Through cycles of coding, the authors identified resources with problematic historical narratives, student assumptions about creator expertise and resource credibility, and the challenges of relying on a checklist for critical analysis. While the critical media literacy tool was helpful in directing preservice teachers’ attention toward meaningful social studies content, it was insufficient as assigned. The authors found that the tool failed to deeply contextualize racial platform capitalism and the need for critical race media literacy in assessing lessons about Black history.
This study examined the types of online resources preservice teachers used when planning for their literacy instruction and whether the identified resources are research based. An online survey was distributed to preservice teachers enrolled in a literacy education course. Results reveal that participants (N = 77) use a mix of research-based professional resources, popular search engines, and content-sharing networks. Reasons for use included accessibility and convenience, content variety, visual aesthetics, literacy content, and source credibility. This research has implications for teacher educators and associate teachers, who are often the first to disseminate information to preservice teachers about effective literacy practices.
National standards and frameworks for mathematics, computer science, and technology emphasize the importance of teaching all children computational thinking (CT) skills. These skills are important for preparing citizens that are literate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and for participation in a society that is rapidly changing with emerging technologies. This paper describes a 72-hour summer institute for grades 6-8 middle school mathematics teachers (n = 22) with a comprehensive approach to professional development, including training in computer programming with Bootstrap Algebra and Lego® Mindstorms® robotics, mathematics content sessions, and mathematics pedagogy sessions. Results of an assessment used to measure content knowledge and CT skills as well as the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge survey yielded statistically significant increases. Participant reflections revealed they valued opportunities for collaboration within grade-level professional learning communities and integration of CT strategies through both programming and robotics. Based upon participant feedback we recommend choosing either the use of Bootstrap Algebra or Lego Mindstorms within shorter timeframes to better prepare teachers for classroom implementation. These middle school teachers were receptive to mathematics-specific content sessions focused on developing conceptual understanding of mathematics they teach as well as grade-level appropriate manipulatives.