Digital badges are a promising innovative tool to support teacher candidates’ instructional skill development. Although digital badges are increasingly utilized in online teaching and learning, their effectiveness is still under investigation. This exploratory study reports on 151 elementary level teacher candidates’ participation and success rate in a digital badge system named MELTS, which was specifically designed for cultivating, assessing, and recognizing 10 specific English learner teaching skills. To earn a digital badge, participants in the study were required to (a) pass online module assessments, (b) participate in coached skill practices, and (c) effectively demonstrate mastery of targeted teaching skills before an expert panel. Findings show that participants who completed the online modules and skills practices were successful in demonstrating the targeted teaching skills to receive MELTS badges. Although participants reported a positive experience in the skill practice sessions, the participation rate in the badging sessions was lower than expected. Implications and challenges are discussed.
Since information and communication technologies were introduced into education, the number of courses delivered in an online or blended learning (OBL) format has increased significantly. However, not all teachers are experienced in teaching in this new digital environment. While various teacher professional development (TPD) models exist, few target OBL and teachers’ change processes during professional development. Therefore, this article presents a five-phase TPD process model for OBL. The five phases of the model are (a) a need for TPD for OBL, (b) the professional development strategy, (c) the teacher change associated with OBL, (d) the recognition and appreciation of these changes, and (e) the anchoring of the changes made in the teachers’ everyday practice. The model presented can offer a valuable and new approach toward TPD for OBL and introduces the notion of digital capital into TPD for OBL.
A project called Mobile City Science (MCS), a partnership between the University of Washington, New York Hall of Science, the Digital Youth Network, and two high schools, leverages young people’s proclivity for on-the-move digital engagement to re-place and mobilize learning through public, community settings that youth identify as being relevant to their daily lives. At its most fundamental level, MCS teaches and engages young people in new forms of data science, especially around collecting and interpreting spatial, real-time, and dynamic data. This digital STEAM curriculum has more ambitious objectives. Ultimately, the research team hopes this work disrupts an absence of youth input in neighborhood and community development processes, using the power of spatial data and visualizations that young people create about their communities as a ticket for entry into ongoing policy and planning conversations. As youth will be the ones making critical decisions about these same communities in due time, it is prudent to apprentice them into valued forms of civic participation. Moreover, as long as youth ideas go unheard, leaders and adult community stakeholders have an incomplete picture — and are missing potentially transformative solutions — regarding current issues. This example of a digital STEAM curriculum for youth to engage in data science with mobile technologies provides ideas for teachers to make instruction more public-facing.
For decades, educators have hoped to integrate geospatial tools into K-12 classrooms but struggled with barriers of time, technology, and curriculum alignment. The authors formed a design partnership with ninth-grade science and social studies teachers in an urban high school in order to conduct teacher professional development while also developing geospatially enabled curricula to enact in their classrooms. This article includes a description of the curriculum design principles and processes, as well as an explanation of the professional development strategies as participants worked should to shoulder in designing engaging classroom instruction to enhance students’ geospatial thinking and reasoning skills. One of the activities presented is an example of the design and development process, and lessons learned from the pilot test implementation are presented. This article may inform similar work with geospatial technologies in teacher professional development and curriculum development.