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Volume 20  Issue 2  

Facilitating Student Engagement in Higher Education Through Educational Technology: A Narrative Systematic Review in the Field of Education

by Melissa Bond, Svenja Bedenlier, Katja Buntins, Michael Kerres & Olaf Zawacki-Richter
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Developing, sustaining, and improving student engagement is of vital importance to higher education instructors. Educational technology has been linked to student engagement, and preservice and in-service teachers need to develop information communication and technology (ICT) skills and knowledge to apply them in the classroom as well as to develop ICT skills in students. Thus, further investigation of this link in the field of education is needed. This narrative systematic review is a synthesis of 42 peer-reviewed articles from across four international databases, published between 2007-2016 and is a subset of a larger systematic review. The results indicate that the majority of research has been undertaken within undergraduate preservice teacher education, predominantly in the US, Hong Kong, and the UK, with limited attention given to grounding research in theory. This review found educational technology supports student engagement, with behavioral and affective being the most prevalent dimensions. Social networking tools (SNT), knowledge organization and sharing tools, text-based tools, and website creation tools were the most effective at promoting engagement. However, caution is needed when employing SNT and assessment tools, as they were also more likely to lead to disengagement. Further research is needed on how educational technology affects disengagement, how tools are used in online teacher education programs, and how to effectively integrate SNT in education programs.

Volume 20  Issue 1  

Should We Ask Students to Tweet? Perceptions, Patterns, and Problems of Assigned Social Media Participation

by Daniel G. Krutka & Nicole Damico
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Teacher educators have increasingly integrated  social media into their education courses with aims including improving instruction and preparing students for a connected world. In this study, the authors sought to better understand the possibilities and challenges of scaffolding 60 pre- and in-service teachers across two universities into professional learning networks (PLNs) through a social media assignment. Participants analyzed educator practices, participated in, and envisioned future uses of teacher Twitter. Consistent with previous studies, education students were positive about the relational and relevant aspects of Twitter use. However, students’ participation did not mimic the participatory cultures of affinity spaces often reported by connected educators in the literature. Instead, participants tweeted around deadlines and quit using their accounts for professional education purposes once the class ended. In contrast to recent literature, this article argues that social media integration for education students should focus on relational and relevant engagements and content, as opposed to attempting to build social media augmented PLNs for unknown futures.

Volume 20  Issue 1  

The PICRAT Model for Technology Integration in Teacher Preparation

by Royce Kimmons, Charles R. Graham & Richard E. West
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Technology integration models are theoretical constructs that guide researchers, educators, and other stakeholders in conceptualizing the messy, complex, and unstructured phenomenon of technology integration. Building on critiques and theoretical work in this area, the authors report on their analysis of the needs, benefits, and limitations of technology integration models in teacher preparation and propose a new model: PICRAT. PIC (passive, interactive, creative) refers to the student’s relationship to a technology in a particular educational scenario. RAT (replacement, amplification, transformation) describes the impact of the technology on a teacher’s previous practice. PICRAT can be a useful model for teaching technology integration, because it (a) is clear, compatible, and fruitful, (b) emphasizes technology as a means to an end, (c) balances parsimony and comprehensiveness, and (d) focuses on students.

Volume 19  Issue 4  

Preparing Elementary School Teachers to Teach Computing, Coding, and Computational Thinking

by Stacie L. Mason & Peter J. Rich
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This literature review synthesized current research on preservice and in-service programs that improve K–6 teachers’ attitudes, self-efficacy, or knowledge to teach computing, coding, or computational thinking. A review of current computing training for elementary teachers revealed 21 studies: 12 involving preservice teachers and nine involving in-service teachers. The findings suggest that training that includes active participation can improve teachers’ computing self-efficacy, attitudes, and knowledge. Because most of these studies were fairly short-term and content-focused, research is especially needed about long-term outcomes; pedagogical knowledge and beliefs; and relationships among teacher training, contexts, and outcomes.