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Volume 21  Issue 2  

Use of an Online Peer Review Tool to Support Feedback and Collaborative Skills in Preservice Teachers

by Sarah Douglas, Jonte Taylor, Douglas Dexter & David McNaughton
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Effective teachers require a variety of skills, including the ability to provide and incorporate feedback from others. Self-review and peer review are two methods that help preservice teachers develop feedback skills. Teacher educators face a number of challenges utilizing peer and self-review within their courses, especially in large university classes where preservice teachers of different majors are enrolled in the same course. Online peer review tools offer a promising approach to support peer review in preservice teacher education. Guided by adult learning theory, an experimental study was conducted to determine the effect of online peer review, using the peer review tool Peermark™. Preservice teachers in the experimental group used online peer review to provide feedback to peers about the creation of a content specific graphic organizer. Results show that online peer review resulted in higher quality graphic organizers when compared to self-review. Limitations, implications for practice, and future research suggestions are discussed.

Volume 21  Issue 1  

From Visible to Understandable: Designing for Teacher Agency in Education Data Visualizations

by June Ahn, Ha Nguyen & Fabio Campos
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In the United States, teachers are expected to analyze data to inform instruction and improve student learning. Despite investments in data tools, researchers find that teachers often interact with data visualizations in limited ways. Researchers have called for data interpretation training for preservice teachers to increase teachers’ interactions with data visualizations, but training alone may not be enough to spur pedagogical insights. Research suggests that helping teachers build personal connections with data may foster their own agency. However, little is known about how to provide agency-developing experiences for teachers more efficiently that respect both the time and resource constraints that teachers face in their daily work. This article presents a design experiment that explored whether giving preservice teachers the choice of which data to visualize impacted their connections with data. When compared with a control group who were not offered the chance of choosing their data (but only received data interpretation training), the authors found that participants who experienced the agency intervention reported a deeper connection with the underlying meanings of educational data. This intervention provides foundational evidence that facilitating agency-developing experiences may help educators to develop deeper sensemaking about educational data.

Volume 20  Issue 3  

Instagramming Their Hearts Out: What Do Edu-Influencers Share on Instagram?

by Catharyn Shelton, Stephanie Schroeder & Rachelle Curcio
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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.

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.