English/Language Arts Education

Reflection Through Discomfort: What Resistance Reveals When Communication Technologies Mediate Authentic Writing Mentorships

by Allan Nail & Jane S. Townsend
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Students entering teacher preparation programs often exhibit a desire to be shown the magic bullet of teaching practice. When they fail to be presented with recipes for success, or when the instruction they receive in methods classes does not match their own understanding of instructional methods and what they believe methods should be, they can feel a heightened level of discomfort. This paper describes the study of an Online Writing Partnership and examines participants’ discomfort regarding the use of online communication technologies to facilitate mentor relationships with high school students in writing. Findings indicated that this discomfort can provide opportunities for reflection on and examination of beliefs about writing instruction, as well as on the nature of writing itself as a recursive process. Further, using online communication technologies to facilitate practicum experiences can enrich preservice teachers’ understandings of and approaches to the complexities and challenges of teaching writing.

Mathematics Education

The Proof Is in the Screencast

by Kathryn G. Shafer
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This paper will present results from an action research study that incorporated two different technologies for the purpose of students valuing and communicating a geometric proof to their peers. The author followed the Mathematics TPACK (Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge) Framework (Association of Mathematics Educators, 2009) to structure an action research project in her classroom. Preservice elementary education majors used The Geometer’s Sketchpad (Jackiw, 2006) to illustrate a problem solution and its supporting proof based on the mathematics of similar or congruent triangles. The students then used a freeware screen capture program, Jing, to produce an audio supported screencast. Once the screencasts were completed, the students engaged in the process of self- and peer review. The results of the study indicate that the self- and peer review process allowed the students a chance to reflect accurately on the essential elements of a proof. Students reported that the experience of reviewing their peers’ screencasts had a stronger influence on developing their skills at writing and evaluating geometric proofs compared to the process of creating their own screencast proofs.

Science Education

Promoting Creative Thinking and Expression of Science Concepts Among Elementary Teacher Candidates Through Science Content Movie Creation and Showcasing

by Richard P. Hechter & Mark D. Guy
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This article reports the phases of design and use of video editing technology as a medium for creatively expressing science content knowledge in an elementary science methods course. Teacher candidates communicated their understanding of standards-based core science concepts through the creation of original digital movies. The movies were assigned as a component of an elementary science methods course to help teacher candidates frame their understandings of science ideas and science content through the medium of movie-making technology. A mixed method analysis of the movie-making process was conducted through open-ended questionnaires and interviews. Results revealed that the project was valuable, as it provided an opportunity for students to think about science concepts from a new and deeper perspective. Further, the movie-making experience included the learning and utilization of iMovie technology, increasing candidate comfort and confidence in using the technology, which candidates reported will carry over to their own classrooms. This study has implications within science methods courses for the relationship between creative expression and core science concepts.

Social Studies Education

Helping Trainee Teachers Realize the Potential of Information and Communication Technology: A Case Study from Scottish History

by Peter Hillis
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Due to the paucity of software in subjects such as history, it can be difficult for teacher educators in countries with small education markets to provide a vision to trainee teachers as to how they might integrate information and communication technology (ICT) into their teaching. This article discusses how this problem has been surmounted through the development, production, and evaluation of a series of multimedia CD ROMs on themes within Scottish history, which through their use in schools provide trainee teachers with exemplars of how ICT can enhance teaching and learning. These multimedia CD ROMs employ a wide range of primary historical sources now central to the teaching of history. The location, selection, collation, and management of primary sources place added expectations on teachers and trainee teachers. Multimedia can help in the management and organization of primary sources, but to be truly interactive, trainee teachers must see new technology as more than an information repository.  Multimedia nurtures knowledge and skills when it is used to allow students to examine the past through a combination of primary sources and learning tasks embracing authentic learning. The article discusses these themes in the context of schools in Scotland, but the underlying principles and conclusions have a wider application.

Current Practice

Preparing Teachers to Use Technology: Considerations from a Capstone Mathematics and Technology Course

by Kady Schneiter
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Preparing preservice teachers to use technology appropriately in mathematics instruction is an important objective of mathematics teacher preparation programs. At Utah State University, this objective is addressed in a combined capstone mathematics and technology course. In this course, preservice teachers learn technology skills as they collaborate with their peers in mathematical investigations, as they learn to use a variety of technological resources and to adapt to new technologies that will foster the understanding of their future students, and as they share their mathematical and technological expertise to enrich the common learning experience.