English/Language Arts Education

Weaving Contexts of Participation Online: The Digital Tapestry of Secondary English Teachers

by Luke Rodesiler
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This article presents research from a qualitative study exploring five secondary English teachers’ professionally oriented participation online. Drawing upon Cole’s (1996) “surround” and “weaving” views of context, the specific line of research featured here was guided by the following question: What are the features of the online contexts that selected secondary English teachers weave in exploration of teaching, learning, and literacy? The author collected archived online artifacts (e.g., blog posts, microblog posts, and posts within social network sites) and employed an ethnographic content analysis. Findings revealed five notable contextual features that emerged across cases: multimodal affordances and a/synchronous flexibility, as seen from a surround view, and classroom teaching experiences, connections among teachers online, and a touch of levity, as seen from a weaving view. While providing directions for future research, these findings stand to support more nuanced understandings of the teacher-generated online environments to which many educators are turning in an effort to supplement their professional growth.

Social Studies Education

What Does the Eye See?  Reading Online Primary Source Photographs in History

by Stephane Lévesque, Nicholas Ng-A-Fook & Julie Corrigan
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This exploratory study looks at how a sample of preservice teachers and historians read visuals in the context of school history. The participants used eye tracking technology and think-aloud protocol, as they examined a series of online primary source photographs from a virtual exhibit. Voluntary participants (6 students and 2 professional historians) were recruited at a bilingual Ontario University in fall 2011. From this group, the authors used a purposive sampling of three participants who represented the novice-intermediate-expert spectrum and whose results displayed typicality among other participants with similar educational backgrounds.

Revisiting the “Sleeping Giant” Metaphor:  Is It Still Sleeping in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Is It Still Really a Giant?

by David Hicks & Stephanie van Hover
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In order to revisit Martorella’s metaphor of technology as a sleeping giant this paper analyzes data collected over multiple years in order to provide a portrait of how preservice teachers make sense of and choose (if at all) to integrate digital technologies within their internship classrooms.  Findings indicate that in the Commonwealth of Virginia, within our data set, the sleeping giant is awake (technology is being used), but in the hands of our preservice teachers it is a myopic traditionalist who is the “servant” to the “master” of standards-based assessment.


Cleaning Up That Mess: A Framework for Classifying Educational Apps

by Todd Cherner, Judy Dix & Corey Lee
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As tablet technologies continue to evolve, the emergence of educational applications (apps) is impacting the work of teacher educators.  Beyond online lists of best apps for education and recommendations from colleagues, teacher educators have few resources available to support their teaching of how to select educational apps.  In response, this article puts forward a framework for choosing educational apps based on their purpose, content, and value.  The framework first classifies educational apps into four categories before delineating them into smaller subcategories.  A sample of apps that are representative to each category and subcategory are included.  This framework provides teacher educators with a much-needed resource to support their instruction of educational apps.