English/Language Arts Education

The Student Writing Archive Project (SWAP): Designing a Searchable Database of Student Writing and Teacher Commentary for English Teacher Preparation Courses

by Michael B. Sherry
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Teacher candidates have few opportunities during their teacher preparation coursework to investigate practices associated with eliciting and responding to student writing. This article describes an attempt to address this problem with a searchable online digital archive of student writing, with and without teachers’ written feedback, as well as other instructional materials from elementary, middle, and secondary classrooms in diverse linguistic/geographic regions of the country. The archive also includes interviews with teachers about their approaches to teaching writing, especially the principles and practices that inform their responses to student work. The design of the archive is described, along with three broad paths through the archive, which were created by the author. These paths provide opportunities for instructors of English teaching methods courses, writing pedagogies courses, and linguistics courses to investigate with teacher candidates issues that are commonly addressed in those three types of courses, like modeling writing, machine scoring, and responding with sensitivity to writers who are English language learners.

Mathematics Education

The Role of Technology in Supporting Students’ Mathematical Thinking: Extending the Metaphors of Amplifier and Reorganizer

by Milan Sherman
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The use of instructional technology in secondary mathematics education has proliferated in the last decade, and students’ mathematical thinking and reasoning has received more attention during this time as well.  However, few studies have investigated the role of instructional technology in supporting students’ mathematical thinking.  In this study, the implementation of 63 mathematical tasks was documented in three secondary and one middle school mathematics classroom, and the Mathematical Tasks Framework (Stein & Smith, 1998) was used to correlate the cognitive demand of mathematical tasks with the use of technology as an amplifier or reorganizer of students’ mental activity (Pea, 1985, 1987).  Results indicate that the use of technology generally aligned with teachers’ current practice in terms of the distribution of low- and high-level tasks enacted in their classrooms. However, the use of technology as a reorganizer of students’ thinking was strongly correlated with these teachers’ attempts to engage their students with high-level tasks.  The distinction between using technology as an amplifier or a reorganizer is refined and extended through its application at the grain size of mathematical tasks, and implications for mathematics teacher education are discussed.

Science Education

Diffusing Innovations: Adoption of Serious Educational Games by K-12 Science Teachers

by David Vallett, Leonard Annetta, Richard Lamb & Brandy Bowling
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Innovation is a term that has become widely used in education; especially as it pertains to technology infusion. Applying the corporate theory of diffusing innovation to educational practice is an innovation in itself. This mixed-methods study examined 38 teachers in a science educational gaming professional development program that provided baseline characteristics about personal technology use and post professional development workshop experiences to ascertain characteristics that align with diffusion of innovation theory and educational game development as a new innovation in current pedagogical practices. The posttest-only design tested correlation (ANOVA) between factors, following scale conversion employing Rasch modeling, using the established Ocean Explorers workshop survey to collect data. Results suggested that while none of the demographic factors were significantly correlated with participant perceptions of the workshop, participants’ perceptions of the presentation of the material were strongly correlated to their perceptions of the opportunities afforded by the workshop and the level of technological pedagogical content knowledge learning that took place. Frequencies of response ranges from the survey, for each scale, were paired with qualitative data to propose a fit to Rogers’ innovation adoption curve and provide a richer description of participant perceptions. Additionally, the findings from this study serve as a framework for professional development of innovative educational technologies for subsequent studies.

Social Studies Education

Transforming the History Curriculum With Geospatial Tools

by Thomas Hammond
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Martorella’s “sleeping giant” is awakening via geospatial tools. As this technology is adopted, it will transform the history curriculum in three ways: deepening curricular content, making conceptual frameworks more prominent, and increasing connections to local history. These changes may not be profound and they may not be sudden, but they will come as geospatial technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous and easy to use. Each of these three predicted transformations is described and illustrated, and implications for teacher education programs are addressed.


Assessment and Collaboration in the Context of the Systematic Design of Blended PBL: A Commentary on An (2013)

by Richard Edwards
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In highlighting the importance of problem-based learning in the development of 21st century skills, An (2013) identified the challenges faced by novice teachers in its implementation and suggested strategies to support them. This commentary explores two aspects mentioned in the article, assessment and the role of collaboration, and argues that they need greater critical consideration if the implementation of problem-based learning is to be effective.  The role digital technologies can play is discussed and some implications for teacher education are considered.

The Second Prototype of the Development of a Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Based Instructional Design Model: An Implementation Study in a Technology Integration Course

by Chia-Jung Lee & ChanMin Kim
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This study presents a refined technological pedagogical content knowledge (also known as TPACK) based instructional design model, which was revised using findings from the implementation study of a prior model. The refined model was applied in a technology integration course with 38 preservice teachers. A case study approach was used in this implementation study. Data were collected from the participants’ discussion worksheets and lesson plans, along with associated artifacts and the researchers’ field observation notes. Data analysis results revealed that (a) preservice teachers’ had an entry-level understanding of TPACK through discussions on the meaning of TPACK and evaluations of technology-integrated teaching examples; (b) designing several technology-integrated lesson plans improved preservice teachers’ teaching-related knowledge and facilitated their TPACK learning; and (c) preservice teachers’ use of technology was more teacher centered than student centered. Findings, suggestions, and future research possibilities are also discussed.