The purpose of this paper is to present a multitechnology-enabled lesson used with secondary preservice mathematics teachers to develop their technological pedagogical statistical knowledge. This lesson engages preservice teachers in a statistics lesson aimed at developing their reasoning about the measurement units of data using TinkerPlots and then engages them in reasoning about students’ approaches to the task. A description of the lesson, preservice teachers’ approaches, and how they reasoned about sixth graders’ strategies are included. The authors further discuss the affordances of the specific technologies used in creating the learning opportunities for these preservice teachers and implications for teacher education.
As computational thinking (CT) is increasing in focus in K-12 education, it is important to consider how teacher education programs may better prepare teacher candidates (TCs). Previous studies have found that TCs do not always have a firm understanding of what CT involves, and they might not have clear ideas about how to develop CT in their future classrooms. In this context, the authors developed a course for elementary school TCs focusing on CT in mathematics education. The course integrated CT in the context of mathematics activities to help TCs develop both a conceptual understanding of mathematics and mathematics teaching with CT. The paper presents a case study analysis of TCs’ online discussions and reflection assignments of the course, as well as themes in their learning about and attitudes toward CT in mathematics teaching and learning.
With a national emphasis on integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in K-16 courses, incorporating technology in a meaningful way is critical. This research examines whether STEM and non-STEM teachers were able to incorporate technology in STEM courses successfully with sufficient professional development. The teachers in this study consisted of faculty from middle schools, high schools, and colleges recruited for STEM Guitar Building institutes held between 2013 and 2016. Each teacher participated in a 50-hour professional development opportunity in the manufacture of a solid-body electric guitar and received instruction on how to teach integrated STEM Modular Learning Activities (MLAs), which are aligned with the Common Core mathematics standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The data collected include pre- and postassessment from 769 students in three grade bands (grades 6-8, 9-12, and undergraduate level from 15 states). The results showed statistically significant gains at the p < 0.05 level across all 12 of the core MLAs, with no statistically significant difference between STEM and non-STEM instructors for all except two MLAs. The two MLAs that did reveal a statistically significant difference were more technical—Set Up and Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing Systems (CAD/CAM). These results show non-STEM and STEM teachers alike in this study were able to successfully incorporate technology in NGSS-aligned integrated STEM lessons, as evidenced by student learning gains.
Social Studies Education
Using the of Humans of New York photoblog concept, the exemplar lesson plan described in this article incorporated technology and the replacement, amplification, and transformation framework to modify a traditional social studies lesson on the American Civil War into an engaging and inquiry-based lesson. Students researched individuals who lived during the American Civil War and created their own digital storyboard of Humans of the Civil War. This lesson idea uses available technology to engage students in more meaningful instruction that goes beyond lectures. Doing so allows teachers to transform their lessons using technology in authentic ways that help students become more active agents in their learning. This lesson requires students to make strategic decisions about what is important to know about historical figures and how best to tell their story while also learning about the war.
Studies have shown that when K-12 school districts implement a new technology initiative, it is not always accompanied by effective teacher professional development (PD). Many teachers have indicated that effective technology PD experiences should incorporate their individual PD needs. The authors surveyed technology-using K-12 teachers at two points (2009 and 2015) to examine what they perceived as useful technology PD with regard to content and format. Specifically, since technology changes quickly, we sought to examine whether there were any changes to what teachers perceived as useful content and format for technology PD. Over 6 years, more teachers reported that personalized technology PD tended to be more effective. Although some things remained consistent regarding content (e.g., utilizing Web 2.0 resources continued to be preferred PD content by teachers in both years), other content preferences changed (e.g., mobile applications and pedagogical-focused knowledge and skills). Regarding PD format, the authors found that in 2015 more teachers perceived online and face-to-face workshops, personal learning networks, and conferences as useful. Finally, teacher-led PD and in-class support were suggested as useful by more teachers in 2015. Thus, more personalized, sustained, and situated PD is needed to effectively support K-12 teacher technology integration.
Research on social media use in education indicates that network-based connections can enable powerful teacher learning opportunities. Using a connectivist theoretical framework (Siemens, 2005), this study focuses on secondary teacher candidates (TCs) who completed, archived, and reflected upon 1-hour Twitter chats (N = 39) to explore the promise and pitfalls in integrating optional Twitter chats as a professional learning and networking tool in a semester-long teacher education course. While many TCs reported that their Twitter chat experiences allowed them to bridge physical and experiential distance and benefit from educator networks, some TCs experienced miscues that left them feeling on the periphery of these chats, able to gather resources but not to establish a sense of connection. For most participating TCs, their Twitter chat experience changed their perspectives toward Twitter as a professional learning tool, opening the door to future exploration of Twitter as a tool for professional networking. The results of this study indicate the promise of integrating Twitter chats as a professional learning tool, but also demonstrate the importance of anticipating common miscues and explicitly addressing the nature, structure, and purpose of Twitter chats to strengthen opportunities for TCs to establish ongoing professional connections using this medium.
The future for primary and secondary school textbooks is moving to digital ones, and faculties of schools, colleges, and departments of education (SCDEs) need to prepare preservice teachers for this change. Already, legislatures in 23 states have mandated that school systems use digital textbooks or digital resources as part of their textbook resources, thus shifting the definition and conceptions of the term textbook. In addition to added functionality (i.e., highlighting and dictionary functions), electronic textbooks allow the teacher to choose, edit, and modify text, becoming a more active consumer of curricular materials. This shift brings challenges as preservice teachers adapt to integrating this new technology into their practice. They need greater opportunities to manage this technology to select and adapt text to better match the curriculum to student need and interest. To better prepare preservice science teachers, the researchers adapted the secondary science teacher education methods class to integrate digital textbooks into coursework. Their purpose was to investigate preservice science teachers’ views about the uses of e-readers and e-text prior to their science methods course and their views of their use of this technology when they are required to incorporate them as a resource in their lesson planning.