English/Language Arts Education
As technology becomes more prevalent in the mathematics classroom, teachers will need to be able to effectively evaluate technological tools to use with students. In this study, the authors examined secondary mathematics teachers’ evaluation of online dynamic geometry tools. The analysis focused on the teachers’ noticing of technology; specifically, what features within the tools mathematics teachers attended to, how they interpreted these features, and in what ways they responded. Findings indicated that secondary mathematics teachers attended mostly to mathematical features of the tools and considered the tools’ ability to focus on student engagement and student thinking to be very important, as well as the ease of implementation of the tool. The secondary mathematics teachers tended to begin their evaluation by determining how the tools work and attending to its appearance and then moved toward examining the mathematical features and how they related to student thinking.
This study used the framework of technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) to examine how elementary education preservice teachers integrated technology in science units that they designed after completing courses on science education and technology integration. The findings indicate that technologies included at the end of lessons were associated with higher order thinking, while those included at the beginning or middle of lessons were focused more on lower order thinking and presenting content. Further, frequently used technology-rich activities such as viewing videos and PowerPoint presentations were associated with lower order thinking, while activities such as completing an interactive whiteboard activity or having students make presentations or videos included more opportunities to develop higher order thinking. Implications from this research suggest that science educators and teacher educators should focus more on technologies that support higher -order thinking and support course work with special attention to technology in the context of designing engaging science instruction.
Social Studies Education
Blended learning has grown rapidly in K-12 schools and is commonly seen as a potential vehicle to make learning more student centered by providing students with some level of control over their learning pace and path. As a result, blended learning is most likely to have a transformative effect when it is paired with constructivist learning strategies, such as guided inquiry, that emphasize student choice. In the research described in this paper, the authors examined one school district’s year-long professional development efforts to prepare social studies teachers and school librarians to design and facilitate blended learning units. They conducted 11 interviews with six participants and two focus groups with seven participants. Based on their analysis of the interview and focus group transcripts, they found that the professional development was effective at improving participants’ blended teaching knowledge, skills, and perceptions. Participants valued the facilitators’ feedback and modeling. They also found their interactions and collaborations with other participants to be valuable when attempting to apply their learning to their classrooms. Actually facilitating units with their own students resulted in the largest impact on their perceptions of blended learning.
Teacher educators understand that the preparation of teachers needs to be rooted in the practice of teaching. This understanding, paired with the advancement in digital technologies capable of delivering practice-based teaching experiences, requires that those charged with preparing teachers consider how to best to position these technologies within their programs. This article positions virtual field experience platforms as on-ramps to professional practice and provides guidance for examining the features and capabilities of such platforms to inform their selection and use within teacher preparation programs.
This 5-year multicohort study examined the growth of elementary preservice teachers’ technology integration in the context of a teacher preparation program redesign that made integrating technologies into instruction a major focus. The authors examined how the teacher education program impacted preservice teachers’ technology integration in the classroom by increasing their efficacy to integrate technology and subject areas (i.e., technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge [TPACK] efficacy) and their technology knowledge. Survey data collected from 891 participants were analyzed using thematic coding, analyses of variance, and structural equation modeling. The full program redesign showed across-cohort growth in TPACK efficacy, technology knowledge, and technology integration frequency, suggesting the possibility of increasing preservice teachers’ technology integration through redesigning the teacher education program. Findings indicated that modeling by teacher educators and cooperating teachers positively impacted TPACK efficacy, technology knowledge, and technology integration frequency. Technology knowledge predicted technology integration frequency. TPACK efficacy empowered preservice teachers with confidence to integrate technology but did not predict technology integration frequency. Implications for teacher education programs are discussed.
Teachers have perceived technology professional development (tech-PD) as ineffective, particularly when it does not address individual needs. Researchers need to examine how tech-PD experiences are planned, implemented, and evaluated. Typically K-12 technology leaders (e.g., technology coaches) are responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating tech-PD. This study focused on the reported tech-PD design practices of technology leaders who are members of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Based on data from questionnaire responses (n=153), interviews (n = 6), and artifacts (n = 6), three trends emerged: (a) ISTE technology leaders planned tech-PD experiences based on teacher, administrative, school, and district needs, but did not report conducting formal needs assessments; (b) ISTE technology leaders implemented tech-PD via a variety of approaches, but did not report implementing sustained and continuous tech-PD; and (c) ISTE technology leaders evaluated tech-PD using self-reported teacher data, but did not collect more systematic evaluation data.