Dynamic geometry software can help teachers highlight mathematical relationships in ways not possible with static diagrams. However, these opportunities are mediated by teachers’ abilities to construct sketches that focus users’ attention on the desired variant or invariant relationships. The study described in this paper looked at two cohorts of preservice secondary mathematics teachers and their attempts to build dynamic geometry sketches that highlighted the trigonometric relationship between the angle and slope of a line on the coordinate plane. The authors identified common challenges in the construction of these sketches and present examples for readers to interact with that highlight these issues. They then discuss ways that mathematics teacher educators can help beginning teachers understand common pitfalls in the building of dynamic geometry sketches, which can cause sketches not to operate as intended.
As part of a graduate course for supporting K-12 teachers’ use of technology in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, teachers worked in teams to create workshops for youth at a Boys & Girls Club site. Teachers used curriculum kits from the Engineering is Elementary project of the Museum of Science, Boston, together with technological resources including iPads, to plan and conduct workshops with four sessions of 8 hours each. A mixed-methods evaluation examined perceptions of 36 youth regarding science and engineering. The youth (Grades 2 to 8) self-identified as 47% African-American, 33% Hispanic/Latino, 3% Asian, and 17% as other/Caucasian/mixed ethnicity. After the workshops, boys and girls more strongly agreed with an engineering-related question, that they liked thinking of new and better ways of doing things, and they agreed more strongly that they knew what scientists did for their jobs. Also after the workshops, girls more strongly agreed they knew what engineers did for their jobs, reaching a similar level as boys, whose responses did not change significantly. Focus group data aligned with the survey responses for most questions. Overall, the study suggested benefits of the program to participating youth, an indicator supporting this teacher preparation model.
Social Studies Education
This study employs Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980, 1999) conception of metaphor as rooted in embodied experiences to investigate educational technology discourse in the social studies. The last 3 years of scholarship in the social studies section of the journal Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education is examined for the presence of metaphors used by authors to justify or support their arguments. Five prominent categories of metaphor were identified within the discourse: Manual labor metaphors, construction/building metaphors, mechanistic metaphors, technology as biological life/agent metaphors, and journey metaphors. While it is necessary to use metaphors to understand new phenomena such as digital technologies, results suggest that some of the specific metaphors that were commonly employed may impede a more thoughtful approach to conceptualizing and implementing new technologies. Results also indicate that a deep metaphor of technology as the agent or driver of social progress may underpin a substantial portion of recent scholarship.
The feedback provided to teachers by their supervisors, in preservice and in-service settings, is considered to be essential to teacher learning. Incorporating video records into these mentoring sessions has been shown to trigger the cognitive dissonance needed to help teachers explore the gaps between their intentions and their actual behaviors. However, while preservice teachers are increasingly asked to examine their teaching practice via video, their supervisors are not engaging in a parallel examination of their supervisory practice. Thus, university-based clinical supervisors who carry out critical conversations with teacher candidates do so without reflection about how they are performing in those conferences. At the same time, institutions of teacher education recognize the essential role supervisors play in the development of teacher candidate learning, yet are challenged as to how to provide professional development to supervisors. This paper describes an innovative response to this dilemma: an initiative in which clinical supervisors were invited to investigate their post-observation conversations using video in a self-development group. The research questions explored the impact on supervisors of viewing their own feedback sessions on video and sharing their video analysis in a peer group of fellow supervisors. Via an exploratory, qualitative design, and through document analysis, questionnaires, and transcriptions of the focus group conversation, results suggest video review is a promising approach for advancing supervisors’ self-awareness of their post-observation facilitation skills.
This exploratory study examined the perceived usefulness of virtual classroom visits in literacy education coursework and teacher preparation programs from the perspectives of elementary teacher candidates (TCs) and teacher educators. Virtual tour technology was used to capture 360-degree views of classrooms. Participants (N = 10) had access to these virtual classrooms via a professional development website. After viewing four of the preK-6 virtual classrooms, participants were invited to a focus group or an interview where they described the potential use of virtual classroom visits in literacy education coursework. An inductive approach to analysis led to preliminary insights into the benefits and challenges of using virtual classrooms in teacher education programs and coursework. Findings suggest that virtual classroom visits have the potential to bridge the gap between what TCs learn in their coursework and their field experiences. Virtual classroom visits can offer TCs an additional window into exemplary classrooms and access to models of highly experienced teachers.