English/Language Arts Education
Almost 20 years ago, Pope and Golub (2000) published their seminal work on teaching with technology in English language arts (ELA) classrooms in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education Journal (CITE Journal). The purpose of this systematic literature review was to learn how subsequent research about ELA teaching with technology has taken up (or not) Pope and Golub’s ideas in CITE Journal since their initial publication. In addition, the authors were concerned with how articles about teaching and technology use have incorporated thinking about issues of access and equity to digital and online literacies in relationship to Pope and Golub’s principles. Findings of the review are presented and implications are offered for supporting teachers and educational researchers as they enact and study ELA teaching with technology to promote socially just classrooms.
This qualitative multicase analysis investigated the role of “educational niceness” and “neutrality” (e.g., Baptiste, 2008; Bissonnette, 2016) in preservice English teacher feedback on sociopolitical issues in student writing. As part of the field experiences for several ELA methods courses at two universities, one urban and one rural, the teacher-researchers used Google Docs and other technologies (e.g., screencasts and Google Community) to connect preservice teachers (PSTs) with high school writers at a geographical distance so that urban-situated PSTs could mentor rural-situated writers and vice versa. Five methods courses over two semesters served as cases, and 12 PSTs from those courses participated in focus groups. Data included audio recordings of nine focus groups and PSTs’ digital responses to student writing. Using thematic analysis, the authors explored how PSTs responded to sociopolitical perspectives in students’ writing — both engaging them and staying neutral. Although authentic opportunities for responding to student writers supported PSTs’ critical reflection on teaching writing, analysis of PSTs’ responses indicate that such authentic practice may not be sufficient for preparing PSTs to navigate sociopolitical issues and may, in fact, exacerbate PSTs’ impulse to enact educational niceness.
The Internet and other communication technologies can provide a powerful tool for social justice and civic action. These digital devices and social media have shown enormous potential by activists to mobilize the public, document their activities and the injustices they witness, and spread information to a wider audience. Individuals are often inspired to identify ways they can leverage digital technologies to work toward positive social change. The challenge is that youth are watching and learning from these events and texts as well. As youth utilize these digital, connected texts, educators need to know what makes their voices uniquely powerful. Perhaps more importantly, English language arts (ELA) educators need to consider ways in which they can bring these skills, practices, and texts into the classroom. This study examined how activists used digital, social technologies for the purposes of amplifying marginalized voices and enacting social change. Furthermore, the study explored how acts of digital activism can be leveraged to inform ELA teachers as they support inquiry, empathy, and connection in their classrooms. The findings identify opportunities for teachers to educate, empower, and advocate for youth as digitally literate citizens.
The question of how elementary teachers choose tasks has been widely discussed in the field of education. However, these studies have not adequately addressed the increasing use of online resources by elementary mathematics teachers. The authors of this study surveyed 601 elementary mathematics teachers in the United States to examine the trends in the teacher selection of elementary math tasks from online resources. They discuss the relationship between different websites, various selection criteria used to find mathematics activities, and teachers’ years of experience. They found a significant relationship between number of years teaching and the use of paid resources and the appeal of visual components of an activity, yet they did not find a significant relationship between years of experience and time spent searching online for an elementary math activity. In sum, this project, by closely examining the trends in teacher selection and use of elementary math tasks, sheds new light on the thinly acknowledged issue of the use of websites and tasks by teachers of elementary mathematics.
Positioned in the context of experiential learning, this paper reports findings of a virtual reality field trip (VRFT) in conjunction with an in-person field trip involving preservice teachers in an elementary science methods course to a local natural history museum. Findings included that virtual reality (VR) is best used after a field trip to encourage student recall of the experience, but only when done for a limited time to avoid VR fatigue. The types of experiences that preservice teachers thought VR would be good for in their science classrooms included the ability to visit either inaccessible or unsafe locations, to explore scales of size that are either too big or too small, and to witness different eras or events at varying temporal scales. Furthermore, this study uncovered potential equity issues related to VRFTs being seen as a viable alternative if students could not afford to go on field trips. Further research needs to be conducted to better understand the impact of VRFTs on student learning outcomes and take advantage of recent improvements in VR technology.
This qualitative study examined how preservice elementary teachers integrated robotics into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) lesson designs and why they designed their lessons in a particular way. Participants’ lesson designs were collected, and semistructured interviews were conducted. The authors analyzed lesson designs to examine how participants integrated robotics into their lesson designs and interviews to explore why they designed their lessons in a particular way. Our findings suggest that, in general, preservice elementary teachers designed lessons for student learning with technology. Only one lesson was for student learning from technology. The rest were for student learning with technology or applied a mixed approach that supported both student learning with and from technology. Preservice teachers’ lesson designs seemed to have been influenced by their pleasant struggles during robot design, collaboration experience, robotics integration knowledge, STEM content knowledge, and conception of STEM integration. Implications for teacher education are presented.
Social Studies Education
Information and communication technology has been accepted as a powerful tool that transforms education. The emergence of new and innovative uses of technology provides new approaches to social studies teaching. Many governments have invested vast amounts of money to enhance schools with technology and provide them with Internet access to encourage teachers to use these new approaches. However, numerous barriers still need to be considered carefully when technology is used for teaching and learning purposes. This study investigates the views of Turkish social studies teachers about barriers for technology integration into the teaching-learning process. The authors applied a quantitative survey model and administered a 34-item survey to 171 social studies teachers in Turkey. The findings indicated that the most highly identified barriers were mainly external obstacles, such as a lack of technology, restricted Internet access, and a lack of administrative and technical support. Moreover, findings showed no statistical difference between female and male teachers’ perceived barriers, while they found a statistically significant difference between teachers who attended technology-related professional development and those who did not.
The practice of critical citizenship requires an authentic investigation into issues surrounding the exercise of power in our world. However, while young people increasingly engage with others and with the world through social media, this authentic meeting place has traditionally not been the location of a critical analysis within the context of citizenship. This paper seeks to identify a rational for and develop a process by which social media becomes both a site of contestation and empowerment in the project of critical citizenship. It seeks to place this work of criticality not in a world thrust upon young people, but rather, within the social media world of young people.
The importance of the early field experience in the curriculum of teacher education is often underappreciated. Ostensibly, the early field experience provides teacher candidates with the first opportunity to look closely at teaching and learning from the perspective of a classroom educator. Yet, little is know about what kinds of early field experiences facilitate teacher learning. In this study, the authors examined the use of video representations during an early field experience to advance preservice social studies teachers’ skills as careful observers of classroom practice. Findings suggest that video representations helped preservice teachers in an early field experience isolate elements of teaching and learning; contrast classroom practices with existing beliefs about classroom practice; and prime their situational and pedagogical imaginations.
This literature review synthesized current research on preservice and in-service programs that improve K–6 teachers’ attitudes, self-efficacy, or knowledge to teach computing, coding, or computational thinking. A review of current computing training for elementary teachers revealed 21 studies: 12 involving preservice teachers and nine involving in-service teachers. The findings suggest that training that includes active participation can improve teachers’ computing self-efficacy, attitudes, and knowledge. Because most of these studies were fairly short-term and content-focused, research is especially needed about long-term outcomes; pedagogical knowledge and beliefs; and relationships among teacher training, contexts, and outcomes.
This article describes an examination of how undergraduate instructional design assistants (IDAs) scaled up an open badge system by assisting in creating open badges. External reviewers rated the open badge rubrics created by seven of these IDAs along with those created by instructors, and the results were compared by scored components as well as overall totals. Interviews were conducted with the seven IDAs, which were coded using cross-case thematic analysis. With the help of IDAs the number of badges increased without compromising the quality of the badge rubrics, as IDAs’ rubrics were of quality equal to those created by instructors. Benefits experienced by IDAs included technology skills and professional growth. Several practitioner tips are provided for those wanting to employ IDAs effectively in creating open badges, including finding students with strong content expertise, creating a rigorous mentoring process that guides the IDAs in their tasks, allowing IDAs to own their badge development from beginning to end, involving the IDAs as teaching assistants so they can see the implementation of their badges, and encouraging peer collaboration among the IDAs to share best practices.
Since information and communication technologies were introduced into education, the number of courses delivered in an online or blended learning (OBL) format has increased significantly. However, not all teachers are experienced in teaching in this new digital environment. While various teacher professional development (TPD) models exist, few target OBL and teachers’ change processes during professional development. Therefore, this article presents a five-phase TPD process model for OBL. The five phases of the model are (a) a need for TPD for OBL, (b) the professional development strategy, (c) the teacher change associated with OBL, (d) the recognition and appreciation of these changes, and (e) the anchoring of the changes made in the teachers’ everyday practice. The model presented can offer a valuable and new approach toward TPD for OBL and introduces the notion of digital capital into TPD for OBL.