Editorials

Mathematics Education

When Robots Invade the Neighborhood: Learning to Teach PreK-5 Mathematics Leveraging Both Technology and Community Knowledge

by Frances Harper, Zachary Stumbo & Nicholas Kim
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This study explored how prospective elementary teachers developed mathematics teaching that used the cultural, linguistic, and cognitive resources from home and community settings to promote learning school mathematics with robotics. Drawing on lesson planning artifacts and written reflections following lesson enactments, the authors describe how prospective teachers made progress toward more equitable mathematics teaching by connecting mathematics learning and robotics, leveraging community funds of knowledge in mathematics instruction with robotics, and designing for transdisciplinary connections. Analyses showed how robotics can support planning for a range of elementary mathematics concepts – including counting, multiplicative reasoning, distance, and sequence – and may encourage leveraging students’ sense of place to make mathematics learning more accessible for every student. These findings suggest that mathematics teacher educators and teachers should consider using innovative tools not typically seen in classrooms, such as robotics, in mathematics instruction as they work to support a focus on reasoning and sense making and make connections to children’s community and cultural funds of knowledge.

Science Education

A Professional Development Model to Integrate Computational Thinking Into Middle School Science Through Codesigned Storylines

by Quentin Biddy, Alexandra Gendreau Chakarov, Jeffrey Bush, Colin Hennessy Elliott, Jennifer Jacobs, Mimi Recker, Tamara Sumner & William Penuel
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This article describes a professional development (PD) model, the CT-Integration Cycle, that supports teachers in learning to integrate computational thinking (CT) and computer science principles into their middle school science and STEM instruction. The PD model outlined here includes collaborative design (codesign; Voogt et al., 2015) of curricular units aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that use programmable sensors. Specifically, teachers can develop or modify curricular materials to ensure a focus on coherent, student-driven instruction through the investigation of scientific phenomena that are relevant to students and integrate CT and sensor technology. Teachers can implement these storylines and collaboratively reflect on their instructional practices and student learning. Throughout this process, teachers may develop expertise in CT-integrated science instruction as they plan and use instructional practices aligned with the NGSS and foreground CT. This paper describes an examination of a group of five middle school teachers’ experiences during one iteration of the CT-Integration Cycle, including their learning, planning, implementation, and reflection on a unit they codesigned. Throughout their participation in the PD, the teachers expanded their capacity to engage deeply with CT practices and thoughtfully facilitated a CT-integrated unit with their students.

Analyzing the Development of Science and Mathematics Teachers’ Maker-Centered Philosophy and Instructional Practices

by Shelly Rodriguez, Shaunna Smith & Jason Harron
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Making is an iterative process of designing, building, tinkering, and problem-solving, resulting in the creation of personally meaningful artifacts. Fueled by recent developments in affordable, safe, and easy to use digital fabrication technologies, making has been embraced by educators the world over. While educational scholarship is developing an increasingly complex understanding of the practices and pedagogies needed to support making in the classroom, there has been limited research associated with the preparation of teachers and their development of maker-centered instructional practices. In this embedded case study, the authors examined artifacts produced by 13 secondary preservice and in-service science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) classroom teachers engaged in long-term maker professional development as part of a microcredentialing program. Analysis of these artifacts uncovered an array of motivations for engaging with classroom making, illustrated how participants implemented their maker philosophies in secondary STEM classrooms, and suggested the need for additional research on and models of maker-centered programs in teacher preparation.

Social Studies Education

The Tip of the Iceberg: Immaterial Labor, Technoskepticism and the Teaching Profession

by Erin Adams, Elizabeth Wurzburg & Stacey Kerr
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This paper reports an analysis of the work of teaching in the wake of the profound and swift transformation of the educational landscape due to the global crisis of Covid-19 as well as concrete suggestions for teachers and teacher educators related to the labor they are expected to perform. Ultimately, the aim of this article was to discuss how understanding the immaterial labor of teaching, the labor that creates value but is often intangible and unseen, can prepare teachers to recognize and possibly resist what might get counted as best practices in the new normal that is and is to come. The authors use the concept of immaterial labor to expand on and complement technoskepticism, a recognition that technology is not neutral and has exploitive and antidemocratic tendencies and, therefore, must be approached with appropriate caution.

General

From Visible to Understandable: Designing for Teacher Agency in Education Data Visualizations

by June Ahn, Ha Nguyen & Fabio Campos
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In the United States, teachers are expected to analyze data to inform instruction and improve student learning. Despite investments in data tools, researchers find that teachers often interact with data visualizations in limited ways. Researchers have called for data interpretation training for preservice teachers to increase teachers’ interactions with data visualizations, but training alone may not be enough to spur pedagogical insights. Research suggests that helping teachers build personal connections with data may foster their own agency. However, little is known about how to provide agency-developing experiences for teachers more efficiently that respect both the time and resource constraints that teachers face in their daily work. This article presents a design experiment that explored whether giving preservice teachers the choice of which data to visualize impacted their connections with data. When compared with a control group who were not offered the chance of choosing their data (but only received data interpretation training), the authors found that participants who experienced the agency intervention reported a deeper connection with the underlying meanings of educational data. This intervention provides foundational evidence that facilitating agency-developing experiences may help educators to develop deeper sensemaking about educational data.

Current Practice

Perceptions of Administrators’ Support for Grades K-5 Teachers’ Professional Learning with Twitter: What Does It Look Like?

by Talia Nochumson
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This mixed-methods study investigated support for Grades K-5 teachers’ learning with Twitter. As more teachers turn to the Twitter microblogging service as an online space for professional development (PD), it is important to understand how and if teachers believe school administrators’ support their use of Twitter for teacher PD. Key findings from this study revealed that two thirds of participants considered their administrators to be supportive of Twitter for their PD. Support was perceived when administrators, including superintendents and principals, were (a) active Twitter users and (b) encouraged teachers to share what they had learned on Twitter. However, some participants expressed feeling discouraged by administrators who seemed mostly interested in maintaining the status quo in their schools. Support from administrators may help teachers critically evaluate information they learn from Twitter and ensure its alignment with evidence-based teaching practices, skills that are necessary in an era with an abundance of easily accessed information. In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, school leaders and policymakers may want to consider their support for teachers’ use of Twitter as a legitimate resource for professional learning, especially for ideas related to remote teaching and online learning.