English/Language Arts Education

Going the Distance: Using Flipgrid to Mediate Race Discussions Across Two Young Adult Literature Courses

by Shea Kerkhoff & Michelle Falter
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Through a thematic and critical discourse analysis framed by critical literacy and mediated contact communication theories, the authors examined the discursive moves preservice teachers made when engaging in discussions on racial injustice through Flipgrid. Analysis showed that preservice teachers used language in productive and critical ways: moving from neutral stances to critical stances, challenging peers by questioning to understand, and reflecting on cultural assumptions. Preservice teachers thought Flipgrid provided the right balance of proximity and distance in order to see the issues in new ways and collaborating across locations and universities provided needed alternative perspectives for all and solidarity for some.

Leveraging Virtual Professional Development to Build Computational Thinking Literacies in English Language Arts Classrooms

by Robin Jocius, Ian O’Byrne, Melanie Blanton, Jennifer Albert, Deepti Joshi, Richard Robinson & Ashley Andrews
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This article describes the Infusing Computing project, a 4-year study designed to support middle and high school teachers in infusing computational thinking (CT) into their disciplinary teaching. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, weeklong workshops held in summer 2020 were shifted to a virtual format and utilized emerging technology tools, synchronous and asynchronous sessions, explicit collaborative scaffolds, networking, and digital badging. Specifically, this study examined the experiences of English language arts (ELA) teachers (14 middle school, 13 high school) who participated in the virtual Infusing Computing workshops. Findings demonstrated that ELA teachers were able to leverage learning successfully from virtual PD to infuse CT into existing curricula, although teachers differed in the ways that they appropriated and adapted pedagogical tools for CT infusion.

Mathematics Education

The Effects of Robotics Professional Development on Science and Mathematics Teaching Performance and Student Achievement in Underserved Middle Schools

by Alex Fegely, Joseph Winslow, Cheng-Yuan Lee & Louis J. Rubbo
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This article reports findings from an exploratory study investigating the effects of robotics professional development sessions in underserved middle schools in the southeastern United States. Eleven middle-level science and mathematics teachers from a high-needs school district received year-long training in robotics technology and instructional integration. Teacher-participants were evaluated on their problem-solving abilities, critical thinking strategies, robotics knowledge, content knowledge, and instructional design through teaching observations and pre/post robotics teaching competency surveys. Student performance was measured by comparing student-participants’ mathematics score growth on a standardized test against nationally normed control group samples. Results from teacher-participants (N = 11) indicated that they significantly improved their robotics teaching competencies and demonstrated measurable gains in numerous teaching performance indicators. Results from student-participants (N = 291) revealed they experienced mathematics growth at a higher percentage than their control group counterparts at each grade level. Sixth graders improved at a year change rate higher than the control sample to match the national norm mean on the posttest. Seventh graders experienced a year change rate and posttest mean far exceeding the control group that approached the national norm. Eighth graders improved at a year change rate that exceeded the control group but was beneath the national norm.

Science Education

Assessing STEM identities in Intergenerational Informal STEM Programming

by Laura Rodriguez, Todd Campbell, John C. Volin, David M. Moss, Chester Arnold & Laura Cisneros
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Our research analyzed two years of data from a 5-year NSF-funded informal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program. Our program aims to support development and maintenance of STEM identities in intergenerational teams learning geospatial technologies and conservation science to develop and implement community land-use projects. The conservation science and technology identity (CSTI) surveys were developed as a potential method to characterize and quantify a person’s STEM identity. The surveys examined five identity constructs for science and technology: competence, performance, external recognition, self-recognition, and ways of seeing and being. CSTI was administered before the workshop to evaluate the participants’ historical STEM identity, and after to determine the workshop’s impact on science and technology competences and ways of seeing and being. CSTI was also administered as a delayed-postsurvey after the year-long project was completed. This work is needed due to (a) the importance of the development and maintenance of STEM identity for persistence in engaging in science-related work, (b) the lack of reliable, quantitative measures supported by research on the constructs of identity, and (c) the need for development of empirical instruments to determine the impact of informal science learning programs on STEM identification.


Using Virtual Reality During Remote Learning to Change the Way Teachers Think About Geometry, Collaboration, and Technology

by Candace Walkington, Jamie Gravell & Wen Huang
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Extended reality experiences for mathematics teachers can allow them to understand both pedagogy and the mathematics itself in new ways. In this study, the authors explored a virtual reality simulation for learning about geometric shapes, where teachers could engage in joint, shared manipulation of holograms in three dimensions. The authors examined what teachers saw as the affordances and limitations of this activity, as well as how the activity transformed their understanding of extended reality, through three cases of groups of teachers. Important themes emerged related to engagement, tangibility, collaboration, and dynamicity of the virtual reality environment, as well as serious concerns relating to space, cost, and physical issues. Implications are discussed for training teachers and teacher educators to implement embodied approaches to mathematics instruction.