Because ever-expanding opportunities for communication have not been well-represented instructionally, this study investigated the impact of teacher professional development in new literacies on students’ writing achievement. Further, the study considered professional development characteristics that support instructional shifts to include new literacies. Ten teachers and 892 students participated, with a matched control group. Participating teachers received a classroom set of laptops and up to 46 hours of training. Analyses indicate that professional learning opportunities that fostered conceptual understandings included the opportunity to observe in classrooms that were using new literacies and provided opportunities for hands-on practice and social construction of knowledge appear to have supported instructional changes. Students whose teachers were minimally trained did not have significant increases in writing achievement; however, students whose teachers received sustained training significantly increased their scores on high-stakes assessments. Increased scores were more pronounced for students who had been previously labeled as underachieving, a finding that fosters conceptualization of new literacies as transmediational and re-mediational.
English/Language Arts Education
Self-regulated learning (SRL) environments provide the context for students to have more control over their own learning and have the potential to greatly benefit students. However, more research is needed to understand how teachers approach their interactions with students in these settings and how teachers actualize effective teaching practices in SRL environments. This study was focused on responsive teaching as one type of effective practice. The researchers utilized teachers’ use of questioning as an indicator of responsiveness. Using content analysis, the researchers documented instances of questioning teachers used to build dialogic interaction. Focus was placed on understanding the extent to which teachers’ questions were responsive to students’ thinking within a blended SRL context. Findings suggest that teachers’ use of responsive questioning varied by person and context and were impacted by several factors: the teacher’s understanding of the goals and affordances of an SRL environment, classroom context and teaching approach, and lesson format (e.g., large group vs. individual). Based on the findings, the authors suggest that teachers’ understanding of SRL impacts the extent to which they use responsive teaching to interact with student’s self-paced instruction. In particular, teachers’ focus on conceptual (rather than procedural) goals in the SRL environment supports student thinking and agency.
Induction programs are an important component of teacher education aimed at developing teachers as lifelong learners who can make use of reflective and self-regulatory learning practices. The online induction program in this study uses reflective learning cycles to promote the development of reflective practice. A multiple case study of three beginning science teachers was used to explore their self-regulatory processes in developing reflective practice. The authors contend that beginning teacher education programs must engage beginning teachers in self-regulatory learning in order to become reflective practitioners.
The use of technology in assessment continues to evolve the field of educational measurement. This article reports on development and use of new accessible, technology-enhanced assessments designed to measure the three-dimensional science abilities of middle school students. The assessments were piloted with over 70 teachers and 8,000 students throughout the United States over a 3-year period. The adoption and implementation of technology-enhanced assessments is potentially challenging for educators, and numerous factors can influence whether new tools are successful in classroom contexts. The authors describe the assessments alongside insights from project surveys into the conditions that supported or hindered teachers’ successful implementation and use of the new assessments in classroom settings. Results indicate that teachers found the assessments useful for supporting the transition to instruction based on Next Generation Science Standards and preparing students for new state science tests. Successful uptake of the materials in the classroom was supported by professional learning that anticipated teachers’ content, technology, and pedagogical needs. While the assessments were overall successful, areas for potential improvement are also described, including improved reporting formats that are more teacher and student friendly.
Objects to Think With
Since the advent of affordable fabrication technologies such as 3D printers, many schools have established maker spaces. The educational effectiveness of fabrication tools in K-12 maker spaces is facilitated by access to useful Computer-Assisted Design (CAD) models and associated instructional supports. The launch of Educational Fabrication & Design provides a site for peer review and publication of CAD models designed for K-12 education. Upon acceptance, articles will be published with a link to a corresponding model in an educational CAD Model Repository.
This study describes the ways in which 36 preservice elementary teachers (PSETs) incorporated text into slides (n = 158) they designed for use with K-5 students during whole-group mathematics instruction. A qualitative content analysis was conducted to determine the extent and purposes for which the PSETs used slide text. Overall, 80% of slides contained text, which was closely aligned with what the PSETs planned to say during instruction. Text was used for three primary purposes: to convey information, to prompt student engagement, and to prompt teacher action. Study findings indicate that instruction in visual literacy skills should be incorporated into teacher education coursework if teacher educators expect PSETs to use slides effectively in their teaching. The findings also highlight the potential utility of slide text as a tool to support novice teachers as they learn to enact cognitively demanding teaching practices, such as engaging students in discussion during lessons. Collectively, the results suggest that slides designed for teaching should be viewed as shared spaces, to be used by and useful to both students and their teachers. Recommendations for ways PSETs may be taught to use slides as a shared space are included.