Mathematics Education

Computational Thinking: Perspectives of Preservice K-8 Mathematics Teachers

by Elizabeth K. Barlow, Angela T. Barlow & Louis S. Nadelson
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Advancements in computing have led to increased interest in integrating computational thinking in the K-12 curriculum. Computational thinking can be defined as a problem-solving process with the goal of developing algorithms that can be coded for computer use. With its emphasis on problem solving, the processes associated with computational thinking overlap with those of mathematical thinking, leading to an anticipated reliance on mathematics teachers to teach computational thinking in the K-12 setting. Currently, research related to preservice mathematics teachers’ perceptions of computational thinking is emergent; yet, this research is needed to inform leaders of teacher preparation programs. The purpose of this study was to investigate preservice K-8 mathematics teachers’ views of teaching computational thinking. Participants from three different universities completed an asynchronous, online simulation, responding verbally to prompts related to the importance of and processes for teaching computational thinking to all students. Results demonstrated that participants found value in teaching computational thinking, although the majority either did not connect their ideas specifically to computational thinking or erroneously connected their ideas to mathematical computations and/or technology integration. Further, a large majority of participants demonstrated deficit perspectives of students considered lower achieving. Implications and areas for future work are included.

Science Education

Examining Spaces for Integrating Physics and Computing Through Classroom Inquiry

by Colby Tofel-Grehl, Kristin Searle, Douglas Ball & Soojeong Jeong
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As computing becomes an essential component of professional practice across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, integration of computing across content areas in K-12 classrooms is also becoming important. Particularly within science classrooms, computer science and computational thinking (CS/CT) are novel and necessary skills for modeling, working with data, and other foundational science skills. Finding ways to engage students in practicing and learning CT within authentic science learning is challenging for most teachers. In this article, the authors report on one teacher’s efforts to engage high school students in maker-based physics education, integrating computational thinking by designing and building escape rooms. Escape rooms are puzzle rooms,  wherein participants solve a series of linked puzzles to “escape” a locked room. The puzzles were a year-end activity and utilized the physics content students learned throughout the school year. The authors conducted a text analysis of student reflective journals and teacher reflections to understand the affordances and challenges for students with engaging CS/CT in their science class. Findings indicated high levels of student satisfaction with their puzzles and varying degrees of challenge when coding the microprocessors. Students believed that being able to code responses to physics phenomena enriched their peers’ experiences of learning physics.

Objects to Think With

Establishing an Educational CAD Model Ecosystem

by Glen Bull, Debra Shapiro, Jonathan David Cohen, Andrea Borowczak, Enrique Galindo, Sherry Lassiter & David Slykhuis
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During the past decade, many K-12 schools have established makerspaces with 3D printers, digital die cutters, and other fabrication tools. An open-source ecosystem is being developed to facilitate effective use of educational makerspaces. This work is being undertaken under the auspices of the National Technology Leadership Summit coalition, which includes national teacher educator associations in science education (ASTE), educational technology (SITE), engineering education (ITEEA), and mathematics education (AMTE), and the Fab Foundation – a network of more than 2,500 Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs). This effort is supported by a National Science Foundation Pathways to Open-Source Ecosystems Phase I planning grant (NSF No. 2229627).


Preservice Teachers Identifying High Leverage Practices Within Virtual Field Experiences

by Sarah Watt & Jason Abbitt
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An exploratory, within-subject study examined the extent to which 34 preservice teachers noticed the implementation of high-leverage practices (HLPs) in special education classrooms within three virtual field experiences (VFEs). The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which preservice teachers could accurately identify HLPs across a variety of classroom settings that embedded different instructional models (i.e., explicit teaching versus inquiry-based models). Overall findings indicated that preservice teachers consistently observed strategies to promote active engagement with high accuracy and observed the implementation of cognitive strategies and scaffolded instruction with low accuracy. Furthermore, preservice teachers identified HLPs with this highest accuracy within classrooms using explicit instructional settings. Implications for teacher educators on how to scaffold VFEs to promote accurate identification of HLPs across settings are provided.

Current Practice

Initial Teacher Preparation Faculty Views and Practices Regarding E-Professionalism in Teacher Education

by Cordelia Zinskie & Marlynn Griffin
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This study analyzed initial teacher preparation faculty views and practices regarding e-professionalism (professionalism in online environments) in teacher education with an emphasis on social media. While most faculty participants agreed that social media use should be addressed with preservice teachers, few actually addressed e-professionalism in their courses or field experiences. Faculty participants were also divided on whether social media policies were needed and whether inappropriate use of social media should be considered an ethics violation. A lack of professionalism when using social media may have implications for future employment opportunities as a teacher; therefore, suggested components of an e-professionalism curriculum are provided.