English/Language Arts Education

Science Education

Teaching Science via Computational Thinking? Enabling Future Science Teachers’ Access to Computational Thinking

by Ugur Kale, Ashley Kooken, Jiangmei Yuan & Abhik Roy
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Despite the increasing number of coding initiatives to promote computational thinking (CT), their main focus on in-service teachers in large school districts of the big cities far from exemplifies opportunities for preservice teachers (PSTs) to learn how to promote it in rural elementary school settings. As a preliminary step, this research examined how a specific workshop, designed to infuse CT in a science methods course, influenced PSTs’ motivation, skill, and usage access to CT. A pre- and post-test quasi-experimental design guided the research. The two intact classroom sections of an elementary education science method course (N=43) were randomly assigned to either a control group or an experimental group. After the covariates were controlled for, attending the workshop increased PSTs skill and usage access as well as their likelihood to incorporate CT in their lesson modifications. PSTs’ deeper discussion of CT processes and affordances of CT in relation to the phases of 5E Model is essential to helping them connect CT to the science pedagogy.

Open and Useful? Exploring the Science Education Resources on OER Commons

by Joshua M. Rosenberg
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Though science teachers use curricular materials from a range of sources, the nature of the science education materials that exist in the public domain or that are licensed for free use has not been the focus of much prior research. In this study, Open Educational Resources (OER) that can be accessed through the OER Commons platform were examined in terms of their characteristics and use using public Internet data mining methods. The author evaluated 8,937 life science, physical science, and applied science resources in terms of their material type, grade level, license type, number of endorsements by approved organizations (e.g., a state department of education), alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and number of views. Many resources were readings and laboratory investigations, and most were for postsecondary science classes, though many were intended for high school, middle school, and elementary classrooms. Relatively few resources were endorsed, and fewer still were explicitly aligned with the NGSS, suggesting the need for greater alignment of standards across states. To provide a richer set of accessible curricular resources for educators, several implications for practice and policy are considered.

Objects to Think With

Metadata Standards for Educational Objects

by Glen Bull, Steven Greenstein, Joshua Ellis, Sumreen Asim, Ryan Novitski, Elizabeth Whitewolf & Sherry Lake
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An Educational CAD Model Library (CAD Library) is being developed by collaborating educational associations affiliated with the National Technology Leadership Summit coalition. The CAD Library’s Curators’ Council has developed descriptive metadata fields that will be associated with each educational object published in the library. These fields are designed to facilitate search and discovery of objects by teachers who are increasingly well positioned to use these objects in their instruction due to the increasing presence of school-based makerspaces and the 3D printers, digital die cutters, and other fabrication tools. The publication of these metadata standards makes them available to the members of the educational associations participating in the development of the CAD Library and to other relevant stakeholders for feedback to inform ongoing revisions.

Current Practice

Preparing Preservice Teachers for Residency Through Alternative Fieldwork Experiences

by Karen Gregory, Gretchen Oliver & Seema Rivera
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This action research project investigates technology-enhanced forms of clinical experience in an online Master of Arts program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The three research questions were as follows: (a) What representations of practice do preservice teachers (PSTs) notice while observing others teach via purposely selected video lessons; (b) how do PSTs make connections between the representations of practice they identified in these observations and pedagogical theories they have learned in their methods courses; and (c) how do PSTs decompose the teaching practices they view in video observations with others in online discussion forums? Analysis of the data revealed that PSTs most often noted teacher actions related to developing a positive classroom culture, classroom management, and best practices for English learner instruction. Through their asynchronous online discussions and written reflections, PSTs developed a better understanding of best practices for teaching English learners, in which they were able to conceptualize and actualize abstract constructs from their methods courses such as trust-building, culturally responsive teaching, the zone of proximal development, and funds of knowledge, while also making theoretical constructs actionable through their shared observation experience and online discussions. Findings indicate that the implementation of video-based fieldwork along with collaborative online discussion may help PSTs to better understand the complex constellation of actions and decisions that lead to effective pedagogy for English learners.