Defining Education Research: Continuing the Conversation

by Debra Sprague
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A debate currently occurring in the research community centers around what qualifies as “high quality” education research.  This discussion was prompted by the U. S. Department of Education’s challenge to consider only “scientifically based research” in their funding and policies.  This article outlines some of the issues related to this topic.  It concludes with an invitation for interested researchers to continue this conversation.

English/Language Arts Education

Guest Editorial: On Technology and English Education

by Janet Swenson
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This paper surveys recent trends and issues related to the integration of newer technologies in K-16 English language arts/literacy learning classrooms. The author argues that newer technologies are used too often in English courses as a tool to learn traditional skills and materials, and not often enough for the transformation of individuals and communities. The author suggests that identifying agents that act as inhibitors to such potentially generative outcomes for technology integration is a necessary first step, and then articulates a wide range of questions that the field might address.

Facing Versions of the Self: The Effects of Digital Storytelling on English Education

by Antonio Tendero
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This teacher-researcher case study examines the use of digital storytelling in a teacher assisting seminar. During the field placement, students composed a digital story of a teaching hour.  Combining reflection with classroom footage, students exhibited their work for their colleagues. Digital stories added to the written narratives from the field. This technological opportunity provided teacher assistants with multiple views of themselves as teachers.  Implications for future teaching and research include ongoing digital storytelling, mentoring, and the maintenance of the complexity of classroom teaching.

Mathematics Education

Guest Editorial: Preparing Teachers to Teach Mathematics With Technology

by Margaret L. Niess
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The challenge for mathematics teacher educators is to identify teacher preparation and professional development programs that lead toward the development of technology pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). TPCK is an important body of knowledge for teaching mathematics that must be developed in the coursework in teaching and learning, as well as within the coursework directed at developing mathematical knowledge. Preparing teachers to teach mathematics is highlighted by its complexities. What technologies are adequate tools for learning mathematics? What about teacher attitudes and beliefs about teaching mathematics with technology? What are the barriers? These questions and more frame the challenge for the development of a research agenda for mathematics education that is directed toward assuring that all teachers and teacher candidates have opportunities to acquire the knowledge and experiences needed to incorporate technology in the context of teaching and learning mathematics.

Integrating Online Discussion: Broadening the Conversation

by Qing Li
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This article shares an approach to teaching mathematics teacher education courses incorporating asynchronous online discussions. Specifically, this research is guided by the following research questions: (a) How would online discussions contribute or hinder teachers’ learning in mathematics methods courses? and (b) What pedagogical strategies need to be considered when incorporating online threaded discussion? The analysis of data collected provides the basis for conclusions and recommendations for educators who are interested in integrating online discussions into mathematics methods classrooms.

Science Education

Technology for Physics Instruction

by Joel Bryan
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Although technological innovations have the capability to significantly change how scientific investigations are done and greatly enhance the teaching and learning of science, its use is no more effective than any other resource or innovation when researched-based effective teaching practices are not followed. This paper reviews established guidelines for the effective use of technology in science and mathematics education, and presents several examples of technology products available for physics instruction and research related to their effectiveness.

Social Studies Education

Commentary: It Is Not Only About the Computers: An Argument for Broadening the Conversation

by Scott W. DeWitt
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In 2002 the members of the National Technology Leadership Initiative (NTLI) framed seven conclusions relating to handheld computers and ubiquitous computing in schools. While several of the conclusions are laudable efforts to increase research and professional development, the factual and conceptual bases for this document are seriously flawed. The NTLI members’ failure to address market forces, teacher agency, and sociocultural influences on schools and instruction perpetuates harmful myths about educational computing and makes successful integration of handheld computers less likely. The author argues for a more realistic, holistic, and teacher-friendly approach.

Implications of Ubiquitous Computing for the Social Studies Curriculum

by Stephanie D. van Hover, Michael J. Berson, Cheryl Mason Bolick & Kathleen Owings Swan
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In March 2002, members of the National Technology Leadership Initiative (NTLI) met in Charlottesville, Virginia to discuss the potential effects of ubiquitous computing on the field of education. Ubiquitous computing, or “on-demand availability of task-necessary computing power,” involves providing every student with a handheld computer—a situation with enormous repercussions for education and teacher education. Over a two-day period, participants engaged in intensive discussion of the issue of ubiquitous computing and developed seven conclusions. This paper, written by the representatives from social studies organizations, seeks to examine the specific implications of these seven conclusions for the field of social studies education. The paper discusses the concept of ubiquitous computing and the impact this technology shift may have on social studies curricula, teacher preparation, software development, and research agendas.


A Technology Snapshot: Teacher Preparation Program and the Local Public Schools

by Rita Mulholland
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This paper describes the infusion of technology training into a university’s special education program for intern teachers. As the teachers participate in their core classes they have the opportunity to immediately consider and plan for incorporating technology into their teaching to assist their special needs students. Through their class activities and course assignments they demonstrate technology knowledge and skills that they are able to immediately transfer to their classrooms. The program, in response to an informal inquiry into technology use in the interns’ schools, is extending the partnerships with the schools to include technology training to benefit both the teachers and the students.

Current Practice

Creating Your Own Interactive Computer-Based Algebra Teaching Tools: A No Programming Zone

by Ronald F. McPherson & Velma Tyson
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In this article the reader will be able to download four spreadsheet tools that interactively relate symbolic and graphical representations of four different functions and learn how to create tools for other functions. These tools uniquely display the symbolic functional representation exactly as found in textbooks. Five complete lesson activities based on the tools are included. A design tutorial is also presented. The design tutorial shows readers how to create their own interactive mathematics learning tools conforming to National Council of Teachers of Mathematics philosophies. The techniques require only built-in point-and-click commands found in most spreadsheet programs. No programming is required. Step-by-step instruction and animations lead the reader through creating a tool. The intended audience of this article is mathematics education professors, preservice teachers, and in-service teachers. These techniques are currently taught in the mathematics education methods classes at Longwood University.