English/Language Arts Education

Encouraging Ownership of Online Spaces: Support for Preservice English Teachers Through Computer-Mediated Communication

by Lisa Scherff & Trena Paulus
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High attrition rates among new teachers are of concern to teacher educators. Support mechanisms may help teachers feel less isolated in their new profession. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies can connect novice teachers in ways that are both time and place independent. Most research on asynchronous online discussions has focused on achieving formal learning goals through highly structured scaffolds for reflective thinking and cognitive presence. Less attention is being paid to how novice teachers who are already accustomed to participating in online communities turn to these online spaces for the support they need. This case study examined whether and how eight preservice teachers completing English education internships at professional development schools chose to use an asynchronous discussion forum in the absence of a tightly structured or controlled communication task. The interns chose to use the online space for just-in-time informal learning and for psychological support on complex issues that were not easy to discuss face to face. The interns regularly responded to each others’ requests, thoughts, and concerns. The authors propose that highly structured online forums are not the only way CMC can be used for teacher support, particularly now that CMC is no longer a novelty, nor should formal learning be the only purpose for providing such online spaces to novice teachers.

Mathematics Education

“Shutting the Box”: Fostering Collaboration Among Early Grades and Secondary Preservice Teachers Through Authentic Problem Solving

by Michael Todd Edwards
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In this paper are discussed recent efforts to provide preservice mathematics teachers with opportunities to connect elementary teaching methods and content with the content and methods of secondary school mathematics. Through an in-depth exploration of the game, Shut the Box, preservice elementary and secondary mathematics teachers thoughtfully analyzed and manipulated computer-generated output, developed and tested their own conjectures, and collaboratively answered questions involving theoretical probabilities across courses and content levels.  Through their collaboration, the preservice teachers gained a better appreciation of mathematics content and pedagogical strategies that lie beyond the grades they will likely teach, as they reconsidered the importance of content and pedagogical knowledge at every level of mathematics instruction.  These interactions are considered in this document through a discussion of the mathematical underpinnings of the popular board game.

Science Education

Integrating Point-to-Point Videoconferencing Into Professional Development of Rural Elementary School Science Teachers

by Leonard Annetta & Daniel Dickerson
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This study investigated the effectiveness of using point-to-point videoconferencing for a 3-day professional development workshop of elementary school science teachers as part of the Science Co-op Project in rural Missouri. The intentions of this exploratory case study were to provide an overview of the program and to assess the degree to which participating teachers perceived the effective use of distance education technologies to address the challenge of reaching teachers in rural, isolated areas. The sample of teacher participants had participated in at least one traditional, onsite professional development workshop in previous years of the project. An exploratory case study design methodology was used to ascertain new information as it arose during the data collection process. Results suggest that teachers perceived the use of point-to-point videoconferencing to be as effective as their previous experience in traditional workshops.  However, teacher participants overwhelmingly preferred to have the workshop leaders onsite.

Social Studies Education


Faculty Perceptions of Electronic Portfolios in a Teacher Education Program

by Christian Penny & John Kinslow
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of selected teacher education faculty members engaged in electronic portfolio development. The research questions driving this study were (a) What are the faculty members experiencing as they adopt eFolios? (b) How do these professors understand and make sense of the role eFolios play in teacher education? A phenomenological case study research design framed and guided the study. Six overlapping themes emerged from this study. Interpretation of the teacher’s voices revealed assertions that attempt to make sense of their collective experience. Implications of these five assertions are discussed.

Current Practice

Modeling Technology Integration for Preservice Teachers: A PT3 Case Study

by Leslie Hall
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This case study describes the outcomes of 4 years of professional development funded by a PT3 grant. Participants included general education university faculty members, teacher education faculty members, school administrators, and K-12 teachers. All professional development activities were based on the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T). Findings show that all participants modeled Standards 1-5 of NETS-T. Discussion includes the absence of modeling of Standard 6 and levels of cognitive skills required by students to engage in technology integration activities. Based on this study, it is recommended that professional development in the area of technology integration for university faculty members and for K-12 teachers should stress uses of software and hardware for analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of information and concepts. Understanding the stages of adoption and their relationships to cognitive skills may help instructors reflect on personal practice and move through the stages more quickly. Special attention should be paid to NETS-T, Standard 6, to ensure understandings of ways in which specific pieces of software and specific pedagogical practices can empower and disempower groups of diverse learners.