English/Language Arts Education
This research study investigated the use of technology tools to support constructivist learning experiences in a preservice teacher education reading methods course. Learning opportunities based on Kolb’s learning styles model were used to support understanding of course content in the constructivist environment. Technology tools were used during class presentations to communicate, scaffold, and clarify course concepts and content while engaging students with information. Technology was used outside of class as a collaboration tool in mediating and negotiating learning between the instructor and students as well as between students and students. In addition to demonstration and application of reading methods, students’ perceptions of their learning experience and understanding of course content were considered in analyzing the effectiveness of technology used to address multiple learning styles in a constructivist environment.
The use of videotaped episodes of elementary mathematics classrooms for professional development is not new. However, without appropriate support, preservice teachers may find it difficult to hone in on the underlying features of the targeted practices displayed in the swift-moving action of the classroom being observed. The focus in this study is to investigate the benefits of including scaffolding supports directly into the software that facilitates the viewing of the videotape episodes to enhance preservice teachers’ understanding of the teaching of mathematics. The data indicate that the preservice teachers who used the software product, MathStore, were able to develop significant insight into specific aspects of the teaching and learning process.
Social Studies Education
The pervasive nature of the Internet, both in society and in America’s schools, leads teacher educators to wonder how this dynamic tool is being utilized in the classroom and, especially, if it is benefiting students’ understanding. This study analyzed 127 Web sites self-reported by in-service teachers as excellent for teaching. From these data, a majority of K-12 educators view the Web either as a lesson planning tool or as a place to turn for additional information to teach a particular lesson. The majority of sites designed for use with students were passive in nature. This paper offers a qualitative data analysis of the attributes of the sites, as well as implications of the selected sites on K-12 teacher beliefs regarding student learning.
Slow motion animation (“slowmation”) is a new teaching approach that uses a simple animation process to engage learners in creating their own comprehensive animations of science concepts. In this paper, preservice elementary teachers used slowmation, a form of stop-motion animation, to make models of science concepts and take digital still photos as the models were manually manipulated in the horizontal plane. A range of materials can be used, and the animations are played in slow motion at two frames per second. Importantly, the preservice teachers provided pedagogical prompts, such as narration, diagrams, music, and factual text in their animations to help explain concepts. Preservice elementary teachers learned how to create slowmations in their science method course and then made their own comprehensive examples in an assignment to represent a science concept. Slowmation is a use of technology that generates a “real need” for preservice teachers to understand science content so that they can represent and explain it accurately in their animation.
This article is intended to help teacher educators, classroom teachers, and administrators interested in educational technology acquire a firm theoretical as well as practical foundation upon which to introduce nonlinear digital video into their undergraduate or graduate instruction; discover a time-tested, step-by-step process for introducing creative hands-on videography projects into their respective teacher preparation programs or classrooms; and recognize why it is critically important for preservice and in-service teachers to establish a personal underlying pedagogical philosophy for infusing video technology into classroom instruction.