English/Language Arts Education

Reflective Practices Among Language Arts Teachers: The Use of Weblogs

by Beverly B. Ray & Gail A Coulter
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Reflection is considered an important aspect of teacher practice. Researchers examined 21 teacher-created language arts blogs to determine whether randomly selected entries within the blogs demonstrated reflection on professional practice. In addition, entries were examined to determine the depth of reflective practice. The amount and depth of reflective practice was measured by a researcher-created rubric. Results indicated that all language arts teachers in the study used their blogs as reflective journals and that the depth of reflection occurring in the blogs varied from casual reflection (i.e., regarding the proceedings of the school day) to metareflective posts that could lead to changes in practice.

Mathematics Education

 Learning to Teach With Technology Through an Apprenticeship Model

by Kathryn G. Shafer
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This paper reports the results of a doctoral research pilot study that paired a researcher with an experienced classroom teacher for a 12-week time span with the goal of effectively integrating the use of Geometer’s Sketchpad (GSP) into the classroom teacher’s practice. Using a teacher development experiment, the researcher created an apprenticeship model to foster the transmission of the knowledge to the classroom teacher required to successfully teach with Geometer’s Sketchpad. Specific results indicate a positive change in the facilitation of mathematical communication and inquiry-based instruction in the classroom teacher’s practice as well as sustained use of GSP beyond the time span of the pilot study. General results include the development of the constructs of technological knowledge (TK), technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) and technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK).

Science Education

Evaluating Multimedia-Learning Tools Based on Authentic Research Data That Teach Biology Concepts and Environmental Stewardship

by Jacqueline McLaughlin & Daniel A. Arbeider
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High school science teachers and students need interactive, multimedia research-based learning objects that (a) support standards-based teaching, (b) enforce complex thinking and problem solving, (c) embrace research skills, (d) include appropriate assessments to measure student performance, and (e) show “real-world” uses. To meet these five criteria, the CHANCE modules have been purposefully designed to allow students to “learn how things work” using real-world research data. These modules pace students through images and text that help them to interpret biological and ecological principles. Indeed, each module has been carefully field tested with practicing in-service and preservice science teachers and real students to assure its effectiveness. Notably, the integration of authentic scientific research with sequenced, interactive computer simulations create a solid curriculum base of national interest that has laid the groundwork for additional materials collections that capitalize on the resources of communities that surround schools in particular regions of the country.


Teacher Perspectives on Online Collaborative Learning:  Factors Perceived as Facilitating and Impeding Successful Online Group Work

by Heejung An, Sangkyung Kim & Bosung Kim
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This study examined the factors perceived by in-service teachers as either facilitating or impeding successful completion of online group work in a virtual graduate school of education program. Based on a quantified qualitative data analysis of open-ended questions, five facilitative factors were identified as (a) individual accountability, (b) affective team support, (c) the presence of a positive group leader, (d) consensus building skills, and (e) clear instructions. There were also seven impeding factors perceived by the teacher participants. Although four of the factors described a lack of the aforementioned facilitative factors, another three broached new, problematic issues that need to be further considered in online teacher education programs. At the conclusion of this article, recommendations are provided that online teacher educators might consider as they initiate group projects in online environments.

Current Practice

Digital Booktalk: Digital Media for Reluctant Readers

by Glenda Gunter & Robert Kenny
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New learning and communications paradigms of today’s learners are extending the definition of literacy and directly affecting how reading and writing skills are acquired (Leu, 2000). Mirroring an ever-expanding definition of literacy, new college and K-12 curricular programs that redefine digital media are popping up all over the country. Story is at the core of both traditional literacy and these digital media courses and using it as a focus could be appealing to today’s media-centric students. Further, McLuhan’s (1965) and Ong’s (1984) ideas about media and the message can help to reformulate notions about why and how today’s students communicate and how using particular media affects how they learn things. The intent of this article is to share information and provide guidance for preservice and in-service teachers about a mediated alternative instructional strategy that has the ability to reach reluctant and struggling readers. Findings are presented from a pilot study that evaluated a new Web-based tool that links the interests of media-centric students with their natural fondness for story. Digital Booktalk is a Web portal that uses video trailers and associated activities in an attempt to effectively match potential readers. Initial pilot studies tested out these assumptions and determined that these types of mediated interventions can be successful in motivating students to read and complete books and increase personal understanding of the relevance of reading and writing in the lives of those who otherwise demonstrate an aversion to text-based media. Results of the study and implications for in-service and preservice teachers are discussed.