English/Language Arts Education

Automated Essay Scoring Versus Human Scoring: A Correlational Study

by Jinhao Wang & Michelle Stallone Brown
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The purpose of the current study was to analyze the relationship between automated essay scoring (AES) and human scoring in order to determine the validity and usefulness of AES for large-scale placement tests. Specifically, a correlational research design was used to examine the correlations between AES performance and human raters’ performance. Spearman rank correlation coefficient tests were utilized for data analyses. Results from the data analyses showed no statistically significant correlation between the overall holistic scores assigned by the AES tool and the overall holistic scores assigned by faculty human raters or human raters who scored another standardized writing test. On the other hand, there was a significant correlation between scores assigned by two teams of human raters. A significant correlation was also present between AES and faculty human scoring in Dimension 4 – Sentence Structure, but no significant correlations existed in other dimensions. Findings from the current study do not corroborate previous findings on AES tools. Implications of these findings for English educators reveal that AES tools have limited capability at this point and that more reliable measures for assessment, like writing portfolios and conferencing, still need to be a part of the methods repertoire.

Mathematics Education

Preparing to Teach Mathematics With Technology: An Integrated Approach to Developing Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

by Hollylynne Lee & Karen Hollebrands
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Several organizations have highlighted the importance of preparing teachers to teach students mathematics using appropriate technology (e.g., Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, 2006; International Society for Technology in Education, 2008). This article provides examples from teacher education materials that were developed using an approach that integrally develops teachers’ understandings of content, technology, and pedagogy to prepare them to teach data analysis and probablity topics using specific technology tools.

Social Studies Education

Using Technology as a Tool for Learning and Developing 21st Century Citizenship Skills: An Examination of the NETS and Technology Use by Preservice Teachers With Their K-12 Students

by Gayle Y. Thieman
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This study examined work samples and reflections of 223 elementary and secondary preservice teachers in a graduate teacher education program.  The 5-year study addressed two questions: (a) To what extent did preservice teachers integrate technology into their instructional planning? (b) To what extent did K-12 students use technologies as a result of preservice teachers’ instructional designs? In addition to addressing these questions, the data from 344 preservice teacher work samples and 151 preservice teacher reflections were examined through the lens of the National Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for Teachers  (ISTE, 2000) and National Educational Technology Standards for Students: The Next Generation (ISTE, 2007). Findings indicated 85% of preservice teachers integrated technology skills and knowledge in instructional practice with their K-12 students. Approximately 50% of the work samples and reflections documented K-12 students’ use of technology in the areas of creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, and research and information fluency. There is little evidence that K-12 students used technology to support critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making.

Current Practice

Computer-Mediated Collaborative Projects as Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

by Julie Shaughnessy, Ross Purves & Anita Jackson
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New technologies now offer teachers alternative models of collaboration with schools overseas, but how effective are they as professional development opportunities? The experiences of 18 specialist primary and secondary teachers in the Teachers’ International Professional Development Programme who visited schools in the USA were investigated as they set about establishing collaborative projects with their hosts. The focus was on the potential of such collaboration to engender professional development outcomes and to investigate the circumstances enabling or impeding success. Data were collected by means of questionnaires and interviews, both during the visit and for 20 months after return. A surprising result was the small number of teachers who managed to start a collaborative project. One of the more frequently cited reasons for lack of progress was technical problems, and this was with a group of teachers who were information and communications technology specialists.  Other inhibitory factors were lack of time and lack of funding.  However, additional examination reveals other benefits arising from the exercise (e.g., in terms of professional development of a broader kind), including a range of factors that could maximize the success of future projects.

Classroom-Based Use of Two Educational Technologies: A Sociocultural Perspective

by Sandy Schuck & Matthew Kearney
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This paper describes the fit between educational technologies and teacher views and pedagogies in light of two recently completed research projects. These studies focused on observed pedagogies associated with the classroom-based use of two learning technologies: digital video (student-generated), and interactive whiteboards. The paper considers the use of these two technologies from a sociocultural perspective, recognizing that the nature of tools and the nature of societal use of these tools are mutually dependent. Questions are raised about how the inherent nature of different technologies might shape different learning experiences and outcomes and whether certain technologies fit better with some pedagogical approaches than others.