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Students’ Guided Reinvention of Definition of Limit of a Sequence With Interactive Technology

by Alfinio Flores & Jungeun Park
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In a course emphasizing interactive technology, 19 students, including 18 mathematics education majors, mostly in their first year, reinvented the definition of limit of a sequence while working in small cooperative groups. The class spent four sessions of 75 minutes each on a cyclical process of guided reinvention of the definition of limit of a sequence for a particular value, L = 5. Tentative definitions were tested systematically against a well-chosen set of examples of sequences that converged, or not, to 5. Students shared their definitions and the problems they were having with their definitions with their peers through whole class presentations and public postings on a course electronic forum. Student presenters received feedback from their peers both in person and through the forum. The approximation, error, error bound framework was used to help structure students’ thinking. The use of interactive examples with epsilon bands and movable N values, in which students could zoom in to adjust the value of epsilon or zoom out to find a value of N, proved especially helpful in the process. The changes in their tentative definitions show the difficulties students had as well as the learning that occurred.

Developing Preservice Teachers’ Positionalities in 140 Characters or Less: Examining Microblogging as Dialogic Space

by Mike P. Cook & Jeanne Dyches Bissonnette
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Studies examining preservice teachers’ (PSTs) experiences with microblogging and activities that buttress and promote their social justice development have largely occurred in isolation from one another. To that end, this study examines in what ways pairing the popular social networking website Twitter with readings from a young adult literature course helped PSTs cultivate their awareness of and positionalities related to the social justice issues discussed in the course—and ones they will confront in their classrooms. Although students noted that engaging in this new dialogic space afforded certain benefits, the data suggest that PSTs encountered a variety of obstructions as they worked to develop and articulate their social-justice-oriented positionalities, including difficulty extending in-class conversations and trouble negotiating the social dimensions of Twitter. In examining the intersection between Twitter and its conduciveness to support PSTs’ social justice positionalities, the findings suggest that, despite its popularity, the forum did not prove to be an organic medium for students to engage social justice issues. Findings imply that teacher educators interested in utilizing microblogging to foster PSTs’ social awareness and growth should utilize Twitter as but one of many pedagogical tools to assist students in developing their social justice positionalities.

Persistent Teaching Practices After Geospatial Technology Professional Development

by Lori A. Rubino-Hare, Brooke A. Whitworth, Nena E. Bloom, Jennifer M. Claesgens, Kristi M. Fredrickson, Carol Henderson-Dahms & James C. Sample
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This case study described teachers with varying technology skills who were implementing the use of geospatial technology (GST) within project-based instruction (PBI) at varying grade levels and contexts 1 to 2 years following professional development. The sample consisted of 10 fifth- to ninth-grade teachers. Data sources included artifacts, observations, interviews, and a GST performance assessment and were analyzed using a constant comparative approach. Teachers’ teaching actions, beliefs, context, and technology skills were categorized. Results indicated that all of the teachers had high beliefs, but their context and level of technology skills strongly influenced their teaching actions. Two types of teachers persisting in practices from professional development were identified:  innovators and adapters.  Persistence of practice and implementation of the integration of GST within PBI must continue after professional development ends, or the sustainability of the positive results experienced during the professional development will not persist.

Future Teachers’ Dispositions Toward Teaching With Geospatial Technologies

by Injeong Jo
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This study examined the effect of a minimal Web-based GIS experience within a semester-long methods course on enhancing preservice teachers’ dispositions regarding the use of geospatial technologies for teaching. Fourteen preservice teachers enrolled in a senior-level methods course offered in geography and focused exclusively on how to teach geography in K-12 classrooms participated in the study. The findings of the study indicate that Web-based GIS activities had a positive impact on participants’ beliefs, attitudes, and confidence in GST implementation and teaching spatial thinking in their future classrooms.

Teaching to Teach (With) Game Design: Game Design and Learning Workshops for Preservice Teachers

by Mete Akcaoglu & Ugur Kale
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Engagement in game design tasks can help preservice teachers develop pedagogical and technical skills for teaching and promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Through the design process, preservice teachers not only exercise critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, but also learn about an instructional method to support their future students’ problem-solving skills. Becoming comfortable with games and game design, however, requires firsthand design experiences, which teacher education programs hardly provide. Given the limited opportunities and research, this study attempted to gain insight into the implementation of a game design workshop to teach preservice teachers how to integrate game design in their future practices. In this exploratory case study, we analyzed reflections and lesson plans from four preservice teachers who participated in a game design workshop. Overall, the preservice teachers found the workshop to be effective in teaching them the intricacies of the game design process. However, both the participants’ learning experiences during the workshop and the level of pedagogical elements present in their lesson plans varied depending on their technology knowledge and teaching context.

Integrating Geospatial Technologies Into Existing Teacher Education Coursework: Theoretical and Practical Notes from the Field

by Stacey Kerr
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Although instruction related to learning management systems and other educational applications in teacher education programs has increased, the potential of geospatial technologies has yet to be widely explored and considered in the teacher education literature, despite its ability to function as an engaging pedagogical tool with teacher candidates.  This practitioner article discusses uses of geospatial technologies in a social studies teacher education program as a way of demonstrating how other teacher educators might use geospatial technologies to prompt teacher candidates to new ways of thinking about pedagogy and the world at large.  An overview is provided of the value and relevance of integrating geospatial technologies within teacher education, followed by three examples of how geospatial technologies have been included in existing teacher education courses.  In each example the activity and its connection to geospatial technologies are described, as well as the assessment and experience of teacher candidates.  Teacher educators, especially those with limited experience in geospatial technology use, are provided with exemplar ways they might integrate geospatial technologies into the courses they teach—whether it be a course on methods, curriculum, a content area, or beyond.


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