English/Language Arts Education
In today’s Web 2.0 world, teachers are perpetually struggling with how to incorporate technology into the classroom effectively in order to meet the diverse literacy needs of 21st-century learners. Utilizing the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE, 2008) Position Statement addressing these needs, the theoretical framework of Lankshear and Knobel (2006), and work by Cummins, Brown, and Sayers (2007) emphasizing the possibilities of technology in achieving literacy goals, a framework by which to assess the incorporation of technologies in classrooms as a means to build students’ new literacies was created. Finally, as a specific example, the framework was applied to the use of wikis to illustrate the literacy learning potential of both wikis and other new technologies.
With funding from NSF, the Prime the Pipeline Project (P3) is responding to the need to strengthen the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline from high school to college by developing and evaluating the scientific village strategy and the culture it creates. The scientific village, a community of high school students, teachers as learners, undergraduate students as mentors, and university scientists as leaders, collaborate to solve challenging long-term problems/projects that develop villagers’ expertise with STEM concepts/skills and give them a taste of the work of STEM professionals. Data were collected from both a group of intervention students and a matched control group to address the research question, “Does participation in P3 increase students’ interest in and success with the study of mathematics and science in high school?” Data were collected through surveys and interviews to address the question, “Does participation in P3 change teachers’ instructional practice and expectations for student performance?” Results showed that intervention students completed significantly more and more advanced courses in science and mathematics in high school, and their GPAs were significantly higher than their matched controls. Surveys of students’ postsecondary plans and intended college majors confirmed increased interest in STEM or business fields.
The iQUEST (investigations for Quality Understanding and Engagement for Students and Teachers) project is designed to promote student interest and attitudes toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The project targets seventh- and eighth-grade science classrooms that serve high percentages of Hispanic students. The project design, student summer camp program, and professional development model have led to successful increases in student performance. The iQUEST student summer camp findings show that underserved populations of both female and male students experienced increased interest and attitudes toward science and technology. The iQUEST professional development model seeks to transform middle school science teachers from digital immigrants to advocates for technology being a critical part of student learning through integration of innovative technology experiences in formal science settings. Classroom observations illustrate how teachers have successfully implemented lessons that engage students in hands-on investigations, leading to deeper understanding of science and, therefore improving the potential of underrepresented students competing in STEM fields.
Social Studies Education
Video games are increasingly popular with youth though scarcely evident in schools. Serious video games, or those that simulate the real world, motivate players, require decision-making, and encourage student learning about an issue, have the potential to educate students about global issues. Global education, given its heritage as an experiential, contemporary, and issues-centered education, would seem to be an ideal point of entry for such serious video games since their educational aims are one and the same. This study examines teacher reflective experiences with serious video games that have a global orientation. Findings are clustered around data categories, including skepticism about pedagogical value of video games, openness to global learning available through this medium, and tensions between representational complexity and realism. This study contributes to what is known about teacher thinking in relation to the pedagogical use of video games, particularly those focused on global content, and includes implications for teaching and research.
Analysis of baseline attitudinal data gathered from a National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers project uncovered large contrasts between the perceptions of practicing professionals and students toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and careers (Tyler-Wood, Knezek, & Christensen, 2010). These findings have been reconfirmed in a second year analysis based on new data and are reported in this paper. The pattern of findings suggests that university teacher preparation candidates hold attitudes similar to middle school students, while the faculty (the educators of teacher preparation candidates) have attitudes similar to STEM education professionals. Additional findings based on disaggregated data are reported. For example, middle school students appear to have more positive perceptions of science, mathematics, and engineering than do the university preservice teachers surveyed, who are destined to be middle school teachers.
Four separate approaches to employing digital video editing were examined with preservice and in-service teachers in an attempt to find common themes. Though selected from a variety of teacher preparation content areas (special education, literacy, and science). each approach shared several common attributes. Among them were the purposeful disruption of traditional teaching, the promotion of rigorous participation in analysis of effective teaching strategies, and the building of learning communities through apprenticeship models. Implications for teaching, teacher preparation, and research are discussed.