English/Language Arts Education

Collaboration Beyond the Classroom Walls: Deepening Learning for Students, Preservice Teachers, Teachers, and Professors

by Susanne Nobles, Katie Dredger & Megan Dixon Gerheart
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Geographically distant classrooms can be a ripe learning space for teacher educators who want to show preservice teachers the power of technology in the English classroom. A classroom teacher described how she used a social networking platform to allow for collaboration with a preservice teacher in the hopes of making student literary analysis more authentic for her high school seniors. The preservice teacher, as a member in the social network, learned to hone her discussion-leading and questioning skills. Teacher educators in partnerships such as this are able to better bridge theory to practice.

Mathematics Education

The Challenge to Situate Digital Learning Technologies in Preservice Teacher Mathematics Education

by Susan McDonald
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This paper focuses on how preservice primary teachers can be supported to embrace digital learning technologies (DLTs) in their teaching of mathematics. The nature of the instruction and the assessment in the final mathematics unit of the bachelor of education program were changed. Despite being tagged as “tech-savvy,” preservice students use digital technologies primarily for social networking and information retrieval. These uses of digital technologies do not guarantee any facility for their utilization as learning technologies, which may result in early career teachers being unprepared to enact the effective use of expensive equipment in schools. The provision of a communal constructivism environment supported student learning as they met the challenges of creating interactive digital applications to teach a mathematical concept to their peers. This paper is likely to be of interest to mathematics educators who are trying to steer preservice teachers away from “worksheet maths” as well as other preservice teacher educators who wish to incorporate digital technologies into their content and methodology units.

Science Education

Scaffolding With and Through Videos: An Example of ICT-TPACK

by Kathrin Otrel-Cass, Elaine Khoo & Bronwen Cowie
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In New Zealand and internationally claims are being made about the potential for information and communication technologies (ICTs) to transform teaching and learning. However, the theoretical underpinnings explaining the complex interplay between the content, pedagogy and technology a teacher needs to consider must be expanded. This article explicates theoretical and practical ideas related to teachers’ application of their ICT technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) in science. The article unpacks the social and technological dimensions of teachers’ use of TPACK when they use digital videos to scaffold learning. It showcases the intricate interplay between teachers’ knowledge about content, digital video technology, and students’ learning needs based on a qualitative study of two science teachers and their students in a New Zealand primary school.

Social Studies Education

An Examination of Teachers’ Ratings of Lesson Plans Using Digital Primary Sources

by Natalie B. Milman & Rhonda Bondie
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This mixed method study examined teachers’ ratings of 37 field-tested social studies lesson plans that incorporated digital primary sources through a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program for K-12 teachers. Each lesson, available in an online teaching materials collection, was field-tested and reviewed by at least three teachers other than the lesson’s author. The analysis illustrates that the majority of lessons (70%) utilized PowerPoint to show primary sources and pose questions to students about the primary sources examined. Qualitative analysis identified key factors that impacted lesson implementation and teachers’ analysis of student learning. This study raises several implications regarding the design and purpose of lesson plans available online for integrating digital primary sources into P-12 teaching, as well as the design and content of professional development whose purpose is to prepare teachers to integrate digital primary sources in their teaching.


The Acceptability of Online Degrees: Principals and Hiring Practices in Secondary Schools

by Jonathan Adams, Sue Lee & Juliann Cortese
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A national survey of high school principals (N = 683) was used to assess the acceptability of job applicant qualifications that included degrees earned either online, partly online, or in a traditional-residential teacher-training program. The applicants with coursework taken in a traditional-residential setting were overwhelmingly preferred over applicants holding a degree earned partly or wholly online. Chi-square analyses were used to examine the relationships among applicant selection and respondents’ demographic characteristics, their explanations for applicant selection, and background information. Results indicated that applicant selection significantly differed by gender, school type (public vs. private), opinions on hiring criteria, and experience with online classes. Further analysis indicated that online courses were perceived as not presenting sufficient opportunity for students to develop important social skills through interaction with other students and mentors.

Current Practice

Shared Viewing as an Approach to Transforming Early Field Experiences

by Tina Heafner & Michelle Plaisance
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Although early field experiences are touted as vital for providing a hands-on preview of how teaching unfolds in the classroom, these essential components of teacher preparation programs have consistently fallen short of the desired outcomes.  In the spirit of Dewey, candidates need substantive experiences that transform their theoretical learning into pedagogical knowledge.  Likewise, Darling-Hammond (2006a) asserted that these experiences are strengthened when a collective team embarks on a mutual commitment, comprised of the candidate, university faculty, and talented teachers from cooperating schools.  This article describes a project that sought to create technology-mediated early field experiences that maximized candidate learning in online content methods courses.  The Windows into Teaching and Learning (WiTL) project was conceived and actualized by researchers in a large, urban university in the southeastern region of the United States.  The initial objective of the project was to explore a means by which technology might facilitate meaningful field experiences for candidates enrolled in distance education classes.  Several other potential outcomes arose from the project, allowing researchers to expand the initial scope to encompass potential benefits for all university teacher candidates conducting early field experiences as a part of their path to licensure.