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Volume 19  Issue 4  

Preparing Elementary School Teachers to Teach Computing, Coding, and Computational Thinking

by Stacie L. Mason & Peter J. Rich
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This literature review synthesized current research on preservice and in-service programs that improve K–6 teachers’ attitudes, self-efficacy, or knowledge to teach computing, coding, or computational thinking. A review of current computing training for elementary teachers revealed 21 studies: 12 involving preservice teachers and nine involving in-service teachers. The findings suggest that training that includes active participation can improve teachers’ computing self-efficacy, attitudes, and knowledge. Because most of these studies were fairly short-term and content-focused, research is especially needed about long-term outcomes; pedagogical knowledge and beliefs; and relationships among teacher training, contexts, and outcomes.

Volume 19  Issue 4  

Effectiveness of Undergraduate Instructional Design Assistants in Scaling a Teacher Education Open Badge System

by Daniel L. Randall, Tadd Farmer & Richard E. West
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This article describes an examination of how undergraduate instructional design assistants (IDAs) scaled up an open badge system by assisting in creating open badges. External reviewers rated the open badge rubrics created by seven of these IDAs along with those created by instructors, and the results were compared by scored components as well as overall totals. Interviews were conducted with the seven IDAs, which were coded using cross-case thematic analysis. With the help of IDAs the number of badges increased without compromising the quality of the badge rubrics, as IDAs’ rubrics were of quality equal to those created by instructors. Benefits experienced by IDAs included technology skills and professional growth. Several practitioner tips are provided for those wanting to employ IDAs effectively in creating open badges, including finding students with strong content expertise, creating a rigorous mentoring process that guides the IDAs in their tasks, allowing IDAs to own their badge development from beginning to end, involving the IDAs as teaching assistants so they can see the implementation of their badges, and encouraging peer collaboration among the IDAs to share best practices.

Volume 19  Issue 3  

The Fun of Its Parts: Design and Player Reception of Educational Board Games

by Spencer P. Greenhalgh, Matthew J. Koehler & Liz Owens Boltz
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Although board, card, and other analog games can serve as useful educational technologies, little research exists to support teachers’ efforts in finding analog games that are pedagogically appropriate or likely to be well-received by their students. In this study, the authors retrieved data associated with 208 educational games from the crowdsourced website BoardGameGeek. They used this data to summarize players’ description of games into 15 themes, mechanics, and genres that can support teachers’ comparison and evaluation of analog educational games. They then analyzed how these design features influenced player reception of these games—as evidenced by game ratings on BoardGameGeek. To do this, they used two models: a hierarchical regression (features were nested within themes, mechanics, and genres categories) and a flat stepwise regression (features were all at the same level). Both analyses indicated that themes were parsimonious and significant predictors of game ratings, suggesting that the theme of an educational game may be an important consideration for teachers. The findings of this paper present helpful initial guidelines for teachers, teacher educators, and others interested in educational analog games; however, holistic evaluation of analog games and thorough consideration of their pedagogical potential are important.

Volume 19  Issue 3  

Transforming Mobile Learning and Digital Pedagogies: An Investigation of a Customized Professional Development Program for Teachers in a Hospital School

by Aidan McCarthy, Dorit Maor & Andrew McConney
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In an initiative to improve learning experiences and outcomes for students, the leaders of a school located in a hospital in Australia implemented a new digital strategy with mobile technologies and relevant digital pedagogies. This study examines the outcomes of a professional development program introduced to effect transformational change by enabling integrated use of mobile technologies in the hospital school. The study examines teachers’ views following completion of this customized professional development program, using a mixed methods investigation situated within the unique learning environment of the hospital school. A key finding is that identifying and addressing teacher needs through customized professional development, supported with individualized coaching, can increase the participating teachers’ technological pedagogical knowledge to enable the improved use of mobile technology in a hospital school setting. Additionally, hospital school teachers responded to opportunities to collaborate as a professional learning community to implement, support, and enhance mobile learning for hospitalized students. The findings from this study have significant implications for leaders in all schools and systems embarking on similar initiatives to transform pedagogical practices through professional development supporting mobile technology integration in a digital world.