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Volume 18  Issue 3  

Youth Views of Science and Engineering in a Program for Preparing Teachers to Use Educational Technology in STEM Education

by Stephen Adams, Paul Burns & Lisa Martin-Hansen
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As part of a graduate course for supporting K-12 teachers’ use of technology in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, teachers worked in teams to create workshops for youth at a Boys & Girls Club site. Teachers used curriculum kits from the Engineering is Elementary project of the Museum of Science, Boston, together with technological resources including iPads, to plan and conduct workshops with four sessions of 8 hours each. A mixed-methods evaluation examined perceptions of 36 youth regarding science and engineering. The youth (Grades 2 to 8) self-identified as 47% African-American, 33% Hispanic/Latino, 3% Asian, and 17% as other/Caucasian/mixed ethnicity. After the workshops, boys and girls more strongly agreed with an engineering-related question, that they liked thinking of new and better ways of doing things, and they agreed more strongly that they knew what scientists did for their jobs. Also after the workshops, girls more strongly agreed they knew what engineers did for their jobs, reaching a similar level as boys, whose responses did not change significantly.  Focus group data aligned with the survey responses for most questions.  Overall, the study suggested benefits of the program to participating youth, an indicator supporting this teacher preparation model.

Volume 18  Issue 2  

Teachers and Technology: Present Practice and Future Directions

by Isha DeCoito & Tasha Richardson
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Technology cannot be effective in the classroom without teachers who are knowledgeable about both the technology itself and its implementation to meet educational goals. While technology use in the classroom is increasing, improving learning through its application should remain the goal. In this study, the authors explored 74 middle school teachers’ beliefs about and use of technology through a technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) lens. They sought to understand how middle school teachers use and perceive technology in practice and the factors influencing their pedagogical decisions to incorporate technology into their practice. Data included surveys, administered after a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outreach program and teacher interviews. Findings revealed that both internal and external barriers were present and influenced how teachers situated their pedagogy in terms of technology integration. It was also found that teachers were confident in content, pedagogy, and technology; however, most viewed technology as a tool rather than an embedded part of the learning process. This study contributes knowledge about professional development initiatives and the need to address not technology knowledge as much as the interdependence of technology, pedagogy, and subject content matter.

Volume 18  Issue 1  

Leveraging Analysis of Students’ Disciplinary Thinking in a Video Club to Promote Student-Centered Science Instruction

by Tara Barnhart & Elizabeth van Es
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Recent policy reports and standards documents advocate for science teachers to adopt more student-centered instructional practices. Four secondary science teachers from one school district participated in a semester-long video club focused on honing attention to students’ evidence-based reasoning and creating opportunities to make students’ reasoning visible in practice. Although all participants expressed value in attending to students’ ideas and shifting autonomy to students in the classroom, they experienced varying levels and types of integration in their practice. Analysis revealed that teachers’ goals and commitments influenced the incremental ways in which participants integrated learning from the video club. Sustained and substantial changes to practice likely require support through multiple cycles of shifting visions of what is possible, coupled with collaborative attempts to work through challenges of implementation.

Volume 18  Issue 1  

Examining the Quality of Preservice Science Teachers’ Written Reflections When Using Video Recordings, Audio Recordings, and Memories of a Teaching Event

by Brendan Calandra, Laurie Brantley-Dias, Johnathan Yerby & Kadir Demir
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A group of preservice science teachers edited video footage of their practice teaching to identify and isolate critical incidents. They then wrote guided reflection papers on those critical incidents using different forms of media prompts while they wrote. The authors used a counterbalanced research design to compare the quality of writing that participants produced when they had access to either their edited video clip of the incident, audio from the clip only, or their memory of the incident alone while writing. All reflection papers were evaluated using a rubric developed by Ward and McCotter (2004). An analysis of variance among paper scores showed that participants wrote significantly higher quality papers on several indicators when prompted by video than when prompted by audio. There was also a difference in means between their reflections when prompted by video and when they worked from memory alone.