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Volume 19  Issue 3  

Using Digital Science Notebooks to Support Elementary Student Learning: Lessons and Perspectives From a Fifth-Grade Science Classroom

by Angelina Constantine & Karl G. Jung
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The exploratory case study described in this paper examined the experiences of an elementary science teacher as he integrated iPads into his teaching. With the intent of finding a purposeful use for the district’s 1:1 iPad initiative in his science classroom, he adopted digital science notebooks for the first time. During planning sessions alongside an instructional coach, this teacher worked to harness the maximum potential of the digital notebooks’ capabilities to support his students’ science learning. Data collected from coaching conversations, observations, student notebooks, and a stimulated recall interview uncovered the ways the teacher planned for digital science notebooks and how he could use them to support student science learning. Findings show that structured page templates for students’ notebooks modified from previous work helped this teacher successfully incorporate the digital notebooks to enhance his students’ learning beyond what a traditional composition notebook can provide. Furthermore, the teacher’s perceptions of his experience with digital notebooks was overwhelmingly positive. He considered the value of digital notebooks to be superior to traditional notebooks and shared recommendations for other teachers who may also be considering using digital science notebooks for the first time.

Volume 19  Issue 3  

Use of Schema Theory and Multimedia Technology to Explore Preservice Students’ Cognitive Resources During an Earth Science Activity

by Catherine L. Quinlan
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Meaningful integration of multimedia technology into the three-dimensional learning promoted by the Next Generation Science Standards (i.e., Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas) is critical in helping students to understand science. Furthermore, preservice teachers need to be able to engage in argument from evidence, as recommended by the National Research Council, before they can help students develop argumentation in the classroom setting. This study explored the dialogic arguments and conversations of five female African American preservice graduate elementary education students enrolled in a science methods course. Students carried out a Crime Scene Investigation Toolkit in Earth science that was created by the New York Hall of Science. Schema theory and Marshall’s (1995) knowledge types provide an explanatory framework to explore and explain participants’ dialogue. The findings show that schema theory has implications for understanding participants’ cognitive resources during an activity that integrated multimedia technology resources within a three-dimensional science investigation. The use of schema theory as a framework shed light on participants’ dialogues and was important in understanding how to integrate multimedia technology meaningfully into the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Volume 19  Issue 2  

Reflections of Rube Goldberg Machines on the Prospective Science Teachers’ STEM Awareness

by İsa Deveci
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The purpose of this study is to examine reflections of the design process of the Rube Goldberg machines on prospective science teachers’ STEM awareness. A mixed design approach was opted for in this research. Data were obtained using learning diaries and a STEM awareness scale. Quantitative data was analyzed using a paired samples test. Content analysis was also used for dealing with the qualitative data. The results showed that, based on the findings obtained from both forms of data, Rube Goldberg machines have a positive influence on the STEM awareness of prospective science teachers. The prospective science teachers who took part in this research explained that Rube Goldberg machines are particularly effective in learning science concepts related to simple machines, although it was not one of the purposes of this research. Consequently, future research could be conducted to examine the effectiveness of Rube Goldberg machines in learning basic science concepts related to simple machines.

Volume 19  Issue 1  

Mentoring the Mentors: Hybridizing Professional Development to Support Cooperating Teachers’ Mentoring Practice in Science

by Josie Melton, Matthew Miller & Joseph Brobst
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This article describes key features of a hybrid professional development (PD) program that was designed to prepare elementary classroom teachers to mentor preservice teachers for effective science instruction. Five classroom teachers who were new to our mentor training participated in the study to document the impacts of the PD sequence. The PD combined an in-person immersion into the components of effective science instruction with online modules centered on learner-supportive mentoring practices. The authors detail key aspects of this hybrid program and discuss its impacts on the cooperating teachers’ ability to facilitate effective mentoring conversations with preservice teachers. Findings indicated that mentors who engaged in the hybrid face-to-face and online PD more effectively coached their mentees and displayed specific shifts in their approach to mentor conversations. Participants showed statistically significant increases in their ability to use coaching as a default mentoring stance, to focus on evidence of students’ science learning, and to draw on a consistent framework for effective science instruction for their conversations. These findings support a hybrid model of PD for mentoring and create potential for exploring a fully online sequence to promote effective mentoring in future work.