English/Language Arts Education
Asynchronous discussion allows students to read and respond “out-of-time.” This form of online discussion, as experienced in a college literacy course, creates a text of talk that has the potential to be reflective given the freedom participants have in their response time. However, students often struggle with reflection. Instructors need to structure discussion online so that it becomes a forum for communication as well as critical thinking. They also need to view writing online as both process (discussion) and product (document to be assessed).
This article focuses on three key factors that a survey of literature indicated impact the teaching and learning of mathematics with graphing calculators: access to graphing calculators, the place of graphing calculators in the mathematics curriculum, and the connection between graphing calculators and pedagogical practice. Access to graphing calculators is associated with student achievement gains and a wide array of problem-solving approaches. The research suggests students’ achievement is positively affected when they use curricula designed with graphing calculators as a primary tool. Studies of teachers’ use and privileging of graphing calculators illustrate the impact professionals have on students’ mathematical knowledge and calculator expertise. Implications of these research findings for preservice and in-service teacher education are summarized.
Social Studies Education
This paper, which won a best paper award at the 2004 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, is a report of findings related to the introduction of technology in a course, entitled Women of the World, in a master’s degree program in the teaching of social studies. Recent academic research and journalistic commentary have pointed to a gender gap in technology use. The authors address this problem by infusing technology into an interdisciplinary course focused on women’s lives within a global context. By employing technology to teach innovative curriculum dealing with the status of women worldwide, the course attempts to motivate students, most of whom are women, to use technology in teaching. This strategy has succeeded by linking digital technology with powerful social studies content that holds considerable relevance to future teachers’ professional and personal lives.
This paper describes how the Web-based Inquiry for Learning Science (WBI) instrument was used with preservice elementary and secondary science teachers in science methods courses to enhance their understanding of Web-based scientific inquiry. The WBI instrument is designed to help teachers identify Web-based inquiry activities for learning science and classify those activities along a continuum from learner directed to materials directed for each of the five essential features of inquiry, as described in Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 2000). Implementations of WBI analysis activities in preservice science methods courses are discussed.
The Teacher as Software Developer is the name of a program integrating technology instruction, curriculum, and field experiences in teacher preparation. In an introductory education course for all undergraduate education students, a required technology lab links to a one-day-a-week prepracticum. Preservice students produce a Web site or “software” for their supervising teacher, who is their “client,” and the supervising classroom teacher directs them to authentic curriculum objectives. Preservice teachers learn about software while learning about teaching, lesson planning, curriculum, and technology. Supervising classroom teachers’ gain an opportunity to experience designing and using software with their own students and curriculum and access to the preservice student produced Web sites after the student has completed the lab. Evidence of the program’s success comes from student survey data and student reflections. Despite the program’s productivity, it remains an island of instructional technology.
This paper is an analysis of the issues encountered in the process of building a community of practice amongst students through engaging in online dialogue using WebCT. The analysis is guided by an educational change framework, proposed by Goodell, Parker, and Kahle (2005), which includes Technical, Political, Cultural, Moral, and Personal dimensions. First, the analysis highlights the reasons for using WebCT. Second, the issues faced in using WebCT effectively are discussed. Finally, suggestions are offered for instructors using WebCT for the first time.
The purpose of this study was to examine the potential of asynchronous discussion forums (ADFs) as a medium to facilitate reflective thinking among preservice teachers. Of particular interest was the extent and manner in which this potential varies with respect to (a) the structure of the ADF, (b) the focus of the ADF, and (c) group dynamics. Quantitative and qualitative research methods revealed findings that support the potential of this medium as a means to facilitate reflective thinking. Importantly, however, the findings presented here bring to light several additional important considerations for both practice (e.g., strategic student placement within groups to facilitate higher levels of learning) and research (e.g., relationships between social dialogue, group membership, and demonstrated levels of learning) involving the use of asynchronous discussion forums.