It seems like there are new tech and social media tools coming out every day. So what’s out there? And how can these tools be used to enhance your work?
Teachers Extending Their Knowledge in Online Collaborative Learning Environments: Opportunities and Challenges
Join two projects to discuss the challenges and opportunities afforded through online environments for providing professional development and supporting classroom implementation of mathematical practices.
Teams of researchers from Drexel University, Rutgers University, University of Missouri, and the Math Forum have been investigating online environments for math education and math teacher professional learning communities. The Virtual Math Teams project has developed a synchronous, multi-user GeoGebra implementation and studies the learning of small groups as well as the preparation of teachers to facilitate this learning.
Join a facilitated discussion about the application of data science to education, drawing on a recent NSF-sponsored report. Participants share insights from DR K–12 projects.
The Computing Research Association’s report from an NSF-sponsored workshop describes seven next steps for data-intensive research in education:
Powell, A. B., & Alqahtani, M. M. (2015). Promoting productive mathematical discourse: Tasks in collaborative digital environments. In T. G. Bartell, K. N. Bieda, R. T. Putnam, K. Bradfield, & H. Dominguez (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 1246-1249). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.
Tasks can be vehicles for productive mathematical discussions. How to support such discourse in collaborative digital environments is the focus of our theorization and empirical examination of task design that emerges from a larger research project. We present our task design principles that developed through an iterative research design for a project that involves secondary teachers in online courses to learn discursively dynamic geometry by collaborating on construction and problem-solving tasks in a cyber learning environment. In this study, we discuss a task and the collaborative work of a team of teachers to illustrate relationships between the task design and productive mathematical discourse. Implications suggest further investigations into interactions between characteristics of task design and learners mathematical activity.
Alqahtani, M. M., & Powell, A. B. (2015, March). Instrumental development of teachers’ reasoning in dynamic geometry. Paper presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.
To contribute to understanding how teachers can develop geometrical understanding, we report on the discursive development of teachers’ geometrical reasoning through instrument appropriation while collaborating in an online dynamic geometry environment (DGE). Using the theory of instrument-mediated activity, we analysis the discourse and DGE actions of a group of middle and high school mathematics teachers who participated in a semester-long, professional development course. Working in small teams, they collaborated to solve geometric problems. Our results show that as teachers appropriate DGE artifacts and transform its components into instruments, they develop their geometrical knowledge and reasoning in dynamic geometry. Our study contributes to a broad understanding of how teachers develop mathematical knowledge for teaching.
Powell, A. B., & Alqahtani, M. M. (2015). Tasks promoting productive mathematical discourse in collaborative digital environments. In N. Amado & S. Carreira (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Technology in Mathematics Teaching. (pp. 68-76). Faro, Portugal: Universidade do Algarve.
Rich tasks can be vehicles for productive mathematical discussions. How to support such discourse in collaborative digital environments is the focus of our theorization and empirical examination of task design that emerges from a larger research project. We present the theoretical foundations of our task design principles that developed through an iterative research design for a project that involves secondary teachers in online courses to learn discursively dynamic geometry by collaborating on construction and problem-solving tasks in a cyberlearning environment. In this study, we discuss a task and the collaborative work of a team of teachers to illustrate relationships between the task design, productive mathematical discourse, and the development of new mathematics knowledge for the teachers. Implications of this work suggest further investigations into interactions between characteristics of task design and learners mathematical activity.
Pallant, A., & Lee H.-S. (2015). Constructing scientific arguments using evidence from dynamic computational climate models. Journal of Science Education and Technology. 24 (2-3) 378-395. doi 10.1007/s10956-014-9499-3.
Modeling and argumentation are two important scientific practices students need to develop throughout school years. In this paper, we investigated how middle and high school students (N=512) construct a scientific argument based on evidence from computational models with which they simulated climate change. We designed scientific argumentation tasks with three increasingly complex dynamic climate models. Each scientific argumentation task consisted of four parts: multiple-choice claim, open ended explanation, five-point Likert scale uncertainty rating, and open-ended uncertainty rationale.
We coded 1,294 scientific arguments in terms of a claim’s consistency with current scientific consensus, whether explanations were model based or knowledge based and categorized the sources of uncertainty (personal vs. scientific). We used chi-square and ANOVA tests to identify significant patterns. Results indicate that (1) a majority of students incorporated models as evidence to support their claims, (2) most students used model output results shown on graphs to confirm their claim rather than to explain simulated molecular processes, (3) students’ dependence on model results and their uncertainty rating diminished as the dynamic climate models became more and more complex, (4) some students’ misconceptions interfered with observing and interpreting model results or simulated processes, and (5) students’ uncertainty sources reflected more frequently on their assessment of personal knowledge or abilities related to the tasks than on their critical examination of scientific evidence resulting from models. These findings have implications for teaching and research related to the integration of scientific argumentation and modeling practices to address complex Earth systems.
To customize or not to customize? Exploring science teacher customization in an online lesson portal
New technologies are increasingly giving science teachers the ability to access and customize science lessons. However, there is substantial debate in the literature about whether and under what conditions teacher customization benefit student learning. In this study, we examined teacher customization of inquiry-based science lessons from an online lesson portal. We found that students who completed teacher-customized lessons had greater improvements in science content understanding than students who completed non-customized lessons.
The Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry (ITSI) project is a learning portal with hundreds of free, customizable science, math,
Constructing and Role-Playing Student Avatars in a Simulation of Teaching Algebra for Diverse Learners
From the perspectives of Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), this study examines the design and implementation of a simulated teaching environment in Second Life (SL) for prospective teachers to teach algebra for diverse learners. Drawing upon the Learning-for-Use framework, the analyses provide evidence on the development of student avatars in construction and role-playing activities. The study reveals challenges, procedures, and suggestions for future simulations. This study also calls for research efforts toward preparing mathematics teachers for cultural diversity.
This study examines the design and implementation of a simulated teaching environment in Second Life for prospective teachers.