Learning to teach mathematics with robots: Developing the ‘T’ in technological pedagogical content knowledge

RLT Journal - 11/06/21

A multiple case study was conducted to investigate how Lego robotics instruction incorporated into a middle grades mathematics methods course could inform pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) TPACK through the lens of Social Constructivist Theory. The qualitative data analysis revealed that when instruction on Lego robotics technology is integrated into semester long mathematics methods courses, PSTs are able to improve their TPACK knowledge in regard to the robotics. Overall, the findings suggest instruction of educational technology tools should be incorporated into methods courses over a longer duration of time, and in depth, to better support the development of PSTs’ TPACK. To meet the demands of the teacher shortages while simultaneously supporting the needs of school districts, this research provides preliminary evidence of the need to incorporate content-specific technology into all methods courses.

Categories: ALT, Publication

A Disruptive Innovation perspective on students’ opinions of online assessment

RLT Journal - 28/05/21

This article analyses students’ thoughts and feelings about online assessment. This article uses Disruptive Innovation theory as a lens through which to analyse students’ responses to online assessment, in a case study of a Leadership course. The sources of data for this article comprise annual course evaluation surveys, a one-off assessment survey and a focus group. Qualitative content analysis with a directed approach is used to analyse the data. The results show students are capable of undertaking a range of online assessments but are, in general, reluctant to utilise the innovative possibilities of different forms of online assessment. This article adds to our understanding of online assessment by placing it within a distinct theoretical framework, offering explanations for why students may not be seeking-out innovative forms of assessment.

Categories: ALT, Publication

The Development of an Integrated Scale of Technology Use in Physics

RLT Journal - 27/04/21

In this study, the Integrated Scale of Technology Use in Physics (ISTUP) was developed to determine students’ frequency of technology use, their perceptions about the effects of technology use on physics interest and achievement, and their preferences of technological tools and applications in learning physics. The scale was administered two different times to 670 high school students in total who took physics courses. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to validate the scale. The results of the study suggest that the ISTUP is a valid and reliable scale. Students’ frequency of technology use in learning physics corresponded to ‘sometimes’. Students perceived that technology use had slightly positive effect on their interest and achievement. Findings regarding the interrelations between students’ preference for technological tools and applications were also discussed.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Parental involvement, learning participation and online learning commitment of adolescent learners during the COVID-19 lockdown

RLT Journal - 08/04/21

During the escalating coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, attempting to contain its spread, a large number of educational institutions shut down face-to-face teaching and learning activities globally due to a complete lockdown. This lockdown revealed emerging vulnerabilities of education systems in the low- and middle-income countries of the world, with Nigeria being no exception. Given these concerns, this research study assessed parental involvement, learning participation and the commitment to online learning of adolescent learners during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria. An online survey questionnaire was employed to examine the level of online learning commitment and the contributory roles of each of the factors to online learning commitment of adolescent learners. In total, 1407 adolescents (male = 38.8%; female 61.2%) aged between 12 and 20 years (mean = 15: SD = 4.24) responded to the online survey, which was open for 2 months. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics of frequency distribution and inferential statistics of multiple regression. The findings revealed that the commitment level of adolescent learners to online learning was high. The findings further yielded a coefficient of R = 0.439 and R2 = 0.192 variance in the prediction of the outcome measure. Parental involvement contributed 32% (β = 0.322, p < 0.05) and learning participation contributed 23% (β = 0.234, p < 0.05) towards online learning. The study concludes that parental involvement and learning participation played a significant and positive role in the commitment of adolescent learners towards online learning during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria. The authors suggest that parents be encouraged to synergise with the digitalised revolution, while the need for further in-depth research on the subject is emphasised in the suggestions for future research.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Improving student and faculty communication: the impact of texting and electronic feedback on building relationships and the perception of care

RLT Journal - 22/03/21

Students perceive care as a quality of highly effective faculty, and building positive relationships is essential to a successful college experience. However, many college students report never having developed caring relationships with faculty. We propose faculty have an opportunity to use technology to help build caring relationships in an effort to improve overall academic success. The majority of research on student–faculty interaction has primarily focused on determining what kinds of interactions students have with faculty. The aim of this study was to explore students’ perceptions of care and the role safe texting and electronic feedback played in building student–faculty relationships. A mixed-methods approach was used with college student participants (n = 307) to answer the following research questions: (1) What actions by faculty constitute “caring”? (2) What role does technology play in students feeling “cared for”? The findings indicate that safe texting platforms and electronic feedback had a positive impact by increasing accessibility and direct contact.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Facilitating peer-led group research through virtual collaboration spaces: an exploratory research study

RLT Journal - 05/03/21

Peer-led group learning is a variation of collaborative learning and is based on ‘small groups of students meeting regularly with a peer – one who has additional expertise in the subject matter – to work on problems collaboratively’ (Pazos, Micari, and Light 2010). In this study, we explored how a Slack team environment could be used in a blended course design to support students working remotely on individual research projects, helping them in collaborative trouble-shooting and problem-solving activities with their ‘near peer’. We drew on lessons learned from an initial trial (2017–2018 cohort) to inform a revised peer-led research design (2018–2019 cohort).

Our findings demonstrate the potential of collaborative platforms such as Slack to support near-peer learning, providing distinct channels for questioning, ideas sharing and agile problem-solving support in response to individual queries. The peer-led support contributed to high levels of engagement with the project work and deeper learning, helping less confident students to learn from group members and achieve positive outcomes in their own project work. We discuss the necessary conditions for effective peer-led learning to take place within a virtual space – identifying the clear communication of instructional roles, socialisation of students and responsiveness of near peers as factors influencing the adoption of the targeted learning methods – which we addressed in our revised peer-led design.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Learning experience design for augmented reality

RLT Journal - 01/03/21

Recent years have seen a growing interest in augmented reality (AR) technologies due to their potential for simulating real-life situations and creating authentic learning tasks. Studies have shown that AR enables engaging and interactive learning experiences (e.g. Bressler and Bodzin 2013; Klopfer and Sheldon 2010) and can benefit student learning (e.g. Bonner and Reinders 2018; Siegle 2019). However, although research in AR for education is not scarce, educators often do not have a learning experience design (LXD) approach that is supported by the recent findings of learning sciences and instructional design models. To bridge this gap, the present study introduces an AR-learning prototype developed by using SAM I (Successive Approximation Model I), and the Threshold Concepts Framework, employed for meaningful integration of AR into the learning process. A pre-survey and a post-survey method were utilised in the data gathering process to gauge students’ experience with the AR module. The findings show that the majority of students have not had educational experiences with AR prior to the study, and they struggled to find ways to incorporate this technology into their content areas in a meaningful way. Nonetheless, participants realised the value of AR and stated that they most likely would use this technology in the future. Based on the findings, the authors present a set of suggestions for instructors and LXDs, and provide recommendations for future research.

This article is part of the special collection: Mobile Mixed Reality Enhanced Learning edited by Thom Cochrane, James Birt, Helen Farley, Vickel Narayan and Fiona Smart. More papers from this collection can be found here.

Categories: ALT, Publication
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