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Educ. Sci., Volume 3, Issue 3 (September 2013), Pages 222-358

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Planning Science Instruction for Critical Thinking: Two Urban Elementary Teachers’ Responses to a State Science Assessment
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 222-258; doi:10.3390/educsci3030222
Received: 6 February 2013 / Revised: 17 June 2013 / Accepted: 19 June 2013 / Published: 8 July 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (486 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Science education reform standards have shifted focus from exploration and experimentation to evidence-based explanation and argumentation to prepare students with knowledge for a changing workforce and critical thinking skills to evaluate issues requiring increasing scientific literacy. However, in urban schools serving poor, diverse
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Science education reform standards have shifted focus from exploration and experimentation to evidence-based explanation and argumentation to prepare students with knowledge for a changing workforce and critical thinking skills to evaluate issues requiring increasing scientific literacy. However, in urban schools serving poor, diverse populations, where the priority is on students’ assessment results in reading and math, students may not receive reform-based science. The rationale for this qualitative study was to examine how two elementary teachers from high-poverty urban schools planned for reform-based science in response to a quality state science assessment in conjunction with their training and resources. Their state assessment included an inquiry task requiring students to construct responses to questions based on their investigation data. From evaluating evidence using Zembal-Saul’s continuum for teaching science as argument, the findings indicated that both teachers adopted an investigation-based and evidence-based approach to science teaching to prepare students for the inquiry task. However, one teacher provided argument-based science teaching from her explicit training in that approach. The results suggested that the teachers’ training and resources informed their interpretation of the focus areas on the science assessment inquiry task and influenced the extent to which they offered students an equitable opportunity to develop higher-order thinking from reform-based science. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Assessment of Educational Benefits from the OpenOrbiter Space Program
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 259-278; doi:10.3390/educsci3030259
Received: 20 April 2013 / Revised: 1 July 2013 / Accepted: 2 July 2013 / Published: 10 July 2013
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1058 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyzes the educational impact of the OpenOrbiter Small Spacecraft Development Initiative, a CubeSat development program underway at the University of North Dakota. OpenOrbiter includes traditional STEM activities (e.g., spacecraft engineering, software development); it also incorporates students from non-STEM disciplines not generally
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This paper analyzes the educational impact of the OpenOrbiter Small Spacecraft Development Initiative, a CubeSat development program underway at the University of North Dakota. OpenOrbiter includes traditional STEM activities (e.g., spacecraft engineering, software development); it also incorporates students from non-STEM disciplines not generally involved in aerospace engineering projects such as management, entrepreneurship, education and fine arts. The value of the program to participants is analyzed quantitatively, in terms of improvement related to five key learning objectives. Full article
Open AccessArticle “Assessment as Discourse”: A Pre-Service Physics Teacher’s Evolving Capacity to Support an Equitable Pedagogy
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 279-299; doi:10.3390/educsci3030279
Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 11 June 2013 / Accepted: 8 July 2013 / Published: 19 July 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (554 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One way to view ‘equitable pedagogy’ is through an opportunity to learn (OTL) lens, meaning that regardless of race, class, or culture, a student has access to rigorous and meaningful content, as well as appropriate resources and instruction necessary to learn and demonstrate
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One way to view ‘equitable pedagogy’ is through an opportunity to learn (OTL) lens, meaning that regardless of race, class, or culture, a student has access to rigorous and meaningful content, as well as appropriate resources and instruction necessary to learn and demonstrate understanding of that content. Assessment holds a unique position in the classroom in that it can both uncover whether inequitable conditions exist (i.e., performance gaps, denied OTL) and provide an OTL by mediating communication between teacher and students regarding learning progress and what is important to learn. Nevertheless, individuals entering teacher education programs often hold deficit views toward marginalized students, such as Language Minorities (LMs), believe that assessment strictly serves to evaluate learning, and do not do consider how language and culture influence student thinking–views supplanting assessment’s role at supporting an equitable pedagogy for LMs. Through surveys, interviews, program artifacts, and classroom observation, I report on a case study of one pre-service physics teacher, Dean, to depict how his expertise at assessing science did evolve throughout his yearlong teacher education program in terms of (a) becoming more knowledgeable of the role of language and (b) developing a belief in incorporating ‘discourse’ while assessing science. Within the case study, I analyze one particular episode from Dean’s teaching practicum to highlight remaining challenges for pre-service teachers to integrate science and language in classroom assessment—namely, interpreting students’ use of language along with their understanding of core science ideas. The findings underscore the need for connecting language and equity issues to content-area assessment in teacher preparation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Assessment in Supporting an Equitable Pedagogy)
Open AccessArticle Learning in Social Networks: Rationale and Ideas for Its Implementation in Higher Education
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 314-325; doi:10.3390/educsci3030314
Received: 31 January 2013 / Revised: 7 June 2013 / Accepted: 11 July 2013 / Published: 22 July 2013
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Abstract
The internet has fast become a prevalent medium for collaboration between people and social networks, in particular, have gained vast popularity and relevance over the past few years. Within this framework, our paper will analyse the role played by social networks in current teaching practices.
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The internet has fast become a prevalent medium for collaboration between people and social networks, in particular, have gained vast popularity and relevance over the past few years. Within this framework, our paper will analyse the role played by social networks in current teaching practices. Specifically, we focus on the principles guiding the design of study activities which use social networks and we relate concrete experiences that show how they contribute to improving teaching and learning within a university environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning Technologies and Interactive Designs)
Open AccessArticle “Which Child Left Behind”: Historical Issues Regarding Equity in Science Assessment
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 326-343; doi:10.3390/educsci3030326
Received: 22 April 2013 / Revised: 24 July 2013 / Accepted: 24 July 2013 / Published: 7 August 2013
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Abstract
Assessment of learning plays a dominant role in formal education in the forms of determining features of curriculum that are emphasized, pedagogic methods that teachers use with their students, and parents’ and employers’ understanding of how well students have performed. A common perception
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Assessment of learning plays a dominant role in formal education in the forms of determining features of curriculum that are emphasized, pedagogic methods that teachers use with their students, and parents’ and employers’ understanding of how well students have performed. A common perception is that fair assessment applies the same mode of assessment and content focus for all students—the approach of assessments in international comparative studies of science achievement. This article examines research evidence demonstrating that the act of assessment is not neutral—different forms of assessment advantage or disadvantage groups of students on the basis of family backgrounds, gender, race, or disability. Assessment that implicitly or explicitly captures the social capital of the child serves to consolidate, not address, educational equity. The article provides an overview of ways that science curriculum focus and assessment can introduce bias in the identification of student achievement. It examines the effect of changes to curriculum and assessment approaches in science, and relationships between assessment of science and the cultural context of the student. Recommendations are provided for science–assessment research to address bias for different groups of students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Assessment in Supporting an Equitable Pedagogy)
Open AccessArticle Characterization of Catch-Up Behavior: Accession of Lecture Capture Videos Following Student Absenteeism
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 344-358; doi:10.3390/educsci3030344
Received: 19 July 2013 / Revised: 28 August 2013 / Accepted: 4 September 2013 / Published: 11 September 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (592 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of lecture capture in higher education is becoming increasingly widespread, with many instructors now providing digital videos of lecture content that can be used by students as learning resources in a variety of ways, including to catch up on material after
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The use of lecture capture in higher education is becoming increasingly widespread, with many instructors now providing digital videos of lecture content that can be used by students as learning resources in a variety of ways, including to catch up on material after a class absence. Despite accumulating research regarding the relationship between lecture capture and attendance, the nature of catch-up behavior following an absence has not been well characterized. This study measured attendance in relation to lecture video accesses to determine whether students catch up after missing a class, and if so, within what timeframe. Overall, it was found that 48% of absences were not associated with a corresponding lecture video access, and that when absences were caught up, the length of time taken to access the video was highly variable, with the time to the next exam being the likely determinant of when the video was viewed. Time taken to access a video was directly associated with deep learning approach score (as measured by the R-SPQ-2F). Males took significantly longer to view a corresponding lecture video after an absence than females, and missed significantly more classes than females. This study confirms that students use lecture capture variably, and that characteristics such as gender and learning approach influence lecture capture behavior including catch-up following an absence, a finding that is not unexpected given the diversity of students in higher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues in Educational Technology)
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Review

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Open AccessReview An Educational Resource Based on Water and Health as a Teaching Aid in French Primary Schools Part I: Identification of Needs and Content
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 300-313; doi:10.3390/educsci3030300
Received: 12 June 2013 / Revised: 3 July 2013 / Accepted: 3 July 2013 / Published: 22 July 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (353 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is a commonplace that water is essential for life, but to what extent is the general public, and children in particular, aware of how water affects health? The aim of this review was to consider the relationship between water and health under
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It is a commonplace that water is essential for life, but to what extent is the general public, and children in particular, aware of how water affects health? The aim of this review was to consider the relationship between water and health under three main headings: the importance of hydration for children, dietary intake of water, and water as an essential factor in hygiene contributing to good health. The literature was reviewed to provide a rationale for the implementation of teaching about water and health in French primary schools under three main areas: (i) the importance of hydration for school children and water promotion in primary schools; (ii) the problem of overweight/obesity and the need to adopt healthy drinking habits as defined in French nutritional policy; (iii) the survey of the quality of drinking water in France and its relationship with good hygiene practices. There are currently few educational resources in France on water and health that teachers can use in the classroom. This review gives reasons why a “Water and Health” learning resource is a useful tool and shows how it can be developed within the constraints imposed by the school syllabus and in accordance with French nutritional and environmental policy. Full article

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