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Educ. Sci., Volume 7, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle In Search of Dialogicity: A Comparison of Curricular Documents and Classroom Interactions from Finland and Hong Kong
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 76; doi:10.3390/educsci7040076
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 10 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 25 September 2017
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Abstract
The prevailing consensus is that science teaching should be more student-centered and guide learners towards more phenomenon-based and authentic problem-solving activities. This approach is reflected in educational policies and recently reformed curricula. However, there is limited research on how these frameworks actually manifest
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The prevailing consensus is that science teaching should be more student-centered and guide learners towards more phenomenon-based and authentic problem-solving activities. This approach is reflected in educational policies and recently reformed curricula. However, there is limited research on how these frameworks actually manifest in curricula and how to facilitate student-centered pedagogy. In this study, we examine the student-centered features of the curricula of two countries: Finland and Hong Kong. Student-centeredness in the classroom can be assessed using the principles of dialogicity. Dialogic principles underpin student-centeredness, particularly in teacher-orchestrated whole-class discussions. Dialogic interactions include mutual consideration of different and even diverging views. This study first reviews the dialogic themes in the curricula, then explores the ways in which student-centered approaches can be realized in practice by analyzing the dialogic interactions in two classroom examples. The dialogic themes identified in the curricula are considered in the context of the classroom examples. As science classroom interactions are still prevailingly teacher-centered and authoritative, the insights into alternative approaches generated by the examples are discussed. This study prepares the context for further discussion of curricular development, dialogicity and its implications for teaching and teacher education. Full article
Open AccessArticle Measuring and Comparing Student Performance: A New Technique for Assessing Directional Associations
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 77; doi:10.3390/educsci7040077
Received: 13 August 2017 / Revised: 17 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Abstract
Measuring and comparing student performance have been topics of much interest for educators and psychologists. Particular attention has traditionally been paid to the design of experimental studies and careful analyses of observational data. Classical statistical techniques, such as fitting regression lines, have traditionally
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Measuring and comparing student performance have been topics of much interest for educators and psychologists. Particular attention has traditionally been paid to the design of experimental studies and careful analyses of observational data. Classical statistical techniques, such as fitting regression lines, have traditionally been utilized and far-reaching policy guidelines offered. In the present paper, we argue in favour of a novel technique, which is mathematical in nature, and whose main idea relies on measuring distance of the actual bivariate data from the class of all monotonic (increasing in the context of this paper) patterns. The technique sharply contrasts the classical approach of fitting least-squares regression lines to actual data, which usually follow non-linear and even non-monotonic patterns, and then assessing and comparing their slopes based on the Pearson correlation coefficient, whose use is justifiable only when patterns are (approximately) linear. We describe the herein suggested distance-based technique in detail, show its benefits, and provide a step-by-step implementation guide. Detailed graphical and numerical illustrations elucidate our theoretical considerations throughout the paper. The index of increase, upon which the technique is based, can also be used as a summary index for the LOESS and other fitted regression curves. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Using Mathematics Educational Software for the Learning of First-Year Primary School Students
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 79; doi:10.3390/educsci7040079
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 15 October 2017
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Abstract
The use of educational software offers many advantages but may also become a frustrating experience for teachers and students that lack experience of its use. We presented an evaluation of the use of Maths educational software to support the learning of first-year primary
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The use of educational software offers many advantages but may also become a frustrating experience for teachers and students that lack experience of its use. We presented an evaluation of the use of Maths educational software to support the learning of first-year primary students in the city of Mazatlan, Mexico. One of our reasons was to determine whether the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) would motivate students and make learning easier, more interesting and even fun. Three surveys were conducted wherein the following people participated: teachers who teach Maths in the first-year of primary school; managers of the computing facilities used in this study; and first-year primary students. Due to time constraints, the three surveys were only applied in three schools, in two shifts in each school. Overall, our study suggests three key aspects for learning to be improved through ICTs, namely: (1) learning activities should be designed considering the use of educational software; (2) learning materials and activities should include guiding material to facilitate learning; and (3) promote learning through play. We propose a few design principles for educational software to support learning better and more effectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using a Collaborative Assessment Design to Support Student Learning
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 80; doi:10.3390/educsci7040080
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of the study was to try to develop an understanding of how groups of pre-service teachers organised, planned and built two information and communication technologies (ICT) resources using a learn-technology-by-design framework. The benefits for students in using a learn-by-design approach have
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The purpose of the study was to try to develop an understanding of how groups of pre-service teachers organised, planned and built two information and communication technologies (ICT) resources using a learn-technology-by-design framework. The benefits for students in using a learn-by-design approach have been well researched, and the research has covered a broad range of research streams. A design-based research approach underpins the research. This paper presents the observational data, which was collected in an ICT in the Education unit of study. The collaborative design assessment provided pre-service teachers with the opportunity to collaboratively build an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) resources and a web-based teaching (website) resource. In this study, seven groups were observed while they engaged in a long-term collaboration and completed two group assessment tasks. The results suggest that students needed both guidance and time to develop their skills in collaboration. While there were variations in the collaborative patterns, these variations did not impact the success of the groups in the development of their ICT resources. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Stay in the Box! Embedded Assistive Technology Improves Access for Students with Disabilities
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 82; doi:10.3390/educsci7040082
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 8 November 2017
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Abstract
Assistive technology is not only a required component of a student’s IEP; it can be an effective way to help students with (and without) disabilities access their education and to provide them with required instructional accommodations. Teachers, however, are often not adequately prepared
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Assistive technology is not only a required component of a student’s IEP; it can be an effective way to help students with (and without) disabilities access their education and to provide them with required instructional accommodations. Teachers, however, are often not adequately prepared in their pre-service course work and ongoing professional development to address the technology needs of their special education students and have not had the opportunities to access technology due to limited availability and cost. While assistive technology can be purchased to augment an existing computer, it is often unnecessary to do that. Both Microsoft and Apple operating systems in “off-the-shelf” computers and handheld devices have embedded assistive technology that is easy to access and easy to use. This embedded technology can help teachers become familiar with technology and assist students with sensory, physical, learning, and attention disabilities, and it might have practical applications with Universal Design for Learning. This paper provides a discussion on how embedded technology can support students with disabilities in the school setting and provides examples for access and use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology Enhancing the Skills of Students with Disabilities)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Mixed Methods Study on the Effect of Flipping the Undergraduate Medical Classroom
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 83; doi:10.3390/educsci7040083
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
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Abstract
The flipped classroom model is increasingly being adopted in healthcare education, despite the fact that recent systematic reviews in the nursing and medical education literature suggest that this method of instructional design is not inherently better or worse than the traditional classroom. In
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The flipped classroom model is increasingly being adopted in healthcare education, despite the fact that recent systematic reviews in the nursing and medical education literature suggest that this method of instructional design is not inherently better or worse than the traditional classroom. In this study, we used a sequential, explanatory mixed methods design to assess the impact of flipping the hepatology classroom for preclinical medical students. Compared to students in the traditional classroom, students in the flipped classroom had significantly lower mean (SD) ratings of their learning experiences (3.48 (1.10) vs. 4.50 (0.72), p < 0.001, d = 1.10), but better performance on the hepatology content of the end-of-course examination (78.0% (11.7%) vs. 74.2 (15.1%), respectively, p < 0.01, d = 0.3). Based upon our qualitative data analyses, we propose that the flipped classroom induced a change in the learning process of students by requiring increased preparation for classroom learning and promoting greater learner autonomy, which resulted in better retention of learned material, but reduced enjoyment of the learning experience. This dissonance in outcomes is captured in the words of one flipped classroom student: “…I hated it while I was learning it, but boy did I remember it…”. Based upon our dissonant outcomes and the inconsistent findings in the literature, we feel that there is still equipoise regarding the effectiveness of the flipped classroom, and further studies are needed to describe ways of making the flipped classroom a more effective (±more enjoyable) learning experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Flipped Classroom in Higher Education: Research and Practice)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Research Foundations for Evidence-Informed Early Childhood Intervention Performance Checklists
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 78; doi:10.3390/educsci7040078
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 8 October 2017
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Abstract
The research evidence for early childhood intervention practices performance checklists is described. Performance checklists include lists of the tasks or steps required to complete a practice competently. The checklists were developed using a conceptualization-operationalization-measurement framework where findings from research syntheses and empirical studies
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The research evidence for early childhood intervention practices performance checklists is described. Performance checklists include lists of the tasks or steps required to complete a practice competently. The checklists were developed using a conceptualization-operationalization-measurement framework where findings from research syntheses and empirical studies informed the selection or development of checklist indicators. This paper includes a meta-review of empirical evidence demonstrating practice-outcome relationships consistent with the purposes and goals of each of the performance checklists. Findings from more than 200 narrative reviews, meta-analyses, integrative reviews, and other types of research syntheses were the sources of evidence and foundations for 26 early childhood intervention performance checklists. The research evidence, taken together, indicates that the checklist indicators have a substantial evidence base for each of the performance checklist practices. Strengths and limitations of the meta-review are described. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessBenchmark Effects of Educational Efficiency on National Competitiveness Based on Cross-National Data
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 81; doi:10.3390/educsci7040081
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 22 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
The importance of education to national competitiveness and future development is self-evident. Resource input secures educational development. However, the efficiency of educational resources, their input–output ratio, and their effects on national competitiveness are matters of concern. This study aims to measure the efficiency
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The importance of education to national competitiveness and future development is self-evident. Resource input secures educational development. However, the efficiency of educational resources, their input–output ratio, and their effects on national competitiveness are matters of concern. This study aims to measure the efficiency of educational resources of a country within the scope of financial capacity. This study further evaluates the effects of educational efficiency on national competitiveness. Data envelopment analysis was applied to measure the efficiency of educational resources, and two-way fixed-effect panel data were used to evaluate the effects on national competitiveness. This study corroborated that among 53 countries, those with high educational efficiency and stable development are mainly concentrated in East and Southeast Asia. According to different levels of development and/or regional location, the driver of education is only significant in the most competitive economies. In addition, given the development stage, governments should depend on their own level of competitiveness in determining priority areas of development. Full article
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