Educ. Sci.2013, 3(4), 403-420; doi:10.3390/educsci3040403 - published online 15 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: It is a cliché, but also a fundamental fact that we live in a world where globalization and international challenges, opportunities and relationships play an increasing role. However, how have these changing conditions affected the content of school history? To what degree have curricula and textbooks addressed these challenges? Is the main focus in school history still on the history of the nation state, or has it successfully integrated topics and themes from world history? These are questions I discuss in this paper. In the main, my starting point is the situation in Denmark, but with perspectives and comparisons from Norway, England and Germany. Among other things, I will put school history in a historical context, because the subject’s history and genesis—in my opinion—tends to maintain a traditional content and form of organization, thereby reducing the subject’s usefulness. At the end of the paper, I outline and discuss a few alternative options for selecting and organizing the content with the aim of being more inclusive with regard to global and international aspects. The paper must be understood as a step towards the clarification of a development project that aims to propose and experiment with practices for the selection and organization of the content of the history curriculum, with the aim of increasing the international and global dimensions in history teaching.
Educ. Sci.2013, 3(4), 387-402; doi:10.3390/educsci3040387 - published online 1 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: An educational resource on water and health, using an approach focused on health education and environmental health education, was developed to help teachers in the classroom. The implementation of health education programs in French primary schools is explained. Three specific objectives were identified, targeting 3rd, 4th, and 5th year pupils: water as a body constituent, water as a nutrient element, and water as a factor in hygiene, and their individual contribution to good health. The project was led by academics in close collaboration with education and health professionals (school nurses, public health engineers), and people working in health promotion organizations and environmental associations. The method used for the design and validation of the resource was adapted to the educational objective. The “Water and Health” educational resource is structured in 25 modules and includes 89 work files. It was validated in the classroom and includes an assessment of the teaching material and the pupils’ results. The resource has been published in French by the Regional Teachers’ Resource Centre (CRDP Auvergne, France) and is distributed by the National Teachers’ Resource Network (Sceren).
Educ. Sci.2013, 3(4), 375-386; doi:10.3390/educsci3040375 - published online 15 October 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: While an extensive body of research exists regarding the delivery of course knowledge and material, much less attention has been paid to the performance effect of seating position within a classroom. Research findings are mixed as to whether students in the front row of a classroom outperform students in the back row. Another issue that has not been fully examined in higher education is the effect of environmental factors, specifically seating type, on student performance. This study examines the impact of both factors—seating location and seating type—on overall performance. Data were collected over a 10-year period from 1,138 undergraduate senior business students during their capstone course. The findings suggest that student performance is not significantly altered by seating location or seating type.
Educ. Sci.2013, 3(4), 359-374; doi:10.3390/educsci3040359 - published online 27 September 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This qualitative study looked at the instructional, curricular and organizational factors impacting on the adoption of mobile learning in a higher education institution. Academics expressed their views on a variety of educational issues likely to enhance or hinder the effectiveness of the innovation. Teachers requested more professional development in a number of key areas including the integration of the technology into teaching and learning. Likewise, resolving vital issues such as workload, equity to access and effective policy making were seen as key to successful adoption. Technical issues such as having good wireless connectivity, need for efficient technical support, access to mobile devices and an understanding of their operational limitations with respect to desk/laptops were also highlighted. The study revealed a number of alternative perceptions and misconceptions, about articulating effective mobile learning pedagogies. For instance, staff expressed concerns about the risk of exposing students to superficial learning when mobile learning experiences were not well designed, the prospect that the devices might distract students from learning, as well as a possible deterioration of the quality of interaction between academics and students. Recommendations to reconcile those alternative conceptions with best practice principles are outlined.
Educ. Sci.2013, 3(3), 344-358; doi:10.3390/educsci3030344 - published online 11 September 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
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 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.
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 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.