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Volume 11, January

Educ. Sci., Volume 11, Issue 2 (February 2021) – 55 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The productive struggle is vital for supporting student learning of mathematics at all levels. Following the shift to remote learning due to COVID-19, we compared 82 Australian primary teachers’ attitudes towards student struggle across educational settings. We found that teachers were more positive about allowing students to struggle in classroom-based settings than when learning remotely. Teachers viewed a teacher-facilitated, synchronous learning environment and opportunities to work collaboratively with peers as paramount to supporting productive struggle in mathematics. Moreover, parents’ lack of willingness to allow their child to struggle and difficulties accessing learning materials served as further barriers to teachers encouraging productive struggle in remote learning environments. View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
Support for Families of Youths and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: Contributions of a Program from Families’ and Specialists’ Perspectives
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020088 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 418
Abstract
A family-centered approach (FCA) is recognized as a set of values, principles, and practices aimed at strengthening families’ abilities to promote the development and well-being of its members. Despite the limited information available, results show the positive relationship between the support model, based [...] Read more.
A family-centered approach (FCA) is recognized as a set of values, principles, and practices aimed at strengthening families’ abilities to promote the development and well-being of its members. Despite the limited information available, results show the positive relationship between the support model, based on the collaboration between families and specialists, and family empowerment. This paper seeks to analyze the opinions of families and specialists on their participation in an intervention program for families of youths and adults with disabilities. Thirteen families and eight specialists participated in the study that used qualitative techniques, such as interviews and discussion groups, and a questionnaire to gather information about the families’ and specialists’ viewpoints over one year. Results show that families welcomed their involvement in the program. Both families and specialists recognize that creating a space for the whole family is the main contribution of the program, as it highlights the importance of considering the family’s entire system as a support unit, as well as the close relationship between the individual’s and family’s quality of life (FQoL). Full article
Open AccessArticle
Identifying Student Teachers’ Inquiry-Related Questions in Biology Lessons
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020087 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 357
Abstract
Prior research has shown that both teacher-led and recitation questions dominate in classrooms; teachers ask closed-ended questions more than open-ended questions. Even though classroom questioning has been studied in many previous studies there has been very limited research addressing the questioning of student [...] Read more.
Prior research has shown that both teacher-led and recitation questions dominate in classrooms; teachers ask closed-ended questions more than open-ended questions. Even though classroom questioning has been studied in many previous studies there has been very limited research addressing the questioning of student teachers during inquiry-based biology lessons focusing on the inquiry stages: introduction, examination, and conclusion. In this study, a total of 21 lessons by 12 student teachers in primary and secondary schools were video- and audio-recorded. The recorded discussions were transcribed and the qualities of the questions were analyzed using content analysis, and the questions of student teachers were categorized into 10 different question categories. The findings revealed that primary school student teachers asked mainly for factual knowledge, concepts, and basic knowledge of species in all inquiry stages. Secondary school student teachers also asked mainly for concepts and basic knowledge of species. They also asked students to generate ideas and explain their answers, especially in the examination and conclusion stages. The present study indicates that student teachers’ questioning needs to be developed more towards higher-order questioning such as analyzing, synthetizing, and evaluating to scaffold students in inquiries and develop future teachers’ questioning skills in teacher education. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cyber-Archaeometry: Novel Research and Learning Subject Overview
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020086 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 341
Abstract
The cyber archaeometry concerns a new virtual ontology in the environment of cultural heritage and archaeology. The present study concerns a first pivot endeavor of a virtual polarized light microscopy (VPLM) for archaeometric learning, made from digital tools, tackling the theory of mineral [...] Read more.
The cyber archaeometry concerns a new virtual ontology in the environment of cultural heritage and archaeology. The present study concerns a first pivot endeavor of a virtual polarized light microscopy (VPLM) for archaeometric learning, made from digital tools, tackling the theory of mineral identification in archaeological materials, an important aspect in characterization, provenance, and ancient technology. This endeavor introduces the range of IT computational methods and instrumentation techniques available to the study of cultural heritage and archaeology of apprentices, educators, and specialists. Use is made of virtual and immersive reality, 3D, virtual environment, massively multiplayer online processes, and gamification. The VPLM simulation is made with the use of Avatar in the time-space frame of the laboratory with navigation, exploration, control the learning outcomes in connection to the archaeometric multisystem work. The students evidently learned to operate the VPLM following operations made via visual and home-made scripting, gaining experience in synergy, teamwork, and understanding. The resulting meaningful effects of the cyber-archaeometry with virtual operations and virtual hands, texts, and video equip students especially for e-learning with the required basic knowledge of mineralogical examination, which help to understand and evaluate mineral identification from material culture and provides readiness and capacity, which may be refined in a real polarized light microscopy (PLM) environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research and Trends in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Twice-Exceptional Students: Review of Implications for Special and Inclusive Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020085 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 558
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to review recent literature on twice-exceptional students and consider implications for their education in the context of the trend towards increased inclusive education for students with disabilities. The review focused on teachers’ experiences and perceptions and the [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to review recent literature on twice-exceptional students and consider implications for their education in the context of the trend towards increased inclusive education for students with disabilities. The review focused on teachers’ experiences and perceptions and the school experiences of twice-exceptional students. Fifteen articles were reviewed, published between 2000 and 2020, selected according to a systematic protocol from two widely used online databases. Findings indicated that the implications that need to be considered were the importance of teacher preparation, the need for a continuum of special education interventions, the need for collaboration with parents and specialists, and teachers needing to focus on developing strengths as much as remediating difficulties. It was concluded that twice-exceptional students can be taught effectively in inclusive education settings as long as they are able to access appropriate strategies and programs from the fields of special education and gifted education. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing and Benchmarking Learning Outcomes of Robotics-Enabled STEM Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020084 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Experienced middle school mathematics and science teachers were recruited for a pilot study. The teachers separately responded to a survey related to determining expected learning outcomes based on their traditional teaching, classroom experiences and observations, and self-brainstorming. The teachers then received training on [...] Read more.
Experienced middle school mathematics and science teachers were recruited for a pilot study. The teachers separately responded to a survey related to determining expected learning outcomes based on their traditional teaching, classroom experiences and observations, and self-brainstorming. The teachers then received training on how to design, develop, and implement robotics-enabled lessons under a design-based research approach for experiential learning, and taught robotics-enabled lessons to a selected student population in classroom settings. The teachers then responded to the survey for the robotics-enabled teaching. For each case (traditional and robotics-enabled), the survey responses were analyzed, and a set of expected learning outcomes of math and science lessons was derived separately. The thematic analysis results showed that the expected learning outcomes for the robotics-enabled lessons were not only related to the educational gains (content knowledge) observed in traditional teaching, but also to the improvements in the behavioral, social, scientific, cognitive, and intellectual aptitudes of the students. Then, a set of metrics and methods were proposed for assessing the learning outcomes separately. To validate the assessment metrics and methods, teachers from different schools taught two selected robotics-enabled lessons (one math, one science) to same grade students, and separately assessed the learning outcomes of each student using the proposed metrics and methods. The learning outcomes were then compared and benchmarked between schools and subjects. The results of a user study with the teachers showed user acceptance, effectiveness, and suitability of the assessment metrics and methods. The proposed scheme of assessing learning outcomes can be used to assess and justify the benefits and advantages of robotics-enabled STEM education, benchmark the outcomes, help improve teaching preparations, motivate decision-makers to confer on robotics-enabled STEM education and curricula development, and promote robotics-enabled STEM education. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Cognitive Abilities through the Abacus in Primary Education Students: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020083 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 459
Abstract
(1) Background: An abacus is an instrument used to perform different arithmetic operations. The objective was to analyze the benefits of mathematical calculations made with an abacus to improve the concentration, attention, memory, perceptive attitudes, and creativity cognitive abilities of primary school students. [...] Read more.
(1) Background: An abacus is an instrument used to perform different arithmetic operations. The objective was to analyze the benefits of mathematical calculations made with an abacus to improve the concentration, attention, memory, perceptive attitudes, and creativity cognitive abilities of primary school students. (2) Methods: A total of 65 children, aged 7–11 years (8.49 ± 1.65) participated in this randomized controlled clinical trial. The children were randomly distributed into a control group (n = 34) and experimental group (n = 31). The questionnaires used were the D2 test to measure attention and concentration, the Difference Perception Test (FACE-R) test for the perception of differences, the test of immediate auditory memory (AIM), and the test to evaluate creative intelligence (CREA). (3) Results: No significant differences were found between both groups before the intervention. Significant improvements were observed in the cognitive parameters of concentration, memory, perceptive attitudes, and creativity after the intervention, using the abacus, with respect to the control group. (4) Conclusions: It is demonstrated that a calculation program based on the use of the abacus for 8 weeks has beneficial effects on the cognitive capacities of concentration, immediate auditory memory, perceptive attitudes, and creativity. In addition, the benefits of using the abacus to improve cognitive attitudes are reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology and Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of AIOT Implementation Course on the Learning Outcomes of Senior High School Students
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020082 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 409
Abstract
In this study, experimental teaching was conducted through the artificial intelligence of things (AIOT) practical course, and the 4D (discover, define, develop, deliver) double diamond shape was used to design the course and plan the teaching content to observe the students’ self-efficacy and [...] Read more.
In this study, experimental teaching was conducted through the artificial intelligence of things (AIOT) practical course, and the 4D (discover, define, develop, deliver) double diamond shape was used to design the course and plan the teaching content to observe the students’ self-efficacy and learning anxiety. The technology acceptance model (TAM) concept was used to explore learning effectiveness and satisfaction. A total of 36 Senior One students from a senior high school in Kaohsiung were selected as the research subjects in two classes per week for 13 weeks. Questionnaires and qualitative interviews were used to understand the correlation between students’ self-efficacy, anxiety, outcomes, and learning satisfaction with the AIOT course during the flipped learning process. The study used SmartPLS3 to analyze the measurement model and structural model, and bootstrapping to conduct the path analysis and validate the research hypotheses. Because this research provides students with relevant online teaching videos for linking and browsing in the textbooks, and the video time should not be too long, in the teaching process, small-scale online learning courses are adopted for flipped teaching, which promptly arouses students’ interest and enhances their learning participation. Through the sharing of homework with each other, its content deficiencies were modified, students’ anxiety in learning was reduced, and the effect of learning and thinking together was achieved; in the teaching mode, theoretical content was combined with physical and practical courses to implement cross-disciplinary. To learn, the principle of 4D double diamond design to make “reciprocal corrections” between curriculum planning and teaching implementation as the teaching model framework was used. The results of this study show ”self-efficacy” has a significant positive effect on the “perceived usefulness” and “perceived ease of use” of users. “Learning anxiety” does not significantly predict the “perceived ease of use” or “perceived usefulness” of flipped learning using online e-learning. The “perceived ease of use” and “perceived usefulness” have positive impacts on the prediction of “behavioral intention” in flipped teaching using online digital teaching materials. The “perceived ease of use” has a positive and high impact on “perceived usefulness”. “Learning engagement” positively affects students’ actual “behavioral intention” towards learning. Students are highly receptive to learning new knowledge about science and technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Technologies for STEM Curriculum)
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Open AccessArticle
The Perception of Slovak Students on Distance Online Learning in the Time of Coronavirus—A Preliminary Study
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020081 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 676
Abstract
Teaching and learning at educational institutions in Slovakia has been based on traditional education, consisting of face-to-face classes until it was disrupted by the spread of the Coronavirus disease. A sudden lockdown caused massive changes, which presented challenges not only for teachers, but [...] Read more.
Teaching and learning at educational institutions in Slovakia has been based on traditional education, consisting of face-to-face classes until it was disrupted by the spread of the Coronavirus disease. A sudden lockdown caused massive changes, which presented challenges not only for teachers, but also for students who were forced to adapt their learning in a very short time, without any previous preparation. Since various educational institutions were forced to remain closed, they had no option but to shift from a traditional educational approach to distance learning. This form of education requires a form of online learning. The main purpose of this study was to explore what technical equipment students had at their disposal, to understand the students’ perception of distance learning, and to ensure better learning conditions in case of future lockdowns. In order to investigate student readiness for distance learning, a questionnaire survey was conducted at the Secondary Vocational School of Tourism and Gastronomy in Nitra, Slovakia. The findings of this study revealed that the majority of students from the Secondary Vocational School of Gastronomy and Tourism are ready for distance online learning. The results also indicate that a great percentage of students have Internet access and are the owners of technological devices that can be used for educational purposes. Furthermore, students are able to work individually on their own and do not require any help from other people while working on assignments. Although they prefer different teaching methods, the synchronous online courses are their priority because it enables them to have direct contact with their teachers and peers. Overall, this research shows that distance online learning is possible provided that both teachers and students are familiarised with this new learning environment and are ready to cooperate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
Open AccessArticle
Elementary Students’ First Approach to Computational Thinking and Programming
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020080 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 706
Abstract
Digital competence and programming are actively highlighted areas in education worldwide. They are becoming part of curricula all over the world, including the Swedish elementary school curriculum, Children are expected to develop computational thinking through programming activities, mainly in mathematics—which are supposed to [...] Read more.
Digital competence and programming are actively highlighted areas in education worldwide. They are becoming part of curricula all over the world, including the Swedish elementary school curriculum, Children are expected to develop computational thinking through programming activities, mainly in mathematics—which are supposed to be based on both proven experience and scientific grounds. Both are lacking in the lower grades of elementary school. This article gives unique insight into pupils’ learning during the first programming lessons based on a group of Swedish pupils’ experiences when entering school. The goal of the article is to inform education policy and practice. The large interdisciplinary, longitudinal research project studies approximately 1500 students aged 6–16 and their teachers over three years, using video documentation, questionnaires, and focus group interviews. This article reports on empirical data collected during the first year in one class with 30 pupils aged 6–7 years. The social semiotic, multimodal theoretical framework “Design for Learning” is used to investigate potential signs of learning in pupils’ multimodal representations when they, for example, use block programming in the primary and secondary transformation unit. We show that young pupils have positive attitudes to programming and high self-efficacy, and that pupils’ signs of learning in programming are multimodal and often visible in social interactions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mobile App for Science Education: Designing the Learning Approach
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020079 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 861
Abstract
This paper reports research work related to a wider study, aimed at developing a mobile app for Science Education in primary-school. Several studies reveal that Science Education can be improved by using technology, namely educational software. However, to promote a structured use of [...] Read more.
This paper reports research work related to a wider study, aimed at developing a mobile app for Science Education in primary-school. Several studies reveal that Science Education can be improved by using technology, namely educational software. However, to promote a structured use of technology, innovative learning approaches must be designed for educational software. This paper aims to answer how the interaction between students and a mobile app for Science Education can promote students’ scientific competences development and self-regulated learning. To achieve this, a learning approach was designed, combining the Universal Design for Learning principles, Inquiry-Based Science Education and the BSCS 5E – teaching model for Science Education designed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, which results in the acronym of the model. The 5E is related to each phase of the model: Engagement; Exploration; Explanation; Elaboration; Evaluation. The proposed was based on a grounded, participatory, and user-centred approach, crossing literature contributions with data collected among primary-school teachers through the application of a questionnaire (n = 118). Data collected allowed deductions about the expected adequacy of the learning approach, according to Nieveen’s criteria for high quality educational interventions. This adequacy was revealed through the teachers’ conceptions about the potential impact of the conceptualized mobile app (i) to provide a comprehensive and practical Science Education learning; and (ii) to enhance students’ scientific competences development and self-regulated learning. The paper aims to contribute to the design of an innovative learning approach in Science Education and to share it with other researchers since it can be expanded to other educational software. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in Game-Based Learning)
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Climate Change Awareness of Preservice Teachers (PSTs) through a University Science Learning Environment
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020078 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 701
Abstract
The position of universities is of great importance in climate change education (CCE) if the scientific, environmental, social, and political challenges the world confronts are to be met. It is, therefore, crucial to comprehend the CCE being engaged in globally by higher education [...] Read more.
The position of universities is of great importance in climate change education (CCE) if the scientific, environmental, social, and political challenges the world confronts are to be met. It is, therefore, crucial to comprehend the CCE being engaged in globally by higher education institutions (HEIs). It is also important to discover and analyze the ways that HEIs can better address this challenge. Consistent with the requirements of research, this study offers an analysis of climate change awareness-raising of preservice teachers (PSTs) in a university science classroom with a flipped class intervention. A total of 109 students participated in this research: 55 students in the control group (Group 1) and 54 students in the experimental group (Group 2). A questionnaire was used to detect any significant difference in the students’ awareness of climate change for the two groups and before and after course completion. The analyzed results exposed the improved awareness of climate change in PSTs after a flipped class intervention, and, therefore, PSTs were more willing to engage in climate change teaching. Hence, the results of this study will contribute significantly to reducing existing drawbacks, which will be vital to comprehend the professional teaching developments of preservice teachers. Thus, this research can offer various instances of clarifying how climate change education may be placed in a higher science education context with certain adaptations. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Disorders of Language and Literacy in the Prison Population: A Scoping Review
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020077 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 618
Abstract
Language and literacy skills are essential for education, school achievements, work and social conditions. Some studies indicate an elevated incidence of problems with language and literacy in the prison population, potentially contributing to increased risks of maladjustment and recidivism. In general, the bulk [...] Read more.
Language and literacy skills are essential for education, school achievements, work and social conditions. Some studies indicate an elevated incidence of problems with language and literacy in the prison population, potentially contributing to increased risks of maladjustment and recidivism. In general, the bulk of research on language and literacy has been directed towards children and adolescents. This study aimed to map the extent of the literature on language and literacy disorders in the adult prison population over the past 20 years, and what it reveals about the prevalence and nature of these disorders in prisoners. In total, 18 studies were identified. Of these, the majority (15) investigated literacy. The three studies investigating language all reported an elevated prevalence in the population. The literacy studies were altogether less clear, due to differences in theoretical approach and methods. In terms of the nature of the disorders, many studies assessed the behavioral level only. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical approaches, as well as recommendations for research, assessment, and intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literacy, Motivation and Education among Prison Populations)
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Open AccessReview
Assessing Intervention Effects in the Presence of Missing Scores
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020076 - 14 Feb 2021
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Due to repeated observations of an outcome behavior in N-of-1 or single-case design (SCD) intervention studies, the occurrence of missing scores is inevitable in such studies. Approximately 21% of SCD articles published in five reputable journals between 2015 and 2019 exhibited evidence [...] Read more.
Due to repeated observations of an outcome behavior in N-of-1 or single-case design (SCD) intervention studies, the occurrence of missing scores is inevitable in such studies. Approximately 21% of SCD articles published in five reputable journals between 2015 and 2019 exhibited evidence of missing scores. Missing rates varied by designs, with the highest rate (24%) found in multiple baseline/probe designs. Missing scores cause difficulties in data analysis. And inappropriate treatments of missing scores lead to consequences that threaten internal validity and weaken generalizability of intervention effects reported in SCD research. In this paper, we comprehensively review nine methods for treating missing SCD data: the available data method, six single imputations, and two model-based methods. The strengths, weaknesses, assumptions, and examples of these methods are summarized. The available data method and three single imputation methods are further demonstrated in assessing an intervention effect at the class and students’ levels. Assessment results are interpreted in terms of effect sizes, statistical significances, and visual analysis of data. Differences in results among the four methods are noted and discussed. The extensive review of problems caused by missing scores and possible treatments should empower researchers and practitioners to account for missing scores effectively and to support evidence-based interventions vigorously. The paper concludes with a discussion of contingencies for implementing the nine methods and practical strategies for managing missing scores in single-case intervention studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Children’s Astronomy. Development of the Shape of the Earth Concept in Polish Children between 5 and 10 Years of Age
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020075 - 14 Feb 2021
Viewed by 511
Abstract
The Earth’s shape concept develops as consecutive cognitive problems (e.g., the location of people and trees on the spherical Earth) are gradually resolved. Establishing the order of problem solving may be important for the organisation of teaching situations. This study attempted to determine [...] Read more.
The Earth’s shape concept develops as consecutive cognitive problems (e.g., the location of people and trees on the spherical Earth) are gradually resolved. Establishing the order of problem solving may be important for the organisation of teaching situations. This study attempted to determine the sequence of problems to be resolved based on tasks included in the EARTH2 test. The study covered a group of 444 children between 5 and 10 years of age. It captured the order in which children solve cognitive problems on the way to constructing a science-like concept. The test results were compared with previous studies. The importance of cultural influences connected to significant differences (24%) in test results was emphasised. Attention was drawn to the problem of the consistency of the mental model approach highlighted in the literature. The analysis of the individual sets of answers provided a high level of consistency of indications referring to the same model (36%), emphasising the importance of the concept of mental models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Qualitative Study on the Intercultural Educational Sensitivity of the Professors at the University of Malaga (Spain)
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020074 - 14 Feb 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
This paper deals with the intercultural sensitivity of professors of Educational Sciences at the University of Malaga (Spain). The methodological approach of the study was qualitative, and the research techniques for data collection were in-depth interviews. The main technique for analyzing the information [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the intercultural sensitivity of professors of Educational Sciences at the University of Malaga (Spain). The methodological approach of the study was qualitative, and the research techniques for data collection were in-depth interviews. The main technique for analyzing the information was content analysis. The results of the study show that the majority of university teachers identify interculturality as a value and a pedagogical proposal of great importance. Thus, there is a need to promote intercultural competences and a critical view of culture. In conclusion, the study highlights the existence of difficulties in developing interculturality, which requires a change towards comprehensive training and education in values in the university context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intercultural Education)
Open AccessArticle
Software Development Methodologies, HEIs, and the Digital Economy
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020073 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 598
Abstract
Progressing digitalization of business, economy, and the society places higher education institutions (HEIs) in the center of the debate on how to effectively respond to challenges and opportunities that are thus triggered. Several facets of this process and corresponding challenges exist, including the [...] Read more.
Progressing digitalization of business, economy, and the society places higher education institutions (HEIs) in the center of the debate on how to effectively respond to challenges and opportunities that are thus triggered. Several facets of this process and corresponding challenges exist, including the complex question of how to match students’ skills and competencies with the demands and expectations of the industry. From a different angle, considering the changing nature of work, HEIs are responsible for equipping future employees with skills necessary to work in virtual, distributed, culturally diverse, and frequently global, teams. In the domain of software development, i.e., the backbone of the digital world, the challenge HEIs need to face is paramount. For this reason, the way software development is taught at HEIs is crucial for the industry, for the economy, for the students, and for the HEIs. As there is a tendency in the industry to embrace the scrum method and seek employees equipped with skills necessary for the scrum methodology use, it is necessary to ensure that HEIs offer the students the opportunity to get exposed to scrum. By querying the challenges of switching to agile software development methodologies in senior capstone projects, this paper makes a case that software development and software development methodology form the thrust of a multi-stakeholder ecosystem that defines today’s digital economy and society. In this context, the added value of this paper rests in the elaboration of a method enabling HEIs to move toward scrum in senior projects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Online Education and the COVID-19 Outbreak: A Case Study of Online Teaching during Lockdown
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020072 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2204
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has become a critical challenge for the higher education sector. Exploring the capacity of this sector to adapt in the state of uncertainty has become more significant than ever. In this paper, we critically reflect on our experience of teaching [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has become a critical challenge for the higher education sector. Exploring the capacity of this sector to adapt in the state of uncertainty has become more significant than ever. In this paper, we critically reflect on our experience of teaching urban design research methods online during the early COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. This is an exploratory case study with a qualitative approach with an aim to inform resilient practices of teaching in the face of public health emergencies. Drawing on the experience of teaching the Research Methods and Techniques subject during lockdown, we discuss the rapid transition from face-to-face to online teaching and point to the challenges and opportunities in relation to the learning and teaching activities, assessment and feedback, and digital platforms. This paper concludes by outlining some key considerations to inform the development of more adaptive and resilient approaches to online teaching in the context of unprecedented global health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. We argue that it is critical to move beyond fixed pedagogical frameworks to harness the productive capacities of adaptive teaching. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using Peer Review for Student Performance Enhancement: Experiences in a Multidisciplinary Higher Education Setting
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020071 - 13 Feb 2021
Viewed by 678
Abstract
Nowadays one of the main focuses of the Spanish University system is achieving the active learning paradigm in the context of its integration into the European Higher Education Area. This goal is being addressed by means of the application of novel teaching mechanisms. [...] Read more.
Nowadays one of the main focuses of the Spanish University system is achieving the active learning paradigm in the context of its integration into the European Higher Education Area. This goal is being addressed by means of the application of novel teaching mechanisms. Among a wide variety of learning approaches, the present work focuses on peer review, understood as a collaborative learning technique where students assess other student’s work and provide their own feedback. In this way, peer review has the overarching goal of improving the student learning during this process. Peer review has been successfully applied and analyzed in the literature. Indeed, many authors also recommend improving the design and implementation of self and peer review, which has been our main goal. This paper presents an empirical study based on the application of peer review assessment in different higher education BSc and MSc courses. In this way, six courses from different studies at the University of Malaga in Spain are subject to the application of peer review strategies to promote student learning and develop cross-wise skills such as critical thinking, autonomy and responsibility. Based on these experiences, a deep analysis of the results is performed, showing that a proper application of the peer review methodology provides reliable reviews (with close scores to the ones from the teacher) as well as an improvement in the students’ performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research and Trends in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Mathematical Beliefs Held by Costa Rican Pre-Service Teachers and Teacher Educators
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020070 - 12 Feb 2021
Viewed by 498
Abstract
Beliefs have been conceived as a hidden variable in mathematics education. It is important to know teachers’ beliefs as they can inform the way that teachers teach mathematics, make decisions in the classroom, and form opinions about the abilities of students. In Costa [...] Read more.
Beliefs have been conceived as a hidden variable in mathematics education. It is important to know teachers’ beliefs as they can inform the way that teachers teach mathematics, make decisions in the classroom, and form opinions about the abilities of students. In Costa Rica, studies about beliefs have been conducted with in-service teachers, but there is no research on pre-service teachers and the beliefs they bring to the classroom from their teacher education programs (TEPs). This research aims to describe the beliefs held by 76 pre-service teachers and 19 teacher educators from four Costa Rican public universities, using the Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M) questionnaire. The results suggest that both pre-service teachers and teacher educators believe in a constructivist orientation focused on the learner. Both groups support the view of mathematics as a process of inquiry and active learning and agree that mathematical skills are not fixed or associated with gender or culture. In the literature, the beliefs manifested by the participants are associated with positive results regarding student outcomes and teaching practices. Therefore, policymakers should be concerned with providing environments that allow and encourage teachers to continue with these belief orientations when they start teaching. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
State of Research on Gamification in Education: A Bibliometric Survey
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020069 - 10 Feb 2021
Viewed by 740
Abstract
Recent years have brought a rapid growth of scientific output in the area of gamification in education. In this paper, we try to identify its main characteristics using a bibliometric approach. Our preliminary analysis uses Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science as [...] Read more.
Recent years have brought a rapid growth of scientific output in the area of gamification in education. In this paper, we try to identify its main characteristics using a bibliometric approach. Our preliminary analysis uses Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science as data sources, whereas the main analysis is performed on 2517 records retrieved from Scopus. The results comprise the cross-coverage of databases, geographic distribution of research, forms of publication, addressed research areas and topics, preferred publishing venues, the most involved scientific institutions and researchers, collaboration among researchers, and research impact. The main conclusions underline the sustained growth of the research output in the area for at least seven years, the widespread interest in the area across countries and branches of science, and an effective research communication in the area documented by the number of citations and the map of co-citations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Discovering Unwritten Stories—A Modular Case Study in Promoting Landscape Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020068 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 343
Abstract
Landscapes have been and are an important aspect of any society, culture, economy and environment. Besides the role of landscape and Landscape Sciences in these arenas, there have been increasingly greater calls to incorporate landscape into the curriculum. Moreover, Landscape Education is beneficial [...] Read more.
Landscapes have been and are an important aspect of any society, culture, economy and environment. Besides the role of landscape and Landscape Sciences in these arenas, there have been increasingly greater calls to incorporate landscape into the curriculum. Moreover, Landscape Education is beneficial in developing important foundations in students, particularly that of active citizenry. While the benefits of Landscape Education are evident, current research remains focused on Western, especially European, contexts. This article discusses how a leading Singapore public University incorporates Landscape Education within a relatively new module on Toponymy offered in the Linguistics and Multilingual Studies Programme. While the links between Linguistics and a course in Toponymy or even the links between Toponymy and Landscape may not be immediately apparent, an analysis of the content covered in the module demonstrates congruence to existing frameworks and principles in teaching Landscape Education and, at the same time, provides a case in point in interdisciplinarity, drawing from diverse disciplines such as Language, Linguistics, History, Geography, Landscape Sciences, Anthropological Linguistics, among many others. This study provides useful references for educational institutions in incorporating Landscape Education into their curriculum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue An Educational Approach to Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Peer Learning as a Key Component of an Integrated Teaching Method: Overcoming the Complexities of Physics Teaching in Large Size Classes
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020067 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 721
Abstract
Over the last decade, policy makers have urged universities to innovate their teaching methodologies. Although educational research has shown that active methods lead to improvements in learners’ performance more than traditional lectures in small classes, some factors impede active methods from spreading in [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, policy makers have urged universities to innovate their teaching methodologies. Although educational research has shown that active methods lead to improvements in learners’ performance more than traditional lectures in small classes, some factors impede active methods from spreading in large size classes. In this paper we aim at fostering these methodological innovations by showing the effectiveness of an integrated teaching methodology that employs peer learning, technology, and traditional lectures in large size classes. In the academic years 2017–2018 and 2018–2019 a quasi-experiment involved more than 600 engineering students per year attending an introductory physics course at Politecnico di Milano. These learners were assigned to two sections and their outcomes in a pre-test and a post-test were analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics. The learning results of the experimental group were always better than the outcomes of the control group, regardless of the difficulty of the physics topics addressed. Furthermore, a very low threshold for the exposure to peer learning has been highlighted in order for it to be effective. These promising results may thus foster ongoing changes in university policy towards the renewal of the teaching methodology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Teachers and Teacher Education: Limitations and Possibilities of Attaining SDG 4 in South Africa
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020066 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 550
Abstract
As we enter the last ten years leading to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, African countries are still plagued with poverty and underdevelopment. For most children in Africa, the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 will remain elusive. [...] Read more.
As we enter the last ten years leading to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, African countries are still plagued with poverty and underdevelopment. For most children in Africa, the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 will remain elusive. Drawing from two interrelated empirical studies, one focusing on citizenship and social cohesion at high school level and the other on the implementation of assessment for learning at primary school level, it was found that not only are schools not equipped to provide the quality education as set out in SDG 4, but teachers need additional training to give expression to the ideals of SDG 4. In order for this to be adequately addressed, all interested stakeholders—government, business, and NGOs—need to be involved. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Problem Posing Using Different Fractions Meanings
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020065 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 382
Abstract
The aim of this work is to study the knowledge that 11 to 12-year-old pupils have about the different meanings of fractions. For this purpose, an investigation about the ability that 11 to 12-year-old pupils have with fraction problems through problem posing is [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to study the knowledge that 11 to 12-year-old pupils have about the different meanings of fractions. For this purpose, an investigation about the ability that 11 to 12-year-old pupils have with fraction problems through problem posing is performed. In particular, we analyze if they pose different types of problems depending on the provided help and if they are able to solve the problems they pose. To do so, after making a classification about types of fractions problems, an instrument is designed to see if students are able to invent and solve problems with different conditions (no reference at all, reference to an image, reference to a graphic representation, and reference to an operation). The analysis of results shows that most of the students properly solve what they invent, and points out that they tend to pose part-whole and part-set problems, even when the given reference suggests another type of problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning and Teaching Mathematical Concepts and Methods)
Open AccessArticle
Teacher Perspectives on Teaching the STEM Approach to Educational Coding and Robotics in Primary Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020064 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
An analysis is presented in this study that provides insight into a practical training process and its impact on teachers and their viewpoints toward the integrated STEM approach used in that training process, together with educational coding and robotics, over the first years [...] Read more.
An analysis is presented in this study that provides insight into a practical training process and its impact on teachers and their viewpoints toward the integrated STEM approach used in that training process, together with educational coding and robotics, over the first years of compulsory primary education, where STEM implementations are relatively new. A case study was developed by two teachers following the practical training course, including pre- and post-interviews and nonparticipative observation of their classroom practices during the teacher-training sessions. The results revealed the positive perspectives that the teachers held toward the STEM-integrated approach and educational coding and robotics, despite the difficulties that arose in classroom practice. It was concluded that the STEM approach and its methods were beneficial both to pupils and to teachers alike for improving the teaching–learning process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated STEAM Education: A Global Perspective)
Open AccessArticle
Understanding of Developing and Setting Tasks in Geography Lessons by German and Dutch Student Teachers
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020063 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
Setting tasks plays a key role in geography lessons, as they enable students to engage with the subject content, guide lessons towards predefined learning outcomes, and are therefore important for assessment. At the same time, the use of tasks is complex as numerous [...] Read more.
Setting tasks plays a key role in geography lessons, as they enable students to engage with the subject content, guide lessons towards predefined learning outcomes, and are therefore important for assessment. At the same time, the use of tasks is complex as numerous aspects regarding the content and the students have to be taken into account. Based on theoretical and empirical literature, we identify seven quality criteria for tasks in geography education: motivating and engaging students; addressing the heterogeneity of students; structuring learning processes; comprehensible formulation; considering individual and social learning processes; making meaningful use of materials; and fostering the development of subject specific competences. These criteria were applied in observation of lessons, which were given during an exchange between student geography teachers from a Dutch and German university. Overall, it was found that student teachers recognize the defined quality criteria, but half of them focus on only one or two aspects. The difficulties student teachers face in task setting during their traineeship can partly be explained by their phase of apprenticeship and the context. The developed observation form was considered to be valuable for preparation and observation of and reflection on tasks in geography lessons, and the exchange enabled student teachers to gain an insight into their own teaching practice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ocean Literacy to Promote Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 in Coastal Communities
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020062 - 07 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 903
Abstract
Ambassadors for Biodiversity (EmBio) is an ocean literacy research project that contributes to the improvement of literacy on marine and coastal biodiversity, namely encompassing the areas covered by the Natura 2000 Network, by promoting coastal and oceanic resources conservation and natural and cultural [...] Read more.
Ambassadors for Biodiversity (EmBio) is an ocean literacy research project that contributes to the improvement of literacy on marine and coastal biodiversity, namely encompassing the areas covered by the Natura 2000 Network, by promoting coastal and oceanic resources conservation and natural and cultural values preservation of the Portuguese western Atlantic coast. This project directly promotes the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the implementation of 2030 Agenda developed by the United Nations and adopted by most countries in the world, which define the priorities and aspirations for global sustainable development until the year of 2030, mobilizing a world-wide effort to meet a common set of goals and objectives. This paper contributes to understanding how ocean literacy, and specifically the EmBio research project, fits into the international agenda for sustainable development and the SDGs and its targets. Through an analysis and a comparison between the project EmBio and the SDGs, it was possible to identify connections on 11 out of 17 goals and 31 out of 169 targets, with a special emphasis on the SDG 14—Life Below Water. The results highlight the relevance of this project and, especially, ocean literacy for the accomplishment of the SDGs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Psychometric Properties of a Scale to Measure Resilience among Portuguese University Students: Resilience Scale-10
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020061 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 497
Abstract
Higher education students lack skills to deal in a positive way with the crises inherent to the developmental phase in which they find themselves. However, the complexity of the current global context adds an urgent need for them to be resilient. For this [...] Read more.
Higher education students lack skills to deal in a positive way with the crises inherent to the developmental phase in which they find themselves. However, the complexity of the current global context adds an urgent need for them to be resilient. For this purpose, it is necessary to evaluate their capacity for resilience, which requires the use of instruments that are easy to access, useful, simple, and fast. In this sense, this study aimed to develop and validate a scale to assess students’ resilience in the face of adversity. The scale was administered to a sample of 2030 Portuguese higher education students. The results obtained pointed towards a factorial structure composed of two factors named “self-determination” and “adaptability”, which showed good internal consistency. Therefore, this scale proved to be a valid measure to assess resilience among the university population. Future studies may consider this variable as an intervention target since it can be a predictor of success in phases of change and crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research and Trends in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
#Mathathome during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring and Reimagining Resources and Social Supports for Parents
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020060 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 704
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools abruptly transitioned to emergency remote instruction. Consequently, expectations for parental involvement in school mathematics rose to unprecedented levels. We sought to understand the experiences of parents to reimagine possibilities for engagement in mathematics during and beyond the pandemic. [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools abruptly transitioned to emergency remote instruction. Consequently, expectations for parental involvement in school mathematics rose to unprecedented levels. We sought to understand the experiences of parents to reimagine possibilities for engagement in mathematics during and beyond the pandemic. Leveraging data from tweets using #mathathome and survey responses from parents, we identified who supported continued mathematics learning at home and explored the nature of the mathematics taught there. We found that Twitter and survey data sources described two largely distinct groups of those supporting parents to continue mathematics education at home, but similar findings emerged from analyses of each data source, suggesting that themes were common among different groups. Namely, we saw a commitment to continued mathematics learning and engagement with a range of mathematics topics. These topics mostly focused on elementary-level content, especially counting, through everyday activities/objects and mathematical sense-making. Most parents used resources provided by the school alongside resources they identified and provided on their own. School responses to emergency remote instruction were mostly asynchronous, and parents expressed a need for more opportunities to interact directly with their children’s teachers. We discuss what the mathematics education community might learn from these experiences to support parental engagement during and beyond periods of remote emergency instruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Open AccessArticle
Challenges and Experiences of Online Evaluation in Courses of Civil Engineering during the Lockdown Learning Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020059 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1192
Abstract
As a consequence of the global health emergency in early 2020, universities had to tackle a sudden shift in their teaching–learning strategies so that the preset competences could be fulfilled. This study presents the learning outcomes of the implemented tasks, student experiences, and [...] Read more.
As a consequence of the global health emergency in early 2020, universities had to tackle a sudden shift in their teaching–learning strategies so that the preset competences could be fulfilled. This study presents the learning outcomes of the implemented tasks, student experiences, and feedback, as well as some reflections from the instructors with a holistic perspective of the courses due to the adopted measures and adaptations. Six courses taught at civil engineering degrees of three universities, two from Spain and one from Peru, were analyzed. The teaching and evaluation strategies are described, and some reflections are made by comparing the student’s performance with the previous course. Though the shift to online learning had to be made from day to day, with no time for preparation, the experience has proved that online learning can be beneficial in some aspects and has probably come to stay, although some other aspects are difficult to replace with respect to face-to-face learning, especially students’ engagement and motivation. The significance of this study relies on a description of the challenges that arose due to the global public health and an assessment of the results of the implemented strategies to account for both teaching and evaluation in modules of civil engineering. After the acquired experience, new questions have arisen, e.g., what type of content is (and what is not) adequate or suitable for online exams? What features have come to stay? Has higher education taken a step forward to tomorrow’s education? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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