Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
The Continuous Intention to Use E-Learning, from Two Different Perspectives
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11010006 - 25 Dec 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
During the recent vast growth of digitalization, e-learning methods have become the most influential phenomenon at higher educational institutions. E-learning adoption has proved able to shift educational circumstances from the traditional face-to-face teaching environment to a flexible and sharable type of education. An [...] Read more.
During the recent vast growth of digitalization, e-learning methods have become the most influential phenomenon at higher educational institutions. E-learning adoption has proved able to shift educational circumstances from the traditional face-to-face teaching environment to a flexible and sharable type of education. An online survey was conducted, consisting of 30 teachers and 342 students in one of the universities in the United Arab Emirates. The results show that teachers’ and students’ perceived technology self-efficacy (TSE), ease of use (PEOU), and usefulness (PU) are the main factors directly affecting the continuous intention to use technology. Instructors’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) and perceived organizational support (POS) positively affect the intention to use the technology, whereas students’ controlled motivation (CTRLM) has a greater influence on their intention to use the technology, due to the type of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation that they have and which they can develop throughout the process of learning. The findings support the given hypotheses. In addition, they provide empirical evidence of a relationship between perceived organizational support and perceived pedagogical content knowledge. In fact, they are considered the key factors that support the use of technology continuously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education)
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Article
Fostering Critical Reflection in Primary Education through STEAM Approaches
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(12), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10120384 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper describes a quantitative study that explores teaching practices in primary education to sustain the hypothesis that students’ critical thinking may be activated through individual and group reflection. The study examines the quality of the reflections from primary school students during group [...] Read more.
This paper describes a quantitative study that explores teaching practices in primary education to sustain the hypothesis that students’ critical thinking may be activated through individual and group reflection. The study examines the quality of the reflections from primary school students during group processing when participating in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) instructional approaches. The project’s core methodology lies in scientific (physics) and artistic (dance) instructional activities which were executed in a continuous reflective and cooperative learning environment. The educational approach was refined by analyzing the reflective discussions from focus groups where descriptive, argumentative, reflective and critical reflective knowledge about acquired knowledge, competences, beliefs, attitudes and emotions were considered. While the educational intervention proved that 1st-year (K-7) students essentially reflected at the level of description, 3rd-year (K-9) and 5th-year (K-11) students, however, attained higher levels of individual critical reflection development than initially anticipated. The STEAM approaches were found to produce significant use and understanding of both science and artistic concepts and to increase a sense of competence readiness and a perception of modes of cooperation such as individual responsibility and promotive interaction. Full article
Article
Distance Learning Perceptions from Higher Education Students—The Case of Portugal
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(12), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10120374 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
This research study examines the attitudes of Portuguese higher education students regarding compulsory digital and distance learning university courses during the second semester of the academic year 2019–2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The methodology was quantitative, being the undergraduate and postgraduate students surveyed [...] Read more.
This research study examines the attitudes of Portuguese higher education students regarding compulsory digital and distance learning university courses during the second semester of the academic year 2019–2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The methodology was quantitative, being the undergraduate and postgraduate students surveyed to find their perceptions about distance and online education in Portugal. The findings of the study highlighted the relationship between distance and online learning. The key concern of the respondents is related to the formal and contextual dimensions of the online class regime. The values examined, taken as a whole, allow us to conclude that with this teaching regime, in terms of awareness, there is acceptance and benefit. The sense of ambiguity in which this transformation took place, as well as the climate surrounding this phase, are worth noting. The teaching and evaluation methodologies used have been embraced and show a very wide range of choices on the part of the teaching teams and the students’ various interests, just as in the teaching regime of the classroom. The fact that students feel the need for face-to-face classes, however, is of great importance for practical and laboratory classes. This reality, which is a challenge to face in the future, is hard to overcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research and Trends in Higher Education)
Article
Challenges and Opportunities for Russian Higher Education amid COVID-19: Teachers’ Perspective
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(12), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10120368 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 25
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has tremendously affected higher education systems in Russia and all over the world, forcing to transform curriculum into an online format, which is a challenge for all the educational process participants. The current study discusses the implementation of online learning [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has tremendously affected higher education systems in Russia and all over the world, forcing to transform curriculum into an online format, which is a challenge for all the educational process participants. The current study discusses the implementation of online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the Russian higher education context and investigates the challenges experienced by university teachers during this period to define their readiness for online education. To address the above-mentioned issues, a study was conducted in Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. A variety of methods of scientific and pedagogical research were used including systematic structural analysis, synthesis, work with research papers, the generalization of experience and experimental work, observation, surveys, etc., with 87 university teachers asked to respond to several sets of questions describing their online teaching experience after the launch of online education amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis of the participants’ answers helped to identify the following main challenges experienced by university teachers: computer literacy level, the university electronic environment and support, academic staff readiness and students’ readiness for online learning, the last two being the most important hindering the implementation of the efficient online education process. It was also underlined by most respondents that methodological work of a teacher in a digital educational environment differs from conventional teaching methods. Thus, psychological, technological, methodological support and teachers’ professional development programs are of vital importance to minimize the negative impact of the rapid changes of the educational process and to ensure efficient online education. Full article
Article
University Students’ Readiness for Using Digital Media and Online Learning—Comparison between Germany and the USA
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10110313 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
The year 2020 brought many changes to our everyday life but also our education system. Universities needed to change their teaching practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Words like “digital media”, “online teaching” and “online learning” were present in all of the discussions. [...] Read more.
The year 2020 brought many changes to our everyday life but also our education system. Universities needed to change their teaching practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Words like “digital media”, “online teaching” and “online learning” were present in all of the discussions. The main issues here were the technical infrastructure of students and universities all over the world. However, to have good technical infrastructure does not mean that everybody is also ready to use it. Thus, the present study focused on the issue of university students’ readiness for online learning. The quantitative research goal was to evaluate German university students’ readiness for using digital media and online learning in their tertiary education and compare them with students from the United States. Overall, 72 students from the researchers’ university in Germany and 176 students from multiple universities in the United States completed the Student Readiness of Online Learning (SROL) questionnaire. Results show substantial differences between the two groups of students, with U.S. students being more ready for online learning. The results and limitations were discussed, and practical implications and further ideas were provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Higher Education)
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Article
Compassionate Flexibility and Self-Discipline: Student Adaptation to Emergency Remote Teaching in an Integrated Engineering Energy Course during COVID-19
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10110304 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 30
Abstract
The global pandemic of COVID-19 brought about the transition to Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) at higher education institutions across the United States, prompting both students and the faculty to rapidly adjust to a different modality of teaching and learning. Other crises have induced [...] Read more.
The global pandemic of COVID-19 brought about the transition to Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) at higher education institutions across the United States, prompting both students and the faculty to rapidly adjust to a different modality of teaching and learning. Other crises have induced disruptions to academic continuity (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes), but not to the same extent as COVID-19, which has affected universities on a global scale. In this paper, we describe a qualitative case study where we interviewed 11 second-year Integrated Engineering students during the Spring 2020 semester to explore how they adapted to the transition to remote learning. Our results revealed several student challenges, how they used self-discipline strategies to overcome them, and how the faculty supported students in the classroom through a compassionate and flexible pedagogy. Faculty members showed compassion and flexibility by adjusting the curriculum and assessment and effectively communicating with students. This was especially important for the women participants in this study, who more frequently expressed utilizing pass/fail grading and the personal and gendered challenges they faced due to the pandemic. During this unprecedented crisis, we found that a key element for supporting students’ well-being and success is the faculty members communicating care and incorporating flexibility into their courses. Full article
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Article
Online Delivery and Assessment during COVID-19: Safeguarding Academic Integrity
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10110301 - 25 Oct 2020
Cited by 25
Abstract
Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise daily despite strict measures being adopted by many countries. Consequently, universities closed down to minimise the face-to-face contacts, and the majority of the universities are now conducting degree programmes through online delivery. Remote online [...] Read more.
Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise daily despite strict measures being adopted by many countries. Consequently, universities closed down to minimise the face-to-face contacts, and the majority of the universities are now conducting degree programmes through online delivery. Remote online delivery and assessment are novel experiences for many universities, which presents many challenges, particularly when safeguarding academic integrity. For example, invigilated assessments, often considered as more secure, are not an option given the current situation and detecting any cheating would be significantly challenging. This paper reviews assessment security in the digital domain and critically evaluates the practices from different universities in safeguarding academic integrity, including associated challenges. Full article
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Article
Digital Escape Room, Using Genial.Ly and A Breakout to Learn Algebra at Secondary Education Level in Spain
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(10), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10100271 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
One of the main objectives in mathematics education is to motivate students due to the fact that their interest in this area is often very low. The use of different technologies, as well as gamification in the classroom, can help us to meet [...] Read more.
One of the main objectives in mathematics education is to motivate students due to the fact that their interest in this area is often very low. The use of different technologies, as well as gamification in the classroom, can help us to meet this goal. In this case, it is presented the use of two techniques, which are a digital escape room, using Genial.ly and a breakout, for learning algebra in the third course of secondary education. To carry out the experience, a comparison of the course 2018/2019 and the course 2019/2020 is made. Students of both courses completed an exam of algebraic fractions and then an equations exam; the exams were done in the course 2019/2020 taken after having used the techniques. The results show that there are low significant differences between both courses in the algebraic fractions exam qualifications, but those of the equations exam were significant, with a difference of almost two points, which led us to conclude that the use of this techniques improved the qualifications of students. Finally, the perception that students had of the experience was very positive, as shown by the data obtained and allowed them to improve their knowledge as well as their motivation and teamwork. Full article
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Article
Education for Sustainable Development Goals (ESDG): What Is Wrong with ESDGs, and What Can We Do Better?
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(10), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10100261 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
This article will discuss social, environmental, and ecological justice in education for sustainable development (ESD) and Education for Sustainable Development Goals (ESDG). The concept of sustainable development and, by extension, the ESD, places heavy emphasis on the economic and social aspects of sustainability. [...] Read more.
This article will discuss social, environmental, and ecological justice in education for sustainable development (ESD) and Education for Sustainable Development Goals (ESDG). The concept of sustainable development and, by extension, the ESD, places heavy emphasis on the economic and social aspects of sustainability. However, the ESD falls short of recognizing ecological justice, or recognition that nonhumans also have a right to exist and flourish. An intervention in the form of an undergraduate course titled Politics, Business, and Environment (PBE) will be discussed. As part of this course, students were asked to reflect on the three pillars of sustainable development: society, economy, and environment, linking these to the fourth concept, ecological justice or biospheric egalitarianism. Biospheric egalitarianism is characterized by the recognition of intrinsic value in the environment and is defined as concern about justice for the environment. Some of the resulting exam answers are analyzed, demonstrating students’ ability to recognize the moral and pragmatic limitations of the anthropocentric approach to justice. This analysis presents ways forward in thinking about the role of “ecological justice” as the ultimate bottom line upon which both society and economy are based. Full article
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Article
Inclusion and Special Education
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10090238 - 07 Sep 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to trace the historical trajectory of special education and how societal perspectives influenced the special education movement. It aims to answer if special education and inclusion have achieved their goals for all individuals, especially those with disabilities. [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to trace the historical trajectory of special education and how societal perspectives influenced the special education movement. It aims to answer if special education and inclusion have achieved their goals for all individuals, especially those with disabilities. A review of historical trends, special education laws, and key constructs showed that there were both positives and negatives aspects. It also revealed that the absence of a clear definition, standards, and objectives for inclusion and least restrictive environment is just one of the roots of the problem. Moreover, the lack of empirical studies on the effectiveness of inclusion and the lack of knowledge and awareness of the provisions of special education laws by stakeholders contribute to the issues surrounding inclusion implementation. Recommendations include that all stakeholders should have historical awareness and discriminative ability, in-depth comprehension of special education laws, and adapting the same definition, standards and clear objectives in implementing inclusion programs. Full article
Article
COVID-19 Outbreak: Insights about Teaching Tasks in a Chemical Engineering Laboratory
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10090226 - 30 Aug 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Apart from the evident tragedy that the COVID-19 outbreak has meant regarding both personal and economic costs, the normal functioning of the academic year has been drastically altered at all educational levels. Regarding Spain, the state of alert implemented by the government from [...] Read more.
Apart from the evident tragedy that the COVID-19 outbreak has meant regarding both personal and economic costs, the normal functioning of the academic year has been drastically altered at all educational levels. Regarding Spain, the state of alert implemented by the government from mid-March to June has affected traditional face-to-face sessions at universities, as they were forbidden and replaced by online lessons. The aim of this work was to explain our own experience during the COVID-19 outbreak in a chemical engineering laboratory at the University of Extremadura, concerning the university teaching and the final degree project follow-up, whose method of teaching was active and participatory, based on constructivism and focused on the student as the center of the learning process. Thus, the confinement affected both the teachers and students differently, depending on the degree of completion of their main tasks and their previous skills with computing and virtual tools, among other factors. The existence of an operating virtual campus and an online library has made the transition to total e-learning and telework easier for teachers and students. Full article
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Article
From Theory to Practice of Promoting Student Engagement in Business and Law-Related Disciplines: The Case of Undergraduate Economics Education
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10080205 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Higher education is experiencing a paradigm shift from passive learning towards active learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has further presented an opportunity for education providers to enhance teaching that includes non-campus modes. However, concerns regarding student engagement lie at the heart of the transition [...] Read more.
Higher education is experiencing a paradigm shift from passive learning towards active learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has further presented an opportunity for education providers to enhance teaching that includes non-campus modes. However, concerns regarding student engagement lie at the heart of the transition to active learning environments in the context of the increased demand for online education. Therefore, promoting student engagement has become an educational priority since greater student engagement translates into valued student experiences, higher academic performance, and increased retention rates. This paper semi-systematically reviews the literature on student engagement in undergraduate economics education. Close emphasis is also paid to the relationships between the direct measures of disengagement such as absenteeism on student performance in economics. The student engagement framework developed by Frederiks, Blumenfeld, and Paris (2004) is used to classify the dimensions of student engagement and the factors that influence the different dimensions of engagement. The literature reviewed is predominately occupied with behavioral aspects of engagement with little attention towards capturing the cognitive and emotional aspects of student engagement. Three key recommendations are noted from the study in order for business school educators and higher education policy makers to promote student engagement in economics education. Future research on student engagement in undergraduate business education should focus more on capturing the cognitive and emotional aspects of student engagement to inform policymaking in promoting student engagement. Full article
Article
COVID-19 and the Digital Transformation of Education: What Are We Learning on 4IR in South Africa?
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10070180 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 39
Abstract
The study sought to assess the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic in motivating digital transformation in the education sector in South Africa. The study was premised on the fact that learning in South Africa and the rest of the world came to a [...] Read more.
The study sought to assess the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic in motivating digital transformation in the education sector in South Africa. The study was premised on the fact that learning in South Africa and the rest of the world came to a standstill due to the lockdown necessitated by COVID-19. To assess the impact, the study tracked the rate at which the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) tools were used by various institutions during the COVID-19 lockdown. Data were obtained from secondary sources. The findings are that, in South Africa, during the lockdown, a variety of 4IR tools were unleashed from primary education to higher and tertiary education where educational activities switched to remote (online) learning. These observations reflect that South Africa generally has some pockets of excellence to drive the education sector into the 4IR, which has the potential to increase access. Access to education, particularly at a higher education level, has always been a challenge due to a limited number of spaces available. Much as this pandemic has brought with it massive human suffering across the globe, it has presented an opportunity to assess successes and failures of deployed technologies, costs associated with them, and scaling these technologies to improve access. Full article
Article
COVID-19 School Closure-Related Changes to the Professional Life of a K–12 Teacher
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(6), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10060165 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 50
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic forced K–12 school closures in spring 2020 to protect the well-being of society. The unplanned and unprecedented disruption to education changed the work of many teachers suddenly, and in many aspects. This case study examines the COVID-19 school closure-related changes [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced K–12 school closures in spring 2020 to protect the well-being of society. The unplanned and unprecedented disruption to education changed the work of many teachers suddenly, and in many aspects. This case study examines the COVID-19 school closure-related changes to the professional life of a secondary school teacher in rural Alaska (United States), who had to teach his students online. A descriptive and explanatory single case study methodology was used to describe subsequent impacts on instructional practices and workload. Qualitative and quantitative data sources include participant observations, semi-structured interviews, artifacts (e.g., lesson plans, schedules, online time), and open-ended conversations. The results of this study demonstrate an increase and change in workload for the teacher and that online education can support learning for many students but needs to be carefully designed and individualized to not deepen inequality and social divides. The forced move to online learning may have been the catalyst to create a new, more effective hybrid model of educating students in the future. Not one single model for online learning will provide equitable educational opportunities for all and virtual learning cannot be seen as a cheap fix for the ongoing financial crisis in funding education. Full article
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Article
Children’s Augmented Storying in, with and for Nature
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(6), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10060149 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Drawing on a relational ontology and scholarship of new literacies, we investigate the materiality and performativity of children’s augmented storying in nature. Our study is situated in a Finnish primary school in which a novel, augmented reality application (MyAR Julle) was [...] Read more.
Drawing on a relational ontology and scholarship of new literacies, we investigate the materiality and performativity of children’s augmented storying in nature. Our study is situated in a Finnish primary school in which a novel, augmented reality application (MyAR Julle) was utilized as a digital storytelling tool for children (n = 62, aged 7–9), allowing them to explore, interact, and imagine in nature and to create/share their stories. The data corpus consists of their narrations of their augmented stories in nature, their augmented story artefacts, and video/observational data from their construction of such stories in nature. Narrative analysis reveals how the children’s augmented storying in nature was performed through playful, affective, and sensuous, identity, cultural, and critical literacies, which were imaginatively constructed into being at the nexus of their sensed reality and fantasy. These literacies make visible human–material–spatial–temporal assemblages during which the children played with/through the augmented character Julle, felt and sensed with/through Julle, and re-storied their experiences, cultural knowledge, and identities with/through Julle. They also engaged in critical thinking with/through Julle. The study contributes to knowledge on the meaning of materiality in children’s storying in, with, and for nature and the educational possibilities of augmented storying for children’s (eco)literacies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young Children, Maker Literacies and Social Change)
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Article
A Meta-Analysis of the Cognitive, Affective, and Interpersonal Outcomes of Flipped Classrooms in Higher Education
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10040115 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
This paper aims to quantify the effects of flipped classrooms in higher education by reviewing 43 empirical studies of students’ cognitive, affective, and interpersonal outcomes. The innovative pedagogy of a flipped classroom in higher education fosters a sustainable, interactive, and student-centered learning environment [...] Read more.
This paper aims to quantify the effects of flipped classrooms in higher education by reviewing 43 empirical studies of students’ cognitive, affective, and interpersonal outcomes. The innovative pedagogy of a flipped classroom in higher education fosters a sustainable, interactive, and student-centered learning environment (as opposed to the traditional lecture style, in which there is little room for interaction). This study’s results show the positive effects of flipped classrooms and highlight the improvement in students’ educational outcomes between 2012 and 2017. Overall, effect sizes were medium—effect size (ES) = 0.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.24 to 0.47—across three outcome domains using a random effects model. In the outcomes, affective (ES = 0.59), interpersonal (ES = 0.53), and cognitive (ES = 0.24) domains were of a higher order than the effect sizes. However, the results indicated that flipped classrooms benefitted students studying chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics less than they did students studying other subjects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Higher Education)
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Article
Uncovering Types of Knowledge in Concept Maps
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(2), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020131 - 13 Jun 2019
Cited by 16
Abstract
Concept maps have been shown to have a positive impact on the quality of student learning in a variety of disciplinary contexts and educational levels from primary school to university by helping students to connect ideas and develop a productive knowledge structure to [...] Read more.
Concept maps have been shown to have a positive impact on the quality of student learning in a variety of disciplinary contexts and educational levels from primary school to university by helping students to connect ideas and develop a productive knowledge structure to support future learning. However, the evaluation of concept maps has always been a contentious issue. Some authors focus on the quantitative assessment of maps, while others prefer a more descriptive determination of map quality. To our knowledge, no previous consideration of concept maps has evaluated the different types of knowledge (e.g., procedural and conceptual) embedded within a concept map, or the ways in which they may interact. In this paper we consider maps using the lens provided by the Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) to analyze concept maps in terms of semantic gravity and semantic density. Weaving between these qualitatively, different knowledges are considered necessary to achieve professional knowledge or expert understanding. Exemplar maps are used as illustrations of the way in which students may navigate their learning towards expertise and how this is manifested in their concept maps. Implications for curriculum design and teaching evaluation are included. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concept Mapping and Education)
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Article
Developing and Piloting a Pedagogy for Teaching Innovation, Collaboration, and Co-Creation in Secondary Education Based on Design Thinking, Digital Transformation, and Entrepreneurship
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(2), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020113 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
In Secondary Education, students need innovative skills and competences that the current education system does not sufficiently offer. Also, educators need pedagogical support to develop teaching to respond to 21st century skills requirements. In order to achieve these goals, an experimental culture of [...] Read more.
In Secondary Education, students need innovative skills and competences that the current education system does not sufficiently offer. Also, educators need pedagogical support to develop teaching to respond to 21st century skills requirements. In order to achieve these goals, an experimental culture of learning needs to be implemented in practice. The aim of this paper is to introduce and pilot a pedagogy for teaching innovation, collaboration, and co-creation in secondary education. The proposed pedagogy is based on a designerly way of thinking, digital competences, and entrepreneurial spirit, together with an experimental culture of creating, making, and collaborating in order to improve students’ innovative, co-creative and collaborative way of thinking and making. The main finding is that the proposed pedagogy enhanced innovative, collaborative and co-creative student competences. Moreover, digital and entrepreneurial skills gave the ability to the students to create new valuable products and services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Methods in Teaching in Secondary Education)
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Article
Educational Robotics in the Stage of Secondary Education: Empirical Study on Motivation and STEM Skills
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(2), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020073 - 10 Apr 2019
Cited by 25
Abstract
Educational robotics (ER) is increasingly present in secondary education classrooms and has acquired greater projection, especially with the appearance of championships, such as FIRST® LEGO® League. These competitions are based on a globalizing focus of the different areas of the curriculum, [...] Read more.
Educational robotics (ER) is increasingly present in secondary education classrooms and has acquired greater projection, especially with the appearance of championships, such as FIRST® LEGO® League. These competitions are based on a globalizing focus of the different areas of the curriculum, therefore, we consider that it directly links with the achievement of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) skills. We present a research study that provides objective data based on the opinions of teachers and students that participated in this championship during the course 2017/2018 about its impact in the learning process. To this end, Spanish students and teachers answered questionnaires to collect their perceptions and assessments just after their participation. The results obtained allow us to conclude that both teachers and students believe this project promotes interest and scientific curiosity, as well as social skills through teamwork. Full article
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Article
Student Assessment of the Use of Kahoot in the Learning Process of Science and Mathematics
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010055 - 12 Mar 2019
Cited by 20
Abstract
One of the main objectives in education is to increase the motivation of the students to achieve meaningful learning. The use of technologies in classrooms which students are familiarized with such as the smartphone or the tablet, is a way to achieve this [...] Read more.
One of the main objectives in education is to increase the motivation of the students to achieve meaningful learning. The use of technologies in classrooms which students are familiarized with such as the smartphone or the tablet, is a way to achieve this goal. On the other hand, it has been proven that the inclusion of scenarios supported by games and competition enhance the active participation of students. Therefore, in this work we present the results of a study based on of the application Kahoot with students of secondary education, in the subjects of mathematics, biology & geology and physics & chemistry, during the academic year 2017/2018. This tool allows students to answer to on-line questionnaires created by the teacher, through mobile devices, and check their results in a few seconds as well as those of their classmates. The results obtained on the assessment of the tool by students, in terms of the benefits in the learning process, have been very positive and help us to examine the potential of the use of on-line questionnaires in the classrooms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in STEM Education)
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Article
Project Management Competences by Teaching and Research Staff for the Sustained Success of Engineering Education
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010044 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
Projects have become an essential instrument for the success of universities. In a context of globalization and increasing complexity, they must sharpen their resourcefulness to face these challenges and adapt to this changing environment. To reach these objectives, they undertake a series of [...] Read more.
Projects have become an essential instrument for the success of universities. In a context of globalization and increasing complexity, they must sharpen their resourcefulness to face these challenges and adapt to this changing environment. To reach these objectives, they undertake a series of activities of a unique, concrete and temporary nature, not always technical but managerial ones. If universities work with people on projects in the production, transmission and dissemination of knowledge, then they link with society to solve its problems. For this reason, teaching and research staff (TRS) should promote a range of professional project management (PM) competences in different areas for the proper management of the projects in which they take part. Through a Delphi technique, a panel of twenty-four accredited teaching experts who are carrying out significant research and holding directive roles, measured the importance of acquiring and/or improving professional PM competences by their TRS. Consensus and stability reached after two rounds of consultation confirmed there are a series of crucial competences for the practice of relevant teaching and pioneer research. Results obtained are the basis for a gap plan that allows the TRS to participate in and/or lead university projects with greater self-confidence and personal motivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Education and Technological / Professional Learning)
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Article
Visualizing the Greenhouse Effect: Restructuring Mental Models of Climate Change Through a Guided Online Simulation
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010014 - 13 Jan 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
The purpose of this design based research study was to better understand and build from students’ perceptual experiences of visual representations of the greenhouse effect. Twenty undergraduate students were interviewed as they engaged with an online visualization for the learning of the greenhouse [...] Read more.
The purpose of this design based research study was to better understand and build from students’ perceptual experiences of visual representations of the greenhouse effect. Twenty undergraduate students were interviewed as they engaged with an online visualization for the learning of the greenhouse effect. We found that, even though all students agreed that climate change is happening, a majority initially held a misconception about how it works. Upon engaging with the visualization, students made perceptual inferences and formulated causal rules that culminated in an improved description of how climate change works. This trajectory was supported with prompts from the interviewer to make predictions, observe specific interactions in the visualization and revise their causal inferences based on these observations. A case study is presented to illustrate a typical learning trajectory. Full article
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Article
Education in Sustainable Development Goals Using the Spatial Data Infrastructures and the TPACK Model
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040171 - 16 Oct 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Education in Sustainable Development Goals is a basic step in attaining its objectives, and, therefore, it has been undertaken by broad sectors of the teaching community. Nevertheless, the “sustainability curriculum” derived from the Sustainable Development Goals, in this case based on the data [...] Read more.
Education in Sustainable Development Goals is a basic step in attaining its objectives, and, therefore, it has been undertaken by broad sectors of the teaching community. Nevertheless, the “sustainability curriculum” derived from the Sustainable Development Goals, in this case based on the data of the Spatial Data Infrastructures, in spite of its teaching and research potential, is something with which the teaching body is not yet familiar. The results of the fieldwork carried out (questionnaires and Delphi technique) prove this to be the case. For this reason, in order to educate geographically in reflection and collaboration with the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals, the viewing, in a GIS on the Cloud (WebGIS) of indicators of interest is proposed for the Sustainable Development Goals taken from the Spatial Data Infrastructures within the framework of the TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) model. To facilitate all these learning objectives, a proposal for good practices in the classrooms of secondary schools and another proposal for university lectures have been designed, and the results applied and analyzed. These examples demonstrate empirically that, with adequate pedagogical tools, an education in geography for global understanding by integrating Sustainable Development Goals and Spatial Data Infrastructures can be achieved, which is what the TPACK model pursues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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The Study of Flipped-Classroom for Pre-Service Science Teachers
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040163 - 02 Oct 2018
Cited by 26
Abstract
The relatively new methodology, flipped-classroom, is one of blended learning instruction methodologies in which the traditional-classroom is inverted. This methodology asserts that students can participate and engage more successfully in their class and can attain better learning when their classroom is flipped. This [...] Read more.
The relatively new methodology, flipped-classroom, is one of blended learning instruction methodologies in which the traditional-classroom is inverted. This methodology asserts that students can participate and engage more successfully in their class and can attain better learning when their classroom is flipped. This work presents a two-year study to measure the effects of the flipped-classroom model on the performance, perceptions, and emotions for teacher training students in science education. Particularly, this research was carried out during two courses, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, in a general science subject. With a post-task questionnaire, we obtained the information to assess their performance, perceptions, and emotions, toward the class. The results confirmed that a statistically significant difference was found on all assessments with the flipped-classroom students, performing higher on average, showing favorable perceptions, and demonstrating positive emotions about the flipped-classroom model. Thus, the students were ready to take more courses pursuing a flipped-classroom model. The results achieved in this study show a promising inclination about the performance, perceptions, and emotions of students toward the flipped-classroom methodology, and will provide an entirely a new impetus for this relatively new instruction methodology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Flipped Classroom in Higher Education: Research and Practice)
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Critical Theoretical Frameworks in Engineering Education: An Anti-Deficit and Liberative Approach
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040158 - 22 Sep 2018
Cited by 20
Abstract
The field of engineering education has adapted different theoretical frameworks from a wide range of disciplines to explore issues of education, diversity, and inclusion among others. The number of theoretical frameworks that explore these issues using a critical perspective has been increasing in [...] Read more.
The field of engineering education has adapted different theoretical frameworks from a wide range of disciplines to explore issues of education, diversity, and inclusion among others. The number of theoretical frameworks that explore these issues using a critical perspective has been increasing in the past few years. In this review of the literature, we present an analysis that draws from Freire’s principles of critical andragogy and pedagogy. Using a set of inclusion criteria, we selected 33 research articles that used critical theoretical frameworks as part of our systematic review of the literature. We argue that critical theoretical frameworks are necessary to develop anti-deficit approaches to engineering education research. We show how engineering education research could frame questions and guide research designs using critical theoretical frameworks for the purpose of liberation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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Article
A Virtual Resource for Enhancing the Spatial Comprehension of Crystal Lattices
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040153 - 21 Sep 2018
Cited by 12
Abstract
Students commonly exhibit serious spatial comprehension difficulties when they come to learning crystal systems. To solve this problem, an active methodology based on the use of a Didactic Virtual Tool (DVT)—developed by the authors—is presented in this paper. The students’ opinion was obtained [...] Read more.
Students commonly exhibit serious spatial comprehension difficulties when they come to learning crystal systems. To solve this problem, an active methodology based on the use of a Didactic Virtual Tool (DVT)—developed by the authors—is presented in this paper. The students’ opinion was obtained from a survey carried out on 40 mechanical engineering students. The analysis of the obtained results reveals that, by using this DVT, students achieve a better understanding of the contents where spatial difficulties often arise during conventional teaching. Several DVT features were highly valued by the students, e.g., didactic use was rated 9.5 out of 10 and the methodology using the DVT in the classroom was rated 8.5 out of 10. In addition, the results revealed two factors that the students considered essential for using a DVT, both related to the tool design: (i) the modern aspect, i.e., it is necessary to keep a DVT updated to avoid obsolescence; and (ii) the DVT must be appealing in order to attract the students’ attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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Development, Uptake, and Wider Applicability of the Yo-yo Strategy in Biology Education Research: A Reappraisal
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030129 - 24 Aug 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
Heredity is a biological phenomenon that manifests itself on different levels of biological organization. The yo-yo learning and teaching strategy, which draws on the hierarchy of life, has been developed to tackle the macro-micro problem and to foster coherent understanding of genetic phenomena. [...] Read more.
Heredity is a biological phenomenon that manifests itself on different levels of biological organization. The yo-yo learning and teaching strategy, which draws on the hierarchy of life, has been developed to tackle the macro-micro problem and to foster coherent understanding of genetic phenomena. Its wider applicability was suggested and since then yo-yo learning seems to be noticed in the biology education research community. The aim of this paper is to reappraise yo-yo thinking in biology education research based on its uptake and any well-considered adaptations by other researchers in the past fifteen years. Based on a literature search we identified research that explicitly and substantially build on the characteristics of yo-yo thinking. Seven questions guided the analysis of chosen cases focussing on how key concepts are matched to levels of biological organization, interrelated, and embedded in a pattern of explanatory reasoning. The analysis revealed that yo-yo thinking as a heuristic of systems thinking has been an inspiring idea to promote coherent conceptual understanding of various biological phenomena. Although, selective use has been made of the yo-yo strategy, the strategy was also further elaborated to include the molecular level. Its functioning as a meta-cognitive tool requires more specification, and teachers’ perceptions and experiences regarding yo-yo thinking should be addressed in future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology Education)
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Article
Education for Wonder
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030125 - 21 Aug 2018
Cited by 14
Abstract
This article argues that rejuvenating a sense of wonder towards nature is essential to ecocentric education and to finding a sustainable future. It examines the barriers that block education for wonder and looks at the issues around education for wonder in the home, [...] Read more.
This article argues that rejuvenating a sense of wonder towards nature is essential to ecocentric education and to finding a sustainable future. It examines the barriers that block education for wonder and looks at the issues around education for wonder in the home, at school, at university, and in the community in general. It considers the scale of a natural area in terms of wonder education, and ways of teaching wonder in school that increase wonder rather than isolate the student from nature. It also considers the issue of an “education for sustainable development” influenced by anthropocentrism, in contrast to an environmental education where some scholars accept the intrinsic value of nature. It discusses the need to balance “facts” in education with ethics. The article concludes by summarizing the steps needed to re-educate for wonder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecocentric Education)
Article
Development of Digital Competence in Secondary Education Teachers’ Training
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030104 - 20 Jul 2018
Cited by 41
Abstract
Digital competence is one of the eight key competences for life-long learning developed by the European Commission, and is a requisite for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion, and employment in a knowledge society. To accompany young learners in the development [...] Read more.
Digital competence is one of the eight key competences for life-long learning developed by the European Commission, and is a requisite for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion, and employment in a knowledge society. To accompany young learners in the development of competence, and to guarantee optimal implementation of information and communication technologies (ICTs), it is necessary that teachers are, in turn, literate. We had 43 secondary school teachers in initial training to assess their own level of competence in 21 sub-competences in five areas identified by the DIGCOMP project, using the rubrics provided in the Common Digital Competence Framework for Teachers (Spanish Ministry of Education). Overall, pre-service teachers’ conceptions about their level of digital competence was low (Initial). Students scored highest in information, which refers mostly to the operations they performed while being students. Secondly, in safety and communication, excluding protection of digital data and preservation of digital identity. Lowest values were achieved in content creation and problem solving, the dimensions most closely related with the inclusion of ICTs to transform teaching-learning processes. The knowledge or skills they exhibit are largely self-taught and, so, we perceive an urgent need to purposefully incorporate relational and didactic aspects of ICT integration. Full article
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Achieving Elusive Teacher Change through Challenging Myths about Learning: A Blended Approach
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030098 - 04 Jul 2018
Cited by 17
Abstract
The idea that success in mathematics is only available to those born as “mathematics people” has been challenged in recent years by neuroscience, showing that mathematics pathways develop in the brain through learning and practice. This paper reports on a blended professional learning [...] Read more.
The idea that success in mathematics is only available to those born as “mathematics people” has been challenged in recent years by neuroscience, showing that mathematics pathways develop in the brain through learning and practice. This paper reports on a blended professional learning model of online and in-person meetings during which 40 teachers in 8 school districts in the US learned about the new brain science, challenging the “math person” myth, as well as effective mathematics teaching methods. We refer to the combination as a Mathematical Mindset Approach. Using mixed methods, we conducted a one-year study to investigate teacher and student learning in a Mathematical Mindset network. We collected data on teacher and student beliefs, teacher instructional practice, and student learning gains on state achievement tests. The results from our quantitative analyses found statistically significant positive improvements in student beliefs, teacher’s instructional practice, and on students’ math test scores. The mindset approach particularly raised the achievement of girls, English learners, and economically disadvantaged students. Based on our qualitative analysis, we propose that the success of the intervention rests upon two central factors: (1) The different forms of PD served to eradicate the learning myths that had held up teachers and learners; and that (2) Teachers had space for identity work as mathematical learners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dispelling Myths about Mathematics)
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Article
Effect of Physical Education and Play Applications on School Social Behaviors of Mild-Level Intellectually Disabled Children
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020089 - 18 Jun 2018
Cited by 28
Abstract
The aim of this study was to examine the influences of physical education and play practices on the school social behavior of mild-level intellectually disabled children. The quantitative research methods used were based on the pre-test, post-test, post-test-retention control group model and the [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to examine the influences of physical education and play practices on the school social behavior of mild-level intellectually disabled children. The quantitative research methods used were based on the pre-test, post-test, post-test-retention control group model and the general screening model. A simple random sampling type was used when constructing the sample group. To determine school social behavior, the School Social Behavior Scale (SSBS) was used. Physical education and play lessons were applied for two hours per week for 24 weeks with the purpose of obtaining data from these scales when applied to participants. The study sample group included 20 mild-level intellectually disabled children (14 boys, 6 girls), aged seven to nine years, who were trained at the Special Education and Rehabilitation Center that serves the County of Kocaeli, in the district of Izmit, Turkey. According to the results of the SSBS, we found a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) between the social competence of present persons’ interpersonal relations, self-control, and academic skills, and the aggressive-nervous persons in the sub-dimensions of negative social behaviors, in favor of the test group. However, no significant difference (p > 0.05) in the antisocial-aggressive and destructive-demanding sub-dimensions was observed. We found that 24-week physical education and playing practices applied to mild-level intellectually disabled children had effects on children’s school social behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Valorization of Physical Education)
Article
Learning Landscapes: Playing the Way to Learning and Engagement in Public Spaces
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020074 - 23 May 2018
Cited by 14
Abstract
Children from under-resourced communities regularly enter formal schooling lagging behind their peers. These deficits in areas such as language development, reading readiness, and even in the kind of spatial skills that predict later mathematical knowledge, may persist throughout their lifespan. To address such [...] Read more.
Children from under-resourced communities regularly enter formal schooling lagging behind their peers. These deficits in areas such as language development, reading readiness, and even in the kind of spatial skills that predict later mathematical knowledge, may persist throughout their lifespan. To address such gaps, policymakers have focused largely on schooling as the great equalizer. Yet, children only spend 20% of their waking hours in school. How can developmental scientists and educators address this “other 80%” for the benefit of children’s development? One answer is the Learning Landscapes initiative, which involves crafting carefully planned play experiences that focus on learning outcomes, particularly for children and families from under-resourced communities. Playful learning, a broad pedagogical approach featuring child-directed play methods, provides a unique way to foster learning and engagement organically within the built environment. Learning Landscapes already incorporates several well-documented projects. The Ultimate Block Party brought over 50,000 people to Central Park to engage in playful learning activities. Supermarkets became hotspots for caregiver-child interaction by simply adding prompts for caregiver-child interaction through signage in everyday “trapped” experiences. Urban Thinkscape transformed a bus stop and adjacent lot into a hub for playful learning while families were waiting for public transportation. Finally, Parkopolis is a life-size human board game that fosters STEM and reasoning skills in public spaces. This paper reflects on data from these projects while reflecting on lessons learned and future directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Childhood Education)
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Factors Affecting MOOC Usage by Students in Selected Ghanaian Universities
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020070 - 16 May 2018
Cited by 26
Abstract
There has been widespread criticism about the rates of participation of students enrolled on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), more importantly, the percentage of students who actively consume course materials from beginning to the end. The current study sought to investigate this trend [...] Read more.
There has been widespread criticism about the rates of participation of students enrolled on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), more importantly, the percentage of students who actively consume course materials from beginning to the end. The current study sought to investigate this trend by examining the factors that influence MOOC adoption and use by students in selected Ghanaian universities. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) was extended to develop a research model. A survey was conducted with 270 questionnaires administered to students who had been assigned MOOCs; 204 questionnaires were retrieved for analysis. Findings of the study show that MOOC usage intention is influenced by computer self-efficacy, performance expectancy, and system quality. Results also showed that MOOC usage is influenced by facilitating conditions, instructional quality, and MOOC usage intention. Social influence and effort expectancy were found not to have a significant influence on MOOC usage intention. The authors conclude that universities must have structures and resources in place to promote the use of MOOCs by students. Computer skills training should also be part of the educational curriculum at all levels. MOOC designers must ensure that the MOOCs have good instructional quality by using the right pedagogical approaches and also ensure that the sites and learning materials are of good quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Massive Open Online Courses)
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The Myth That Only Brilliant People Are Good at Math and Its Implications for Diversity
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020065 - 04 May 2018
Cited by 13
Abstract
A common misconception about math is that it requires raw intellectual talent or “brilliance.” Only students who possess this sort of brilliance are assumed to be capable of success in math-related subjects. This harmful myth has far-reaching consequences for the success of girls [...] Read more.
A common misconception about math is that it requires raw intellectual talent or “brilliance.” Only students who possess this sort of brilliance are assumed to be capable of success in math-related subjects. This harmful myth has far-reaching consequences for the success of girls and children from ethnic-minority backgrounds in these subjects. Because women and minorities are stereotyped as lacking brilliance, the myth that success in math requires this trait is a barrier that students from these groups have to overcome. In the first part of this paper, we detail the pervasiveness of this myth and explore its relation to gender and race gaps in math and beyond. In the second part, we highlight some potential sources of this myth in children’s everyday experiences and offer some strategies for debunking it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dispelling Myths about Mathematics)
Article
Physical Activity and Health-Related Quality of Life in Adults from Braşov, Romania
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020052 - 17 Apr 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
(1) Background: This study aims to investigate the association between different levels of physical activity (PAL) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a random sample of the adult population; (2) Methods: The study material comprised 1100 adults of the city of Brasov, [...] Read more.
(1) Background: This study aims to investigate the association between different levels of physical activity (PAL) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a random sample of the adult population; (2) Methods: The study material comprised 1100 adults of the city of Brasov, Romania (700 men, 400 women), aged 30–45 years old. We used the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form (IPAQ-SF) and Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) to assess PAL and HRQoL, respectively; (3) Results: The differences in the number of respondents in groups assessing their HRQoL differently and PA were statistically significant (p < 0.001), both among men and women. The PAL was shown to be positively correlated with the adult HROoL domains; (4) Conclusions: Our results confirm that the highest PAL values were associated with more favorable scores in HRQoL dimensions among the adult population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Valorization of Physical Education)
Article
The Perspectives of Women Professors on the Professoriate: A Missing Piece in the Narrative on Gender Equality in the University
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020050 - 13 Apr 2018
Cited by 17
Abstract
The under-representation of women in the professoriate is a widely acknowledged and complex phenomenon internationally. Ireland is no exception to this and indeed the issue of gender equality in Irish higher education has in the last 24 months emerged on the national policy [...] Read more.
The under-representation of women in the professoriate is a widely acknowledged and complex phenomenon internationally. Ireland is no exception to this and indeed the issue of gender equality in Irish higher education has in the last 24 months emerged on the national policy agenda, largely as a result of a number of high profile legal cases and the subsequent setting up of an expert review panel (2015) and a gender equality taskforce (2017). What has now become clear internationally is that despite the advances women have made in terms of their participation rates as undergraduates, as well as the introduction of gender equity policies, the vast majority of professors in higher education institutions globally are men. Specifically, regarding Ireland in the period 2013–2015, even though 50% of the lecturer staff in universities were women, only 19% of professors were women. While the availability of such data is instructive, attention also needs to focus on examining the organizational culture and practices that appear to perpetuate such gender divisions and gendered patterns of action. On this, however, there is an almost complete absence of studies on the perspectives of women professors in Ireland on the professoriate. The study reported here, which was undertaken within the life story tradition, is one response to this deficit. It is based on interviews conducted with 21 women professors on their perspectives on working as professors in the university sphere in the period 2000‒2017. Four key themes were generated during the analysis of their testimony: they regarded universities as operating according to male-definitions of merit; they made a strategic choice not to engage in senior management roles (Senior management is defined as occupying the role of Dean level or above.); they considered there was no room for caring responsibilities in universities; and they emphasized the importance of validation, selection, and networks of support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Leadership)
Article
Incorporating Sustainability into Engineering and Chemical Education Using E-Learning
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020039 - 23 Mar 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to develop e-learning activities that could facilitate the integration of sustainability concepts and practices in engineering and chemical education. Using an online learning management system (LMS), undergraduate students in an applied chemistry program at a public university [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to develop e-learning activities that could facilitate the integration of sustainability concepts and practices in engineering and chemical education. Using an online learning management system (LMS), undergraduate students in an applied chemistry program at a public university in Zimbabwe participated in an online discussion on the role of chemical reaction engineering in achieving environmental sustainability goals. In the second activity, the students were instructed to prepare a design report for a cost-effective and innovative wastewater treatment plant for a rural hospital. The design report was evaluated through peer review online. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed on the two online activities to evaluate student engagement, quality of responses and the incorporation of sustainability into their learning. In the online discussion, 97 comments were made averaging 120 words per comment. Furthermore, the students averaged 3.88 comments, with the majority of comments exhibiting simple and complex argumentation, a deep reflection and widespread use of terms associated with sustainability such as recycling, pollution, waste and the environment. Furthermore, the evaluation of peer reviews revealed that participants demonstrated they could identify the strengths and shortcomings in the design reports. Therefore, this study demonstrated that e-learning, particularly peer review and online discussion, could help chemistry and engineering students appreciate the need for chemical and engineering activities that encourage sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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Article
Efficient Use of Clickers: A Mixed-Method Inquiry with University Teachers
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010031 - 01 Mar 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
With the advancement of information technology and policies encouraging interactivities in teaching and learning, the use of students’ response system (SRS), commonly known as clickers, has experienced substantial growth in recent years. The reported effectiveness of SRS has varied. Based on the framework [...] Read more.
With the advancement of information technology and policies encouraging interactivities in teaching and learning, the use of students’ response system (SRS), commonly known as clickers, has experienced substantial growth in recent years. The reported effectiveness of SRS has varied. Based on the framework of technological-pedagogical-content knowledge (TPACK), the current study attempted to explore the disparity in efficiency of adopting SRS. A concurrent mixed method design was adopted to delineate factors conducive to efficient adoption of SRS through closed-ended survey responses and qualitative data. Participants were purposefully sampled from diverse academic disciplines and backgrounds. Seventeen teachers from various disciplines (i.e., tourism management, business, health sciences, applied sciences, engineering, and social sciences) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University formed a teacher focus group for the current study. In the facilitated focus group, issues relating to efficient use of clickers, participants explored questions on teachers’ knowledge on various technologies, knowledge relating to their subject matters, methods and processes of teaching, as well as how to integrate all knowledge into their teaching. The TPACK model was adopted to guide the discussions. Emergent themes from the discussions were extracted using NVivo 10 for Windows, and were categorized according to the framework of TPACK. The survey, implemented on an online survey platform, solicited participants on teachers’ knowledge and technology acceptance. The close-ended survey comprised 30 items based on the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework and 20 items based on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). Participating teachers concurred with the suggestion that use of clickers is instrumental in engaging students in learning and assessing formative students’ progress. Converging with the survey results, several major themes contributing to the successful implementation of clickers, namely technology, technological-pedagogical, technological-content, technological-pedagogical-content knowledge, were identified from the teacher focus groups. The most and second most frequently cited themes were technological-pedagogical-content Knowledge and the technological knowledge respectively. Findings from the current study triangulated with previous findings on TPACK and use of clickers, particularly, the influence of technological-pedagogical-content Knowledge and technological knowledge on successful integration of innovations in class. Furthermore, the current study highlighted the impact of technological-pedagogical and technological-content knowledge for further research to unfold technology adoption with these featured TPACK configurations, as well as rendering support to frontline academics related to integration of technology and pedagogy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Collaborative Learning with Technology—Frontiers and Evidence)
Article
The Flipped MOOC: Using Gamification and Learning Analytics in MOOC Design—A Conceptual Approach
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010025 - 11 Feb 2018
Cited by 19
Abstract
Recently, research has highlighted the potential of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for education, as well as their drawbacks, which are well known. Several studies state that the main limitations of the MOOCs are low completion and high dropout rates of participants. However, [...] Read more.
Recently, research has highlighted the potential of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for education, as well as their drawbacks, which are well known. Several studies state that the main limitations of the MOOCs are low completion and high dropout rates of participants. However, MOOCs suffer also from the lack of participant engagement, personalization, and despite the fact that several formats and types of MOOCs are reported in the literature, the majority of them contain a considerable amount of content that is mainly presented in a video format. This is in contrast to the results reported in other educational settings, where engagement and active participation are identified as success factors. We present the results of a study that involved educational experts and learning scientists giving new and interesting insights towards the conceptualization of a new design approach, the flipped MOOC, applying the flipped classroom approach to the MOOCs’ design and making use of gamification and learning analytics. We found important indications, applicable to the concept of a flipped MOOC, which entails turning MOOCs from mainly content-oriented delivery machines into personalized, interactive, and engaging learning environments. Our findings support the idea that MOOCs can be enriched by the orchestration of a flipped classroom approach in combination with the support of gamification and learning analytics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Future Trends of Distance Learning)
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Distance Learning and Assistance Using Smart Glasses
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010021 - 27 Jan 2018
Cited by 14
Abstract
With the everyday growth of technology, new possibilities arise to support activities of everyday life. In education and training, more and more digital learning materials are emerging, but there is still room for improvement. This research study describes the implementation of a smart [...] Read more.
With the everyday growth of technology, new possibilities arise to support activities of everyday life. In education and training, more and more digital learning materials are emerging, but there is still room for improvement. This research study describes the implementation of a smart glasses app and infrastructure to support distance learning with WebRTC. The instructor is connected to the learner by a video streaming session and gets the live video stream from the learner’s smart glasses from the learner’s point of view. Additionally, the instructor can draw on the video to add context-aware information. The drawings are immediately sent to the learner to support him to solve a task. The prototype has been qualitatively evaluated by a test user who performed a fine-motor-skills task and a maintenance task under assistance of the remote instructor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Future Trends of Distance Learning)
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Teaching and Learning Science in the 21st Century: Challenging Critical Assumptions in Post-Secondary Science
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010012 - 12 Jan 2018
Cited by 25
Abstract
It is widely agreed upon that the goal of science education is building a scientifically literate society. Although there are a range of definitions for science literacy, most involve an ability to problem solve, make evidence-based decisions, and evaluate information in a manner [...] Read more.
It is widely agreed upon that the goal of science education is building a scientifically literate society. Although there are a range of definitions for science literacy, most involve an ability to problem solve, make evidence-based decisions, and evaluate information in a manner that is logical. Unfortunately, science literacy appears to be an area where we struggle across levels of study, including with students who are majoring in the sciences in university settings. One reason for this problem is that we have opted to continue to approach teaching science in a way that fails to consider the critical assumptions that faculties in the sciences bring into the classroom. These assumptions include expectations of what students should know before entering given courses, whose responsibility it is to ensure that students entering courses understand basic scientific concepts, the roles of researchers and teachers, and approaches to teaching at the university level. Acknowledging these assumptions and the potential for action to shift our teaching and thinking about post-secondary education represents a transformative area in science literacy and preparation for the future of science as a field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science Education)
Article
Teachers’ Thoughts on Student Decision Making During Engineering Design Lessons
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010009 - 11 Jan 2018
Cited by 12
Abstract
In this paper, I share the results of a study of teachers’ ideas about student decision-making at entry into a professional development program to integrate engineering into their instruction. The framework for the Engineering Design Process (EDP) was based on a Challenge-Based Learning [...] Read more.
In this paper, I share the results of a study of teachers’ ideas about student decision-making at entry into a professional development program to integrate engineering into their instruction. The framework for the Engineering Design Process (EDP) was based on a Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) model. The EDP embedded within the CBL model suggests teachers should provide opportunities for students to make decisions throughout the design process. The differentiation consolidation decision-making framework was used to understand the decision-making process. Study data was gathered from 16 teacher participants, interviewed and surveyed at entry into the program. The data were analyzed to understand the kinds of decision-making activities the teachers’ identified as possible for students to make based on eleven engineering design scenarios and the teachers’ current use of, and confidence in applying, lessons that engaged students in decision-making. The results indicated the teachers most frequently identified students that engaged in stage one decisions-making activities, i.e., problem identification and clarification. When the teachers discussed stage two and stage three decision-making activities, they most frequently discussed general problem solving or design process type activities with little differentiation of specific details of how the decision-making was to take place. In addition, in most cases teachers did not mention teaching or supporting student decision-making strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning in STEM Education)
Article
Machine Learning-Based App for Self-Evaluation of Teacher-Specific Instructional Style and Tools
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010007 - 10 Jan 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
Course instructors need to assess the efficacy of their teaching methods, but experiments in education are seldom politically, administratively, or ethically feasible. Quasi-experimental tools, on the other hand, are often problematic, as they are typically too complicated to be of widespread use to [...] Read more.
Course instructors need to assess the efficacy of their teaching methods, but experiments in education are seldom politically, administratively, or ethically feasible. Quasi-experimental tools, on the other hand, are often problematic, as they are typically too complicated to be of widespread use to educators and may suffer from selection bias occurring due to confounding variables such as students’ prior knowledge. We developed a machine learning algorithm that accounts for students’ prior knowledge. Our algorithm is based on symbolic regression that uses non-experimental data on previous scores collected by the university as input. It can predict 60–70 percent of variation in students’ exam scores. Applying our algorithm to evaluate the impact of teaching methods in an ordinary differential equations class, we found that clickers were a more effective teaching strategy as compared to traditional handwritten homework; however, online homework with immediate feedback was found to be even more effective than clickers. The novelty of our findings is in the method (machine learning-based analysis of non-experimental data) and in the fact that we compare the effectiveness of clickers and handwritten homework in teaching undergraduate mathematics. Evaluating the methods used in a calculus class, we found that active team work seemed to be more beneficial for students than individual work. Our algorithm has been integrated into an app that we are sharing with the educational community, so it can be used by practitioners without advanced methodological training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Collaborative Learning with Technology—Frontiers and Evidence)
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Article
ARTutor—An Augmented Reality Platform for Interactive Distance Learning
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010006 - 06 Jan 2018
Cited by 25
Abstract
Augmented Reality (AR) has been used in various contexts in recent years in order to enhance user experiences in mobile and wearable devices. Various studies have shown the utility of AR, especially in the field of education, where it has been observed that [...] Read more.
Augmented Reality (AR) has been used in various contexts in recent years in order to enhance user experiences in mobile and wearable devices. Various studies have shown the utility of AR, especially in the field of education, where it has been observed that learning results are improved. However, such applications require specialized teams of software developers to create and maintain them. In an attempt to solve this problem and enable educators to easily create AR content for existing textbooks, the ARTutor platform was developed. It consists of a web-based application that acts as an AR authoring tool, and an accompanying mobile application that is used to access and interact with the educational AR content. In addition, the ARTutor application allows students to ask questions verbally and receive answers based on the contents of the book. This means that the system is suitable for distance learning and promotes self-study and independent learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Future Trends of Distance Learning)
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Article
Improving the Success of First Term General Chemistry Students at a Liberal Arts Institution
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010005 - 03 Jan 2018
Cited by 16
Abstract
General Chemistry is a high impact course at Benedictine University where a large enrollment of ~250 students each year, coupled with low pass rates of a particularly vulnerable student population from a retention point of view (i.e., first-year college students), make it a [...] Read more.
General Chemistry is a high impact course at Benedictine University where a large enrollment of ~250 students each year, coupled with low pass rates of a particularly vulnerable student population from a retention point of view (i.e., first-year college students), make it a strategic course on which to focus innovative pedagogical development. Although our institution is not alone in the challenges that this particular course presents, we have prioritized implementing interventional strategies targeting academically underprepared students to increase their success by providing a preparatory course prior to this gateway course. Focusing on the persistence framework to guide curricular decisions, progress towards aligning our general chemistry curriculum to the academic profile of our students has afforded much higher pass rates than even two years ago. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science Education)
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Article
Integrated STEM: Focus on Informal Education and Community Collaboration through Engineering
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8010004 - 01 Jan 2018
Cited by 20
Abstract
This article showcases STEM as an interdisciplinary field in which the disciplines strengthen and support each other (not as separate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines). The authors focus on an open-ended, complex problem—water quality—as the primary teaching and learning task. The participants, [...] Read more.
This article showcases STEM as an interdisciplinary field in which the disciplines strengthen and support each other (not as separate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines). The authors focus on an open-ended, complex problem—water quality—as the primary teaching and learning task. The participants, middle school female students (aged 9–15 years), interacted in an informal educational setting (i.e., Girl Scouts) on a research project investigating river quality following the river’s restoration. The community, including Girl Scout participants, leaders, parents, university faculty, graduate students, and others, utilized an action research (AR) approach when interacting with the participants. Methods such as observational field notes, focus groups, and collected artifacts were commonly employed. The authors describe the history of STEM and AR leading to authentic science research projects through eight engineering skills/practices (incorporating science, technology, and mathematics) and showcase participant interactions, implementation, and community engagement in the STEM water quality river project. Findings indicate that informal engineering based projects can serve as opportunities for participants to connect with integrated STEM. Implications include the need for engaging participants in informal authentic science to support traditional school STEM learning and encouraging community engagement in integrated STEM to support traditional K-12 classroom instruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning in STEM Education)
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Review

Review
A Comparison of the Uptake of Two Research Models in Mobile Learning: The FRAME Model and the 3-Level Evaluation Framework
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030114 - 07 Aug 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
This paper discusses the diffusion of two models of mobile learning within the educational research literature: The Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Learning (FRAME) model and the 3-Level Evaluation Framework (3-LEF). The main purpose is to analyse how the two models, [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the diffusion of two models of mobile learning within the educational research literature: The Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Learning (FRAME) model and the 3-Level Evaluation Framework (3-LEF). The main purpose is to analyse how the two models, now over 10 years old, have been referenced in the literature and applied in research. The authors conducted a systematic review of publications that referenced the seminal papers that originally introduced the models. The research team summarized the publications by recording the abstracts and documenting how the models were cited, described, interpreted, selected, rejected, and/or modified. The summaries were then coded according to criteria such as fields of study, reasons for use, criticisms and modifications. In total, 208 publications referencing the FRAME model and 97 publications referencing the 3-LEF were included. Of these, 55 publications applied the FRAME model and 10 applied the 3-LEF in research projects. The paper concludes that these two models/frameworks were likely chosen for reasons other than philosophical commensurability. Additional studies of the uptake of other mobile learning models is recommended in order to develop an understanding of how mobile learning, as a field, is progressing theoretically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mobile Learning)
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Other

Commentary
Applications of Network Science to Education Research: Quantifying Knowledge and the Development of Expertise through Network Analysis
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(4), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10040101 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
A fundamental goal of education is to inspire and instill deep, meaningful, and long-lasting conceptual change within the knowledge landscapes of students. This commentary posits that the tools of network science could be useful in helping educators achieve this goal in two ways. [...] Read more.
A fundamental goal of education is to inspire and instill deep, meaningful, and long-lasting conceptual change within the knowledge landscapes of students. This commentary posits that the tools of network science could be useful in helping educators achieve this goal in two ways. First, methods from cognitive psychology and network science could be helpful in quantifying and analyzing the structure of students’ knowledge of a given discipline as a knowledge network of interconnected concepts. Second, network science methods could be relevant for investigating the developmental trajectories of knowledge structures by quantifying structural change in knowledge networks, and potentially inform instructional design in order to optimize the acquisition of meaningful knowledge as the student progresses from being a novice to an expert in the subject. This commentary provides a brief introduction to common network science measures and suggests how they might be relevant for shedding light on the cognitive processes that underlie learning and retrieval, and discusses ways in which generative network growth models could inform pedagogical strategies to enable meaningful long-term conceptual change and knowledge development among students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Networks Applied in Science Education Research)
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Brief Report
Refocusing Environmental Education in the Early Years: A Brief Introduction to a Pedagogy for Connection
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010061 - 19 Mar 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
The aim of this article is to introduce an effective, evidence-informed, and developmentally appropriate framework of practice for Environmental Education (EE) in the early years, with the ultimate goal being to achieve environmental sustainability. Initially, the author will briefly examine the current state [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to introduce an effective, evidence-informed, and developmentally appropriate framework of practice for Environmental Education (EE) in the early years, with the ultimate goal being to achieve environmental sustainability. Initially, the author will briefly examine the current state of EE in the early years, contextualising it within a gradual shift from EE to the more encompassing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The article then proposes that there is a need for a refocusing of EE in the early years that has as a central goal—the promotion of nature connectedness, benefiting both the next generation of learners, as well as our planet. A four-point draft of a pedagogy for connection will be outlined that comprises sustained contact, engagement with nature’s beauty, cultivation of compassion towards non-human nature, and mindfulness. The latest empirical research from ecopsychology and developmental psychology will be used throughout in order to synthesise this brief initial draft of a pedagogy for connection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecocentric Education)
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