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There is a substantial demand in New Zealand for professional learning opportunities to help early years’ teachers to make use of ICT for teaching and learning (Harlow, Cowie and Jones, 2008), and where interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are increasingly being purchased by schools as instructional technologies. This paper reports on the findings of a researcher who was invited by a teacher in a small rural school in New Zealand to describe and understand the use of an IWB with young children aged five to six years. In this paper, the role of the IWB to enhance learning particularly in the use of language, symbols and texts is examined. The research involved collecting data from intensive classroom observation over a week using video and audio recordings as well as student and teacher interviews. Data were analysed using a framework develop...
Surveys are a commonly used strategy for gaining insights into teacher perspectives. They are often seen as cost effective in terms of time and resources required, but the challenges involved in conducting and processing paper-based surveys can be considerable. Online surveys offer an alternative, particularly now that people have better access to computers and the Internet, and also since the available software has recently become more user-friendly and in some cases, free to the user. In this paper, the research process used in a large longitudinal evaluation study is discussed, where teachers increasingly opted to participate in an online survey in preference to a paper survey. The possibilities of choosing to use an online survey were attractive but they came with pitfalls. The practical strategies that proved effective in engaging...
Surveys are a commonly used strategy for gaining insights into teacher perspectives. They are often seen as cost effective in terms of time and resources required, but the challenges involved in conducting and processing paper-based surveys can be considerable. Online surveys offer an alternative, particularly now that people have better access to computers and the Internet, and also since the available software has recently become more user-friendly and in some cases, free to the user. In this paper, the research process used in a large longitudinal evaluation study is discussed, where teachers increasingly opted to participate in an online survey in preference to a paper survey. The possibilities of choosing to use an online survey were attractive but they came with pitfalls. The practical strategies that proved effective in engaging...
The purpose of this study was to explore how Year 8 students answered Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) questions and whether the test questions represented the scientific understanding of these students. One hundred and seventy-seven students were tested using written test questions taken from the science test used in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. The degree to which a sample of 38 children represented their understanding of the topics in a written test compared to the level of understanding that could be elicited by an interview is presented in this paper. In exploring student responses in the interview situation this study hoped to gain some insight into the science knowledge that students held and whether or not the test items had been able to elicit this knowledge successfully. We q...
This manuscript reports the threshold concepts identified over a two-year study in early circuits and electronics courses. Some novel methods have been used to improve confidence in the identification process. We also identify some concepts, potentially threshold, that ought to have been mastered in high-school physics courses but that are often absent from student repertoires. Weak understanding of these underlying concepts may be a confusing factor for researchers in their search for threshold concepts as well as an additional source of trouble for students of electronics.
This article explores how Year to 3 teachers have made use of laptops for teaching and learning in their classroom, examining how they fit with current recommendations for effective teaching, and whether teachers' use of a laptop has lead to a transformation in teaching and learning. Findings show that there was an increasing degree of laptop integration into all areas of the curriculum over the three-year evaluation period. It appears that teachers are providing their students with the opportunity to experience transformative learning.
Recent literature on the role of the interactive whiteboard (IWB) has indicated numerous ways in which teachers make use of the IWB to support children's learning. In these studies there is a growing awareness of changing roles in the classroom as teachers gain confidence in the use of new technologies. This study describes how a researcher worked with a teacher in a small rural school in New Zealand to document and understand the use of an IWB to enhance the learning of young children ages five to six years. The focus of the research was on how the features of the IWB supported teaching actions and provided potential and structure for the children to develop their 'key competencies', broadly conceptualised as the development of knowledge, skills and aptitudes for learning. Here the authors demonstrate that it was the teacher's orchest...
Research on the nature of and support for systemic sustainable innovation with ICT is converging with research on policy implementation and studies of school change and improvement to highlight the complex interplay of personal and contextual factors that enable and constrain innovation. In each of these fields, leadership has been found to play a crucial role in initiating and sustaining change and innovation. This leadership is not however the prerogative of any one individual but rather it is distributed over people at all levels of the system and across policies, practices and material resources. Leadership for innovation around and with ICT technologies is also distributed across time because of its substantial financial and knowledge implications. In this article, we illustrate the distributed nature of the leadership that suppor...
First electronics courses are considered difficult by students because of the circuit theory content, and retention of students in electronics is a problem worldwide. Retention is especially problematic at universities that offer a common first-year program since the students can change streams, for example from Electrical to Mechanical. At our university we ran the laboratory classes for a challenging first-year electronics course in the same room at the same time as a popular final-year mechatronics class that involved visible use of Lego Mindstorms, a model elevator, digital model trains and slot cars, etc. We report the outcomes of a quantitative and qualitative study of the impact of this organisation. One lab stream did not see the parallel classes and thus acted as a control group.
Does children’s use of the software Scratch provide potential for the enhancement of key competencies as they work in pairs at the interactive whiteboard (IWB)? This article looks at how children using Scratch collaborated and managed their projects as they set about designing, constructing, testing and evaluating a game for others to play, a task that provided a sustained challenge over six weeks and beyond. The findings showed that the key competencies of participating, contributing, and relating to others were enhanced by the collaborative use of Scratch at the IWB, and that creative and conceptual thinking processes were sustained. Children became increasingly adept at using Scratch, and some children, previously thought to have poor social skills, began to articulate their understandings to others. While a guiding and scaffolding ...
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