Frontiers in Education: Digital Learning Innovations

“Text” interaction in EFL virtual classroom during the COVID-19 era: Actual use and sense of virtual community

1 day 1 hour ago

The era of COVID-19 compelled universities to design and deliver courses online. However, the successful design and delivery of online courses should embrace community. This study correlates the actual use of text interaction in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) virtual classes (VC) and its impact on the sense of virtual community (SOVC). To achieve the study’s goal, three groups of preparatory year (PY) students at Najran University studying online through Blackboard in the era of COVID-19 represent the participants. The study used data sources of the analysis of nine archival data of Reading course, Listening and Speaking course, and Writing course VC using Schullo model and the SOVC questionnaire adopted from Koh and Kim and an individual interview of nine instructors to get thorough interpretations of text interaction during VC. The study provided detailed information about what type(s) of text interaction participants used in EFL virtual classrooms. It also explored the impact of VC text interaction on EFL students’ SOVC. The study found that text interaction in EFL VC enhanced students’ SOVC. The findings supported that text interaction had both academic and social values. The study contributed to the theory of SOVC and brought recommendations on how educators can take advantage of VC text interaction in the EFL context.

Web search of software developers—Characteristics and tips

1 day 1 hour ago

There is more and more software in the world and this software has to be developed. All the people who develop software can be regarded as software developers, not just the professionals. Naturally, they often perform web searches to support their development activity. The article, based on the pertinent literature and also on the author’s own experiences as a longtime software developer, discusses characteristics of software developers’ web searches and gives some recommendations and tips to increase the efficiency of their searches, especially complex, exploratory searches. To the author’s knowledge, no such summary combined with tips, aimed at software developers, has been published before. It has been written in the hope that software developers, such students and their teachers would find it useful.

Developing a pedagogical evaluation framework for computational thinking supporting technologies and tools

2 days 1 hour ago

Frameworks for the evaluation of technological instructional tools provide educators with criteria to assess the pedagogical suitability and effectiveness of those tools to address learners’ needs, support teachers’ understanding of learning progress, and recognize the levels of achievement and the learning outcomes of the students. This study applied secondary document analysis and case study to identify five pedagogical indicators for teaching and learning computational thinking, including technology, pedagogical approaches, assessment techniques, data aspect, and teacher professional development. Based on the pedagogical indicators, this study proposed a computational thinking pedagogical assessment framework (CT-PAF) aimed at supporting educators with a strategy to assess the different technological learning tools in terms of pedagogical impact and outcome. Furthermore, three case-study instructional tools for teaching CT in K-12 were analyzed for the initial assessment of CT-PAF. Scratch, Google Teachable Machine, and the iThinkSmart minigames were marched to the underpinning characteristics and attributes of CT-PAF to evaluate the framework across the instructional tools. The initial assessment of CT-PAF indicates that the framework is suitable for the intended purpose of evaluating technological instructional tools for pedagogical impact and outcome. A need for expanded assessment is, therefore, necessary to further ascertain the relevance of the framework in other cases.

English language learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Hong Kong English as a Second Language students’ perceptions of Badaboom!

3 days 1 hour ago

In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, many university courses delivered in English are conducted entirely online. However, if we continue using traditional teaching strategies and the same set of teaching materials, it would be extremely difficult for students, regardless of age, to focus in a 2- or 3-h synchronous online class. As such, many researchers and educators are exploring different ways to engage students in today’s digitally connected world. This article explores how English as a Second Language (ESL) undergraduate students come up with emergency remote learning at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using exploratory research design, one hundred university students from five English for Academic Purpose (EAP) classes who experienced blended learning using Badaboom!, a Game-based Student Response System (GSRS), for one semester were recruited to participate in the research. 30 students were interviewed to collect the data. The interview aimed to detail their responses so their strategies can be mapped clearly. The data reveal that the tertiary-level learners of this study feel that game-based classroom response system is useful for assisting them in overcoming ESL academic writing difficulties. The study reflects that, most students favour the interactivity and engagement afforded by Badaboom! due to the strong instructor-student and student-student interaction as well as students’ increased engagement.

History education done different: A collaborative interactive digital storytelling approach for remote learners

6 days 1 hour ago

Social interaction has been recognized as positively affecting learning, with dialogue–as a common form of social interaction–comprising an integral part of collaborative learning. Interactive storytelling is defined as a branching narrative in which users can experience different story lines with alternative endings, depending on the choices they make at various decision points of the story plot. In this research, we aim to harness the power of dialogic practices by incorporating dialogic activities in the decision points of interactive digital storytelling experiences set in a history education context. Our objective is to explore interactive storytelling as a collaborative learning experience for remote learners, as well as its effect on promoting historical empathy. As a preliminary validation of this concept, we recorded the perspective of 14 educators, who supported the value of the specific conceptual design. Then, we recruited 15 adolescents who participated in our main study in 6 groups. They were called to experience collaboratively an interactive storytelling experience set in the Athens Ancient Agora (Market) wherein we used the story decision/branching points as incentives for dialogue. Our results suggest that this experience design can indeed support small groups of remote users, in-line with special circumstances like those of the COVID-19 pandemic, and confirm the efficacy of the approach to establish engagement and promote affect and reflection on historical content. Our contribution thus lies in proposing and validating the application of interactive digital storytelling as a dialogue-based collaborative learning experience for the education of history.

System design for using multimodal trace data in modeling self-regulated learning

6 days 14 hours ago

Self-regulated learning (SRL) integrates monitoring and controlling of cognitive, affective, metacognitive, and motivational processes during learning in pursuit of goals. Researchers have begun using multimodal data (e.g., concurrent verbalizations, eye movements, on-line behavioral traces, facial expressions, screen recordings of learner-system interactions, and physiological sensors) to investigate triggers and temporal dynamics of SRL and how such data relate to learning and performance. Analyzing and interpreting multimodal data about learners' SRL processes as they work in real-time is conceptually and computationally challenging for researchers. In this paper, we discuss recommendations for building a multimodal learning analytics architecture for advancing research on how researchers or instructors can standardize, process, analyze, recognize and conceptualize (SPARC) multimodal data in the service of understanding learners' real-time SRL and productively intervening learning activities with significant implications for artificial intelligence capabilities. Our overall goals are to (a) advance the science of learning by creating links between multimodal trace data and theoretical models of SRL, and (b) aid researchers or instructors in developing effective instructional interventions to assist learners in developing more productive SRL processes. As initial steps toward these goals, this paper (1) discusses theoretical, conceptual, methodological, and analytical issues researchers or instructors face when using learners' multimodal data generated from emerging technologies; (2) provide an elaboration of theoretical and empirical psychological, cognitive science, and SRL aspects related to the sketch of the visionary system called SPARC that supports analyzing and improving a learner-instructor or learner-researcher setting using multimodal data; and (3) discuss implications for building valid artificial intelligence algorithms constructed from insights gained from researchers and SRL experts, instructors, and learners SRL via multimodal trace data.

Preschool teachers’ perspectives on (haptic) technology in the classroom

2 weeks ago

One particularly exciting platform with the potential to teach science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in early childhood classrooms is the tablet. However, one challenge in using these devices for STEM learning is that traditional tablets lack important sensory information. The emerging technology of haptic (or tactile) feedback touch-screen displays might reduce this barrier. In order to better understand pre-school teachers’ attitudes toward haptic feedback technology for teaching STEM concepts, we conducted three focus groups. From the focus group data, researchers identified themes around current classroom practices with technology for STEM learning, teachers’ reactions to the haptic feedback tablet, and their impression of the implications of its use in early childhood education. These themes provide insight on teachers’ attitudes and could influence the design of future STEM apps created for haptic feedback tablets.

Integrating Data Science and the Internet of Things Into Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics Education Through the Use of New and Emerging Technologies

2 weeks 1 day ago

This paper reports on the implementation of a collaborative approach to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education within the context of a college of education and an elementary school in Ireland. The project is novel in that it explores a transdisciplinary approach of supporting STEAM education in a school, using data science and an Internet of Things (IoT) based Environment Monitoring System. This case study contributes to an emerging field of research within STEAM that is informed by practice with emphasis placed on the value of collaboration and transdisciplinary pedagogical approaches. The multi collaborators included lecturers from a college of education with expertise in STEM and Visual Arts education, creative professionals (artists, scientists, and architects), teachers, students, and children. Encompassing all the mentioned stakeholders was important and placed transdisciplinarity at the core of the learning. Qualitative data was collected using questionnaires, focus groups and interviews to research how the participants interpreted their experiences and what meaning they attributed to their experiences. It was found that a program of STEAM education integrating new and emerging technologies with data science and the IoT can promote and encourage the delivery of a transdisciplinary model of STEAM education and the overall reconceptualization of how individual subject areas are taught at elementary level. Innovative data capturing technologies, exploring real-life data within their local educational contexts can positively impact children and teachers’ knowledge and skills in STEAM supporting the development of artistic concepts, engineering habits of mind, imagination, and creativity. The success of the project can be attributed to the collaboration between various stakeholders in the design and implementation of the project. This paper has provided valuable insights into teachers’, scientists’, and artists’ perspectives, children’s experiences, and the role of innovative technology in STEAM education.

Tracing writing progression in English for academic purposes: A data-driven possibility in the post-COVID era in Hong Kong

2 weeks 5 days ago

It is rare to use “big data” in writing progression studies in the field of second language acquisition around the globe. The difficulty of recruiting participants for longitudinal studies often results in sample sizes that are too small for quantitative analysis. Due to the global pandemic, students began to face more academic and emotional challenges, and it became more important to track the progression of their writing across courses. This study utilizes big data in a study of over 4,500 students who took a basic English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course followed by an advanced one at a university in Hong Kong. The findings suggest that analytics studies can provide a range of insights into course design and strategic planning, including how students’ language use and citation skills improve. They can also allow researchers to study the progression of students based on the level of achievement and the time elapsed between the two EAP courses. Further, studies using mega-sized datasets will be more generalizable than previous studies with smaller sample sizes. These results indicate that data-driven analytics can be a helpful approach to writing progression studies, especially in the post-COVID era.

Playback-centric visualizations of video usage using weighted interactions to guide where to watch in an educational context

3 weeks 2 days ago

The steady increase in use of online educational tools and services has led to a large amount of educational video materials made available for students to watch. Finding the right video content is usually supported by the overarching learning management system and its user interface that organizes various video items by course, categories and weeks, and makes them searchable. However, once a wanted video is found, students are often left without further guidance as to what parts in that video they should focus on. In this article, an additional timeline visualization to augment the conventional playback timeline is introduced which employs a novel playback weighting strategy in which the history of different video interactions generate scores based on the context of each playback. This includes whether the playback started after jumping forward or backward in the video, whether the playback was at a faster or slower speed, and whether the playback window was in focus on the student's screen or was in the background. The resultant scores are presented on the additional timeline, making it in effect a playback-centric usage graph nuanced by how each playback was executed. Students are informed by this visualization on the playback by their peers and can selectively watch those portions which the contour of the usage visualization suggests. The visualization was implemented as a fully-fledged web application and deployed in an undergraduate course at a university for two full semesters. A total of 270 students used the system throughout both semesters watching 52 videos, guided by visualizations on what to watch. Analysis of playback logs revealed that students selectively watched portions in videos corresponding to the most important portions of the videos as assessed by the instructor who created the videos. The characteristics of this method as a way of guiding students as to where to watch as well as a complementary tool for playback analysis, are discussed. Further insights into the potential values of this visualization and its underlying playback weighting strategy are also discussed.

Revisiting Education: On the Role of Imagination, Intuition, and Other “Gifts” for Open Scholars

3 weeks 6 days ago

The knowledge society is not a final state; rather, it is a collective task that we all must work towards. This reflective report, conducted in a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning approach by a scholar who teaches research methods and has been reflecting on research method education for a number of years, is a contribution to this endeavor. Its purpose is to share praxis, in the Freiran sense, on Open Education and Open Science as public good and commons through a specific example of Open Educational Practice (OEP). The report’s first finding involves documenting that OEP and providing some conceptual tools and suggestions for scholars who would like to move towards Openness. Its second finding, rooted in a previous SNSF research project, focuses on epistemology to raise awareness on the importance of philosophical and historical approaches to education. Without this knowledge, scholars find themselves closed in models that they replicate without consciously considering the values and methods they convey. The report’s third finding is a model of the knowledge creation process that considers knowledge as commons and incorporates a theoretical framework of absences and emergences that encompasses ignorance, inspiration, imagination, creativity, and intuition. Einstein called these faculties “gifts,” and we argue that scholars should learn to leverage them within an overall open framework.

Sustainable open textbook models for social justice

3 weeks 6 days ago

Growing inequity continues to manifest within and between higher education institutions, highlighting the plight of the disadvantaged versus the advantaged. Against this backdrop, students’ ability to access quality textbooks and educational resources with locally relevant content presents a critical equity issue. Open textbooks provide opportunities to address social justice in the classroom. Highlighting the injustices which motivated authors in the Digital Open Textbooks for Development (DOT4D) initiative at the University of Cape Town (UCT), this study uses Catherine Bovill’s framework of inclusion to examine the processes of 11 open textbook initiatives at UCT in terms of their degrees of inclusivity, with a focus on student participation. The authors draw on the work of political philosopher Nancy Fraser and her central norm of “parity of participation” in order to analyze the cases in terms of their ability to provide affirmative or transformative remedies to injustice. The data presented in this study were derived from a mixed-methods research and implementation approach, in which a survey was administered to the lead authors of the 11 open textbook initiatives. The proposals submitted by ten of these initiatives in their application for a DOT4D grant and their grant reports were also an important data source. These data, combined with insights from two rounds of in-depth interviews with five authors from the study sample provides insight into the injustices academics were grappling with and the ways in which they endeavored to address them. This article articulates four open textbook models with varying degrees of colleague and student inclusion. Examining authorship, quality assurance and publishing activities as nodes of inclusivity, the article provides insight into the strategies open textbook authors at UCT adopt in order to address social injustice in the classroom related to access and representation. It also considers ways in which higher education institutions can address sustainability in order to support the endeavor.

Building Capacities in Open Knowledge: Recommendations for Library and Information Science Professionals and Schools

1 month ago

The impact openness to knowledge is having, not only in the Higher Education (HE) sector but at the public and institutional policy level, is largely due to the efforts of information professionals and researchers, and thanks to these two groups, initiatives such as open access (OA), open education (OE), and open science (OSC) have changed the way in which research is being taught, conducted, and communicated. Openness is a way to democratise access to knowledge developed through public funds, and this movement has been led by informational professionals worldwide; however, we have observed that to a large extent, professional development in different areas of openness is rather self-taught, informal, mentored, or continuous, but not formalised in information science, documentation, or scientific educational programmes. In this exploratory research, we gathered evidence on how (or if) openness to knowledge is being taught by reviewing a series of syllabi from undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Library and Information Science (LIS) schools sampled from universities that either (a) are leading the agenda in OA, OSC, or OE; or (b) have policies in OA, OSC, or OE; or (c) have national/federal mandates, policies, or regulations regarding OA, OSC, or OE and also from a range of non-formal and/or lifelong learning training programmes offered in these same three areas. We found that while LIS schools are not providing formal training to gain skills and competencies in openness, their libraries are offering different kinds of training in this respect. On the other hand, the good intentions and openness awareness of policies have not yet materialised in actions to ensure capacity building. Research implications aim to influence the development of capacity building in open knowledge, by providing solid evidence for enhancing curriculum advancement in LIS schools and by proposing some recommendations in this direction.

Are There Enough Open Educational Resources Dealing With Social Science Research Methods? Insights From the D-A-CH Region

1 month 1 week ago

The D-A-CH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) region has traditionally been skeptical toward open educational resources (OER) materials. Despite being strong partners for the open science community, the three German-speaking countries in Europe did not embrace wide-reaching OER policies in the past and offered only a limited number of incentives for supranational or nationwide genuine German-language OER. These missing national initiatives can also be seen in the field of social science research-related materials. As the domain gained much public interest during the COVID-19 pandemic, where attitudes, values, and societal changes—traditionally the domain of social scientific inquiry—were spotlighted in the media and public discourse, it fell to individual universities, organizations, and people to provide free online education materials—be they true OER or at least quasi-OER—that could help people within and outside of academia to understand and gain insights into the statistics and data presented and distributed via various channels. However, mapping the OER materials in this field during the summer of 2021—1 year after the pandemic had begun and the accompanying stream of data had started—revealed that the educational resources covering social science research methods that are offered in the German language are sparse, and those that are available are mostly quasi-OER, not fulfilling all the typical OER criteria. Thus, they have limited application scenarios. If the region wants to truly embrace an open science policy, it needs to strengthen OER in future.

Students’ Perception and Performance Regarding Structured Query Language Through Online and Face-to-Face Learning

1 month 1 week ago

This study explores the Structured Query Language (SQL) learners’ perceptions in online and face-to-face learning regarding the role of the instructor, clarity in lesson delivery and understanding, and concerns about the shift in learning mode. In parallel, we evaluate the performance of online and face-to-face SQL learners in the final examination. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced educational institutes to shift their activities online. Thus, online learning has been accepted during the pandemic and gradually evolving. The literature on online and face-to-face learning has evaluated limited variables. Yet, in online and face-to-face learning, critical parameters concerning the SQL learners’ perceptions about the role of instructors have not been explored. The present study surveyed the final-year students learning medium-level SQL courses at Bar-Ilan University Israel and the College of Management Academic Studies Israel. Survey questionnaires included demographic information, online learning experience, online learning sources, and ten questions about the learners’ concerns of shifting, effectiveness, adequate instructions, the lecturer’s clarity during instruction, clear understanding of the lesson, instructor’s tools, instructor’s availability, satisfactory response, learning independence, and spending extra time in online and face-to-face learning, separately. This study included 102 online learners and 95 face-to-face learners. All the online learners used Zoom and WhatsApp, and the face-to-face learners used Gmail and WhatsApp. Both online and face-to-face learners were significantly satisfied with the lecturer’s performance, especially with the clarity in lecture delivery, instructor availability, and satisfactory response from the lecturer. In addition, online learners agreed upon the effective way of learning, clear understanding of the lesson, independence, and spending extra time. In contrast, face-to-face learners were more satisfied with the tools of the lecturer and dissatisfied with the dependence on the lecturer. Female students attending face-to-face learning were more concerned about the shift in the mode of learning. Further, online learners performed better in written examinations and face-to-face learners in oral examinations. Notwithstanding, advancements are still required to redesign the online learning environment for critical thinking in higher education.

Digital Picture Books for Young Dual Language Learners: Effects of Reading in the Second Language

1 month 2 weeks ago

Reading picture books in the first language (L1) before rereading them in the second language (L2) is assumed to be beneficial for young dual language learners (DLLs). This pilot study examined how sharing digital picture books in L1 or L2 at home before reading them in L2 in kindergarten affected L2 book-specific vocabulary learning and story comprehension. Participants were 14 three- and four-year-old children who spoke Polish at home and learned Norwegian as their second language. Even when DLLs were less advanced in L2, reading first in L1 was not advantageous for L2 vocabulary learning. Characteristics of caregiver–child interactions during the reading of digital picture books in L2 may explain why home reading in L2 was more beneficial than reading in L1 for less proficient young L2 learners.

Professional Sports Trainers' Burnout in Fully Online and Blended Classes: Innovative Approaches in Physical Education and Sports Training

1 month 2 weeks ago

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many educational institutions worldwide to establish emergency remote teaching systems. Although online teaching has long been applied in many other subjects, online sports training is still under-researched in developing countries like Vietnam. In Vietnam, sports trainers are innovatively making many efforts to teach sports online amidst such a once-in-many-generations event. Particularly, a gym center chain has been offering two special formats of online courses utilizing virtual reality (VR) and three-dimensional (3D) technologies, namely, fully online and blended courses. The first format comprises 50% asynchronous sessions using VR and 3D technologies to provide trainees with theoretical knowledge and 50% offline sessions for practical skills training. The second format also includes 50% asynchronous sessions using the same technologies; however, the training for practical skills is conducted via an e-conferencing platform (Zoom). Fortunately, the blended courses have attracted significant attention from many sports trainees. However, as sports trainers in Vietnam had minimal opportunities to teach online before this epidemic, it is likely that, while teaching these courses, they can encounter moments of burnout, which comprises three dimensions, such as exhaustion, cynicism, and low professional efficacy. Thus, we aim to investigate factors that affected each dimension of burnout among sports trainers, using the mixed-method approach with questionnaires and focus-group interviews within this study. This study suggests practical pedagogical implications for sports trainers and administrators to curb stress and burnout in online sports training courses in times of crisis.

Teaching of Human Parasitology During the COVID-19 Pandemic in China

1 month 2 weeks ago

Since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, human parasitology education has been exceedingly disrupted. To deliver human parasitology knowledge, medical universities in China have employed multiple measures, some of which have had positive outcomes that have not yet been summarized. The objective of this review is to share the Chinese experience as the human parasitology teaching methods were transformed. In general, we adopted a fully online teaching model under urgent pandemic control measures based on a well-structured teaching model that integrated the course preview, live lecture, review, and assessment. Combinations were attempted of COVID-19 and parasitology teaching contents. Some active learning models, such as case-based e-learning and flipped classrooms, were proposed for offline and online blended teaching during the normalization stage of the pandemic. Meanwhile, we discuss both the strengths and flaws of online and blended teaching. Some useful assessment tools are presented for reference purposes. In conclusion, this transition to online and online-offline blended human parasitology teaching in China has boosted innovative teaching activities and may continue to catalyze the transformation of medical education.