Frontiers in Education: Digital Learning Innovations

Technology and Media Use in Preschool Classrooms: Prevalence, Purposes, and Contexts

2 days 2 hours ago

Although the amount of time that preschoolers spend with screen media at home is continuing to increase, less is known about the types of media experiences children are having in preschool settings. Furthermore, little research has investigated the purposes for which preschool teachers use technology and media in the classroom and the contexts in which such use occurs. The current study addresses that gap by providing a nuanced picture of technology and media use in preschool classrooms. Lead teachers were recruited via email lists of educators who participated in previous studies or expressed interest in receiving communication from our research group. Participants (N = 312, 98.6% female; Mage = 43.9 years) all taught preschool-age children. Participants were first asked to check which of four devices they used with children in their classroom (tablet, smartphone, computer, television). If participants responded that they used each device, they were asked how often. Survey items also assessed (1) Purposes: how often teachers used each device for instructional purposes (e.g., teaching new material, practicing material) and non-instructional purposes (e.g., entertainment, as a reward), and (2) Context: how often teachers used devices for both teacher-supported and non-teacher-supported activities. Results indicated that tablet and computer use were most common, whereas smartphone and television use were less prevalent. Teachers reported most frequently using tablets, computers, and smartphones for instructional purposes. Television was most frequently used for entertainment. Tablets and smartphones were most frequently used in teacher-supported individual contexts, whereas computers were most frequently used in teacher-supported whole group contexts. Latent class analysis showed five classes of classroom technology and media use: tablet and computer users, tablet only users, low technology users, computer for teacher-supported instruction users, and television only users. Finally, we determined that these classes were predicted by program funding (publicly- or privately-funded), teacher experience, and teacher education.

Active Learning to Improve Student Learning Experiences in an Online Postgraduate Course

3 weeks 2 days ago

Post-graduate programs attract older students, who often work part-time or full-time and have child-care responsibilities. In the Information Age, online learning environments can help these students to meet their learning objectives more efficiently and provide a unique opportunity to address individual learning preferences. The aim of this study was to assess the learning experiences of postgraduate students in an online learning environment delivering content in a guided, self-directed way focusing on active learning opportunities. Two-hundred and eighty-seven students participated in the study. A pragmatic descriptive design with purposive sampling was used to examine the impact of a newly developed active online learning environment on student commitment, performance and satisfaction when compared to a passive, pre-recorded lecture. In contrast to our hypothesis that all metrics would improve with subject redevelopment, student performance and commitment did not improve in the active online learning environment; however, student satisfaction increased significantly. These findings might be partly attributed to the increased cognitive load associated to online learning. This study demonstrates how, for postgraduate students choosing online learning, active learning experiences can be used to provide students with a greater sense of satisfaction while acknowledging for the heterogeneity of the cohort and its different learning preferences. However, in the worldwide context of remote learning rapidly and urgently expanding, it also outlines that online learning needs to be carefully scaffolded to ensure deep learning and that the impact of the transition to online learning on performance and commitment should be considered, especially when directed at non-experienced students.

Toward A Contemplative Technopedagogy Framework: A Discourse Analysis

2 months 2 weeks ago

Digital technology features prominently in the higher education ecosystem, affecting the ways in which educators think, communicate, and teach. This research applies discourse analysis to articles published within The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) to understand: (1) The ways in which conceptions of digital technology in higher education pedagogy have changed and the ways in which they have remained consistent from 1993 to 2016 and (2) The extent to which CHE articles addressed attributes of contemplation with regard to technopedagogy. Research findings indicate that during the previous 23 years digital technology was portrayed as an overwhelmingly positive addition to higher education pedagogy. Less than half of articles analyzed contained attributes of contemplation. Non-contemplative technopedagogical approaches can lead to uncritical adoption or knee-jerk dismissal of digital technology – either of which can have substantial and long-lasting consequences within teaching-learning environments. Contemporary pedagogies need to pay closer attention to digital technologies, but must do so in a purposeful and engaged manner. This historical and discursive research inductively led to the development of the Contemplative Technopedagogy Framework, which provides an approachable introduction to using attributes of contemplation when making pedagogical decisions about digital technology in higher education.

Translating Scientific Articles to the Non-scientific Public Using the Wikipedia Encyclopedia

2 months 2 weeks ago

The multilingual, web-based Wikipedia free Encyclopedia is used worldwide by people from different audience. It is openly editable, allowing quick updates. We used these properties as an educational tool in University classrooms, where students' assignment was to rephrase scientific articles for the public. We share here our teaching experience with an Earth Sciences class, based on class assessments and students evaluations. During the 2017 Fall semester, a 1 ECTS MSc level reading seminar on the broad topic of Heat and Mass Transfers in Magmatology was taught for 6 weeks at ETH Zürich. Three first semester and six third semester M.Sc. students have attended the course. All students had a B.Sc. degree in Earth Sciences, among which seven had their main specialisation in Mineralogy and Geochemistry and two had their major in Geophysics. By groups of two, students have read a scientific article, presented it orally to classmates and answered questions from their peers. During the last two classes, students have edited and created Wikipedia Encyclopedia pages in relation to their article's topic. Students really enjoyed creating a Wikipedia page, even if they didn't use it before or didn't trust the Wikipedia content. They had little experience with communication to a non-scientific audience and considered this exercise was challenging. Evaluations show that writing about a scientific paper in a Wikipedia page is a less efficient learning technique than reading a scientific article, presenting it orally or listening to such a presentation. However, it certainly contributes to better memorise important information, it is an efficient way to practice writing and public and scientific communication skills and it encourages students to work collaboratively on real-time projects. The teachers can use those combined effects as a multi-channel learning technique. It is also highly motivating for the students and the teacher to have a class exercise using modern media techniques with the potential to reach a wide international community. With this article, we wish to encourage colleagues to teach students how to communicate science, to scientific peers and to the non-scientific public. This promotes high-quality education and helps reducing inequality, two sustainable development global goals.

Interdisciplinary Working Methods: Reflections Based on Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL)

2 months 2 weeks ago

In this paper, we discuss the nature of interdisciplinarity and, in particular, the ways that interdisciplinary working is enacted in TEL Research. Following a design-based research approach, a common TEL methodological approach, we identified how interdisciplinarity facilitated the research team to address a wicked problem, fostered dialogue between researchers in different disciplines and stakeholders in the research through the lifetime of the project and facilitated the creation of new meanings. Focusing on the Personal Inquiry Project (PI) team, interdisciplinary working methods are explored through examining two boundary objects namely the PI octagon and the concept of scenario, that provide windows of how interdisciplinary understanding evolves through time and among different stakeholders. These boundary objects, even though they had different importance within the project, illustrate the team's emergent and shared understanding while maintaining flexibility through a rapid iterative process. We discuss how a shared understanding was facilitated through active involvement of different disciplinary teams and consensus was built and refined in the light of emerging findings. Interviews with researchers on the project and the Advisory Board and on our own reflections on work practices illustrate key themes, i.e., the salience of boundary objects in the design process, the development of a common language, and the importance of a shared vision. We conclude with a set of requirements for progress in interdisciplinary working and comment on our view of good practice in fostering interdisciplinarity along with an outline of what we see as the remaining challenges.

Schooling Beyond COVID-19: An Unevenly Distributed Future

2 months 2 weeks ago

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has had a major impact on how schooling is done. With schools closed, teaching, and learning continue dependent on information and communication technologies (ICT). To the degree that this has been a success, there is the possibility that post-pandemic societies might choose to de-school, switching to online teaching and learning only. In this perspective piece, I describe two major risks if that future were to be embraced; that is, lack of equitable access and dehumanization. My argument is that these futures already exist in pockets around the globe and we can use those experiences to evaluate those options. I suggest instead that the post-pandemic period gives us an opportunity to re-imagine what schools and schooling are for and advocate for a re-schooled society in which our investment in schools builds and develops society.