Frontiers in Education: Digital Learning Innovations

Mapping research approaches to data practices in schools

1 week 6 days ago

Digital data have a major impact on school practices and play a central role for teachers, including their pedagogical practice. From a research perspective, the question arises how data practices and data-related transformation processes in schools can be studied. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to methodically review research approaches and underlying methodological assumptions about data practices in schools based on a systematic review. The focus is on social science research designs, social science research instruments, and knowledge production methods. The article provides an overview of previous research practice in this area and concludes with possible implications for future research.

The efficacy of a four-stage learning model incorporating ACODESA method and mind map in fostering students’ mathematical communication skills: A data report

2 weeks ago

Learning mathematics equips students with the necessary competencies, and mathematical communication abilities allow them to discuss and exchange mathematical ideas with others. Correspondingly, research is needed into ways to help students develop these skills. These data were collected from 87 students in grade 10 at An Nhon Tay High School in the Cu Chi neighborhood of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. These students took part in a quasi-experimental study whose goal was to determine how a four-step learning model that included activities using the ACODESA method and mind maps affected the student’s ability to communicate mathematically. In the experimental group, students were taught using the learning mentioned above model, while those in the control group received traditional instruction. To determine the efficacy of this teaching strategy, a quasi-experiment that included a pre-test, a treatment, and a post-test was designed and carried out. The student’s development in mathematical and linguistic activities was evaluated using both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data that was gathered. Data gathered may shed light on how effective the learning model is in helping high school students enhance their mathematical communication skills. Also, the pre-test and post-test items from the supplementary data files can be a starting point for creating new learning tasks to evaluate students’ mathematical communication abilities.

Implementing an online peer tutoring intervention to promote reading skills of elementary students: Effects on fluency and accuracy

2 weeks ago

The global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted face-to-face teaching, having a significant impact on the teaching-learning process. As a result, many students spent less time reading (and learning to read) than they did during face-to-face instruction, requiring the use of alternative approaches of instruction. A combined online and peer tutoring intervention was designed to improve reading skills such as fluency and accuracy. Following a quasi-experimental design, this study sought to evaluated the impact of implementing an online peer tutoring intervention on the development of reading fluency and accuracy in a sample of 91 2nd and 4th graders (49.6% female). Children were aged 6–10 years old (M = 7.81, SD = 1.10) and were enrolled in five classrooms (A, B, C, D, and E) from three schools in the Portuguese district of Porto, between January and May 2021. A set of 10 texts were chosen from official textbooks to assess reading fluency and accuracy. Classes were evaluated in three moments: initial (pre-intervention), intermediate (after 10 sessions) and final (post-test, after other 10 sessions). In order to examine the effects of the intervention, there was a 8-week lag between the start of the intervention in classes A, B, and C (experimental group) and classes D and E (control group). Moreover, classes D and E started intervention with a gap of 5 weeks between them. Students in the experimental group registered significant higher improvements in reading accuracy and fluency than in the control group. Interaction effects revealed that students with an initial lower performance (i.e., at the frustration level) showed higher increases in reading accuracy. Furthermore, 2nd graders showed higher increases throughout the intervention while the 4th graders stablished their progress after the first 10 sessions of intervention. Despite the study’s limitations, the findings support the positive impact that online peer tutoring can have on promoting students’ reading skills, adding to the ongoing discussion—which has gained a special emphasis with the COVID-19 pandemic—about the development of effective strategies to promote reading abilities in the first years of school.

From understanding a simple DC motor to developing an electric vehicle AI controller rapid prototype using MATLAB-Simulink, real-time simulation and complex thinking

2 weeks 2 days ago

Electric drives have been used in several applications, such as electric vehicles, industry 4.0, and robotics. Thus, it is mandatory to promote updated electric drive courses that allow students to design novel solutions in these engineering areas. However, traditional undergraduate courses that only cover theoretical aspects and do not allow students to interact and produce practical results through experimentation are insufficient today. The students are not exposed to educational innovation, so they have difficulties proposing original solutions. On the other hand, conventional theoretical and laboratory courses in which students follow specific directions for achieving predefined goals do not allow students to create novel solutions and integrate the innovation process as a standard methodology. Moreover, beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced professors to implement digital tools and materials to continue education intensively. This proposed course presents an alternative to promote practical and theoretical knowledge in students. Besides, engineering students must create innovative solutions to increase the quality of life in rural and urban communities, which calls for novel experimental approaches. Electric drives are fundamental elements in electric systems and industrial processes proposed to save energy or control electric machines. In addition, industries urge specialized engineers who can tackle complex industrial problems. The proposed educational methodology can be implemented in manufacturing, agriculture, robotics, and aerospace. Hence, low-cost devices to validate the proposed solutions became used by students to achieve novel solutions using electric drives. This paper describes an undergraduate course called “Digital Control of Electric Machines” (electric drives) and its implementation of the Tec21 Educational Model of Tecnologico de Monterrey, V Model, MATLAB/ Simulink, low-cost hardware, and complex thinking. The content of the course begins with electric machine models and power electronics that allow students to move from the basic to the advanced industrial electric drive problems in a friendly manner. In addition, the V-model and Modelo Tec 21 are used as fundamental pillars of the leading innovative structure of the proposed course. The results showed that students mastered several soft and hard skills to accomplish complex design goals, including controlling an electric rapid prototype vehicle.

Finnish teachers’ and students’ programming motivation and their role in teaching and learning computational thinking

2 weeks 2 days ago
Introduction

Despite the growing importance of teaching and learning computational thinking (CT) through programming in schools, research has shown major individual differences in teachers’ instruction emphasis and students’ skills in these topics.

Objective

This study aims to shed further light on the role that teachers’ and students’ programming motivation plays in CT.

Methods

The topic is approached from the viewpoint of the self-determination theory, which can help to understand teachers’ instruction and students’ learning. Our sample consisted of Finnish Grade 8 teachers (N = 1,853) and students (N = 2,546) who participated in the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) in 2018. Focusing on teachers’ CT instruction emphasis, students’ CT test scores, and the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, we investigate (1) distributions of teachers’ and students’ responses to intrinsic and extrinsic programming motivation questions, (2) associations between teachers’ and students’ programming motivation and their background factors, and (3) associations between programming motivation and teachers’ CT instruction emphasis and students’ CT test scores. The data was analyzed by examining descriptive statistics, computing mean differences and correlation coefficients and by performing (multiple) linear regression models.

Results

The results showed that teachers had high extrinsic programming motivation, but the extent of their intrinsic programming motivation varied widely based on their prior programming teaching experience, subject taught, and gender. Students, in turn, reported both high intrinsic and extrinsic motivation toward programming, but boys were generally more motivated for programming than girls. High programming motivation was moderately related to teachers’ higher CT instruction emphasis and students’ higher CT test scores.

Conclusion

The findings give a strong incentive to pay attention to increasing especially girls’ programming motivation and providing teachers with positive CT experiences relevant to their subject and with a particular objective to increase intrinsic motivation especially among teachers who lack prior programming teaching experience and interest in the topic.

Gamified flipped learning in a French foreign language class: Efficiency and student perception

3 weeks 1 day ago

To enhance student engagement in a French foreign language course, two active learning methods were combined: Flipped learning and gamification. This study aimed to explore the efficiency of these teaching methods in a foreign language course with beginner learners and to assess student's perception of the experience. A total of 215 students were enrolled in this university elective course. All sections were taught by the same instructor during one semester. All students experienced both the flipped learning methodology and a traditional teaching approach. The results indicate that students' scores in the gamified quizzes were better when they prepared in advance for the sessions and had a flipped learning session. Moreover, in a questionnaire that was completed at the end of the term, students reported that they preferred the flipped learning sessions because such sessions helped them to better understand and memorize the textual material. Students also appreciated the use of gamification tools to help them learn with interest.

Every cloud has a silver lining: The experience of online learning in English language classes at Saudi universities in the post–COVID-19 era

3 weeks 1 day ago

This study investigates the perceptions of 149 English language students about online language learning at a state university in Saudi Arabia and how this experience has prepared them to continue online learning in post-pandemic times. It also investigates any differences in students’ attainment of the four language skills of reading, listening, writing, and speaking with respect to the online learning experience. Data were collected using a questionnaire with close-ended items with each item having an open-ended query. The findings of the study indicate that, overall, the students had positive attitudes toward learning English online whether during the pandemic or after it is over. However, their views differed regarding the acquisition of the four language skills; learning the receptive skills of reading and listening online was perceived positively, while learning the productive skills of writing and speaking online was perceived negatively as a result of the online learning mode. The study concludes that more advanced technical features are needed to be introduced onto online learning platforms for more effective learning outcomes and that the current platforms at universities fall somewhat short of the English language students’ needs.

Investment opportunity of blockchain technology in the education sector of Saudi Arabia: A systematic literature review

1 month ago

The primary objective of this research is to explore the literature on blockchain technology and its investment opportunity in the education sector. Studies on the investment opportunities of blockchain technology in education have remained limited and little is known about the existing state of knowledge and practice of blockchain technology in the education sector of Saudi Arabia, especially for its sustainable development. In this study, the author tried to synthesise literature on blockchain technology to understand the difficulties and prospects of this technology in Saudi Arabia. A total of 15 empirical studies from 2017 to 2020 were reviewed. The descriptive and thematic analysis identified four types of challenges of blockchain technology in the education sector. They include leaking privacy and security, processing cost, setting the boundaries, and weakening school credentials. The review also revealed several opportunities for adopting blockchain technology such as certifying identity authentication, improving learning assessment, maintaining student records, enhancing trust, and reducing costs. Implications and recommendations related to education for sustainable development are provided accordingly.

Re-Live History: An immersive virtual reality learning experience of prehistoric intangible cultural heritage

1 month 1 week ago

The use of immersive virtual reality for learning is a growing opportunity that has so far suffered from limited application in the classroom, particularly with students in the 11 to 12 year bracket. Due to more concern being shown toward usability rather educational goals, mixed feelings exist about the technology’s ability to teach. Meanwhile, historical games usually have fun as the main or sole objective, which may cause problems by diminishing the value of the depicted cultural heritage and supersede the intended learning outcomes of the experience. This research aims to contribute toward this gap by working closely with teachers in developing an immersive virtual reality learning experience to teach prehistoric intangible cultural heritage to history students aged 11 to 12 years. The research question of this study is how to go about designing an immersive learning experience for secondary school teachers to teach 11 to 12 year old students about prehistoric cultural heritage on which very little documented evidence is available. To this end, the Re-Live History project was built upon a virtual reality navigation experience of a Maltese Neolithic hypogeum, adding a representation of intangible cultural heritage in the form of human behavior. A content requirement study from heritage experts’ perspective was carried out, followed by a similar study from the history teachers’ perspective. These provided which learning outcomes can be potentially addressed by the immersive learning experience, what form of intangible cultural heritage can be represented, and what success criteria were to be used for its evaluation. A prototype of the experience was then developed and reviewed by the heritage experts and subsequently developed into the experience evaluated by teachers and heads of department. Evaluation was carried out in terms of authenticity relative to the historic site, ease of navigation, impact in terms of achievable learning outcomes, and utility in the classroom. This ensured that educational objectives were given priority and should help teachers embrace and adopt the technology in the classroom. Future work should pilot the use of the IVR in the classroom and provide further empirical evidence to its ability to help such students achieve the learning outcomes expected by the syllabus.

Back to basics: A role of reading, writing, and arithmetic teaching

1 month 1 week ago

This study has assessed the role of reading, writing, and arithmetic teaching among adult learners in Saudi Arabia. A quantitative approach was used by recruiting 186 students divided into three groups, namely, the write to learn (WTL) group, traditional teaching group, and individual technology use (ITU) group. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for the analysis of the arithmetic and literacy test scores of the students. The findings showed that the performance of the WTL group was most effective among the three groups. The results showed that the learning capacity of adults could be improved by refining their writing and reading skills. The formative feedback, collaborative environment, and engagement helped improve the learning scores. It shows that the use of information and communication technology (ICT) should be accurately implemented along with the formation of a collaborative environment.

Course assessment for skill transfer: A framework for evaluating skill transfer in online courses

1 month 2 weeks ago

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations are projected to grow over two times faster than the total for all occupations in the next decade. This will require reskilling and upskilling those currently in the workforce. In response, many universities are deliberately developing academic programs and individual courses focused on providing relevant skills that can be transferred to the workplace. In turn, developers of such programs and courses need ways to assess how well the skills taught in their courses translate to the workforce. Our framework, Course Assessment for Skill Transfer (CAST), is a suite of conceptual tools intended to aid course designers, instructors, or external evaluators in assessing which essential skills are being taught and to what extent. The overarching aim of the framework is to support skills transfer from the classroom to the workplace. This paper introduces the framework and provides two illustrative examples for applying the framework. The examples show that the framework offers a customizable structure for course facilitators and evaluators to assess the skills taught, learned, and retained based on their needs and the resources available to evaluate the quality and usefulness of course offerings in higher education.

“Replacing teachers? Doubt it.” Practitioners' views on adaptive learning technologies' impact on the teaching profession

1 month 3 weeks ago

Novel learning technologies have potential in reshaping the teaching profession by automating some parts of the work. However, teachers' perspectives toward automation have generally been critical. In the present study, we examine Finnish education practitioners' thoughts on adaptive learning technologies and their impact on the teaching profession. Using thematic and epistemic network analysis (ENA), we analyzed 114 social media posts. Supportive posts connected technological capabilities and self-directed or self-regulated learning, emphasizing that technology can also guide and support students. Critical posts connected human presence, educational arrangements, and pupil diversity and equality, emphasizing the importance of teachers' presence in addressing pupils' varying needs. Overall, the role of a human teacher was seen as necessary even with adaptive learning technologies available. Our findings reveal themes relevant when discussing the development of adaptive learning technologies and their potential impact on the teaching profession. Moreover, our findings increase the understanding of how supportive and critical argumentation on technology differ.

Measuring the effects of course modularizations in online courses for life-long learners

1 month 3 weeks ago

Many participants in Massive Open Online Courses are full-time employees seeking greater flexibility in their time commitment and the available learning paths. We recently addressed these requirements by splitting up our 6-week courses into three 2-week modules followed by a separate exam. Modularizing courses offers many advantages: Shorter modules are more sustainable and can be combined, reused, and incorporated into learning paths more easily. Time flexibility for learners is also improved as exams can now be offered multiple times per year, while the learning content is available independently. In this article, we answer the question of which impact this modularization has on key learning metrics, such as course completion rates, learning success, and no-show rates. Furthermore, we investigate the influence of longer breaks between modules on these metrics. According to our analysis, course modules facilitate more selective learning behaviors that encourage learners to focus on topics they are the most interested in. At the same time, participation in overarching exams across all modules seems to be less appealing compared to an integrated exam of a 6-week course. While breaks between the modules increase the distinctive appearance of individual modules, a break before the final exam further reduces initial interest in the exams. We further reveal that participation in self-paced courses as a preparation for the final exam is unlikely to attract new learners to the course offerings, even though learners' performance is comparable to instructor-paced courses. The results of our long-term study on course modularization provide a solid foundation for future research and enable educators to make informed decisions about the design of their courses.

Exploring teacher adoption, adaptation, and implementation of a daily report card intervention when using the daily report card online platform

2 months 1 week ago

Technology-based supports offer promise for helping elementary school teachers implement Tier 2 interventions to address challenging student behavior. The Daily Report Card Online (DRCO) platform is a cloud-based web application designed to support teachers’ adoption and implementation of a high-quality daily report card (DRC) intervention through the use of professional development resources, guided intervention design workflows, algorithm-based decision-making tools, and real-time progress monitoring. We examined teacher adoption, adaptation, and implementation of a DRC intervention when using the DRCO platform with support from a consultant during the 2021–2022 school year. Participants were 29 teachers, 20 of whom used the DRCO to implement a DRC with a student (n = 20). The most frequently chosen target behaviors were student interruptions, non-compliance, and work completion. When using the DRCO platform, teachers achieved several procedures that align with evidence-based guidelines (e.g., screening, baseline tracking, setting achievable goals, tracking behaviors over time). However, goal criterion changes and shaping procedures were used less often than expected. Despite the option to track behaviors solely with technology, 60% of teachers tracked student behaviors via paper methods (e.g., printed the DRC card, used sticky notes). Adaptations were made by 40% teachers; however, all adaptations involved modifying printed materials to be more student-friendly (e.g., add clipart to the DRC) and did not change the guiding principles of the intervention. Tau-effect sizes for academic and behavioral target behaviors on the DRC showed small to moderate change over time and change in target behaviors showed some association with change in global teacher ratings. Lastly, we identified associations between teacher characteristics and adoption and implementation, as well as associations between implementation and student outcomes.

Students’ perceptions of emergency remote teaching in a writing course during COVID-19

2 months 1 week ago

The COVID-19 pandemic forced most educational institutions in the US to quickly transfer to emergency remote teaching, finding many instructors and students unprepared. This study explored university students’ perspectives in a composition course during the emergency period and proposes guidance on designing a “student-friendly” online learning environment. This study examines the students’ concerns about and challenges with emergency remote teaching, the course’s benefits during the online learning period, and students’ recommendations for improvement. The research was conducted in seven sections of a multimodal composition course at a large, Midwestern university. Participants responded to a virtual discussion board at the beginning of online instruction and a survey after online instruction. Qualitative analysis of responses—guided by the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework—showed that the participants expressed challenges with staying motivated, completing coursework, and feeling socially disconnected from instructors and classmates. Benefits expressed by the participants included increased flexibility in their schedules, improved time management skills, and increased virtual communication with instructors. This study highlights suggestions that can guide the design of composition courses and pedagogical practices for emergency remote teaching in the future.

Developing a web-based system for coordinating school-based care for students with social, emotional, and behavioral problems

2 months 1 week ago

Many students with social, emotional, and behavioral problems receive school-based services. Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is the one most frequently referenced systems for coordinating services. The goal of this framework is to effectively match assessment and services to the needs of individual students. In many schools this process is limited by a lack of an overall coordinating system. As a result, many students receive services for social, emotional and behavioral problems that are unlikely to be effective, are not guided by progress monitoring, and not adequately informed by current and historical data. The Beacon System is a web-based tool created to enhance the quality of service provision for students with social, emotional, and behavioral problems by supporting continuous progress monitoring, helping educators know what services are likely to be helpful for a particular student according to their age and presenting problems, and providing educators and school mental health professionals with information to help them implement both familiar and unfamiliar interventions. Additionally, the Beacon system will enhance educators’ abilities to coordinate with a student’s entire intervention team and allow for continuity as a child changes grades, teachers, or schools. Enhancing these parts of the overall process can improve educators’ efforts to achieve the goals of MTSS to provide effective interventions matched to the students’ needs. The purpose of this manuscript is to describe the iterative development process used to create Beacon and highlight specific examples of some of the methods. In addition, we will describe how feedback from stakeholders (e.g., teachers, school mental health professionals) was used to inform decisions about design. Finally, we will describe the final development steps taken prior to pilot implementation studies and our plans for additional data collection to inform continued development of Beacon. This includes the strategies being used to measure outcomes at multiple levels including assessing a variety of behaviors of the professionals in the schools as well as student outcomes. These data will inform continuous development work that will keep us moving toward our goal of enhancing the outcomes of students with social, emotional and behavioral problems.

On the computational thinking and diagrammatic reasoning of first-year computer science and engineering students

2 months 1 week ago

Computational thinking (CT) and diagrammatic reasoning (DR) are important competencies from the perspective of both Computer Science and Engineering education. CT is often described as a critically important attitude or skill set for all students regardless of the educational program in which they are enrolled. Diagrammatic reasoning is commonly referred to as a student's ability to think logically and solve complex problems. Accordingly, these two competencies are closely related and both skills are parallelly linked to several curriculum subjects (with preponderance in the case of STEM disciplines) during the educational process. Consequently, one might conclude that even without an explicit focus on them, students might develop these abilities latently as they advance with the K-12 current curriculum. We have proposed to test this assumption. In the experiment, 137 first-year students were involved in six different Computer Science and Engineering educational programs. Students were invited to participate in a CT and a DR test. We were particularly interested in possible correlations between the results of the two tests. Our results confirmed that computational thinking and diagrammatic reasoning are closely related abilities. We also found that CT, DR, and students' prior programming experience positively correlate with their first course exam results in Computer Science.

Augmented reality applications as a digital learning innovation in response to the pandemic

2 months 1 week ago

Augmented reality applications are digital learning innovations that can rapidly improve the learning of college and university students in the virtual setting. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, on-site teaching has been pushed back to limit the spread of disease. This paper examines the attitudes and subjective and behavioral norms of 100 college students in Thailand toward digital learning innovations accessed through augmented reality applications. The study offers a theoretical model established through the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and uses it to investigate students’ choices of augmented reality applications as digital learning innovations in their courses. The data were analyzed through structural equation modeling. The findings showed that students’ acceptance of digital learning innovations through augmented reality applications could be explained through TPB wherever attitudinal and subjective factors showed significant influence; meanwhile, perceived behavioral control did not demonstrate a significant influence on college students. The findings acknowledge the positive effects of augmented reality applications as experienced by college students in Thailand.

Mathematical and computational awareness before and after the pandemic

2 months 1 week ago

Mathematical thinking and computational thinking go hand in hand. Both of them are based on awareness of problem-solving. However, consciousness does not exist without a proper mental and psychological state. Formerly we examined some mathematical psychological aspects that could have an impact on both mathematical and computational problem-solving. We taught novice computational programming by solving mathematical word problems. Our first experiments were performed years before the pandemic. In this study, we present the results of a new experiment on the same topic, but this was performed during the pandemic homeschool interval. The programming environment and the teaching material were the same as before. We present our results based on our homeschool experience. We expect that the results of homeschool study groups are not worse than the results of before-pandemic study groups in reaching the aforementioned aim. The experiment proved our previous hypothesis that we can successfully teach solving mathematical word problems in a computational environment, and at the same time with the help of word problems, we can successfully teach the basic elements of computer programming.