The article reports on a large scale research study funded by the National Science Foundation in which elementary teachers’ motivational beliefs about teaching science were found to be related to their level of engagement in an extensive professional development program. In addition, teachers with more confidence about teaching science tended to have students with higher science test scores.
Lumpe, A. T., Czerniak, C. M., Haney, J. J., & Beltyukova, S. (accepted for publication). Beliefs about Teaching Science: The Relationship between Elementary Teachers’ Professional Development and Student Achievement. International Journal of Science Education.
PDF copy of article Beliefs about Teaching Science IJSE
A Paper Presented at the 16th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference on Online Learning, Nov 5, 2010, Orlando, FL
The overall goal of education is to develop expertise (Bransford et al, 1999). Experts have more access to content, and easily retrieve content, can adapt and change, and recognize when to apply knowledge. Collaborative learning environments are designed to develop expertise by helping users discern patterns and create meaning in non-static, collaborative settings. Within such environments, deep factual knowledge bases can be developed, knowledge easily retrieved and shared, and conceptual frameworks built. Koschmann (2002, p. 18) provides a definition of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning that emphasizes the importance of collaborative knowledge construction: “ a field of study centrally concerned with meaning and practices of meaning-making in the context of joint activity, and the ways in which these practices are mediated through designed artifacts.” For successful collaborative learning to occur, group members must communicate in a way where the team can discern agreements from disagreements, conflicts from misunderstandings, and insights from confusion (Stahl, 2002, p. 177). The emphasis needs to be on collaborative rather than individual knowledge construction, which may be challenging when students are primarily working for individual course grades. This collaboration is also known as intersubjective learning (Suthers, 2005), group cognition (Stahl, 2006), and mutually shared cognition (Van den Bossche, 2006). Synchronous learning environments, where students have opportunities to collaborate in real time, may provide more opportunities for communication, conflict resolution, and joint concept development than asynchronous environments which are commonly used in learner management systems. The primary hypothesis for this study was that online graduate students who use synchronous collaborative wikis will perceive a higher level of mutually shared cognition (Van den Bossche et al., 2006) and higher levels of expertise than students in a comparison group who did not collaborate synchronously. The research goals included the following: 1. Describe the application of synchronous wikis in a collaborative learning environment. 2. Report the results on student perceptions of mutual shared cognition and the development of content expertise. 3. Provide recommendations for future research and applications of synchronous collaborative wikis in online environments. In this study, synchronous collaborative wikis were used in a graduate level course for K-12 educators. Students in two randomly assigned sections of a graduate, online course were randomly assigned to teams of three or four students. Teams in both sections utilized a private (team members and instructor only) preformatted wiki in the Assignment area of the Blackboard 9.0 learner management system that contained links for each phase of the project, as well as links for team members to share individual comments. Students also used a collaborative script and a screencast presentation explaining how to use the wiki to collaborate on the assigned project. This scaffolding strategy, recommended by Larusson and Altermann (2009) helped students focus on the content of the project rather than the technology used for collaboration. Teams in the experimental section had five open resource EtherPads (http://typewith.me/) embedded in their wiki. These EtherPads were used by the students to collaborate on a team charter (Palloff & Pratt, 2007), three, 5-paragraph essays and a script for a final presentation. EtherPad can be described as a synchronous wiki word processor, where users are able to watch their colleagues type in real-time and can share comments about what is being written by typing in a chat window. Students in the experimental group were also asked to schedule five meeting times where they collaborated on their essays in real-time. Students in the comparison section collaborated on their essays asynchronously by entering text directly on to a wiki page in Blackboard during each phase. Comparison group team members made edits and comments during each phase but their team never met “together” synchronously in order to collaborate. Students in both experimental and comparison groups then completed a final presentation In order to assess students perceptions of mutual shared cognition, the Team Learning Beliefs & Behaviors Questionnaire (Van den Bossche, 2006) was administered to the participants after participating in the course activities. Expertise was assessed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data sources including the number of wiki posts, time spent using the applications, number of relevant concepts/phrases cited and developed, and the final presentation evaluation. A variety of descriptive and inferential analysis techniques were applied to the data sources. It was found that teams using the synchronous collaborative wikis developed higher levels of expertise and perceptions of mutual shared cognition than did students who only worked asynchronously. Based on these findings, it is recommended that students in online learning environments be given structured opportunities to collaborate synchronously.
Presentation at the Sloan-C Emerging Technologies for Online Learning
Title: Learning How to Assess Learning Portfolios
Date: Thursday, July 22, 2010
Time: 3:40 PM PDT