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Exploring Computational Thinking in 9-12 Education: Developing a Computer Science Curriculum for Bioscience High School

Description

Bioscience High School, a small magnet high school located in Downtown Phoenix and a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) focused school, has been pushing to establish a computer science curriculum for all of their students from freshman to senior

Bioscience High School, a small magnet high school located in Downtown Phoenix and a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) focused school, has been pushing to establish a computer science curriculum for all of their students from freshman to senior year. The school's Mision (Mission and Vision) is to: "..provide a rigorous, collaborative, and relevant academic program emphasizing an innovative, problem-based curriculum that develops literacy in the sciences, mathematics, and the arts, thus cultivating critical thinkers, creative problem-solvers, and compassionate citizens, who are able to thrive in our increasingly complex and technological communities." Computational thinking is an important part in developing a future problem solver Bioscience High School is looking to produce. Bioscience High School is unique in the fact that every student has a computer available for him or her to use. Therefore, it makes complete sense for the school to add computer science to their curriculum because one of the school's goals is to be able to utilize their resources to their full potential. However, the school's attempt at computer science integration falls short due to the lack of expertise amongst the math and science teachers. The lack of training and support has postponed the development of the program and they are desperately in need of someone with expertise in the field to help reboot the program. As a result, I've decided to create a course that is focused on teaching students the concepts of computational thinking and its application through Scratch and Arduino programming.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016-05

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Educational research in the United States: a survey of pre-K-12 teachers' perceptions regarding the purpose, conceptions, use, impact, and dissemination

Description

The purpose of this survey study was to collect data from pre-K-12 educators in the U.S. regarding their perceptions of the purpose, conceptions, use, impact, and results of educational research. The survey tool was based on existing questionnaires and case

The purpose of this survey study was to collect data from pre-K-12 educators in the U.S. regarding their perceptions of the purpose, conceptions, use, impact, and results of educational research. The survey tool was based on existing questionnaires and case studies in the literature, as well as newly developed items. 3,908 educators in a database developed over 10+ years at the world's largest education company were sent a recruiting email; 400 elementary and secondary teachers in the final sample completed the online survey containing 48 questions over a three-week deployment period in the spring of 2013. Results indicated that overall teachers believe educational research is important, that the most important purpose of research is to increase effectiveness of classroom practice, yet research is not frequently sought out during the course of practice. Teachers perceive results in research journals as the most trustworthy yet also perceive research journals the most difficult to access (relying second-most often for research via in-service trainings). These findings have implications for teachers, administrators, policy-makers, and researchers. Educational researchers should seek to address both the theoretical and the applied aspects of learning. Professional development must make explicit links between research findings and classroom strategies and tactics, and research must be made more readily available to those who are not currently seeking additional credentialing, and therefore do not individually have access to scholarly literature. Further research is needed to expand the survey sample and refine the survey instrument. Similar research with administrators in pre-K-20 settings as well as in-depth interviews would serve to investigate the "why" of many findings.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Demographics and preparation levels of K-12 online teachers

Description

This study collected and examined information on K-12 teachers currently involved in online education in the United States. The purposes of this study included defining the demographics of these teachers, determining the extent to which they were formally educated and/or

This study collected and examined information on K-12 teachers currently involved in online education in the United States. The purposes of this study included defining the demographics of these teachers, determining the extent to which they were formally educated and/or trained to teach online, and to compare these findings to those from a similar study conducted six years earlier. A web-based survey, including questions in both open and closed form, was used to gather data from 325 participants currently teaching at least one online class at publicly funded K-12 online schools nationwide. Survey questions covered the following six domains: a) personal demographics, b) educational background and experience, c) pre-service training, d) in-service training, and e) current online teaching assignments. The results of this study indicate that those currently teaching online to K-12 students have demographic characteristics that are similar to face-to-face teachers, particularly in terms of gender, age, and ethnicity/race; however, the online teachers generally had higher levels of educational attainment, more years of teaching experience, and were significantly more likely to teach on a part-time basis. It was found that teachers working with K-12 students online are self-motivated, place a high value on learning and education, and enjoy the challenge and process of using technology for this purpose. Based on findings, only a limited number of university-based teacher preparation programs address any aspect of the methods and techniques required for teaching online, and even fewer offer online field placement opportunities for pre-service teachers. For the most part, current online teachers were found to have received training after graduation, while working in the field. Further research is needed to specifically define and empirically validate the methods and techniques required for effective online teaching at the K-12 levels so that formal educational and training programs can be further developed to effectively prepare future K-12 online teachers.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Comparing and Analyzing Electromyography and Electroencephalography

Description

Electromyography (EMG) and Electroencephalography (EEG) are techniques used to detect electrical activity produced by the human body. EMG detects electrical activity in the skeletal muscles, while EEG detects electrical activity from the scalp. The purpose of this study is to

Electromyography (EMG) and Electroencephalography (EEG) are techniques used to detect electrical activity produced by the human body. EMG detects electrical activity in the skeletal muscles, while EEG detects electrical activity from the scalp. The purpose of this study is to capture different types of EMG and EEG signals and to determine if the signals can be distinguished between each other and processed into output signals to trigger events in prosthetics. Results from the study suggest that the PSD estimates can be used to compare signals that have significant differences such as the wrist, scalp, and fingers, but it cannot fully distinguish between signals that are closely related, such as two different fingers. The signals that were identified were able to be translated into the physical output simulated on the Arduino circuit.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013-12

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Ownschooling: the use of technology in 10 unschooling families

Description

Unschooling is a child-centered educational philosophy that eschews teachers,

schools, curricula, grades and tests. Unschool practitioners have complete freedom to choose what they want to learn, when, to what level, and for how long. Unschooling families use the World Wide

Unschooling is a child-centered educational philosophy that eschews teachers,

schools, curricula, grades and tests. Unschool practitioners have complete freedom to choose what they want to learn, when, to what level, and for how long. Unschooling families use the World Wide Web to provide a bespoke academic experience at home. This study compares qualitative data collected from questionnaires and semi-structured interviews conducted with 10 unschooling families with quantitative data collected from 5 children within these families using a tracking and monitoring software. The software captured the duration of use, keystrokes, mouseclicks, and screenshots for all programs and websites for 14 days. Children stated they used technology less than 6 hours a day, and parents stated children used them less than 8 hours a day. Quantitative data shows the children use technology at least 10 hours a day, suggesting usage self-reports may not be reliable. The study revealed hardware form factor was the number one determinate of application use. Almost exclusively social media was used on smartphones, internet browsing on tablets, and creative endeavors such as modding, hacking, fan fiction writing, and video game level building all took place exclusively on laptops and desktops. Concurrent use of differing hardware form factors was the norm observed. Participants stated YouTube, Wikipedia and Khan Academy were the websites most used for knowledge gathering. The tracking software verified YouTube and Wikipedia were the most used websites, however when accessed on the PC, those sites were used almost exclusively for video game related purposes. Over 90% of the total PC use was spent on video games. More traditional educational activities were done primarily on tablets and on parent smartphones with parental engagement. Khan Academy was not used by the

participants in the 14 day monitoring period. 90 day web browser logs indicated Khan Academy was used by individuals no more than 3 times in a 90 day period,

demonstrating the inherent risks in relying upon internet usage self-reports without

quantitative software for verification. Unschooling children spent between 30 and 60 hours a week using technology.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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External validation of an instructional design model for high fidelity simulation: model application in a hospital setting

Description

The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of the design characteristics component of the Jeffries/National League for Nursing Framework for Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Simulations when developing a simulation-based approach to teaching structured communication to new graduate

The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of the design characteristics component of the Jeffries/National League for Nursing Framework for Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Simulations when developing a simulation-based approach to teaching structured communication to new graduate nurses. The setting for the study was a medium sized tertiary care hospital located in the southwestern United States. Participants in the study were an instructional designer (who also served as the researcher), two graduate nursing education specialists, one unit based educator, and 27 new graduate nurses and registered nurses who had been in practice for less than six months. Design and development research was employed to examine the processes used to design the simulation, implementation of the simulation by faculty, and course evaluation data from both students and faculty. Data collected from the designer, faculty and student participants were analyzed for evidence on how the design characteristics informed the design and implementation of the course, student achievement of course goals, as well as student and faculty evaluation of the course. These data were used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the model in this context as well as suggestions for strengthening the model. Findings revealed that the model generally functioned well in this context. Particular strengths of the model were its emphasis on problem-solving and recommendations for attending to fidelity of clinical scenarios. Weaknesses of the model were inadequate guidance for designing student preparation, student support, and debriefing. Additionally, the model does not address the role of observers or others who are not assigned the role of primary nurse during simulations. Recommendations for strengthening the model include addressing these weaknesses by incorporating existing evidence in the instructional design of experiential learning and by scaffolding students during problem-solving. The results of the study also suggested interrelationships among the design characteristics that were not previously described; further exploration of this finding may strengthen the model. Faculty and instructional designers creating clinical simulations in this context would benefit from using the Jeffries/National League for Nursing Model, adding external resources to supplement in areas where the model does not currently provide adequate guidance.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Improving adolescent writing quality and motivation with Sparkfolio, a social media based writing tool

Description

Writing instruction poses both cognitive and affective challenges, particularly for adolescents. American teens not only fall short of national writing standards, but also tend to lack motivation for school writing, claiming it is too challenging and that they have nothing

Writing instruction poses both cognitive and affective challenges, particularly for adolescents. American teens not only fall short of national writing standards, but also tend to lack motivation for school writing, claiming it is too challenging and that they have nothing interesting to write about. Yet, teens enthusiastically immerse themselves in informal writing via text messaging, email, and social media, regularly sharing their thoughts and experiences with a real audience. While these activities are, in fact, writing, research indicates that teens instead view them as simply "communication" or "being social." Accordingly, the aim of this work was to infuse formal classroom writing with naturally engaging elements of informal social media writing to positively impact writing quality and the motivation to write, resulting in the development and implementation of Sparkfolio, an online prewriting tool that: a) addresses affective challenges by allowing students to choose personally relevant topics using their own social media data; and b) provides cognitive support with a planner that helps develop and organize ideas in preparation for writing a first draft. This tool was evaluated in a study involving 46 eleventh-grade English students writing three personal narratives each, and including three experimental conditions: a) using self-authored social media post data while planning with Sparkfolio; b) using only data from posts authored by one's friends while planning with Sparkfolio; and c) a control group that did not use Sparkfolio. The dependent variables were the change in writing motivation and the change in writing quality that occurred before and after the intervention. A scaled pre/posttest measured writing motivation, and the first and third narratives were used as writing quality pre/posttests. A usability scale, logged Sparkfolio data, and qualitative measures were also analyzed. Results indicated that participants who used Sparkfolio had statistically significantly higher gains in writing quality than the control group, validating Sparkfolio as effective. Additionally, while nonsignificant, results suggested that planning with self-authored data provided more writing quality and motivational benefits than data authored by others. This work provides initial empirical evidence that leveraging students' own social media data (securely) holds potential in fostering meaningful personalized learning.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Modeling gameplay enjoyment through feature preferences, goal orientations, usage, and gender

Description

The gameplay experience can be understood as an interaction between player and game design characteristics. A greater understanding of these characteristics can be gained through empirical means. Subsequently, an enhanced knowledge of these characteristics should enable the creation of games

The gameplay experience can be understood as an interaction between player and game design characteristics. A greater understanding of these characteristics can be gained through empirical means. Subsequently, an enhanced knowledge of these characteristics should enable the creation of games that effectively generate desirable experiences for players. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between gameplay enjoyment and the individual characteristics of gaming goal orientations, game usage, and gender. A total of 301 participants were surveyed and the data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This led to an expanded Gameplay Enjoyment Model (GEM) with 41 game features, an overarching Enjoyment factor, and 9 specific components, including Challenge, Companionship, Discovery, Fantasy, Fidelity, Identity, Multiplayer, Recognition, and Strategy. Furthermore, the 3x2 educational goal orientation framework was successfully applied to a gaming context. The resulting 3x2 Gaming Goal Orientations (GGO) model consists of 18 statements that describe players' motivations for gaming, which are distributed across the six dimensions of Task-Approach, Task-Avoidance, Self-Approach, Self-Avoidance, Other-Approach, and Other-Avoidance. Lastly, players' individual characteristics were used to predict gameplay enjoyment, which resulted in the formation of the GEM-Individual Characteristics (GEM-IC) model. In GEM-IC, the six GGO dimensions were the strongest predictors. Meanwhile, game usage variables like multiplayer, genre, and platform preference, were minimal to moderate predictors. Although commonly appearing in games research, gender and game time commitment variables failed to predict enjoyment. The results of this study enable important work to be conducted involving game experiences and player characteristics. After several empirical iterations, GEM is considered suitable to employ as a research and design tool. In addition, GGO should be useful to researchers interested in how player motivations relate to gameplay experiences. Moreover, GEM-IC points to several variables that may prove useful in future research. Accordingly, it is posited that researchers will derive more meaningful insights on games and players by investigating detailed, context-specific characteristics as compared to general, demographic ones. Ultimately, it is believed that GEM, GGO, and GEM-IC will be useful tools for researchers and designers who seek to create effective gameplay experiences that meet the needs of players.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Media literacy for university film and media students: teaching onscreen violence and social responsibility to future entertainment industry professionals

Description

This experimental pretest-posttest design study extended the field of media literacy research to pre-professionals in the entertainment industry. Specifically, it investigated the effects of lecture, film screenings and focused discussions on media literacy general awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and

This experimental pretest-posttest design study extended the field of media literacy research to pre-professionals in the entertainment industry. Specifically, it investigated the effects of lecture, film screenings and focused discussions on media literacy general awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and attitudes about filmmakers' responsibility after a unit of instruction on media violence designed specifically for university film majors.

Inherent in this process was an attempt to create a valid instrument for measuring media literacy awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and attitudes about social responsibilities among future media makers. Items were presented from the perspective of a creator of entertainment products. A demographic survey was used to collect data on past media literacy education and media viewing habits of this niche group, while evaluation data provided insights into the thought processes of students as they considered issues of media literacy -- sometimes for the first time -- in their own lives, in the lives of others, and in their future careers. Factorial analysis was used to test the effectiveness of the instrument. Analyses of variance were employed to measure pretest-posttest differences in treatment groups and Paired Samples T-tests to measure differences across the entire sample. Responses to open-ended evaluation questions were analyzed and coded and presented by item.

Results showed positive changes in comprehension and filmmaker responsibility attitudes across treatment groups and significant positive differences in media awareness and critical thinking among students across treatment groups. Results did not align with treatment groups: the students who watched film clips and participated in focused discussions gained knowledge but did not achieve significantly greater mean scores than those who did not participate in these treatments.

Findings support those in the research literature that holistic media literacy instruction, which incorporates aspects of creating as well as consuming entertainment products, can open new pathways of criticality about media issues. Media should be presented in context and with direction from the instructor. In eight evaluation items, some 90% of the young media makers agreed that the media violence lesson influenced their thinking and that they would consider material taught in this lesson when creating future media products.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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High fidelity virtual environments: does shader quality or higher polygon count models increase presence and learning

Description

This research study investigated the effects of high fidelity graphics on both learning and presence, or the "sense of being there," inside a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Four versions of a VLE on the subject of the element mercury

This research study investigated the effects of high fidelity graphics on both learning and presence, or the "sense of being there," inside a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Four versions of a VLE on the subject of the element mercury were created, each with a different combination of high and low fidelity polygon models and high and low fidelity shaders. A total of 76 college age (18+ years of age) participants were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions. The participants interacted with the VLE and then completed several posttest measures on learning, presence, and attitudes towards the VLE experience. Demographic information was also collected, including age, computer gameplay experience, number of virtual environments interacted with, gender and time spent in this virtual environment. The data was analyzed as a 2 x 2 between subjects ANOVA.

The main effects of shader fidelity and polygon fidelity were both non- significant for both learning and all presence subscales inside the VLE. In addition, there was no significant interaction between shader fidelity and model fidelity. However, there were two significant results on the supplementary variables. First, gender was found to have a significant main effect on all the presence subscales. Females reported higher average levels of presence than their male counterparts. Second, gameplay hours, or the number of hours a participant played computer games per week, also had a significant main effect on participant score on the learning measure. The participants who reported playing 15+ hours of computer games per week, the highest amount of time in the variable, had the highest score as a group on the mercury learning measure while those participants that played 1-5 hours per week had the lowest scores.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2014