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Promoting meaningful uses of technology in a middle school

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Federal education policies call for school district leaders to promote classroom technology integration to prepare students with 21st century skills. However, schools are struggling to integrate technology effectively, with students often reporting that they feel like they need to power

Federal education policies call for school district leaders to promote classroom technology integration to prepare students with 21st century skills. However, schools are struggling to integrate technology effectively, with students often reporting that they feel like they need to power down and step back in time technologically when they enter classrooms. The lack of meaningful technology use in classrooms indicates a need for increased teacher preparation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact a coaching model of professional development had on school administrators` abilities to increase middle school teachers` technology integration in their classrooms. This study attempted to coach administrators to develop and articulate a vision, cultivate a culture, and model instruction relative to the meaningful use of instructional technology. The study occurred in a middle school. Data for this case study were collected via administrator interviews, the Principal`s Computer Technology Survey, structured observations using the Higher Order Thinking, Engaged Learning, Authentic Learning, Technology Use protocol, field notes, the Technology Integration Matrix, teacher interviews, and a research log. Findings concluded that cultivating change in an organization is a complex process that requires commitment over an extended period of time. The meaningful use of instructional technology remained minimal at the school during fall 2010. My actions as a change agent informed the school`s administrators about the role meaningful use of technology can play in instruction. Limited professional development, administrative vision, and expectations minimized the teachers` meaningful use of instructional technology; competing priorities and limited time minimized the administrators` efforts to improve the meaningful use of instructional technology. Realizing that technology proficient teachers contribute to student success with technology, it may be wise for administrators to incorporate technology-enriched professional development and exercise their leadership abilities to promote meaningful technology use in classrooms.

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2011

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Leveraging faculty and peer leaders to promote commuter student co-curricular engagement: a collegiate retention intervention study

Description

It is commonly accepted that undergraduate degree attainment rates must improve if postsecondary educational institutions are to meet macroeconomic demands. Involvement in co-curricular activities, such as student clubs and organizations, has been shown to increase students' satisfaction with their college

It is commonly accepted that undergraduate degree attainment rates must improve if postsecondary educational institutions are to meet macroeconomic demands. Involvement in co-curricular activities, such as student clubs and organizations, has been shown to increase students' satisfaction with their college experience and the rates by which they might persist. Yet, strategies that college administrators, faculties, and peer leaders may employ to effectively promote co-curricular engagement opportunities to students are not well developed. In turn, I created the Sky Leaders program, a retention-focused intervention designed to promote commuter student involvement in academically-purposeful activities via faculty- and peer-lead mentoring experiences. Working from an interpretivist research paradigm, this quasi-experimental mixed methods action research study was intended to measure the intervention's impact on participants' re-enrollment and reported engagement rates, as well as the effectiveness of its conceptual and logistical aspects. I used enrollment, survey, interview, observation, and focus group data collection instruments to accommodate an integrated data procurement process, which allowed for the consideration of several perspectives related to the same research questions. I analyzed all of the quantitative data captured from the enrollment and survey instruments using descriptive and inferential statistics to explore statistically and practically significant differences between participant groups. As a result, I identified one significant finding that had a perceived positive effect. Expressly, I found the difference between treatment and control participants' reported levels of engagement within co-curricular activities to be statistically and practically significant. Additionally, consistent with Glaser and Strauss' grounded theory approach, I employed open, axial, and selective coding procedures to analyze all of the qualitative data obtained via open-ended survey items, as well as interview, observation, and focus group instruments. After I reviewed and examined the qualitative data corpus, I constructed six themes reflective of the participants' programmatic experiences as well as conceptual and logistical features of the intervention. In doing so, I found that faculty, staff, and peer leaders may efficaciously serve in specific mentoring roles to promote co-curricular engagement opportunities and advance students' institutional academic and social integration, thereby effectively curbing their potential college departure decisions, which often arise out of mal-integrative experiences.

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2011

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Collaboration across organizational boundaries: developing an information technology community of practice : Arizona State University

Description

Rapidly increasing demand for technology support services, and often shrinking budgetary and staff resources, create enormous challenges for information technology (IT) departments in public sector higher education. To address these difficult circumstances, the researcher developed a network of IT professionals

Rapidly increasing demand for technology support services, and often shrinking budgetary and staff resources, create enormous challenges for information technology (IT) departments in public sector higher education. To address these difficult circumstances, the researcher developed a network of IT professionals from schools in a local community college system and from a research university in the southwest into an interorganizational community of practice (CoP). This collaboration allowed members from participating institutions to share knowledge and ideas relating to shared technical problems. This study examines the extent to which the community developed, the factors that contributed to its development and the value of such an endeavor. The researcher used a mixed methods approach to gather data and insights relative to these research questions. Data were collected through online surveys, meeting notes and transcripts, post-meeting questionnaires, semi-structured interviews with key informants, and web analytics. The results from this research indicate that the group did coalesce into a CoP. The researcher identified two crucial roles that aided this development: community coordinator and technology steward. Furthermore, the IT professionals who participated and the leaders from their organizations reported that developing the community was a worthwhile venture. They also reported that while the technical collaboration component was very valuable, the non-technical topics and interactions were also very beneficial. Indicators also suggest that the community made progress toward self-sustainability and is likely to continue. There is also discussion of a third leadership role that appears important for developing CoPs that span organizational boundaries, that of the community catalyst. Implications from this study suggest that other higher education IT organizations faced with similar circumstances may be able to follow the model presented here and also achieve positive results.

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2011

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Factors that influence teacher expectations of Africian American, Hispanic and low-income students

Description

There is a nationwide gap in which African American, Hispanic and low-income students perform significantly lower than their peers. Research suggests that teachers hold lower expectations for these students resulting in lower achievement. There are four main factors that influence

There is a nationwide gap in which African American, Hispanic and low-income students perform significantly lower than their peers. Research suggests that teachers hold lower expectations for these students resulting in lower achievement. There are four main factors that influence teacher expectations: stereotypes, teacher self-efficacy, school culture, language and formal policies and programs aimed at increasing teacher expectations. The purpose of this study was to inquire into the following questions: (1) What are the factors that influence teachers' academic expectations for low-income and minority students? (2) What are teacher's perceptions on the effectiveness of formal policies and programs that are aimed at increasing teacher expectations? More specifically, do teachers feel that top-down formal policies, such as teacher evaluations, uniform curriculum, and performance-based pay are effective in impacting their expectations, or do teachers believe that bottom-up policies, such as book studies and professional learning communities, make more of an impact on increasing their expectations? Ten teachers were interviewed in a school district that is consistent with the state and national achievement gap. The findings revealed that teacher expectations are influenced by the four factors I found in the research as well as two other factors: a cultural disconnect among teachers and students and teachers' level of motivation. A combination of top-down and bottom-up formal policies and programs are needed as teachers are individuals and all respond to various forms of formal policies and programs differently.

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2011

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The human capital accumulation of young mothers: the relationship with father involvement

Description

This study utilized ecological theory and social exchange theory to examine how father involvement effects the human capital accumulation of young mothers. This study used data from a sub-sample of young mothers taken from the Healthy Families Arizona longitudinal evaluation

This study utilized ecological theory and social exchange theory to examine how father involvement effects the human capital accumulation of young mothers. This study used data from a sub-sample of young mothers taken from the Healthy Families Arizona longitudinal evaluation (N = 84). The participants in the sub-sample were between 13 and 21 years of age. Using a random effects regression model, it was found that father involvement negatively affects a young mother's school attendance over time. The probability of a mother attending school when the father is involved decreases by 12%. It was also found that for the average age mother (19 years of age), the probability of attending school decreases by 59% every additional year. Furthermore, for a mother with an average number of children (one child), every additional child she has decreases the probability of attending school by 24%. In addition it was found that for the average age mother (19 years of age) every additional year, the likelihood of being employed increases 2.9 times, and for a mother with an average number of children (one child) every additional child decreases the likelihood of employment by .88 times.

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Date Created
2011

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The impact of local wellness policies on school meals and wellness in public schools

Description

There has been a push to create and implement school wellness policies. Childhood obesity statistics suggest that schools may have an important role to play in promoting wellness. Childhood obesity has become a significant problem in the United States. The

There has been a push to create and implement school wellness policies. Childhood obesity statistics suggest that schools may have an important role to play in promoting wellness. Childhood obesity has become a significant problem in the United States. The percentage of obese children in the United States has more than doubled since 1970, and up to 33% of the children in the United States are currently overweight. Among the 33% of children who are overweight, 25% are obese, and 14% have type 2 diabetes, previously considered to be a condition found only in adults. This mixed-method study with a string qualitative component study examined three aspects of federally mandated local wellness polices. The study investigated the policies themselves, how the policies are understood in the local school setting, with a particular focus on the impact the policies have had on school meals. The bulk of the research data was generated through 8 in-depth interviews. The interviews were conducted with key stakeholders within 2 elementary school districts in Arizona. In addition, the evaluation of 20 local wellness polices was conducted via a rubric scoring system. The primary component found to be lacking in local wellness policies was the evaluation method. Recommendations for school districts include the establishment of a clear method of measurement.

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2011

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A funny thing happened on the way to the hippocampus: the effects of humor on student achievement and memory retention

Description

ABSTRACT Research literature relating to the use of humor as a teaching method or curricula specifically designed to include humor was reviewed to investigate the effects of humor on student learning in various environments from elementary schools to post-secondary classrooms.

ABSTRACT Research literature relating to the use of humor as a teaching method or curricula specifically designed to include humor was reviewed to investigate the effects of humor on student learning in various environments from elementary schools to post-secondary classrooms. In this multi-method study, four instruments and a humor treatment were selected to test the hypothesis that students who receive humor-embedded instruction would perform better on assessments than students who did not receive humor instruction. These assessments were analyzed to show student growth in achievement and memory retention as a result of humor-embedded instruction. Gain scores between a pre- test and two post-tests determined student growth in achievement and memory retention. Gain scores were triangulated with student responses to open-ended interview questions about their experiences with humor in the classroom. The gain score data were not statistically significant between the humor and non- humor groups. For the short-term memory gain scores, the non-humor group received slightly higher gain scores. For long-term memory gain scores, the humor group received higher gain scores. However, the interview data was consistent with the findings of humor research from the last 20 years that humor improves learning directly and indirectly.

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Date Created
2011

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Lesson study and the co-construction of pedagogical knowledge among secondary specialty teachers

Description

Teacher learning in the workplace is situated within a complex context involving the individual and multiple aspects of an educational organization. The present action research study uses a socio-constructionist inquiry lens to further research the local and multifaceted nature of

Teacher learning in the workplace is situated within a complex context involving the individual and multiple aspects of an educational organization. The present action research study uses a socio-constructionist inquiry lens to further research the local and multifaceted nature of professional learning in schools. The goal is to re-conceptualize professional development away from reductionist approaches that assume teacher practice can be isolated, packaged, and directly transferable into the classroom. The present study examines how lesson study can structure interdisciplinary professional learning to address the current gap in the literature regarding professional development of secondary specialty teachers. Five teachers participated in two lesson study cycles for a period of 13-weeks. This study focused on how teachers co-construct pedagogical knowledge and the extent to which they make changes to their practice. Using a sequential mixed methods research design, this study collected qualitative and quantitative data in three phases. In the initial phase, participants completed a demographical survey and shared a digital ethnography of their philosophy of teaching. Phase two consisted of video recordings for two lesson study cycles. Phase three involved a second survey and semi-structured interviews. Classroom observations were conducted during the first and last phase of the study. All qualitative data was analyzed inductively using open and thematic coding. Cross-case analysis was employed at the analysis stage to integrate data tools for the purpose of complementarity. Results suggest lesson study was an effective, job-embedded model that supports active and continuous professional development that is sustained and transferrable to the classroom. The type of disposition reported and displayed by teachers changed positively over time having transformational effects in the depth of relationships among teachers, increasing co-creation of pedagogical knowledge, and increasing reflectiveness. Teachers' level of openness to learning related to higher levels of effective practices implemented during lessons. Further research is needed to examine the ways in which teacher disposition influences professional learning when secondary specialty teachers engage in lesson study.

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Date Created
2014

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A measure of goodness: art teacher identity as a measure of quality

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ABSTRACT This qualitative study examines how high school art teachers conceive of being a good art teacher. Motivated by my own experiences as an art teacher, I designed this study to add teachers' voices to the conversation surrounding quality in

ABSTRACT This qualitative study examines how high school art teachers conceive of being a good art teacher. Motivated by my own experiences as an art teacher, I designed this study to add teachers' voices to the conversation surrounding quality in education. My research design included a narrative strand and an arts-based strand. In the narrative strand, I interviewed and observed 12 high school art educators from a major city in the southwest. I conducted an autoethnographic reflection exploring my connection to the research topic and research process. In the arts-based strand I used fiber-arts to further understand my topic. I wrote this dissertation using a narrative approach, blending the traditional research format, voices of participants, and my autoethnographic reflection. I included the results of my arts-based approach in the final chapter. Findings suggest that the teachers in this study conceptualize being a good art teacher as a process of identity construction. Each of the teachers understood what it meant to be a good art teacher in unique ways, connected to their personal experiences and backgrounds. As the teachers engaged in identity work to become the kind of art teacher they wanted to be, they engaged in a process of identity construction that consisted of four steps. I propose a model of identity construction in which the teachers chose teaching practices, evaluated those practices, identified challenges to their identities, and selected strategies to confirm, assert, or defend their desired identities. The findings have implications for teachers to become reflective practitioners; for teacher educators to prepare teachers to engage in reflective practices; and for administrators and policy makers to take into account the cyclical and personal nature of identity construction. This study also has implications for further research including the need to examine the dispositions of art teachers, teachers' evolving conceptions of what it means to be a good art teacher, and the effect labeling teachers' quality has on their identity construction.

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2014

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Essays in international economics and development

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This dissertation consists of three essays that broadly deal with the international economics and development. The first chapter provides empirical evidence of the prevalence and importance of intangible capital transfer within multinational corporations (MNCs). Using a unique data set of

This dissertation consists of three essays that broadly deal with the international economics and development. The first chapter provides empirical evidence of the prevalence and importance of intangible capital transfer within multinational corporations (MNCs). Using a unique data set of Korean multinational foreign affiliates, I find that most of the foreign affiliates have managers transferred from their parent, while almost half are isolated from the parent in terms of physical trade. Furthermore, the transferred managers are positively associated with labor productivity, while physical trade from the parent is less so. I consider two possibilities for this productivity effect: (1) the managers transferred from the parent are simply more efficient than native managers; and (2) they provide knowledge that increases the productivity of all inputs. I find that the latter is consistent with the data. My findings provide evidence that transferring managers from the parent is a main source of benefit from foreign direct investment (FDI) to foreign affiliates because the managers transfer firm-specific knowledge. The second chapter analyzes importance role of service or other sectors for economic growth of manufacturing. Productivity in agriculture or services has long been understood as playing an important role in the growth of manufacturing. In this paper we provide an endogenous growth model in which manufacturing growth is stimulated by the non-manufacturing sector that provides goods used for both research and final consumption. The model permits to evaluatation of two policy options for stimulating manufacturing growth: (1) a country imports more non-manufacturing goods from a foreign country with a higher productivity; or (2) the country increases productivity of domestic non-manufacturing. We find that both policies increase welfare of the economy, but depending on the policy the manufacturing sector responses differently. Specifically, employment and value added in manufacturing rise with policy (1), but contract with policy (2). Therefore, specialization through importing non-manufacturing goods explains how some Asian economies experience fast growth in the manufacturing sector without progress in the other sectors. The third chapter tests for the importance of composition effects in affecting levels and changes of education wage premiums. In this paper I revisit composition effects in the context of Korea. Korea's large and rapid expansion of education makes it an ideal place to look for composition effects. A large, policy-induced increase in attainment in the 1980s offers additional scope for identifying composition effects. I find strong evidence that the policy-induced expansion of education lowered education wage premiums for the affected cohorts, but only weak evidence that the trend expansion of education lowered education wage premiums.

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2014