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Beyond the four walls: examining the use of authentic learning modules

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ABSTRACT

While attempting to provide real world experiences in STEM, educators face numerous challenges including adhering to curriculum requirements and working with potentially limited resources. The purpose of this action research

ABSTRACT

While attempting to provide real world experiences in STEM, educators face numerous challenges including adhering to curriculum requirements and working with potentially limited resources. The purpose of this action research study was to examine how the addition of authentic learning modules to the existing University of Arizona Middle School Engineering 101 (UA MS engineering 101) unit on energy efficiency can provide students with real world experiences as active participants. During an instructional workshop, participating teachers were introduced to strategies they use in their classroom so students could engage with individuals from both inside and outside of the school to create solutions for energy issues the students have identified within their own schools. This study used a series of observations, interviews, and focus groups with the teacher participants to gather data in determining how and in what ways students were able to obtain real world experiences as active participants through the authentic learning modules. Because there are numerous teachers within the UA MS engineering 101 group, a future goal was to assist these additional teachers in providing this innovation to their students.

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  • 2016

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

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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

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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  • 2014