2017

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Volume 54, Issue 1.

1. George Veletsianos, Royce Kimmons, Ashley Shaw, Laura Pasquini & Scott Woodward: Selective openness, branding, broadcasting, and promotion: Twitter use in Canada’s public universities

2. Renate Prins, Lucy Avraamidou & Martin Goedhart: Tell me a Story: the use of narrative as a learning tool for natural selection

3. Lee Yong Tay, Shanthi Suraj Nair & Cher Ping Lim: A regression analysis of elementary students’ ICT usage vis-à-vis access to technology in Singapore


4. Christopher Drew: Edutaining audio: an exploration of education podcast design possibilities

 

5. Mary Gutman & Lynne Genser: How pre-service teachers internalize the link between research literacy and pedagogy

 

 

George Veletsianos, Royce Kimmons, Ashley Shaw, Laura Pasquini & Scott Woodward: Selective openness, branding, broadcasting, and promotion: Twitter use in Canada’s public universities

Higher education institutions have embraced social media platforms. Yet, little research has examined the characteristics of institutional social media accounts and the narratives their posts construct for faculty and student life. By investigating these topics, researchers can better understand the actual and potential roles of these tools in contemporary universities. This study focused on understanding how Canada’s public universities use Twitter, reporting descriptive, inferential, and qualitative analyses of large-scale Twitter data. Findings show extensive variability in participation patterns among institutions. Although rhetoric surrounding Twitter suggests an interactive platform, institutions mostly use it to broadcast information and construct overwhelmingly positive representations of institutional life. While the identified representations are partly authentic, they are also incomplete and misleading. Such representations suggest difficulty for students and faculty seeking to use social media to accurately anticipate campus life or to interact online in these spaces.

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Renate Prins, Lucy Avraamidou & Martin Goedhart: Tell me a Story: the use of narrative as a learning tool for natural selection

Grounded within literature pointing to the value of narrative in communicating scientific information, the purpose of this study was to examine the use of stories as a tool for teaching about natural selection in the context of school science. The study utilizes a mixed method, case study approach which focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of narrative-based curriculum materials. The data consisted of questionnaires, classroom observations, and interviews with the students and teachers. The analysis of the data showed that most of the students developed adequate scientific understandings about natural selection and they perceived the narrative as easier to comprehend than the textbook. The findings speak to the need for examining ways of blending narrative effectively into science lessons.

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Lee Yong Tay, Shanthi Suraj Nair & Cher Ping Lim: A regression analysis of elementary students’ ICT usage vis-à-vis access to technology in Singapore

This paper explores the relationship among ICT infrastructure (i.e., computing devices and Internet), one-to-one computing program and student ICT activities in school. It also looks into the differences of how ICT is being used in the teaching of English, mathematics and science at the elementary school level in relation to the availability of computing devices, Internet connection and one-to-one program. A total of 360 Grade 5 students from three schools (120 students from each school) in the western part of Singapore participated in a questionnaire adapted from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ICT Familiarity Component for Student Questionnaire regarding students’ ICT use. One of the participating schools has implemented a school-based one-to-one computing program for all its students for the past nine years, with the school providing the necessary computing devices for all its Grade 1 to 3 students and a student computer ownership program to encourage all its Grade 4 students to procure their own computing devices to be used till completion of elementary education at Grade 6. The regression analyses suggest that how ICT is being used plays a more significant role in predicting the frequency of ICT use for the various subject areas than ICT infrastructure and one-to-one computing program. Further analysis also reveals that one-to-one computing program and availability of computing devices have a significant interaction effect on the frequency of ICT usage for English but not for mathematics and science—the presence of computing devices seem to have an impact for the usage of ICT for English but not the other two subject areas. The findings concur with earlier studies that there are differences in frequency and how ICT is being used in the teaching of English, mathematics and science.

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Christopher Drew: Edutaining audio: an exploration of education podcast design possibilities

The versatility, intimacy and ease of production of podcasting make it a logical technology to apply to flexible education contexts. As a result, there has been increasing scholarly interest in the value of education podcasting in recent years. While education podcasting literature has tended to explore podcast implementation in institutional contexts, education podcasts outside of academia have also grown in popularity, to the extent that “education” is a common sub-group in podcast aggregation sites. This paper adapts Fernandez, Sallan and Simo’s framework of variables in education podcast design, to conduct a textual analysis of emergent design themes in non-institutional education podcasts. The findings reveal how highly successful podcasts from outside of educational institutions can both reinforce and challenge norms about education podcast design that exist within academic discourse, including in regard to podcast length, pedagogical approaches and the position of the podcast in the learning experience. It is the hope that the findings of this study might shift discourse from an interest in universalising ideas about “good practice” in education podcast design, towards more nuanced discussion of design practices that fit within specific contexts.
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Mary Gutman & Lynne Genser: How pre-service teachers internalize the link between research literacy and pedagogy

Enabling pre-service teachers to develop a critical view of their practice and to acquire the higher order inquiry skills necessary for pedagogic research has been and continues to be a challenge. The present study presents a unique intervention in the training of pre-service teachers in research literacy (RL) skills using a Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach. The intervention is implemented in two different Learning Communities (LC), one online and the other blended. Both immediate and long-term effects of PBL are investigated as are the effects of social and direct scaffolding within the LCs. The study focuses on transmitting the following RL skills: identifying and defining a problem, formulating a research question, and designing a research method. The findings indicate an immediate effect upon all RL skills in both LCs. The long-term effect appears only in the online LC and only for two RL skills: identifying and defining problems. Additionally, there is greater use of social scaffolding in formulating and designing a research study in the online LC than in the blended learning community. Those findings are then interpreted in terms of retention capacity and scaffolding in blended and online LCs.

 

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