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Educ. Sci., Volume 14, Issue 1 (January 2024) – 114 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Grading complex university-level programming assignments, like building fully fledged applications from scratch, poses significant challenges in manual assessment, taking up to 1 h per student. To expedite this process, a study explores various automation methods leveraging unit testing, bash scripting, and more. The aim is to define an assessment process combining automation and manual checks. It covers steps like assignment preparation, plagiarism detection, automated correctness checks, data analysis, and grading, and examines limitations of complete automation. The study provides insights and examples to streamline grading while maintaining quality and highlights areas where complete automation remains unfeasible. View this paper
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19 pages, 870 KiB  
Article
Enculturating a Protective Professional Community—Processes of Teacher Retention in a Swedish Hard-to-Staff School
by Jeffrey Casely-Hayford, Per Lindqvist, Christina Björklund, Gunnar Bergström and Lydia Kwak
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010114 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1137
Abstract
This study presented a positive deviant case: a Swedish hard-to-staff school which has had a low rate of teacher turnover over time. In line with the purpose of studying positive deviance in organisations, our exploratory inquiry was geared towards understanding how and why [...] Read more.
This study presented a positive deviant case: a Swedish hard-to-staff school which has had a low rate of teacher turnover over time. In line with the purpose of studying positive deviance in organisations, our exploratory inquiry was geared towards understanding how and why ‘at-risk’ teachers, i.e., teachers who teach in subjects which are known to have high levels of staffing difficulties in Sweden, stayed at this particular school. Using a modified grounded theory approach, our results suggested that teachers remained at the school due to being embedded in a protective professional community that was enculturated by different expressions of collegiality. Finally, these findings are discussed in relation to the theoretical concepts of teachers’ job embeddedness and social capital. Full article
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17 pages, 606 KiB  
Systematic Review
Learning to Co-Teach: A Systematic Review
by Anna Rytivaara, Raisa Ahtiainen, Iines Palmu, Henri Pesonen and Olli-Pekka Malinen
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010113 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1846
Abstract
Research on how teachers learn to co-teach is scarce. In this systematic review, the PRISMA method was used to examine the relationship between teacher learning and co-teaching in professional development programmes. Inclusion criteria was used to identify 567 articles on K–12 co-teaching, published [...] Read more.
Research on how teachers learn to co-teach is scarce. In this systematic review, the PRISMA method was used to examine the relationship between teacher learning and co-teaching in professional development programmes. Inclusion criteria was used to identify 567 articles on K–12 co-teaching, published in 2009–2018. A detailed analysis of nine articles revealed that the linkage between co-teaching and teacher learning remained narrow. Various programmes showed that the existing understanding of co-teaching or teacher learning was not used efficiently. Considerable variation in the programmes regarding the concepts, methods, and practices highlight the importance of conducting future research. Full article
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19 pages, 1100 KiB  
Article
Didactic Interventions: The Voices of Adult Migrants on Second Language Teaching and Learning in a Rural Area in Chile
by Valeria Sumonte Rojas, Lidia Andrea Fuentealba, Giselle Bahamondes Quezada and Susan Sanhueza-Henríquez
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010112 - 21 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1075
Abstract
Research in Chile, regarding language teaching and learning, has focused on Spanish as a first language (L1). However, due to the growing influx and settlement of non-Spanish-speaking adult migrants, the significance of investigating language education within a second-language (L2)-context has surged. Accordingly, the [...] Read more.
Research in Chile, regarding language teaching and learning, has focused on Spanish as a first language (L1). However, due to the growing influx and settlement of non-Spanish-speaking adult migrants, the significance of investigating language education within a second-language (L2)-context has surged. Accordingly, the objective of this study is to examine the implementation of a Spanish language teaching–learning program as an L2 from the learners’ perspectives. The ultimate objective is to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in this field within the national framework. This qualitative, descriptive/interpretive study involves 10 adult Haitian migrants who do not speak Spanish and live in a rural area. These participants possess varying educational backgrounds and are situated within a vulnerable context. In pursuit of the objective, two focus groups were convened. The outcomes underscore the pressing need for comprehensive macro-level development, at the governmental level, to address the inclusion of migrants. This entails equipping educators with linguistic proficiency and theoretical and pedagogical expertise for instructing an L2 program. Furthermore, the inclusion of linguistic mediators, a judicious use of the learners’ L1 as a pedagogical resource, and the implementation of strategies that cater to individual needs contribute to a more effective and inclusive teaching–learning experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Second Language Learning: Theories and Practices)
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13 pages, 1134 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Quality of Life of Autistic Students on the Canary Islands during the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Educational Response Offered
by María del Carmen Rodríguez-Jiménez, Irene Puerta-Araña, Ana Isabel González-Herrera and Miriam Catalina González-Afonso
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010111 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 824
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the closure of educational centers, forcing the teaching–learning process to become virtual at all levels of the educational system. The main objective of this study was to describe and analyze how students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the closure of educational centers, forcing the teaching–learning process to become virtual at all levels of the educational system. The main objective of this study was to describe and analyze how students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents perceived their quality of life and the educational response offered during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study was conducted with 50 students with grade 1 ASD, aged 8–11 years, and their parents. The methodology used was qualitative and descriptive, with semi-structured, individual interviews. The data were analyzed using the MAXQDA 2020 program. The results show that students with ASD state that they need social contact and that the fact of not experiencing it, as occurred during the COVID-19 situation, had a negative impact on their perception of their quality of life, as well as the perception of their parents, significantly affecting their emotional well-being. Likewise, it was detected that both students with ASD and their parents perceived that the educational response was inadequate during that period. Full article
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14 pages, 234 KiB  
Article
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategies in Engineering and Computer Science
by Adan Amer, Gaganpreet Sidhu, Maria Isabel Ramirez Alvarez, Juan Antonio Lopez Ramos and Seshasai Srinivasan
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010110 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 928
Abstract
This article delves into the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusiveness (EDI) in the engineering disciplines in Canada and Spain and presents the challenges faced by underrepresented individuals and ways to promote an inclusive and diverse environment. Two strategic lines are identified: (a) [...] Read more.
This article delves into the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusiveness (EDI) in the engineering disciplines in Canada and Spain and presents the challenges faced by underrepresented individuals and ways to promote an inclusive and diverse environment. Two strategic lines are identified: (a) facilitating university education access to underrepresented and minority groups and (b) guiding such students during university training to set them up for successful future careers. Accordingly, this article shows how the strategies mentioned above are implemented in some selected Canadian and Spanish universities, clearly distinguishing the approach taken in the two countries. In Canada, there is a more decentralized approach to addressing EDI issues, wherein the universities devise their agendas independently. In Spain, on the other hand, there is a stronger and more direct involvement of the government to ensure a comprehensive, system-wide approach to tackling EDI issues in academia. This article helps education policymakers to devise and implement pragmatic strategies for achieving EDI and the relevant UN-defined sustainable development goals. Full article
16 pages, 295 KiB  
Article
Perception of Teachers’ Attitudes and Training Competence of Teachers in the Field of Mathematics
by Javier Sánchez-Mendías, Antonio Miñán-Espigares and Sonia Rodríguez-Fernández
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010109 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 849
Abstract
This article presents the results of a study on the perception that future teachers have in relation to the attitudes their teachers showed towards mathematics during the Primary Education stage, their level of competence in mathematics, and the possible relationship between both variables. [...] Read more.
This article presents the results of a study on the perception that future teachers have in relation to the attitudes their teachers showed towards mathematics during the Primary Education stage, their level of competence in mathematics, and the possible relationship between both variables. A questionnaire was administered to a sample of 488 future Primary School teachers, subjecting the obtained data to a descriptive, multivariate, and inferential analysis in order to know the perception of these attitudes, establish subject profiles, and know the incidence between this variable and mathematical competence. The future teachers show an ambivalent perception of their teachers’ attitude towards mathematics. Three profiles of subjects with negative, neutral, and positive perception are set, with almost half of the sample included in the first two profiles. In the inferential study, values that reflect a significant incidence between both variables are obtained. It is important that teachers convey favourable attitudes towards mathematics to their students, since the more favourable they are, the better the levels of competence obtained. To minimise this deficit, content and activities aimed at improving mastery and encouraging the development of favourable attitudes towards this discipline through specific actions should be incorporated into training programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Teacher Education)
15 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Self-Esteem among University Students: How It Can Be Improved through Teamwork Skills
by Elena De Prada, Mercedes Mareque and Margarita Pino-Juste
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010108 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1933
Abstract
Teamwork skills have been demonstrated to be excellent allies for the academic and professional sphere, and they can improve students’ psychological balance and self-esteem. For this reason, it is important to explore the relationship between teamwork skills and self-esteem. Considering the relevance of [...] Read more.
Teamwork skills have been demonstrated to be excellent allies for the academic and professional sphere, and they can improve students’ psychological balance and self-esteem. For this reason, it is important to explore the relationship between teamwork skills and self-esteem. Considering the relevance of soft skills and self-esteem in university training, the main objective of this study is to determine whether there is a relationship between teamwork skills and the successful development of self-esteem, a fundamental emotional factor in education. Additionally, we will analyse how self-esteem is related to other socio-academic factors (age, sex, and GPA). A questionnaire was distributed to social science university students. The Rosenberg 10-item scale, which aims to measure feelings of personal worth and self-respect, has been used to determine self-esteem. To measure soft skills for teamwork, we chose the Teamwork Skills Questionnaire, which evaluates the skill level of an individual in order to participate effectively in teamwork. The regression model indicates that self-esteem predictors related to teamwork skills are decision making, leadership, and communication. The results suggest significant differences in some individual variables, such as sex and age, with lower self-esteem being observed in females and older students. The described enriching interactions suggest the need to integrate teamwork training and self-esteem fostering at university to offer students lifelong competencies for their future success. Full article
16 pages, 293 KiB  
Article
The Student Evaluation of Teaching Premium for Clinical Faculty in Economics
by Jasmine Bordere, Fonda Carter, Steven Caudill and Franklin Mixon, Jr.
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010107 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 712
Abstract
This article uses student evaluation of teaching (SET) data for 947 faculty members affiliated with 90 U.S. colleges and universities to study the presence of a teaching quality rating premium for clinical economics faculty relative to traditional tenure-track economics faculty. Based on OLS [...] Read more.
This article uses student evaluation of teaching (SET) data for 947 faculty members affiliated with 90 U.S. colleges and universities to study the presence of a teaching quality rating premium for clinical economics faculty relative to traditional tenure-track economics faculty. Based on OLS estimation, we find this difference ranges between 3.9% and 4.8% and is robust to different econometric model specifications. Moreover, the average treatment effect from a propensity score weighting approach suggests that the difference ranges between 5.8% and 6.1%. Lastly, our analysis produces an institutional ranking of economics departments based on department-level SETs. Overall, our findings are encouraging signs for the hiring and retention of clinical faculty in economics departments. Full article
20 pages, 328 KiB  
Article
Understanding Science Teachers’ Integration of Active Methodologies in Club Settings: An Exploratory Study
by Jorge Martín-García, María Eugenia Dies Álvarez and Ana Sofia Afonso
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010106 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 945
Abstract
This study analyses if school science clubs may serve as a resource to facilitate the introduction of active methodologies into science classrooms. Focusing on science clubs in Portuguese schools, this study aims to determine whether the teachers who coordinate and direct these clubs [...] Read more.
This study analyses if school science clubs may serve as a resource to facilitate the introduction of active methodologies into science classrooms. Focusing on science clubs in Portuguese schools, this study aims to determine whether the teachers who coordinate and direct these clubs promote activities that incorporate aspects of problem-based learning and project-based learning methodologies. In order to do so, a series of semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 teachers, and their responses were analysed using content analysis strategies. The results show that although they do not explicitly refer to the use of these methodologies, teachers do propose the implementation of projects within clubs, and they incorporate aspects of these strategies in the activities they conduct. In this sense, teachers appreciate the role of clubs in promoting these types of strategies (PBL y PjBL) and the facilities they offer for their implementation. Additionally, teachers believe that one can only learn how to do projects through practise, i.e., doing projects with their students, and they think that clubs offer an opportunity to develop PBL and PjBL methodologies in a context free from the responsibilities and constraints of the classroom. Full article
11 pages, 1931 KiB  
Article
Identifying Implementation Strategies for Integrating Drones into STEM and Career Technology Education CTE Programs
by Timothy F. Slater
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010105 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 838
Abstract
As drone technology is rapidly becoming accessible to school children in terms of both low cost and ease-of-use, primary and secondary school teachers are beginning to consider where modern drones can play an important role in schooling. To date, there is little empirical [...] Read more.
As drone technology is rapidly becoming accessible to school children in terms of both low cost and ease-of-use, primary and secondary school teachers are beginning to consider where modern drones can play an important role in schooling. To date, there is little empirical education research printed in the education research literature guiding innovative curriculum developers in the incipient domain of drone education. As a result, teachers interested in including emerging technologies in their classrooms are often at a loss of where to begin. Through clinical interviews with schoolteachers in the United States, our study identified five readily accessible “departure points” to include drones in contemporary STEM and vocational technology (CTE) school classrooms that help teachers address common curricular goals. Taken together, these interviews reveal that teachers using drones follow one of several distinct pathways as a first step toward achieving a widespread goal of teaching students to use modern technologies to construct, pursue, and communicate findings of fruitful research inquiries—the prevalence of which is not reflected in a comprehensive review of the literature. The five dominant pathways for starting a successful drone education emerging from the interview data were as follows: timed racing trials; precision flight obstacle courses; computer coding; videography; and domain-specific knowledge of drone operation laws and ethics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section STEM Education)
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27 pages, 1511 KiB  
Article
Assessing Teachers’ Capabilities to Work with Models and Evaluate Results in the Context of a Complex and Authentic STEM Problem
by André Greubel, Hans-Stefan Siller and Martin Hennecke
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010104 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 786
Abstract
Since the practice turn, the contemporary education landscape has been shifting from mere knowledge dissemination to empowering students to solve problems. Special emphasis is given to problems on which students work for an extended period (at least several hours; frequently multiple school days). [...] Read more.
Since the practice turn, the contemporary education landscape has been shifting from mere knowledge dissemination to empowering students to solve problems. Special emphasis is given to problems on which students work for an extended period (at least several hours; frequently multiple school days). While working on such problems, it is essential to employ a variety of activities. Two of these are working with models and evaluating models and their results. One topic that has received little attention up to now is the question of to what extent educators are able to apply these skills. This study, fundamentally exploratory in nature, seeks to delve into such an assessment by evaluating the competence of n=20 educators in estimating and evaluating building evacuation duration using digital simulations. Our results show that the participants self-assessed as being able to solve such exercises. However, this was contrasted by our external assessment of the solutions provided by the participants, which showed that the solutions lacked in quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methodological Issues in STE(A)M Education)
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21 pages, 2402 KiB  
Article
Interactive Homework: A Tool for Parent Engagement
by Laura Moore and Robert N. Ronau
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010103 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 783
Abstract
Families have largely been excluded from the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM), reducing their ability to extend their child’s mathematics learning. CCSSM emphasizes different instructional elements (e.g., pictorial representations, problem solving, multiple strategies for solving) that may differ [...] Read more.
Families have largely been excluded from the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM), reducing their ability to extend their child’s mathematics learning. CCSSM emphasizes different instructional elements (e.g., pictorial representations, problem solving, multiple strategies for solving) that may differ greatly from how parents learned mathematics. In addition, many school officials have ineffectively engaged parents in the changes, further diminishing their capacity to participate in their child’s learning. This case study examined parent mathematics self-efficacy and parent mathematics knowledge for teaching, factors that influence the effectiveness of their engagement in their child’s mathematics learning. This study was also implemented to identify elements that the parent participant found helpful for their child’s mathematics learning. A thematic analysis was performed on the data sources, the interactive homework assignments, a survey, observations, a researcher’s journal, and an interview to conclude that the interactive homework assignments improved parent mathematics self-efficacy and parent mathematics knowledge for teaching. The parent participant also identified the assignments’ side-by-side examples, additional practice, and the easy access of the assignments as features of the intervention that enhanced her ability to support her child. Full article
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20 pages, 1638 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Impact of the WEI4S Instructional Approach on Middle School Students’ Algebraic Problem-Solving Skills
by Zeynep Çiğdem Özcan
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010102 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 656
Abstract
This study investigates the effectiveness of an instructional approach called “Worked-out Examples Involving 4 Stages” (WEI4S) for enhancing middle school students’ algebraic problem-solving skills and reducing CL. Based on cognitive load theory (CLT), WEI4S combines four stages (analyse, explain, investigate, and apply) to [...] Read more.
This study investigates the effectiveness of an instructional approach called “Worked-out Examples Involving 4 Stages” (WEI4S) for enhancing middle school students’ algebraic problem-solving skills and reducing CL. Based on cognitive load theory (CLT), WEI4S combines four stages (analyse, explain, investigate, and apply) to facilitate deep comprehension. This study involved 36 novice seventh-grade students identified as having challenges solving algebraic word problems. Participants were randomly assigned to different groups, including the experimental group that received the WEI4S intervention and a control group that participated in problem-solving activities. Pre- and post-tests, as well as a transfer test, were administered to measure algebra performance and CL, and students’ opinions about the intervention were collected. The findings revealed that students exposed to WEI4S showed significant improvements in algebra performance, decreased intrinsic CL, and no negative changes in terms of extrinsic and germane load compared to the control group. Overall, the WEI4S approach offers a promising avenue for effective mathematics instruction by providing a structured framework that encourages active engagement and problem-solving skills. Full article
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15 pages, 265 KiB  
Article
Using Wikipedia to Develop 21st Century Skills: Perspectives from General Education Students
by Marvi Remmik, Ann Siiman, Riina Reinsalu, Maigi Vija and Andrus Org
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010101 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1583
Abstract
Purpose: The aim of the study was to find out how and why students use Wikipedia and what their attitudes are towards Wikipedia as a source of information for learning. Methodology: The article is based on a quantitative study in which 381 Estonian [...] Read more.
Purpose: The aim of the study was to find out how and why students use Wikipedia and what their attitudes are towards Wikipedia as a source of information for learning. Methodology: The article is based on a quantitative study in which 381 Estonian school children participated in filling out an online survey. The questionnaire included both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Findings: Statistical analyses and responses to open-ended questions showed that students often use Wikipedia as a primary source of information, but that their use of the site for learning tasks is guided by teachers’ attitudes and perceptions towards Wikipedia. Students perceive Wikipedia as a quick and convenient source of information but are uncertain about its reliability. Under teachers’ guidance, they have learnt to search for information and to be source-critical, while more attention is needed to develop academic literacy, including both text comprehension and text composition. Value: As there is still very little research on how Wikipedia is used for learning purposes in general education schools, the results of the study contribute to further discussion on the potential of Wikipedia as an innovative teaching tool for different subjects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Education: Theory, Method and Practice)
15 pages, 39331 KiB  
Article
Photographs of Play: Narratives of Teaching
by Susanne Garvis, Anne Keary and Natalie McCallum
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010100 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1006
Abstract
Research affirms positive results between children’s play and academic success. While play is heavily featured within the early childhood curriculum, limited studies have explored how play is actually implemented within early years settings. The aim of this study was to enhance children’s play [...] Read more.
Research affirms positive results between children’s play and academic success. While play is heavily featured within the early childhood curriculum, limited studies have explored how play is actually implemented within early years settings. The aim of this study was to enhance children’s play and learning by using photographs to explore play-related pedagogical practices of early childhood teachers in Australia over time. Using visual narrative inquiry, three families participated (mother and child) and shared school photos of the mother in an early childhood context and the current child in an early childhood context. The photos were analysed with a visual analysis approach to understand play and teaching across the two time periods. Key findings revealed what has changed and what has become part of the foundation of play in Australian early childhood education. Findings are important to expand the current understanding of play and the historical perspectives of play. Full article
12 pages, 229 KiB  
Article
Parents’ Involvement in Choosing Extracurricular Sports Activities: A Gendered Perspective from Israel
by Orr Levental, Dalit Lev-Arey and Ilan Tamir
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010099 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 870
Abstract
This study explores the multifaceted motivations behind parental decisions to enroll their children in organized sports, with a focus on how these decisions intersect with gender norms and values. Through qualitative interviews with mothers and fathers in Israel, this research uncovers a complex [...] Read more.
This study explores the multifaceted motivations behind parental decisions to enroll their children in organized sports, with a focus on how these decisions intersect with gender norms and values. Through qualitative interviews with mothers and fathers in Israel, this research uncovers a complex interplay between societal expectations, personal values, and the gender identities of both parents and children. A thematic analysis of the interviews revealed that despite a societal shift towards more gender-neutral perspectives, traditional gender roles persist, particularly in the attitudes of fathers towards the sports participation of their sons. This research identifies a paradox where girls are encouraged to participate in a broader range of sports, including those traditionally viewed as masculine, while boys face more restrictions, particularly against engaging in sports perceived as feminine. Mothers generally exhibit more flexibility in challenging gender norms, suggesting the potential for gradual change in future generations. This study’s findings contribute to the understanding of how parental guidance shapes children’s sports involvement and the perpetuation or challenging of gender norms within this context. Future research could benefit from a broader, more diverse sample and a mixed-methods approach to enhance generalizability and reduce potential biases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Emotional Aspects of Academic Performance)
16 pages, 4562 KiB  
Article
Student and Instructor Ratings in Geographic Information Systems: A Comparative Analysis
by Emilio Ortega, Belén Martín and Sergio González-Ávila
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010098 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 789
Abstract
Geographic information system (GIS) education empowers engineering students to make informed decisions, integrate comprehensive data, and communicate effectively through maps and visualizations. In GIS education, it is common to employ problem-based learning, which can benefit from the advantages of peer assessment methods. Among [...] Read more.
Geographic information system (GIS) education empowers engineering students to make informed decisions, integrate comprehensive data, and communicate effectively through maps and visualizations. In GIS education, it is common to employ problem-based learning, which can benefit from the advantages of peer assessment methods. Among the benefits of peer assessment are the enhancement of students’ capacity for analysis and synthesis, improvement in organizational and professional communication skills, and the development of critical judgement. However, a consequence of its application is that there may be variation in students’ final grades, with no consensus in the literature on this matter. This paper explores the extent to which the application of peer ratings among students can modify student grades in the field of GIS education. This was achieved by conducting an experiment in which undergraduate engineering students assessed two problem-based learning activities carried out by their peers in two different basic GIS courses. The ratings obtained after the peer assessment were compared with the grades given by the instructors. The results allowed us to debate whether the teaching benefits of this strategy compensate for the differences between the students’ grades and those given by instructors. Although no clear pattern was found in the mean ratings awarded by the two groups of evaluators, the results show that student engagement in peer assessment was high. This experience has demonstrated that the assessments of the two groups complement each other and allow students to gain a better understanding of their ratings and how to improve their skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Progress in Geography Education Research)
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23 pages, 6593 KiB  
Article
Problem Posing and Problem Solving in Primary School: Opportunities for the Development of Different Literacies
by Rita Santos, Ana Santiago and Catarina Cruz
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010097 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Problem posing and problem solving, involving significant situations for students, encourage effective learning, mathematical reasoning, communication, and connections in/with mathematics, enhancing the emergence of different literacies. Although problem solving is more frequently present in teaching practices, the ability to formulate them must also [...] Read more.
Problem posing and problem solving, involving significant situations for students, encourage effective learning, mathematical reasoning, communication, and connections in/with mathematics, enhancing the emergence of different literacies. Although problem solving is more frequently present in teaching practices, the ability to formulate them must also be developed, since it requires other skills, such as writing a problem statement, establishing connections between reality and mathematical knowledge, and creating and idealizing problematic situations, among others. Financial Literacy and Consumer Literacy promote contexts related to the student’s daily life and are promising in the development of problem posing. These literacies are also relevant to the development of a healthy, balanced, and responsible relationship with money and to raising awareness of the student regarding the importance of their actions in society, the economy, and the environment. This text presents part of a qualitative, descriptive, and interpretive research, developed by a teacher of children in the third year of a Portuguese primary school, involving problem posing and problem solving in Financial and Consumer Education contexts, with the following research question: How does posing and solving problems, in contexts close to the students’ reality, influence the development of different literacies? The results point out the mobilization of different mathematical concepts, in articulation with other areas of knowledge, and the development of skills and knowledge innate to different literacies, namely Mathematical Literacy, Financial Literacy and Consumer Literacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Early Childhood Education)
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23 pages, 3230 KiB  
Article
Is It Possible to Apply Inquiry in the First Level of Primary School without Hindering the Acquisition of Scientific Competencies? Perspectives of Pupils and Their Pre-Service Teacher
by Jaime Delgado-Iglesias, Javier Bobo-Pinilla, Roberto Reinoso-Tapia and María Victoria Vega-Agapito
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010096 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 725
Abstract
The aim of this study is to assess the application of inquiry as a teaching strategy during the practicum of a pre-service teacher and to verify the acquisition of scientific skills by her students. The importance of this study is the application of [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to assess the application of inquiry as a teaching strategy during the practicum of a pre-service teacher and to verify the acquisition of scientific skills by her students. The importance of this study is the application of inquiry as a teaching strategy at lower levels of basic education to contribute to scientific skills and scientific literacy. The sample consisted of 27 pupils in the first level of primary education and one pre-service teacher in a Spanish school. The methodology used was a case study with a participatory experimental design, incorporating guided discovery and teacher questioning focused on plant growth. The results indicate that the pupils improved their understanding and assimilation of content related to plant functions, scientific procedures, and critical thinking. The pre-service teacher demonstrated mastery of the inquiry-based methodology, confirming an adequate level of both pedagogical and scientific competence. Some suggestions are provided to enhance her training. The study concludes by demonstrating that it is possible to implement inquiry at any educational level, despite the potential limitations of the students. It is recommended that pre-service teachers receive comprehensive training to enable them to facilitate the acquisition of scientific competence among their students. Full article
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15 pages, 307 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Employability Skills of Biology Graduates through an Interdisciplinary Project-Based Service Learning Experience with Engineering and Translation Undergraduate Students
by José Luis González-Cespón, José Antonio Alonso-Rodríguez, Susana Rodríguez-Barcia, Pedro Pablo Gallego and Margarita R. Pino-Juste
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010095 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 811
Abstract
We describe an interdisciplinary experience based on the application of the Project-Based Service Learning (PBSL) methodology for six learning outcomes directly related to employability skills. The objective was to assess students’ learning outcomes, the level of satisfaction of students and lecturers with the [...] Read more.
We describe an interdisciplinary experience based on the application of the Project-Based Service Learning (PBSL) methodology for six learning outcomes directly related to employability skills. The objective was to assess students’ learning outcomes, the level of satisfaction of students and lecturers with the PBSL, and the advantages and disadvantages of the implementation of this learning methodology. Interdisciplinary teamwork of undergraduate science, engineering, and humanities students was required to design real-world projects to develop their transferable skills, through the process of learning by doing. Students perceived that PBSL favored employability skills such as knowledge acquisition, self-directed learning, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills. Students and lecturers showed high satisfaction with PBSL and outlined its advantages as an active and experiential learning methodology. In conclusion, the implementation of the collaborative and interdisciplinary PBSL methodology is decidedly recommended to enhance Biology, Engineering, and Translation graduates’ learning satisfaction and their future employability. Full article
20 pages, 2516 KiB  
Article
Seeing Eye to Eye? Comparing Faculty and Student Perceptions of Biomolecular Visualization Assessments
by Josh T. Beckham, Daniel R. Dries, Bonnie L. Hall, Rachel M. Mitton-Fry, Shelly Engelman, Charmita Burch, Roderico Acevedo, Pamela S. Mertz, Didem Vardar-Ulu, Swati Agrawal, Kristin M. Fox, Shane Austin, Margaret A. Franzen, Henry V. Jakubowski, Walter R. P. Novak, Rebecca Roberts, Alberto I. Roca and Kristen Procko
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010094 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1219
Abstract
While visual literacy has been identified as a foundational skill in life science education, there are many challenges in teaching and assessing biomolecular visualization skills. Among these are the lack of consensus about what constitutes competence and limited understanding of student and instructor [...] Read more.
While visual literacy has been identified as a foundational skill in life science education, there are many challenges in teaching and assessing biomolecular visualization skills. Among these are the lack of consensus about what constitutes competence and limited understanding of student and instructor perceptions of visual literacy tasks. In this study, we administered a set of biomolecular visualization assessments, developed as part of the BioMolViz project, to both students and instructors at multiple institutions and compared their perceptions of task difficulty. We then analyzed our findings using a mixed-methods approach. Quantitative analysis was used to answer the following research questions: (1) Which assessment items exhibit statistically significant disparities or agreements in perceptions of difficulty between instructors and students? (2) Do these perceptions persist when controlling for race/ethnicity and gender? and (3) How does student perception of difficulty relate to performance? Qualitative analysis of open-ended comments was used to identify predominant themes related to visual problem solving. The results show that perceptions of difficulty significantly differ between students and instructors and that students’ performance is a significant predictor of their perception of difficulty. Overall, this study underscores the need to incorporate deliberate instruction in visualization into undergraduate life science curricula to improve student ability in this area. Accordingly, we offer recommendations to promote visual literacy skills in the classroom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visualization in Biology Education)
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19 pages, 1109 KiB  
Article
Reflections of a First-Year Chemistry Teacher: Intersecting PCK, Responsiveness, and Inquiry Instruction
by Dana Lynn Morris
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010093 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 804
Abstract
Many educators agree that science instruction should be dominated by inquiry strategies, while others stress the need for responsive practices to place a focus on student learning and understanding. Some scholars believe the two approaches exist on opposite ends of an instructional spectrum, [...] Read more.
Many educators agree that science instruction should be dominated by inquiry strategies, while others stress the need for responsive practices to place a focus on student learning and understanding. Some scholars believe the two approaches exist on opposite ends of an instructional spectrum, while others believe they may be aligned and intertwined. Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), the broadly accepted gold standard for science education, seems to include both. Understanding how teachers incorporate inquiry strategies and responsiveness and how the two intersect could lead to a more complete framework for K–12 science instruction and help streamline science teacher education. This qualitative single-case study examined the reflections of a first-year chemistry teacher by exploring how she demonstrated responsiveness to students while maintaining a teaching orientation of inquiry-based instruction. Results indicated that responsiveness depended on a high level of PCK and led to higher or lower levels of inquiry based on the students’ need for teacher support. Additionally, findings showed that the teacher’s stated and demonstrated beliefs about inquiry were disconnected. Finally, a gap between science conceptual understanding and mathematics PCK suggested the need to support more innovative mathematics pedagogical strategies during physical science teacher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inquiry-Based STEM Teaching and Learning)
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18 pages, 1765 KiB  
Article
Impact of Learning Analytics Guidance on Student Self-Regulated Learning Skills, Performance, and Satisfaction: A Mixed Methods Study
by Dimitrios E. Tzimas and Stavros N. Demetriadis
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010092 - 15 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1206
Abstract
Learning analytics (LA) involves collecting, processing, and visualizing big data to help teachers optimize learning conditions. Despite its contributions, LA has not yet been able to meet teachers’ needs because it does not provide sufficient actionable insights that emphasize more on analytics and [...] Read more.
Learning analytics (LA) involves collecting, processing, and visualizing big data to help teachers optimize learning conditions. Despite its contributions, LA has not yet been able to meet teachers’ needs because it does not provide sufficient actionable insights that emphasize more on analytics and less on learning. Our work uses specific analytics for student guidance to evaluate an instructional design that focuses on LA agency between teachers and students. The research goal is to investigate whether the minimal and strong guidance provided by the LA learning approach has the same impact on student outcomes. The research questions are as follows “Does the LA-based minimal and strong guidance learning approach have the same impact on student performance and SRL skills? What are the students’ learning perceptions and satisfaction under LA-based guidance?” A mixed methods study was conducted at a university in which LA-based strong guidance was applied to the experimental group and minimal guidance was given to the control group. When strong guidance was applied, the results indicated increased final grades and SRL skills (metacognitive activities, time management, persistence, and help seeking). Furthermore, student satisfaction was high with LA-based guidance. Future research could adapt our study to nonformal education to provide nuanced insights into student outcomes and teachers’ perceptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning)
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18 pages, 1797 KiB  
Article
A Quasi-Experimental Study on the Development of Creative Writing Skills in Primary School Students
by Marta-Iuliana Vicol, Monalisa-Laura Gavriluț and Liliana Mâță
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010091 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1510
Abstract
The purpose of this research was to evaluate the impact of using an educational program on the development of creative writing skills in fourth-grade students. Creative writing is an important component of teaching, learning, and assessment at the level of primary education. The [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research was to evaluate the impact of using an educational program on the development of creative writing skills in fourth-grade students. Creative writing is an important component of teaching, learning, and assessment at the level of primary education. The objectives of the study aimed to identify the general level of development of creative writing skills and establish any significant differences in the development of specific components of creative writing skills (narrative voice, characterization, mood and atmosphere, language and technical aspects of writing, dialogue, narration, setting, image and plot). A quasi-experimental design with intervention and control groups was used. A total of 146 students from 3 public school institutions in the city of Bacau, Romania, that include elementary grades participated in the study. The research group consisted of 73 students in the intervention group and 73 students in the control group. A paired-samples t test was used to compare the scores for two paired variables. The research results have shown that creative writing skills are developing in young school-age students. Also, it was found that there are significant differences in the students from the experimental group, compared to the students in the control group, at the level of the nine components of creative writing skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Language and Literacy Education)
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15 pages, 5227 KiB  
Article
Design Thinking in Higher Education Case Studies: Disciplinary Contrasts between Cultural Heritage and Language and Technology
by Mary Griffith and Clotilde Lechuga-Jimenez
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010090 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 974
Abstract
Design thinking is a set of cognitive, strategic, and practical procedures used in innovation. This article argues that this approach varies across disciplines. The contexts for this study are two higher educational frameworks where language and technology have different aims and target unique [...] Read more.
Design thinking is a set of cognitive, strategic, and practical procedures used in innovation. This article argues that this approach varies across disciplines. The contexts for this study are two higher educational frameworks where language and technology have different aims and target unique skill sets and where transdisciplinarity is crucial. In our contrastive case study, we use a four-step model to compare two contexts. QUAN(qual) → QUAL mixed methodology is used which includes a quantitative and a qualitative comparative analysis. Context one takes place in an education faculty and focuses on developing cultural heritage. Context two takes place within a research project on linguistics and telecommunications involving linguistic analysis and bioelectrical measurement. Our findings indicate that there are clear and specific differences between the two domains when approaching design thinking. We observe that engineers seem to have a tangible final product in mind at each step of the process, while in the social sciences, the construct is more humanistic in its approach and works towards multiple tangible goals, including an examination of the existing needs in the community. The novelty of the study is the applied approach it takes in treating transdisciplinarity as a skill that is essential both in research as well as in the teaching–learning process. Full article
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13 pages, 255 KiB  
Article
Supporting Learning Differences: Effects of Cognitive Training on Cognitive Abilities in a School-Based Sample
by Lisa Looney, Eugene H. Wong, Kevin P. Rosales, Jennifer M. Bacon and Dudley J. Wiest
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010089 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1000
Abstract
A growing body of research demonstrates the effectiveness of computerized cognitive training (CCT) in building specific abilities (e.g., working memory) among school-age children. As a result, CCT is increasingly cited as a means to enhance and support students’ academic performance and school experience. [...] Read more.
A growing body of research demonstrates the effectiveness of computerized cognitive training (CCT) in building specific abilities (e.g., working memory) among school-age children. As a result, CCT is increasingly cited as a means to enhance and support students’ academic performance and school experience. However, many studies exploring CCT as an intervention have done so outside of the school setting, limiting its potential impact with regard to students who may benefit from it but cannot access such supports. This project examined the efficacy of a CCT program implemented within the academic day for all students attending a private school. The findings showed that two CCT programs resulted in improvements in working memory, cognitive flexibility, and/or processing speed among third graders through sixth graders (N = 95). Furthermore, this project demonstrates a model for the effective integration of CCT into a school day without interrupting the academic curriculum. The present results have important implications for the current ideological shift in education that focuses on how to more broadly address students’ learning differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Education and Psychology)
16 pages, 1511 KiB  
Article
Competences Expected and Gained during the Teaching Practicum: Analysis of Three Competence Areas Affected during the Pandemic
by Josué Prieto-Prieto, Javier Cruz-Rodríguez, Blanca García-Riaza and María José Hernández-Serrano
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010088 - 13 Jan 2024
Viewed by 774
Abstract
This study analyzes three competency areas promoted in the Practicum during the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 academic years: pedagogical and didactic competences, coexistence and participation management and collaborative work. To this end, using a non-experimental design, data were collected from a sample of 725 [...] Read more.
This study analyzes three competency areas promoted in the Practicum during the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 academic years: pedagogical and didactic competences, coexistence and participation management and collaborative work. To this end, using a non-experimental design, data were collected from a sample of 725 Education students from University of Salamanca with the aims of determining the students’ expectations about the Practicum prior to its development and of measuring its impact on the students during its development or the influence of the context imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was contextualized in two Practicum subjects included in the curricula of the bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood/Primary Education at the University of Salamanca. Both degrees are taught at three different university centers, Ávila, Salamanca and Zamora. The results revealed the importance of the preparation of the students in their university training period with regard to the first competence area, together with the perceptions of the students about what they learnt in the competences of areas 2 and 3. Relevant conclusions were drawn about their learning expectations towards the second area and the problems caused by the pandemic in order to develop communication skills with students and families. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Teacher Education)
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21 pages, 311 KiB  
Article
Scouts’ Perspectives on Learning Experiences from a Pedagogical Innovation Scope
by José Sinde and José Matias Alves
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010087 - 13 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2103
Abstract
The Portuguese educational system aims at nurturing the holistic development of individuals and societal progress, surpassing the mere transmission of curriculum-based knowledge. While considerable advancements have been made, the need for ongoing innovation and equal educational opportunities remains evident, so that all children [...] Read more.
The Portuguese educational system aims at nurturing the holistic development of individuals and societal progress, surpassing the mere transmission of curriculum-based knowledge. While considerable advancements have been made, the need for ongoing innovation and equal educational opportunities remains evident, so that all children can have not only equal access to education, but also equal chances of success. This study investigates the largest Portuguese Scout movement, the CNE, exploring its organisational and pedagogical approaches, potentially applicable in formal education settings. This research surveyed participants aged 18–22, having completed approximately 12 years in the Scout movement. Data collection via focus group followed a semi-structured script, before a thorough content analysis was carried. Findings are organised as follows: Pedagogical organisation in learning cycles; Patrol system; The four stages of the Project Method; Characterization of the Scout Game and other learning process dimensions; Other competencies and values developed throughout the Scout learning course; and Comparisons with formal education contexts. The discourse of participants strongly suggests the Scout movement’s potential to inspire educational change, displaying consistent indicators of pedagogical innovation. The study advocates for further exploration of the CNE’s pedagogical functioning and its potential to serve as an inspiration for transformative changes in educational systems worldwide, as evidenced by the learners’ reflections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Teacher Education)
17 pages, 6523 KiB  
Article
A Primer for Design and Systems Thinkers: A First-Year Engineering Course for Mindset Development
by Jac Ka Lok Leung, Davy Tsz Kit Ng and Chi-Ying Tsui
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010086 - 13 Jan 2024
Viewed by 987
Abstract
Teaching students to think in complex systems and design is presumably intricate, creative, and nonlinear. However, due to the overwhelming number of standardized tools and frameworks, the process sometimes ends up being procedural and deductive. Conformity to rigid procedures loses the intention of [...] Read more.
Teaching students to think in complex systems and design is presumably intricate, creative, and nonlinear. However, due to the overwhelming number of standardized tools and frameworks, the process sometimes ends up being procedural and deductive. Conformity to rigid procedures loses the intention of creative problem-solving towards tackling wicked problems. This paper proposes a project-based approach to instill the mindsets for those who aspire to be design and systems thinkers through a first-year engineering course. Using the ADDIE model, the instructional design was implemented in three modules focusing on design, systems, and integration for real-world applications. The instructional design was evaluated via course feedback surveys and focus-group interviews. Students indicated positive impacts on creative mindsets, habits of systems thinkers, and interdisciplinary awareness. However, negative comments about the course arrangement such as heavy workload and disconnection between topics were identified. Suggestions from students, challenges faced by the instructors, and recommended practices are discussed. In times of increasing need to reform higher education due to digitization and artificial intelligence, this study provides a timely investigation of a new project-based and mindset-focused pedagogy in design and systems thinking education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Project Based Learning and Engineering Education)
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19 pages, 508 KiB  
Article
Constructing in Minecraft in Primary School as a Boundary-Crossing Practice
by Giuseppe Ritella and Roberto Marcone
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010085 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 976
Abstract
This study explores the educational adoption of Minecraft as a boundary-crossing practice in primary schools. Previous research indicates that Minecraft can facilitate connections between educational activities and students’ out-of-school experiences, promoting the development of skills such as creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Using a [...] Read more.
This study explores the educational adoption of Minecraft as a boundary-crossing practice in primary schools. Previous research indicates that Minecraft can facilitate connections between educational activities and students’ out-of-school experiences, promoting the development of skills such as creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Using a qualitative approach, this study analyzed group interviews with 37 primary school students who participated in a Minecraft-based school project. The analysis focused on instances of boundary crossing associated with the Minecraft activity, allowing an examination of how various socio-cultural boundaries were overcome. The results suggest that educational activities in Minecraft can facilitate connections between school and out-of-school contexts. Moreover, the results indicate that Minecraft can serve as an interdisciplinary learning environment, enabling students to acquire knowledge and skills across diverse domains and disciplines. The analysis also underscores the significance of teachers’ design work in transforming the game into an educational resource. Overall, this article argues that the educational adoption of Minecraft has the potential to foster the construction of continuity between students’ different spheres of life, as well as prompting a reconsideration of students’ previous cultural classifications and social positions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boundary Objects and Practices in Educational Contexts)
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