Volume 11, Number 3, Winter 2012
A Learning Journey for All: American Elementary Teachers’ Use of Classroom Wikis
In response to the needs for understanding teaching practices and approaches with a technology tool in actual elementary classrooms, this paper examines the perspectives of American elementary teachers who use classroom wikis. Specially, it examines three main ideas: (a) teaching approaches and strategies across subject areas in the primary and upper grades, (b) teaching and learning benefits with a wiki, and (c) lessons from the teachers who used wikis. By emphasizing their experience, strategies, and reflections associated with using a wiki, this paper provides their points of view about the wikis, in addition to presenting valuable practical approaches from them that many other teachers and teacher candidates can learn from. It explores the perspectives of using wikis by beginning with the discussions of the concepts of child-centeredness and its relationship with technology—in particular, the wiki.
Examining Pictorial Models and Virtual Manipulatives for Third-Grade Fraction Instruction
The purpose of this study was to examine pictorial representations, whether in static or dynamic modalities, and their impact on student learning in a classroom with low-achieving students. The investigation emerged from a classroom teacher’s action research project. During a three-week fraction unit, nineteen third-grade low-achieving students participated in two groups – a Dynamic Virtual Manipulatives (DVM) group using virtual manipulatives, and a Static Pictorial Models (SPM) group using pictorial models. Students in both the DVM and SPM groups showed significant improvements between the pre- and post-tests of fraction concepts. Students’ visualization skills increased while using pictorial models, in both the static and dynamic modalities.
Aligning Web-based Tools to the Research Process Cycle: A Resource for Collaborative Research Projects
Using John Creswell’s Research Process Cycle as a framework, this article describes various web-based collaborative technologies useful for enhancing the organization and efficiency of educational research. Visualization tools (Cacoo) assist researchers in identifying a research problem. Resource storage tools (Delicious, Mendeley, EasyBib) improve the collection and organization of resources for a literature review. Content development and management (PBWorks) as well as productivity (GoogleDocs) tools organize materials for researchers to write, view, edit, and analyze. Finally, various communication tools (Blogger, Twitter, Skype) improve the process of evaluating and reporting research.