Virtual School Meanderings

November 24, 2022

JOLR Article Notice – Professional Development for Virtual Environment: Designing Assistive-technology infused Inquiry-based learning experience for Online Teaching

The seventh and final article in this issue.

Remember that JOLR is an open access journal, so follow the link below to access this article.

Abstract

COVID-19 has presented new challenges for all teachers, especially teachers of students with special needs. Students have struggled with online learning environments with limited opportunities for social interaction and resources for these disruptive times. The chapter examined the effect of a professional development (PD) intervention, guided by the inquiry-based learning framework (IBL) to prepare special education teachers to engage students with disabilities for online teaching. This PD intervention used assistive technology (AT) as a catalyst for helping teachers to develop competencies in designing inquiry-based learning experience for online teaching. The research study utilized the sequential mixed methods approach to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Findings showed that the structure and content of PD supported development of special education teachers’ competency in designing AT-infused inquiry-based experience for students with disabilities. The study also indicated that development of AT competency was a non-linear process that was moderated by various contextual and personal factors.

JOLR Article Notice – Blended, Transmedia Learning: Investigating the Engagement of Elementary Students in a Cryptology and Cybersecurity Curriculum

The sixth article in this issue.

Remember that JOLR is an open access journal, so follow the link below to access this article.

Blended, Transmedia Learning: Investigating the Engagement of Elementary Students in a Cryptology and Cybersecurity Curriculum

Zhen Xu, Kara Dawson, Pavlo Antonenko, School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida, United States ; Do Hyong Koh, Institute for Advanced Learning Technologies, University of Florida, United States ; Christine Wusylko, School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida, United States

Abstract

This convergent mixed method study investigates learner engagement during a blended, transmedia curriculum called CryptoComics which is designed to teach 3rd-5th graders about cryptology and cybersecurity. Curriculum design is presented through the lens of four engagement facilitators: (1) anchoring the curriculum with a comic book, (2) blending digital and unplugged media, (3) supporting situational interest via a transmedia narrative and (4) designing for social-cultural relevance. Latent profile analysis is used to develop profiles of learner engagement using quantitative indicators of cognitive and emotional engagement collected across 204 students at 13 implementation sites in the Eastern U.S. Qualitative indicators of engagement include teacher weekly check-ins submitted by 17 teachers working at the 13 implementation sites, student interviews, and classroom observations of 26 students participating in the curriculum at two local sites. Quantitative and qualitative results converge to suggest the majority of the students participating in the curriculum were highly engaged cognitively and emotionally. Qualitative data (1) suggest some third graders may be less cognitively engaged due to challenging content, (2) provide evidence for how design of the blended, transmedia curriculum supported, and some cases hindered, engagement, (3) highlight the importance of transitions between blended learning components in facilitating engagement and (4) uncover questions regarding one of the quantitative measures selected as an indicator of cognitive engagement. Keywords: blended learning, transmedia, learner engagement, cryptology, cybersecurity, curriculum design

JOLR Article Notice – Using a Motivational Typology to Understand and Respond to Disruptive Behaviour

The fifth article in this issue.

Remember that JOLR is an open access journal, so follow the link below to access this article.

Abstract

This case study is about understanding disruptive students who are motivated by a psychological need to invoke change in a learning space. Marczewski’s User Types Test, a typol- ogy for classifying both intrinsic and extrinsic motivational tendencies, and based on Self-Determination Theory, was ad- ministered to 14 participants, aged 9 through 15, to determine their User Type profile; one participant emerged as a Disrup- tor. The semiotic signs created by the Disruptor in an online learning platform were collected and analyzed to determine the unique behaviour patterns of a Disruptor, in contrast with Marczewski’s other User Types, including Philanthropist, Achiever, Socializer, Free Spirit, and Explorer. Implications for online instructors include understanding why Disruptors interrupt, interrogate, and intimidate, and possible strategies for responding, including nudging toward positive disruption, designing for Disruptors, and acknowledging and celebrating disruption in cases where it may facilitate (and not hinder) learning.

JOLR Article Notice – (Dis-)engagement in Learning as a Reality of COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned

The fourth article in this issue.

Remember that JOLR is an open access journal, so follow the link below to access this article.

(Dis-)engagement in Learning as a Reality of COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned

Aleksandra Hollingshead, Kalley Malone, Allen Kitchel, University of Idaho, United States

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated teachers and stu- dents to adopt and adapt to online learning (OL) in a mat- ter of days. The unfortunate school closure situation placed researchers in a remarkable position. This survey-based de- scriptive study investigated the experiences of teachers in the United States, including an analysis that factors in teachers’ existing knowledge of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Specifically, this study focused on student and teachers (dis-) engagement in learning during the pandemic teaching by ex- amining teachers’ instructional challenges and teachers’ ob- servations of student barriers to learning, and changes that occurred within these areas between spring 2020 and fall 2020. The findings, combining descriptive quantitative and qualitative data, present similarities and differences in teach- ers’ and students’ observed experiences depending on the level of training in Universal Design for Learning prior to the pandemic. The discussion offers implications for future areas of research in engaging OL.

JOLR Article Notice – Social Engagement in Distance-, Remote-, and Hybrid Learning

The third article in this issue.

Remember that JOLR is an open access journal, so follow the link below to access this article.

Social Engagement in Distance-, Remote-, and Hybrid Learning

Nina Bergdahl, Halmstad University, Sweden ; Lauri Hietajärvi, University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract

A growing interest has been directed toward including a fourth dimension in the engagement construct: the social di- mension. The aim of this study is twofold: first, to explore how teachers talk about the social dimension of student en- gagement in online learning, and second, to explore the pos- sibilities of using computational methods for interview data analysis. A longitudinal intervention (interview-diary-inter- view) was conducted with teachers who actively teach on- line classes in hybrid, remote, and distance modes of deliv- ery. Natural language processing methods, more specifically topic modelling, were used to extract and analyse topics dis- cussed in the data. Analysis of topic overlap and distinctions were made. Key results reveal that co-creation and shared cognition are core concepts when teachers talk about social engagement. However, results also show that individual en- gagement is critical for social engagement, and that teacher- student interaction can, potentially, be viewed as a separate component. Interestingly, the teachers’ talk also reflected phases in learning such as process and product-based focuses. Following the results, we suggest that computational methods can be combined with traditional (human) analysis to contrib- ute to a richer and more nuanced understanding of abstract topics. Understanding social engagement may inform theory development and is vital for researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers.

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