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Educational Research Briefs | Relating Research to Practice

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Evans, M. A., Lopez, M., Maddox, D., Drape, T., & Duke, R. (2014). Interest-driven learning among middle school youth in an out-of-school STEM studio. Journal of Science Education Technology, 23(5), 624–640. doi:10.1007/s10956-014-9490-z

In this paper, Evans, Lopez, Maddox, Drape, and Duke investigate how intentionally designed features of an out-of-school time program,Studio STEM, influenced middle school youths’ engagement in their learning. The authors took a connected learning approach, using new media to support peer interaction and engagement with an engineering design challenge in an open and flexible learning environment.

Santau, A.O., Secada, W., Maerten-Rivera, J., Cone, N. & Lee, O. (2010). US Urban elementary teachers’ knowledge and practices in teaching science to English language learners: Results from the first year of a professional development intervention. International Journal of Science Education, 32(15), 2007–2032.

Teachers of English language learners face the dual challenge of helping students to learn the academic content of science and to acquire English language proficiency. Elementary teachers, meanwhile, face the additional challenge of responding to new teaching requirements outlined within reform initiatives with an often limited understanding of science and its practices. The study reported in this paper sought to examine these issues (and also a comparison of teacher’s knowledge and practice between grade levels) as part of the analysis of a long-term professional development initiative for urban elementary schools. The professional development (PD) sought to enhance teacher knowledge of science content, teaching practices, inquiry processes, and teaching practices in science to support English language development.

Kind, V. (2009). Pedagogical content knowledge in science education: Perspectives and potential for progress. Studies in Science Education, 45(2), 169–204.

Debate surrounding the definition of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) has limited its use in guiding teacher practice and teacher education. To help trainees acquire the unique skills of expert teachers in translating content for learners, this paper argues that an explicit focus on PCK (rather than an emphasis on subject matter knowledge) is needed.

Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. A. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111–127.

A growing body of research explores the ways that science learning experiences can develop people’s interest in science. In this article, the researchers provide a framework for conceptualizing interest in four phases: triggered situational interest; maintained situational interest; emerging individual interest; and well-developed individual interest. They claim that interest is often conceptualized as a characteristic that a person either has or doesn’t have and that educators could benefit from thinking more about how to stimulate interest. This paper has a review of the literature on interest, as well as an examination of alternative models of interest.

Penuel, W. R., Fishman, B. J., Cheng, B. H., & Sabelli, N. (2011). Organizing research and development at the intersection of learning, implementation, and design. Educational Researcher, 40(7), 331–337. doi:10.3102/0013189X11421826

One challenge in scaling up effective educational programs is how to adjust implementation to local contexts. One solution that the authors Penuel, Fishman, Cheng, and Sabelli propose is “design-based implementation research,” (DBIR) in which researchers and practitioners collaboratively identify problems and strategies during implementation while learning from this process to support innovations in new contexts.

Galloway, F. & Shea, M. M. (2009). Does your organization welcome participants with disabilities? A new assessment tool. Afterschool Matters, 9, 12–19.

With an increase in the enrollments of youth with disabilities in afterschool programs, organizations must evaluate if their programs truly welcome children and youth with disabilities. The authors of this study developed a valid and statistically reliable instrument, Organizational Developmental Model of Inclusion for Individuals with Disabilities (ODMI-IWD), to assist the program providers in developing policies to improve on perceived weakness in the areas of inclusion: diversity, differential treatment, congruency, motivational imperative, and experience.

Lee, S.W-Y., Tsai, C-C., Wu, Y-T., Tsai, M-J., Liu, T-C., Hwang F-K., Chang, C-Y. (2011). Internet-based science learning: A review of journal publications. International Journal of Science Education, 33(14), 1893–1925.

The Internet now plays an important role in education. This paper reviews the current literature on Internet-based science learning environments, focusing in particular on the characteristics of learners that affect the extent of science learning. It offers a useful resource for ISE practitioners who provide online science learning.

Wadman, M., deProphetis Driscoll, W. & Kurzawa, E. (2009). Creating communicative scientists. A collaboration between a science center, college, and science industry. Journal of Museum Education, 34(4), 41–54.

In this paper, the authors describe the process and results of an innovative three-partner project that involved students, scientists, and ISE educators in developing resources for a young audience.

You for Youth (2010). Right time, right place: Building an online learning community for afterschool practitioners. Afterschool Matters 10, 8–14.

You for Youth (www.Y4Y.ed.gov) is a learning community and website started in 2008 for the grantees of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), a U.S. Department of Education program that began in 1998 to support out-of-school time programs. The Y4Y project team describes how this project started as a response to the need for low-cost professional development in a wide range of skills, including conflict management, student engagement, and building relationships with the community. Inputs from practitioners, policymakers, evaluators, and other stakeholders were used in this project.

Esmonde, I. (2009). Mathematics learning in groups: Analyzing equity in two cooperative activity structures. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 18(2), 247–284.

This article discusses the design and conditions of high school mathematics activities that aim to distribute opportunities to learn to all students. Of particular interest to ISE educators is the analysis of how some ostensibly equitable group activities may shut down equal participation. Also of interest is the theoretical discussion of the relationship between opportunities to productively participate in mathematical activities and the development of positive mathematical learning identities.

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