Volume 3 Issue 1 (July 2017)
Distinguishing Science from Non-Science: Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Perspectives on Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Designevolution creationism intelligent design preservice elementary teachers
Biological evolution stands out as critically important content for K-12 education as it is considered a cornerstone of the biological sciences. Yet, it remains one of the most socially controversial topics related to science education. In this exploratory study, we are seeking to understand the ways elementary preservice teachers (PSTs) use their views of science to justify including or excluding alternative explanations to evolution in the science curriculum. This investigation included 76 PSTs who were enrolled in an elementary science methods course. Data came from an activity designed by the authors entitled “Science in the Public Schools – School Board Scenario.” The scenario proposed that the local school board was considering a motion to alter the science curriculum by introducing creationism and intelligent design (ID) to the unit on biological evolution and the PSTs had to offer their informed recommendations. The two researchers independently read and coded the data using an inductive, constant comparative approach. Findings revealed that 32 would not add creationism or ID, 26 would add both, 9 would add creationism, 6 would add ID, and 3 would only mention them. PSTs came up with diverse explanations for their decision on if to include alternative explanations when teaching evolution. Common rationales emerged within each group and are further explored.
The purpose of this study was to compare and associate BrainDance activity to a control group on reading scores as well as social, learning, and negative behavior. A total of 40 students in two classrooms participated in this study. A Likert scale and words per minute reading scores followed by quantitative analysis using a t-test to document and assess students’ behaviors and reading scores. The findings indicated no significant difference in reading fluency, but the BrainDance group improved in four specific areas—focus, use of sense, multiple senses, and restlessness. There were positive correlations of social and learning behaviors, but negative correlations for learning and negative behaviors in addition to social and negative behaviors.
Early childhood is a crucial period for the physical and cognitive development of children. A child's exposure to nature is proven to be beneficial in this period of human life. The aim of the present research was to investigate children’s play and physical activity on a traditional playground and on a forest (natural) playground. Twenty-five observations took place on the traditional playground, and twenty-five observations were recorded on the forest playground. Twenty-five participating preschool children were observed in both playgrounds, but not necessarily in the same order. Research findings confirmed important qualities of natural playgrounds that provide children with a wide range of playing and learning opportunities not available on other playgrounds. Children were playing more with different natural materials in the forest playground and they more frequently played different chasing games and hide and seek in the forest playground. Participating children were also more physically active on the forest playground, and boys were more active on the forest playground than girls. The research concludes that it is important for preschool teachers to use natural playgrounds frequently and with regularity. Research design in this article is also an example of how GPS trackers can be beneficial for educational research.
This article aims to define the profile of Ecuadorian indigenous students who study at different levels of basic education in Ecuador in the context of the application and use of emerging technologies in the last five years. This approach focuses on a comparative analysis between indigenous and non-indigenous students, based on the national data from the National Survey of Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment of Ecuador (ENEMDU) 2006, 2011 and 2015, along with the contribution of other statistical sources, such as the 2001 and 2010 Census of the National Statistics Institute of Ecuador (INEC). The results show a significant difference in the use of ICTs between indigenous students and non-indigenous students, the majority of whom are mixed mestizo with minorities of montubios, blacks, whites, mulattos, afro-Ecuadorians and others. The interest in acquiring knowledge about one of the most precarious social sectors of Ecuadorian society, the indigenous population, is justified by the absence of studies about this subject, by the need to know the possible limitations or barriers, geographic, cultural and economic, and in the characterization of its profile, which will allow in future studies to deepen the process of appropriation of information and communication technologies in the applications, management and impact of ICTs and in the educational process of Ecuadorian indigenous students.
Understanding Interest and Self-Efficacy in the Reading and Writing of Students with Persisting Specific Learning Disabilities during Middle Childhood and Early Adolescenceinterest in reading interest in writing self-efficacy in reading self-efficacy in writing approach/avoidance amygdala
Three methodological approaches were applied to understand the role of interest and self-efficacy in reading and/or writing in students without and with persisting specific learning disabilities (SLDs) in literacy. For each approach students in grades 4 to 9 completed a survey in which they rated 10 reading items and 10 writing items on a Scale 1 to 5; all items were the same but domain varied. The first approach applied Principal Component Analysis with Varimax Rotation to a sample that varied in specific kinds of literacy achievement. The second approach applied bidirectional multiple regressions in a sample of students with diagnosed SLDs-WL to (a) predict literacy achievement from ratings on interest and self-efficacy survey items; and (b) predict ratings on interest and self-efficacy survey items from literacy achievement. The third approach correlated ratings on the surveys with BOLD activation on an fMRI word reading/spelling task in a brain region associated with approach/avoidance and affect in a sample with diagnosed SLDs-WL. The first approach identified two components for the reading items (each correlated differently with reading skills) and two components for the writing items (each correlated differently with writing skills), but the components were not the same for both domains. Multiple regressions supported predicting interest and self-efficacy ratings from current reading achievement, rather than predicting reading achievement from interest and self-efficacy ratings, but also bidirectional relationships between interest or self-efficacy in writing and writing achievement. The third approach found negative correlations with amygdala connectivity for 2 reading items, but 5 positive and 2 negative correlations with amygdala connectivity for writing items; negative correlations may reflect avoidance and positive correlations approach. Collectively results show the relevance and domain-specificity of interest and self-efficacy in reading and writing for students with persisting SLDs in literacy.