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Educ. Sci., Volume 11, Issue 3 (March 2021) – 55 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Current practices regarding inclusive education vary enormously depending on a wide range of issues, specifically the context and culture of an educational system. This article focuses on one state in Australia, that of Western Australia. By applying a review of five decades of archival data, changes to education for learners with disabilities are critiqued. The analysis considers five a priori themes related to legislation and policy, support, curriculum, teacher education and parental choice. Here, the discussion teases out the impact of these changes on the competing paradigms of special and inclusive educational practice. Finally, critical reflection provides valuable insight into future planning for all educational systems to reform practice to become more inclusive. View this paper
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Article
Supporting Undergraduate STEMM Education: Perspectives from Faculty Mentors and Learning Assistants in Calculus II
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 143; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030143 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
In higher education, Learning Assistants (LAs)—a relatively recent evolution grounded in peer mentorship models—are gaining popularity in classrooms as universities strive to meet the needs of undergraduate learners. Unlike Teaching Assistants, LAs are undergraduate students who receive continuous training from faculty mentors in [...] Read more.
In higher education, Learning Assistants (LAs)—a relatively recent evolution grounded in peer mentorship models—are gaining popularity in classrooms as universities strive to meet the needs of undergraduate learners. Unlike Teaching Assistants, LAs are undergraduate students who receive continuous training from faculty mentors in content-area coaching and pedagogical skills. As near-peers, they assist assigned groups of undergraduates (students) during class. Research on LAs suggests that they are significant in mitigating high Drop-Fail-Withdrawal rates of large enrollment undergraduate science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical (STEMM) courses. However, there is a dearth of description regarding the learning between LAs and STEMM faculty mentors. This paper reports on perspectives of faculty mentors and their cooperating LAs in regard to their learning relationships during a Calculus II at a research-oriented university during Spring of 2020. Using an exploratory-descriptive qualitative design, faculty (oral responses) and LAs (written responses) reflected on their relationship. Content analysis (coding) resulted in four salient categories (by faculty and LA percentages, respectively) in: Showing Care and Fostering Relationships (47%, 23%); Honing Pedagogical Skills (27%, 36%); Being Prepared for Class and Students (23%, 28%); and Developing Content Knowledge in Calculus (3%, 13%). Benefits of LAs to faculty and ways to commence LA programs at institutions are also discussed. Full article
Article
Application of Virtual Reality in Computer Science Education: A Systemic Review Based on Bibliometric and Content Analysis Methods
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030142 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1773
Abstract
This study investigated the role of virtual reality (VR) in computer science (CS) education over the last 10 years by conducting a bibliometric and content analysis of articles related to the use of VR in CS education. A total of 971 articles published [...] Read more.
This study investigated the role of virtual reality (VR) in computer science (CS) education over the last 10 years by conducting a bibliometric and content analysis of articles related to the use of VR in CS education. A total of 971 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and conferences were collected from Web of Science and Scopus databases to conduct the bibliometric analysis. Furthermore, content analysis was conducted on 39 articles that met the inclusion criteria. This study demonstrates that VR research for CS education was faring well around 2011 but witnessed low production output between the years 2013 and 2016. However, scholars have increased their contribution in this field recently, starting from the year 2017. This study also revealed prolific scholars contributing to the field. It provides insightful information regarding research hotspots in VR that have emerged recently, which can be further explored to enhance CS education. In addition, the quantitative method remains the most preferred research method, while the questionnaire was the most used data collection technique. Moreover, descriptive analysis was primarily used in studies on VR in CS education. The study concludes that even though scholars are leveraging VR to advance CS education, more effort needs to be made by stakeholders across countries and institutions. In addition, a more rigorous methodological approach needs to be employed in future studies to provide more evidence-based research output. Our future study would investigate the pedagogy, content, and context of studies on VR in CS education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in Game-Based Learning)
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Commentary
Understanding and Addressing the Deficiencies in UK Mathematics Education: Taking an International Perspective
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 141; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030141 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 898
Abstract
This paper reflects on UK mathematics education following the poor performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) metric, which compares reading, science, and mathematics across 27 countries. We compared a range of features within secondary school mathematics in the UK with [...] Read more.
This paper reflects on UK mathematics education following the poor performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) metric, which compares reading, science, and mathematics across 27 countries. We compared a range of features within secondary school mathematics in the UK with the countries outperforming the UK. We note disparities in the depth of the curriculum and the use of high-stakes testing which could be disadvantaging UK students. We also reflect on key factors that may underpin teacher effectiveness in the UK, including teacher expectations, in part driven by early use of ability sets, a lack of teacher autonomy, and poor continuous professional development. On this basis, we make several recommendations to strengthen UK mathematics education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section STEM Education)
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Article
Fitness Level Differences between Students in Kosovo and Montenegro
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 140; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030140 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Geographical, cultural, and socio-economic factors create a different lifestyle. Accordingly, the aim of this research was to identify the differences in anthropometric and fitness characteristics among adolescents living in Montenegro and Kosovo in order to optimize the physical fitness as a consequence of [...] Read more.
Geographical, cultural, and socio-economic factors create a different lifestyle. Accordingly, the aim of this research was to identify the differences in anthropometric and fitness characteristics among adolescents living in Montenegro and Kosovo in order to optimize the physical fitness as a consequence of the proactive behavior. Anthropometric characteristics and fitness level measures were assessed by Eurofit testing battery among 600 Kosovar and 600 Montenegrin students, equally distributed by gender. Differences between countries, gender, and age group (13, 14 and 15 years) were assessed with multivariate and univariate analysis of variance. The results showed that Montenegrin students are taller, heavier, and achieve better results in the sit-ups and 20-m endurance shuttle-run tests. Kosovar students achieve better results in the standing broad jump and 10 × 5 m shuttle-run tests. Males achieve significantly better results in all tests, excluding the sit-and-reach test. Statistically significant differences among age groups were found for all variables, regardless gender and country (except for the flamingo and sit-and reach tests). This study is of importance to physical education teachers and curriculum authors to optimize students’ proactive behavior based on the identified anthropometric and physical fitness differences between the two countries, age groups, and genders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Curriculum and Instruction)
Article
Lecturer Readiness for Online Classes during the Pandemic: A Survey Research
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030139 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2469
Abstract
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most educational institutions across the world have shifted their teaching and learning processes and put efforts into preparing online distance education to ensure education continues uninterrupted. Some did not face difficult tasks or challenges during this process because [...] Read more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most educational institutions across the world have shifted their teaching and learning processes and put efforts into preparing online distance education to ensure education continues uninterrupted. Some did not face difficult tasks or challenges during this process because they were already implementing online or blended learning before the pandemic. However, some institutions, lecturers and students were not ready to adapt to the conditions, and it is therefore important to examine to what extent lecturers are ready to teach online. This research aims to evaluate the readiness of lecturers during a pandemic that arises unexpectedly. It also aims to investigate the weaknesses and obstacles that lecturers must overcome in order to teach an online class. This research applies a mixed-method approach. Lecturers were surveyed through online preparedness questionnaires, and several themes were constructed from the gathered qualitative data. The results show that lecturers have strong baseline technical skills to use e-learning platforms for online courses; they have quickly adapted to using a Learning Management System (LMS), and most have a tactical solution for most online classes with insufficient feasibility, but they do not have a strategic solution. Their sufficiency for teaching online courses was not optimised since they did not fully believe the learning goals could be achieved. This paper elaborates on the theoretical and practical implications. Full article
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Article
An Empirical Investigation of Leadership and Human Resources Capacities as Key Actors in the Implementation of Smart Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 138; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030138 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 992
Abstract
Due to the novelty of the smart education phenomenon, a quantitative investigation of the variables that will influence the implementation of ‘smart education’ was needed. Therefore, based on a probability simple random survey of 349 Grenadian employees from tertiary institutions in the education [...] Read more.
Due to the novelty of the smart education phenomenon, a quantitative investigation of the variables that will influence the implementation of ‘smart education’ was needed. Therefore, based on a probability simple random survey of 349 Grenadian employees from tertiary institutions in the education industry, the influence of leadership and human resource capacities on smart education were investigated. Results produced from SPSS analysis software and Smart PLS revealed that leadership and human resources capacities have sufficient confidence to have a significant influence on smart education, producing a positive association with ‘smart education.’ However, this relationship is positively moderated by additional investments, such as infrastructural innovation. These findings enrich the current literature on smart education (SE) by increasing knowledge of the phenomenon through the lenses of the Actor-Network Theory and Technology Adoption Model. Accordingly, policymakers should bear these findings in mind when developing holistic strategies to guide SE’s successful enactment. Full article
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Article
Mapping Spontaneous Cooperation between Children in Automata Construction Workshops
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030137 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 615
Abstract
This work analyzes spontaneous cooperation between children who participated in Automata for STEM, European Union funded Erasmus+ project workshops. Taking into account the characteristics of automata, that involve a narrative part and a mechanism, the project used them to implement contextualized and interdisciplinary [...] Read more.
This work analyzes spontaneous cooperation between children who participated in Automata for STEM, European Union funded Erasmus+ project workshops. Taking into account the characteristics of automata, that involve a narrative part and a mechanism, the project used them to implement contextualized and interdisciplinary STEM activities. The pedagogical method involved the presentation of automata, and children being challenged to plan and construct their own. Although no cooperative learning strategies were imposed during the workshops, this research aimed to identify types of spontaneous cooperation that could emerge among children. Data was gathered through participant observation and a questionnaire. Core dimensions of spontaneous cooperation were identified as well as specific dimensions, pointing to a divergent type, characterized by involvement between pairs of children in different projects, and to another type, convergent, involving work between pairs of children in the same project. Spontaneous cooperation also varied according to the children’s age or the workshop structure. During workshops with children aged 6–7 years, the class teacher was present and provided guidance, the children were seated in pairs or in a presentation arrangement. During workshops for older children of 8–9 years of age, there was less guidance and the class teacher sometimes was not even in the room the children worked at round tables. Full article
Article
Technology as Thirdspace: Teachers in Scottish Schools Engaging with and Being Challenged by Digital Technology in First COVID-19 Lockdown
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030136 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
This paper looks at the impact of digital technology on teaching and learning in primary schools in Scotland during the first COVID-19 lockdown from March to June 2020. The pandemic has challenged our understanding of schooling as, for the first time in many [...] Read more.
This paper looks at the impact of digital technology on teaching and learning in primary schools in Scotland during the first COVID-19 lockdown from March to June 2020. The pandemic has challenged our understanding of schooling as, for the first time in many years, schools as we know them were shut and the school building was removed as the site of teaching and learning. This paper uses the concept of Thirdspace as developed by Edward Soja (1996), where Thirdspace is understood as an in-between space between binaries that enables the possibility to think and act otherwise. Drawing from qualitative data from interviews with primary school teachers, this paper explores how the lockdown in general, and digital technology in particular, facilitated a Thirdspace in the first COVID-19 lockdown. Findings from the study indicate that engaging with digital technology offers the teacher more possibilities than they have come to expect in the physical space of traditional schooling. Full article
Article
Incorporating Ecosystem Services into STEM Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 135; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030135 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 959
Abstract
The framework of ecosystem services (ES) and disservices (ED) has increasingly been used in various science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, including soil science. The objectives of this study were to use ES/ED concepts to extend and test an existing lecture and [...] Read more.
The framework of ecosystem services (ES) and disservices (ED) has increasingly been used in various science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, including soil science. The objectives of this study were to use ES/ED concepts to extend and test an existing lecture and laboratory exercise on soil organic carbon (SOC) in an online introductory soil science course (FNR 2040: Soil Information Systems) taught to Clemson University students from various STEM disciplines (forestry, wildlife biology, and environmental and natural resources) in Fall 2020. The laboratory exercise was extended with a series of reusable learning objects (RLOs), which are self-contained digital modules commonly utilized in e-learning. The laboratory exercise consisted of identifying ES and calculating the avoided social cost of carbon (SC-CO2) from soil organic carbon stocks in the assigned soil’s topsoil horizon. The laboratory exercise effectively increased student familiarity with ES/ED as indicated by the post-assessment survey with a +24.4% increase in the moderately familiar category and a +36.1% increase in the extremely familiar category. The graded online quiz consisted of ten questions and was taken by 51 students with an average score of 8.7 (out of 10). A post-assessment survey indicated that most of the students found that the laboratory was an effective way to learn about ES/ED with examples from soil science. Detailed students’ comments indicated enjoyment of learning (e.g., calculations, applying new knowledge), the value of multimedia (e.g., PowerPoint, video), the flexibility of learning (e.g., different parts in the laboratory), the applicability of content (e.g., real-world examples), and criticism (e.g., tedious calculations). A word cloud based on students’ comments about their experience with the laboratory exercise on soil ES indicated the most common words used by students to describe their experience, such as “soil services”, “learning”, “enjoyed”, and “ecosystems”, among others. Incorporating ES/ED into an undergraduate STEM course enabled students to connect ES/ED provided by soil with the societal systems reliant on the soil resources. Full article
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Article
Academic Self-Perception and Course Satisfaction among University Students Taking Virtual Classes during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia (KSA)
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 134; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030134 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2438
Abstract
This research study examines academic self-perceptions and course satisfaction among university students and associated factors during virtual classes. A cross-sectional online survey of (n = 328) undergraduate and postgraduate Saudi students who took virtual classes during the second semester of the academic [...] Read more.
This research study examines academic self-perceptions and course satisfaction among university students and associated factors during virtual classes. A cross-sectional online survey of (n = 328) undergraduate and postgraduate Saudi students who took virtual classes during the second semester of the academic year 2019–2020 and the first semester of the academic year 2020–2021 during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The findings demonstrated students’ scores on negative academic self-perceptions (mean (M) = 9.84; standard deviation (S.D.) = 3.09) are significantly higher in comparison to positive academic self-perceptions (M = 7.71; S.D. = 2.46) and the difference was statistically significant, t(327) = 3.69, p < 0.001. The analysis demonstrated that mean differences were significant across ‘year of study’, ‘field of study’, ‘CGPA’ (cumulative grade points average), ‘employment status’, ‘on-site work’ and ‘being a parent of young child’ (p < 0.01). Correlation analysis shows a linear positive association between perceptions of workload and low technical support with negative academic self-perceptions (p < 0.001) and an inverse relationship with positive academic self-perceptions (p < 0.001). The multiple regression analysis demonstrated that the predictor variables in the model (perceptions of workload and technical support) explain 62% variance in negative academic self-perceptions and 41% variance in positive academic self-perceptions. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrated that positive academic self-perceptions bring a 32% variance in course satisfaction. These findings underscore the importance of balancing workload during online studies in higher education and provision of adequate technical support to reduce the negative academic self-perceptions which are associated with lower levels of course satisfaction. Students’ academic self-perceptions and course satisfaction during virtual studies are important factors to retain students’ motivation in learning and academic performance. Full article
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Review
On the Concept of Learning Transfer for Continuous and Online Training: A Literature Review
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 133; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030133 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
This work presents a bibliographic review of research related to the subject of learning transfer. Here, we seek to understand its concept, its dimensions, and the factors that influence its achievement. The review allowed us to verify empirical studies carried out that show [...] Read more.
This work presents a bibliographic review of research related to the subject of learning transfer. Here, we seek to understand its concept, its dimensions, and the factors that influence its achievement. The review allowed us to verify empirical studies carried out that show which variables can facilitate or hinder transference, as well as the most suitable methodology to favor it and indicate considerations that should be taken into account in order to research learning transference in a continuous teacher training. The purpose of this review was to discuss the concept of learning transfer in order to propose a research on this subject in a context of continuous online training, once a lack of studies focused on this modality was detected. In order to analyze learning transfer in this context, we considered it necessary to confirm if the competences, skills, and knowledge acquired through e-learning could be applied in a pedagogical practice of participating teachers; this, in turn, would allow for the obtainment of guidelines for future educational strategies of continuous online training. Full article
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Article
Crisis Management in Higher Education in the Time of Covid-19: The Case of Actor Training
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 132; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030132 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1230
Abstract
The impact of Covid-19 placed Higher Education leadership in a state of crisis management, where decision making had to be swift and impactful. This research draws on ethea of mindfulness, actor training techniques, referencing high-reliability organisations (HRO). Interviews conducted by the author with [...] Read more.
The impact of Covid-19 placed Higher Education leadership in a state of crisis management, where decision making had to be swift and impactful. This research draws on ethea of mindfulness, actor training techniques, referencing high-reliability organisations (HRO). Interviews conducted by the author with three leaders of actor training conservatoires in Higher Education institutions in Australia, the UK and the USA reflect on crisis management actions taken in response to the impact of Covid-19 on their sector, from which high-frequency words are identified and grouped thematically. Reflecting on these high-frequency words and the thematic grouping, a model of mindful leadership is proposed as a positive tool that may enable those in leadership to recognise and respond efficiently to wider structural frailties within Higher Education, with reference to the capacity of leaders to operate with increased mindfulness, enabling a more resilient organisation that unlocks the locus of control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pedagogic Health and the University)
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Article
Formative Potential of the Development and Assessment of an Educational Escape Room Designed to Integrate Music-Mathematical Knowledge
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 131; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030131 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
In the particular case of Spain, student and teacher difficulties associated with the mathematical discipline have been evidenced in PISA and TEDS-M reports. As we consider that the teachers’ difficulties are connected to the students’ performance, we propose a multi-disciplinary approach to deliver [...] Read more.
In the particular case of Spain, student and teacher difficulties associated with the mathematical discipline have been evidenced in PISA and TEDS-M reports. As we consider that the teachers’ difficulties are connected to the students’ performance, we propose a multi-disciplinary approach to deliver specific didactic/mathematical knowledge to the trainee teachers. Such additional instruction shall be meaningfully connected to the real needs of the schools, so a service-learning approach is proposed here. In the present manuscript, the trainee teachers have co-designed educational escape rooms (in coordination with local schools) with the aim of mobilizing curricular knowledge. The goal of the educational escape rooms is to foster the mathematic-related competencies by establishing meaningful connections to other curricular disciplines (music-related knowledge, in the case of this study). This paper reports on the particular experience developed with a group of students (trainee teachers) while designing their educational escape rooms, focusing on the particular case of a specific student to evidence the formative potential of the procedure. The didactic suitability of the proposed escape room has been analyzed and professional development has also been discussed, showing the mobilization of relevant professional skills and fostering the related music and mathematical didactic competencies by shifting the teaching perspective from an algorithmic point of view to a more “reasoning and designing” strategy. This constitutes an evidence of the formative potential on the co-design of educational escape rooms, when designed in the frame of a service learning approach. Full article
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Article
Teaching Online during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Phenomenological Study of Physical Therapist Faculty in Brazil, Cyprus, and The United States
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 130; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030130 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1825
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a global transition from in-person to online instruction leaving many higher education faculty with little time or training for this responsibility. Physical therapist education programs were especially impacted since a large part of the development of skills rely [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a global transition from in-person to online instruction leaving many higher education faculty with little time or training for this responsibility. Physical therapist education programs were especially impacted since a large part of the development of skills rely on face-to-face onsite practice. This phenomenological study explored the perceptions of physical therapist educators in three countries—Brazil, Cyprus, and the United States, who transitioned to an entirely virtual medium of teaching during the pandemic. Sixteen faculty participated in 1:1 semi-structured interviews. Trustworthiness of qualitative inquiry was ascertained using triangulation, thick descriptions, and peer reviews. Four major themes emerged from analysis of participants’ interview data: adapting pedagogy in real-time, expected excellence, limitations of the medium, and informing future teaching practice. All participants described teaching during the pandemic as one of the most challenging experiences of their professional careers. Despite available resources, faculty noted challenges in making authentic connections with students, adapting to technological interruptions, assessment of student understanding of content, and managing work-life balance. Despite the challenges, faculty worked collaboratively with peers to innovate new approaches of creating social, cognitive, and teaching presence. Unique opportunities arose from the pandemic to enhance future teaching practice. Full article
Article
Using Evidence-Based Practice and Data-Based Decision Making in Inclusive Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 129; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030129 - 17 Mar 2021
Viewed by 972
Abstract
There are longstanding calls for inclusive education for all regardless of student need or teacher capacity to meet those needs. Unfortunately, there are little empirical data to support full inclusion for all students and even less information on the role of data-based decision [...] Read more.
There are longstanding calls for inclusive education for all regardless of student need or teacher capacity to meet those needs. Unfortunately, there are little empirical data to support full inclusion for all students and even less information on the role of data-based decision making in inclusive education specifically, even though there is extensive research on the effectiveness of data-based decision making. In this article, we reviewed what data-based decision making is and its role in education, the current state of evidence related to inclusive education, and how data-based decision making can be used to support decisions for students with reading disabilities and those with intellectual disabilities transitioning to adulthood. What is known about evidence-based practices in supporting reading and transition are reviewed in relationship to the realities of implementing these practices in inclusive education settings. Finally, implications for using data-based decisions in inclusive settings are discussed. Full article
Review
New Advances in Second Language Acquisition Methodology in Higher Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030128 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 864
Abstract
This article summarizes new advances, as described by current research, in the methodology of teaching Business English as a lingua franca (BELF) in the era of mobile learning and provides the reader with hands-on strategies that are useful for BELF classes and applicable [...] Read more.
This article summarizes new advances, as described by current research, in the methodology of teaching Business English as a lingua franca (BELF) in the era of mobile learning and provides the reader with hands-on strategies that are useful for BELF classes and applicable in distance learning. The primary objectives of this literature review are to explore the fundamental approaches which should help practitioners in their course preparation, development, and teaching. The paper provides the reader with the most up-to-date strategies for teaching BELF and brings ideas on how to utilize these principles in a mobile learning (m-learning) environment. The methods include a literature review of available articles exploring the research topic, i.e., BELF and its pedagogy, which was performed by finding relevant studies in the Web of Science and Scopus databases. The results indicate that there are three fundamental approaches recommended by the current research on the teaching of BELF, namely task-based activities/case studies, exploitation of authentic materials, and blended learning implementation. In summary, the paper provides the readers with an update on current approaches for teaching BELF in higher education when utilizing modern tools for foreign language learning, such as m-learning, blended learning, and hybrid learning. Full article
Article
A Serious Game for Mediated Education on Traffic Behavior and Safety Awareness
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 127; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030127 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1201
Abstract
Computer games are considered a useful tool for educational purposes. Alternative media applications such as serious games combine edification with challenge and entertainment. Thus, learning becomes enjoyable, more comfortable, and more efficient. The paper presents the implementation of an educational computer game regarding [...] Read more.
Computer games are considered a useful tool for educational purposes. Alternative media applications such as serious games combine edification with challenge and entertainment. Thus, learning becomes enjoyable, more comfortable, and more efficient. The paper presents the implementation of an educational computer game regarding traffic behavior awareness through the main stages of analysis, design, development, and evaluation, aiming at investigating the contribution of gamification in traffic safety. The game was developed as an advanced media education approach in Unreal Engine, encompassing various adventures. The game hero’s tasks are to move into the virtual city to complete a mission, follow road safety rules, and experience the adventures either as a pedestrian or as a vehicle driver. Research hypotheses/questions are tested concerning the gaming impact and the audience engagement through first-person storytelling to communicate and perceive traffic regulations. The results reveal that a properly developed educational game could become more engaging, amusing, and efficient. It could also enhance traffic awareness through experiential and mediated learning, also fostering social responsibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Media Education)
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Article
Sustainability: A Regional Australian Experience of Educating Secondary Geography Teachers
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030126 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 846
Abstract
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number four seeks an equitable and widespread education that enables an outcome of sustainable development by 2030. Intersecting the studies of society and earth processes, a geographical education is well placed to make cohesive sense of [...] Read more.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number four seeks an equitable and widespread education that enables an outcome of sustainable development by 2030. Intersecting the studies of society and earth processes, a geographical education is well placed to make cohesive sense of all the individual knowledge silos that contribute to achieving sustainability. Geography education is compulsory for the first three years of the secondary education curriculum in Australia; however, research has shown that many geography teachers are underprepared and report limitations in their teaching of sustainability. This article engages with this research problem to provide a critical reflection, using experiential knowledge as an analytical lens, on how tertiary level geography training at one Australian regional university can equip undergraduate teacher education students with the values, knowledge, and skills needed to develop their future students’ understanding and appreciation of the principles of sustainability. The authors unpacked a geography minor for a Bachelor of Secondary Education degree at Central Queensland University and, deploying content analysis, explain how three units in that minor can develop these students’ values, knowledge, and skills through fostering initiatives and activities. The analysis was framed by elements of pedagogy that offer learners a context for developing active, global citizenship and participation to understand the interdependencies of ecological, societal, and economic systems including a multisided view of sustainability and sustainable development. The study concluded that the three geography units engage student teachers in sustainable thinking in a variety of ways, which can have a wider application in the geography curricula in other teacher education courses. More importantly, however, the study found that there is a critical need for collaboration between university teachers of sustainability content and university teachers of school-based pedagogy in order to maximise the efficacy of sustainability education in schools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 2)
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Review
The Soft Skills of Special Education Teachers: Evidence from the Literature
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 125; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030125 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1360
Abstract
The special education teacher is a key element in the development of the process of inclusive education. In this setting, soft skills have proven to be determinant in teachers’ educational action. However, those that best qualify their profile have not yet been identified. [...] Read more.
The special education teacher is a key element in the development of the process of inclusive education. In this setting, soft skills have proven to be determinant in teachers’ educational action. However, those that best qualify their profile have not yet been identified. Therefore, this study aims to carry out a review of scientific production between the years 2010 and 2020. To this end, articles were selected using the following databases: ERIC, Scopus, Web of Science, and PsycINFO. Studies have been included in the review that point out as soft skills: resilience, reflexibility, empathy, collaborative work, self-efficacy, creativity, and effective communication. Only studies that presented such criteria were included in the analysis. After the application of the eligibility criteria, seven articles were considered. From the analysis, it emerges that effective communication, collaborative work, and reflexibility stand out. There are gaps in this area in the specialized training of these teachers. Thus, it is suggested that there should be investment in this area in the training programs of the schools that certify them; and that, at the research level, instruments should be developed to evaluate the model emerging from this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research and Trends in Higher Education)
Case Report
Computation and Learning Partnerships: Lessons from Wood Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Integration
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 124; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030124 - 16 Mar 2021
Viewed by 966
Abstract
Examining an interdisciplinary university course for architecture, wood science, and engineering students, this paper studies how the students’ ability to master digital workflows influenced their success in learning collaborative design skills. It highlights potential challenges and opportunities posed by the introduction of new [...] Read more.
Examining an interdisciplinary university course for architecture, wood science, and engineering students, this paper studies how the students’ ability to master digital workflows influenced their success in learning collaborative design skills. It highlights potential challenges and opportunities posed by the introduction of new digital tools to support emerging integrated building design in both education and professional practice. The particular course focuses on the wood industry, which is rapidly changing from a very traditional to a highly innovative sector and increasingly embracing the latest technological developments in computational design, simulation, and digital fabrication. This study explores the influence of parametric design on collaboration dynamics and workflow within an interdisciplinary group of students embodying the roles of manufacturer, engineer, and architect. Student-generated data of the first three years of the class is analyzed thematically to find correlations with productive collaborations. Focusing on a stage of an evolving teaching and learning process, this analysis allows identifications of common themes and patterns, suggesting implications for practice and future research. The course highlights the need to integrate data interoperability, collaboration skill-building, and material awareness in contemporary digitally enabled architecture, engineering, and construction education. The lessons learned in this course can be of value to academic programs and professional firms involved in incorporating digital design and interdisciplinary collaboration. Full article
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Article
Socio-Educational Factors to Promote Educational Inclusion in Higher Education. A Question of Student Achievement
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 123; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030123 - 13 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 728
Abstract
Psychosocial factors have a direct impact on the academic achievement of university students, especially when they belong to diverse human groups. This article shows the results of a project developed in a Colombian university with the aim of finding out the identity traits, [...] Read more.
Psychosocial factors have a direct impact on the academic achievement of university students, especially when they belong to diverse human groups. This article shows the results of a project developed in a Colombian university with the aim of finding out the identity traits, situations of discrimination, and risk factors faced by students belonging to diverse groups. The research is qualitative, exploratory, and descriptive, approached from a social and educational perspective. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 students. The high level of identification with the group is visible in stufuigureents with affective-sexual diversity, gender identity and ethnic-cultural diversity, considered to be the most discriminated-against populations. Risks in the labor, educational, social, and family spheres are the most frequent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology and Education)
Article
STEAM-Learning to Mars: Students’ Ideas of Space Research
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 122; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030122 - 12 Mar 2021
Viewed by 875
Abstract
Multidisciplinarity and the enrichment of science and mathematics education toward the so-called STEAM-approach where the A stands for art, has raised a lot of academic interest in the past decade. In this study, 5th and 6th graders from the greater Helsinki area ( [...] Read more.
Multidisciplinarity and the enrichment of science and mathematics education toward the so-called STEAM-approach where the A stands for art, has raised a lot of academic interest in the past decade. In this study, 5th and 6th graders from the greater Helsinki area (N = 390) participated in a several months long, Mars-colonization themed STEAM-learning intervention. Testing the students’ science knowledge using pre- and post-tests, their learning outcomes were compared to those of 5th and 6th graders from a control school (N = 119), who during the same period studied STEM-subjects in a more traditional manner. The main factors that were taken into account during the comparisons were gender and academic achievement level. Based on only whether there was any improvement between the pre- and post-test scores, girls were found to have benefitted from the Mars-module more than boys did. While also considering the magnitude of the said improvement, no significant difference in the effectiveness of the learning module was found between genders. The group of academically highest-achieving students improved their test scores the most after participating in the STEAM-learning module. This is an important, somewhat surprising finding, as often informal, outside of school learning has been found to benefit especially students with lower grade point averages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section STEM Education)
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Article
The Effect of Digital Device Usage on Student Academic Performance: A Case Study
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 121; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030121 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1982
Abstract
The aim of this investigation was to explore student behaviour when students brought their own digital devices into a lecture theatre. A total of 361 undergraduate psychology students from the University of Liverpool who used at least one digital device during lecture time [...] Read more.
The aim of this investigation was to explore student behaviour when students brought their own digital devices into a lecture theatre. A total of 361 undergraduate psychology students from the University of Liverpool who used at least one digital device during lecture time fully completed an online questionnaire (159 first-, 124 second- and 78 third-year psychology students) during the 2018–2019 academic year. Although all the three years of undergraduate students brought laptops and/or smartphones into a lecture theatre, there was no significant difference in academic performance over the years of studies. The findings have linked student multitasking processes in a lecture theatre to Social Cognitive Theory principles (reciprocal interactions between behaviours, learning environment, and individuals). There was a significant difference between the three years regarding the use of applications and student characteristics after controlling for the different types of devices. Students who used only one application during lecture time were more likely to achieve higher academic performance as they were less distracted from their primary tasks of processing and retaining information. Overall, this investigation concluded the importance of reconsidering the teaching delivery process so as to avoid students’ escapism using devices during lecture theatres due to their engagement level and lecture norm pressures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Using Technology in Higher Education—Series 1)
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Article
Who Supports Polish Educational Reforms? Exploring Actors’ and Observers’ Attitudes
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 120; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030120 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 528
Abstract
This investigation is based on eight extensive empirical studies (total N = 12,294) supplemented by automated analysis of online data, to examine attitudes toward educational reforms introduced in Poland in 2017. We explore the attitudes within groups categorized as actors (people directly affected [...] Read more.
This investigation is based on eight extensive empirical studies (total N = 12,294) supplemented by automated analysis of online data, to examine attitudes toward educational reforms introduced in Poland in 2017. We explore the attitudes within groups categorized as actors (people directly affected by the reform, namely students and parents) and observers (the general population). The Attitudes Toward Educational Reform Scale (ATERS) was developed and validated. ATERS psychometric properties were examined using item response theory and confirmatory factor analyses, while the differences between groups were summarized meta-analytically. Consistently with expectations, we observed that the overall attitude toward the reform was negative, and the strength of this negative attitude increased along with being more directly affected by the changes introduced by it. While the general population held a relatively neutral attitude toward the reform, the attitude was clearly negative among parents and students. We discuss reasons and consequences of these findings. Full article
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Article
An Historical Review from Exclusion to Inclusion in Western Australia across the Past Five Decades: What Have We Learnt?
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 119; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030119 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 920
Abstract
Current practices regarding inclusive education vary enormously depending on a wide range of issues, specifically the context and culture of an education system. To maximise the validity of data, and to avoid contextual confusion, this review focuses on one state in Australia, that [...] Read more.
Current practices regarding inclusive education vary enormously depending on a wide range of issues, specifically the context and culture of an education system. To maximise the validity of data, and to avoid contextual confusion, this review focuses on one state in Australia, that of Western Australia. By applying a review of five-decade archival data, changes to education for learners with disability in this state are critiqued. Analysis involved applying five a priori themes to review educational reform practices. These were related to legislation and policy, support, curriculum, teacher education and parental choice. Discussion teased out the impact of these changes on the competing paradigms of special and inclusive education, and models and challenges of implementing effective inclusive practice for all learners in one Australian state. Critical reflection provides valuable insight into futures planning for all educational systems to reform practice to become more inclusive. Full article
Review
A Worldwide Journey through Distance Education—From the Post Office to Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities, and Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 118; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030118 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1969
Abstract
Surprisingly, distance education is quite an old concept. Its origins date back to the first correspondence-based course, which took place via the postal service in Boston, USA, in the 18th century. Rapid technological developments, especially in video and audio streaming, have increased the [...] Read more.
Surprisingly, distance education is quite an old concept. Its origins date back to the first correspondence-based course, which took place via the postal service in Boston, USA, in the 18th century. Rapid technological developments, especially in video and audio streaming, have increased the availability of such courses and moved learning into the virtual world. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing an accelerated revolution in the learning process, as nearly all forms of education have been shifted online. Will this have a destructive effect on the human psyche? Is humanity sufficiently aware and ready for such a dramatic change? Will we return to physical in-classroom studies, or is remote distance education set to become the new norm? In particular, in medicine, computer science, fine arts, or architectural design, such a rapid change in the way students learn can be quite challenging. In this paper, we provide an overview of the history of distance learning, taking into account teachers’ and students’ points of view in both secondary and higher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Communities and E-Learning)
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Article
Digital Technologies—And Teacher Wellbeing?
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 117; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030117 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1171
Abstract
The concept of teacher wellbeing, the importance of considering teacher wellbeing, concerns for developing digital wellbeing and concerns for using digital technologies to support teaching practices have all been previously studied. The idea that uses of digital technologies can support teacher wellbeing (or [...] Read more.
The concept of teacher wellbeing, the importance of considering teacher wellbeing, concerns for developing digital wellbeing and concerns for using digital technologies to support teaching practices have all been previously studied. The idea that uses of digital technologies can support teacher wellbeing (or not) and ways that uses might do this have not been studied to the same extent. Indeed, it can be argued that this topic requires a complete and focused area of study in its own right. This methodologically focused paper takes an initial step in this direction, exploring existing research and backgrounds to wellbeing, teacher wellbeing, digital wellbeing and uses of digital technologies to support teachers’ practices. The paper reviews conceptions of digital technologies supporting teacher wellbeing and offers a newly developed outline conceptual model and framework for this research field. The framework is tested, identifying influencing factors from evidence presented in a number of existing relevant case studies where digital technologies have been used to support teacher practices. The efficacy of the proposed framework is assessed, and the paper concludes by offering a proposed research instrument and strategy to advance knowledge in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leading Edge Technologies Ensuring Education)
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Article
Adaptation of Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Model of Training Criteria to Evaluate Training Programmes for Head Teachers
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 116; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030116 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
Training programmes are evaluated to verify their effectiveness, assess their ability to achieve their goals and identify the areas that require improvement. Therefore, the target of evaluators is to develop an appropriate framework for evaluating training programmes. This study adapted Kirkpatrick’s four-level model [...] Read more.
Training programmes are evaluated to verify their effectiveness, assess their ability to achieve their goals and identify the areas that require improvement. Therefore, the target of evaluators is to develop an appropriate framework for evaluating training programmes. This study adapted Kirkpatrick’s four-level model of training criteria published in 1959 to evaluate training programmes for head teachers according to their own perceptions and those of their supervisors. The adapted model may help evaluators to conceptualise the assessment of learning outcomes of training programmes with metrics and instruments. The model also helps to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the training process. The adaptation includes concrete metrics and instruments for each of the four levels in the model: reaction criteria, learning criteria, behaviour criteria and results criteria. The adapted model was applied to evaluate 12 training programmes for female head teachers in Saudi Arabia. The study sample comprised 250 trainee head teachers and 12 supervisors. The results indicated that the adapted Kirkpatrick evaluation model was very effective in evaluating educational training for head teachers. Full article
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Review
A Scoping Review of Organizational Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Schools: A Complex Systems Perspective
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 115; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030115 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2332
Abstract
This study is a scoping review of the literature on organizational adaptation in school settings during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dramatic and unexpected environmental changes raise questions about the capacity of schooling organizations to adapt to in response to the [...] Read more.
This study is a scoping review of the literature on organizational adaptation in school settings during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dramatic and unexpected environmental changes raise questions about the capacity of schooling organizations to adapt to in response to the pandemic. Different management practices have implications for the selection of organizational behaviors, electively in school settings. The research literature on school responses is analyzed from a selectionist perspective. The aim of this study is to identify and describe three constituting elements of this perspective: variation, interaction, and selection. An additional element is considered in this analysis and comprises the mechanisms of exploration and exploitation in the context of organizational adaptation. Sixteen studies met the selection criteria of describing emergent processes in schools. The findings highlight the emergence of exploration, as teachers actively experimented with a range of strategies and methods in order to maintain educational activities in the complex and uncertain context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several questions are raised regarding the effects and maintenance of new practices in the post-pandemic scenario. Management practices that facilitate variation and open communication about learning processes can contribute to the process of organizational adaptation. Full article
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Article
Exploring Indigenous Science to Identify Contents and Contexts for Science Learning in Order to Promote Education for Sustainable Development
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 114; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11030114 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1103
Abstract
Indigenous science is comprised of the science-related knowledge and associated practices of indigenous cultures. Indigenous science provides rich contexts that can contribute to understanding the relationship of sociocultural life and environmental ethics in certain communities. It can also lead to better reflection upon [...] Read more.
Indigenous science is comprised of the science-related knowledge and associated practices of indigenous cultures. Indigenous science provides rich contexts that can contribute to understanding the relationship of sociocultural life and environmental ethics in certain communities. It can also lead to better reflection upon Western modern views of science. Based on a qualitative analysis of indigenous science in the Baduy community (Indonesia), we describe how indigenous science can provide relevant contexts for students to learn scientific concepts, as well as help them to recognise the value of promoting sustainability. We present potential topics encompassing the sociocultural context of Baduy science that can be associated with sustainability issues. Topics were identified from six themes (agriculture, medicine, natural dyes, household chemicals, renewable energy, and astronomy). Potential implications of these topics to science learning are also presented. We view contextualization of science teaching and learning by indigenous science as a promising source to enhance students’ perception of the relevance of science learning. It can also promote education for sustainable development. Full article
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