Utilizing an inquiry-learning space (ILS) via the Go-Lab platform, we investigated students’ technology acceptance, knowledge integration [KI] process, and learning outcomes of both the high-achiever KI student and low-achiever KI student. This study aimed to understand how students engage in knowledge integration tasks using an inquiry-learning space to learn Mendelian genetics and realize the relationship between student KI and domain knowledge. Using a quasi-experimental design, we examined 41 seventh-grade students in Taiwan completing Mendelian genetics KI tasks in ILS, pre/post-testing of domain knowledge tests, and a technology acceptance questionnaire. The analysis of students’ interaction in the ILS and domain knowledge tests was conducted through descriptive statistics, t-tests, Pearson’s correlation, and content analysis to indicate the direction and relationship between students’ KI processes and learning outcomes. A technology acceptance questionnaire was analyzed through descriptive statistics and Pearson’s correlation to reveal whether students accepted learning on the Go-Lab platform. The study showed that (i) students responded positively to the perceived usefulness of the Go-Lab platform, (ii) the high-achiever KI students could gradually construct links from simple to complex and diverse among genetic ideas, and the low-achiever almost built simple links, but (iii) the high-achiever and low-achiever KI students had similar learning outcomes. These findings have implications that the instruction design of knowledge integration tasks promotes students’ Mendelian genetics conceptual understanding and KI progress.
Current environmental problems are the primary focus for environmental science students and researchers. Sustainable environmental solutions require interdisciplinary thought processes, which pose difficulty to both students and the public. Computational thinking is an emerging term emphasized by progressive science curricula. Computational thinking and environmental science are both interdisciplinary by nature. Learning about sustainable environmental solutions requires students to partake in computational thinking. These ideas lend toward an expansive learning progression that encourages scaffolded and differentiated student progress in both computational knowledge and environmental knowledge. The learning progression, which emerges from the conceptual framework, emphasizes the spheres of sustainability, research, education, and economic perspectives to support environmental science learning through computational thinking. Computational thinking emphasized by the computational components (input, integration, output, and feedback) support learning about environmental solutions within the learning progression. The learning progression promotes application and implications for educators, students, researchers, and environmental scientists.
There is a large amount of research that indicates that the use of 3DMP in STEM education improves students’ knowledge, motivation, and participation in the learning process. Nevertheless, despite the existing attempts to market 3DMP in education, its adoption in schools remains low. A number of studies with teachers in secondary schools and colleges indicate that teachers’ perceptions of 3DMP are one of the key factors for its successful use. However, to our best knowledge, there is no research that examined STEM upper primary school teachers’ perception on 3DMP. Through phenomenographic approach, this study is seeking to address the existing gaps. Four conceptions of 3DMP teaching emerged: (1) 3DMP as tools for classroom modernization; (2) 3DMP technical and software characteristics’ impact on implementation; (3) 3DMP as a tool for learning and improvement in teaching; (4) 3DMP and students’ professional orientation, teachers’ professional development. These four categories are connected by five key aspects of variation: impact on students, impact on teachers, classroom activity management, authenticity, subject-curriculum matters. The results of our study indicate that the mathematics and science teachers have a more sophisticated opinion on 3DMP than teachers of technical education, engineering, and informatics who mostly require additional training when it comes to using 3DMP in STEM education. Comparatively, science and mathematics teachers need support with implementation of software and 3D printers as a technical tool. Considering that this study’s teachers were early adopters of 3DMP, any future research should explore conceptions of experienced users.
This paper presents a study that examines the effect of a graduate course titled “Selected topics in interpersonal communication skills” on the students’ interpersonal communication skills as part of their 21st century skills. Subject to the COVID-19 constraints, the course was taught online in the winter semester of 2021 to 46 students, who practiced in four groups. The students, who were studying at the Technion a science and technology research university for a research-oriented graduate degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) subject, attended synchronous bi-weekly 1-h lectures and 1-h practice sessions. The two research questions were as follows: (1) Did the interpersonal communication skills of the participants change following their participation in the course, and if so, how? (2) What was the effect of online learning on the students' interpersonal communication skills of (a) written and oral communication, (b) peer evaluation and feedback, and (c) self-reflection? Research tools included students’ self-presentations, questionnaires, peer assessments, and reflections during the course. Analyzing the data quantitatively and qualitatively, we found that the graduate students improved their interpersonal communication skills and benefited from exposure to a variety of knowledge and research fields, contributing to a sense of pride in their university affiliation. The students suggested adding a practical component on providing constructive feedback and rendering the course mandatory to all the graduate students in the university. The contribution of this research is the creation and favorable assessment of an online course that develops interpersonal communication skills among graduate students from a variety of STEM faculties.
Some science subjects are often perceived to be difficult and boring by students due to their nature and the way they are taught. This study sought to check the effectiveness of the technology-enhanced instruction method with comprehensive use of virtual labs and animations in teaching nerve cells’ (neurons and glial cells) structures and functions. Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning provided the theoretical model to frame the study. This study used a quasi-experimental design of pre-test and post-test where four secondary schools all from the southern province of Rwanda were selected from two different districts. Two schools from Ruhango District were assigned to the experimental group while the other two schools from Muhanga District were assigned to the control group. The study involved 168 students, 83 forming the control group, and 85 forming the experimental group. The biology test based on nerve cells was used to assess the effect of teaching strategies before and after learning. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS version 23, and we computed a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and repeated measures ANOVA. The results indicated that the students who learned nerve cells by use of technology-enhanced instruction of virtual labs and animations outperformed those who learned with conventional methods (M. exp. = 80.41% with SD = 10.32 versus M. cont. = 47.11% with SD = 10.68 and a p-value < 0.05). The results also indicated that after learning with virtual labs and animations, the number of students who were able to perform each of the 20 questions of the test increased considerably. The study recommends the use of virtual labs and animations to enhance students’ understanding of nerve cells.
This study investigates the effect of incorporating different learning materials (paper textbooks, wearable AR material, and wearable hybrid AR/VR material) in a physics laboratory education on the situational interest, engagement, and learning performance of high school students. The study utilized a quasi-experimental research design. The participants were 105 students, who were assigned to three groups: the traditional learning group, wearable AR group, and wearable hybrid AR/VR group. The instruments included a situational interest scale, an engagement scale, a learning performance test, and an open-ended questionnaire. The results showed that the situational interest and learning performance of the wearable hybrid AR/VR group were significantly higher, compared with that of the traditional learning group. The engagement of the wearable hybrid AR/VR group was significantly higher, compared with that of the other two groups. The wearable hybrid AR/VR material increased situational interest, engagement, and learning performance in the physical laboratory course. This study suggests that instructors can use wearable hybrid AR/VR to enhance situational interest, engagement, and learning performance among learners in science laboratory learning environments.
The introduction of maker technology and personal fabrication has radically changed how we learn, design and innovate. In recent years, a growing number of people have begun to use a broad range of these creative technologies. A common challenge in the use of these electronic technologies, particularly for students, is the difficulties that arise during circuit wiring prototyping. Today, few studies have highlighted the factors that cause errors among student during their electronic circuit learning activities. This research investigates the causes of wiring problems and troubleshooting strategies during the prototyping of electronic circuits by students. We conducted an ethnographic study of undergraduate students at a university design school who were involved in prototyping electronic circuits with creative technologies. We performed a microanalysis of the students’ interactions and dialogues following the distributed cognition framework. Our results show the significance of meaningful representations of information on circuit wiring tools, in addition to the importance of common knowledge among the students for reasoning about electronic circuit wiring and the detection and solving of wiring errors. This study highlights the relations between the types of wiring errors and the students’ troubleshooting strategies. In addition to informing educational practitioners, our conclusions highlight the need for further studies and the demand for a redesign of electronic wiring prototyping tools.
Programming and automation continue to evolve rapidly and advance the capabilities of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. However, physical computing (the integration of programming and interactive physical devices) integrated within biomedical contexts remains an area of limited focus in secondary STEM education programs. As this is an emerging area, many educators may not be well prepared to teach physical computing concepts within authentic biomedical contexts. This shortcoming provided the rationale for this study, to examine if professional development (PD) had a noticeable influence on high school science, and technology and engineering (T&E) teachers’: (1) perceptions of teaching biomedical and computational thinking (CT) concepts, and (2) plans to integrate physical computing within the context of authentic biomedical engineering challenges. The findings revealed a significant difference in the amount of biomedical and CT concepts that teachers planned to implement as a result of the PD. Using a modified version of the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI-A) (Riggs & Enochs, 1990), analyses revealed significant gains in teachers’ self-efficacy toward teaching both biomedical and CT concepts from the PD. Further analyses revealed that teachers reported increases in their perceived knowledge of biomedical and CT concepts, and a significant increase in their intent to collaborate with a science or T&E educator outside of their content area. This study provides implications for researchers and educators to integrate more biomedical and physical computing instruction at the secondary education level.
The current work reports the results of students’ social presence in web-based discussions for their conceptual learning of organic chemistry. The results in this study were collected from the examined students-students, students-instructor, and students-learning materials interactions via the designed web-based discussion. We created an online forum known as “Universal Chemistry Network” to enhance communication among students and teachers in organic chemistry classes. The population comprises four hundred thirty-two (432) 11th-grade students studying chemistry in these combinations. However, a sample of 138 chemistry students was purposively selected from 36 secondary schools located in Kicukiro District in Rwanda. A questionnaire composed of multiple-choice and open-ended questions and a chemistry achievement test were used to collect data. The obtained data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and interpretive analysis. The results revealed that the use of web-based discussion is a potentially effective teaching method for enhancing student–student and student–teacher interactions in organic chemistry classes. Students appreciated this teaching and learning method as it helped them to search for additional information related to the subject taught and exchange ideas, knowledge, and experiences. The web-based discussion was also found to provide the students with the potential confidence and motivation to express easily their opinions. The repeated measures ANOVA showed that web-based discussion increases students’ academic performance in organic chemistry (p < 0.001, η=0.406). However, there is no statistically significant difference in the mean score between males and females (p > 0.05, η= 0.27). The challenges faced by students during web-based discussions while learning organic chemistry were also examined.
The proliferation of fake news and pseudoscience requires a proactive educational approach to the cultivation of critical thinking (CT); yet, university lecturers and students alike appear to have insufficient guidance. Moreover, studies on CT overlook globalization trends such as student mobility, where international students are a significant portion of the student body. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine the way CT is conceptualized and experienced by instructors, local students, and international students from China in a science and engineering university, and accordingly design a culturally inclusive theoretical framework for CT cultivation in the digital era. The study applied an integrated dual-analytic approach, where data was collected via a survey and semi-structured interviews. The findings show that many instructors and students lack a comprehensive understanding of CT skills. The findings also show that the international students were more familiar with CT in theory and practice than the local students, with “analysis” as one of the prominent skills experienced in academic courses. The study presents a technology-enhanced instructional framework that integrates individual learning with collaborative and culturally inclusive assignments.
This study explores the relationships between peer-to-peer interactions and (1) group formation among students, (2) choice of research, and (3) course performance in an online asynchronous ecology course at a research-intensive university. Peer-to-peer interactions have been known to enhance learning experience for students in a wide array of contexts, including online courses. However, less is known about how these interactions shape the students’ performance and their choice of research over the course of time. Most previous studies have focused on either large introductory-level courses, where peer-to-peer interactions are usually lower, or analyses across a large number of courses, which introduce additional sources of variance. To explore how online peer-to-peer interactions develop, influence course dynamics, and impact student success, we collected data from a single medium-sized ecology course about peer-to-peer interactions, course performance, and student demographics. The course was repeated over six different semesters with the same instructor, same teaching assistant (TA), and an unchanged course structure to maintain certain homogeneity. Average class size was 20–25 students, and the educational format required intense discussions and peer interactions. Adopting a network science approach to the analyses, we find that peer-to-peer interactions not only affect student performance, but also shape class-wide interactions (e.g., working group formation), and choice of course research topic. Understanding this interplay of peer-to-peer interactions, group formation, and choice of research is important in forging necessary skills in students for a variety of contexts, and through such insights might better shape teamwork and choice of research, which are very important for molding future scientists in the twenty-first century.
Because of the emergence of coronavirus disease, e-learning is now widely used in schools and universities. As a result of the rapid spread of this phenomenon, there are some issues. This paper aims to look into the level of student satisfaction with online education, as well as the factors that influence the satisfaction and effectiveness of this type of education. The research was Applied research in terms of purpose and quantitative in terms of approach. In this research, an online survey was used. The study population was the students of Allameh Tabatabai University, Shahid Beheshti University, and Tehran University, and 760 of them were chosen through voluntary sampling. Data were collected using a 100-item online questionnaire, and factor analysis, Cronbach's alpha coefficient, and internal correlation were used to ensure validity and reliability. The SPSS and LISREL software packages were used to analyze the data. According to the findings, the average index of satisfaction with online education is 2.4 out of 5, indicating that student satisfaction is low. Practical training has the lowest level of satisfaction. Among the influential factors, the dimension of professors, system and class conditions, and students have the greatest influence on satisfaction with online education.
In this paper, the effectiveness of training faculty in laboratory teaching (the teaching of science in a laboratory setting using experiments and similar exercises) through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-virtual technologies for faculties in institutions of higher education in the Indian state of Kerala-was evaluated and measured. The efficacy of employing ICT to train teachers in higher education is important, and we have identified 5I factors (innovative, interactive, involvement, informative, and influential) to help ascertain the effectiveness of such technology training during pandemic teaching. The laboratory learning using VL can describe the student's engagement in the online learning process. This work more specifically identifies how ICT helps in laboratory teaching and identifies the critical pedagogical aspects of the ICT. If the technology has these 5I factors, then it will be an effective teaching method for laboratory learning. Here, we used the ICT-virtual labs in science as the technology to evaluate these five factors. The research first began by conducting an ethnicity profile of science teachers in the middle and high/secondary stages of school consisting of classes VII, IX, and X (i.e., students of ages 11 to 15). To evaluate the use of VL in the 5I framework, the faculties in science were divided into experimental and control groups (n = 101). The experimental group practiced in a virtual lab in the first stage, but the control group did not. Test I was then performed on both groups. In the second stage, both groups practiced with real lab equipment, and test II was conducted on both groups. The tests and other data from the two groups were statistically analyzed using independent t tests. There were notable differences between the experimental and control groups: in terms of time for understanding the concepts behind the experiment, time for doing the experiment, and accuracy in results, with the experimental group performing significantly better. On the other hand, there was no significant difference between the two groups in task completion accuracy. Overall, there was a beneficial transfer of training from the virtual lab exercise to the real lab, with the experimental group's average score being higher.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10956-022-09995-8.
The ICT-based learning model has been a catalyst in the field of modern education to teach higher-order thinking skills (HOTS). However, a few studies promoted technology-based HOTS learning to advance pre-service teachers’ ability in devising HOTS-based lesson plans. This study aimed to examine how the HOTS-Link mobile learning application assisted biology pre-service teachers in devising HOTS-based lesson plans and describe their responses on the utility of the application. The study used a descriptive-quantitative research approach with an ADDIE research design, especially in the implementation stage. The data were obtained using documentation of learning outcomes and questionnaires completed by 20 biology pre-service teachers. The results showed that the HOTS-Link mobile learning application could increase pre-service teachers’ ability in devising HOTS-based lesson plans. Another finding portrayed that all pre-service teachers conveyed a positive response toward the easy usage of the application. The present study implied that the HOTS-Link mobile learning application could be used by biology teachers to create HOTS-based lesson plans, especially for the Indonesian curriculum.
This paper shares findings from a teacher designed physics and computing unit that engaged students in learning physics and computing concurrently thru inquiry. Using scientific inquiry skills and practices, students were tasked with assessing the validity of local rollercoaster g-force ratings as posted to the public. Students used computational electronic textile circuits (e-textiles) to engage in “myth busting” amusement park g-force ratings. In doing so, students engaged computing and computational thinking skills in service to answering their scientific inquiry. Findings from this study indicate that physics classes are ideal spaces for engaging in computing’s Big Ideas as laid out by Grover and Pea (Educational Researcher 42, 38–43, 2013) as well as the pillars of computational thinking (Wing, Communications of the ACM 49, 33–35, 2006). However, essential to this dual engagement is a need for computing content to act in service to the better acquisition of physics content within the physics classroom space. Findings indicate that the teachers’ use of e-textiles to integrate physics and computing broadened and deepened student learning by providing affordances for computational thinking within the structure of physical science inquiry.
This study aims to explore the impact of an augmented reality (AR) scientific inquiry tool based on a brain-computer interface (BCI) on students’ scientific performance, flow experience, self-efficacy, and cognitive load of primary school students. The BCI-based AR inquiring tool provides real-time attention feedback to students’ activities in an AR science learning environment. Before the formal experiment, a pilot study was conducted to prove that the attention estimation algorithm involved in the tool is effective and the AR learning environment based on the BCI technology is feasible. In the formal study, quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed. A total of 41 primary school students were randomly assigned to the experimental group (EG) or the control group (CG) to learn the lever principle. The students of EG used the BCI-based AR inquiring tool, and the CG used simple AR inquiring tools without real-time attention feedback. Results show that the BCI-based AR inquiring tool positively impacts students’ scientific inquiry. It significantly helps students improve their science learning performance, achieve mental flow, and promote their scientific inquiry participation self-efficacy. Besides, no significant effect on cognitive load was found. The interview results indicate that students have a positive attitude toward the BCI-based AR scientific inquiry tool.
Guiding teachers to customize curriculum has shown to improve science instruction when guided effectively. We explore how teachers use student data to customize a web-based science unit on plate tectonics. We study the implications for teacher learning along with the impact on student self-directed learning. During a professional development workshop, four 7th grade teachers reviewed logs of their students’ explanations and revisions. They used a curriculum visualization tool that revealed the pedagogy behind the unit to plan their customizations. To promote self-directed learning, the teachers decided to customize the guidance for explanation revision by giving students a choice among guidance options. They took advantage of the web-based unit to randomly assign students (N = 479) to either a guidance Choice or a no-choice condition. We analyzed logged student explanation revisions on embedded and pre-test/post-test assessments and teacher and student written reflections and interviews. Students in the guidance Choice condition reported that the guidance was more useful than those in the no-choice condition and made more progress on their revisions. Teachers valued the opportunity to review student work, use the visualization tool to align their customization with the knowledge integration pedagogy, and investigate the choice option empirically. These findings suggest that the teachers’ decision to offer choice among guidance options promoted aspects of self-directed learning.
With the gradual shift to online education models that has taken place in recent decades, research has sought to understand the nuances of student performance in an online model in comparison to more traditional in-person modalities. However, the effects of instructional modality have been difficult to determine given the many variables that exist in course design between these methods. In this study, we attempt to determine the efficacy of asynchronous online instruction by comparing two nearly equivalent courses. The first course was a flipped classroom, a recent and well-studied hybrid model of instruction. The second was an asynchronous fully online course that contained all the same instructional elements as the in-person course but lacked any student or instructor interaction. Student performance was tracked at both a highly-selective private institution and an open-enrollment public institution. Results show that students’ performance drops in an asynchronous online course compared to an equivalent in-person experience. Several potential hypotheses are put forth to explain a change in performance that can potentially shape the design of online instruction.
A learning experience designed for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) should integrate the Science & Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) with science content. Such three-dimensional learning engages students in the epistemic components of the scientific process. Whether the Practices and CCCs are used in epistemically meaningful ways to build more expert-like understanding and behaviors is context dependent. The NGSS defines learning progressions for the Practices and CCCs, but they do not provide the detail needed to build activities within the grade bands. It is also up to curriculum developers to decide how to incorporate the Practices and CCCs using technology in domain-specific inquiry contexts. We document the development and evaluation of the week-long middle school summer Camp NANO, where campers participated in an observational investigation of a stream habitat from the macro-to-nano scale using the scanning electron microscope (SEM) as well as produced an interactive Virtual Field Environment (VFE) communication of the stream environment. This pilot is an example of a domain-specific authentic scientific inquiry experience built around three-dimensional learning as guided by the novice-to-expert literature to meet the NGSS middle school learning targets of the selected Practices and CCCs. We found that it was possible to build an activity plan that authentically incorporated and integrated the Practices and CCCs with the SEM and VFE, and that the involvement with the SEM and VFE in association with the observational investigation facilitated expert-like thinking and behaviors towards the selected Practices and CCCs.
Higher education instructors constantly rely on educational data to assess and evaluate the behavior of their students and to make informed decisions such as which content to focus on and how to best engage the students with it. Massive open online course (MOOC) platforms may assist in the data-driven instructional process, as they enable access to a wide range of educational data that is gathered automatically and continuously. Successful implementation of a data-driven instruction initiative depends highly on the support and acceptance of the instructors. Yet, our understanding of instructors’ perspectives regarding the process of data-driven instruction, especially with reference to MOOC teaching, is still limited. Hence, this study was set to characterize MOOC instructors’ interest in educational data and their perceived barriers to data use for decision-making. Taking a qualitative approach, data were collected via semi-structured interviews with higher education MOOC instructors from four public universities in Israel. Findings indicated that the instructors showed great interest mostly in data about social interactions between learners and about problems with the MOOC educational resources. The main reported barriers for using educational data for decision-making were lack of customized data, real-time access, data literacy, and institutional support. The results highlight the need to provide MOOC instructors with professional development opportunities for the proper use of educational data for skilled decision-making.
Preservice elementary teachers (PSTs) prepare for various standardized assessments, such as the Praxis® licensure assessment. However, there is little research on test-taking behavior and test-taking strategies for this examinee population. A common belief and instruction given in some test preparation materials is that examinees should stick to their initial answer choice. Decades of research has debunked this belief, finding that generally examinees benefit from answer changing behavior. However, there is minimal research on answer changing behavior among PSTs. Moreover, there is little research examining answer changing behavior for tests assessing constructs that integrate content and practice, or across different technology-enhanced item types. We use an online Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT) assessment that measures PSTs’ CKT in one science area: matter and its interactions. In this study, we analyzed process data from administering the online CKT matter assessment to 822 PSTs from across the US to better understand PSTs’ behaviors and interactions on this computer-based science assessment. Consistent with prior research findings, this study showed that examinees who changed their responses benefited more often than were harmed by doing so with higher-performing examinees benefiting more than lower-performing examinees, on average. These findings also were consistent across item types. Implications for computer-based CKT science assessment design and delivery are discussed.
As a result of COVID-19, various forms of education and teaching are moving online. However, the notion of an online STEM camp is still in its beginnings, and there is little relevant research and experience in this context. At the beginning of April 2021, the research team launched an online STEM charity camp with the theme of "Shen Nong Tastes Herbs." Participants included 113 third- and fourth-grade primary school students ranging from 8 to 12 years of age from four schools in Karamay, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region with weak educational capabilities. The camp lasted for 3 days and included 7 activities, while remote teaching was accomplished through Dingtalk. Pre- and post-test questionnaires and interviews were used to explore the impact of this camp on students. We found that online STEM camps could improve students' self-efficacy, computational thinking, and task value, and there is a significant improvement in the self-efficacy (p = 0.000) and task value (p = 0.001) dimensions. In addition, students with high self-efficacy had higher scores in the other two dimensions. Finally, we summarized the experiences and gains of students and teachers and proposed suggestions for developing online camps based on this experience. [Table: see text].
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10956-022-09967-y.
Videos created with the hands of teachers filmed have been perceived as useful educational resource for students of Physics in undergraduate courses. In previous works, we analyzed the students’ perception about educational videos by asking them about their experiences. In this work, we analyze the same facts, but from a learning analytics perspective, by analyzing the interactions that students have with the videos during their learning experience. With this analysis, we obtain how students behave and may compare whether their behavior aligns with the perceptions obtained from previous research. The data analyzed in this work corresponds to the students’ interactions with educational videos during 5 semesters in two different courses of Physics within online degrees of Telecommunication and Computer Science. It has been found that the topic taught in the videos has influence in the way videos are used by the students. Regarding the type of content (theory or problem-solving), problem-solving videos are more used by students, although interactions with both videos are similar. This difference differs with previous results based on students’ perception. The contribution of the paper is to provide more ground and knowledge about the way the educational videos are consumed in Physics courses. The new knowledge can be used to improve the way videos are incorporated within courses and, therefore, to improve the student learning experiences.
Science education researchers typically face a trade-off between more quantitatively oriented confirmatory testing of hypotheses, or more qualitatively oriented exploration of novel hypotheses. More recently, open-ended, constructed response items were used to combine both approaches and advance assessment of complex science-related skills and competencies. For example, research in assessing science teachers' noticing and attention to classroom events benefitted from more open-ended response formats because teachers can present their own accounts. Then, open-ended responses are typically analyzed with some form of content analysis. However, language is noisy, ambiguous, and unsegmented and thus open-ended, constructed responses are complex to analyze. Uncovering patterns in these responses would benefit from more principled and systematic analysis tools. Consequently, computer-based methods with the help of machine learning and natural language processing were argued to be promising means to enhance assessment of noticing skills with constructed reponse formats. In particular, pretrained language models recently advanced the study of linguistic phenomena and thus could well advance assessment of complex constructs through constructed response items. This study examines potentials and challenges of a pretrained language model-based clustering approach to assess preservice physics teachers' attention to classroom events as elicited through open-ended written descriptions. It was examined to what extent the clustering approach could identify meaningful patterns in the constructed responses, and in what ways textual organization of the responses could be analyzed with the clusters. Preservice physics teachers (N=75) were instructed to describe a standardized, video-recorded teaching situation in physics. The clustering approach was used to group related sentences. Results indicate that the pretrained language model-based clustering approach yields well interpretable, specific, and robust clusters, which could be mapped to physics-specific and more general contents. Furthermore, the clusters facilitate advanced analysis of the textual organization of the constructed responses. Hence, we argue that machine learning and natural language processing provide science education researchers means to combine exploratory capabilities of qualitative research methods with the systematicity of quantitative methods.
The Next Generation Science Standards call for engaging K–12 students in three-dimensional learning, in which students make sense of phenomena or solve problems by simultaneously using science and engineering practices (SEPs), crosscutting concepts (CCCs), and disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). Decades of education research suggest agent-based computer models (ABMs) have the potential to support all three dimensions. However, most existing studies focus on using ABMs to support one or two dimensions (i.e., DCIs and/or SEPs). This article presents a mixed-methods study in which 63 sixth-grade students engaged in ABM-supported, three-dimensional learning to explore the causes of severe bark beetle outbreaks in forest ecosystems. Data collected from pre- and post-assessments, students’ written explanations for the outbreak phenomenon, and videos of classroom instruction suggest the ABM of bark beetle outbreaks supported students in using all three dimensions of science learning to make sense of the target phenomenon. Our results show that the ABM-supported unit significantly improved students’ understanding of ecosystem concepts. The largest improvement was observed among previously low-performing students. Furthermore, students engaged in sophisticated science practices, reasoning with the computer-generated data to develop an evidence-based explanation for the target phenomenon. The ABM helped students to make sense of the target phenomenon using five different CCCs. Importantly, our results also show that ABMs enabled students as young as sixth grade to predict system outcomes and better understand the nature of models in science. This study contributes to the field by bridging ABM education literature with three-dimensional science teaching and learning.
This article presents a case study of the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) in high-school biology project-based learning. The study’s main goal was to conduct an in-depth, qualitative examination of the students’ experiences and the development of their skills over the course of this project. The following research questions were formulated: (1) What were the significant learning experiences for the high-school biology students participating in the IoT-based project? (2) How did these experiences shape students' interpersonal, intrapersonal, and cognitive skills? The research approach applied was that of an instrumental case study with multiple data collection sources (in-depth interviews, observations, one-on-one discussions with the students). The data were analyzed by applying an embedded analysis focused on students’ experiences and skills. The findings present students’ cognitive, social, and emotional experiences and how these experiences shaped their corresponding cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills. This research contributes to the theory and practice of project-based learning in high school.
Driven by the initiative of e-learning, mobile technologies such as tablets, with the merits of portability and accessibility, have become vital tools for creating ubiquitous learning and mobile learning (m-learning) environments in science education. The reconstruction of the science learning environment enabled by mobile technologies may influence students’ learning engagement and correspondingly affect their science learning performance. Considering the limited empirical studies on student engagement in the m-learning environment at the senior secondary level, this study focuses on exploring the characteristics of students’ engagement in a mobile technology-supported science learning environment. In the study, a class with 45 10th grade students and three teachers at a senior secondary school was videotaped and observed. The data of students’ behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagements from 60 science lessons was coded and analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively from the social-cultural perspective. On that basis, the correlations among these three dimensions of engagements in m-science learning environment were further calculated. The findings indicated the progress and pitfalls of current mobile technology-supported teaching and learning practices in science education. The results and discussions will inform the pedagogical design and implementation of mobile learning in science education.
Computing has become essential in modern-day problem-solving, making computational literacy necessary for practicing scientists and engineers. However, K–12 science education has not reflected this computational shift. Integrating computational thinking (CT) into core science courses is an avenue that can build computational literacies in all students. Integrating CT and science involves using computational tools and methods (including programming) to understand scientific phenomena and solve science-based problems. Integrating CT and science is gaining traction, but widespread implementation is still quite limited. Several barriers have limited the integration and implementation of CT in K–12 science education. Most teachers lack experience with computer science, computing, programming, and CT and therefore are ill-prepared to integrate CT into science courses, leading to low self-efficacy and low confidence in integrating CT. This theoretical paper introduces a novel instructional approach for integrating disciplinary science education with CT using unplugged (computer-free) activities. We have grounded our approach in common computational thinking in STEM frameworks but translate this work into an accessible pedagogical strategy. We begin with an overview and critique of current approaches that integrate CT and science. Next, we introduce the Computational Thinking through Algorithmic Explanations (CT-AE) instructional approach. We then explain how CT-AE is informed by constructionist writing-to-learn science theory. Based on a pilot implementation with student learning outcomes, we discuss connections to existing literature and future directions.
-based learning refers to place-based education conducted online with the use of geographic information systems and mobile devices; with the shift to distance learning, its integration in science education warrants careful evaluation. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of location-based learning on students’ understanding of Newton’s laws of motion and to characterize the learning outcomes. The participants were 373 eighth-grade students, divided into two groups: control (n = 167) — teacher-centered, textbook-oriented instruction — and experimental (n = 206) — student-centered, location-based learning. The study applied a quasi-experimental research design, within a framework of a mixed-methods approach, in which data were collected through pre- and post-questionnaires and the analysis of students’ learning outcomes. The findings indicated a significant positive effect for the location-based learning approach on students’ ability to generate and answer science-related questions, provide reasoned explanations, and connect scientific topics to daily life. Significant relationships were indicated between students’ ability to generate questions and their ability to provide reasoned explanations. The study points to the importance of engaging students in location-based learning and in the process of generating science-related questions, information points on a digital map, and multimedia features.
Visuospatial (VS) skills have been shown to be a crucial foundation for success in STEM courses and careers while the impact of visuospatial self-efficacy (VSSE) has been overlooked. To address the lack of a reliable instrument to measure VSSE, we developed and validated a VSSE scale. Exploratory Factor Analysis of the initial 42 scale items (n = 179) suggested a five-factor structure with 25 items retained. Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the 25 items (n = 183) demonstrated a reasonable model fit to the data. Coupled with acceptable to high levels of internal consistency, the results indicate that the VSSE scale can be used as a diagnostic and research tool in educational practice and future research.
The properties and functions of complex systems apply across a variety of domains of science and are at the heart of the solutions to many global crises facing the world today. As such, understanding of complex systems has been increasingly recognized as a core goal of science education. Learning about complexity-related concepts and phenomena is persistently considered difficult for many students-even at the undergraduate level, but traditional pedagogical approaches have been unsuccessful in teaching complex systems effectively. Evidence indicates that agent-based participatory simulations can be promising for this purpose. Using mixed methods, cross-case analysis, we examined how undergraduates experience changes in their understanding of the watershed as a complex ecosystem with the use of a particular agent-based participatory simulation called the UVA Bay Game. While one of the cases yielded evidence of nonsignificant quantitative change between pre-and post-simulation concept maps, this study observed an overall positive increase of complex system understanding through both concept map analysis and narrative reflections on learning. Our findings extend the current understanding of the role of participatory agent-based simulations in teaching and learning about complex systems in classrooms. Implications and limitations are discussed.
Learning through games in general and educational escape-rooms in particular requires participants to be creative and critical thinkers, work in collaboration with others, formulate an array of thinking strategies, and be familiar with media and technology. A specially designed chemistry-themed escape-room was built as an alternative learning and assessment environment. The goal of this research was to examine students’ game-based experience and identify and characterize the skills and knowledge students experienced they used while in the escape-room. The study included 58 participants from chemistry-related departments who were either undergraduate or graduate students. The study applied the one-group posttest design, in which the learning outcomes are measured after a non-randomized group of participants is exposed to intervention. A questionnaire with closed-ended and open-ended questions was used to collect data. The findings indicated positive results regarding students’ application of communication, collaboration, and high thinking abilities (21st-century skills). Students enjoyed the activity and felt motivated to learn chemistry. Although they found the activity challenging, the degree of enjoyment and motivation to learn chemistry was high. Our study contributes to the growing body of knowledge on game-based learning by addressing some of the gaps related to the use of escape-room environments in educational settings. It shows how students benefit from these environments, which foster their content knowledge in chemistry and develop their collaboration, communication, and higher-order thinking skills.
Implicit gender bias is frequently cited as a contributor to the gender disparity that persists in STEM fields, despite continued efforts toward equity. While many bias interventions are aimed at faculty, scientific trainees (graduate students and post-docs) are a powerful group with the potential to enact future change. A graduate level, synchronous online course entitled, Equity in STEM for all Genders, is presented as a gender bias intervention. Course participants include graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, academic staff, and faculty. The course pairs weekly discussions (synchronous and asynchronous) about gender and gender bias-related topics with experimentally validated video interventions, primary literature, and popular articles. Over three course iterations, we observed increased bias literacy and participant motivation to mitigate gender-related bias within their local STEM contexts. We provide suggestions for making this course more widely available to STEM future faculty.
The use of augmented reality (AR) technology in the science curriculum has the potential to assist students in comprehending
abstract and complex concepts or unobservable phenomena, as well as to better explain knowledge regarding science content
by superimposing virtual objects over genuine items or environments in a multidimensional approach. However, the overall
effects on students’ academic achievement of using AR technology in scientific courses and the key factors that influence
such effects are still unclear. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis in this work to systematically review 35 empiric trials
(with 39 effect sizes) that used experimental or quasi-experimental approaches to determine the academic achievement
of using AR techniques in science-related courses. In addition, we explored possible moderators such as differences in
disciplines, educational stages, types of AR (marker-based, markerless-based, or location-based), display devices (mobiles,
tablets, computers, or headsets), intervention duration, group size, and instructional strategies. The results revealed that the
overall mean effect size (with AR into instruction vs without AR into instruction) was 0.737 under the random effects model,
indicating a medium-to-large significant positive effect on students’ academic achievement. The disciplines had significant
moderating effects, types of AR had marginally significant effects, while educational stages, display devices, intervention
duration, group size, and strategies used had insignificant influence. The impact of AR technology on scientific education
was discussed in connection to the above seven moderators.
Video games are a medium most students are familiar with; thus, they can be used as educational tools to meet the needs of twenty-first-century students. Given the popularity of video games with teenagers, they can be incorporated as educational tools in the science classroom. However, the affordances of using Minecraft Education (Minecraft Edu)—as a game-based learning (GBL) tool—for learning atomic structure in junior high school have not been researched. The purpose of this article was to explore the affordances of Minecraft Edu for learning atomic structure in junior high school by exploring students’ experiences of using Minecraft Edu as a learning tool. The main research question was: what are the affordances of Minecraft Edu for learning atomic structure in junior high school? A qualitative research approach underpinned by an interpretivist paradigm was adopted for this research since the purpose of this research was to explore students’ experiences. The research was conducted with a class of 20 grade 8 students who were observed and interviewed at a South African well-resourced private school. An intervention aligned with the national curriculum for state schools was designed and implemented. It was underpinned by GBL as well as social, cognitive and radical constructivist perspectives. Methodological and source triangulation were used to ensure trustworthiness. Merriam's (Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation, Jossey-Bass, 2009) constant comparative method was used to analyse data. Findings indicated that students were motivated, interested and challenged to think critically while collaborating and that the abstractness of atomic structure was alleviated. Although not all the features of the crafting stations of Minecraft Edu might promote active, deep learning of abstract concepts, it is evident that it holds some affordances for making atomic structure less abstract for students. It needs to be further investigated which features of the crafting stations of Minecraft Edu are conducive to deep learning, as well as the extent to which they are. Future research could also focus on designing an online Minecraft-based intervention as opposed to a face-to-face intervention as well as using Minecraft Edu in learning other curriculum topics across all grades and diverse learning contexts.
The sciences are a complex and especially demanding area of study for undergraduate students, particularly in the earlier years, which are a critical period of adaptation to a new educational stage. The use of new teaching models is encouraged to improve their learning, such as flipped classroom (FC), which pursues more meaningful and effective learning that encourages an active role for students. The aim of this study is to perform a systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of the FC model in learning in the field of experimental and health sciences in higher education during the 2014–2021 period, specifically in students’ performance, determining the influence of students’ motivation and self-regulation during the process. The phases and quality standards for systematic reviews were complied with in the search for and compilation of the articles analysed. Science students generally view FC as satisfactory. The results show increased motivation and self-regulation and, by extension, a general positive impact on academic performance as benefits. Furthermore, motivation and self-regulation are regarded as key requirements for good performance in an FC environment in the sciences. However, to achieve good results, FC must be applied in such a way that students are able to reflect on their own learning process.
It is of great importance that science educators teach COVID-19 and related pandemics to boost students’ scientific literacy. A mixed methods research design (pre-post test instrument [N = 86] and semi-structured interviews [N = 11]–August 2020 to June 2021) evaluated the ability of an intervention (12 h, three-session, 3-day, online workshop) to augment middle school inservice science teachers’ (Eastern Saudi Arabian province) ability to teach about medical terminology and the epidemiology of diseases. Teachers’ cognitive gains were measured through evaluating their knowledge, comprehension, and application of workshop content before and after the intervention. Descriptive statistics and inferential t tests revealed statistically significant cognitive differences overall (p < .01) (posttest mean = 26.26/30, SD 2.83, t value 18.51) and along knowledge (posttest mean = 5.72/7), comprehension (mean = 7.50/8), and application (mean = 13.05/15). A high effect size coefficient n2 indicated a large effect on cognitive gains. Thematic analysis about participants’ subsequent efforts teaching workshop content to students revealed positive and negative experiences. The former included improved student engagement with the curriculum, community connections via project-based learning, and opportunities to teach colleagues about COVID-19. The latter concerned insufficient time, an obligation to teach the current curriculum without adding COVID-19 content, and administrative resistance. Recommendations pertain to augmenting the workshop curriculum and likeminded research initiatives.
This study examined the effects of an Arduino microrobot activity on college students’ interest in robotics through three specific objectives: (1) determining how students’ conceptual understanding regarding the basics of microcomputing and computer programming changes after engaging in an engineering robotics learning module, (2) assessing the impact of these changes on students’ sense of competence in engineering robotics, and (3) explaining the role of students’ perceived knowledge transferability in the relationship between their sense of competence and changes in their interest for pursuing engineering robotics. Participants (n = 58) were recruited from two Engineering Physics courses and surveyed before (Time 1) and after (Time 2) an Arduino microcomputing learning activity. First, significant increases were reported post-activity for interest in robotics, as well as conceptual understanding of microelectronics and computer programming. Second, changes in the understanding of computer programming significantly predicted students’ sense of competence at Time 2. Finally, high and low levels of competence and perceived knowledge transferability were related to changes in students’ interest in robotics. Moreover, high levels of perceived knowledge transferability alone played an important role in students’ interest in robotics. Transferring complex engineering ideas to novel situations was beneficial regarding students’ learning gains associated with computer programming and with the Arduino microcontroller platform. An overview of the virtual lab architecture used is provided with suggested novel directions for teaching college-level courses about engineering robotics.
Digital technologies have the potential to increase the quality of instruction; however, using digital technologies does not necessarily guarantee high-quality teaching. Therefore, teachers need specific professional knowledge on how to use and implement digital technologies. Moreover, teachers need to know how beliefs about learning with digital technologies impact their teaching. Usually, knowledge and beliefs are assessed via self-report measures and in a subject-unspecific and isolated manner. The present study assesses biology-specific professional knowledge on the use of digital technologies (self-report and performance assessed) and beliefs together. Furthermore, these constructs were related to the quality of lesson plans on honeybees and analysed. Eighty-two biology teacher students from an Austrian university participated in the study. A path model revealed that self-assessed professional knowledge on the use of digital technologies was not a significant predictor of lesson planning quality. In contrast, performance-assessed knowledge and–to some extent–beliefs are significant predictors of the quality of lesson plans with technology integration. Thus, self-report measures on their own do not sufficiently predict the ability to engage in high-quality technology integration in the classroom.
The demand for security systems has greatly increased in recent years due to improved technology and the sophistication of criminally minded people. Security systems used for granting access have also evolved through the years in terms of technology and complexity. Biometric technology has been used to authenticate and grant access to people just like the case when using wireless technology like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. This project work was able to combine both RFID and fingerprint scanning to authenticate users and grant access to them through the gates. The system has a pedestrian gate and a vehicular entrance/exit gate. A known pedestrian activates the system via a button and then scans his/her finger. The system will check for a match and if found, the system allows the user to select the gate that will automatically open and close once the pedestrian enters. For vehicles, the RFID tags were installed in the vehicles. Once a tag is within range, the system checks the ID of the tag and if a match is found, the main gate will open to allow access else access will not be granted. Finally, any unknown user will activate the system but someone in the building will be able to see the unknown user via the video feed which allows the capture of images in VGA format (640x480) and after which he/she will press an appropriate button to open either gate if need be. The system uses cheap but reliable modules and components to ensure quality at a low cost and minimize production time.
Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) is a communication system where free space acts as a medium between transceivers which are in a line of sight (LOS). The transmission in FSO is dependent on the presence of meteorological parameters such as rain, fog, haze, mist, physical obstruction, atmospheric turbulence etc present in the atmosphere. With recent advances and interest in Free Space Optics (FSO) for commercial deployments, a proper understanding of optical signal propagation in different atmospheric conditions has become essential, and thus arise the need to rationalize the effects of atmospheric channels on terrestrial FSO link availability. In this paper, we survey prediction methods required for the design of free space optical links based on measurement data which are unique for a particular geographical location.
Photovoltaic (PV) technology is fast becoming prominent alternative source of energy due to its renewability and environmental friendliness. PV operations rely mainly on solar irradiation which determines the quantity of generated power. Partial Shading condition which is caused mostly by environmental factors such as passing cloud hinders PV from receiving optimum irradiation and consequent reduction in the power generated from the PV. Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) has been studied and developed to obtain optimum power that PV could generate. This paper reviewed techniques of generating maximum power from a PV technology under shading conditions.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures were mandated by governments across the globe. This necessitated an abrupt shift to online/distance teaching. Through a mixed-methods study, the authors explored STEM teachers’ transition to online teaching and learning in a Canadian context. This subset of the larger study investigated (i) teachers’ views of and attitude toward online teaching and (ii) successes and challenges encountered with online teaching. Data were collected through an online questionnaire administered to 70 Grade 1–12 science/STEM subject teachers in a Canadian province between May and July 2020. Findings are discussed through the lens of self-efficacy theory and the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework. Results indicate that despite few successes, teachers faced a wide array of challenges that negatively affected their attitudes and views toward online teaching, and that the support received did not parallel their expectations. Teachers’ experiences, self-efficacy, and technological competency slightly enhanced their views of online teaching but were not sufficient to shift their mindset. Recommendations include effective professional development initiatives and support for teachers to facilitate teachers’ transition and enhance their personal views toward online teaching.
Within this article, the researchers present the design, implementation, and evaluation of a pilot of a virtual peer mentoring training program for racial and ethnic minority women peer mentors within STEM programs at two historically black institutions. The design, usefulness, and usability of the training program are explored, and the influence of participation in the training program on mentors' self-efficacy, mentoring competencies, and persistence in STEM. The results demonstrate that racial and ethnic minority women peer mentors participating in the program increased their STEM self-efficacy, and, in turn, their mentoring competencies and intent to graduate from a STEM program. In addition to these results, lessons learned about the program and its design, including usefulness and usability, and implementation are shared.
Amid the maker movement, educators are proposing various making activities with programmable artifacts to prepare students for coping with the challenges in the twenty-first century. Today, the “4C” skills—critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration—are regarded as significant learning outcomes in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education; however, few researchers have investigated the adoption of problem-based learning in K-12 programming education for developing students’ 4C skills. A case study was conducted in a “digital making” camp in which 54 upper elementary and lower secondary school students (10–14 years old) were engaged in harnessing a block-based programming tool, Scratch, to conduct various problem-solving tasks. Through triangulating multiple sources of qualitative data (including lesson plans, classroom field notes, videotaped lesson records, student solutions/artifacts, and post-intervention interviews), together with the microgenetic learning analysis, this study characterizes students’ 4C skills development in the process of problem-based digital making. We found that the problem-based digital making environment supported the students’ development of (a) critical thinking in the form of critical modeling and critical data handling; (b) creativity in the form of creative explorations, creative solutions, and creative expressions; and (c) communication and collaboration in the form of communicative scaffolding and collaborative debugging. Complementary evidence-based suggestions for scaffolding problem-based digital making activities are suggested.
This study compared the effectiveness of online skeuomorphic physics inquiry–based learning with and without simulation on 8th-grade students’ performance of scientific inquiry involving the spring unit. Two classes (58 students) were assigned to the online skeuomorphic physics inquiry–based learning with simulation, and two classes (59 students) were assigned to the online skeuomorphic physics inquiry–based learning without simulation. Both groups completed six class periods of online skeuomorphic physics inquiry–based lessons covering seven topics on spring unit. The results indicated that all students made significant progress in their performance of physics concept test and physics concept–dependent inquiry test after receiving online skeuomorphic physics inquiry–based learning, regardless of the inclusion of simulation. The group that received inquiry-based learning with simulation significantly outperformed the group without simulation on the physics concept–dependent inquiry test, but no significant difference was observed in their performance of physics concept test. Moreover, student progression during the online skeuomorphic physics inquiry–based learning across the seven spring topics indicated that the inclusion of simulation significantly accelerated students’ scientific inquiry competency over time compared with the lack of simulation. Interestingly, the discrepancy between high- and low-achievers’ progression of scientific inquiry competency across the seven spring topics was minimized to non-significant as time went on.
As students transition into tertiary blended learning environments, their digital literacy in terms of technical capabilities have potential to impact on their access to digital resources. The first foundational year of STEM degrees includes compulsory courses across a broad range of scientific areas, each of which incorporates online technology in a discipline-specific manner. Given the diversity of online resources that STEM students need to access across their first-year coursework, this study applies learning analytical methods to determine whether students’ perceived level of digital literacy has an effect on their navigation of learning management systems (LMS) and overall academic performance. The frequency and nature of LMS interactivity were examined across four first-year STEM courses offered in the same semester at a single institution, using a K-means cluster analysis to group student responses. It was observed that high achieving students accessed LMS resources more frequently than mid or low-achieving students across all four STEM courses. Students’ perceived level of digital literacy was collected via survey (n = 282), and students were sorted high (n = 106) and low-level (n = 176) of perceived digital literacy—HDL and LDL, respectively. HDL students were not consistently found in the high-achieving academic group and did not perform better in their overall grade when compared to LDL students. LDL students were observed to perform better in specific online assessment tasks, which may be attributed to their increased frequency of LMS interactivity. These findings highlight the delicate balance between students’ perceived level of digital literacy, motivation for engaging with online learning environments, and academic performance.
Augmented reality (AR) has the capacity to afford a virtual experience that obviates the reliance on using two-dimensional representations of 3D molecules for teaching stereochemistry to undergraduate students. Using a combination of quantitative instruments and qualitative surveys/interviews, this study explored the relationships between students' attitudes, perceived cognitive load, spatial ability, and academic performance when engaging in an asynchronous online stereochemistry activity. Our activity was designed using elements of game-based learning, and integrated AR technologies. The control group was provided with a copy of our activity that used two-dimensional drawings, whereas the AR group completed an activity using the AR technologies. For this cohort of students, results indicated significant improvement in academic performance in both the control and AR groups. The introduction of AR technologies did not result in the AR group outperforming the control group. Participants from both groups displayed significant improvements in spatial ability throughout the research period. Further, a moderate correlation (r s = 0.416) between students' spatial ability and academic performance was found. No significant intergroup differences in the perceived cognitive loads of students were observed. A significant difference was observed on one item of the Intellectual Accessibility subscale of the ASCI (V2), Complicated-Simple. We found no correlation for student attitude or cognitive load with academic performance. The findings of this study provide insights for future AR-related studies to explore the role of spatial ability, student attitude, and cognitive load in learning performance.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10956-022-09957-0.
Integrated STEM labs and makerspaces have become increasingly common in P-16 schools, higher education residence halls, libraries, and community centers. Although these collaborative learning spaces provide increased access to cross-cutting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) practices, they pose inherent safety risks that are often overlooked. This study utilized a concurrent quasi-mixed design (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2006), to investigate changes in the safety perceptions of educators' from 21 school districts. Pre-and post-survey ratings were mixed with content analyses from open-ended survey questions and accident report forms. The findings suggested that the PD experience had a significant influence on participants' safety perceptions; however, there were no significant differences according to certification areas. The analyses also revealed female participants' reported significantly greater safety self-efficacy gains than males. Additionally, 82% of the sample indicated the PD positively influenced their makerspace and integrated STEM safety knowledge. The findings indicate that high-quality safety PD can significantly influence educators' perceptions (especially females) about safer integrated STEM teaching and learning in makerspaces. This study provides implications for STEM educators, librarians, administrators, teacher educators, researchers, state education departments, school district safety officers, and others to improve the safety of cross-cutting STEM learning occurring in collaborative environments.