Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 45197

Educational and Pedagogical Sciences

Enhance Engineering Learning Using Cognitive Simulator
Traditional training based on static models and case studies is the backbone of most teaching and training programs of engineering education. However, project management learning is characterized by dynamics models that requires new and enhanced learning method. The results of empirical experiments evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of using cognitive simulator as a new training technique are reported. The empirical findings are focused on the impact of keeping and reviewing learning history in a dynamic and interactive simulation environment of engineering education. The cognitive simulator for engineering project management learning had two learning history keeping modes: manual (student-controlled), automatic (simulator-controlled) and a version with no history keeping. A group of industrial engineering students performed four simulation-runs divided into three identical simple scenarios and one complicated scenario. The performances of participants running the simulation with the manual history mode were significantly better than users running the simulation with the automatic history mode. Moreover, the effects of using the undo enhanced further the learning process. The findings indicate an enhancement of engineering students’ learning and decision making when they use the record functionality of the history during their engineering training process. Furthermore, the cognitive simulator as educational innovation improves students learning and training. The practical implications of using simulators in the field of engineering education are discussed.
Impact of International Collaboration through Web 2.0 Technologies in the Primary School Classroom
The rapid expansion of the social web (Web 2.0) allows teachers to provide rich learning experiences to develop students’ intercultural communication competence through synchronous and asynchronous web tools. The Melbourne Declaration and the Australian Curriculum highlights intercultural understanding as a key competency and capability for students to be successful in the twenty-first century. Through students’ interaction with tools and each other, the extension of human capabilities are promoted. The aim of this study is to identify the intercultural communication competence that primary school students develop through participating in an intercultural collaborative online project using Web 2.0 tools and the effectiveness of these web tools when collaborating with a remote school in a different country that speaks a different language. This study is conducted in two phases. Phase One is being conducted between a metropolitan school in Australia and schools in Spain. Phase Two is being conducted with the same school in Australia and a remote school in Thailand. The students from the school in Thailand speak Thai while the schools in Spain speak English as a second language and conduct weekly lessons in another learning area, such as Science, to improve their English speaking and writing skills. Phase One employs a mixed methods approach to collect data exercising both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Phase Two utilises qualitative data through collaborative student responses, teacher interviews, and a student focus group interview. Qualitative methods from both phases of the study will be analysed to identify the effectiveness of the web tools when collaborating on a learning task with students from different countries. The findings from the research provide insight into intercultural understandings and strategies to promote them using technology in the classroom. The use of Web 2.0 tools to communicate and collaborate to complete a learning task requires the students in Thailand and Australia to use digital translation tools. The findings from this phase of the study examine the technical and practical limits of cutting-edge cross-cultural collaboration tools available for use to connect schools globally.
Student Feedback of a Major Curricular Reform Based on Course Integration and Continuous Assessment in Electrical Engineering
A major curricular reform was implemented in Metropolia UAS in 2014. The teaching was to be based on larger course entities and collaborative pedagogy. The most thorough reform was conducted in the department of electrical engineering and automation technology. It has been already shown that the reform has been extremely successful with respect to student progression and drop-out rate. The improvement of the results has been much more significant in this department compared to the other engineering departments making only minor pedagogical changes. In the beginning of the spring term of 2017, a thorough student feedback project was conducted in the department. The study consisted of thirty questions about the implementation of the curriculum, the student workload and other matters related to student satisfaction. The reply rate was more than 40%. The students were divided to four different categories: first year students [cat.1] and students of all the three different majors [categories 2-4]. These categories were found valid since all the students have the same course structure in the first two semesters after which they may freely select the major. All staff members are divided into four teams respectively. The curriculum consists of consecutive 15 credit (ECTS) courses each taught by a group of teachers (3-5). There are to be no end exams and continuous assessment is to be employed. In 2014 the different teacher groups were encouraged to employ innovatively different assessment methods within the given specs. One of these methods has been since used in categories 1 and 2. These students have to complete a number of compulsory tasks each week to pass the course and the actual grade is defined by a smaller number of tests throughout the course. The tasks vary from homework assignments, reports and laboratory exercises to larger projects and the actual smaller tests are usually organized during the regular lecture hours. The teachers of the other two majors have been pedagogically more conservative. The student progression has been better in categories 1 and 2 compared to categories 3 and 4. One of the main goals of this survey was to analyze the reasons for the difference and the assessment methods in detail besides the general student satisfaction. The results show that in the categories following more strictly the specified assessment model much more versatile assessment methods are used and the basic spirit of the new pedagogy is followed. Also, the student satisfaction is significantly better in categories 1 and 2. It may be clearly stated that continuous assessment and teacher cooperation improve the learning outcomes, student progression as well as student satisfaction. Too much academic freedom seems to lead to worse results [cat 3 and 4]. A standardized assessment model is launched for all students in autumn 2017. This model is different from the one used so far in categories 1 and 2 allowing more flexibility to teacher groups, but it will force all the teacher groups to follow the general rules in order to improve the results and the student satisfaction further.
Virtual Science Laboratory: The Effects of Visual Signalling Principles towards Students with Different Spatial Ability
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of Virtual Reality (VR) using visual signalling principles in learning the science laboratory safety among students with different spatial ability. The lesson of the science laboratory safety is developed in two different modes, Virtual Reality with Signalling (VRS) and Virtual Reality Non Signalling (VRNS). A 2x2 quasi-experimental factorial design is adopted in this research. The independent variables were the two modes of courseware. The moderator variable is the spatial ability. The dependent variable is the students’ performance. The study sample consisted of 141 students. Descriptive and inferential statistics were conducted to analyse the collected data. Analyses of variance (ANOVA) were carried out to examine the main effects as well as the interaction effects of the independent variables on the dependent variable. Based on the findings of the research, the results implied that low spatial ability students in VRS outperformed their counterparts in VRNS. However, there was no significant difference in students with high spatial ability using VRS and VRNS. Overall, Virtual Reality with Signalling (VRS) needs to be considered in the design and development of Virtual Science Laboratory (ViSLab) to promote more effective learning among students with different spatial ability.
Exploring Students Self-Evaluation of Their Learning Outcomes Attainment through an Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average Reporting Mechanism
Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average or iCGPA is a mechanism and strategy to ensure the curriculum of an academic programme is constructively aligned to the expected learning outcomes and student performance based on the attainment of those learning outcomes is reported objectively in a spider web. Much effort and time has been spent to develop a viable mechanism and train academics to utilize the platform for reporting. The question is, how well do learners conceive the idea of their achievement via iCGPA and whether quality learner attributes have been nurtured through the iCGPA mechanism? This paper presents the architecture of an integrated CGPA mechanism purported to address a holistic evaluation from the evaluation of courses learning outcomes to aligned programme learning outcomes attainment. The paper then discusses the students’ understanding of the mechanism and evaluation of their achievement from the generated spider web. A set of questionnaire was distributed to a group of students with iCGPA reporting and frequency analysis was used to compare the perspectives of students on their performance. In addition, the questionnaire also explored how they conceive the idea of an integrated, holistic reporting and how it generates their motivation to improve. The iCGPA group was found to be receptive to what they have achieved throughout their study period. They agreed that the achievement level generated from their spider web allows then to develop intervention and enhance the programme learning outcomes before they graduate.
Ecological and Historical Components of the Cultural Code of the City of Florence as Part of the Edutainment Project Velonotte International
The analysis of the activities of one of the events of the international educational and entertainment project Velonotte is provided: an evening bicycle tour with children around Florence. The aim of the project is to develop methods and techniques for increasing the sensitivity of the cycling participants and listeners of the radio broadcasts to the treasures of the national heritage, in this case, to the historical layers of the city and the ecology of the Renaissance epoch. The block of educational tasks is considered, and the issues of preserving the identity of the city are discussed. Methods. The Florentine event was prepared during more than a year. First of all the creative team selected such events of the history of the city which seem to be important for revealing the specifics of the city, its spirit - from antiquity to our days – including the forums of Internet with broad public opinion. Then a route (seven kilometers) was developed, which was proposed to the authorities and organizations of the city. The selection of speakers was conducted according to several criteria: they should be authors of books, famous scientists, connoisseurs in a certain sphere (toponymy, history of urban gardens, art history), capable and willing to talk with participants directly at the points of stops, in order to make a dialogue and so that performances could be organized with their participation. The music was chosen for each part of the itinerary to prepare the audience emotionally. Cards for coloring with images of the main content of each stop were created for children. A site was done to inform the participants and to keep photos, videos and the audio files with speakers’ speech afterward. Results: Held in April 2017, the event was dedicated to the 640th Anniversary of the Filippo Brunelleschi, Florentine architect, and to the 190th anniversary of the publication of Florence guide by Stendhal. It was supported by City of Florence and Florence Bike Festival. Florence was explored to transfer traditional elements of culture, sometimes unfairly forgotten from ancient times to Brunelleschi and Michelangelo and Tschaikovsky and David Bowie with lectures by professors of Universities. Memorable art boards were installed in public spaces. Elements of the cultural code are deeply internalized in the minds of the townspeople, the perception of the city in everyday life and human communication is comparable to such fundamental concepts of the self-awareness of the townspeople as mental comfort and the level of happiness. The format of a fun and playful walk with the ICT support gives new opportunities for enriching the city's cultural code of each citizen with new components, associations, connotations.
Application and Effect of Geometry Sketchpad on the Academic Achievement of Students in Mathematics Class
In this paper, we have investigated the application of Geometer’s Sketchpad software and its effect on the academic achievement of secondary school students in mathematics. The study utilized a quasi-experimental design using an intact group of students from two classes in the indicated school. To collect data, we implemented two instruments; the students’ mathematics achievement and attitudes/ perception of students toward learning Mathematics. In the study, the experimental groups used Geometer’s Sketchpad-based topics, and the comparison group used only the textbooks, and they were learned by usual learning method. Both groups took the same pre-test and post-test. The result of this study indicates that experimental group had a significant mean difference compared to the comparison group after the treatment. The response obtained from students indicate that the use of Geometer’s Sketchpad in mathematics classroom has a positive effect on the students’ mathematics achievement and attitude towards the learning of geometry and some mathematics topics.
Developing Educator Cultural Awareness through Critically Reflective Professional Learning Community Collaboration
Developing teachers’ cultural awareness ensures schools are culturally responsive and socially just for diverse and exceptional students. An ideology of ‘normal’ exists in schools, creating boundaries where some students belong and others are marginalized based on difference. It is important that teacher preparation work to create democratic classrooms where teachers foster tolerance of difference and promote critical thinking and social justice. This paper outlines a framework for developing educator cultural awareness through the use of critically reflective professional learning communities (PLCs) drawing from the research on teacher critical reflection, collaborative PLCs, and Engeström’s theory of expansive learning. A case study using the framework was conducted with ten practicing teachers. Participants read and reflected on critical literature to make visible unexamined beliefs, engaged in conversations that pushed them to reflect more deeply and project forward new ideas, and set goals for acting as agents of change in their schools.
Smart Education in United Arab Emirates Universities from Complexity to Simplicity
The world has become a global village and technology has a strong influence in every aspect of our daily lives and the fourth industrial revolution that will alter the way we live and learn. This inter-connectivity brings a desire for bigger engagement, experience, and potency. Catch a proof during a day within the lifetime of a student and the way property and technology facilitate enrich his daily activities, work, and play. This research work is to study the beneficiary of adapting Smart Education technology in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Universities for student and faculty. This type of education is capture academe and progressively attracting universities round the globe. Since it had been introduced it given a big amendment in academic approach that needed wide effort and commitment by academics and students however offered major edges reciprocally to the scholars, universities, and industry. There's a necessity to secure knowledge utilized in this sort of teaching education. This research objective is to investigate its significance and demand. It seeks to examine the ways to have the best security services to achieve the ideal, integrated and intelligent e-learning era which helps to support the education system in line with the highest standards that achieve the vision of the new advanced modern education. It examines the Smart Education effects on performance of graduates as perceived by employers while providing an overview and high-level background on introduction of Smart Education for Students in UAE universities in particular and how it benefits the students in gaining work environment experiences while still studying in the university.
Focus Group Discussion (FGD) Strategy in Teaching Sociolinguistics to Enhance Students' Mastery: A Survey Research in Sanata Dharma ELESP Department
For ELESP Teachers’ College, teaching learning strategies such as presentation and group discussion are classical ones to be implemented in the class. In order to create a breakthrough which can bring about more positive advancements in the learning process, a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) is being offered and implemented in certain classes. Interestingly, FGD is frequently used in the social-business inquiries such as for recruiting employees. It is then interesting to investigate FGD when it is implemented in the educational scope, especially in the Sociolinguistics class which regarded as one of the most arduous subjects in this study program. Thus, this study focused on how FGD enhances students Sociolinguistics mastery. In response to that, a quantitative survey research was conducted in which observation, questionnaire, and interview (triangulation method) became the instruments. The respondents of this study were 29 sixth-semester students who take Sociolinguistics of ELESP, Sanata Dharma University in 2017. The findings indicated that FGD could help students in enhancing Sociolinguistics mastery. In addition, it also revealed that FGD was exploring students’ logical thinking, English communication skill, and decision-making.
Efficacy of a Digital Simulation Module in Post-Secondary Health Science Training
An interactive online module was designed and developed for students in Nursing and Health Science programs. The module focuses on blood pressure (BP) testing processes, and offers rich-media learning assets, interactive simulations of BP equipment, and integrated self-evaluation modules for interpretation. There is little existing research on efficacy of teaching psychomotor skills via digital simulation; therefore a study was carried out to assess efficacy of this BP module as a learning resource. A quasi-experimental design was used to designate consenting participants into a study group with early access to the module and a control group with later access to the module. Pre-confidence questionnaires were administered after ‘usual’ instruction in class, but before online access was given to the module. Post-confidence and content knowledge questionnaires were administered after the early-access group was given access to the module, but before the late access group had been given access. 109 nursing students consented to be in the study and completed a skills-confidence questionnaire. 64 students (30 in the control group and 34 in the experimental group) also completed a post-confidence questionnaire and 61 completed content knowledge questions. There was a significant difference in the post-confidence measures, with experimental groups scoring higher (p < .05). Use of an interactive, rich-media online module for learning blood pressure measurement may have a positive impact on nursing students’ confidence in assessing blood pressure manually. No significant differences were found in the content knowledge scores for both groups; however additional data on competence is currently being analyzed and will be presented. Our collaborative partnership model for development of similar digital learning tools will also be reviewed.
Student-Created Videos to Foster Active Learning in Heat Transfer Course
Heat transfer is important in chemical engineering field. We have to know how to predict rates of heat transfer in a variety of process situations. Therefore, heat transfer learning is one of the greatest challenges for undergraduate students in chemical engineering. To enhance student learning in classroom, active-learning method was proposed in a single classroom, using problems based on videos and creating video, think-pair-share and jigsaw technique. The result shows that active learning method can prevent copying of the solutions manual for students and improve average examination scores about 5% when comparing with students in traditional section. Overall, this project represents an effective type of class that motivates student-centric learning while enhancing self-motivation, creative thinking and critical analysis among students.
Bridging Educational Research and Policy-making: The Development of Educational Think Tank in China
Educational think tank is agreeably regarded as significant part of a nation’s soft power to promote the scientific and democratic level of educational policy making, and it plays critical role of bridging educational research in higher institutions and educational policy making. This study explores the concept, functions and significance of educational think tank in China, and conceptualizes a three dimensional framework to analyze the approaches of transforming research-based higher institutions into effective educational think tanks to serve educational policy making in the nation wide. Since 2014, the Ministry of Education P.R. China has been promoting the strategy of developing new type of educational think tanks in higher institutions, and such a strategy has been put into the agenda for the 13th Five Year Plan for National Education Development released in 2017.In such context, increasing scholars conduct studies to put forth strategies of promoting the development and transformation of new educational think tanks to serve educational policy making process. Based on literature synthesis, policy text analysis, and analysis of theories about policy making process and relationship between educational research and policy-making, this study constructed a three dimensional conceptual framework to address the following questions: (a) what are the new features of educational think tanks in the new era comparing traditional think tanks, (b) what are the functional objectives of the new educational think tanks, (c) what are the organizational patterns and mechanism of the new educational think tanks, (d) in what approaches traditional research-based higher institutions can be developed or transformed into think tanks to effectively serve the educational policy making process. The authors adopted case study approach on five influential education policy study centers affiliated with top higher institutions in China and applied the three dimensional conceptual framework to analyze their functional objectives, organizational patterns as well as their academic pathways that researchers use to contribute to the development of think tanks to serve education policy making process.Data was mainly collected through interviews with center administrators, leading researchers and academic leaders in the institutions. Findings show that: (a) higher institution based think tanks mainly function for multi-level objectives, providing evidence, theoretical foundations, strategies, or evaluation feedbacks for critical problem solving or policy-making on the national, provincial, and city/county level; (b) higher institution based think tanks organize various types of research programs for different time spans to serve different phases of policy planning, decision making, and policy implementation; (c) in order to transform research-based higher institutions into educational think tanks, the institutions must promote paradigm shift that promotes issue-oriented field studies, large data mining and analysis, empirical studies, and trans-disciplinary research collaborations; and (d) the five cases showed distinguished features in their way of constructing think tanks, and yet they also exposed obstacles and challenges such as independency of the think tanks, the discourse shift from academic papers to consultancy report for policy makers, weakness in empirical research methods, lack of experience in trans-disciplinary collaboration. The authors finally put forth implications for think tank construction in China and abroad.
Potentiality of a Community of Practice between Public Schools and the Private Sector for Integrating Sustainable Development into the School Curriculum
The critical time in which we live requires rethinking of many potential ways in order to make the concept of sustainability and its principles an integral part of our daily life. One of these potential approaches is how to attract community institutions, such as the private sector, to participate effectively in the sustainability industry by supporting public schools to fulfill their duties. A collaborative community of practice can support this purpose and can provide a flexible framework, which allows the members of the community to participate effectively. This study, conducted in Saudi Arabia, aimed to understand the process of a collaborative community of practice of involving the private sector as a member of this community to integrate the sustainability concept in school activities and projects. This study employed a qualitative methodology to understand this authentic and complex phenomenon. A case study approach, ethnography and some elements of action research were followed in this study. The methods of unstructured interviews, artifacts, observation, and teachers’ field notes were used to collect the data. The participants were three secondary teachers, twelve chief executive officers, and one school administrative officer. Certain contextual conditions, as shown by the data, should be taken into consideration when policy makers and school administrations in Saudi Arabia desire to integrate sustainability into school activities. The first of these was the acknowledgement of the valuable role the members’ personality, efforts, abilities, and experiences play in integrating suitability. Second, institutional culture, which was not expected to emerge as an important factor in this study, has a significant role in the integration of sustainability. Credibility among the members of the community towards the integration of the sustainability concept and its principles through school activities is another important condition. Fourth, some chief executive officers’ understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) towards contribution to sustainability agenda was shallow and limited and this could impede the successful integration of suitability. Fifth, a shared understanding between the members of the community about integrating sustainability was a vital condition in the integration process. The study also revealed that the integration of sustainability could not be an ongoing process if implemented in isolation of the other community institutions such as the private sector. The study finally offers a number of recommendations to improve on the current practices and suggests areas for further studies.
Twice Exceptional: Best Practices for Teaching Gifted Students with Special Needs
This presentation details the methodology for teachers to identify and support a population of students who have historically been overlooked in regards to their educational needs. The twice exceptional (2e) student is a learner who is considered gifted and also has a learning disability, as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Many of these students remain underserved throughout their educational careers because their exceptionalities may mask each other, resulting in a special population of students who are not achieving to their fullest potential. There are three common scenarios that may make the identification of a 2e student challenging. First, the student may have been identified as gifted, and her disability may go unnoticed. She could also be considered an under-achiever, or she may be able to compensate for her disability under the school works becomes more challenging. In the second scenario, the student may be identified as having a learning disability and is only receiving remedial services where his giftedness will not be highlighted. His overall IQ scores may be misleading because they were impacted by his learning disability. In the third scenario, the student is able to compensate for her ability well enough to maintain average scores, and she goes undetected as both gifted and learning disabled. Research in the area identifies the complexity involved in identifying 2e students, and how multiple forms of assessment are required. It is important for teachers to be aware of the common characteristics exhibited by many 2e students, so these learners can be identified and appropriately served. Once 2e students have been identified, teachers are then challenged to meet the varying needs of these exceptional learners. Strength-based teaching entails simultaneously providing gifted instruction as well as individualized accommodations for those students. Research in this field has yielded strategies that have proven helpful for teaching 2e students, as well as other students who may be struggling academically. Differentiated instruction, while necessary in all classrooms, is especially important for 2e students, as is encouragement for academic success. Teachers who take the time to really know their students will have a better understanding of each student’s strengths and areas for growth, and therefore tailor instruction to extend the intellectual capacities for optimal achievement. Teachers should also understand that some learning activities can prove very frustrating to students, and these activities can be modified based on individual student needs. Because 2e students can often become discouraged by their learning challenges, it is especially important for teachers to assist students in recognizing their own strengths and maintaining motivation for learning. Although research on the needs of 2e students has spanned across two decades, this population remains underserved in many educational institutions. Teacher awareness of the identification of and the support strategies for 2e students is critical for their success.
Introducing the Concept of Sustainable Learning: Redesigning the Social Studies and Citizenship Education Curriculum in the Context of Saudi Arabia
Sustainable human development is an essential component of a sustainable economic, social and environmental development. Addressing sustainable learning only through the addition of new teaching methods, or embedding certain approaches, is not sufficient on its own to support the goals of sustainable human development. This research project seeks to explore how the process of redesigning the current principles of curriculum based on the concept of sustainable learning could contribute to preparing a citizen who could later contribute towards sustainable human development. Multiple qualitative methodologies were employed in order to achieve the aim of this study. The main research methods were teachers’ field notes, artefacts, informal interviews (unstructured interview), a passive participant observation, a mini nominal group technique (NGT), a weekly diary, and weekly meeting. The study revealed that the integration of a curriculum for sustainable development, in addition to the use of innovative teaching approaches, highly valued by students and teachers in social studies’ sessions. This was due to the fact that it created a positive atmosphere for interaction and aroused both teachers and students’ interest. The content of the new curriculum also contributed to increasing students’ sense of shared responsibility through involving them in thinking about solutions for some global issues. This was carried out through addressing these issues through the concept of sustainable development and the theory of Thinking Activity in a Social Context (TASC). Students had interacted with sustainable development sessions intellectually and they also practically applied it through designing projects and cut-outs. Ongoing meetings and workshops to develop work between both the researcher and the teachers, and by the teachers themselves, played a vital role in implementing the new curriculum. The participation of teachers in the development of the project through working papers, exchanging experiences and introducing amendments to the students' environment was also critical in the process of implementing the new curriculum. Finally, the concept of sustainable learning can contribute to the learning outcomes much better than the current curriculum and it can better develop the learning objectives in educational institutions.
Exploring the Current Practice of Integrating Sustainability into the Social Studies and Citizenship Education Curriculum in the Saudi Educational Context
The study mainly aims at exploring and understanding the current practice of social studies and citizenship education curriculum contribution to sustainability literacy and competency of the ninth and tenth grade students in the Saudi general education context. This study stems from a need for conducting research in general education contexts in order to prepare future graduate students who possess fundamental elements of education for sustainable development. To the best of our knowledge, the literature on education for sustainable development reveals that little research has been conducted so far on general education contexts and this study will add new knowledge in the literature. The study is interpretive in nature and employs a qualitative case study approach, and ethnography methodologies to understand deeply this complex educational phenomenon. 167 participants took part in this study, they were from six general education schools and made up of 25 teachers, and 142 students. Document analysis, semi-structured interviews, nominal group technique, and passive participant observation were used in order to gather the data for this study. The outcomes of the study showed the keenness of the Saudi government on promoting and raising awareness education for sustainable development among its younger generation via a sustainable development promoting curriculum. However, applying this vision in a real school setting, particularly via the social studies and citizenship education curriculum in grades nine and ten, has been challenging for different reasons as revealed by this study. First, incorporating sustainability in the social studies and citizenship education curriculum in the Saudi grade ninth and tenth grade, is based on the vision of the Saudi government but the ministry of education’s rules and regulations do not support it. Moreover, the circulars issued by the ministry are also not supportive of teachers and students efforts to implement a sustainable development education curriculum. Second, teachers, as members of this community who play a significant role in achieving the objectives of incorporating sustainability, are often seen as technicians and not as professional human beings. They are confined to the curriculum, the classroom and stripped of their will power by the school management and the educational administration. The subjects, who are students here, are also not prepared nor guided to achieve the objects. In addition, the tools mediated between subjects and objects are not convenient. There were some major challenges regarding the contradictions in incorporating sustainability processes such as demanding creativity from a teacher who is overloaded with tasks irrelevant to teaching and teachers’ training programs not meeting the teachers’ training needs.
Study Habits and Level of Difficulty Encountered by Maltese Students Studying Biology Advanced Level Topics
This research was performed to investigate the study habits and level of difficulty perceived by post-secondary students in Biology at Advanced-level topics after completing their first year of study. At the end of a two-year ‘sixth form’ course, Maltese students sit for the Matriculation and Secondary Education Certificate (MATSEC) Advanced-level biology exam as a requirement to pursue science-related studies at the University of Malta. The sample was composed of 23 students (16 taking Chemistry and 7 taking some ‘Other’ subject at Advanced Level). The cohort comprised 7 males and 16 females. A questionnaire constructed by the authors, was answered anonymously during the last lecture at the end of the first year of study, in May 2016. The Chi square test revealed that gender plays no effect on the various study habits (x² (6) = 5.873, p = 0.438). ‘Reading both notes and textbooks’ was the most common method adopted by males (71.4%), whereas ‘Writing notes on each topic’ was that mostly used by females (81.3%). The Mann-Whitney U test showed no significant difference in the study habits of students and the mean assessment mark obtained at the end of the first year course (p = 0.231). Statistical difference was found with the One-ANOVA test when comparing mean assessment mark obtained at the end of the first year course when students are clustered by their Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) grade (p < 0.001). Those obtaining a SEC grade of 2 and 3 got the highest mean assessment of 68.33% and 66.9%, respectively [SEC grading is 1-7, where 1 is the highest]. The Friedman test was used to compare the mean difficulty rating scores provided for the difficulty of each topic. The mean difficulty rating score ranges from 1 to 4, where the larger the mean rating score the higher is the difficulty. When considering the whole group of students, 9 topics out of 21 were perceived as significantly more difficult than the other topics. Protein synthesis, DNA Replication and Biomolecules were the most difficult, in that order. The Mann-Whitney U test revealed that the perceived level of difficulty in comprehending Biomolecules is significantly lower for students taking Chemistry compared to those not choosing the subject (p = 0.018). Protein Synthesis was claimed as the most difficult by Chemistry students and Biomolecules by those not studying Chemistry. DNA Replication was the second most difficult topic perceived by both groups. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to examine the effect of gender on the perceived level of difficulty in comprehending various topics. It was found that females have significantly more difficulty in comprehending Biomolecules than males (p=0.039). Protein synthesis was perceived as the most difficult topic by males (mean difficulty rating score = 3.14) while Biomolecules, DNA Replication and Protein synthesis were of equal difficulty for females (mean difficulty rating score = 3.00). Males and females perceived DNA Replication as equally difficult (mean difficulty rating score = 3.00). Discovering the students’ study habits and perceived level of difficulty of specific topics is vital for the lecturer to offer guidance that leads to higher academic achievement.
Reviewing Special Education Preservice Teachers' Reflective Practices over Two Field Experiences: Topics and Changes in Reflection
During pre-service field experiences teacher candidates are often asked to reflect as part of their training and in this investigation candidates’ reflective journal entries were reviewed, coded and analyzed with results suggesting teacher candidates need more direct instruction on how to describe, analyze, and make judgements on their instructional practices so that their practices improve over time. Teacher education programs often incorporate reflective-based activities during field experiences. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if special education teacher candidate’s reflective practices changed as they completed their two supervised field experiences and to determine what topics the candidates focused on in their reflections. The six females graduate students were completing two field experiences in special education classrooms within one academic year as part of their coursework leading to a master’s degree and special education teacher state certification. Each candidate wrote 15 reflection journal entries (approximately 200 words each) per field experience. Each of the journal entries were reviewed sentence by sentence to determine a reflective practice score and to determine the topics discussed. The reflective practice score was calculated using four dimensions of reflection (describe, analyze, judge, and apply) in order to create a continuous variable representing their reflective practice across four points of time. A One-way Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) suggested that special education teacher candidates did not change their reflective practices over time (i.e., at time-point one the practitioner’s mean score was 56.0 out of 100 (SD = 7.6), 53.8 (SD = 4.3) at time-point two, 51.2 (SD = 4.5) at time-point three, and 57.7 (SD = 8.2) at time-point four). Qualitative findings suggest candidates focused mostly on themselves in their reflections. Conclusions suggest the need for teacher preparation programs to provide more direct instruction on how a teacher should reflect. Specific implications are provided for teacher training and future research.
Perceptions of EFL Instructors toward Students' Evaluation
This study examined the perceptions of EFL instructors in Northern Taiwan to determine whether student feedback is a vital source of information regarding teaching quality in higher education. The evaluation of teaching effectiveness has been officially implemented in Taiwanese higher education since 2005. This study investigated Taiwanese EFL university instructors’ perceptions of Student Rating of Instructions (SRI) and the impact of SRI on EFL instructors’ classroom instruction. Data for this qualitative study were collected through eight open-ended questions. A total of 12 qualified participants were selected from 10 universities in Northern Taiwan. The findings indicate that SRI results are infrequently used by EFL instructors to make decisions regarding improving the quality of instruction or education.
Ending the Gender Gap in Educational Leadership: A U.S. Goal for a Balanced Administration by 2030
This presentation examines the gender gap in leadership positions at colleges and universities within the United States. Despite the fact that women now outnumber men in earning doctorate degrees, women continue to hold far fewer positions of educational leadership, and still, earn less money than men do at every level. Considering the lack of female representation in positions of leadership, there are clearly outside variables preventing women from attaining these positions, despite their educational attainment. Following this study, the American Council on Education (ACE) set a goal to achieve an equal percentage of females holding college presidency positions by the year 2030. This goal is particularly ambitious, especially when considering the gender disparity at all ranks in higher education. Men still hold nearly 70% of all full professorships at degree-granting institutions. Even when women are equally represented in numbers, men typically hold a higher rank and are more likely to be tenured. Across all four-year colleges and universities in the United States, men earn more money than women at every rank and in every discipline. There are over twice as many men than women represented on governing boards, who help formed and uphold campus policies. The fact that the low percentage of female presidents has remained static for many years deepens the challenge for the ACE. Although emphasizing the need to create greater opportunities for women in educational administration is admirable, it is difficult to simplify the social forces that create and uphold the status quo of male leadership. When aiming to ensure 'women' hold 50% of all college presidency positions, it is important to consider how the intersections of race, social class, and other factors also correlate with lower job status. This presentation explores how gendered notions of leadership begin in a child’s early years and are carried into future careers, and how these conceptualizations impact the creation and upholding of educational policies at every academic level. Current research that emphasizes the importance establishing a bottom-up approach to a gender equity infrastructure for children early in their educational careers will be discussed. A top-down approach starting with female college presidents is incomplete and insufficient if the mindsets of the youth who will one day be entering those institutions of higher education are not also taken into consideration. Although ACE has established this lofty goal for female college presidencies by the year 2030, a road map for this will ensue, has not yet been provided. The talent pool of women who are educated and experienced for such positions is vast, but acknowledging the social barriers existing for women in these positions will be crucial to making the changes necessary for these leadership opportunities to be long lasting and successful.
Interrogation of the Role of First Year Student Experiences in Student Success at a University of Technology in South Africa
This ongoing research explores what could be the components of a comprehensive First-Year Student Experience (FYSE) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the preferred implementation modalities. In light of the Siyaphumelela project, this interrogation is premised on the need to glean data for the institution that could be used to ascertain the role of FYSE towards enhancing student success. The research proceeds by examining prevalent models from other South African Universities and beyond in its quest to get at pragmatic comprehensive FYSE programme for DUT. As DUT is a student centered institution and amidst the ever shrinking economy, this research would aid higher education practitioners to ascertain if the hard earned finances are being channelled to a worthy academic venture. This research seeks to get inputs from a) students who participated in FYSE and are now in second and third years at DUT b) students who are currently participating in FYSE c) former and present Tutors d) departmental coordinators e) academics and support staff working with the participating students. This exploratory approach is preferred since 2010 DUT has grappled with how to implement an integrated institution-wide FYSE. This findings of this research could provide the much-needed data to ascertain if the current FYSE package is pivotal towards attainment of DUT Strategic Focus Area 1: Building sustainable student communities of living and learning. The ideal is to have DUT FYSE programme become an institution-wide programme that lays the foundation for consolidated and focused student development programmes for subsequent undergraduate and postgraduate levels of study. Also, armed with data from this research, DUT could develop the capacity and systems to ensure that all students get diverse on-time support to enhance their retention and academic success in their tertiary studies. In essence, the preferred FYSE curriculum woven around DUT graduate attributes should contribute towards the reduction in the first-year students’ dropout rates and subsequently in undergraduate studies. Therefore, this on-going research will feed into Siyaphumelela project and would help position 2018-2020 FYSE initiatives at DUT.
A Benchmark Collection for Program Objectives Mapping to ABET Outcomes: Accreditation
Engineering programs applying for ABET accreditation must have submitted Self-Study Reports (SSRs) to the Engineering Accreditation Commission, which is delegated by ABET to take the responsibility for evaluating and taking accreditation actions on baccalaureate programs in engineering. Nevertheless, the SSRs are wealthy of data; they are seldom used in research. This research aims to shed the light on this wealthy research area by presenting a collection of dataset, which represents the mapping of program educational objectives to the ABET student outcomes. This mapping represents one of the important parts in the SSRs. The dataset collection is collected by the authors of this paper from the SSRs available online. The usage of this collection in research (especially in text classification) requires the understanding of the constraints under which the dataset was produced by the engineering programs. The program educational objectives and their mapping were produced by experts in the area. To illustrate the properties and usefulness of the collection, the collection has been benchmarked using several widely used supervised multiclass classification techniques. The techniques have been compared to each other using different well-known measurements. New research directions and baseline experimental results for future studies have been provided. The researchers provided detailed experimental results, as well as the collection in different formats for other researchers. The collections can be requested by email and soon will be provided online.
Mobile Physics Education Using Diracma Series Apps for Smartphones
Smartphone apps for physics experiments of mechanics and sound wave have been developed as Diracma series such as DiracmaA, DiracmaJump, and DiracmaS. The effect of using these apps on education was evaluated in classes of a high school using force concept inventory (FCI), which is generally used as an evaluation method for mechanics. The gain g (an indicator of the effectiveness for evaluations) in this FCI test has the same value as that in an active learning with a computer and sensor system, such as Real Time Physics and Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, when students had a deviation value of 60 or more in a periodic examination at the high school. It is possible to obtain the same effect as general active learning in an environment more suited to experiments on a smartphone can be arranged.
Use of Concept Maps as a Tool for Evaluating Students' Understanding of Science
This study explores the genesis and development of concept mapping as a useful tool for science education and its effectiveness as technique for teaching and learning and evaluation for secondary science in schools and the role played by National College of Education science teachers. Concept maps, when carefully employed and executed serves as an integral part of teaching method and measure of effectiveness of teaching and tool for evaluation. Research has shown that science concept maps can have positive influence on student learning and motivation. The success of concept maps played in an instruction class depends on the type of theme selected, the development of learning outcomes, and the flexibility of instruction in providing library unit that is equipped with multimedia equipment where learners can interact. The study was restricted to 6 male and 9 female respondents' teachers in third-year internship pre service science teachers in Gampaha district Sri Lanka. Data were collected through 15 item questionnaire provided to learners and in depth interviews and class observations of 18 science classes. The two generated hypotheses for the study were rejected, while the results revealed that significant difference exists between factors influencing teachers' choice of concept maps, its usefulness and problems hindering the effectiveness of concept maps for teaching and learning process of secondary science in schools. It was examined that concept maps can be used as an effective measure to evaluate students understanding of concepts and misconceptions. Even the teacher trainees could not identify, key concept is on top, and subordinate concepts fall below. It is recommended that pre service science teacher trainees should be provided a thorough training using it as an evaluation instrument.
Perceived Barriers and Benefits of Technology-Based Progress Monitoring for Non-Academic Individual Education Program Goals
In 1975, a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) was granted for all students in the United States regardless of their disabilities. As a result, the special education landscape has been reshaped through new policies and legislation. Progress monitoring, a specific component of an Individual Education Program (IEP) calls, for the use of data collection to determine the appropriateness of services provided to students with disabilities. The recent US Supreme Court ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County warrants giving increased attention to student progress, specifically pertaining to improving functional, or non-academic, skills that are addressed outside the general education curriculum. While using technology to enhance data collection has become a common practice for measuring academic growth, its application for non-academic IEP goals is uncertain. A mixed-methods study examined current practices and rationales for implementing technology-based progress monitoring focused on non-academic IEP goals. Fifty-seven participants responded to an online survey regarding their progress monitoring programs for non-academic goals. After isolated analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative results, data were synthesized to produce meta-inferences that drew broader conclusions on the topic. For the purpose of this paper, specific focus will be placed on the perceived barriers and benefits of implementing technology-based progress monitoring protocols for non-academic IEP goals. The findings of this study highlight facts impacting the use of technology-based progress monitoring. Perceived barriers to implementation include: (1) lack of training, (2) access to technology, (3) outdated or inoperable technology, (4) reluctance to change, (5) cost, (6) lack of individualization within technology-based programs, and (7) legal issues in special education; while perceived benefits include: (1) overall ease of use, (2) accessibility, (3) organization, (4) potential for improved presentation of data, (5) streamlining the progress-monitoring process, and (6) legal issues in special education. Based on these conclusions, recommendations are made to IEP teams, school districts, and software developers to improve the progress-monitoring process for functional skills.
Documentary Project as an Active Learning Strategy in a Developmental Psychology Course
Recent studies in active-learning focus on how student experience varies based on the content (e.g. STEM versus Humanities) and the medium (e.g. in-class exercises versus off-campus activities) of experiential learning. However, little is known whether the variation in classroom time and space within the same active learning context affects student experience. This study manipulated the use of classroom time for the active learning component of a developmental psychology course that is offered at a four-year university in the South-West Region of United States. The course uses a blended model: traditional and active learning. In the traditional learning component of the course, students do weekly readings, listen to lectures, and take midterms. In the active learning component, students make a documentary on a developmental topic as a final project. Students used the classroom time and space for the documentary in two ways: regular classroom time slots that were dedicated to the making of the documentary outside without the supervision of the professor (Classroom-time Outside) and lectures that offered basic instructions about how to make a documentary (Documentary Lectures). The study used the public teaching evaluations that are administered by the Office of Registrar’s. A total of two hundred and seven student evaluations were available across six semesters. Because the Office of Registrar’s presented the data separately without personal identifiers, One-Way ANOVA with four groups (Traditional, Experiential-Heavy: 19% Classroom-time Outside, 12% for Documentary Lectures, Experiential-Moderate: 5-7% for Classroom-time Outside, 16-19% for Documentary Lectures, Experiential Light: 4-7% for Classroom-time Outside, 7% for Documentary Lectures) was conducted on five key features (Organization, Quality, Assignments Contribution, Intellectual Curiosity, Teaching Effectiveness). Each measure used a five-point reverse-coded scale (1-Outstanding, 5-Poor). For all experiential conditions, the documentary counted towards 30% of the final grade. Organization (‘The instructors preparation for class was’), Quality (’Overall, I would rate the quality of this course as’) and Assignment Contribution (’The contribution of the graded work that made to the learning experience was’) did not yield any significant differences across four course types (F (3, 202)=1.72, p > .05, F(3, 200)=.32, p > .05, F(3, 203)=.43, p > .05, respectively). Intellectual Curiosity (’The instructor’s ability to stimulate intellectual curiosity was’) yielded a marginal effect (F (3, 201)=2.61, p = .053). Tukey’s HSD (p < .05) indicated that the Experiential-Heavy (M = 1.94, SD = .82) condition was significantly different than all other three conditions (M =1.57, 1.51, 1.58; SD = .68, .66, .77, respectively) showing that heavily active class-time did not elicit intellectual curiosity as much as others. Finally, Teaching Effectiveness (’Overall, I feel that the instructor’s effectiveness as a teacher was’) was significant (F (3, 198)=3.32, p
Speech Anxiety in Higher Education Students-Retention of an Ancestral Trait: A Study into the Students' Perspective of Communication Anxiety with Suggestions on How to Minimise Student Distress
Speech anxiety is thought to be deep-seated within the human evolutionary lineage.As a result, almost all people display high levels of anxiety when asked to communicate in front of an audience.However, proficiency in oral communication is considered as an essential skill for a graduate career and significant emphasis is placed on developing these skills in many degree programs.Because of this, many degree schemes incorporate some form of assessed dialogic presentation. Yet, a student’s anxiety over public speaking, especially if severe, can be so great that at worst it can cause the student to withdraw from their study. This study investigated how students perceive their own levels of anxiety when faced with public speaking using the Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety (PRPSA) questionnaire developed by McCroskey. Additionally, students were asked to provide examples of adjustments that could be implemented that they felt would alleviate some/all of their anxiety. The results of the study indicated that the majority of the students experienced a moderate level of anxiety. However, further analysis showed that of those who were in the moderate anxiety’ group, 43% fell into the higher range suggesting that overall more students experience higher levels of anxiety when faced with public speaking than maybe first envisaged. Thus, it is essential that steps are taken to address student anxiety in order that students engage with presentations, are motivated and encouraged and do not avoid such assignments. The feedback from our students indicated a need to implement systematic desensitization programs where students learn to overcome their anxiety through a series of sessions that gradually increase their anxiety levels. Furthermore, these sessions should be run in parallel with skills sessions in order for students to be better prepared and allow self-reflection and self-analysis.This study highlights the paucity of these sessions on many degree schemes and suggests that they should form an integral part of a students’ early academic learning.
STEAM and Project-Based Learning: Equipping Young Women with 21st Century Skills
UTS STEAMpunk Girls is an educational program for young women (aged 12-16), to empower them to be more informed and active members of the 21st century workforce. With the number of STEM graduates on the decline, especially among young women, an additional aim of the program is to trial a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences, Mathematics), inter-disciplinary approach to improving STEM engagement. In-line with UNESCO’s recent focus on promoting ‘transversal competencies’ in future graduates, the program utilised co-design, project-based learning, entrepreneurial processes, and inter-disciplinary learning. The program consists of two phases. Taking a participatory design approach, the first phase (co-design workshops) provided valuable insight into student perspectives around engaging young women in STEM and inter-disciplinary thinking. The workshops positioned 26 young women from three schools as subject matter experts (SMEs), providing a platform for them to share their opinions, experiences and findings around the STEAM disciplines. The second (pilot) phase put the co-design phase findings into practice, with 64 students from four schools working in groups to articulate problems with real-world implications, and utilising design-thinking to solve them. The pilot phase utilised project-based learning to engage young women in entrepreneurial and STEAM frameworks and processes. Scalable program design and educational resources were trialed to determine appropriate mechanisms for engaging young women in STEM and in STEAM thinking. Across both phases, data was collected via longitudinal surveys to obtain pre-program, baseline attitudinal information, and compare that against post-program responses. Preliminary findings revealed students’ improved understanding of the STEM disciplines, industries and professions, improved awareness of STEAM as a concept, and improved understanding regarding inter-disciplinary and design thinking. Program outcomes will be of interest to high-school educators in both STEM and the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences fields, and will hopefully inform future programmatic approaches to introducing inter-disciplinary STEAM learning in STEM curriculum.
Retained Primitive Reflexes: Perceptions of Parents Who Have Used Rhythmic Movement Training with Their Children
This article reports on a qualitative phenomenological research project that investigated the use of Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT) as an intervention for retained primitive reflexes. Participants were from seven families who each had a child between the ages of seven and 12 years. Through semi-structured interviews, parents described their reasons for seeking additional help with their child’s development issues. They talked about finding RMT, using RMT within their family routine and their views on the costs and the benefits they experienced, both financial and time. While there has been a small amount of research into movement programmes targeting retained primitive reflexes, to-date there appears to have been no studies completed on RMT. The data collected described searches for help, the stress and frustrations associated with the search and the range of interventions these parents tried. The families in this research found that RMT was easy to use within their daily routine and that it was a cost-effective, low-impact intervention. The families noticed a range of benefits for children who had completed the movements. The findings provide encouraging evidence to proceed with further study that will investigate the academic, social and emotional development of children using RMT.