Engaging Preservice Teachers in Collaborative Inquiry Projects During Remote Instruction

by Julie Robinson, University of North Dakota; & Rebekah Hammack, Montana State University

We implemented a remote collaborative inquiry project with elementary preservice teachers who were enrolled in their science methods course during the 2020–2021 academic year. The courses were taught in one of three modalities: (1) fully online and asynchronous (graduate students seeking initial licensure), (2) fully online with synchronous and asynchronous components (undergraduate students), and (3) blended with face-to-face and asynchronous online components (undergraduate students). During the project, groups of two to four preservice teachers engaged remotely in collaborative, hands-on inquiry projects and documented their communication throughout the process. The remote collaborative inquiry projects were adapted from existing course assignments that had previously been used in face-to-face settings. We found that despite encountering some unexpected challenges with implementation, most participants recognized the value of group work for learning science. However, many preservice teachers, especially undergraduate students, focused on completing a quality end product rather than the learning that occurred throughout the process of collaboration and inquiry. It was also clear that many did not differentiate between collaborative and cooperative learning and often utilized a divide-and-conquer cooperative strategy. Future implementations of the project should intentionally provide opportunities for preservice teachers to discuss the differences between collaboration and cooperation and how these strategies impact learning in addition to the completion of a final product.

Utilizing Video to Support Planning, Enacting, and Analyzing Teaching in Preservice Science Teacher Education

by Tara Barnhart, Chapman University

The use of video to support preservice teacher development is becoming increasingly common. However, research on teacher noticing indicates that novices need tools to focus their attention on students’ disciplinary ideas. This article describes a course designed for secondary science teachers that incorporates video analysis as a core part of repeated learning cycles. Of particular interest is how well the video-analysis tasks and tools support PSTs in learning to plan, enact, analyze, and reflect on instruction. A qualitative analysis of PSTs’ video annotations, lesson-analysis guides, and written reflections reveals that PSTs in the course developed a disposition towards responsive instruction and leveraged evidence of student thinking in their analyses of the effectiveness of their instruction. Lesson-analysis guides appear to be the tool PSTs relied on the most to inform their written reflections. Further investigation on how best to structure video analysis will help further refine the use of video in teacher education.

Designing for Justice: Preparing Culturally Competent Science and Mathematics Teacher Advocates for High-Need Schools 

by Monica Grillo, William & Mary; & Meredith Kier , William & Mary

In a time when the United States is faced with continued racism and social unrest, it is more important than ever to prepare teachers who can advocate for marginalized students and social justice. This article describes the evolution of a seminar course called Theory and Reality: Practicum in Math and Science Teaching in High-Need Schools within the context of a predominately White teacher-preparation program. Guided by scholars of culturally relevant education and our professional and personal journeys as equity-focused teacher educators, we sought to design experiences to prepare preservice science and mathematics teachers to teach in high-poverty or underfunded schools. Specifically, the course was intended to (1) develop an understanding of pedagogical practices and educational strategies for successful teaching in a high-need school setting, especially in mathematics and science classrooms, and (2) cultivate both cultural self-awareness and cross-cultural consciousness in one’s ability to adapt to the high-need environment in a culturally responsive way. We describe the evolutionary rationale for changes made to course assignments and readings to promote cultural competence and early advocacy skills for teacher candidates interested in teaching in schools facing poverty. We highlight preservice teachers’ reflections that evidence their early conceptualizations of teaching in a high-need school context and how assignments promoted their relationship-building and advocacy skills for marginalized students.

A Professional Development That Helps Teachers Integrate Computational Thinking Into Their Science Classrooms Through Codesign

by Sally P. W. Wu, Washington University in St. Louis; Amanda Peel, Northwestern University; Lexie Zhao, Northwestern University; Michael Horn, Northwestern University; & Uri Wilensky, Northwestern University

Computational thinking (CT) is a key practice in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) that high school inservice teachers struggle to teach alongside disciplinary content in their classrooms. They often require training on how computing intersects with traditional science content and how to use computational tools that foster CT and scientific practices. To this end, we developed a professional development (PD) program that positioned inservice teachers as (a) learners who engage in such practices and (b) codesigners of CT-integrated science curricula. In this paper, we describe the 4-week PD program as it was implemented in two settings: in person with seven teachers and online with 11 teachers. We share detailed descriptions of how we leveraged physical and digital spaces in PD activities and provide access to our resources so that other educators can adapt our PD program to help teachers integrate CT into their science classrooms. In both settings, teachers engaged in CT-integrated science activities designed for students to learn about CT in the context of disciplinary content. Furthermore, they worked with a team to develop curricular units that use computational tools to teach a specific topic in their classroom. In this process, teachers gained insights on CT, disciplinary content, and curriculum codesign through engaging in workshops and cocreating curricular materials with researchers and fellow teachers.