Interactive STEM Education Competence in Teaching
Mathematics and science concepts and skills acquired in elementary school form the foundation for future success in STEM fields and yet students in eastern North Carolina and across the nation struggle to demonstrate proficiency on state and national tests. This project seeks to address one area affecting student outcomes, the nature and role of discipline-specific discourse and argumentation. The goal of the project is an empirical exploration of immersive classroom simulation activities (ICSAs) on pre-service mathematics and science teachers’ competence and confidence in discourse use. Student-to-student and student-to-teacher discourse are critical components of standards-based practices shown to improve learning outcomes and are also foundational tenets of mathematical and scientific pedagogical practices in standards documents. Teachers promote explanation and justification, critical for students to develop understanding, through questioning. Discourse is a key factor in making content meaningful and relevant for learners, an important construct for engagement, short- and long-term learning outcomes, and persistence. Traditional teaching simulation activities such as peer-to-peer role-play are limited, brief, and challenging to replicate to provide sufficient practice for discourse skill development. Virtual simulation provides immersive, interactive learning and gives candidates an opportunity to practice complex skills, which cannot be replicated with typical fieldwork, and thus, enables practice-based teacher development.
This longitudinal, mixed methods study will measure the impact in methods courses, practica, and internship placements of the use of ICSAs on facility with discourse skills to promote learning and engagement of all students in mathematics and science. The sample sizes of 120 achieve 80% power to reject the null hypothesis of equal means when the population mean difference is 8.1 with standard deviations of 15.8, and with a significance level (alpha) of 0.050 using a two-sided two-sample t-test where the variances are not assumed equal. The Analyzing Teacher Moves (ATM) instrument will be used to examine discourse practices speech acts using (Correnti, et al., 2015). ATM outcomes will be determined with the Weighted-Discussion-Scoring (WDS) guide (Scherrer, 2013) and the Weighted-Positive-Scoring (WPS) adapted by Lee (2016). Along with the opportunity to develop teacher practice without placing “real students” at risk during the learning process, another benefit of ICSAs is improved access to teacher learning-in-action for analytical purposes. The project adds to a growing pool of research leveraging digital media to improve design for learning and develops a framework to better prepare pre-service researchers to develop and use discourse in their college classrooms. This project responds to the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) request for proposals addressing “immediate challenges and opportunities facing undergraduate STEM education,” as it relates to the preparation of teachers of STEM disciplinary content and practices. Should ICSAs prove effective, this project will provide ICSA scenarios, guidelines, and approaches to teacher preparation programs across the country. This important work is supported with funding from the IUSE program and the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program.
Dickerson, D. (PI), Fales, H. (Co-PI), Lee, C. (Co-PI), Castles, R. (Co-PI), Wilson, C. (Co-PI), Lee, T. (Senior Personnel), Gallagher, J. (Senior Personnel), & Mark Newton (Senior Personnel) (08/15/17-07/31/21). Interactive STEM Education Competence in Teaching (INTERSECT). National Science Foundation – EHR: DUE – IUSE (NSF DUE 1725707). $599,939.00.
The major goal of the project is to build on existing research regarding immersive classroom simulation activities (ICSAs) as expressed by the following umbrella research question:
How does the inclusion of ICSAs into math and science instructional methods courses impact preservice teachers’ (PT) acquisition and effectiveness of the constellation of discourse as measured by ‘teacher moves’?
This work is to be accomplished by conducting research regarding 3 major research questions:
a. How do preservice teachers use initiating teacher moves (i.e, launch, redirect, think aloud, and provide information) to initially engage students in STEM classroom discourse?
b. How do preservice teachers use rejoinder teacher moves (i.e., uptake, pushback, collecting, and connection) to position students as participants who actively engage in STEM discourse to understand and apply core science and math competencies?
c. How does the integration of initiating and rejoinder teacher moves enhance preservice teachers’ capacity to engage with a diverse student population to create an inclusive STEM classroom environment?
Significant Results & Impact
Currently, data are being analyzed. However, one manuscript has been submitted describing the influence of immersive classroom simulation activities on the development of elementary preservice teachers in two separate mathematics and science education courses that simultaneously focus on pedagogy and content. Participants submitted written personal reflections about their teaching experiences using the immersive classroom simulation activities. These reflections were analyzed for common emergent themes within and across courses. The participants discussed the benefits of the immersive classroom simulation activities in their written personal reflections. They viewed the experience as helpful in developing their skills as a practicing teacher in mathematics and science. Specifically, participants identified three subthemes including: (a) the immersive classroom simulation activities as being beneficial by providing more authentic real-life teaching experiences than those experienced during peer-group teaching activities; (b) the importance of holding complete and appropriate understandings of content when teaching mathematics and science; and (c) the role of deep content knowledge in the process of developing high quality questions for students.
Lee, C. & Freas, H. (2020). Utilizing Teaching Simulations for Small Group Mathematics Discussions in the Void of Field Placement Opportunities. In Ferdig, R.E., Baumgartner, E., Hartshorne, R., Kaplan-Rakowski, R. & Mouza, C. (2020). Teaching, technology, and teacher education during the COVID-19 pandemic: Stories from the field. (pp. 335-342). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE),
Schwartz, C. Lee, C. & Gonzalez, M., & Belford, L. (2020). Using Virtual Simulations and Videoconferencing to Rehearse and Enact Number Talks in Online Settings. In Ferdig, R.E., Baumgartner, E., Hartshorne, R., Kaplan-Rakowski, R. & Mouza, C. (2020). Teaching, technology, and teacher education during the COVID-19 pandemic: Stories from the field. (pp. 729-736). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
Lee, Carrie, Lee, T., Castles, R., & Dickerson, D. (2019). Comparison of Peer-to-Peer and Virtual Simulation Rehearsals in Eliciting Student Thinking through Number Talks. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education.
Lee, C., Lee, T., Castles, R., Dickerson, D., Fales, H., & Wilson, C. (2018). Implementation of Immersive Classroom Simulation Activities in a Mathematics Methods Course and a Life and Environmental Science Course. Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership. 2(1), 3-17.
Lee 2018 JITL Article
Fales, H., Wilson, C., Lee, C., Lee, T., Castles, R., & Dickerson, D. (March, 2019). Using immersive simulations to practice talk moves in elementary math and science education. INTED2019 Proceedings, 6749-6753.
Castles, R., Lee, C., Lee, T., Fales, H., Wilson, C., & Dickerson, D. (June, 2019). Using an Immersive Classroom Simulated Environment for Math and Science Discourse Development in Pre-service Teachers. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition. Tampa, Florida.
Lee, C., Lee, T., Castles, R., Dickerson, D., Fales, H., & Wilson, C. (Nov, 2018). Rehearsals of Ambitious Teaching in Immersive Classroom Simulation Activities. In T.E. Hodges, G. J. Roy, & A. M. Tyminski, (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 763-766). Greenville, SC: University of South Carolina & Clemson University.
Lee 2018 Proceedings
Fales, H., Wilson, C., Lee, C., Lee, T., Castles, R., & Dickerson, D. (May, 2018). Interactive STEM Education Competence in Teaching (Project INTERSECT)–Year 1 Implementation and Preliminary Data. Proceedings of the TeachLivE National Conference. University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL. Fales 2018 Proceedings
Lee, T., Lee, C., Newton, M., Vos, P., Gallagher, J., & Dickerson, D. (April, 2021). Virtual Rehearsal Simulations to Explore Elementary Pre-service Teachers’ Scientific Discourse Skills. Paper Presentation. National Association of Research in Science Teaching. Orlando, Fl.
Lee, T., Lee, C., Newton, M., Vos, P., Dickerson, D., & Gallagher, J. (April, 2021). Elementary Pre-service Teachers’ Rehearsing Scientific Discourse with Peers and Avatars. Paper Presentation. National Association of Research Science Teaching. Orlando, FL.
Lee, T., Lee, C., Newton, M., Vos, P., Dickerson, D., & Gallagher, J. (April, 2021). Rehearsal Contexts (Peer to Peer vs. Virtual Rehearsal Simulation): Elementary Pre-service Teachers’ Scientific Discourse Skills Explored. Paper Presentation. American Educational Research Association. Orlando, FL.
Dickerson, D., Gallagher, J., Moore, S., Lee, C., Lee, T., Castles, R., Fales, H., Wilson, C., & Katsioloudis, P. (May, 2020). Intersection of acting, teaching, and learning using a virtual environment and its impact on implicit bias. Presented at the annual Scenario Conference – Going Performative in Education: International Perspectives, Transcultural Contexts, and Modes of Practice. Cork, Ireland. (Conference Canceled due to Covid19).
Lee, C. W., Lee, T., Dickerson, D. L., Castles, R. & Vos, P. (2020, Apr 17 – 21) Rehearsals: Peers or Avatars? Comparison of Elementary Teacher Candidates’ Elicitation of Student Thinking [Roundtable Session]. AERA Annual Meeting San Francisco, CA http://tinyurl.com/vvblhng
(Conference Canceled due to Covid19).
Castles, R., Lee, C., Lee, T., Dickerson, D., Wilson, C., & Fales, H. (May, 2019). Project INTERSECT-Preparing Teachers to Prepare Future STEM Professionals. Presented at the 7th Annual International TeachLivE Conference: Digital Approximations of Practice, Orlando, Florida.
Castles 2019 Poster
Howell, H., Lee, C., & Lai, Y. (2019). Simulations of Practice for the Education of Mathematics Teachers. Working Group to be facilitated at the 41st Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the Psychology for Mathematics Education (PME-NA), St. Louis, MO.
Lee, T., Lee, C., Castles, R., Dickerson, D., Wilson, C., & Fales, H. (2019). Project INTERSECT-Elementary Pre-Service Teachers’ Development of Math and Science Discourse Skills in an Immersive Classroom Simulation. Presented at the 7th Annual International TeachLivE Conference: Digital Approximations of Practice, Orlando, Florida
Lee, C., Lee, T., Castles, R., Dickerson, D., Wilson, C., & Fales, H. (2019). Discussion Patterns in Rehearsals of Number Talks in Digital Approximations of Practice. Presentation at TeachLivE National Conference. University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL.
Lee, T., Lee, C., Castles, R., Dickerson, D., Wilson, C., & Fales, H. (2019). Implementation of Immersive Classroom Simulations with Math and Science Pre-Service Teachers: Themes from Debrief Sessions and Reflections. Presentation at TeachLivE National Conference. University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL.
Lee, C., Lee, T., Castles, R., Dickerson, D., Wilson, C., & Fales, H. (2019).The Impact of Rehearsals in Immersive Classroom Simulation Activities (ICSAs) with Elementary Preservice Teachers. Presentation at Annual Conference of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), Orlando, FL.
Lee, T., Lee, C., Castles, R., Dickerson, D., Fales, H., & Wilson, C. (January, 2019). Mathematics and Science Discourse within an Immersive Classroom Simulation. Presented at the Clute International Conference on Education. Lahaina, Hawaii.
Lee, C., Lee, T., Castles, R., Dickerson, D., & Vos, P. (submitted) Rehearsals: Peers or Avatars? Comparison of Elementary Teacher Candidates’ Elicitation of Student Thinking. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), San Francisco, CA.
Wilson, C. (2019). Developing Students’ Communication Skills through Virtual Role Play Activities. Presented at the 7th Annual International TeachLivE Conference: Digital Approximations of Practice, Orlando, FL.
Wilson, C., Fales, H., Lee, T., Lee, C., Castles, R., & Dickerson, D., (2019, February). Analyzing the Reaction of Pre-Service Teachers using Simulation to Practice Teaching Math or Science. Presented at the Simulations in Teacher Education Conference. Louisville, KY.
For More Information
For more information, please contact:
Daniel Dickerson, Ph.D.
Science Education – Professor
STEM CoRE – Coordinator
Center for Health Disparities – Director of Education & Training
East Carolina University – MSITE Department
1038 W.H. Smith Blvd. Suite 102
Greenville, NC 27834
National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate EducationThis material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.1725707. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.