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The use of digital technologies in education

The use of digital technologies in education

The use of digital technologies in education.Topic:The influence of online courses on college education.1.Write a 300 words Academic rationale (why is this research important in the field of education research?)2.Write a 400 words Key literature and themes (please draft a short literature review that outlines what the field has to say about your topic and research area.) PS:Use 5 references!

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business class exam

business class exam

InstructionsMidterm – Chapters 1-11 (100 Points, 50 Multiple-Choice Questions, the Exam must be completed before 11:55 p.m. on Saturday, January 11th). The exam will exclude Chapter 7, 8, and 9.Take the QuizPreviousNext

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Answer the 3 discussion question

Answer the 3 discussion question

I need these 3 questions completed and answered . Please go by instructions.i need it in paragraphs

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I am wondering if you can help me with my Chapter 6 Geometry homework thank you.

I am wondering if you can help me with my Chapter 6 Geometry homework thank you.

I really need help with my homework I am not going to be able to do it on time and I am wondering if anyone can help me with it I have a lot of other homework I need to get done. I also have a discussion post that I need to write with another math problem if I can get help to get this done I will be soo happy. 🙂 Please and Thank you

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For this assignment, read the article indicated below that discusses the differences between the generations within the workplace and how to develop interpersonal skills for better employee involvement and interaction with fellow employees.

For this assignment, read the article indicated below that discusses the differences between the generations within the workplace and how to develop interpersonal skills for better employee involvement and interaction with fellow employees.

For this assignment, read the article indicated below that discusses the differences between the generations within the workplace and how to develop interpersonal skills for better employee involvement and interaction with fellow employees. Also, this article identifies how the values are placed upon each generation (Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers) and leads into how to better manage and involve the multiple generations within the workforce. In order to access the resource below, you must first log into the myCSU Student Portal and access the ABI/INFORM COLLECTION database within the CSU Online Library. Kelly, C., Elizabeth, F., Bharat, M., & Jitendra, M. (2016). Generation gaps: Changes in the workplace due to differing generational values. Advances in Management, 9(5), 1-8. Note: The birth year range for Baby Boomers in the article differs from the range found in the textbook (p. 41) and the generally accepted range of 1946-1964. Complete the article review by showing your understanding of the article’s contents by addressing the questions and directives below. Your paper should be a minimum of two pages, not including the title and reference pages. The following are questions and directives to be used in completing the review: What is the author’s main point? Who is the author’s intended audience? Identify and address the differences in the interpersonal skills from the generational differences and how they might be overcome. Be sure to apply the proper APA format for the content and reference provided.

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Java application to communicate with REST API and parse JSON response

Java application to communicate with REST API and parse JSON response

VirusTotal (VT) produce reports on malware samples uploaded to their repository. The reports are in JSON format and contain information such as the output from the AV engines, hash values, exif data, imports, timestamps etc.The aim of this is to build a tool that can perform several actions on files, URLs or hashes. The application must present the user with the following menu:1. Scan file2. Get file report 3. Upload URL4. Get URL report 5. Report statsYou must have a separate function for each choiceUse the API code to help you

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Police and tourism

Police and tourism

i need someone who can answer my question using required guidelines and using relevant examples . one should have fluent English as well as good grammar

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Barriers to the Effective Use of Technology Integration in Social Studies Education

Barriers to the Effective Use of Technology Integration in Social Studies Education

Information and communication technology (ICT) has been an essential component of education in many countries (National Education Association, 2008; Waxman, Evans, Boriack & Kilinc, 2013). Policy makers, administrators, and educators have placed increased interest and emphasis on integrating technology into the learning-teaching process over the last decades (Qian & Clark, 2016; Willis et al., 2018). National and international research has asserted that integrating technology into the curriculum enhances teaching, increases students’ learning, facilitates higher order thinking, and promotes a student-centered classroom (Enriquez, 2010; Fox & Henri, 2005; Teo, Chai, Hung & Lee, 2008).

governments have invested vast amounts of money to enhance schools with
technology and provide them with Internet access (Crompton & Keane, 2012;
Dale, 2008; Kilinc, 2016). In the last 20 years, Turkey has invested nearly 4
billion US dollars to provide ICT to schools and training teachers in
integrating ICT into the curriculum. In 1998, the Turkish government designed a
nationwide project, supported by the World Bank, to provide hardware and
software for the schools and training teachers for ICT-based learning (Özdemir
& Kılıç, 2007).

last ICT-based project conducted by the Turkish National Ministry of Education
(NME) was called the “Movement to Increase Opportunities and Improve
Technology,” otherwise referred to as the FATİH Project (Tarman, Baytak &
Duman, 2015). Through this project, the NME equipped 40,000 schools and 620,000
classrooms across Turkey with interactive White Boards, tablet computers, and
Internet network infrastructure (ERG & RTI International, 2013).

promising practices have developed in integrating technology in teaching (Hofer
& Swan, 2006), technology integration appears to have a low priority for
Turkish social studies teachers (Celikkaya, 2013). As Yilmaz and Ayaydin (2015)
argued, the actual teaching practice of social studies teachers remains largely
unchanged even though they have a smart board in the classroom. Thus,
investigating barriers and challenges that Turkish social studies teachers face
when integrating ICT in their daily teaching practices is crucial. The purpose
of this research was to investigate obstacles that Turkish social studies
teachers face while they are trying to integrate ICT in the learning-teaching


is accepted as a productive tool that transforms education (Chigona, 2015).
Berson (1996) stated that technology can be seen as both an important tool to enhance
teaching and an object that affect economic, social, and political sides of
society. As Hilton (2015) argued, social studies is the best field of all of
the subjects where ICT can be the most beneficial for the crafting of
challenging and engaging pedagogy, through connection to a web of primary
resources, secondary interpretations, and meaningful application (p. 68).

addition, the widespread usage of social media platforms has provided more
participatory and interactive experiences for students (Krutka & Carpenter,
2016). Therefore, social studies teachers should use ICT in teaching to encourage
students to interact with difference within communities (Kilinc, 2013).

recent years, the emergence of new and innovative uses of technology, such as
the Internet, online classes, virtual fieldtrips, online mapping tools, blogs, and
social media, provide new approaches to social studies teaching (Beal, 2001;
Kilinc, Evans, & Korkmaz, 2012; Veletsianos, 2016). Various websites,
programs, and digital tools provide new instructional opportunities for
teachers to enhance their social studies teaching (Hutchison & Colwell,
2016; Tarman, 2017). However, many social studies teachers report that little
information about how to use these tools in social studies classrooms or the
required social studies curriculum and content is provided (Kilinc, 2016).

ICTs have become more accessible in schools (Belland, 2009; Hoffmann, 2017; Levin
& Wadmany, 2008; Schoepp 2005; Waters & Russell, 2016), numerous
elements still need to be carefully considered when technology is used for
teaching and learning purposes (Cuban, 2003). Teachers have an essential role
in integrating technology into the teaching and learning process (Ertmer, 2005;
Eteokleous, 2008). However, integrating technology is a complex challenge for
many teachers, especially social studies teachers in Turkey (Celikkaya, 2013).

are most likely to face barriers while trying to integrate technology in their
teaching because numerous factors may complicate using technology in classroom
settings (Ertmer, 1999; Eteokleous, 2008; Mauch & Tarman, 2016; Zhao, 2007).
Educators should be aware of these barriers (Schoepp, 2005) and find ways to
overcome potential difficulties in a technology-supported course because “many
events occur simultaneously or even haphazardly, and these events usually
demand a teacher’s immediate attention” (Chen, 2008, p. 67). In other words,
exploring potential barriers to technology use would help social studies teachers
in being scaffolded and supported by other stakeholders (e.g., administrators)
and find wise solutions to issues during the transition to technology-rich

(1999) classified barriers that teachers face when using technology into
first-order and second-order barriers. 
First-order barriers primarily concern a lack of hardware, software,
training or technical skills. According to Maddux (1998), “It is essential that
computers be placed in classrooms. Until that happens, true integration is
unlikely to take place” (p. 8). In other words, a need exists for useful
technologies for schools and sufficient technical skills for teachers to remove
first-order barriers in technology integration.

barriers, on the other hand, address the way of implementing teaching with
technology by using new strategies or methods. According to Ertmer, Addison,
Lane, Ross, and Woods (1999), “changes in classroom practices will not occur
simply because computers are more available in the classroom” (p. 55). For
example, curriculum needs to be redesigned based on the available technology in
classroom settings, because the form of current technologies in classrooms may
not be related to the content that teachers teach (Levin & Wadmany, 2008).

addition, a teacher should revise methods of teaching and assessing. For
instance, teachers could use blended instruction via Internet-based
environments or computer-based testing via contemporary testing environments
(Delen, 2015). However, teachers can practice new instructional environments
only if they are provided with enough opportunities and support for both first-order
and second-order barriers (Ertmer, 1999).

other words, to guarantee fruitful outcomes teachers first need to be skillful with
the type of technology (e.g., computer) and then to integrate it into their
teaching with proper methods and strategies. Additionally, some studies assert
that barriers are indeed often intermingling in practice (e.g., Levin &
Wadmany, 2008; Tarman, 2016).

addition, the beliefs, knowledge, and attitudes of teachers influence
leveraging technologies effectively in the teaching-learning process (Andrew,
2007; Kim, Kim, Lee, Spector & DeMeester, 2013; Schul, 2017). Teachers need
to have a positive attitude to transfer and engage their technical skills into
their subject area teaching with proper approaches (Kilinc et al., 2016).

other words, having technical equipment and skills may not ensure the success of
teachers in technology integration (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001;
Ertmer, 1999). Teachers also need to believe that using technology will
increase student learning (Ertmer, 2005; Tarman & Baytak, 2011; Zhao &
Cziko, 2001) and seek new methods and strategies in their teachings to remove
second-order barriers.

This approach would be difficult for novice teachers if they have not tried it during their field experience. Ertmer et al. (1999) summarized the aforementioned issues and existing barriers as follows:

educators and researchers look for reasons why teachers are struggling to use
ICTs effectively, it may be important to look at what they have (in terms of
beliefs and practices) in addition to what they do not have (in terms of
equipment). (p. 68)

question may arise here: What should educators do for effective technology
integration in schools? Researchers have focused on this issue and suggested
several solutions.  For example, Schoepp
(2005) studied educators and asked their opinions regarding the difficulties in
technology integration in a technology-rich environment. The study results
expressed four main recommendations, including technology integrating plans,
curriculum integration, technology standards, and professional development.

seen from these potential barriers and recommendations, teachers need to be
supported intensively before, during, and after technology integration process.
 Several studies have been conducted to
examine the use of technology in schools (Evans & Kilinc, 2013; Gray,
Thomas, & Lewis, 2010; Korkmaz & Avci, 2016; Nikolaeva,
& Pak, 2017; O’Dwyer, Russell, Bebell, & Seeley, 2008). On the other
hand, few studies have investigated barriers that social studies teachers face
while they are using technology (Celikkaya, 2013; Yilmaz & Ayaydin, 2015).

this respect, the study described in this article examined the beliefs of social
studies teachers about barriers for technology integration into the
teaching-learning process. This paper has an important characteristic in that
the selected schools were those equipped with interactive white boards and
tablet computers; therefore, social studies teachers who participated in this
study were in substantially different situations than others.


 We applied a quantitative survey model to
investigate the beliefs of social studies teachers about barriers to technology
integration into the social studies classroom by considering several variables.
The main aim of survey studies is to assess attitudes, opinions, preferences,
demographics, practices, and procedures (Gay, Mills, & Airisian, 2006;
Lohr, 2009).

research involves the collection of information from a sample of individuals
through their responses to questions.  According
to Fraenkel and Wallen (2003) survey research is an eminent method for
systematically collecting data from a broad spectrum of individuals and
educational settings.


of the study were selected through cluster random sampling during the 2015-2016
academic year. Cluster random sampling is sometimes undertaken as an
alternative to simple random sampling, because selecting a random sample of
individuals from a population is impossible (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2003).

first determined the geographical areas of interest and chose the western part
of Turkey. This part of Turkey is one of the most developed areas of the
country, and schools were equipped with technologic devices (such as interactive
white boards and tablet computers) through the FATIH project. Then, middle
schools were located through the website of National Ministry of Education and assigned
a number. We randomly selected 53 middle schools to reach social studies

the teachers in the selected schools constituted the sample of the study. We
visited some selected schools and personally invited social studies teachers to
participate in the study, while others were contacted via email. We also
reminded teachers that they were free to either participate or not. A total of
197 surveys were distributed; 176 surveys were returned, and we used 171 (see Table

Table 1
Profile of the Participants

Profile of the Participants Frequency %
Female 83 48.5
Male 88 51.5
Total 171 100
Teaching Experience
1-5 years 78 45.6
46 26.9
26 15.2
16 years
and more
21 12.3
Total 171 100
Attended PD
No 72 42.1
Yes 99 57.9
Total 171 100

Collection Tool

used the Barriers in Teaching With Technology survey that we developed. The
survey was designed to collect information from social studies teachers to
learn about obstacles they faced to integrate technology into the
learning-teaching process.

draft scale had 37 items with potential responses for each item based on a 5-point
Likert-type scale (strongly disagree =
1, disagree = 2, neither agree nor disagree = 3, agree
= 4, and strongly agree = 5). We
revised the first draft of the scale based on expert opinions obtained from
three faculty members (one professor who had a Ph.D. degree in social studies,
one professor who had a Ph.D. degree in educational technology, and one
professor who had a Ph.D. degree in Educational Assessment and Evaluation), and
five social studies teachers to examine the logical dimensions of validity (as
in Black & Champion, 1976).

first draft of the scale was revised based on feedback and resulted in a
34-item survey. See appendix for an illustration of how
construct validity was determined based on the application of exploratory factor

The exploratory factor analysis showed that the Barriers in Teaching With Technology scale had two dimensions: internal barriers and external barriers. These two factors accounted for 46.35% of the total variance, which is in the expected rate range in social science (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 2006).

Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was calculated for the entire scale and was found to
be .889. In addition, the internal consistency coefficient of each dimension
was calculated; .87 was found for external obstacles and .85 was found for
internal obstacles. According to Kline (2011), “generally, reliability
coefficients around .90 are considered ‘excellent’, values around .80 are ‘very
good,’ and values around .70 are ‘adequate’” (p. 70). Thus, the internal
consistency coefficients of the scale can be considered excellent.

Analysis of
the Data

data were analyzed through descriptive analysis, independent sample t tests, and a one-way analysis of
variance (ANOVA) in the SPSS 20 statistical package program. The α = 0.05
significance level was taken as the basis for significance test between groups.


We applied the Barriers in Teaching With Technology scale to examine the opinions of social studies teachers about the obstacles they encountered when they tried to integrate technology into the teaching and learning process. Table 2 shows social studies teachers’ responses for each item.

Table 2
Mean and Standard Deviation of Participant Responses for Each Item

Item M SD
There is
no effective computer lab in my school.
3.88 1.26
internet is very slow in my school.
3.79 1.32
development courses that I attended were irrelevant to my needs for
integrating technology.
3.50 1.19
The computer
lab is not available when I want to use it.
3.44 1.36
The social studies curriculum does not allow
enough time to integrate technology.
3.41 1.10
stake testing limits the use of technology.
3.40 1.35
There is
a lack of technical support to solve technological problems I encounter.
3.28 1.14
is not adaptable for the social studies curriculum.
3.26 1.22
thought of not being able to cover all topics makes me stay away from using
3.15 1.36
There are
no sufficient technological devices in the classroom.
3.00 1.50
encounter several technical problems while using technology.
2.95 1.23
I cannot
get sufficient support from the school administration.
2.93 1.21
Technology integration takes too much time. 2.89 1.23
I did not
take sufficient training at university.
2.88 1.28
I don’t
get sufficient support from parents.
2.86 1.25
I cannot
reach software that I can use for my class.
2.85 1.22
The physical
condition of classes is not suitable for technology integration.
2.84 1.36
The school
administration does not care about technology integration.
2.66 1.18
I think
that technology integration makes teaching more teacher centered.
2.62 1.18
I don’t
have adequate training to use technology.
2.56 1.24
are very crowded.
2.53 1.34
I don’t
know how to effectively integrate technology into teaching process.
2.53 1.00
all websites/software that I can use for my teaching are in English.
2.40 .97
When I
use technology, students get out of control.
2.39 1.09
developments in technology frighten me.
2.37 1.11
management is more difficult when I use technology.
2.16 1.03
I am afraid to damage technologic devices
when I use them.
2.12 1.17
I think
that technology integration limits the role of teachers in the classroom.
2.04 .96
I think
technology integration is an obstacle for student-centered learning
1.91 .93
The use
of technology reduces students’ attention to the lesson.
1.88 .86
colleagues don’t use technology.
1.80 .88
I think
that the use of technology negatively affects the quality of instruction.
1.80 .90
I don’t
think technology integration enhances student learning.
1.76 .93
I am not
interested in technology integration.
1.61 .84

According to the results, social studies teachers mentioned mainly external obstacles that limit their use of technology. For instance, the most accepted obstacle for the technology integration into teachers’ daily practices was the lack of an effective computer lab in the school. Second, social studies teachers saw a slow Internet connection at the school as a huge obstacle for the use of technology for teaching-learning purposes. Another obstacle was related to professional development. Many social studies teachers agreed that professional development courses that they attended were irrelevant to meet their needs for integrating technology. The physical availability of computer lab was another main obstacle.

The results also showed that social studies teachers did not agree that some items were related to internal obstacles. For instance, social studies teachers thought that they were interested in technology integration. Also, participants stated that using technology enhances student learning. Consequently, these negative attitudes toward technology integration were not seen as obstacles to the use of technology.

Gender and
Technology Integration Barriers

According to the demographic information, 83 teachers (48.5%) were female, while 88 teachers were (51.5%) male. An independent sample t-test was conducted to test whether social studies teachers’ ideas about Barriers in Teaching With Technology differed by gender (see Table 3. The result showed no statistically significant difference (t(169) = 1.962, p = .135) between female and male social studies teachers’ ideas for external obstacles. Moreover, the test was also not significant for the internal obstacles dimension (t(169) = 1.501, p = .051).

Table 3
T-Test Results Regarding Differences by Gender for External Obstacles

Gender N Mean SD Df t p
External Obstacles
Female 83 27.96 8.22 169 1.501 .135
Male 88 26.18 7.28
Internal Obstacles
Female 83 66.69 14.22 169 1.962 .051
Male 88 62.53 13.52

Development Courses and Technology Integration Barriers

The result showed that 99 social studies teachers (57.9%) attended professional development related to technology integration, while 72 social studies teachers (42.1%) had not had such an opportunity. We conducted an independent sample t-test to examine whether teachers’ ideas about Barriers in Teaching With Technology differed by attending in-service training related to ICT integration (Table 4). The test was significant (t(169) = -3.303, p = .001) for the external obstacles dimension. Thus, the conclusion can be made that social studies teachers who did not attend any PD related to ICT integration faced more external obstacles than did social studies teachers attended ICT-related professional development.

Table 4
T-Test Results Regarding Differences in ICT-Related In-Service Training

Attended Professional
N Mean SD Df t p
External Obstacles
Yes 99 60.52 13.97 169 -3.303 .001
No 72 67.48 13.31
Internal Obstacles
Yes 99 25.81 7.38 169 -1.769
No 72 27.93 7.98

Experience and Technology Integration Barriers

A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to evaluate whether teachers’ ideas about Barriers in Teaching With Technology differed by teaching experience (Table 5). The independent variable Teaching Experience included four levels: 1-5 years, 6-10 years, 11-15 years, and 16 and more years. The ANOVA was significant for the external obstacles dimension, F(3,167) = 6.10, p = 0.001. The results revealed that there was a significant difference based on teaching experiences with respect to teachers’ ideas about external Barriers in Teaching With Technology.

New teachers (M1-5
= 69. 26) considered external factors as obstacles to integrate technology into
the learning-teaching process more than experienced teachers (M6-10 = 60.93, M11-15 = 61.15, M16+ = 59.19). A follow-up
test was conducted to evaluate pairwise differences among means. The Scheffe
tests indicated that there was no difference between teachers with 6-10 years,
11-15 years, and 16 and more years of experiences; however, these groups had a significant
difference with new teachers about the external obstacles dimension. On the
other hand, no significant difference existed with respect to teaching
experience and internal obstacles.

Table 5
ANOVA Test Results

151.7 3 50.59 .832 .478
10151.8 167 60.79
Total 10303.6 170  
3241.4 3 1080.48 6.010 .001
30022.7 167 179.77
Total 33264.2 170  


This study examined the main barriers for integrating technology
integration into the teaching learning process in middle school classes as
perceived by Turkish social studies teachers. The findings of the study
contribute to the literature by generating empirical evidence of the
contemporary status of social studies teachers’ perceived barriers.

The findings of the current study both confirmed and
contradicted previous research. The present study found that the most highly
identified barriers were mainly external obstacles, such as the lack of an
effective computer lab. This result is partly surprising because, according to
the official announcement by the National Ministry of Education, 40,000 schools
and 620,000 classrooms across Turkey were equipped with ICT hardware (ERG &
RTI International, 2013; Kilinc et al., 2016).

In spite of the prevalence of ICT in classrooms, especially the
interactive white board (Smart Board), computer labs are reflected as barriers
by Turkish social studies teachers. Similarly, aligned with previous research (Wachira
& Keengwe, 2011), the scheduling of using computer labs to meet the goal of
technology integration for teachers remains another key obstacle for social
studies teachers.

Social studies teachers also perceived a slow Internet
connection as another major barrier to integrate technology. These findings are
in agreement with previous studies (Carver, 2016; Göktaş, Gedik, & Baydas,
2013; Nikolopoulou & Gialamas, 2015; Salehi & Salehi, 2012), which
maintained that lack of hardware and restricted access to the Internet were perceived
as barriers for technology integration.

Professional development about integrating technology into
the curriculum is one essential component for promoting the use of technology
during the teaching-learning process (Darling-Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson,
& Orphanos, 2009). However, professional development sometimes can be
perceived as an obstacle for technology integration when it is not related to
actual classroom practices or focuses solely on technical skills (Kopcha, 2012;
Mouza, 2009; Wells, 2007).

Indeed, Turkish social studies teachers agreed that
professional development courses that they had previously attended were
irrelevant to their needs for integrating technology. Several scholars (Schoepp,
2005; Sicilia, 2005; Toprakçi, 2006) had previously noted that teachers’ perceived
insufficient technology-related professional developments was one primary barrier
for technology integration.

The result showed that the National Ministry of Education
should organize more specific professional development sessions for social
studies teachers to provide guidance for specific programs/apps to enhance
learning (GIS, mapping, etc.), game-based platforms that makes learning impressive,
and tools that provide teachers to create an online classroom, to make teaching
more productive and meaningful by streamlining assignments, boosting
collaboration, and fostering communication.

Another primary barrier perceived by the social studies
teachers was related to the social studies curriculum. Participants are in
agreement that the social studies
curriculum does not allow enough time to integrate technology. Curriculum
problems have been discussed for several decades (Ertmer, 1999; Gilmore, 1995);
however, they still persist as a barrier for technology integration. Various
research has indicated that time limitations and/or a lack of time to integrate
technology into the curriculum were the most common challenges for teachers (Al-Alwani,
2005; Schoepp, 2005; Sicilia, 2005; Tarman & Acun, 2010). These findings
indicated that the social studies curriculum should be designed in
consideration of technology integration and allow more time for the use of

The findings of
the study also suggest that a lack of technical and administrative support is
perceived as a key barrier for technology integration. Social studies teachers
blamed school administration for a lack of administrative support for technology
integration. As Wachira and Keengwe (2011) argued, a school needs a
compelling technology policy to whicgh school administration has committed in
order to ensure effective technology integration. Also, administrators should
encourage and support teachers in using technology effectively in the
teaching-learning process.

Another key obstacle perceived by social studies teachers was
related to software. Participants of the study claimed that they could not find
appropriate software/websites (such as ArcGIS, Kahoot, Google Classroom, Google
Arts & Culture, etc.) for their teaching. Indeed, although several
software/websites are available for the social studies, the language used is English.  Most Turkish social studies teachers do not
have sufficient English skills, and they perceived insufficient language skills
as a barrier to integrate technology.

The findings of the research revealed that gender did not
have a direct impact on technology integration. There was no significant
difference between female and male teacher for perceived barriers for
technology integration. However, the result showed that a statistically significant
difference existed on perceived external barriers between teachers who attended
professional development and those who had not. These findings supported
previous research that indicated similar results (Cener, Acun, & Demirhan, 2015;
Kutluca & Ekici, 2010; Usluel, Mumcu, & Demiraslan, 2007).

These results
demonstrated that external barriers, such as lack of technology and inadequate
support for technology integration are still main concerns that impact
technology integration. Therefore, the conclusion can be reached that the
perceived barriers of teachers showed similarities across time and different


results of the study indicated that Turkish social studies teachers deal with
not only first-order barriers but also second-order barriers. Furthermore,
perceived barriers for efficacious ICT integration into social studies classrooms
mainly changed for teachers. The following recommendations can be made for
social studies teachers, administrators, and policy makers to address barriers
at each level of ICT integration based on the findings of the present study:

  • Professional
    development for social studies teachers should not focus only on technical
    skills. Social studies teachers should be trained on ways to prepare and use
    appropriate software. In addition, school administrators should be invited to
    professional development sessions to provide administrative supports for ICT
  • National
    Ministry of Education and/or commercial companies should provide appropriate
    software and materials through translation of some websites and software into
    Turkish, which are useful for social studies education. Then, the next step
    would be producing Turkish website and software programs suitable for social
  • Cooperation
    between universities and social studies teachers should be encouraged because
    mentoring is an auspicious step for persuading teachers to integrate ICT into
    their teaching. Through mentorship, researchers/academics help teachers learn
    how to integrate ICT into social studies classrooms and to prepare ICT-mediated
    lesson plans.
  • Technical
    support should be provided when social studies teachers need in order to
    effectively ICT integration.
  • Social
    studies curriculum should be redesign to allow more time for ICT integration.


The short summary version of this article was published in TechTrends journal: Kilinc, E., Tarman, B., & Aydin, H. (2018). Examining Turkish social studies teachers’ beliefs about barriers to technology integration. TechTrends62(3), 221-223.


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Robotics Integration for Learning With Technology

Robotics Integration for Learning With Technology

Science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM) education is critical in strengthening the STEM
workforce in the 21st century (Becker
& Park, 2011). The STEM workforce plays a
critical role in meeting future occupational needs, fostering innovation, and
strengthening the competitiveness of a nation (National
Science Board, 2015).

STEM knowledge is essential for not
only STEM occupations but also non-STEM occupations (National
Science Board, 2015). Student STEM achievement in the
United States, however, has been lower than in other nations (Adams,
Miller, Saul, & Pegg, 2014; National Science Board, 2010). A decade ago, a declining trend
in the number of K-12 students interested in STEM careers was noted (Apedoe,
Reynolds, Ellefson, & Schunn, 2008) and, more recently, a shortage of
qualified STEM personnel (National
Science Board, 2015).

The teaching of STEM subjects in elementary grades is important because the elementary school years are a critical time for students to develop a STEM interest (Adams et al., 2014). However, elementary teachers face multiple challenges in teaching STEM. First, they are known to have limited STEM content knowledge (Davis, Petish, & Smithey, 2006; Li, 2008). Second, they have tended to have anxiety about, negative attitudes toward, and low confidence in teaching STEM subjects (Adams et al., 2014; Bursal & Paznokas, 2006; Philippou & Christou, 1998). Third, many teachers have not been found to be well prepared to teach engineering (Rogers, Wendell, & Foster, 2010) although the discipline of engineering is critical for preparing future citizens for a technical world and educating future engineers.

An integrated approach has been used in teaching STEM (Czerniak & Johnson, 2014; Johnson, 2013). The problems of life are not based on a single discipline; rather, they are multidisciplinary in nature, calling for knowledge from different areas (Czerniak & Johnson, 2014). An integrated approach allows students to see connections among different fields and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills (Elliott, Oty, McArthur, & Clark, 2001).

Moreover, this approach sparks students’ interest in STEM by highlighting the usefulness and relevance of STEM knowledge in their lives (Petrie, 1992). Students can also develop critical thinking skills when an integrated approach is employed in STEM teaching.

The qualitative study described in
this article examined how preservice elementary teachers integrated robotics
into STEM lesson designs and why they designed their lessons in a particular
way. It was part of a teacher professional development and research project
that aimed to prepare preservice elementary teachers to integrate robotics into
their teaching. This article,
when discussing major findings, also provides suggestions for teacher education
programs that prepare teachers to teach STEM in elementary classrooms.

Relevant Literature


Concrete objects such as
manipulatives have been used to teach children abstract concepts for many years
& Portsmore, 2005). Educational robots are newer
manipulatives and conducive to STEM learning in various ways. Robotics can spark students’ interest in
STEM subjects (Rogers
& Portsmore, 2004); assembling and programming robots
provides students with opportunities to learn mathematics, physics, and
engineering concepts (Bers,
2008); and hands-on robotics activities provide students
with occasions to apply abstract STEM knowledge (Bers,
2008; Nugent, Barker, Grandgenett, & Adamchuk, 2010).

has shown that robotics can
enhance student learning in science (Whittier
& Robinson, 2007), technology (Barker
& Ansorge, 2007), engineering (Barker
& Ansorge, 2007; Kaya, Newly, Deniz, Yesilyurt, & Newley, 2017), mathematics (Highfield,
2010; Hussain, Lindh, & Shukur, 2006), and programming (Jaipal-Jamani
& Angeli, 2017). Moreover, robotics activities can
enhance students’ three-dimensional thinking skill, facilitate their development
of technological literacy (Bers,
2008), and attract them to technology-related careers (Nugent
et al., 2010).

young children can benefit from robotics might be a concern for educators.
Prior research shows that children as young as 4 years old are able to build
and program robots (Cejka, Rogers, & Portsmore, 2006; Kazakoff,
Sullivan, & Bers, 2013). Robotics provides
an environment for young children to learn engineering concepts (Resnick, 2017) and programming (Bers, Flannery, Kazakoff, & Sullivan, 2014), and creates a
context for them to experiment with their ideas and develop creative thinking
skills (Resnick, 2017). Since educational
interventions that begin earlier have a more enduring impact than those
implemented later in children’s lives (Reynolds, Temple, Ou, Arteaga, & White, 2011), it is appropriate
to integrate robotics into early learning curriculum.

Education in Educational Robotics

Many teachers are familiar with
technology, but they still need to learn about technology integration (Mueller,
Wood, Willoughby, Ross, & Specht, 2008). Teacher education is important,
since technology is evolving over time. Past studies have found that the
majority of teachers are not prepared to integrate robotics into classroom
teaching (Mataric, Koenig, & Feil-Seifer, 2007), so there is a need
to train teachers to use robotics in their classrooms.

Technology integration training should start in teacher education programs (Kay, 2006). Preservice teachers’ technology experience in their teacher education programs constitutes a critical factor affecting their use of technology in the classroom as new teachers (Tondeur et al., 2012). In addition, preparing preservice teachers to teach STEM with robotics can be an effective strategy to enhance students’ STEM learning (Jaipal-Jamani & Angeli, 2017). It is important for preservice teachers to learn how to integrate educational robotics into their classrooms (Bers, 2008; Kim et al., 2015).

from Technology Versus Learning with Technology

According to Jonassen’s (2000) typology of the different purposes
of using technology, when the instructor uses technology to deliver instruction
and transmit knowledge, technology is a delivery tool and students are involved
in learning from technology. Students
are recipients of knowledge, and what they produce is a replicate of the
information delivered to them (Jonassen,
Howland, Marra, & Crismond, 2008).

In contrast, when technology is used as a cognitive tool for information access, analysis, and knowledge organization, representation, and interpretation, students learn with technology (Jonassen & Reeves, 1996). To achieve meaningful learning outcomes, students need to be involved in learning with technology (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2013; Jonassen & Reeves, 1996).

A learning environment supporting student learning with technology is akin to a student-centered learning environment. In a student-centered learning environment, students take an active role in their learning. They are involved in seeking information from various resources, exploring, organizing knowledge, and creating artifacts to represent their knowledge (Brush & Saye, 2000; Hannafin & Land, 1997).

Theoretical Framework: Experiential Learning

Our approach was guided by experiential learning, which mainly rests on Dewey’s pragmatism, Lewin’s social psychology, and Piaget’s cognitive development (Kolb, 1984). According to this perspective, learning consists of four stages: concrete experience, reflective observations, generalizations, and applications. When working on robotics projects, learners can learn from the concrete experience of building, programming, and designing robots, observe what their peers are doing, develop hypotheses (Kim, Yuan, Vasconcelos, Shin, & Hill, 2018), and apply what they have generalized from their experience to new situations (Robinson, 2005). In so doing, knowledge is derived from experience.

Purpose and Research Questions

Educational robotics can be
beneficial for students’ STEM learning in many ways, but it has been integrated
in middle and high school classrooms more than in elementary ones (Bers,
2008). Research on how to prepare teachers to integrate
robotics into elementary classrooms is needed, but few studies have examined how preservice elementary
teachers develop their ability to incorporate robotics into K-12 classrooms.

Kim et al. (2015) examined preservice teachers’ STEM engagement in and learning from a robotics learning module, as well as their STEM teaching. Ortiz, Boz, and Smith (2015) investigated participants’ reactions toward a robotics module that focused on the engineering design process, programming, and mathematics. Jaipal-Jamani & Angeli (2017) focused on the impact of a robotics project on preservice teachers’ self-efficacy in using robotics for teaching and learning, science learning, and computational thinking skills. Kim et al. (2018) examined how preservice teachers debugged errors when they programmed their robots.

study adds to the literature an
in-depth examination of preservice teachers’ integration of robotics into their
lesson designs. The central research questions guiding this study were as

  1. How do preservice elementary teachers
    integrated robotics into their lessons?
  2. Why do preservice elementary teachers
    designed their lessons in a particular way?

analyzed preservice elementary teachers’ lesson designs to study how they integrated
robotics into their lessons, and we conducted semistructured interviews to
investigate why they designed their lessons in a particular way.



The purpose of this study was to examine the features of preservice teachers’ lesson plans integrating robotics into elementary classrooms and determine why they designed their lessons in a particular way. This study used a grounded theory approach to finding out reasons for preservice teachers’ lesson designs. A grounded theory approach was employed because it can help researchers generate an explanation of an action or process that is drawn from data (Strauss & Corbin, 1998).

and Setting

Participants were 19 preservice
teachers from an undergraduate elementary education course offered at a public
university in the southeastern United States. Eight participants were from one
section; eight from another; and three from a third section. These three
sections were taught by three instructors in the same program. One participant
was a male student, and the rest were female.

All participants were majoring in early
childhood education. The course objectives included designing
technology-enhanced activities for elementary students, introducing students to
the engineering design process, and conducting research on age-appropriate
instructional strategies and principles.

In the remainder of this paper, the
elementary education course is referred to as “the course.” All three sections
included a robotics learning module. All instructors used the same robotics
learning module in which participants (a) were introduced to educational
robotics, (b) assembled and programmed robots in groups, (c) individually
designed lessons for elementary classrooms, and (d) created a poster presenting
what they had learned and how they were able to use robotics for elementary

Collection Procedure

lesson designs for using robotics in elementary classrooms were collected, and
semistructured interviews were conducted after the completion of the robotics
learning module. There were 19 lesson designs and 19 interviews. Each interview
was about 30 minutes long and audio recorded.

The interview questions asked preservice teachers what their learning experience was in the robotics learning module, how they created their lesson plans, what STEM content knowledge they learned, and what they learned about teaching STEM. The questions on preservice teachers’ learning experience were created on what Fredricks et al. (2004) suggested about the engagement framework; as engagement “has the potential to link areas of research about antecedents and consequences of how students behave, how they feel, and how they think” (p. 82).

interview questions included the following:

  • “How did you feel while you were working on robotics activities in this class?”
  • “Please talk about the lesson plan that you came up with using robotics.”
  • “What new STEM content or processes did you learn?”
  • “How would you use what you learned from these robotics activities in your teaching?”


Lesson designs were analyzed to
examine the features of teachers’ technology integration practice, and
interviews were analyzed to gain insights into the factors affecting such
practice. The concept of student-centeredness (Ertmer,
Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Sadik, Sendurur, & Sendurur, 2012) was used for lesson design
analysis. The student-centeredness instrument consists of seven criteria:
teacher role, student role, curricular characteristics, classroom social
organization, assessment practices, technology role, and technology content (p.

We selected two criteria from the
student-centeredness instrument — curricular characteristics and technology role — to analyze the
lessons through the lens of learning with
technology vs. learning from
technology. These two criteria were selected because they focused on whether or
not teaching emphasized students’ collaboration, information access, knowledge
construction, knowledge application, and problem solving (see Table 1).

Table 1
Criteria From Student-Centeredness Instrument (Ertmer et al., 2012, p. 427) Used in This Study

Teacher-Centered Student-Centered
Curricular Characteristics
Breadth — focus on externally mandated curriculum Depth — focused on student interests
Focus on standards Focus on understanding of complex ideas
Fact retention Application of knowledge to authentic problems
Fragmented knowledge and disciplinary separation Integrated multidisciplinary themes
Technology Role
Drill and practice Exploration and knowledge construction
Direct instruction Communication (collaboration, information access, expression)
Programming Tool for writing, data analysis, problem-solving

instructors ensured that students used technology for information access,
knowledge organization, collaboration, and problem solving (Jonassen et al., 2008; Jonassen & Reeves, 1996) and instructors
created an authentic learning environment in which students applied their
knowledge (Jonassen et al., 2008), they were
facilitating student learning with
technology. The criteria of curricular
and technology role allowed us to investigate whether
and how learning STEM with technology
was designed in these lessons. Table 1 lists the two criteria of the
student-centeredness instrument used in this study. The Appendix and Figure 1 illustrate
how lesson designs were analyzed.

Figure 1
Figure 1. Analysis of a lesson for student learning from technology (the instructor’s name is a pseudonym).

Our data analysis consisted of the
following steps: (a) reading lesson designs to gain an understanding of them;
(b) analyzing the features of the lesson designs and categorizing them using the
two criteria from the student-centeredness instrument, (c) reading interviews
to acquire an understanding of them, (d) connecting participants’ lesson designs
to their interview to further examine why the participant designed the lesson
in a particular way, and (e) considering all reasons to look for themes.

discover why participants designed their lessons in a particular way, we
analyzed interviews by following the three phases of coding for developing
grounded theory — open, axial, and selective coding (Strauss
& Corbin, 1990).
In the open coding phase, we used the constant comparative approach to examine
the interviews to look for major categories of reasons. In the second phase,
axial coding, we made connections among the categories. In the third phase, we
built a “story” connecting the categories.


We sought to produce trustworthy
results as we designed and conducted this study. To this end, we followed the
standards delineated by Lincoln and Guba (1985). Credibility was gained through using
multiple data sources and researchers. Data included lesson designs and
interviews. All researchers were actively involved in research design, data
collection, and data analysis. We held regular meetings to discuss the
recruitment of participants, the development of our interview protocol, and the
search for and selection of the instrument to analyze lesson designs. Three authors discussed how to analyze
lesson designs and interviews. Two of us analyzed one lesson design and
interview individually.

We agreed on the features of the lesson plan but disagreed on one reason for the lesson design. We discussed our disagreement and then analyzed another lesson and interview independently. We discussed and agreed on the lesson features and reasons for the design. Despite our agreement, we still discussed our thoughts regarding the analysis. One of the two authors then analyzed one fifth of the remaining lesson designs and interviews, and the other did the rest.

One of the two authors analyzed then one fifth of the remaining lesson designs and interviews, and the other did the rest. Based on multiple rounds of independent coding and discussions and reaching consensus between coders, the analysis was consistent between different coders throughout the entire coding process.


This section is a summary of how
participants integrated robotics into their lesson designs and the data
indicating why they designed their lessons in a particular way. We selected
illustrative quotes from interviews to represent themes we identified.
Pseudonyms are used.

Participants Integrated Robotics Into Their Lessons

The ways in which participants
integrated robotics into their lesson designs fell into three categories:
supporting student learning with
technology, supporting student learning from
technology, and supporting student learning both with and from technology
(mixed). The lessons categorized as mixed exhibited some (but not all) of the
features of supporting student learning with technology and all features
supporting student learning from technology. Table 2 illustrates the features
of the three categories of lesson designs and lists examples of each feature
from students’ lesson designs.

Table 2
Lesson Design Features and Examples for Each Feature

Lesson Design Feature Examples for Each Feature
Learning With Technology
Info Access Students research careers related to computer programming.

Students conduct a research on NASA missions robots perform and how robots are used in our daily lives.

Multidisciplinary [a] A lesson integrates technology, science, and language arts.
Collaboration [a] Students work in groups to assemble and program robots.
Application [a] Students write a narrative essay describing a space mission during which a rover is used to explore a planet. Students should incorporate what they have learned about the planets and robots in space exploration.

Students write an essay describing how their lives would be different if there were more robots around.

Expression [a] Students make a poster showing what they did when they assembled and programmed their robots.

Students write in the KWL (already know, want to know, learn) chart what they knew and what they would like to know about robotics.

Problem Solving [a] Students test their robots after they program them (When students test their robot, if the robot does not run as they expect, students need to solve programming problems.)
Data analysis Students use a scale to weigh the pieces of a robot and the robot to test the theory that the weight of an object is equal to the sum of the pieces that are used to build the object.
Learning From Technology
Drill and Practice [a] Students assemble and program one robot and then assemble and program another robot. They then create a poster to show what they learned.
The teacher races robots he/she has assembled and programmed in the hallway multiple times. Students complete worksheets about comparing lengths. The teacher grades the worksheets to see if students understand the concept of length.
Direct Instruction [a] The teacher uses examples and PowerPoint to teach students about lengths.
The teacher then uses PowerPoint slides to explain the function of robots and teaches students how to program robots by demonstration.
Disciplinary Separation [a] The lesson design only focuses on the concept of length. The teacher runs a robot already assembled and programmed and asks students to measure the distances.
The teacher assembles and programs a Racebot before class and shows the robot in class. Students in the class reprogram the robot together. They then assemble and program their own Racebot with their group. After the completion of the activity, the teacher asks students what they learned and what was challenging.

Learning with technology. Eleven lesson designs facilitated
student learning with technology. Features in the lessons are listed in Table
2, which also includes an example from participants’ lesson designs for each

  1. Students’ skill in accessing information was emphasized (information access).
  2. More than one discipline was incorporated (multidisciplinary).
  3. Students were required to assemble and program robots collaboratively (collaboration).
  4. Students were given the opportunity to apply their learned content outside of classroom (e.g., how they would use a robot in their everyday lives; application).
  5. Students explored the functions of robots (exploration) and used other technologies to communicate about their robot assembly and programming (expression).

One example lesson design for
student learning with technology integrated robotics into teaching language
arts by asking students to assemble and program robots and then write a
reflection paper. Students needed to collaborate with their group members to
assemble and program robots. For the reflection paper, they needed to think
about how they could apply the skills they had learned from the lesson to other
circumstances. They were also expected to research and describe the careers
they could pursue with computer programming skills, which involved information
access and knowledge application.

Mixed. Seven lesson designs were created
to facilitate student learning both with and from technology and student
learning from technology. The features supporting student learning with
technology included all features listed in the previous section except for information
access (see Table 2). The features of student learning from technology include
direct instruction, drill and practice, and disciplinary separation.

One example lesson design in this
category connected engineering and language arts to science. This lesson focused
on the uses of robots in exploring space and the rover on Mars, which was part
of the science curriculum. Students were also introduced to the engineering
process to construct the Mars Rover by watching a video, and they were required
to write an essay describing a space mission on which a rover was used to
explore a planet of their choice.

To introduce the lesson topic, the
teacher gave students an opportunity to explore the functions of a duck robot.
The teacher then presented the use of robots in exploring space with a an
electronic slideshow. The slideshow presentation was a means of student
learning from technology.

Learning from technology.
One lesson was
designed for student learning from technology. In this lesson design, the
teacher presented the concept of length through an electronic slideshow. Direct
instruction was involved. The teacher then raced robots multiple times, and
students practiced comparing the distances the robots had run. Students learned
how to compare lengths through drill and practice.

Participants Designed Their Lessons in a Particular Way

The interviews suggested several
reasons as to why participants designed their lessons in a particular way. This
section describes the reasons and provides illustrative quotes for each. The reasons are presented as themes,
and pseudonyms were used to protect participants’ identity.

For each theme, the lesson
participants designed is described, the lesson design features are summarized,
the reasons for the design features are reported, and quotes from participants to
represent the theme are included. Figure 2 illustrates the reasons
participants’ lesson designs had features supporting learning with technology or learning from technology.

Figure 2. Reasons participants’ lesson designs had features supporting learning with technology or learning from technology

Interviews suggest four reasons (Themes 1 – 4) for designing lessons with features supporting student learning with technology (see Figure 2). The lesson designs used as examples include those supporting learning with technology as well as mixed lesson designs. The interviews of participants who designed mixed lessons (lesson designs with features supporting student learning with technology and student learning from technology) also suggested reasons their lesson designs exhibited features supporting student learning with technology.

Theme 1: Participants’ own enjoyable
struggle with robot design provided inspiration for designing lessons that
involved student-centered problem-solving.
Some participants’ lessons required
students to write about how robots can be used to solve problems. This design
feature seemed to be a result of participants’ enjoyable struggle during a problem-solving experience.

example, in Patricia’s lesson, students assembled and programmed their robots
to run in a square-shaped path. Students tested their robots upon completion of
programming, recorded videos of their robots running, and posted their videos
online. The teacher assisted students if they needed help with programming.
Students also compared their robot to two other groups’ robots and reflected on
the robotics activity and how well their robots performed. When students tested
their robot, they needed to solve programming problems if the robot did not
perform as expected.

own experience of struggle and problem solving seemed to have contributed to
the design of this activity. She said most of their difficulties were with
programming the robot, and she described one challenge in detail:

The difficulties we had were mostly with the program .… We had difficulty because we set different speeds. We set it too fast or too slow, and we didn’t know how long it should turn for. We definitely had to use trial and error to figure out the exact time we had for the robot to turn for and how fast do it.

She also mentioned that once her group solved
their problem, she liked programming, explaining, “But once we figured out how
to program it, I liked it.” The experience of finding solutions to problems
seemed to have motivated Patricia to design a lesson in which students tested their
robots and solved programming problems.

Theme 2: Participants’
collaborative robotics work was reflected in their lesson designs.
One feature of the lessons
designed by participants was asking students to work collaboratively on
projects. Students needed to work with their group members to assemble robots,
program them, or write robot stories. This feature seemed to be a product of
participants’ collaboration experience in the course.

In Kate’s lesson, for example, fifth
graders constructed a robot of their choosing with their group members. The
teacher provided assistance as needed. Students presented their robots and wrote
a reflection paper on what they had learned and enjoyed during the process. In
this student-centered lesson, students needed to collaborate with their group
members. This design appeared to be influenced by Kate’s own collaboration
experience. She reported that she had had fruitful collaboration with her
partner and did not have to work on the robotics activities outside of the

I didn’t [have to come to class early and leave late to complete the tasks], which is part of having a good partner, and then we work well together. I think that’s a huge thing. I mean, you have to have good collaboration with this robotics activity, because you have to build it together, program it together, and it wouldn’t be beneficial if one builds it and one does the programming. So you have to work well together.

In Layla’s lesson, students built
and programmed a robot of their choosing with their group members. Students wrote
individually about the importance of robotics, what it took for them to put
their robots together, and how multiplication and division were involved in
programming their robots. Then, as a group, they wrote a story about how their
robots helped sustain a healthy Earth.

Students worked collaboratively to
assemble and program their robots and to write a story as well. This feature of
Layla’s lesson seemed to have been influenced by her learning with her partner
during the robotics learning module, as indicated in her comment:

We were both learning about robotics together, like we didn’t really have a ton of knowledge on it. So it was a learning experience for both of us. And I think that way it was more fun, because we were both, like, just playing around and trying to figure things out together. Like I said before, two minds are working on one thing.

Layla said if she used robots in her class in the future, she would have students work in pairs:

I feel like it’s a lot easier to pair up, because I know if I had to do it by myself, it would have taken a lot longer than it actually did, and pairing up, it’s like having two creative minds being able to put more into what they will be able to do with their robot.  

suggested by participants’ remarks, they not only worked productively when
collaborating on robot assembly and programming but also learned together. The
experience seemed to have made it natural for them to design lessons requiring
collaborative work.

 Theme 3: Participants’ perceived learning of
robotics integration was conducive to their lesson design for student learning
with technology.
participants whose lesson designs supported student learning with technology
reported that what they learned from the course about how to integrate robotics
into teaching was a valuable source for their lesson design ideas. For example,
Kate created a lesson for fifth graders to construct a robot of their choosing
with their group members. The teacher provided assistance as needed. Students
presented their robots and wrote a reflection paper on what they had learned
and enjoyed during the process. This lesson design supported student
collaboration in class and integrated technology with language arts. Kate
stated that she designed her lesson by modifying the robotics activity in the

What I did was kind of took what we were doing as a class and made it just a little bit easier for the students, future students’ classroom, and that way, I just felt like the way we approached in the classroom, like the discussion-based, and everything, that was good standards to keep.

In the course, robotics was used
for student learning with technology: Students assembled and programmed robots
collaboratively, explored their robots’ functions, designed lessons integrating
robotics into teaching, and created posters presenting their robot assembly and
programming. Kate designed her lesson by modifying the course activities, which
explains why her lesson design supported student learning with technology.

What Jane learned from the course
about how robotics could be integrated into teaching also played a role in her
lesson design. One of her lesson objectives was for students to be able to
observe and describe the function of parts of an object. The students and
teacher had a discussion on the importance of parts for an object. Students were then given a
worksheet with pictures of objects and asked how the objects would function
without certain parts.

They collaboratively assembled
robots, which were then programmed by the teacher. The teacher showed how the
program told the robot what to do and how each part functioned. Students wrote
a reflection paper on the importance of parts for an object.

This lesson required students to
work in groups and integrated technology and science. Jane stated that the
robotics activities in the course were important for her: “I guess as a future
teacher trying to teach kids about STEM knowledge and that kind of stuff, yes,
it [the robotics activity in the course] is important.” She also indicated that
one major thing she learned from the robotics activity was “incorporating this
activity with lesson plans to reinforce standards.”

Theme 4: Participants’ acquisition
of STEM knowledge from the robotics activities was instrumental in STEM lesson
designs for student learning with technology.
Participants perceived that STEM
content knowledge acquired from the course contributed to the design of STEM
lessons for student learning with technology. For example, Patricia designed a
lesson in which students assembled and programmed their robots to run in a square-shaped
path. Students tested their robots upon completion of the programming, recorded
videos of their robots running, and posted their videos online. They then
compared their robots to two other groups’ robots and reflected on the activity
and on how their robots performed.

Patricia’s lesson integrated science
(i.e., used recording devices for capturing information) and technology.
Patricia noted that the technology knowledge she had acquired from the course
was instrumental in designing her lesson. She said, “I learned a lot of stuff,
like what goes into the program and how to make the robot move, make the robot
turn.” She then continued to point out that “since we’ve built up over the
semester the knowledge of that, we were able to do this [design lessons].”

In Anne’s lesson, students built
and programmed their robot in groups, came up with real-life applications of
the robot they built, and presented their robots to the class. After that, the
teacher asked students what they enjoyed or did not enjoy about the activities
and how engineering could benefit from robotics work. Students wrote a
narrative using correct sequencing and a detailed description.

This lesson integrated technology, engineering, and
language arts. Anne said that she came to see herself as “a more knowledgeable
person about technology and engineering,” which seems to have helped with the
STEM lesson design.

Reasons for Designing Lesson
Features That Support Learning From Technology

reasons (Themes 5 – 7) for designing lessons with features supporting student
learning from technology are described in Figure 2. The example lesson designs
presented in this section include lessons supporting learning from technology
and mixed lesson designs. We include mixed lesson designs because the
interviews of the participants creating mixed lessons also suggest reasons they
designed lessons with features supporting student learning from technology.

Theme 5: Participants’ conception
that STEM subjects should not be taught in a multidisciplinary way for young
children led to disciplinary separation.
Participants’ conception that STEM subjects should
not be taught in a multidisciplinary way at the elementary level led to lesson
designs focusing on one single subject. Melissa’s lesson was to teach students
about length and how to compare lengths in a mathematics class. The teacher
raced robots already assembled and programmed in the hallway multiple times.
Students completed worksheets about comparing the distance the robots had
traveled. The teacher graded the worksheets to see if students understood the
concept of length. Students worked individually on the lesson.

The robots were used to help
students learn the concept of length through drill and practice, such as
repeatedly comparing the distances that the robots traveled. Melissa pointed
out that science was not a primary discipline for young students, which was the
rationale for not including science in her lesson design. She also noted that
STEM was more important for older elementary level students, not for younger

In her lesson, first graders were
taught the concept of length through the teacher’s lecture. Her decision to
teach a single mathematical concept taught through drill and practice can be
attributed to her belief that basic knowledge should be the focus for younger
grades, as indicated in the following remark: “I think that for the younger ages, it’s more about
the basics, so that you
can get them to that knowledge
in the older
grades.” She went
on to elaborate on how the integrated STEM ideas would confuse young students:

I think you need to build the foundation in younger ages, when they get to the older elementary, you can really go more in-depth with the STEM knowledge, because I think if you just brought complex ideas at them without that base knowledge at the younger grades, they are just confused then. I think you use STEM more as you get older. I think they are like more like middle, high school STEM knowledge and stuff.

Theme 6: Participants’ perceived
lack of STEM knowledge led to lesson designs in which students learn concepts
through drill and practice.

Participants’ perceived that lack of STEM knowledge led to the lesson design
features supporting student learning from technology, especially drill and
practice. Joan’s lesson design demonstrated a mixed approach (i.e., support for
student learning with and from technology). In her lesson, students practiced
assembling and programming two robots collaboratively. They made a poster
showing what they did and why robot assembling and programming did or did not

The features supporting student
learning with technology included collaboration and students expressing what
they did and why it did or did not work through posters. However, students
learned assembling and programming skills by drill and practice — assembling and programming two robots. Also,
the subject specified in the lesson was only technology.

Joan’s perception of her lack of
STEM knowledge probably led to a lack of multidisciplinary inclusion. Joan
stated that she had not learned much about STEM during her school years and specifically
mentioned her lack of knowledge about engineering despite the robotics learning
module in the course emphasizing engineering processes.

Theme 7: Participants’ perceived
lack of robotics integration knowledge led to lesson designs focusing on robot
assembly and programming.

Eva designed a lesson supporting student learning with technology and from
technology. In her lesson, the teacher reviewed instructions on how to build
robots. Students assembled robots in groups and decided how they wanted their
robots to be programmed. The teacher then programmed the robots for the students.
The teacher and students went over how the programming and the robots were
connected by exploring different components of the programming, including
chips, DC motors, delays, and so forth.

Collaboration was a feature
supporting student learning with technology. The teacher used direct
instruction to explain how to build robots, and the lesson was not
multidisciplinary, only focusing on technology. These were the features of student
learning from technology.

Eva’s lack of knowledge of how to
integrate robotics into STEM teaching led to her lesson design that focused only
on robot assembly and programming. For example, she stated, “I am not sure
exactly how I would connect to it (mathematics).” She also said, “I don’t
really think the engineering and technology part relates well [to robotics
activities].” Although technology was the focus of her lesson, she did not believe
that robotics activities are related to the subject of technology.


and Interpretations

robotics have been increasingly used in K-12 classrooms. However, few studies
have examined how preservice teachers develop the skills to teach STEM by
integrating robotics into their classrooms (Jaipal-Jamani & Angeli, 2017).
This study adds to the literature on how preservice teachers use robotics in
their lesson designs and what influenced the ways in which they integrated
robotics into the lesson designs.

findings suggest that,
in general, these future elementary teachers created lessons for student
learning with technology. Only one lesson was for student learning from
technology. The rest of the lesson designs gave students the opportunity to
learn with technology or they applied a mixed approach that supported students’
learning both with and from technology. Preservice teachers’ lesson designs seemed to have
been influenced by their enjoyable
struggles during robot design, collaboration experience, robotics integration
knowledge, STEM content knowledge, and conception of STEM teaching.

One key finding of this study is
that the majority of preservice teachers designed lessons that aimed to support
student learning with technology. The
first feature of these lesson designs is that students needed to test the
robots they programmed, which provided them with an opportunity to solve
problems. If the robot did not perform as they expected, they needed to
diagnose what the problem is, generate and evaluate solutions, and decide on how to solve the
problem. Thus, students are likely to achieve meaningful learning outcomes (Jonassen
& Reeves, 1996).

Second, most lessons required
students to assemble and program robots collaboratively and reflect on the
robotics activities. Through
these activities, students constructed artifacts and solved problems. They were
not simply recipients of information delivered to them (as described in Jonassen et al., 2008). Specifically,
students applied programming knowledge to make their robots perform certain
behaviors. When students encountered problems during robot assembly and
programming, they analyzed the problems and found solutions.

The majority of the lessons also
asked students to reflect on their hands-on activities in group discussions or
writing assignments. Students were given opportunities to think about the
problems arising in their learning process, the causes of the problems, and
what they learned from the experience. This process supports knowledge
construction (Jonassen
& Reeves, 1996) through experiential learning.

Third, among the multidisciplinary
lesson designs, the most commonly integrated subjects were technology and
language arts. One common activity was to ask students to engage in writing,
that is, to write about the problems robots can solve or write about their
robotics experience. By so doing, students can become storytellers and develop
technological fluency (Bers,

One notable finding is that preservice teachers’ enjoyable
struggle with the robotics activities motivated them to design lessons
incorporating problem-solving activities. The robotics learning module in the course allowed for struggle in the
process of solving problems encountered during assembling and
programming robots and designing lessons.

As reported in the interview, the overwhelming
majority of the preservice teachers had no prior educational robotics
experience, especially in programming robots. In this study, they needed to
design (i.e., decide on the robot to assemble and program), assemble, and
program their robot as well as designing a lesson using the robot. Although
there was a manual for robot assembly and basic programming (e.g., programming
the robot to run along a straight line), preservice teachers struggled with
problems such as connecting the wires to the ports and programming the speed
for each motor.

Struggle does not mean
“needless frustration or extreme level of challenges” (Hiebert
& Grouws, 2007, p. 387). It refers to making
an effort to understand something not obvious. Most preservice teachers in this
study exerted a considerable amount of effort to solve their problems and
enjoyed the problem-solving process.

For example, when
asked whether she enjoyed the robotics activities, one preservice teacher said
yes, and then she continued to state, “They were kind of frustrating a little
bit when they didn’t work out but, it was fun learning them, yeah. For sure.” Another
preservice teacher said, “I enjoyed the robotics activity. I did a lot. I liked
it.” Later, she mentioned that programming was difficult and she was unsure of

The struggle preservice
teachers experienced promoted their engagement in learning (as
also asserted by Handa, 2003) and provided a
learning environment in which they could reconstruct their understanding (as
in Hiebert & Grouws, 2007). Their enjoyable
struggle may have motivated them to create a similar learning experience for
their students.

Although student
struggles in learning mathematics have been examined (e.g., Granberg, 2016; Lynch,
Hunt, & Lewis, 2018; Warshauer, 2015), few studies have examined struggles
in integrated STEM classrooms, especially preservice teachers’ struggles in
robotics enhanced learning contexts. An implication this study provides for
teacher education is that instructors can create a robotics learning environment
for preservice teachers to experience struggle, which gives preservice teachers
an opportunity to make sense of new information and construct knowledge by
overcoming difficulties and solving problems (Granberg, 2016).

integration knowledge plays an important part in teaching. In this study, preservice
teachers’ acquisition of how to integrate robotics into teaching was
instrumental in their lesson designs. Some preservice teachers’ lessons
resembled the robotics module in the course. These preservice teachers stated
explicitly that they started from the robotics activities in the course when
designing their lessons, which can be explained by the fact that the way
teachers have been taught influences how they teach (Adamson
et al., 2003; McDermott, 2006).

the other hand, preservice teachers’ perceived lack of robotics integration
knowledge seemed to have led to lesson designs that focused exclusively on robot
assembly and programming. The lessons designed by Joan, Eva, and Bella consisted
of one major activity — students assembling and programming robots. The
robotics activity was not connected to any other content area. During the
interview, these preservice teachers reported that they neither considered
robotics to be related to technology and engineering, nor did they know how to
connect robotics to science and mathematics.

need to see how a new technology can be used to enhance teaching in a particular
content area to see the value of the technology (Hughes,
2005; Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Glazewski, Newby, & Ertmer, 2010) and to learn how to
use the technology effectively for instructional purposes (Dexter,
Doering, & Riedel, 2006; Sutton, 2011). These preservice
teachers had not experienced robotics before, and examples of how robotics
could be used to teach specific content areas were not provided in this study,
which is a possible reason why they designed a lesson focused only on
assembling and programming robots, not on teaching their subject area.

One implication is that teacher education programs need to provide teachers with content-specific training. This goal can be realized by case-based learning, which helps teachers build a connection between their knowledge and a specific context, and helps teachers understand the intricacies of instructional decision making as well (Doyle, 1990; Han, Eom, & Shin, 2013).

Another strategy is to require
instructors in teacher education programs to model the use of technologies in
the subject areas preservice teachers will be teaching in the future. Learning
technology integration strategies is one benefit of modeling (Ertmer,
Conklin et al., 2003). Preservice teachers’
self-efficacy regarding robotics integration could also be improved after
observing how the technology is used by their instructors.

preservice teachers can be given opportunities to learn through design. In a
design-based learning context, preservice teachers can use real-life skills and
knowledge to work on projects. Therefore, the new knowledge preservice teachers
acquire and the skills they develop in such contexts can be transferred to the real
world (de Vries, 2006; Ke, 2014). However, research
shows that preservice teachers feel they have little experience designing
activities incorporating technology (Tondeur et al., 2012). A design-based
learning environment can be created for preservice teachers to help them devise
their robots and lessons.

Participants’ conception that STEM subjects should not be taught in an integrated way at the lower elementary level led to lesson designs focusing on a single subject. Traditionally, STEM subjects are taught as separate disciplines (Parker, Abel, & Denisova, 2015), which is how these preservice teachers were taught in elementary school. They probably learned from their own educational experience that STEM subjects should be taught in isolation to young children. However, real-world problems are multidisciplinary in nature, and knowledge and skills from multiple disciplines are necessary for solving the problems (Johnson, 2013; Roehrig, Moore, Wang, & Park, 2012). An integrated approach is needed to prepare the future workforce (English, King, & Smeed, 2017).

Also, students’ interests in STEM
need to be nurtured when they are young (English
& King, 2015). Therefore, an integrated STEM
approach should be applied to elementary education. The implication on teacher
education is that efforts need to be made to prepare preservice elementary
teachers to teach integrated STEM subjects. These efforts include providing preservice
teachers with courses delivered in an integrated way (Johnson,
2013) and helping preservice teachers learn instructional
principles, pedagogical content knowledge, and STEM literacy for STEM
integration (Rinke,
Gladstone-Brown, Kinlaw, & Cappiello, 2016).

An integrated STEM approach is not a “convenient integration” of the four subjects, however (English et al., 2017; STEM Task Force Report, 2014). Rather, STEM should be integrated through real-world problems that connect these disciplines through active teaching and learning.

A lack of STEM knowledge seems to
constitute one of the reasons for preservice teachers’ designing lessons for
student learning from technology. Preservice teachers’ acknowledgement of their
lack of STEM knowledge is consistent with findings of prior studies reporting
that many preservice teachers do not have adequate STEM knowledge (Cunningham,
Knight, Carlsen, & Kelly, 2007; Davis, Beyer, Forbes, & Stevens, 2011;
Papadouris, Hadjigeorgiou, & Constantinou, 2014), especially elementary teachers (Davis
et al., 2006).

Teachers need to have content
knowledge, first and foremost, to teach well, since teachers’ content knowledge
significantly affects how the content will be taught (Gess-Newsome
& Lederman, 1995). Additionally, an integrated approach
to STEM teaching requires sufficient content knowledge (Berlin
& White, 2012). Teacher education programs need
to make efforts to enhance preservice teachers’ STEM content knowledge. Preservice
teachers would benefit significantly from STEM content courses taught in an
integrated way, since preservice
teachers tend to apply an integrated method to STEM teaching after they have
been taught in such a way (Czerniak & Johnson, 2014).

of the Study and Future Research

The findings should be interpreted
with caution due to several limitations. First, only lesson plans and
interviews were analyzed. Teaching requires more than lesson planning (Shoffner,
2009). Preservice teachers’ technology integration practices
are also influenced by their field experiences (Belland,
2009). Future studies can observe preservice teachers’
student teaching or in-service teachers’ practice in the classroom.

Second, as the preservice teachers in
our study assembled and programmed robots with their group members, they might
also have discussed lesson plans. However, little is known about the lesson
plan conversations in the groups. An examination of the discussions preservice
teachers have with their group members could help us understand why they design
their lesson plans in a particular way.

Another direction for future
research is a follow-up study with these same preservice teachers investigating
how they integrate robotics in their classrooms after they become in-service
teachers. When preservice teachers designed their lessons, they did not take
into account any difficulties they might encounter in elementary schools. The
follow-up study could provide us with information about what influences
in-service teachers’ robotics
integration practices.

addition, a potential analytic view that future research can take is learning through technology. When preservice
teachers were immersed in the robotics activity, they were probably learning
through technology. An examination of their experience can provide more
insights into the design of a learning environment enhanced by robotics.

Author Note

The initial work was done at the University of Georgia, but revisions were done while ChanMin Kim was at Pennsylvania State University. Dongho Kim is now at the University of Florida.


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Analysis of a Lesson for Student Learning With Technology

(The instructor’s name is a pseudonym)

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Just What Online Resources Are Elementary Mathematics Teachers Using?

Just What Online Resources Are Elementary Mathematics Teachers Using?

The subject of mathematics has long been associated with
rigidity, relying heavily on structured materials such as textbooks and school
curricular policies (Browne & Haylock, 2004; Remillard, 2005). Before the
introduction of the Internet, “teachers merely followed their textbooks and the
texts alone represented classroom instruction” (Remillard, 2005, p. 215). Many
curriculums were fixed, with teachers simply acting as “curriculum deliverers”
(Browne & Haylock, 2004, p. 4).

Today, school districts no longer require teachers to be
curriculum deliverers, but often curriculum innovators (Browne & Haylock,
2004). Researchers found that teachers are curating both physical curricula and
Internet resources in their general lesson planning (Hunter & Hall, 2018; Sawyer
& Myers, 2018). Despite this shift, limited research has looked at the
selections elementary mathematics teachers are implementing in their

In the study described in this article, we expanded upon
previous work completed with physical curricula and preservice teachers to look
at in-service teachers’ use of mathematics resources found online. Our research
focused on identifying and documenting elementary mathematics teachers’
criterion for curating resources and their habits in choosing such activities.
After surveying 601 United States elementary mathematics teachers, we used
their responses to answer the following research questions:  

  1. How often are
    elementary teachers across the United States searching for and using
    mathematics activities found online?
  2. What websites do
    elementary teachers use to find mathematics activities?
  3. How do elementary
    teachers rate common criteria for selecting mathematics activities found
  4. To what degree does
    elementary teachers’ years of experience influence each of these questions?

Literature Review

Use of Online Resources by Educators

Teachers’ use of social media and online resources is
becoming increasingly common (Hunter & Hall, 2018). Research conducted by
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2014) found that 91% of teachers use
websites to find and share both lesson plans and classroom ideas. In their
study, they found that (80%), YouTube (72%), Pinterest (69%),
Discovery (64%), and (61%) were the most popular sites among the
respondents who taught pre-K through fifth grade. Research conducted by Sawyer
and Myers (2018) suggests that 41% of preservice teachers enrolled in either elementary
education or inclusive early childhood education undergraduate programs use
not-as-trustworthy Internet resources when writing lesson plans.

A study conducted in 2017 (Hertel
& Wessman-Enzinger) found that of the mathematics resources
available online, 87% of the elementary teachers surveyed reported using
Pinterest for lesson inspiration, second in popularity only to Google. Teachers
make up a significant portion of the Pinterest community; education-related
items are the second-most-highly searched resource on Pinterest, behind
travel-related pins and have the highest number of followers per post (Hunter & Hall, 2018).

Every day, over half a million education pins are posted,
many of which link to paid resources from sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers,
where the average price ranges from $3 to $8 (Joyce,
2015). With regard to how teachers select online resources, researchers
found that many teachers validate their choices based on user ratings (Clements
& Pawlowski, 2012; Sawyer & Myers, 2018).

Selection of Activities From Online Resources

Preservice teachers indicated that when searching for
activities online they most frequently justified their choices by describing
the purpose of the activity. The three most common justifications reported were
curriculum application (47%), student-centered interest (26%), and assessment
of students’ learning (17%; Sawyer & Myers, 2018).

Research also suggests that teachers look to social networks
(namely Facebook groups, Pinterest boards, and personal blogs) as a way to
partake in informal professional development as well as collaborate with and
learn from others in the field. Approximately 45% of the teachers surveyed
reported that they used social networks “often” or “all the time” to seek
information for lesson plans, forms, or templates (Hunter & Hall, 2018).

Rather than evaluating content from websites based on its
developmental appropriateness, Sawyer and Myers (2018) concluded that the preservice
teachers determined the effectiveness of an activity found online by the number
of pins it had on Pinterest. According to research conducted by the Learning
Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh, search results
on Teachers Pay Teachers are generated based on evaluative metadata, which
includes the number of comments and ratings, regardless of whether they are
positive or negative (Abramovich, Schunn, &
Correnti, 2012). This evaluative metadata predicted which activities teachers
chose, showing that the higher the popularity of a resource, the higher the
sales (Abramovich, 2013).

Quality of Online Resources – Trustworthy vs.

Unlike textbooks and other printed educational texts, which
are usually vetted and screened before publication, anyone can publish an
activity on the Internet (Israel, 2015). Hunter and Hall (2018) suggested two
distinct categories of online resources: trustworthy and not-as-trustworthy.

In order to determine the trustworthiness of an online
resource, it is important to consider the writer’s background knowledge as well
as whether the content on such sites has been vetted, compared, or screened.
Trustworthy sites “include content monitoring based on research or expert
consensus,” while those with “no content monitoring capability” are considered
not-as-trustworthy (Hunter & Hall, 2018, p. 4). For example,
government-provided curricular materials, practitioner organizations such as
the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and state
affiliate materials are considered trustworthy,while resources such as
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Teachers Pay Teachers are not.

A recent study found that as of June 6, 2018, 61% of the top 500 free mathematics activities on Pinterest required a low level of cognitive demand from students, being coded as either memorization or procedure without connections using the Smith and Stein (1998) Task Analysis Guide. Further, only 1% of these activities were coded as doing mathematics, which requires the highest level of cognitive demand from students (Wismer, Dick, Shapiro, & Sawyer, 2019).

Theoretical Framework

This investigation uses Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear, and Leu’s (2014) New Literacies Theory (NLT) lens, which is concerned with individuals’ views that are demonstrated in their implementation of digital tools. NLT considers views of learning that can be effectively leveraged to meet learners’ needs by harnessing emerging technology and helps explain teachers’ usage and adaptation of resources in this digitally rich age. NLT also considers modern views teachers must have in order to meet their students’ needs, such as the ability to create new materials, remix old ideas, and discover new ways of using resources (Corio et al., 2014).

emerged from observing how individuals use social media and how they use
out-of-school literacy in their lives (Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009;
Seglem, Witte, & Beemer, 2012). Dredger, Woods, Beach, and Sagstetter (2010)
described NLT as a progression of enacted views people progress through as follows:

  1. From solely considering their individual knowledge to valuing collective intelligence (e.g., valuing ideas shared in other resources).
  2. From being a passive observer of materials to an active participant in selection of materials (e.g., actively considering what to implement in the classroom).
  3. From viewing sole ownership of ideas to contributing ideas to a wider audience (e.g., uploading ideas to Pinterest).
  4. From solely considering a centralized expert in the field to recognizing distributed expertise (e.g., searching the Internet for resources).
  5. From only using materials as they were created to adopting a view of creative rule-breaking (e.g., creatively adapting a document that was found online).
  6. From enacting materials as the creator intended to adapting implementation (e.g., creating an enacted change).
  7. From minimal changes to meaningful, high-quality innovative activities (e.g., innovating to something that is their own, new, and valuable)

A generational gap can be seen in NLT (Corio et al., 2014).
Novice teachers are often considered to be passive observers of the materials
they collect and many remain in the lower levels of the New Literacies
hierarchy by doing things such as sharing widely with unknown customers through
Teachers Pay Teachers. Teacher educators want to reverse this trend by teaching
teachers the skills necessary to curate by analyzing aspects of lesson
materials that are helpful, synthesizing multiple resources, and applying their
knowledge to adapt materials in ways uniquely situated to their students (Sawyer
& Myers, 2018).


This study employed a survey methodology in which
respondents answered a series of questions, most of which included a set of
predefined options. We collected participants’ years of experience, the Internet
resources they use, the duration and frequency of their searches for activities
on Internet resources, and their rankings of the importance of specific
criteria when selecting activities from online resources (see Appendix A for the full survey).

Descriptive statistics were used to analyze demographic
characteristics such as years of experience and the websites teachers
frequented. To determine significant relationships between various
characteristics, correlational analysis was applied to the data using the
Pearson chi-square test for independence and Spearman’s rho correlation
(Pallant, 2013).

Sampling Method

Elementary mathematics teachers were surveyed using Qualtrics (2019), an online surveying platform allowing for anonymous responses from links. The participants in this study were recruited by means of a convenience sample with a snowball sampling component (Weiss, 1994). The survey was sent by email to the chairs and presidents of all 50 NCTM state affiliate organizations, as well as state affiliated presidents for the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), to be disseminated to their members. The link to the survey was also posted on multiple forms of social media, including Twitter (using hashtags such as #elemmathchat, #edchat, #mathchat, #elemchat, #mtbos, #iteach, #iteachmath, and #numbersenseroutines), Facebook (in pages and private groups geared toward elementary teachers and mathematics teacher educators who could forward on to elementary teachers), and Instagram (using hashtags similar to Twitter).

The survey received responses from 48 US states, as well as Washington DC and US Territories. It was open for approximately 7 weeks, and of the 601 respondents, 96% consented to participate in the study and indicated they were teachers of elementary mathematics, resulting in a sample of 583 elementary mathematics teachers. Our sample included teachers of various grade levels, with the majority (96%) teaching kindergarten through fifth grade (Figure 1). The remaining respondents taught either sixth grade (14) or elementary special education (4). The largest group of participants (23%) had 0-5 years of experience, with the mean number of years of experience being in the 11-15 years category (Figure 2).

Figure 1
Figure 1. Current or most recent grade level taught.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Years of teaching experience.

Data Analysis

Qualtrics (2019), the software through which the survey was conducted, provided data and reports for each question. We used quantitative methods to determine the significance of our data using MiniTab software (Meyer & Krueger, 2001). To answer if there was a relationship between the continuous variables, we used the Pearson chi-square statistical method to compare the two unrelated categorical events (Bollen, 1989). Since we had a large sample size, we selected alpha as 0.05, thus setting the criteria that the p-value must be less than 0.05 for us to reject the null hypothesis that there was no relationship between the two variables.

The ranked data were analyzed for correlation using
Spearman’s rho rank order correlation. We wanted to determine if an association
existed between the ranked criteria for their selection of a mathematics task
found online and the teachers’ years of experience. Since we preselected our
alpha as 0.05, when the p-value was less than alpha there was evidence
of a correlation.

The ranking was scored 1 = most important and 9 = least
, and the years of experience were grouped 0-5, 6-10, 11-15,
16-20, 21-25, and 26+ years. For significant tests in which the numbers were
not sufficiently large to complete the test, the years of experience were
collapsed to 0-15 and 16+ years. A significant positive correlation indicated
that individuals with fewer years of experience teaching found the variable
more important than teachers with more years of experience.


The data describe how often elementary teachers search for and use mathematics tasks found online, where they go to search for these resources, and how they choose mathematics tasks found online. In each section, our first three research questions are answered, as well as how they related to the elementary teachers’ years of experience (RQ4) within each section. Throughout the results we refer to the survey participants as teachers.

RQ1: Frequency of Searching for and Using Mathematics Activities Found Online

When asked, “Have you ever searched online for an elementary mathematics activity?”, 516 teachers (99%) responded “yes.” Of the 521 elementary mathematics teachers who responded to this question, only five individuals did not use mathematics activities found online (Table 1). Each of these five individuals fits into one of the following experience categories: 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, and 26+. Unlike the other categories, all of the teachers in the 0-5 years of experience category indicated using online resources.

Table 1
Do Teachers Search Online for Elementary Mathematics Activities?

Years of Experience Yes No Total
0-5 122 0 122
6-10 92 1 93
11-15 101 1 102
16-20 76 1 77
21-25 70 1 71
26+ 55 1 56
Total 516 5 521

When asked, “How often do you search online for elementary mathematics activities?,” the teachers responded with average scores ranging from 2.9 to 3.2, with value 3, indicating teachers typically used online resources weekly (Table 2). However, the 3.2 average score for the teachers with 16+ experience and the 2.9 average score for less than 16 years of experience suggested testing for a relation.

Table 2
How Often Elementary Mathematics Teachers Search Online

  How Often Do You Search Online for Elementary Mathematics Activities?    
Years of Experience Daily (1) Multiple Times a Week (2)  
Weekly (3)
A Few Times a Month (4) Monthly (5) A Few Times a Year (6) Total Average
0-5 11 48 17 32 9 1 118 2.9
6-10 5 31 24 22 4 6 92 3.1
11-15 12 36 20 17 3 8 96 2.9
16-20 8 17 20 15 7 5 72 3.2
21-25 8 17 9 20 7 5 66 3.2
26+ 4 19 12 11 1 5 52 3.0
Total 48 168 102 117 31 30 496

To verify, we determined whether a statistically
significant difference existed between teachers’ years of experience and their
usage of online resources (across all frequencies). Our original hypothesis was
that teachers with more teaching experience would be less inclined to search
for activities online. However, when we conducted a chi-squared test, no
statistically significant difference (p = 0.097) was found among years
of experience and the frequency of searching online for mathematics activities.

When asked, “How often do you use [free online activities or paid online activities] in your elementary mathematics instruction?,” 314 teachers (63%) indicated that they used free online mathematics activities at least half of the time (Table 3), while 198 teachers (40%) indicated that they used paid online mathematics activities at least half of the time. Only nine teachers (2%) indicated that they never use free online mathematics activities, while 94 teachers (19%) shared that they never use paid online mathematics activities in their instruction.

Table 3
Responses to the Question, How Often Do You Use [Free Online Activities or Paid Online Activities] in Your Elementary Mathematics Instruction?

Resource Always  Most of the Time About Half the Time Sometimes Never
Online activities












Online activities












We conducted a Pearson chi-square test for independence to
determine a significant relationship existed between teachers using online
resources and their years of experience. With p = 0.941, we found no
significant relationship among the general use of online resources and teachers’
years of experience, since the p value
was greater than our alpha of 0.05. This implies that experienced teachers use
mathematics resources found online as frequently as novice teachers.

RQ2: Websites Where Elementary Teachers Find Mathematics Activities

Elementary teachers reported using a variety of websites
(Figure 3) when asked, “Where have you searched for online elementary
mathematics activities?” Eighty-nine percent of teachers (441) reported
searching on Teachers Pay Teachers, revealing that this resource was the most
commonly used website to find mathematics activities, followed by Pinterest
(74%) and then Google (68%). The five most common “other” responses included
state resources, Illustrative Mathematics, Youcubed, Khan Academy, and Of these other responses, we consider state resources,
Illustrative Mathematics, and Youcubed as trustworthy because they have an
established peer review system.

Figure 3. Where respondents search online for elementary mathematics activities.

We conducted a Pearson chi-square test to determine whether
teachers with 0-15 years of experience search for mathematics activities on
different online sites than teachers with 16+ years of experience (Table 4).
Six sites were identified as the most used sites:,
general Google search, NCTM & State Affiliates, Pinterest, Teachers Pay
Teachers and YouTube. All other websites identified by participants were
grouped into the category named “Others.” The chi-square test produced a p-value of .004, which is less
than our alpha, thus we found significant differences.

Table 4
Websites Are Teachers Using

  Years of Experience  
Resource 0-15 16+ Total 84 41 125
General Google search 208 130 338
NCTM/state affiliates 85 82 167
Pinterest 246 121 367
Teachers Pay Teachers 285 154 439
YouTube 115 69 184
Other 60 52 112
Total 1,083 649 1,732

The largest difference between selected websites and years
of experience in the data occurred for NCTM & State Affiliates websites. Only
28% of teachers who had 0-15 years of experience selected using NCTM &
State Affiliated websites compared to 43% of teachers who had 16+ years of
experience. The data indicated that teachers who had taught for 0-15 years used
NCTM & State Affiliates significantly less than those with 16 or more years
of teaching experience.

RQ3: Elementary
Teachers Ratings of Common Criteria for Selecting Mathematics Activities

When asked, “Please rank the importance of the following
criteria you use when selecting elementary mathematics activities online,” 357
teachers (91%) ranked “Alignment to Standards” as the most important criteria
with an average rating of 1.6 (Table 5). The second and third most important
criteria were “Perceived Student Engagement,” with an average rating of 3, and
“Level of Difficulty,” with an average rating of 3.8.

Table 5
What Is Most Important When Selecting Online Resources

Criteria Rank Total Average Rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Alignment to standards 357 59 36 19 9 5 9 2 0 496 1.6
Perceived student engagement 48 159 143 75 45 19 5 1 1 496 3.0
Level of difficulty 10 132 100 96 84 44 22 8 0 496 3.8
Fun activity 27 58 87 88 105 69 40 21 1 496 4.3
Perceived student success 8 32 74 129 117 81 47 8 0 496 4.5
Price 40 40 31 32 40 107 96 104 6 496 5.5
Visual Appeal 3 8 14 37 62 98 114 152 8 496 6.4
User Rating 0 4 7 18 31 72 161 192 11 496 7.0
Note. Item read as follows: “Rank the following criteria as 1 being the most important and 9 being least important when selecting online resources.”

These three criteria were similarly important to elementary
teachers across all experience levels. The lowest rated criteria were “Price,”
with an average rating of 5.5, “Visual Appeal,” with an average rating of 6.4,
and “User Rating,” with an average rating of 7. The lowest rated criteria
differed across years of experience.

Since experienced teachers rated criteria differently than teachers
with less experience, we conducted the Spearman’s rho test to determine a
correlation and statistical difference between teachers’ years of experience
and their ranking of specific criteria (Table 6). No association was found between
teachers’ selection of alignment of standards, student engagement, or level of
difficulty and their years of experience, as all the teachers identified each criterion
as being somewhat to very important.

Table 6
Correlation Between Rank and Years of Experience

Criteria ρ p
Alignment to standards -0.035 0.353
Fun activity -0.029 0.402
Level of difficulty -0.033 0.347
Perceived student engagement -0.030 0.408
Perceived student success -0.044 0.210
Price 0.207 0.000*
User Rating -0.034 0.351
Visual Appeal -0.85 0.017
* p

On the other hand, a significant positive correlation with
ρ = 0.207 (p < 0.0005) was found between the years of experience and
the importance of the price of the activity. Teachers with fewer years of
experience ranked the price of the activity as more important, whereas more
experienced teachers ranked the price as less important, suggesting that high
costs are more of a deterrent for novice teachers.

We also found visual appeal to be statistically
significant, with a negative correlation between number of years teaching and
the importance of visual appeal when selecting an activity (ρ = -0.85, p
= .017). In other words, the more experience teachers have, the more they indicated
caring about visual appeal when selecting an activity.

The only criterion that all elementary teachers rated as
not important was “User Rating.” No statistically significant difference (p =
0.351) was found between years of experience and the importance of an
activity’s rating. Thus, the data indicated that uniformly, the elementary
teachers did not find “User Rating” as an important criterion when selecting
elementary mathematics tasks online.


Following is a summary of the findings for each of our four
research questions based on analysis of our data.

  1. The data indicated that
    elementary teachers across the United States with access to the Internet typically
    searched for and used mathematics activities found online weekly.
  2. Elementary teachers
    most often searched for elementary mathematics activities on Teachers Pay
    Teachers (89%), Pinterest (74%), and general Google searches (68%), all of
    which are considered not-so-trustworthy websites.
  3. Elementary teachers
    selected certain mathematics activities from online resources because they
    believed the activity aligned with standards, engaged students, and were
    appropriately difficult.
  4. Years of experience did
    not necessarily influence teachers’ frequency of use of mathematics activities
    found online, but it did affect the websites they used, such as NCTM &
    State Affiliates, and what they found to be most important when looking at
    mathematics activities, such as visual appeal for more experienced teachers and
    price for less experienced teachers.

Of these findings, we highlight the following: elementary
mathematics teachers with Internet resources are using activities found online
in their mathematics classrooms; Teachers Pay Teachers was the most commonly
used website; and price may deter novice teachers from using certain materials.

Everyone Is Doing It

We found that the teacher respondents searched online for
mathematics activities weekly regardless of their years of experience. Since
elementary teachers said they looked across different websites and resources, NLT
would view this activity as teachers valuing distributed expertise (Corio et
al., 2014).

Dredger et al. (2010) noted that, typically, a generational
gap is seen between individuals who hold these values in NLT. For example,
creative rule-breaking may be viewed as plagiarism by veteran teachers.
However, our data suggest that elementary mathematics teachers value
distributed expertise since they are all searching online for mathematics

The data also revealed that almost 90% of the teacher
participants used Teachers Pay Teachers. Teachers are apparently using
not-as-trustworthy websites and must now become critical consumers of
resources. Previously, a peer review process was used to determine the quality
of materials. Without this process, teachers must consider the quality of
resources and carefully look for misconceptions, invalid mathematical concepts,
or low levels of cognitive demand.

In a separate study, Sawyer, Dick, Shapiro, and Wismer (2019) found only 1% of the top 500 elementary mathematics activities on Pinterest to be at the highest level of cognitive demand, doing mathematics (Smith & Stein, 1998). Since quality is not guaranteed on such sites, in-service and preservice teachers need to learn to determine the quality of mathematics activities for themselves and, therefore, either choose to continue searching for another resource or, consistent with NLT, adapt the resource to better fit classroom needs.

Fast Changing Times

As a result of the constantly evolving and expanding
availability of Internet resources, our research found that the use of online
resources is changing so frequently that by the time a paper is published, the
data are already out of date. This was particularly clear looking at Hertel & Wessman-Enzinger (2017). Despite
reviewing teachers’ utilization of mathematics activities found online,
Teachers Pay Teachers was not a focus of the study. Our survey, however, found
that Teachers Pay Teachers was the most commonly used online resource, showing
that online trends have already changed.

Our study’s survey was distributed in June 2018; thus, the
data collected describe teachers’ responses at that time. Mathematics education
researchers need to pay attention to what is currently occurring in the
classroom in order to stay abreast of the ever-changing trends. Therefore,
older or outdated research might not be the best indicator of what is seen in
the classroom, and teacher educators need to know this to be aware of this limitation
in the peer review cycle.

Price Matters, Particularly to Novice Teachers

The data indicated a correlation between the years of
experience and the importance of the price of the activity, revealing that the
least experienced teachers cared most about the price of a mathematics task
found online. Trustworthy websites like require membership fees, while
not-as-trustworthy websites like Teachers Pay Teachers are often free. This fact
could explain the relationship we found between teachers’ experience and an
activity’s cost.

Research reveals that “nationally,
teachers earn 19% less than similarly skilled and educated professionals”
(National Education Association, 2018). This circumstance, combined with the
fact that new teachers make less than their more-experienced
counterparts, may be a contributing factor as to why price matters more to
novice teachers.

Rating Might Not Matter

Previous studies indicated that preservice teachers valued
the number of pins associated with a document on Pinterest when selecting
resources for lesson planning (Sawyer & Myers, 2018). However, the data
suggest that the rating of the material was least important to elementary
mathematics teachers. Since Sawyer and Myers’ (2018) study was conducted with
preservice teachers, it could indicate that practicing elementary teachers rank
rating as less important, or that the other criteria suggested in the survey
were more valuable. It may also indicate that the teachers in our study did not
want to disclose how important they truly believed user rating to be.


The data suggested that elementary teachers are using
not-as-trustworthy websites weekly, meaning that teachers are regularly making
important decisions about the quality of resources. Publishers are no longer
the sole gatekeepers of knowledge (Dredger et
al., 2010), which places the peer reviewer process on the shoulders of the
teachers who are selecting the tasks. Thus, to better equip teachers, mathematics
teacher educators should teach critical analysis of online mathematics
resources to in-service and preservice teachers to help with this process. Further,
professional development and preservice coursework should focus on helping
teachers create their own activities, as teachers need training in order to
become their own quality control.

Another implication of this research is that national
organizations such as NCTM could create a website that provides a peer review
process identifying high quality mathematics resources free to the public. Websites
such as Teachers Pay Teachers could also offer a peer review rating system for
materials prior to posting to the site. The independent third-party participant
could evaluate whether activities were mathematically valid and provided a high
level of rigor. This approach would help prevent a resource’s popularity from
determining its quality.

Our data indicated that price matters more to less
experienced teachers, and memberships to professional organizations (which
provide the trustworthy resources) are on the decline (Yohn, 2016). Yohn explained,
“The proliferation of online
content has led to vast and often free access to the types of information,
insights, and training that professionals used to be able to access only
through association membership and industry conferences” (paragraph 6).

If new teachers are to use more resources from trustworthy
websites, perhaps they need better access. Thus, organizations should
rethink how they will gain these teachers’ memberships, because their resources
are of high quality. Respected organizations could provide a free 1-year
membership for first year teachers, helping to support the needs of new
teachers while promoting the organization to a new generation of educators.

Limitations and Future Work   

We acknowledge that, while the teachers in our study had
access to the Internet (thus allowing them to take our survey), some elementary
mathematics teachers do not.  Larger than
most other surveys, we examined responses from 48 of the 50 states. However,
our results would have been more accurate if our sample had included individuals
without computer access. Additionally, we found nearly all of our teachers
through online platforms, which may have skewed our results to reflect only people
who view those platforms. Some respondents also were sent our survey from NCTM
or AMTE email blasts, indicating that they were members of either organization,
making these individuals more likely to use resources from those websites. To
reiterate, our results may not be reflective of teachers in rural areas and communities,
where Internet access is more limited.  

Future work with this project could involve the same type of analysis with other subjects, as well as the study of different online resources that rise in popularity within the next few years, many of which most likely do not yet exist. With the ever-growing and expanding resources available online, keeping research current and representative of what teachers are using in their classrooms it is important.


With the majority of teachers using online resources to find activities for their classrooms, highlighting trends in their activity selection is important. Compared to the Hunter and Hall (2018) study published 1 year ago, our data illustrates the rapidly changing online options available to teachers. Since we know that elementary mathematics teachers with Internet access are using online resources to find activities for their classrooms, teacher educators must support them in the selection and implementation of these elementary mathematics activities to better meet the needs of all of their students.


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