International Journal of Innovation in Education (10 papers in press)
Negotiating the complexity of curriculum integration: Metalanguages as levers that shape the innovation process
by Letchmi Devi Ponnusamy, Liang See Tan, Rahamat Suriyani, Mohammad Ibrahim Nur Amira
Abstract: This paper describes an instrumental case study that examined school leaders and teachers interactions in the midst of developing integrated curriculum. Using the dual framework of curriculum as a socio-cultural entity and of curriculum being constructed via praxis, we investigated the process of the development of integrated curricula at a local school. The study found that the curriculum integration process was anchored by a school-wide curriculum vision, that catalyzed negotiations and collaborations amongst teachers to focus on learners thinking and creative production. Teachers slowly began to question how they personally connected with other disciplines which prompted them to reconsider routine instructional practices. Analysis of exchanges and interviews pointed to metalanguages, an assemblage of abstract ideas and symbols, as creative levers that support and sustain curriculum integration. Such metalanguages generated nuanced perspectives amongst teachers, which prompted them to explore and experiment with integrating curricula. We argue that understanding the ways that metalanguages tie together subject matter, teachers perspective of teaching the subject and learners needs, fosters greater meaning and commitment from all stakeholders involved in the process of curriculum integration. We discuss how metalanguages shed light on how to examine and address issues like the lack of coherence and depth in disciplinary integration reported in other studies (Arrowsmith, 2013; Lam, Alviar-Martin, Adler, & Sim, 2013; Leung, 2006).
Keywords: Curriculum integration; curriculum innovation; teacher conversations; metalanguage; curriculum vision.
Virtual Reality in Education: A Tool for Learning in the Experience Age
by Elliot Hu-Au, Joey J. Lee
Abstract: Educators face major challenges as a result of the shift from the Information Age to the Experience Age (Wadhera, 2016). For example, students are passive and disengaged (Kapps & Crawford, 2013) and may struggle to see the relevance of what they are learning to their lives (Gee, 2009); also, important skills needed for 21st century learners -- such as empathy, systems thinking, creativity, computational literacy, and abstract reasoning -- are difficult to teach (Smith & Hu, 2013). Virtual reality, an immersive, hands-on tool for learning, can play a unique role in addressing these educational challenges. In this paper, we present examples of how the affordances of virtual reality lead to new opportunities that support learners. We conclude with a discussion of recommendations and next steps.
Keywords: virtual reality; virtual environments; experience age; education; technology; 21st century skills.
Policy-shaping graduate follow-up studies: The case of a program for excellent students in colleges of education
by Rama Klavir, Judith Goldenberg
Abstract: Too often insufficient use is made of findings from research and evaluation studies in educational programs. This article presents the REGEV Program for Excellent Student Teachers as an example of a program that views research as an inseparable part of its development, and employs it to aid the formulation and implementation of policy changes. Two examples are presented in which policy changes were made in the program as a result of findings from eight nationwide graduate follow-up studies. A theoretical model is presented to illustrate the five factors inherent in forming and maintaining a productive relationship between research and policy-making. In this model, policy initiates research, which yields findings and conclusions, and in turn leads to policy changes and additional research, leading to the educational programs development and improvement.
Keywords: Key words: policy and research; excellence in education; Regev; program for excellent students; graduate studies.
Managerial Staff Perceptions on the E-Learning Recommender System: A Case of Saudi Arabia
by Hadeel Alharbi, Kamaljeet Sandhu
Abstract: This paper explores the managerial staff perceptions on the factors affecting the acceptance and continuance usage of e-learning recommender system in Saudi Arabia on the basis of a qualitative data that were collected using the case study methodology. In this research, the case study design was selected for the qualitative methodology and semi-structured interviews were employed as the data collection method for the case study. The case study is based in a Deanship of a university implementing an e-learning recommender system in Saudi Arabia. We conducted interviews with five management staff and thus qualitative data were collected. Data analysis was performed and NVIVO 10th version software was also utilised. Data were coded and themes were then generated. Findings indicate several factors that affect an e-learning recommender system adoption that include user experience, service quality, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. Various suggestions were offered in this study and we also propose practical implications according to the identified insufficiencies.
Keywords: E-learning; Recommender system; Saudi Arabia; Adoption.
An understanding of factors influencing retention of African-American undergraduate students in computer science
by Giti Javidi, Ehsan Sheybani
Abstract: This paper describes factors that best predict intention among African-American undergraduate students to persist in the computer science (CS) major at two historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). The question posed in this study is: How might universities promote the attainment of African-American students in CS? To answer that question, we believe the right question to ask is "Why do those students who succeed in attaining a degree in CS, select and stay in the program?" rather than "Why do they drop out of CS program?" We explore this question by examining characteristics of African-American students who persist in the CS field. Although limited to two HBCUs, this study sheds light on strategies for improving retention computer science based on the characteristics/experiences of those who have persisted in the program.
Keywords: STEM; science, technology, engineering and mathematics; persistence; African American; retention; minority; computer science; enrolment.
Special Issue on: Re-configuring Learner Experiences Opportunities and Systemic Challenges
What Lessons Can Innovation Education Learn from Childhood and Adolescent Education of the Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry?
by Larisa Shavinina
Abstract: Nobel Prize is the highest achievement and lessons from Nobel laureates are of great value for fostering the next generation of scientific innovators. This article presents the findings from the project about early childhood and adolescent education of the Nobel Prize winners in chemistry. It considers the important role of “nuclear” and extended families in nurturing innovators-geniuses, the availability of at least one outstanding teacher, who had great impact on developing talents, and of good schools, as well as an evidence of academic acceleration. Early interest in science and the three other interests—reading, sport, and music—of Nobel laureates-to-be were identified, as well as their high curiosity, love to learn, and easiness in learning. These findings will be compared with the main conclusions from a similar study of Nobel laureates in physics published earlier. The implications for innovation education are of exceptional importance for cultivating tomorrow’s geniuses of Nobel caliber. rnrn
Keywords: Innovation education; innovator; scientific innovation; Nobel laureates in science; early childhood and adolescent education; Nobel Prize.
An imagined haven for refugee Muslim families: slowly re-making the school
by Hannah Soong, Barbara Comber
Abstract: This paper explores how one Catholic school in Australia set out to re-culture its practices with the goal of increasing the social and academic capabilities of their refugee students. It draws on Appadurais (1996) meditation on social imagination to show that educational innovation requires new ways of thinking and doing, both in and beyond the school. Rather, the work of imagination is what enables the re-making of the ethos and practices of a school. Drawing on qualitative data produced through a rapid ethnography approach, our analysis shows how the gradual negotiation of whole-school sustained innovation can begin to produce a space of haven for Muslim refugee families. The study found that it takes time and perseverance to contest the deficit discourses that surround refugee students and their families. The school community has to work across many sites of practice to become a hopeful and enabling space.
Keywords: whole-school innovation; Muslim refugee families; imagined future; re-culturing of learning and teaching; cultural and religious diversity; school ethos.
A tale of two schools journey in educational change: Comparing approaches to designing and implementing pedagogical innovations
by Peter Seow, Gean Chia, Shu Shing Lee, David Hung, Eva Moo
Abstract: This study compares the pathways of two schools in implementing pedagogical innovations for improving student learning outcomes through technology-mediated inquiry-based pedagogies. The two schools implemented innovations with similar goals but with different implementation approaches and resulting outcomes. The intent of the comparison is to shed light on what shapes the schools implementation of pedagogical innovations and their resulting outcomes from the different enactments. There were differences and similarities in the two schools in areas of: 1) schools approach to curriculum and instructional design; 2) roles of school leaders and teachers; and 3) outcomes of the innovations. Changes include students greater ownership of learning through their voices while teachers reflected their practices as they listen to the voices of students. From this study, a finding is that context and school practices shape the schools enactment of the innovation and attention needs to be paid to the roles of the participants in which the innovations will be initiated. Also, schools pragmatic considerations in implementation of the pedagogical innovations shape the breadth and depth of change.
Keywords: Educational Change; Pedagogical Innovations; Inquiry-based Learning; Innovation implementation.
Shifting Power at School: Youth Participation in Teacher Professional Learning Settings as Educational Innovation
Abstract: This study explores the non-normative inclusion of students in teacher professional learning settings. It demonstrates the potential for change in top-down power relationships between teachers and students when students are included as legitimate participants in educational innovation and improvement efforts. In this community-based design research (Bang et al, 2015) in one urban Hill tribeindigenous school in Thailand, we found that the legitimate participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991) of students in dynamic, integral roles in teachers professional learning was key in shifting power through 1) student ownership of ideas and 2) dialogue to shift teachers deficit frames of students expertise.
Keywords: power; student voice; agency; legitimate participation; Tutoría; professional learning reform; heterogeneity in learning; indigenous education; “hill tribe” education; Thailand.
Evidence-informed innovation in schools: aligning collaborative Research and Development with high quality professional learning for teachers
by Toby Greany, Bronwen Maxwell
Abstract: Innovation efforts in schools commonly wrestle with two challenges: how to secure ownership of change among teachers and how to ensure that improvements are based on rigorous evidence. This article draws on findings from a two-year collaborative Research and Development (R&D) project in England which involved 66 school clusters (Teaching School Alliances) in implementing and evaluating school innovations. A linked research project by the authors evaluated how a sample of these school clusters structured and supported their R&D projects and the impact of this work. We find that, subject to certain conditions being met, collaborative R&D can enhance the ownership of change among participating teachers and can ensure that innovations are based on evidence. However, none of the schools involved in our study engaged all their staff in their collaborative R&D project and most had limited success in mobilising the learning from their R&D work so that the teachers who had not been involved could benefit. Therefore we draw on a separate umbrella review of evidence on effective Continuous Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) for teachers to argue for a model that integrates R&D and CPDL within and across schools. In this way, we argue that the learning from focussed R&D projects can be scaled up through well-designed CPDL, whilst retaining teacher ownership and evidence-informed improvement. In support of this argument we draw on research and theory from the emerging field of Knowledge Mobilisation, which has tended to focus on the organisational and systemic conditions required for evidence to inform practice, and combine this with Winch, Oancea and Orchards (2015) model of teachers professional knowledge, which provides a framework for understanding change at the individual level. We evidence the ways in which collaborative R&D can develop teachers professional knowledge and the organisational conditions required for this to happen. Where this happens we posit that it will enhance the potential for teaching to be accepted as an evidence-informed professional endeavour.
Keywords: Schools; teachers; disciplined innovation; change; evidence-informed practice; Research and Development; Continuous Professional Development and Learning.