STEM education researchers receive award for innovations in teaching science teachers

Curriculum and Instruction professor Gillian Roehrig and Ph.D. students Joshua Ellis, Justin McFadden, and Tasneem Anwar, all researchers in the STEM Education Center, were recently selected by the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) Awards Committee for the Award IV: Innovations in Teaching Science Teachers for their conference paper, “If You Can’t Say Something Nice: A Design-Based Research Approach Investigating the Social Interactions of New Science and Math Teachers Using a Video Annotation Tool.”

The four researchers have been involved in designing, developing, and improving the Teacher Induction Network (TIN) together since September 2012. (Roehrig has been involved with TIN for much longer.) They have presented their work at a number of conferences (ASTE 2013/14, NARST 2013/14, SITE 2013, E-Learn 2013) and are celebrating their first publication related to TIN, “Beginning Science Teachers’ Use of a Digital Video Annotation Tool to Promote Reflective Practices” (published in the Journal of Science Education and Technology last month).

TIN aims to create a bridge between a science teacher’s education and training and his or her first two years in the classroom. This extra support helps new teachers implement research-based teaching techniques they learned in their teacher education programs and set a path for professional growth.

This particular study made use of VideoANT, an internet browser-embedded, video annotation software that allows a user to add time-marked text annotations to a video of choice. The study explores how in-service teachers might use video to identify successes, progress and missed opportunities for action in the classroom. The results demonstrate that, when left to their own devices, teachers will primarily respond to each other’s teaching practices with praise and agreement. This praise and focus on success might be counterproductive to developing an introspective and reflexive teaching practice. Consequently, this study recommends possible changes to direct participating teachers using software like VideoANT toward more critical analysis.

“We are humbled and thrilled to receive this award,” said Ellis. “We’re very excited that ASTE has placed a focus on innovations in teaching science teachers, and we view TIN as an important vehicle for supporting science teachers in an online environment. We hope this will inspire others to develop their own online teacher induction programs and improve those that are already out there.”

For more information on the STEM Education Center or the Teacher Induction Network research, please visit the STEM Education Center website. For more information on academic programs in STEM Education or Science Education, please visit the STEM Education Program Area page on the C&I website.