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Concept: Classroom

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The “flipped classroom” is a learning model in which content attainment is shifted forward to outside of class, then followed by instructor-facilitated concept application activities in class. Current studies on the flipped model are limited. Our goal was to provide quantitative and controlled data about the effectiveness of this model. Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared an active nonflipped classroom with an active flipped classroom, both using the 5-E learning cycle, in an effort to vary only the role of the instructor and control for as many of the other potentially influential variables as possible. Results showed that both low-level and deep conceptual learning were equivalent between the conditions. Attitudinal data revealed equal student satisfaction with the course. Interestingly, both treatments ranked their contact time with the instructor as more influential to their learning than what they did at home. We conclude that the flipped classroom does not result in higher learning gains or better attitudes compared with the nonflipped classroom when both utilize an active-learning, constructivist approach and propose that learning gains in either condition are most likely a result of the active-learning style of instruction rather than the order in which the instructor participated in the learning process.

Concepts: Better, Psychology, Learning, Knowledge, Concept, Classroom, Higher Learning, The Instructor

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At the college level, the effectiveness of active-learning interventions is typically measured at the broadest scales: the achievement or retention of all students in a course. Coarse-grained measures like these cannot inform instructors about an intervention’s relative effectiveness for the different student populations in their classrooms or about the proximate factors responsible for the observed changes in student achievement. In this study, we disaggregate student data by racial/ethnic groups and first-generation status to identify whether a particular intervention-increased course structure-works better for particular populations of students. We also explore possible factors that may mediate the observed changes in student achievement. We found that a “moderate-structure” intervention increased course performance for all student populations, but worked disproportionately well for black students-halving the black-white achievement gap-and first-generation students-closing the achievement gap with continuing-generation students. We also found that students consistently reported completing the assigned readings more frequently, spending more time studying for class, and feeling an increased sense of community in the moderate-structure course. These changes imply that increased course structure improves student achievement at least partially through increasing student use of distributed learning and creating a more interdependent classroom community.

Concepts: Better, Education, Intervention, Student, Classroom, Relative effectiveness factor, Scales, Hood

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This study examined the effects of an acute bout of brief, high-intensity interval exercise on off-task classroom behaviour in primary school students. A grade 4 class (n = 24) and a grade 2 class (n = 20) were exposed to either a no-activity break or an active break that consisted of “FUNtervals”, a high-intensity interval protocol, on alternating days for 3 weeks. No-activity days consisted of a 10-min inactive break while FUNterval days consisted of a 4-min FUNterval completed within a 10-min break from regular class activities. Off-task behaviour was observed for 50 min after each no-activity/FUNterval break, with the amount of time students spent off-task (motor, passive, and verbal behaviour) being recorded. When comparing no-activity breaks with FUNtervals the grade 4 class demonstrated reductions in both passive (no activity = 29% ± 13% vs. FUNterval = 25% ± 13%, p < 0.05, effect size (ES) = 0.31) and motor (no activity = 31% ± 16% vs. FUNterval = 24% ± 13%, p < 0.01, ES = 0.48) off-task behaviour following FUNtervals. Similarly, in the grade 2 class, passive (no activity = 23% ± 14% vs. FUNterval = 14% ± 10%, p < 0.01, ES = 0.74), verbal (no activity = 8% ± 8% vs. FUNterval = 5% ± 5%, p < 0.05, ES = 0.45), and motor (no activity = 29% ± 17% vs. FUNterval = 14% ± 10%, p < 0.01, ES = 1.076) off-task behaviours were reduced following FUNtervals. In both classrooms the effects of physical activity were greatest in those students demonstrating the highest rates of off-task behaviour on no-activity days. These data demonstrate that very brief high-intensity bouts of exercise can improve off-task behaviour in grade 2 and 4 students, particularly in students with high rates of such behaviour.

Concepts: Grade, Physical exercise, Demonstration, High school, Primary school, Primary education, Gymnasium, Classroom

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The aim of this study was to pilot test a classroom-based intervention focused on facilitating play and joint attention for young children with autism in self-contained special education classrooms. Thirty-three children with autism between the ages of 3 and 6 years participated in the study with their classroom teachers (n = 14). The 14 preschool special education teachers were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) symbolic play then joint attention intervention, (2) joint attention then symbolic intervention, and (3) wait-list control period then further randomized to either group 1 or group 2. In the intervention, teachers participated in eight weekly individualized 1-h sessions with a researcher that emphasized embedding strategies targeting symbolic play and joint attention into their everyday classroom routines and activities. The main child outcome variables of interest were collected through direct classroom observations. Findings indicate that teachers can implement an intervention to significantly improve joint engagement of young children with autism in their classrooms. Furthermore, multilevel analyses showed significant increases in joint attention and symbolic play skills. Thus, these pilot data emphasize the need for further research and implementation of classroom-based interventions targeting play and joint attention skills for young children with autism.

Concepts: Learning, Randomness, Intervention, Classroom, Rooms, Interactive whiteboard

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As we transition our undergraduate biology classrooms from traditional lectures to active learning, the dynamics among students become more important. These dynamics can be influenced by student social identities. One social identity that has been unexamined in the context of undergraduate biology is the spectrum of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) identities. In this exploratory interview study, we probed the experiences and perceptions of seven students who identify as part of the LGBTQIA community. We found that students do not always experience the undergraduate biology classroom to be a welcoming or accepting place for their identities. In contrast to traditional lectures, active-learning classes increase the relevance of their LGBTQIA identities due to the increased interactions among students during group work. Finally, working with other students in active-learning classrooms can present challenges and opportunities for students considering their LGBTQIA identity. These findings indicate that these students' LGBTQIA identities are affecting their experience in the classroom and that there may be specific instructional practices that can mitigate some of the possible obstacles. We hope that this work can stimulate discussions about how to broadly make our active-learning biology classes more inclusive of this specific population of students.

Concepts: LGBT, Sexual orientation, Transgender, Class, Identity, Classroom, Gay, Queer theory

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Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Evidence suggests the microclimate of the classroom is an important factor influencing female course grades and interest, which encourages retention of women in STEM fields. Here, we test whether the gender composition of small (8-9 person) learning groups impacts course performance, sense of social belonging, and intragroup peer evaluations of intellectual contributions. Across two undergraduate active learning courses in introductory biology, we manipulated the classroom microclimate by varying the gender ratios of learning groups, ranging from 0% female to 100% female. We found that as the percent of women in groups increased, so did overall course performance for all students, regardless of gender. Additionally, women assigned higher peer- evaluations in groups with more women than groups with less women. Our work demonstrates an added benefit of the retention of women in STEM: increased performance for all, and positive peer perceptions for women.

Concepts: Female, Education, Gender, Educational psychology, Sense, Woman, Classroom

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Laptop computers are widely prevalent in university classrooms. Although laptops are a valuable tool, they offer access to a distracting temptation: the Internet. In the study reported here, we assessed the relationship between classroom performance and actual Internet usage for academic and nonacademic purposes. Students who were enrolled in an introductory psychology course logged into a proxy server that monitored their online activity during class. Past research relied on self-report, but the current methodology objectively measured time, frequency, and browsing history of participants' Internet usage. In addition, we assessed whether intelligence, motivation, and interest in course material could account for the relationship between Internet use and performance. Our results showed that nonacademic Internet use was common among students who brought laptops to class and was inversely related to class performance. This relationship was upheld after we accounted for motivation, interest, and intelligence. Class-related Internet use was not associated with a benefit to classroom performance.

Concepts: Laptop, Mobile phone, Internet, Personal computer, IP address, Classroom, Server, Wi-Fi

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Private and public policies are increasingly aimed at supporting efforts to broaden participation of a diverse body of students in higher education. Unfortunately, this increase in student diversity does not always occur alongside changes in institutional culture. Unexamined biases in institutional culture can prevent diverse students from thriving and persisting in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Given the daily personal interactions that faculty have with students, we suggest that individual educators have the opportunity, and responsibility, to improve the retention and persistence of diverse students. However, in our experience, faculty professional development programs often limit discussions of diversity to “comfortable” topics (such as learning styles) and miss opportunities to explore deeper issues related to faculty privilege, implicit bias, and cues for stereotype threat that we all bring to the classroom. In this essay, we present a set of social science concepts that we can extend to our STEM courses to inform our efforts at inclusive excellence. We have recommended strategies for meaningful reflection and professional development with respect to diversity and inclusion, and aim to empower faculty to be change agents in their classrooms as a means to broadening participation in STEM fields.

Concepts: Mathematics, Education, Sociology, University, Social sciences, Higher education, Student, Classroom

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Children engage in a high volume of sitting in school, particularly in the classroom. A number of strategies, such as physically active lessons (termed movement integration (MI)), have been developed to integrate physical activity into this learning environment; however, no single approach is likely to meet the needs of all pupils and teachers. This protocol outlines an implementation study of a primary school-based MI intervention: CLASS PAL (Physically Active Learning) programme. This study aims to (A) determine the degree of implementation of CLASS PAL, (B) identify processes by which teachers and schools implement CLASS PAL and © investigate individual (pupil and teacher) level and school-level characteristics associated with implementation of CLASS PAL.

Concepts: Education, United Kingdom, Integral, Primary school, Primary education, School, Teacher, Classroom

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Adolescents' ethnic-racial identity (ERI) formation represents an important developmental process that is associated with adjustment. The Identity Project intervention, grounded in developmental theory, was designed to engage adolescents in the ERI processes of exploration and resolution. The current small-scale efficacy trial involved an ethnic-racially diverse sample of adolescents (N = 215; Mage  = 15.02, SD = .68) from eight classrooms that were randomly assigned by classroom to the intervention or attention control group. Differences between conditions in ERI exploration at Time 2 were consistent with desired intervention effects; furthermore, higher levels of ERI exploration at Time 2 predicted increases in ERI resolution at Time 3 only for youth in the treatment condition. Findings provide preliminary evidence of program efficacy.

Concepts: Controlling for a variable, Scientific method, Randomized controlled trial, Adolescence, Developmental psychology, Randomness, Classroom