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Volume 13 (2011): Issue 1 (June 2011)

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Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1691-5534
ISSN
1691-4147
First Published
04 May 2009
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English

Search

Volume 13 (2011): Issue 1 (June 2011)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1691-5534
ISSN
1691-4147
First Published
04 May 2009
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English

Search

10 Articles
Open Access

Engaging Learners in Cooperative Learning Through Environmental and Cross-Cultural Activities

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 5 - 18

Abstract

Engaging Learners in Cooperative Learning Through Environmental and Cross-Cultural Activities

There is a definite intersection of targets and intentions between education for sustainable development (ESD) and cross-cultural education (CCE), since both ESD and CCE aspire to pursue and develop values such as equity, democracy and quality of life in a multicultural setting. Apart from their common philosophical basis, ESD and CCE endorse similar teaching methods, i.e. experiential and cooperative learning, and pursue the development of abilities such as research interest, critical thought and political awareness, with the intention to develop a learning community intrinsically connected with the wider community and society. This study aspires to explore the possibilities of cooperative learning to effectively promote the aims of both ESD and CCE. The children of a public school in Thessaloniki, Greece, were involved in this action research related to their local environment. The methodological tools used included walk mapping and landscape analysis charts combined with environmental assessment sheets. The ensuing discussion facilitates reflection on the prospects of cooperation in a class with a mixed ability population.

Keywords

  • cooperative learning
  • education for sustainable development
  • cross-cultural education
Open Access

Open Versus Closed Forms of Knowledge Assessment in a Blended Learning Ecosystem

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 19 - 28

Abstract

Open Versus Closed Forms of Knowledge Assessment in a Blended Learning Ecosystem

The article investigates whether two opposite assessment methods, open wiki (online text-and-media collaboration) and closed multiple-choice test, can together assure a balanced addressing of the learner both as an information processor and a social entity. Comparing students' experience and satisfaction with collective knowledge construction in a moderated wiki on the one hand and knowledge testing in an online multiple choice test on the other hand, the research differentiates full-time and part-time students of a blended course. This is presented upon broader data on comparable students' populations who were assessed with open-ended oral exam questions, regular homework tasks and seminar work papers. An updated notion of media ecology conceives knowledge testing and instructional feedback as parts of an informational ecosystem: only a coherent yet internally differentiated learning environment can accurately define significant educational trends and recommendations - such that question assessment methods and signpost the development of education towards sustainability.

Keywords

  • assessment
  • wiki
  • test
  • blended
  • media ecology
Open Access

Factors Influencing Learners' Satisfaction in an Open E-Learning Environment

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 29 - 42

Abstract

Factors Influencing Learners' Satisfaction in an Open E-Learning Environment

A number of new open learning environments have risen aside to common e-learning environments. Wikiversity is an open environment to all community members. Students' behaviours change in the community creation process, and their self-satisfaction impacts learning. The study methodology is qualitative content analysis, and the data is collected from students' blogs, online and focus group interviews. Data is based on a monitored course for bachelor students of special pedagogy (n=21). There was a possibility to test and assess modern e-learning technologies and use a socio-constructive learning process. The results are studied in light of social-exchange theory. The outcome of this study indicated that learners' satisfaction increases with free access to fellow students' works, full and equal membership of the community and an opportunity to compare oneself to the others. The future research should focus on optimization of policies and sustainable development in education to establish successful exchange systems.

Keywords

  • satisfaction
  • e-learning
  • self-directed learning
  • social-constructive learning
Open Access

Exploring and Promoting Ecological Consciousness in Teacher Education: the Possibilities of Educational Action Research in Education for Sustainable Development

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 43 - 61

Abstract

Exploring and Promoting Ecological Consciousness in Teacher Education: the Possibilities of Educational Action Research in Education for Sustainable Development

The paper reports on the findings of a qualitative study with 39 first year students of pre-school and primary school teacher education programmes who are taking an educational action research based study course "Environmental Pedagogy". The study aimed at engaging the students in reflection on their experiences of interaction with nature and uncovering their views on ecological consciousness. Qualitative content analysis sought emergent themes in students' reflections. A conceptual framework was identified containing three frames of reference: (1) inclusion-oriented frame of reference; (2) exclusion-determining frame of reference and (3) solution-oriented frame of reference. Conclusions were drawn about the possibilities of educational action research to encourage students' reflection on ecological consciousness and building sustainable and inclusive relationships with the world.

Keywords

  • educational action research
  • ecological consciousness
  • pre-service teachers
  • frame of reference
Open Access

Teaching Risk Management and Safety as a Tool for Supporting Sustainable Development - A Curriculum Development

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 62 - 71

Abstract

Teaching Risk Management and Safety as a Tool for Supporting Sustainable Development - A Curriculum Development

Training of engineers as one of the main factors for implementing sustainability in industry is a key task. Due to this fact, the courses given in Chalmers should be adapted to the goal of sustainability. This could not be gained without integrating of risk assessment, as a tool of loss prevention, into different course curricula. To meet the demands, a course entitled "Risk Management and Safety" is offered two times a year to pre-service teachers that study in Chalmers master and doctoral programmes. This paper is concerned with presenting a method for developing a course curriculum including designing, control and evaluation of the projects as an essential part of the course. Industrial patterns have an important role especially in designing and evaluating the projects. The learning outcomes and the work efficiency are also controlled and evaluated through a questionnaire and personal interviews.

Keywords

  • course development
  • curriculum development
  • sustainability
  • risk management
  • teaching
Open Access

School-Based Mentoring for Professional Development of Inclusive School Teachers

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 72 - 83

Abstract

School-Based Mentoring for Professional Development of Inclusive School Teachers

Because of the importance and the complexity of inclusive education, the implementing of a new teaching method in fifteen schools of four regions of Latvia was integrated with school-based teacher mentoring in a two-year project. A new method of teaching basic concepts for children with learning disabilities was a crucial part of in-service teacher training mentoring programme. This paper illuminates mentors' and teachers-mentees' perceptions on the impact of mentoring on their teaching at the primary school level. Data collected by the means of self-evaluation includes teachers' and their mentors' views on the role of mentoring and teachers' collaboration in teachers' professional development and inclusion of children with special needs. The results of the study show that mentoring and collaboration are pre-conditions for successful teachers' professional development, which creates, in its turn, a favourable basis for enhancement of inclusive education programmes.

Keywords

  • mentoring
  • professional development
  • inclusive education
Open Access

An Investigation into the Elements of the International English Language Testing System: Instructors' Success

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 84 - 98

Abstract

An Investigation into the Elements of the International English Language Testing System: Instructors' Success

Educating for a more sustainable future in its broadest sense includes improving quality basic education, reorienting education to address sustainability, improving public awareness and providing training to many sectors of society. In order to reorient teacher education to address sustainability, we need to examine the major tenets of sustainable development and apply them to education and teacher education. This study reports on an exploratory study into the distinctive characteristics of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) instructors. Six IELTS instruction institutes in Iran were selected. Totally, there were 122 students studying IELTS, distributed in 18 classes available in these institutes, and 15 teachers were teaching IELTS preparation courses there. All 18 classes were videotaped to be used and analysed in more detail. In addition, three questionnaires were developed for the purpose of identifying the most frequently occurring practices and strategies. The questionnaires were filled in by researchers, students and the teachers themselves. The results of the study demonstrated that knowledge and command of the target language, an ability to organize, explain, clarify, arouse, sustain interest and motivation among students, fairness to students by showing neither favouritism nor prejudice and availability to students were among the most significant characteristics and qualities of a successful IELTS instructor.

Keywords

  • International English Language Testing System instructors
  • International English Language Testing System candidates
  • teacher development
  • learners' perspectives
  • reflective teaching
Open Access

Constructivist Beliefs of Latvian Mathematics Teachers: Looking into Future

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 99 - 112

Abstract

Constructivist Beliefs of Latvian Mathematics Teachers: Looking into Future

The aim of the research is to clarify the profile of constructivist/traditional beliefs sustained by the mathematics teachers in Latvia. The research sample comprised 390 mathematics teachers representing all regions of Latvia. The present study is part of an international research within the NorBa project "Nordic-Baltic comparative research in mathematics education" that makes use of a quantitative questionnaire elaborated by project participants. The initial results show that the beliefs of Latvian teachers of mathematics on efficient teaching are oriented more towards a constructivist approach, yet there exist significant differences of teachers of different social and demographical groups in their beliefs on approaches in teaching and effective instruction. The obtained results provide a possibility to develop pre-service teacher education and teachers' professional development courses in order to assure sustainability of the learning process.

Keywords

  • teachers
  • beliefs
  • teaching of mathematics
  • constructivist beliefs
  • traditional beliefs
Open Access

Relationship Between Rapid Naming Speed and Reading Speed as a Marker of Reading Difficulties of Estonian Children from 6 to 8 Years

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 113 - 128

Abstract

Relationship Between Rapid Naming Speed and Reading Speed as a Marker of Reading Difficulties of Estonian Children from 6 to 8 Years

Reading is one of the fundamental skills for successful performance in modern society. Reading acquisition is one of the most important tasks in primary level of education. The early identification of reading difficulties (RD) enables educators to apply the treatment as early as possible. Rapid naming (RN) is one of the reliable methods used to identify RD and risk for RD. The relationship between RN skills, especially RN speed and reading decoding speed, is investigated as a good tool for predicting reading at decoding level and welldocumented in languages using non-transparent orthography. Few researches are carried out on RN skills in transparent orthographies. The current research is the first attempt to investigate RN skills of children speaking Estonian, highly transparent Finno-Ugric language. The aim of this study is to examine longitudinally RN speed and decoding skills of children at the age 6, 7 and 8 years to detect the relationship between RN speed in prereading age and reading age after starting formal reading instruction.

Keywords

  • education for sustainable development
  • reading
  • naming
  • rapid naming speed
  • reading
  • reading difficulties
Open Access

Integration of Competencies in an Ontology-Based Framework Supporting Teachers to Construct Learning Designs in the Domain of Sustainable Energy Education

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 129 - 139

Abstract

Integration of Competencies in an Ontology-Based Framework Supporting Teachers to Construct Learning Designs in the Domain of Sustainable Energy Education

In previous work, a framework based on three ontologies (content, learning design and sustainable energy domain models) was introduced in order to support teachers to construct learning designs in the field of sustainable energy education. This paper is focusing on the integration of a competency model in the structure of this framework. This model actually interconnects the other three models by establishing connections between learning objects, learners, activities, learning objectives/competencies and knowledge in the sustainable energy domain. It enriches the description of learning resources enabling their search and retrieval via queries based on competency parameters and can also support competency-based reasoning in order for the competency gaps to be filled. The competency model came as an answer to a literature review triggered by some results of a Wizard of Oz experiment along with the aim to integrate into the framework sets of questions supporting learning in sustainable energy domain.

Keywords

  • ontology
  • learning design
  • competency
  • sustainable energy
  • learning object
  • semantic web applications
10 Articles
Open Access

Engaging Learners in Cooperative Learning Through Environmental and Cross-Cultural Activities

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 5 - 18

Abstract

Engaging Learners in Cooperative Learning Through Environmental and Cross-Cultural Activities

There is a definite intersection of targets and intentions between education for sustainable development (ESD) and cross-cultural education (CCE), since both ESD and CCE aspire to pursue and develop values such as equity, democracy and quality of life in a multicultural setting. Apart from their common philosophical basis, ESD and CCE endorse similar teaching methods, i.e. experiential and cooperative learning, and pursue the development of abilities such as research interest, critical thought and political awareness, with the intention to develop a learning community intrinsically connected with the wider community and society. This study aspires to explore the possibilities of cooperative learning to effectively promote the aims of both ESD and CCE. The children of a public school in Thessaloniki, Greece, were involved in this action research related to their local environment. The methodological tools used included walk mapping and landscape analysis charts combined with environmental assessment sheets. The ensuing discussion facilitates reflection on the prospects of cooperation in a class with a mixed ability population.

Keywords

  • cooperative learning
  • education for sustainable development
  • cross-cultural education
Open Access

Open Versus Closed Forms of Knowledge Assessment in a Blended Learning Ecosystem

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 19 - 28

Abstract

Open Versus Closed Forms of Knowledge Assessment in a Blended Learning Ecosystem

The article investigates whether two opposite assessment methods, open wiki (online text-and-media collaboration) and closed multiple-choice test, can together assure a balanced addressing of the learner both as an information processor and a social entity. Comparing students' experience and satisfaction with collective knowledge construction in a moderated wiki on the one hand and knowledge testing in an online multiple choice test on the other hand, the research differentiates full-time and part-time students of a blended course. This is presented upon broader data on comparable students' populations who were assessed with open-ended oral exam questions, regular homework tasks and seminar work papers. An updated notion of media ecology conceives knowledge testing and instructional feedback as parts of an informational ecosystem: only a coherent yet internally differentiated learning environment can accurately define significant educational trends and recommendations - such that question assessment methods and signpost the development of education towards sustainability.

Keywords

  • assessment
  • wiki
  • test
  • blended
  • media ecology
Open Access

Factors Influencing Learners' Satisfaction in an Open E-Learning Environment

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 29 - 42

Abstract

Factors Influencing Learners' Satisfaction in an Open E-Learning Environment

A number of new open learning environments have risen aside to common e-learning environments. Wikiversity is an open environment to all community members. Students' behaviours change in the community creation process, and their self-satisfaction impacts learning. The study methodology is qualitative content analysis, and the data is collected from students' blogs, online and focus group interviews. Data is based on a monitored course for bachelor students of special pedagogy (n=21). There was a possibility to test and assess modern e-learning technologies and use a socio-constructive learning process. The results are studied in light of social-exchange theory. The outcome of this study indicated that learners' satisfaction increases with free access to fellow students' works, full and equal membership of the community and an opportunity to compare oneself to the others. The future research should focus on optimization of policies and sustainable development in education to establish successful exchange systems.

Keywords

  • satisfaction
  • e-learning
  • self-directed learning
  • social-constructive learning
Open Access

Exploring and Promoting Ecological Consciousness in Teacher Education: the Possibilities of Educational Action Research in Education for Sustainable Development

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 43 - 61

Abstract

Exploring and Promoting Ecological Consciousness in Teacher Education: the Possibilities of Educational Action Research in Education for Sustainable Development

The paper reports on the findings of a qualitative study with 39 first year students of pre-school and primary school teacher education programmes who are taking an educational action research based study course "Environmental Pedagogy". The study aimed at engaging the students in reflection on their experiences of interaction with nature and uncovering their views on ecological consciousness. Qualitative content analysis sought emergent themes in students' reflections. A conceptual framework was identified containing three frames of reference: (1) inclusion-oriented frame of reference; (2) exclusion-determining frame of reference and (3) solution-oriented frame of reference. Conclusions were drawn about the possibilities of educational action research to encourage students' reflection on ecological consciousness and building sustainable and inclusive relationships with the world.

Keywords

  • educational action research
  • ecological consciousness
  • pre-service teachers
  • frame of reference
Open Access

Teaching Risk Management and Safety as a Tool for Supporting Sustainable Development - A Curriculum Development

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 62 - 71

Abstract

Teaching Risk Management and Safety as a Tool for Supporting Sustainable Development - A Curriculum Development

Training of engineers as one of the main factors for implementing sustainability in industry is a key task. Due to this fact, the courses given in Chalmers should be adapted to the goal of sustainability. This could not be gained without integrating of risk assessment, as a tool of loss prevention, into different course curricula. To meet the demands, a course entitled "Risk Management and Safety" is offered two times a year to pre-service teachers that study in Chalmers master and doctoral programmes. This paper is concerned with presenting a method for developing a course curriculum including designing, control and evaluation of the projects as an essential part of the course. Industrial patterns have an important role especially in designing and evaluating the projects. The learning outcomes and the work efficiency are also controlled and evaluated through a questionnaire and personal interviews.

Keywords

  • course development
  • curriculum development
  • sustainability
  • risk management
  • teaching
Open Access

School-Based Mentoring for Professional Development of Inclusive School Teachers

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 72 - 83

Abstract

School-Based Mentoring for Professional Development of Inclusive School Teachers

Because of the importance and the complexity of inclusive education, the implementing of a new teaching method in fifteen schools of four regions of Latvia was integrated with school-based teacher mentoring in a two-year project. A new method of teaching basic concepts for children with learning disabilities was a crucial part of in-service teacher training mentoring programme. This paper illuminates mentors' and teachers-mentees' perceptions on the impact of mentoring on their teaching at the primary school level. Data collected by the means of self-evaluation includes teachers' and their mentors' views on the role of mentoring and teachers' collaboration in teachers' professional development and inclusion of children with special needs. The results of the study show that mentoring and collaboration are pre-conditions for successful teachers' professional development, which creates, in its turn, a favourable basis for enhancement of inclusive education programmes.

Keywords

  • mentoring
  • professional development
  • inclusive education
Open Access

An Investigation into the Elements of the International English Language Testing System: Instructors' Success

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 84 - 98

Abstract

An Investigation into the Elements of the International English Language Testing System: Instructors' Success

Educating for a more sustainable future in its broadest sense includes improving quality basic education, reorienting education to address sustainability, improving public awareness and providing training to many sectors of society. In order to reorient teacher education to address sustainability, we need to examine the major tenets of sustainable development and apply them to education and teacher education. This study reports on an exploratory study into the distinctive characteristics of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) instructors. Six IELTS instruction institutes in Iran were selected. Totally, there were 122 students studying IELTS, distributed in 18 classes available in these institutes, and 15 teachers were teaching IELTS preparation courses there. All 18 classes were videotaped to be used and analysed in more detail. In addition, three questionnaires were developed for the purpose of identifying the most frequently occurring practices and strategies. The questionnaires were filled in by researchers, students and the teachers themselves. The results of the study demonstrated that knowledge and command of the target language, an ability to organize, explain, clarify, arouse, sustain interest and motivation among students, fairness to students by showing neither favouritism nor prejudice and availability to students were among the most significant characteristics and qualities of a successful IELTS instructor.

Keywords

  • International English Language Testing System instructors
  • International English Language Testing System candidates
  • teacher development
  • learners' perspectives
  • reflective teaching
Open Access

Constructivist Beliefs of Latvian Mathematics Teachers: Looking into Future

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 99 - 112

Abstract

Constructivist Beliefs of Latvian Mathematics Teachers: Looking into Future

The aim of the research is to clarify the profile of constructivist/traditional beliefs sustained by the mathematics teachers in Latvia. The research sample comprised 390 mathematics teachers representing all regions of Latvia. The present study is part of an international research within the NorBa project "Nordic-Baltic comparative research in mathematics education" that makes use of a quantitative questionnaire elaborated by project participants. The initial results show that the beliefs of Latvian teachers of mathematics on efficient teaching are oriented more towards a constructivist approach, yet there exist significant differences of teachers of different social and demographical groups in their beliefs on approaches in teaching and effective instruction. The obtained results provide a possibility to develop pre-service teacher education and teachers' professional development courses in order to assure sustainability of the learning process.

Keywords

  • teachers
  • beliefs
  • teaching of mathematics
  • constructivist beliefs
  • traditional beliefs
Open Access

Relationship Between Rapid Naming Speed and Reading Speed as a Marker of Reading Difficulties of Estonian Children from 6 to 8 Years

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 113 - 128

Abstract

Relationship Between Rapid Naming Speed and Reading Speed as a Marker of Reading Difficulties of Estonian Children from 6 to 8 Years

Reading is one of the fundamental skills for successful performance in modern society. Reading acquisition is one of the most important tasks in primary level of education. The early identification of reading difficulties (RD) enables educators to apply the treatment as early as possible. Rapid naming (RN) is one of the reliable methods used to identify RD and risk for RD. The relationship between RN skills, especially RN speed and reading decoding speed, is investigated as a good tool for predicting reading at decoding level and welldocumented in languages using non-transparent orthography. Few researches are carried out on RN skills in transparent orthographies. The current research is the first attempt to investigate RN skills of children speaking Estonian, highly transparent Finno-Ugric language. The aim of this study is to examine longitudinally RN speed and decoding skills of children at the age 6, 7 and 8 years to detect the relationship between RN speed in prereading age and reading age after starting formal reading instruction.

Keywords

  • education for sustainable development
  • reading
  • naming
  • rapid naming speed
  • reading
  • reading difficulties
Open Access

Integration of Competencies in an Ontology-Based Framework Supporting Teachers to Construct Learning Designs in the Domain of Sustainable Energy Education

Published Online: 12 Jul 2011
Page range: 129 - 139

Abstract

Integration of Competencies in an Ontology-Based Framework Supporting Teachers to Construct Learning Designs in the Domain of Sustainable Energy Education

In previous work, a framework based on three ontologies (content, learning design and sustainable energy domain models) was introduced in order to support teachers to construct learning designs in the field of sustainable energy education. This paper is focusing on the integration of a competency model in the structure of this framework. This model actually interconnects the other three models by establishing connections between learning objects, learners, activities, learning objectives/competencies and knowledge in the sustainable energy domain. It enriches the description of learning resources enabling their search and retrieval via queries based on competency parameters and can also support competency-based reasoning in order for the competency gaps to be filled. The competency model came as an answer to a literature review triggered by some results of a Wizard of Oz experiment along with the aim to integrate into the framework sets of questions supporting learning in sustainable energy domain.

Keywords

  • ontology
  • learning design
  • competency
  • sustainable energy
  • learning object
  • semantic web applications

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