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TC to be Out in Force at AERA

The theme of this year's annual meeting the American Educational Research Association (AERA) is "Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the Circle of Knowledge."

TC to be Out in Force at AERA

Associate Professor Dolores Perin will be one of more than 100 TC faculty members, staff and students who will present their research at the AERA annual meeting.

Teachers College had a major presence at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting last week. More than 120 faculty, staff and students from TC presented their research and took part in panel sessions at what is considered the leading gathering of educational researchers in the world.
The papers and presentations from the TC contingent ran the gamut, from issues in art education and community colleges to some of the latest research on technology and charter schools. That the College had a large presence at the AERA meeting, which was held from April 13-17, comes as no surprise, as TC has fielded a large contingent over the years. The 2007 meeting, for example, featured 154 presentations by TC faculty, students and staff.
A sampling of TC presentations included Associate Professor John Baldacchino's session on "Knowing and Learning, Artworks and Artifacts;" Associate Professor Dolores Perin's discussion of the "Relation of Academic Ability and Language Proficiency in Urban Community College Developmental Education Students;" and an analysis of Survey Sidekick, an online educational survey design tool, by Gary Natriello, Ruth L.Gottesman Professor of Educational Research and Hui Soo Chae, Edlab Director of Development and Research.
TC's Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media again had role at the AERA meeting. At the 2008 meeting, Institute Director Richard Lee Colvin led two sessions, one designed for journalists and the other for early-career researchers. Both programs were offered again at the 2009 meeting with Colvin collaborating with Amy Stuart Wells, Professor of Sociology and Education at TC.
Other highlights included:
* President Susan Fuhrman took part in a presidential session on "Bringing Education Research to Policymakers: The Academy Speaks to a New President" in which she discussed the challenges of distilling research into key messages for policymakers.
* Luis Huerta, Assistant Professor of Education, was a panelist and Jeffrey Henig, Professor of Political Science and Education, was a discussant on a session about what two decades of research reveal about the effectiveness of charter schools.
* Michael Rebell, Executive Director of The Campaign for Educational Equity, presented his paper on "The Crucial Role State Courts Play in School Finance Reform" in which he explores the more active role state courts are playing in promoting educational equity through school finance litigation.
The theme of this year's AERA meeting was "Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the Circle of Knowledge." Over the years, a number of TC faculty members have led the organization as president, including Maxine Greene, Ann Lieberman and Robert L. Thorndike.
The following is a partial list of presentations by Teachers College faculty, students and staff at the annual meeting. Where possible the full papers or presentations are included. All abstracts are available on the AERA Web site at A complete list of presentations and abstracts are available online in a searchable database on AERA's Web site (

Kevin Dougherty, Associate Professor of Higher Education
Rebecca Natow, doctoral student, Higher and Postsecondary Education Program
Popular but Unstable: Explaining Why State Performance Funding Systems Do Not Persist
This paper will examine why state performance funding systems have proved both popular and unstable. It will address what design features, strategies for policy enactment and implementation, and socio-political circumstances make performance funding systems more likely to persist. To answer this question, the paper applies insights derived from theories of political power and policymaking including the structuralist theory of the state (Block, 1987; Skocpol, 1985; and Dougherty, 1994), the multiple streams approach to analysis of policymaking (Kingdon, 2003; Zaharias, 2007), and the advocacy coalition framework (Sabatier, 1993; Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith, 1999; Sabatier & Weible, 2007). This analysis is based on a comparison of the experiences of four states. Two enacted performance funding but soon abandoned it: Illinois and Washington. Two have long retained it: Florida and Tennessee. Washington is of particular interest because it recently reenacted performance funding, allowing us to determine how the factors that earlier led to abandoning it may have been later neutralized. The paper's data are drawn from interviews, state documents, and extant research on higher education policymaking in the four states. The interviews are with state and local higher education officials, state legislators and staff affiliated with the substantive and appropriations committees of the legislature addressing higher education, executive branch officials, and interest group leaders (particularly business leaders, given their longstanding demand for greater government efficiency and accountability). Based on the research to date, Dougherty & Natow find evidence that certain conditions increase the probability that performance funding systems will survive: for example, the funding takes the form of new funds over and above regular appropriations, rather than reserved appropriations that colleges have to win back through improved performance; performance funding was enacted by statute rather than budgetary provisos that have to be renewed yearly; the legislative champions of performance funding have remained in office and not lost power; the coalition championing performance funding is broad-based, with substantial support inside and outside government; and the measures used to allocate performance funds were developed with the advice of higher education institutions and take account of their different missions.

Pamela Felder, lecturer,
Higher and Postsecondary Education Program
Alysa Turkowitz, doctoral student, Adult Learning and Leadership Program
Understanding Sexism and Heterosexism at Elite Institutions: An Ecological Perspective on Promoting DiversityFaculty members who teach cultural diversity in the classroom often focus on strategies that promote awareness. Topics like race, ethnicity, politics and religion are likely to engage students in contentious dialogue that confronts their established notions on these issues. Perhaps one of the most controversial cultural topics prone to invoke a deadening silence during class discussion is sexual identity development. Diversity-focused literature developed to inform an audience about the sexually marginalized student experience often addresses students who are deemed "sexual minorities"; largely addressing the LGBT student population. While this research has significantly increased the knowledge base about this student population, efforts to bridge the dialogue between the sexual minority population and heterosexuals (considered the majority) are far and few between.
This lack of connection is at the root of the marginalized experience serving to continually alienate the sexual minority population and suppressing opportunity for cognitive dissonance for the heterosexual student population. Often faculty members who are concerned about promoting cultural awareness are left to ponder how to foster meaningful dialogue about sexual identity development in the classroom that is integrative in nature.
Climate studies have provided an initial platform for understanding the experience of LGBT and non-LGBT members in the higher education setting. To examine this experience our paper employs a holistic approach (an ecological framework) that integrates literature on sexism and heterosexism in higher education. A review of research illustrates the lack of progressive accommodations taking place within elite institutional settings by way of climate studies and student support mechanisms for marginalized students. Through the application of Brofenbrenner's ecological framework, the authors offer progressive accommodations towards a more inclusive approach for addressing sexual identity development issues within elite environments.

Beatrice S. Fennimore, Visiting Professor, Department of Curriculum and Teaching
Lin Goodwin, Associate Dean of Teacher Education
Interrupting the False Dichotomies of Age, History, Curriculum, and Coercion: Standing Our Ground in Social Justice and Teacher Education
This conceptual analysis interrogates emergent dichotomies in the debate over social justice in teacher education. Efforts to undermine inclusion of social justice dispositions in teacher education focus on artificially constructed differences between professors who are younger and those old enough to have experienced the Civil Rights Movement, current events and the historical events of the 50s and 60s, teacher education curriculum with a focus on pedagogy and teacher education curriculum with a focus on social justice, and liberalism and conservatism as it relates to professors and students. With an analysis structured on critical theory, social justice theory, curriculum theory, and ethics, new discourse about social justice in teacher education in a democratic society is established.
Marion Goldstein, doctoral student, Program in Communication, Computing, Technology in Education
Devayani Tirthali, doctoral student, Program in Communication, Computing, Technology in Education
A Student-Faculty Comparison of Technology Use in Medical and Dental Schools
Net Generation (Tapscott, 1999) students grew up with media affordances that many older learners still consider new. Thus, educators often assume that these "digital connoisseurs" (Prensky, 2001) have little patience for the passivity and linearity that typically characterize the traditional, lecture-based academic experience. With this in mind, the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning helps faculty purposefully use technology in education.
In recent years, the Educational Technologists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have received requests for updates to instructional resources based on faculty's notions about what students want.Our experience and research suggest, however, that faculty's desire for new resources may sometimes overshadow pedagogical concerns. Faculty's notions about students' demands for technology integration may be too simplistic. Lohnes and Kinzer (2007) revealed a need to question assumptions that undergraduate students seek to integrate technology into all aspects of their college experience; in fact, college students are highly particular about when and what types of technologies should be used in academic and personal contexts. Little research has explored whether similar particularities exist among medical and dental school students. This understanding is necessary to make informed decisions about the integration of technology within these instructional environments.
This paper presents results of a study designed to assess pre-clinical students' patterns of technology use and expectations.Using survey and focus-group methodologies, the study collected data concerning the following questions:
Are students using the informational technology resources available to them?
Which technology resources are perceived as useful for which learning activities and content types?
Are faculty accurate with regard to their assumptions about students' technology-related preferences, expectations, and demands?
The 30-item survey wascompleted by 222 pre-clinical students. It aimed to identify which IT resources are utilized inside and outside of the classroom, and how students perceive their value for uses such as note-taking, reviewing, searching for information, and collaborative learning. We also conducted three student focus groups [N = 25] to get in-depth information about students' technology preferences, expectations, and impressions of faculty use. Findings revealed that students make conscious choices about when to use technology and when they believe it would impede learning. Another survey is being conducted with faculty within the medical and dental schools to assess their technology preferences and impressions of what students want. Faculty focus groups will help us understand their perceptions of technology's role in learning and instruction. Data from students and faculty will be compared and presented to highlight the complexity of technology integration into higher education.
Research outcomes will inform the larger education community within the health sciences. Some (e.g., Prensky, 2001) believe today's students want technology integration in all aspects of the academic experience. Others who have engaged students' voices, however, have found that students prefer a moderate amount of technology use (Kvavik, 2005; Lohnes &Kinzer, 2007), and technologies should be chosen carefully to support good teaching. Thus, this paper extends prior research into the medical and dental school communities. AERA members in the educational and IT aspects of health sciencewill gain additional data to make critical, more informed decisions regarding technology integration into instruction.

Jessica Hammer, doctoral student, Instructional Technology & Media Program
John Black, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Telecommunications and Education
Gillian Andrews, doctoral student, Communications in Education Program
Charles Kinzer, Professor of Education
Zhou Zhou, doctoral student, Instructional Technology & Media Program
Games as Virtual Experience: Implications for Teaching and Design
What is the best way to combine the advantages of games with those of formal learning? By considering games as virtual experience, we propose that games provide prior knowledge that learners can use to support future learning. We tested subjects' ability to learn history from the game Civilization and urban planning from the game SimCity. No direct knowledge effects were found for either game. However, we found evidence that gameplay prepared players for future learning: expert Civilization players outperformed SimCity experts at learning history from a text. SimCity experts did not show an advantage at learning urban planning. Understanding this difference between groups suggests new approaches to both educational game design and the use of educational games in the classroom.

Gail Horowitz, doctoral student, Department of Math, Science and Technology
Tracking Interest Development in a Project-Based Organic Chemistry Laboratory
The Hidi-Renninger four-phase model of interest development proposes a four stage process through which students can move from an initial triggered situational interest to a deeper, more developed individual interest. The present study tested the applicability of the four phase model to a college science laboratory setting, specifically to the organic chemistry laboratory. In this study, a project-based laboratory curriculum was implemented that deliberately incorporated the curricular elements of enhanced authenticity, autonomy and suspense, with the intent of triggering, developing, and maintaining student interest. This study examined if and how the Hidi-Renninger four phase model could be used to characterize the extent of interest development on the part of students who participated in the curriculum. It was found that the curricular elements of autonomy and to some extent suspense, did trigger an initial situational interest or an initial emerging individual interest. However unfortunately, these curricular features did not foster the development of further interest on the part of students.

Charles Kinzer, Professor of Education
Selen Turkay, doctoral student, Instructional Technology and Media Program

College students' expectations and use of a virtual environment: Examining teaching and possibilities of an emerging technology in a college course
This paper reports two related studies of college students in a class that integrated the virtual world Second Life. The studies provide insights into students' struggle with new technologies, and how this virtual world (and, by extension, others) can enhance teaching and learning in college classrooms. Understanding how students make sense of new technology is necessary if colleges are to optimally integrate technology, in and out of classrooms. In the first study, 10 students in a graduate, educational technology program were enrolled in the course "Possibilities of Virtual Worlds." Students spent an average of 10 hours per week 'in-world"-'"in the virtual world Second Life. Students were sophisticated users of technology, yet expressed the difficulties, frustrations and miscommunications that often occur for those who are not "literate" within respective contexts. Logs of their experiences, interviews, class/sharing discussions, email, screen shots of uses and behaviors, and in-world conversations and messaging were analyzed and patterns emerged with regard to perceptions, frustrations and solutions that occurred as students learned new skills and new literacies within this environment (see also McCarthy & Wright, 2004; Leander & Duncan, 2004). Analyses showed that these sophisticated technology users became "low-literate" first adopters, later (and differentially) acquiring the abilities to function well. Four general groups of users appeared: Students who were excited about the technology and used it readily, those who were tentative and had a preference for traditional instruction, those who approached it from a technical or programming standpoint, and those who were utilitarian in its use. The second study involved 14 students enrolled in the same class, one year later. The course was taught in four, six-hour face-to-face class meetings, and five, two-hour meetings "in-world." Findings show that chat-like discussion of assigned readings was least effective. Most effective were individualized, time-constrained exploration of sites and assignments, later shared with the class. Qualitative analyses revealed themes related to pedagogical strategies: learner/avatar-centered activities were most effective; chat and lectures were least desirable; the user-categories found earlier were replicated. Findings will be related to teaching in traditional classrooms.

Anand R. Marri,
Assistant Professor of Social Studies and Education
Challenging the Sacredness and Nature of Content: Centering Race/Ethnicity in a Social Studies Content Course
Traditionally, content courses aim to help future teachers increase subject-matter knowledge but often at the expense of examining the role of race/ethnicity in the study of the content. This paper highlights issues involved with foregrounding race/ethnicity in one content course for secondary pre-service social studies teachers at an urban research university. In particular, it examines key responses of these teachers when race/ethnicity became central in a U.S. Constitution content course, rather than an exclusive focus on "objective" content. Using a Critical Race Theory framework, this paper analyzes pre-service teachers' responses to the centering of race/ethnicity in the study of the Constitution and discusses the implications for teacher education programs, especially those programs that prepare teachers for diverse urban schools.

Anand R. Marri, Assistant Professor of Social Studies and Education
Ching-Fu Lan, doctoral student, Teaching in Social Studies Program
Closing the Civic Opportunity Gap: Engaging Urban Youth in Civic Education
This project investigates whether implementation of Classroom-based Multicultural Democratic Education (CMDE) pedagogy holds promise for addressing the -'civic opportunity gap' by refining civic education practices to enrich civic engagement opportunities for urban youth. Using the research question, how can schooling ameliorate the -'civic opportunity gap' in urban schools?, this study documents urban students' and teachers' conceptions of citizenship, democracy, and civic engagement through CMDE, a civic education framework designed to increase the civic engagement of urban youth. By understanding what urban students learn and experience from CMDE, civic educators can potentially create usable professional knowledge and pedagogy that better address the social and materials contexts of urban schools to close the -'civic opportunity gap'.

Felicia Moore Mensah, Assistant Professor of Science Education
Elementary Preservice Teachers' Microteaching in an Urban Classroom: A Case for Culturally Relevant Teaching and Lessons Learned
In this paper, I discuss three elementary preservice teachers' experiences in co-planning and co-teaching of a Pollution Unit in a 4th/5th grade science classroom in NYC. The study makes use of microteaching papers, lesson plans, researcher classroom observations, and informal conversations to elicit lessons learned from implementing culturally relevant science teaching. Examples of preservice teachers' planning process, culturally relevant teaching, student learning, and reflections after microteaching are presented. Implications from the study are discussed in terms of support to enact culturally relevant teaching in preservice science education and in urban elementary classrooms.

Sandra Okita, Assistant Professor of Technology and Education
Learning to self-monitor by monitoring others using projective pedagogical agents.
Children find focusing attention on their own mistakes a challenge, but somewhat easier when catching another's mistake. This research examines whether catching another's mistakes, helps children learn the skill of monitoring, and eventually self-monitor. Two experiments with fifty-one, nine- to eleven-year-old children tested the hypothesis that modeling a computer agent solving math problems can help students learn to self-monitor and learn to solve the math problems better. A new technology called Projective Pedagogical Agent, "ProJo," provided a testing environment where students practiced monitoring the agent's performance on the math tricks while checking for potential mistakes. The results showed initial evidence that self-other monitoring may be an effective way to help students develop metacognitive skills to self-monitor and learn better.

Stephanie Schmier, doctoral student, Curriculum and Teaching Program
Girls Interrupted: Negotiating Discursive Tensions Through Multimodality in an Urban Public Middle School
This research examines the literacy performances of two eighth-grade girls as they engaged in the process of creating a digital multimodal narrative. Drawing on a year-long study designed to investigate the digital practices and literate identities of adolescents attending an urban public school, this research blends post-structural theories with critical discourse analysis to explore the students' literacies as multimodal, embodied identity performances. In this paper, I describe how the affordances of the multimodal assignment allowed the youth to position themselves as authors, designers, and filmmakers, while simultaneously taking up and resisting school-based and mass- media discourses that position them as 'at-risk' for school failure. I further discuss the potential and challenges of integrating digital multimodality into middle school curriculum.

Lalitha Vasudevan, Assistant Professor of Technology and Education
Court-involved youth making a new way: Teaching and learning and the spaces in-between
The youth involved in this research, for whom traditional schooling has not always been a successful endeavor, offer insights into educational research and practice through their verbal reflections, multimedia productions, and literacy inquiries into the nuanced spaces of education within as well as outside of institutional walls. ATIP offers a range of academic classes, career support, social services, arts electives, and college preparatory classes, and in doing so, offers participants multiple opportunities to establish new relationships with schooling. The youth are able to engage multimodal literacy practices (Hull& Nelson, 2005; Jewitt & Kress, 2003) while navigating teaching and learning in this educational context. The theoretical lenses of multimodality and spatiality (i.e., Lefebvre, 1991; Soja, 1996) are brought to bear on questions of how these navigations and institutional negotiations result in new kinds of educational spaces. Specifically, this presentation explores the following questions: In what ways do court-involved youth negotiate their education in alternative learning spaces? How do they use multimodal literacy practices to perform new identities across shifting contexts? Central to how the participants negotiate their education within this program are the relationships they establish and nurture with program staff and other participants across defined institutional spaces and times. These relationships are spaces, themselves, in which the youth draw on their out-of-school geographies (Holloway & Valentine, 2003) and literacies (Hull & Schultz, 2002) and step outside of institutional labels such as "delinquent," "dropout," "low-literate," and others, to perform new selves. In turn, these youths perform new teaching and learning geographies. The data, then, derive from a multi-year, ethnographic study of the program, and included participant and staff interviews, participant observation field notes, and a variety of documents and print artifacts.
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