Using Online Simulations to Promote Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Facilitation of Argumentation-Focused Discussions in Mathematics and Science

In this study, our team developed and is studying the use of an Online Practice Suite (OPS) composed of a coordinated and scaffolded collection of three practice-based online simulations designed to support the development of preservice teachers' (PSTs’) abilities, skills, beliefs, and understanding around one ambitious teaching practice within mathematics and science: facilitating discussions that engage students in argumentation. The three simulations in the OPS include: (a) an eliciting learner knowledge simulation, designed to provide intensive practice of component skills in leading argumentation-focused discussions; (b) a mixed-reality rehearsal space where the PST facilitates a 20-minute small group discussion with five virtual student avatars in a simulated classroom; and (c) a virtual classroom environment in which the PST facilitates a 30-minute discussion with eight virtual student avatars who are arranged in two small table groups with two student pairs each and requires the PST to practice shifting from between small groups and then to a whole group discussion. In this study, we examine the outcomes for PSTs when five elementary teacher educators at five different institutions integrated the OPS within their elementary mathematics or science methods course during one semester. In particular, we examine whether the use of the OPS relates to improvement in PSTs' ability to engage in this teaching practice, their noticing skills, preparedness for and beliefs about effective instruction, and understanding about argumentation from the beginning to end of one semester and explore the PSTs' perceptions about the ways that the OPS supported their development.

Mikeska, J. N., Cross Francis, D. I., Lottero-Perdue, P. S., Park Rogers, M. A., Shekell, C., Bharaj, P. K., Howell, H., Maltese, A., Thompson, M., & Reich, J. (2021, December 22). Using Online Simulations to Promote Elementary Preservice Teachers' Facilitation of Argumentation-Focused Discussions in Mathematics and Science.