Research and Publications - Department of Educational Leadership, Policy & Technology Studies

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    Integrating Game-Based Learning Initiative: Increasing the Usage of Game-Based Learning Within K-12 Classrooms Through Professional Learning Groups
    (Springer, 2016-01) Denham, André R.; Mayben, Robert; Boman, Terri; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    In the past 15 to 20 years there has been an increased interest in the use of games for learning. A considerable amount of work has already been done by educational researchers and theorists (Gee, Squire, Malone, Lepper, Shaffer, etc.) to identify and to operationalize the native affordances of games that make them good for learning. Unfortunately this has not led to widespread adoption of game-based learning in the classroom. The root cause for this is the paucity of professional development opportunities centered on the proper integration of games within the curriculum. This article will discuss why professional development is the proper avenue for increasing the integration of games aligned with desired outcomes, what a game-based learning professional development curriculum should look like, and report on an ongoing game-based learning professional development opportunity.
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    Stories Untold: Counter-Narratives to Anti-Blackness and Deficit-Oriented Discourse Concerning HBCUs
    (Sage, 2018) Williams, Krystal L.; Burt, Brian A.; Clay, Kevin L.; Bridges, Brian K.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Iowa State University; Rutgers State University Newark; Rutgers State University New Brunswick
    Although there is empirical evidence concerning the value of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), broader narratives about these institutions too often overemphasize challenges and depict them from a deficit perspective. We argue that such depictions elide the benefits of HBCUs within the higher education landscape and are rooted in a form of institutional anti-blackness-persistent imagery and discourse that construct Black colleges and universities as institutions devoid of value. In response to such silencing, this study employs counter-narratives rooted in a critical race methodology to illuminate the modern contributions of HBCUs as told by their chief executive officers-HBCU presidents. These contributions include transforming today's learners into tomorrow's leaders, a commitment to serving low-income students that is unencumbered by their financial strains, and tapping the potential of students who were marginalized in prior academic environments.
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    Choice, Cyber Charter Schools, and the Educational Marketplace for Rural School Districts
    Mann, Bryan; Kotok, Stephen; Frankenburg, Erica; Fuller, Ed; Schafft, Kai; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Pennsylvania is a state with significant proportions of students who attend rural schools, as well as students who attend charter schools. This study examines enrollment patterns of students in brick and mortar and cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania and how these enrollment patterns differ across geographic locale. We analyze student level enrollment data, controlling for demographic characteristics, and find that, in contrast to brick and mortar schools, cyber charter schools attract students from a variety of locales across the urban-rural continuum. However, rural students exhibit the greatest likelihood of attending cyber charter schools. We discuss the implications of these findings in relation to educational equity, cyber charter school underperformance, and the fiscal impacts of charter schools on the budgets of small school districts.
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    Exploring School Choice and the Consequences for Student Racial Segregation within Pennsylvania’s Charter School Transfers
    Frankenburg, Erica; Kotok, Stephen; Schafft, Kai; Mann, Bryan; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Using individual-level student data from Pennsylvania, this study explores the extent to which charter school racial composition may be an important factor in students’ self-segregative school choices. Findings indicate that, holding distance and enrollment constant, Black and Latino students are strongly averse to moving to charter schools with higher percentages of White students. Conversely, White students are more likely to enroll in such charter schools. As the percentage and number of students transferring into charter schools increases, self-segregative school choices raise critical questions regarding educational equity, and the effects of educational reform and school choice policies on the fostering of racially diverse educational environments.
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    Opting Out: Parents Creating Contested Spaces to Challenge Standardized Tests
    Mitra, Dana; Mann, Bryan; Hlavacik, Mark; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Connecting Learners or Isolating Individuals? The Social Justice Frames in the Cyber Charter Schools in Pennsylvania
    Mann, Bryan; Barkauskas, Nik; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Cyber charter schools are online schools that deliver educational content to students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. These programs provide the entire schooling experience through remote access to a virtual learning environment. Since cyber charters are a new educational platform, there is limited scholarly research discerning if they promote or detract from social justice in education. In mainstream dialogue, supporters hail cyber charters as providers of a quality education to students dissatisfied by their traditional school settings. For opponents, the schools are framed as providers of inadequate academic outcomes with a lack of social opportunity. To synthesize these disparate arguments, the authors examine Pennsylvania cyber charter website content and news stories in the popular press. The authors then discuss how these arguments relate to a social justice framework, considering potential implications for both Pennsylvania and outside entities who may wish to implement cyber charter schools in their local context.