Recent News and Announcement

Book Chapter on Teacher Motivation in Online Professional Development

Hawk, N., Bowman, M., & Xie, K. (2021). Theory-based intervention framework to improve mathematics teachers’ motivation to engage in online professional development. In Hollebrands K., Anderson R., Oliver K. (eds) Online Learning in Mathematics Education. Research in Mathematics Education. Springer, Cham. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-80230-1_11

Professional development for teachers is an important professional endeavor and is increasingly conducted online. One concern, however, is the extent of teachers’ motivation to engage. Among motivational theories, the Expectancy-Value Theory is one empirically tested framework which appropriately encompasses these values. Teacher-perceived task values, or the reasons to engage in a task, along with teachers’ expectancy for success, may help explain why teachers engage in online professional development. In this chapter, we synthesize the available research literature guided by this integrated motivational framework of Expectancy-Value Theory, and we propose five design principles to guide future online professional development in ways that may improve teachers’ motivation to engage. We discuss implications for researchers and designers of mathematics professional development.

Keywords: Motivation; Task values; Expectancy-Value Theory; Online professional development; Teacher beliefs; Design principles; Utility value; Intrinsic value; Attainment value; Cost

Publication on Elementary Students’ Computational Thinking

Li, X., Xie, K., Vongkulluksn, V.W., Stein, D. & Zhang, Y. (2021). Developing and testing a design-based learning approach to enhance elementary students’ self-perceived computational thinking. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, DOI: 10.1080/15391523.2021.1962453. (SSCI Journal; Impact Factor: 1.585)

Computational Thinking (CT) is regarded as a crucial competency for all children in the 21st century. There are misconceptions about CT which confounds CT skills with programming skills. However, CT skills and programming skills are not the same. CT is a broader skillset of cognitive thinking that is integral to complex problem solving. Teaching and assessing CT should not only focus on computer programming. In this project, a new design-based learning (DBL) approach was proposed to improve elementary school students’ CT. This approach not only included programming skills, but also integrated CT practices with authentic real-life contexts. Corresponding to recent conceptions of CT, we also assessed CT in a more comprehensive manner. A quasi-experiment study was carried out to assess how the intervention was associated with students’ self-perceived CT skills using both quantitative and qualitative methods. In the treatment group, twenty-three fourth graders engaged in three curriculum units to create artifacts that solve specific real-world problems using LabPlus electronic kits and Scratch programming software. The control group took a traditional computer science class. Results revealed that students’ self-perceived CT skills increased to a greater extent in the treatment group compared to the control group. In addition, we observed and interviewed three student cases in the treatment group to understand the potential learning effects of our new DBL approach. This study contributes to research in CT instruction, its application in STEM education in particular, and how it can be used in elementary level education in general.

Keywords: Elementary education; teaching/learning strategies; 21st century abilities; pedagogical issues; interdisciplinary projects

Lizeng Huang joins as a new buckeye

Welcome Lizeng Huang to The Ohio State University! Lizeng Huang received his dual Master’s degrees in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages from Brandeis University and Minzu University of China. Prior to Ohio State, he served as Chinese lecturer at University of Virginia (2018-2021), Chinese Flagship Program at Western Kentucky University (2016-2018), Brandeis University (2015-2016), as well as CET Beijing (2015 summer). He values the importance of integrating technology into his classes and developed online Chinese courses for multiple language levels at different institutions. His current academic interests include student’s motivation and engagement in digital learning environments, technology-enhanced language teaching and learning, and teachers’ engagement strategies. In Autumn 2021, he joins the lab as a doctoral student and a research associate in the Learning Technologies area.

Jingwen He joins as a new buckeye

Welcome Jingwen He to The Ohio State University! Jingwen He earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Educational Management and her Master’s degree in Educational Assessment and Evaluation from Beijing Normal University, China. She has been participated in WISE (Web-based Inquiry Science Environment) project for three years. Her research interests include students’ motivation in computer-supported learning environment, science education, feedback strategy and self-regulated learning. In Autumn 2021, she joins the lab as a doctoral student and a research associate in the Learning Technologies area.

2020-2021 Graduates Sharing Job Searching Tips

For recent and upcoming graduates looking to start their careers, the 2020-2021 job market was daunting. Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic meant parsing through an unusually small number of opportunities and carrying out much more of the interview process virtually. During these uncertain times, lab members Lin Lu, Nathan Hawk, and Mike Nelson were able to successfully land meaningful positions that will begin in the summer and fall of 2021. Below you can find brief profiles of them along with descriptions of their new positions. They have also provided some insights regarding what they thought helped them navigate the difficult job market. (more…)

Publication on Teacher Perceived Barriers to Technology Integration

Xie, K., Nelson, M.J., Cheng, S.L., & Jiang, Z. (2021) Examining changes in teachers’ perceptions of external and internal barriers in their integration of educational digital resources in K-12 classrooms, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, DOI: 10.1080/15391523.2021.1951404 (Open Access Article with Free Downloads)

This study examined changes in teachers’ perceptions of external barriers, internal barriers, and their integration of digital educational resources across two years through variable-centered and person-centered approaches. Participants included 301 in-service middle and high school teachers from 18 schools in the United States. The results of variable-centered approaches showed some significant changes in external barriers and teacher behavior but not in internal barriers. However, person-centered approaches revealed that perceived changes in external barriers significantly predicted nuanced changes in the patterns of teachers’ educational digital resource integration and their beliefs about technology. As teachers perceived a stronger technology vision and commitment to professional development in their school environments, their personal practices and beliefs shifted together.

Keywords: External barriers; internal barriers; technology integration; educational digital resource; person-centered approach

Publication on Knowledge Construction in Online Learning Environments

Duan, J., Lu, L., & Xie, K. (online first). Examining collaborative knowledge building in three social interactive learning environments: A comparison between knowledge network, social network, and social knowledge network. Interactive Learning Environments. DOI: 10.1080/10494820.2021.1944882

Abstract: Knowledge construction can be facilitated through different types of social interactive environment. A knowledge network environment (KN) develops a knowledge-centered network visualizing the structure of collective knowledge. A social network environment (SN) creates a people-centered network visualizing the social relationships among people. Considering the connectedness of knowledge and people, this study moves the conversation forward by introducing an integrated environment of both knowledge- and people-centered network, a social knowledge network environment (SKN). The study aimed at comparing the three types of environments and investigated their effect on collaborative knowledge construction processes and individual learning outcomes. The quasi-experiment results indicated that these three environments differed in their effects on learners’ knowledge construction levels, the sequential patterns, as well as individual learning outcomes. Learners in SN had a highest rate of social interaction than the learners in the other environments. KN learners had a higher rate of allocentric elaboration than SN learners. SKN learners showed a higher level of surface and elaborative application, reflection, and knowledge construction outcomes than KN and SN learners. The different roles of social interactions were further discussed across three environments. (more…)

Publication on College Students’ Procrastinate in Online Courses

Cheng, S.L. & Xie, K. (2021). Why college students procrastinate in online courses: A self-regulated learning perspective. Internet and Higher Education, 50, 100807. DOI:

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine why college students procrastinated in online courses from a self-regulated learning perspective. A sample of 207 college students participated in this study. Using path modeling, the results showed that students’ perceived content relevance and technology usability indirectly predicted academic procrastination through the roles of task value and emotional cost. Conscientiousness was also an important predictor of academic procrastination. Perceived instructor engagement and peer interaction did not predict academic procrastination. These findings revealed that academic procrastination in online courses was a complex phenomenon and stemmed from the interrelationships between college students’ perceptions of learning context, personal characteristics, and motivational beliefs. Practical implications for addressing academic procrastination in online courses are discussed in this paper. (more…)

Publication on Students’ Technology Use in Classrooms

Nathan, H., Vongkulluksn, V.W., Xie, K., & Bowman, M. (2021). Cognitive tasks in the core content areas: Factors that influence students’ technology use in high-school classrooms. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. DOI:

Abstract: Prior studies have focused on general technology use and technology use in domain‐general applications and quantity of technology use. Recent evidence suggests that investigations should consider how technology is used in more contextually specific ways, including how technology is used for various cognitive tasks in specific classrooms. The purpose of this study was to examine the ways in which classroom content area and student goal orientation have a coordinated influence for how students used technology to support learning. The sample included high school students in a Midwestern state who were surveyed on their motivation and how they used technology to support learning. The study employed hierarchical linear modelling to examine how goal orientation and classroom content area predicted various levels of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Students who adopted mastery‐oriented goals were more likely to use technology for various cognitive tasks, especially those at higher levels of complexity. Lastly, the association between mastery goal orientation and some aspects of technology use was conditioned on content area, although effect sizes were small. This study showed that, overall, technology is used differentially across four core content areas. Students in mathematics classrooms used technology less, however much of technology use was evident at lower cognitive levels. Second, students’ goal orientation, and in particular their mastery goals influence how technology is used across content areas, and this is marginally conditioned on content area. Technology use should match the instructional context to maximize technology use and students’ goal orientation. (more…)

Hawk accepts assistant clinical professor position at TAMU

Congratulations to Dr. Nathan Hawk who has accepted an Assistant Clinical Professor position in Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture at Texas A&M University. Nathan is an OSU alumnus, who completed his doctoral work in 2021. His research focuses on the role of technology and technology integration into K-12 education and online learning, STEM, technology professional development, the role of technology for at-risk students and the role of instructional technology in charter schools. (more…)