Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs


Nicholas Kvam

Publication Date



It is often difficult for teachers to support students to engage at a consequential level. The purpose of this study is to explore how learners orient themselves in learning environments and how this can support consequential engagement. I report on analyses that focus specifically on orienteering and orienting framing of learners in new environments, and contrast this with a traditional classroom in which teacher directing dominated. This study includes four cases. The first case involves a teacher using a starter at the beginning of class to review a science concept. The second case involves students using manipulatives as a way to learn about compounds and molecular elements (n=4). The third case also uses manipulatives, but in this case the students learn how to balance chemical equations (n=4). Participants from the second and third cases include students from a university chemistry course that has been designed for students at-risk' of failing. The fourth case involves a teacher using immersive, interactive projection technology to teach arithmetic and geometric sequences (n= 9). Participants include students from a math pre-service teacher education course at the university level. Interaction analysis of video records was conducted using the software program Comic Life 2. In this study I explore: • What frames of instructional and learning sequences support students to engage procedurally, conceptually, and consequentially? How might the metaphor of orienteering, orienting, and directing make these frames clear? • How might immersive, interactive technology disrupt a directing frame? This analysis revealed multiple frames of instructional and learning sequences, including directing, orienting and orienteering. Directing is teacher-led and has very little room for student input. Orienting is more student-led, where the teacher guides the students in their understanding. Orienteering is student-led, where the students work together to create their own understanding. As a comparison, videos from a traditional middle school science classroom demonstrate teacher directing. Based on analysis, I infer that orienteering invites generative activity and negotiating, but might not on its own result in learning. When followed up with orienting, however, the resultant engagement observed was conceptual. In contrast, directing tended to invite only procedural engagement. However, despite the use of directing in the immersive, interactive projection case, consequential engagement was observed; immersive, interactive projection provided a disruption — meaning it disrupted patterns of habituated practices-- that supported students to engage in a consequential manner. This study has implications for both instruction and curriculum design. If teachers want to see at least conceptual engagement, they should support students to first orienteer themselves and then later orient them. This study also has implications for further research. We don't know why the immersive, interactive projection provided this disruption and further research is needed. Finally, the study has methodological implications for using Comic Life 2 for doing interaction analysis.


Education, Engagement, STEM, Orienteering

Document Type




Degree Name

Secondary Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Advisor

Svihla, Vanessa

Second Advisor

Tyson, Kersti

First Committee Member (Chair)

Justin, Boyle