Research Articles (FSS-Edu)

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    University teachers' beliefs and constructivist teaching practices in blended learning courses in Tanzanian universities
    (International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 2018) Machumu, Harun; Zhu. Chang; DePryck, Koen
    The study examines the relationship between university teacher's beliefs and constructivist teaching practices (CTP) in blended learning environment (BLE) courses in Tanzanian universities. The study collects data from 211 teachers in BLE courses. The analyses involved descriptive statistics, correlational, the Mann-Whitney U-test, Kruskal-Wallis H-test and multiple linear regression. The findings revealed threefold. First, explicit engagement, supportive teaching and interactions were important aspects of CTP in BLE courses. Second, there were no statistically significant differences in teachers' beliefs about gender, academic rank, educational level and teaching experiences in BLE courses. And, third, there was a significant relationship between teachers' beliefs and CTP in BLE courses. Moreover, the findings indicate that teachers' beliefs predict their explicit engagement and supportive teaching are predictors of the beliefs of teachers who teach BLE courses. This study provides important implications and empirical evidence about the beliefs of the university teachers who teach BLE courses and their CTP
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    Students' conceptions of learning approaches and their engagement in blended learning environments
    (International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 2019) Machumu, Haruni; Zhu Chang
    Students employ diverse learning approaches when they are engaged in learning activities. Their choices on the type of approach to use are affected by many factors, including learning environments, instructional design and types of learning activities assigned. This study examines students' conceptions of learning approaches and their engagement in blended learning environments (BLEs). The study involved students from two universities in Tanzania. The study used descriptive statistics, correlations and multiple linear regression analyses. The results indicate that students hold compelling conceptions of surface approach compared to deep and strategic approaches in BLEs with a high level of engagement in BLE learning activities. The results further reveal that there was a significant negative relationship between students' conceptions of learning approaches and their engagement in BLE learning activities. The deep approach was a significant negative predictor for BLE learning activities while the surface approach was an insignificant negative predictor for BLE learning activities. The study proposes an appropriate redesign of BLE learning activities to encourage a deep learning approach by students
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    Effects of contract farming on production and income of sunflower farmers in Kongwa district in central agricultural zone of Tanzania
    (Mzumbe University, 2015) Mpeta, Daniel Fabiano
    This thesis undertakes to explore the effects of farming contracts on technical efficiency of production and incomes of smallholders in Kongwa District. Of great interest in the study is fact that, farming contracts examined involve sunflower crop, a low value crop which does not belong to conventional crops considered to be ideal crops for contract farming. Most contract crops as described in Prowse (2012) are often those which exhibit higher net return per hectare of land than staples; have high degree of perishability and require product homogeneity in their production, high hygiene, and safety requirement at the end market. They are crops such as vegetables, fruits, flowers, ornamentals, condiments and spices whose transactions costs in spot market are usually high (Temu&Temu, 2005; Prowse, 2012). Sunflower does not have such characteristics. It is an easy to grow crop, an indispensable edible crop, with low perishability and with many buyers. Econometric modeling is used to determine the contract effects on productivity and income of sunflower farmers. Considering contract farming as a governance form between smallholders and agri-business firms, the study uses a value chain approach to examine the role of contracting firms in coordination of trade relationships. A cross-sectional data set of 400 small-scale sunflower farmers in Kongwa District and chain survey data covering 7 sunflower processing firms based in Dodoma and Singida practicing contract farming are used. Results show that participating in contract farming lead to an average increase in technical efficiency of a farmer by 4.5 - 7.4 percent. Contract participation also increases land productivity of a famer.The expected output per acre of contract farm is 24% higher than non-contact farm. Similarly, contract farmers realize positive income effects from sunflower production. Results also show that innovativeness of firms and collaborations with Local Government Authorities, are a key to contract farming success. Promotion of contract farming could be done by e.g. providing improved services to contract firms and farmers such as by supporting the availability of improved seeds, and creating conducive contract farming laws and regulations.
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    Economics of climate change adaptation in smallholder rice production systems in Wami-Ruvu basin, Tanzania
    (taccire, 2014) Mugula, Victoria Jovin
    The aim of this study was to assess the economics of climate change adaptation in smallholder rice production systems. The study covered three smallholder rice production systems including irrigation, rainwater harvesting system and upland rainfed rice systems in Mvomero and Morogoro rural Districts. The specific objectives were: (i) To assess the perceptions of farmers on climate change impacts in different rice production systems, (ii) To analyse the determinants of rice productivity and profitability on land; (iii) To estimate the impact of climate change on net revenue from rice enterprise under different emission scenarios and iv) To estimate the costs and benefits of adaptations strategies in different rice production systems. The data for this study were collected using a structured household questionnaire that was administered to a random sample of 150 households composed of equal sub-samples from the three rice production systems. Descriptive and quantitative methods were used to analyze the data. Likert scale, an average production function based on Ordinary Least Square (OLS) estimation approach, Regression-based prediction and cost-benefits analysis were used in data analysis. Results indicated that smallholder farmers were aware of the impact of climate change by contributing to crop infestation and diseases, higher food costs and low yields. Irrigation was identified as the most preferable adaptation having higher net present value of Tshs 12 491 951/ha followed by rainwater harvesting Tshs 2 665 769 /ha and rainfed Tshs 1 199 253/ha. The cost-benefit ratios were 1.22; 1.14 and 1.16 in irrigated, rainfed and rain water harvesting systems, respectively. Therefore, the government and other private institutions should invest more in irrigation as it tends to boost up production during drought period or when there is low rainfall.
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    The relationship between student conceptions of constructivist learning and their engagement in constructivist based blended learning environments
    (International Journal of Learning Technology, 2017) Machumu, Haruni; Zhu ,Chang
    Emerging methodological and technological systems designed to accommodate students’ unprecedented demand and needs, which incorporate both in-class learning methods and digital technologies learning environments, invite students to engage in the given learning activities. This study investigated the relationship between students' conceptions of constructivist learning and their engagement in constructivist based blended learning environment (CBLE). A mixed research methods design was used to collect data from 722 students at the Mzumbe University, Tanzania. The results indicated a significant positive correlation between students' conceptions of constructivist learning and their engagement in CBLE. The results showed that students had positive conceptions of constructivist learning. The results offer significant contributions to constructivist educators and education stakeholders about what should be considered while encouraging student engagement in CBLE. The study concludes that students' conceptions are essential to the success of their learning in CBLE since their active constructivist engagement in diverse learning activities depends on their constructivist conceptions.
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    Reflection on e-learning system of the Mzumbe University in Tanzania: Successes, challenges and way forward
    (International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology., 2020) Ghasia, Mohamed; Machumu, Haruni; Zhu, Chang; DePryck, Koen
    This paper explores the historical background of the Mzumbe University (MU)'s approach to e-learning since its inception in 2009. It reflects on the successes and challenges; lessons learnt from the MU experience and recommends a way forward. The paper is based on case study research, making the use of observation and secondary data generated from previous e-learning utilisation reports. It discusses trends in e-learning system adoption, deployment, implementation and utilisation at the MU. Findings indicate that awareness of the e-learning system, adoption rate and use have been increasing, leading to significant results such as receiving extensive coverage in the university agenda such that campaigns on its utilisation have been evident. Moreover, the results show the existence of some critical challenges including limited Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) infrastructure, inadequate ICTs didactical skills among students and teachers, lack of technical expertise in digital content design and production, as well as over-reliance on the traditional philosophy of teaching and learning. Based on the findings, it is recommended to encourage continuous user support, going beyond uploading and downloading the University's strategic policies. Despite the observed e-learning successes, the MU is still in need of an adequate, advanced and quality range of 21st century teaching and learning skills among teachers and students.
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    Investigating students' perceptions of cognitive presence in relation to learner performance in blended learning courses: A mixed-methods approach
    (Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 2020) Almasi, Mustapha; Zhu, Chang
    Cognitive presence sustains the learning community through intellectual discourse. Previous studies have explored cognitive presence using mainly quantitative measures in relation to students' perceived learning. This study adopts a mixed-method approach to investigate students' perception of cognitive presence, its relationship with academic performance, and its manifestation in blended learning courses in selected Tanzanian universities. The study adds empirical evidence about the emerging blended learning courses. A total of 351 students were involved in the study. The findings show that students reported a high cognitive presence (mean = 3.9, SD = 0.51). Furthermore, cognitive presence predicted student performance. Qualitative data show that students explored information through interaction in group discussions and presentations, with the main push being questions from instructors (teaching presence). Students integrated and applied their knowledge by discussing among themselves, teaching others, and practicing what they had learned. Nevertheless, lack of prompts for feedback, time constraints and lack of confidence were linked with low levels of cognitive presence. The study concludes that students experience high cognitive presence, which predicts their academic performance. The findings imply that cognitive presence tends to influence student performance, regardless of the varying levels of its manifestation.
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    Students’ motivational factors and engagement strategies in constructivist: Based blended learning environments
    (Africa in Focus, 2018) Machumu, Haruni, Zhu Chang and Almasi,Mustapha
    Student motivation to learn is an essential component for the design, development and implementation of technology-mediated learning environments. Engagement learning strategies have been devised to assist students as they learn in a constructivist-based blended learning environment (CBLE). This study investigates the relationship between students’ motivational factors and their engagement learning strategies in a CBLE in Tanzanian Universities. Specifically, the study examines a) student motivational factors to learn, b) gender differences in motivational factors, and c) relates motivational factors with students’ engagement learning strategies. The study is built on theoretical foundations of engagement learning and constructivist-based blended learning. We used a self-report student motivational factors and engagement learning strategies survey (SMFELSs) to obtain data from 1010 undergraduate students from three universities. The results indicate that students are positively motivated to learn in CBLE. Our results also reveal that there is a statistically significant correlation between motivational factors and students’ engagement learning strategies. The results, on the one hand, enhance our understanding of students’ motivational factors to learn in a CBLE, and on the other hand expand knowledge on which student engagement learning strategies should be adopted and implemented in the context of challenging learning environments. Furthermore, the results are important for instructional designers, university teachers and curriculum developers. Our study further helps to improve the design of blended learning courses, constructivist learning environment and learning activities concerning students’ motivational factors and engagement learning strategies
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    Impacts of parental involvement in school activities on academic achievement of primary school children
    (International Journal of Education and Research, 2015) Kimaro, Anathe R & Machumu, Haruni
    The study explores the extent of parental involvement in school activities and its relationship with schooling process among primary school children. Parental involvement questionnaire and children academic questionnaire with two rating scales each were administered to 288 children and 125 teachers from six primary schools. The study found a positive significant relationship between parental involvement in school activities and children’s academic standing (r =.766, p<.01) and the provision of key school items related to schooling outcomes (r =.733, p<.01) respectively. Parents-teacher conferences and parent-teacher face-to-face contacts were perceived to be desirable modes of communications that impacts children’s school academic achievement.
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    Influence of leadership styles on teachers' job satisfaction: A case of selected primary schools in Songea and Morogoro Districts, Tanzania
    (International Journal of Educational Administration and Policy Studies., 2014) Machumu, Haruni J & Mafwimbo, Kaitila M.
    This study reports on the kind of school leadership style that best suits for promoting teachers' job satisfaction in primary schools in Tanzania. The study employed cross sectional research design with samples of 200 teachers from 20 selected primary schools in Songea and Morogoro districts. Interviews, documentary analysis and questionnaires were used to collect data. The data were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively using tables, frequencies and percentages. It was found that the democratic leadership style was the most dominant in best performing primary schools. It is therefore suggested that there is much to be learnt with democratic leadership style as a copying strategy in least performing primary schools. Moreover, level of teachers' job satisfaction was reportedly high in best performing schools compared to least performing schools. The findings commended that democratic leadership style is the one which promotes high teachers' job satisfaction among teachers in primary schools
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    Mathematics teachers’ use of whatsApp groups as a platform for continuous professional development in Tanzania
    (African Journal of Education (AJOTE), 2022) Ezekiel Jimmy , Kihwele and Mgata, Fred
    Updating mathematics teachers’ pedagogical skills and content knowledge is inevitable as the trend of students’ performance in Tanzania is alarming. Currently, social media have been one of the strategies for elevating mathematics teachers’ professional competencies through online learning communities. The study aimed at examining how mathematics teachers use Informal WhatsApp Groups (IWGs) as one of the social media for Continued Professional Development (CPD). Key study questions are what are the perceptions of mathematics teachers on the benefits of IWGs in CPD? How do mathematics teachers use IWGs for CPD-related activities? What are the challenges they encounter? And what Mathematics teachers recommend for better use of IWGs for CPD? Two IWGs were involved with a total of 54 mathematics teachers who are currently teaching in secondary schools. The open-ended questionnaire was shared in the IWGs, and members accepted to fill it. Ten members including those who have been in the IWGs for a longer period, those who frequently posted or asked questions, and group leaders were invited for interviews. The findings show that the IWGs have contributed to teachers developing their pedagogical skills and content knowledge through sharing experience, and materials and demonstrating teaching practices in video clips. The challenges include the problem of internet accessibility, inactiveness of members, and lack of effective criteria for evaluating the validity and reliability of information shared. The recommendation is for the authorities to set supportive policies and practices that will create enabling environments for mathematics teachers on CPD
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    Assessing the effect of curricula variation in mathematics teacher education on teaching competency
    (Journal of Research and Development (MJRD), 2023) Kihwele, Jimmy E. ; Mgata, Fred
    Curriculum development processes at universities are decentralized, resulting in varying subject-matter mastery levels among graduates. The paper examined the effect of teacher education curricula variation on mathematics teachers’ competencies. The study employed a case study design with 18 mathematics teacher graduates from nine teacher education institutions working in the Manyara region. The study used in-depth interviews, open-ended questionnaires, and documentary review methods to collect data. The findings revealed that despite mathematics teachers’ mastery of the subject matter, their competence slightly varied in some topics. There are mismatches between courses at different universities and topics in secondary schools that affect teaching competencies among teachers. Decentralized curriculum development at teacher training institutions results in dissonant curricula that produce different qualities in teachers. Despite various capacity-building mechanisms, teachers inadequately elevate their competencies. The study recommends the development of compulsory modules across teacher education institutions to reflect secondary curriculum requirements
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    Classroom support for students’ digital literacy skills for learning in Tanzania’s public universities
    (Development in Practice, 2022) Nalaila, Stephano ; Wawire, Violet; Mugo, Peter G.P
    This paper explores classroom support for students’ acquisition of digital literacy skills for learning at the University of Dar es Salaam and Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania. The paper contains qualitative data collected through questionnaires and informal discussions. The study found limited classroom support for students’ digital literacy skills for learning because instructors are not prepared for it. Teaching activities that instructors implement do not reflect the attributes of digital literacy skills students should possess. Therefore, the paper challenges universities to mainstream students’ digital literacy skills and train instructors to assume the skills support role
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    Students’ classroom use of information and communication technologies: Implication on their digital literacy skills in Tanzanian universities
    (Msing jouirnal of the Department of Educational Foundations, 2022) Nalaila,Stephano
    The current literature does not adequately account for the best ICT use practices and graduates’ digital literacy skills the Tanzania’s school system embrace. This paper provides some evidence about the academic use of ICT for learning and its implication on the level of digital literacy skills among students at University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Tanzania. The paper is a product of a typical qualitative study carried out to assess University’s ICT environment for students’ learning. The study used a multistage sampling approach to select a total of 654 students from undergraduate programmes in the selected Universities. Data was collected by using Questionnaires, Documentary review and Focus Group Discussions and analysed by using descriptive, thematic and contents analyses. The findings indicated that, students struggle to use ICTs for learning and their work outputs manifest some weaknesses which suggest a low level of digital literacy skills for learning. The highlights that, unless universities amplify their support for digital literacy skills among students and instructors, the use of ICTs for learning will be a cause of students’ disengagement in learning.
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    Understanding teacher educators’ perceptions and practices about ICT integration in teacher education program
    (Education Technology and Literacies: State of the Art), 2022) Ngao, Ayubu I, Sang Guoyuan and Kihwele, Jimmy E.
    This study explored the perceptions and practices of teacher educators in integrating information and communication Technology (ICT) in teacher education programs. The study adopted a phenomenological design under the qualitative research approach that included eighteen selected participants from a teacher education university college. Data collection employed semi-structured interviews, observations, and documentary reviews. The authors adopted the Braun and Clarke (2006) thematic analysis model for data analysis. The findings showed that while young and inexperienced teachers showed readiness to use ICT, some teacher educators do not understand the logic behind using technology and hence question the rationale for applying it to their teaching. At the same time, equipment challenges, large teaching burdens, and time limits were the critical barriers to integration. Again, the findings revealed that teacher educators use different software and learning platforms, use social media, gather online information, and access learning materials through journal subscriptions to enhance preservice teachers’ learning. Thus, integrating ICT during teacher training is paramount, and teacher educators should be assisted and encouraged to develop positive attitudes in learning and to apply ICT in their teaching practices. Concomitantly, equipping preservice teachers with ICT-based pedagogical skills, not only through specialized ICT courses, but also through observing how teacher educators use it, has a significant impact on transforming teaching practices in their future classrooms.
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    Teaching in the age of covid-19:1 year later testmonials
    (Postdigital science and education article, 2021) Petar Jandrić, David Hayes, Paul Levinson, Line Lisberg Christensen, Happiness Onesmo Lukoko, Jimmy Ezekiel Kihwele, James Benedict Brown, Charles Reitz, Peter Mozelius, Harry G. Nejad, Ana Fuentes Martinez, Janine Aldous Arantes, Liz Jackson, Ulrika Gustafsson, Sandra Abegglen, Tom Burns, Sandra Sinfield, Michael Hogan, Pallavi Kishore, Paul R. Carr, Ivana Batarelo Kokić, Paul Prinsloo, Dennis Grauslund, Anne Steketee, Charlotte Achieng-Evensen, Blessing Funmi Komolafe, Juha Suoranta, Nina Hood, Marek Tesar, Jennifer Rose, Niklas Humble, James D. Kirylo, Julia Mañero, Lilia D. Monzó, Mikkel Lodahl, Jimmy Jaldemark, Susan M. Bridges, Navreeti Sharma, Jacob Davidsen, Jānis (John) Ozoliņš, Peter Bryant, Carlos Escaño, Jones Irwin, Kulpreet Kaur, Sarah Pfohl, Kevin Stockbridge, Thomas Ryberg, Olli Pyyhtinen, Suzanne SooHoo, Moses Kayode Hazzan, Jake Wright, Stephanie Hollings, Sonja Arndt, Andrew Gibbons, Shreya Urvashi, Daniella J. Forster, Ian Truelove, Peter Mayo, Glenn Rikowski, Paul Alexander Stewart, Michael Jopling, Georgina Tuari Stewart, Rachel Buchanan, Nesta Devine, Richa Shukla, Rene Novak, Madhav Mallya, Eva Biličić, Sean Sturm, Sahar D. Sattarzadeh, Abey P. Philip, Bridgette Redder, E. Jayne White, Derek R. Ford, Quaylan Allen, Mousumi Mukherjee & Sarah
    In March 2020 I published the ‘emergency editorial’ in Post digital Science and Education and invited the community to ‘explore all imaginable aspects of this large social experiment that the Covid-19 pandemic has lain down in front of us’ (Jandrić 2020a: 237). Articles immediately started pouring in; within weeks, the journal’s contributions had been recognized by institutions such as the World Health Organization, the US National Library of Medicine’s Nature Public Health Emergency Collection, and UNESCO (see Jandrić 2021 for details). After publication of the October 2020 issue of Post digital Science and Education, Footnote1 consisting of almost 60 articles on the Covid-19 pandemic, the first wave of pandemic research has wound down. As it has become obvious that Covid-19 is here to stay, research on immediate Covid-19 experiences and responses slowly gives way to research which ‘reaches beyond the pandemic to the point where the pandemic experience is transformed from an object of research to an intrinsic part of our theories, approaches, research methodologies, and social struggles’ (Jandrić 2021: 262)
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    Promoting students’ interest and achievement in mathematics through “King and Queen of Mathematics” initiative
    (Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning , 2022) Kihwele, Jimmy E ; Mkomwa, Jamila
    Purpose The study explored the impact of the King and Queen of Mathematics Initiative (KQMI) in promoting students’ interest in learning mathematics and improving their achievement. The specific objectives of the study focused on the impact of the initiative in promoting interest in mathematics, assessing the contribution of the initiative to students’ achievements and investigating challenges encountered by the initiative. Design/methodology/approach The study used a case study design with a mixed-method approach. One ward secondary school was involved. The sample size was N = 79, where 77 were grade three students in a science class and two teachers. Data collection involved documentary review, observation and interviews. Data analysis employed both content analysis and a dependent t-test to determine the effect size of the initiative. Findings The findings revealed that KQMI had a significant impact on improving performance in mathematics among students (t (71) = −7.917, p < 0.05). The study also showed that male students improved their performance more than their counterparts throughout the KQMI. The mathematics teacher revealed that students still need assistance to solve mathematical questions with different techniques to develop the expected competencies. Research limitations/implications. The initiative was conducted only in one school, limiting the findings’ generalization. Also, the innovation faced different challenges, such as accessing adequate resources and students with little knowledge of mathematics, which the initiative aimed to address. Practical implications Pedagogical innovations enhance the promotion of students’ interest in learning mathematics and hence improve their performance. Also, through pedagogical innovations, teachers improve their teaching skills and practices from students’ feedback. Originality/value The KQMI is a new pedagogical innovation modified from the existing innovations such as game-based method, task design, mobile learning and mathematics island
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    Teaching in the age of covid‑19
    (Postdigital Science and Education Article Teaching in the Age of Covid-19 TESTIMONIALS Published: 07 August 2020 Volume 2, pages 1069–1230, (2020), 2020) Kihwele, Jimmy E al, 2020
    After several months of personal journey towards accepting that the coronavirus pandemic is real (see Jandrić 2020a, b), in early March, it dawned on me that the pandemic does not need only so-called essential workers. Self-quarantined after returning from abroad weeks before the Croatian government locked down the country, I immediately wrote an editorial for Post digital Science and Education and argued that ‘While doctors, nurses, politicians, food suppliers, and many other brave people self-sacrifices to support our daily survival, this editorial argues that academics have a unique opportunity, and a moral duty, to immediately start conducting in-depth studies of current events.’ (Jandrić 2020c: 234)I had no idea how to even approach these studies, yet I had a strong feeling that something needed to be done urgently. So, I just did what I know best and issued calls for 3 different types of Covid-19-related material to be published in Post digital Science and Education: short testimonies, longer commentary articles, and full-length original articles. I had no idea how much material I would receive, what this material would look like, and what I would do with this material. I just had a deep gut feeling that we are witnessing a unique time in human history, a once-in-a-lifetime event, that needs to be recorded as it unfolds. For better or for worse, I decided to follow that feeling. This general vision, without a clear idea of what I was doing, paved a bumpy road for the development of this collection. On 17 March 2020, I shared the Call for Testimonies on Post digital Science and Education social network sites and I emailed it to the journal’s mailing list. Based on my previous experience with similar calls, I expected to receive 10 to 15 contributions and produce a standard-length collective article aiming at post digital dialogue (Jandrić et al. 2019) about the pandemic. Yet my call went ‘viral’, at least for academic standards, and a couple of weeks later,
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    Factors influencing the implementation of the lesson study approach in pre-service teacher education in Tanzania
    (Gitaya centre for Academic Research and dissemination(G-CARD), 2023) Kihwele, Jimmy E ; Mwamakula E N
    Teachers' education programs inadequately produce highly knowledgeable and competent teachers to support quality education. The situation necessitates plans to ensure the availability of systemic and continuous teacher professional development. This study explored factors influencing the implementation of lesson study in pre-service teacher education for continuous professional development. The data collection involved observation of classroom teaching with 72 students and Indepth interviews that purposively. selected ten respondents from the class. Analysis involved content analysis. The findings show that collaboration and teamwork among pre-service teachers influenced the implementation of lesson study in a positive way while time requirement, negative perception and their seclusion behavior affected it negatively. The lesson study approach benefits pre-service teachers in igniting innovative and creative pedagogy compared to block teaching practices. The study recommends that future studies should consider the improvised solutions to existing challenges to enable the systemic implementation of lesson study in pre-service teacher education programs for professional development.