Paving the way for LGBTQ youth towards positive youth development

Research on LGBTQ youth in a school setting have indicated that they are an at-risk population, attributable to negative outcomes including truancy, substance use, loneliness, and suicide. Flipping the narrative, this study explores the positive factors that are present surrounding LGBTQ youth.
Paving the way for LGBTQ youth towards positive youth development

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) population have been under the microscope across the world, as indicated by the various media outlets highlighting attacks targeting the LGBTQ population. Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN)’s national survey revealed that 92.6% of LGBTQ youth mentioned health concerns (e.g., depression, anxiety) as the main reason for not graduating high school, followed by academic (e.g., poor grades, absences), and safety concerns (e.g., hostile school climate, harassment, unsupportive peers and staff). 67% of the youth reported hearing homophobic comments in schools, 58% perceived a lack of safety as a result of their sexual orientation identity, and 43% perceived a lack of safety as a result of their gender identity and expression. Though much of the research on LGBTQ youth have been through risk- or harm-reduction lens (e.g., academic risks, social and emotional risks), this study attempts to focus on the positive systems surrounding LGBTQ youth.

The social support systems surrounding LGBTQ youth

The Ecological Systems Theory, as theorized by Urie Bronfenbrenner, views the individual’s development as a complex system of relationships across multiple systems surrounding the individual. As literature in this field typically examine systems of social support in isolation, this scoping review aims to provide a comprehensive search strategy to consolidate the research on the available social support systems for LGBTQ youth in schools. This study attempts to use the Ecological Systems Theory to shift the research to focus on a more relational, developmental systems perspective, acknowledging the interconnectedness of the systems and its associations to the individual.

Changing the narrative of social support: From passive recipients of support to opportunities and spaces for activism, skill learning, and engagement

Broadly, the following post touches upon two of the four research objectives:

  1. Identify and describe the current research on outcomes for LGBTQ youth, and
  2. Identify areas for future research for LGBTQ youth and social support in schools.

This study followed a scoping review design and reviewed 94 articles between 2007 through 2021. Data analysis involved both quantitative (e.g., frequency analysis) and qualitative (e.g., thematic analysis) methods, resulting in a multi-layered synthesis process that allowed for the identification of existing gaps in the literature.

Organized through the Ecological Systems Theory, social support can be defined as support that is provided across various systems related to LGBTQ youth, specifically the following seven identified systems: 1) family, 2) curriculum, 3) gay-straight alliances (GSAs, and other school programs), 4) peers, 5) school administrators and teachers, 6) school policies, and 7) school climate. Across the systems, there appeared to be a change in the narrative of social support where LGBTQ youth were moving away from being passive recipients of support to opportunities and spaces for activism, skill learning, and engagement. For example, in the family system, current research expanded beyond family acceptance and included active support through advocacy and allyship. This was similarly found in other support systems where providing social support for LGBTQ youth entailed the act of standing up, advocating, and challenging the LGBTQ-related issues present in schools and community. In the curriculum system, there was a push for a LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum to actively challenge and disrupt the homophobia and injustice present in schools. Within the GSAs, these were spaces that provided LGBTQ youth with skills and opportunities necessary to be active participants in fostering a LGBTQ-inclusive school environment. This research expanded on the change in narrative that may be an indication that social support is more than providing support to LGBTQ youth. Rather, social support includes opportunities for LGBTQ youth to take initiative to create change and develop skillsets to be successful in their school (i.e., both academic and social outcomes), aligned with more self-determined behaviours that lead youth to have a healthy and positive well-being.

A whole school approach to support LGBTQ youth: Future directions

An area of future research involves an exploration of methods to circumvent the larger sociopolitical context that limits the provision of LGBTQ support. One possible avenue to provide LGBTQ support can be under the guise of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This framework suggests the need to support all students, housing LGBTQ support under the need to support all diverse students. In the review, educators and other school staff were highlighted as one of the key support systems for LGBTQ youth. One of the identified themes within the educator system involved the inconsistency in showing support through their actions. Several of the themes highlighted how students perceived their school staff members (teachers, counselors, school psychologists, administration, principals) as being hesitant to discuss LGBTQ issues. By being hesitant and uncomfortable to teach LGBTQ issues, a norm of LGBTQ silence exists in the school environment. Therefore, educators and other school staff members need to be comfortable in being inclusive of all students through their actions. Effective actions students have mentioned include consistent intervention against LGBTQ-specific harassment, and opening dialogue on the importance of inclusion and acceptance (i.e., through a LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum). When students heard LGBTQ-inclusive topics in their classes, they felt an increased sense of safety. It is therefore important to have educators be comfortable and open to teach LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum to increase LGBTQ youths’ sense of safety.

Findings of this scoping review also indicate an intersectional nuance. Differences in perceived support varied based on the ethnicity/race and subpopulation of LGBTQ youth. Intersectionality should be taken into consideration as issues of gender, class, ability, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation/gender identity may influence how specific LGBTQ students experience social supports. This review endeavored to provide a positive outlook on LGBTQ youth’s school experiences by highlighting how these social support systems provide a space for LGBTQ youth to engage, as active participants, in opportunities to promote a positive and safe school climate for positive development.

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Innovation and Educational Technology: Analysis of the Most Current Trends

Digital transformation has been the main focus of action of most educational institutions in the last decade. Saykili (2019) states that “technologies of the 21st century have triggered dramatic changes in the ways people interact with content, communicate with one another and function in the society as well” (p. 1). The use of ICT advances (information and communication technologies) in education 4.0 is expected to play an important role (Halili, 2019), since incorporating the latest technological advances into the classroom can increase the effectiveness of the educational process (Karimov et al., 2017), due to the ubiquitous presence of information and the development and implementation of more dynamic training processes. Different studies underline the challenges of this technological transformation (Kandel, 2022; Marshall, 2018), including changes in infrastructure (Ntorukiri et al., 2022) and teacher training in educational technology (Liu, 2022; Ruiz-Palmero et al., 2021). However, it has been shown that some agents of the educational community (teachers, students and their families) do not have the adequate digital skills to use ICT intelligently (Guillén-Gámez et al., 2023), due to different reasons, among which the inability to keep up with technology, unfavorable physical conditions or lack of time to train (Şimşek & Ateş, 2022). To face this digital transformation, Prendes and Cerdán (2021) affirm that it is necessary to reflect on new methodologies and innovative teaching strategies that facilitate the teacher's assimilation of these transformations in the shortest possible time, and therefore, they are able to continue with a process of teaching and learning of the students, which responds to the demands of the labor market in the future. In order to implement this educational innovation, as successive Horizon reports have highlighted, teachers need to be equipped with relevant levels of digital competence to know how to manage mobile learning, virtual assistants and mixed reality (Alexander et al., 2019), in addition to more advanced technologies such as robotics, cybersecurity, big data or artificial intelligence (Pelletier et al., 2022). This technological diversity represents a new challenge. Currently, innovation is considered a basic factor of development in advanced countries. In the educational field, the incorporation of technology is not enough, but it is necessary to design pedagogical processes mediated by technologies (Gómez et al., 2019; Liu et al., 2020; Sánchez-Otero et al., 2019). In this context, González (2022) affirms that innovation is not directly related to scarce economic resources available to a minority, rather, it is possible to carry out innovative tasks without spending money, requiring adequate teacher training, who distinguishes and knows how to carry out and put into practice different methodologies adapted to the needs of their classrooms (De Haro, 2009). As a result of this, different questions arise: How to innovate in educational contexts based on the potential offered by ICT? How to improve the teaching-learning process of students with the help of digital resources? Is the educational community prepared to face these changes? The purpose of this Topical Collection is to delve into educational studies mediated by educational technology, hosting empirical research on the skills and competencies of members of the educational community, reviews and bibliometric analysis, as well as case studies. For this reason, we welcome studies that cover topics related to: -Analysis of the digital competences of the educational community (teachers, students, and family) -Use of digital educational resources (youtube, padlet, canva, genially…as educational resources) -Innovative methodologies through ICT resources (virtual and mixed reality, flipped classroom, gamification, scape room…) -Analysis and measures in relation to emerging technologies (cybersecurity, artificial intelligence...) that must be taken in educational centers. Political and ethical aspects that must be considered.

Alexander, B., Ashford-Rowe, K., Barajas-Murphy, N., Dobbin, G., Knott, J., McCormack, M., Pomerantz, J., Seilhamer, R., & Weber, N. (2019). EDUCAUSE Horizon Report: 2019 Higher Education Edition. Educause.

De Haro, J.J. (2009). Algunas experiencias de innovación educativa. ARBOR Ciencia, Pensamiento y Cultura, 175, 71-92.

Gómez Zermeño, M. G., Alemán de la Garza, L., Portuguez Castro, M., & Medina Labrador, M. (2019). Innovación educativa en estudios sobre el desarrollo y uso de la tecnología: una revisión sistemática de literatura. En M.S Ramírez, y J. R. Valenzuela (Eds.), Innovación educativa: tendencias globales de investigación e implicaciones prácticas (pp. 197-222). Octaedro.

González Calatayud, V. (2022). La innovación en Formación Profesional: el uso de las Escape Room. Innoeduca. International Journal of Technology and Educational Innovation, 8(1), 111-120.

Guillén-Gámez, F.D., Colomo-Magaña, E., Cívico-Ariza, A., Linde-Valenzuela, T. (2023). Which is the Digital Competence of Each Member of Educational Community to Use the Computer? Which Predictors Have a Greater Influence? Technology, Knowledge and Learning.

Halili, S. H. (2019). Technological advancements in education 4.0. The Online Journal of Distance Education and e-Learning, 7(1), 63-69.

Kandel, G. K. (2022). Integration of Information and Communication Technology in Education: The Opportunities and Challenges. Marsyangdi Journal, 3(1), 82-90.

Karimov, U. U Binda, J., & Štofková, K. R. (2017). Impact of information and communication technologies on improving the quality and effectiveness of the education process. In INTED2017 Proceedings (pp. 6916-6923). IATED.

Liu, D. (2022). The factors of enhancing Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) performance in engineering curriculum teaching. Discover Education, 1(1), 1-14.

Liu, Z. J., Tretyakova, N., Fedorov, V., & Kharakhordina, M. (2020). Digital literacy and digital didactics as the basis for new learning models development. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), 15(14), 4-18.

Marshall, S. J. (2018). Shaping the University of the Future. Springer. Ntorukiri, T. B., Kirugua, J. M., & Kirimi, F. (2022). Policy and infrastructure challenges influencing ICT implementation in universities: a literature review. Discover Education, 1(1), 19.

Pelletier, K., McCormack, M., Reeves, J., Robert, J., Arbino, N., Dickson-Deane, C., Guevara, C., Koster, L., Sánchez-Mendiola, M., Skallerup, L., & Stine, J. (2022). 2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report Teaching and Learning Edition (pp. 1-58). EDUC22.

Prendes Espinosa, M. P., & Cerdán Cartagena, F. (2021). Tecnologías avanzadas para afrontar el reto de la innovación educativa. RIED. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación a Distancia, 24(1), 35-53.

Ruiz-Palmero, J., Gámez, F. D. G., & Tomczyk, L. (2023). Permanent training as a predictor of success in the digital competence of Education teachers carrying out the online tutorial action. Revista Electrónica Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 26(1), 1-12.

Sánchez-Otero, M., García-Guiliany, J., Steffens-Sanabria, E., & Palma, H. H. (2019). Estrategias Pedagógicas en Procesos de Enseñanza y Aprendizaje en la Educación Superior incluyendo Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones. Información tecnológica, 30(3), 277-286.

Saykili, A. (2019). Higher education in the digital age: The impact of digital connective technologies. Journal of Educational Technology and Online Learning, 2(1), 1-15.

Şimşek, A. S., & Ateş, H. (2022). The extended technology acceptance model for Web 2.0 technologies in teaching. Innoeduca. International Journal of Technology and Educational Innovation, 8(2), 165-183.

Publishing Model: Open Access

Deadline: Apr 30, 2024

STEM Experiences in Education

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is the next step in order to solve some of the social and environmental problems of our world. All of them have a great weight for the worldwide economy. The objective of this Topical Collection is to improve the pedagogies of teachers and professors in STEM issues in order to provide society of the necessary skills needed for its future technological jobs. Secondly, this Topical Collection can solve some of the gender problems in STEM careers, helping girls to become future women to be involved in the future scientific and technical society. Finally, the last objectives are to help nations to define their theoretical framework of STEM education and to define several practical styles of this type of education in different levels (kindergarten, primary schools, high schools and universities).

Publishing Model: Open Access

Deadline: Jan 31, 2024