Workshop

Shifting Mindsets: A Study of a First-year Implementation of "New Technology High School"

This grant examines the changes teachers and students go through in their first year of implementing a New Technology High School project-based curriculum for ninth graders in two high schools. This first year of implementation is part of a phased-in implementation for subsequent grades. The NTHS approach calls for moving from more traditional approaches to mathematics and science education to project-based curricula that posits mathematics and science in the context of real-world issues and problems.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0738247
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2007 to Sat, 07/31/2010

National Symposium on K-12 Engineering Education

This project holds a workshop to disseminate the findings of a privately-funded, two-year study of the status and nature of efforts to teach engineering to U.S. K-12 students. The symposium and other dissemination activities inform key stakeholders about the role and potential of engineering as an element of K-12 STEM education and also inform the programmatic activities of organizations and individuals concerned about engineering education.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0935879
Funding Period: 
Mon, 06/15/2009 to Tue, 11/30/2010

Exploring Content Standards for Engineering Education in K-12

This project is assessing the potential value and feasibility of developing and implementing content standards for K-12 engineering education. The project is reviewing existing efforts to define what students should know; identifying elements of existing standards for related content areas that could link to engineering; considering how purposes for engineering education might affect content and implementation of standards; and suggesting changes to policies, programs, and practices necessary to develop and implement engineering standards.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733584
Funding Period: 
Mon, 10/01/2007 to Wed, 03/31/2010

Enhanced Earth System Teaching Through Regional and Local (ReaL) Earth Inquiry

The ReaL Earth Inquiry project empowers teachers to employ real-world local and regional Earth system science in the classroom. Earth systems science teachers need the pedagogic background, the content, and the support that enables them to engage students in asking real questions about their own communities. The project is developing online "Teacher-Friendly Guides" (resources), professional development involving fieldwork, and inquiry-focused approaches using "virtual fieldwork experiences."  

Award Number: 
0733303
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2007 to Sat, 07/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
BridgeWater Education Consulting LLC
Full Description: 

This recruitment and informational video provides an overview of the ReaL Earth Inquiry Project. 

Accessing Science Ideas: Enhancing Curriculum to Support Scientific Reasoning of Students with Learning Disabilities

The Accessing Science Ideas (ASI) project is developing and researching content enhancements that support science learning of middle school students with executive function and related learning disabilities.  The goal of ASI research is to measure the extent to which curricular units with content enhancements lead to increased student understanding of science concepts, improved reasoning, and greater confidence.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822039
Funding Period: 
Fri, 08/15/2008 to Tue, 07/31/2012
Full Description: 

The Accessing Science Ideas (ASI) project is developing and researching content enhancements that support science learning of middle school students with executive function and related learning disabilities. These content enhancements are being designed for and integrated into two Full Option Science System (FOSS) curriculum units, Diversity of Life and Populations and Ecosystems. The goal of ASI research is to measure the extent to which curricular units with content enhancements lead to increased student understanding of science concepts, improved reasoning, and greater confidence for all students in an inclusive science classroom.  However, we anticipate that the students with executive function challenges who find it particularly difficult to organize and remember information, shift between concrete phenomena and abstract concepts and see relationships among ideas will benefit most.

Content enhancements are instructional strategies and materials that do not change content but rather ‘enhance’ it by making it accessible to all learners. They make ideas more explicit, prompt elaboration, involve students in transforming the information, and make concepts, ideas, and their relationships more concrete.  In this project, we design, pilot, and revise our content enhancements for each unit prior to the field test. 

The study employs an experimental design with randomization at the teacher level.  Teachers in the intervention are provided with training and then use content enhancements while those in the control group teach the FOSS unit as they typically would.  The control group receives training and the content enhancements at the conclusion of the research phase.

Dynamic Geometry in Classrooms

This project is conducting repeated randomized control trials of an approach to high school geometry that utilizes Dynamic Geometry (DG) software and supporting instructional materials to supplement ordinary instructional practices. It compares effects of that intervention with standard instruction that does not make use of computer drawing tools.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918744
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Sat, 08/31/2013
Project Evaluator: 
Ed Dickey
Full Description: 

The project is conducting repeated randomized control trials of an approach to high school geometry that utilizes dynamic geometry (DG) software and supporting instructional materials to supplement ordinary instructional practices.  It compares effects of that intervention with standard instruction that does not make use of computer drawing/exploraction tools. The basic hypothesis of the study is that use of DG software to engage students in constructing mathematical ideas through experimentation, observation, data recording, conjecturing, conjecture testing, and proof results in better geometry learning for most students. The study tests that hypothesis by assessing student learning in 76 classrooms randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Student learning is assessed by a geometry standardized test, a conjecturing-proving test, and a measure of student beliefs about the nature of geometry and mathematics in general. Teachers in both treatment and control groups receive relevant professional development, and they are provided with supplementary resource materials for teaching geometry. Fidelity of implementation for the experimental treatment is monitored carefully. Data for answering the several research questions of the study are analyzed by appropriate HLM methods. Results will provide evidence about the effectiveness of DG approach in high school teaching, evidence that can inform school decisions about innovation in that core high school mathematics course. The main research question of the project is: Is the dynamic geometry approach better than the business-as-usual approach in facilitating the geometric learning of our students (and more specifically our economically disadvantaged students) over the course of a full school year?

The main resources/products include geometry teachers’ professional development training materials, suggested dynamic geometry instructional activities to supplement current high school geometry curriculum, instruments such as Conjecturing-Proving Test, Geometry Belief Instrument, Classroom Observation Protocols, DG Implementation Questionnaire and Student Interview Protocols. 

The general plan for the four-year project is as follows:

Year 1: Preparation (All research instruments, professional development training and resource materials, recruitment and training of participants, etc.); 

Year 2: The first implementation of the dynamic geometry treatment, and related data collection and initial data analysis; 

Year 3: The second implementation of the DG treatment, and related data collection and data analysis; 

Year 4: Careful and detailed data analysis and reporting.

We are now in project year 3. Data are collected for the second implementation of the DG treatment. For data collected during project year 2, some initial analysis (the analysis on the geometry pretest and posttest data and the psychometric analysis on the project developed instruments) has been conducted. More thorough analysis of the collected data is still on going. The analysis on the geometry test shows that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group on geometry performance.

The evaluation will be implemented throughout the project’s four-year duration, with an evolving balance of formative and summative evaluation activities.  In the project’s first three years, the evaluation will emphasize formative functions, designed to inform the project research team of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the research design and execution, and target corrections and improvements of the research components. Summative evaluation activities will also take place in these years with the collection of data on student achievement and teacher change. Evaluation activities for year 4 will focus on the summative evaluation of the project’s accomplishment and especially its impact on participating teachers and students. Evaluation reports will be issued annually with a final summative report presented at the end of year 4.

The research results will be disseminated via the following efforts: 1) Creating and constantly updating the project web site; 2) Publishing the related research articles in research journals such as Journal for Research in Mathematics Education; 3) Presenting at state, regional, national, and international research and professional meetings; 4) Meeting with state and local education agencies, schools, and mathematics teacher educators at other universities for presenting the research findings and using the DG approach in more schools and more mathematics teacher education programs; and 5) Contacting more school districts, with a view to developing relationships and ties that would smooth the way to disseminate the research results.

Integrating Computing Across the Curriculum (ICAC): Incorporating Technology into STEM Education Using XO Laptops

This project builds and tests applications tied to the school curriculum that integrate the sciences with mathematics, computational thinking, reading and writing in elementary schools. The investigative core of the project is to determine how to best integrate computing across the curriculum in such a way as to support STEM learning and lead more urban children to STEM career paths.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
1404467
Funding Period: 
Sat, 08/01/2009 to Sun, 07/31/2011
Project Evaluator: 
Leslie Cooksy - Univ. of Delaware
Full Description: 

Computer access has opened an exciting new dimension for STEM education; however, if computers in the classroom are to realize their full potential as a tool for advancing STEM education, methods must be developed to allow them to serve as a bridge across the STEM disciplines. The goal of this 60-month multi-method, multi-disciplinary ICAC project is to develop and test a program to increase the number of students in the STEM pipeline by providing teachers and students with curricular training and skills to enhance STEM education in elementary schools. ICAC will be implemented in an urban and predominantly African American school system, since these schools traditionally lag behind in filling the STEM pipeline. Specifically, ICAC will increase computer proficiency (e.g., general usage and programming), science, and mathematics skills of teachers and 4th and 5th grade students, and inform parents about the opportunities available in STEM-centered careers for their children.

The Specific Aims of ICAC are to:

SA1. Conduct a formative assessment with teachers to determine the optimal intervention to ensure productive school, principal, teacher, and student participation.

SA2. Implement a structured intervention aimed at (1) teachers, (2) students, and (3) families that will enhance the students’ understanding of STEM fundamentals by incorporating laptops into an inquiry-based educational process.

SA3. Assess the effects of ICAC on:

a. Student STEM  engagement and performance.

b. Teacher and student computing specific confidence and utilization.

c. Student interest in technology and STEM careers.

d. Parents’ attitudes toward STEM careers and use of computers.

To enable us to complete the specific aims noted above, we have conducted a variety of project activities in Years 1-3. These include:

  1. Classroom observations at the two Year 1 pilot schools
  2. Project scaling to 6 schools in Year 2 and 10 schools in Year 3
  3. Semi-structured school administrator interviews in schools
  4. Professional development sessions for teachers
  5. Drafting of curriculum modules to be used in summer teacher institutes and for dissemination
  6. In-class demonstration of curriculum modules
  7. Scratch festivals each May
  8. Summer teacher institutes
  9. Student summer camps
  10. Surveying of teachers in summer institutes
  11. Surveying of teachers and students at the beginning and end of the school year
  12. Showcase event at end of student workshops

The specific ICAC activities for Years 2-5 include:

  • Professional development sessions (twice monthly for teachers), to integrate the ‘best practices’ from the program.
  • Working groups led by a grade-specific lead teacher. The lead teacher for each grade in each school will identify areas where assistance is needed and will gather the grade-specific cohort of teachers at their school once every two weeks for a meeting to discuss the progress made in addition to challenges to or successes in curricula development.  
  • ICAC staff and prior trained teachers will visit each class monthly during the year to assist the teachers and to evaluate specific challenges and opportunities for the use of XOs in that classroom.  
  • In class sessions at least once per month (most likely more often given feedback from Teacher Summer Institutes) to demonstrate lesson plans and assist teachers as they implement lesson plans.
  • ICAC staff will also hold a joint meeting of administrators of all target schools each year to assess program progress and challenges. 
  • Teacher Summer Institutes – scaled-up to teachers from the new schools each summer to provide training in how to incorporate computing into their curriculum.
  • Administrator sessions during the Teacher Summer Institutes; designed to provide insight into how the laptops can facilitate the education and comprehension of their students in all areas of the curriculum, discuss flexible models for physical classroom organization to facilitate student learning, and discussions related to how to optimize the use of computing to enhance STEM curricula in their schools.  Student Summer Computing Camps – designed to teach students computing concepts, make computing fun, and enhance their interest in STEM careers.  
  • ICAC will sponsor a yearly showcase event in Years 2-5 that provides opportunities for parents to learn more about technology skills their children are learning (e.g., career options in STEM areas, overview of ICAC, and summary of student projects). At this event, a yearly citywide competition among students also will be held that is an expanded version of the weeklong showcase event during the student summer camps.
  • Surveying of students twice a year in intervention schools.
  • Surveying of teachers at Summer Institutes and then at the end of the academic year.
  • Coding and entry of survey data; coding of interview and observational data.
  • Data analysis to examine the specific aims (SA) noted above:
    • The impact of ICAC on teacher computing confidence and utilization (SA 3.b).
    • Assess the effects of (1) teacher XO training on student computing confidence and utilization (SA 3.b), (2) training on changes in interest in STEM careers (SA 3.c), and (3) XO training on student engagement (SA 3.a).
    • A quasi-experimental comparison of intervention and non-intervention schools to assess intervention effects on student achievement (SA 3.a).
    • Survey of parents attending the yearly ICAC showcase to assess effects on parental attitudes toward STEM careers and computing (SA 3.d).

The proposed research has the potential for broad impact by leveraging technology in BCS to influence over 8,000 students in the Birmingham area. By targeting 4th and 5th grade students, we expect to impact STEM engagement and preparedness of students before they move into a critical educational and career decision-making process. Further, by bolstering student computer and STEM knowledge, ICAC will impart highly marketable skills that prepare them for the 81% of new jobs that are projected to be in computing and engineering in coming years (as predicted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics).3 Through its formative and summative assessment, ICAC will offer intellectual merit by providing teachers throughout the US with insights into how computers can be used to integrate the elementary STEM curriculum. ICAC will develop a model for using computers to enhance STEM education across the curriculum while instilling a culture among BCS schools where computing is viewed as a tool for learning.

(Previously listed under Award # 0918216)

Improving Teacher Preparation and Student Learning through Physics Education Research

This project develops resources to facilitate the involvement of college and university physics departments in the professional development of K-12 teachers of physics and physical science. Research investigates how students and teachers learn content and reasoning skills for applying concepts to real world situations; how teachers can learn content in a way that helps them promote student learning; and how teachers can learn to assess student understanding in a way that promotes student learning.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733276
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/15/2007 to Fri, 08/31/2012

Building on Cross-national Comparisons to Improve the Preparation and Support of Teachers of Mathematics

This bilateral workshop examines the preparation of mathematics teachers in the United States and China. It will initiate knowledge exchanges among teacher educators in both countries and forge a joint research agenda. Objectives include increasing the comparative knowledge base in both nations about promising practices in and existing challenges to mathematics teacher preparation and mathematics instruction, and promoting the exchange of ideas and exploration of questions and points for possible collaborative research in mathematics education.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0738019
Funding Period: 
Thu, 05/01/2008 to Sun, 10/31/2010
Full Description: 

This award supports a bilateral workshop to examine the preparation of mathematics teachers in the United States and in China. The workshop is co-organized by The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Graduate School of Education (GSE) and two partner institutions in China, Beijing Normal University (BNU) and East China Normal University (ECNU). The workshop will initiate knowledge exchanges among teacher educators in both countries and forge a joint research agenda. Specific objectives include a) increasing the comparative knowledge base in both nations about promising practices in and existing challenges to mathematics teacher preparation and mathematics instruction, and b) promoting the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and the exploration of questions and points for possible international collaborative research in mathematics education. Major activities include an expert s workshop at Penn GSE in Philadelphia (fall 2008) and structured exchanges between nationally recognized master middle school teachers from both countries. The exchange includes 15 U.S. early-career researchers and 5 graduate students in mathematics education.

TECT: Teaching Engineering to Counselors and Teachers

This project is developing, testing, and evaluating a diversity-enhanced, STEM-based, professional development workshop for high school teachers and career guidance counselors. The project team is developing educational materials and running workshops that focus on pedagogical methods for incorporating hands-on activities into STEM classrooms in order to expose all students to technology and engineering. The long-term goal is to broaden and increase the diversity of students entering engineering-based college degree programs.

Award Number: 
0554405
Funding Period: 
Mon, 05/01/2006 to Fri, 04/30/2010

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