Cognitive Science

Designing Tools for Developing Minds: The Role of Child Development in Educational Technology

Author/Presenter: 
Amanda Strawhacker
Dylan Portelance
Melissa Lee
Marina Bers
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2015
Resource Type: 
Publication

In today’s world, in which technology is playing an increasingly growing role in the lives of children, computer literacy and technological fluency are becoming a necessary national standard. However, developing character traits that serve children to use new tools in a safe way to communicate and connect with others, and providing opportunities for children to envision a better world through the use of technology is just as important. The DevTech Research Group is concerned with developing technologies, interventions, and evaluations within the framework of children’s positive technological development. This paper presents key design principles for researchers investigating educational best practices in technology-rich learning environments.

Strawhacker, A., Portelance, D., Lee, M., & Bers, M.U. (2015). Designing Tools for Developing Minds: The role of child development in educational technology. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '15). ACM, Boston, MA, USA.

How to better understand the diverse mathematical thinking of learners

Author/Presenter: 
Jessica Hunt
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2015
Resource Type: 
Publication

In this article Jessica Hunt explores the use of clinical interviews to gain a deep understanding of students' knowledge. Examples of clinical interviews are provided and advice for planning, giving and interpreting the results of interviews is also included.

Hunt, J.H. (2015). How to better understand the diverse mathematical thinking of learners. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 20(2), 15-21.

Exploratory Study of Informal Strategies for Equal Sharing Problems of Students With Learning Disabilities

Author/Presenter: 
Jessica Hunt
Susan Empson
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2014
Resource Type: 
Publication

Little to no information exists explaining the nature of conceptual gaps in understanding fractions for students with learning disabilities (LD); such information is vital to practitioners seeking to develop instruction or interventions. Many researchers argue such knowledge can be revealed through student’s problem-solving strategies. Despite qualitative differences in thinking and representation use in students with LD that may exist, existing frameworks of student’s strategies for solving fraction problems are not inclusive of students with LD. This exploratory study extends existing literature by documenting the strategies students with LD use when solving fraction problems. Clinical interviews were conducted with 10 students across the third, fourth, and fifth grades (N = 10). Results indicate students with LD used similar strategies as previously reported in research involving non-LD students, although the dominant strategy utilized was less advanced and the range of strategy use was relatively compact. Researchers suggest the nature of conceptual gaps students with LD display in their understanding of fractions originates from a malleable source. Implications for instruction and assessment are presented.

Hunt, J.H. and Empson, S. (2014). Exploratory Study of Informal Strategies for Equal Sharing Problems of Students With Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 38(4), 208-220. 

Levels of participatory conceptions of fractional quantity along a purposefully sequenced series of equal sharing tasks: Stu's trajectory

Author/Presenter: 
Jessica Hunt
Arla Westenskow
Juanita Silva
Jasmine Welch-Ptak
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2016
Resource Type: 
Publication

Current intervention research in special education focuses on children's responsiveness to teacher modeled strategies and not conceptual development within children's thinking. As a result, there is a need for research that provides a characterization of key understandings (KUs) of fractional quantity evidenced by children with learning disabilities (LD) and how growth of conceptual knowledge may occur within these children's mathematical activity. This case study extends current literature by presenting KUs of fractional quantity, evidenced through problem solving strategies, observable operations, and naming/quantification of one fifth grader with LD before, during, and after seven instructional sessions situated in equal sharing. The researchers utilized a characterization of evolving fraction conceptions developed from research of children without disabilities that was ultimately productive in facilitating conceptual advances of the child with LD. We hypothesize that the trajectory of the child's conceptions is a case of something more general. Pending future research, the trajectory may be a useful tool to practitioners wishing to plan thoughtful, conceptually-based fraction instruction that is responsive to all children's evolving conceptions of fractions as quantities built through their own mathematical activity.

Hunt, J.H., Westenskow, A., Silva, J., & Welch-Ptak, J. (2016).  Levels of participatory conceptions of fractional quantity along a purposefully sequenced series of equal sharing tasks: Stu's trajectory.  Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 41, 45-67.

First Name: 
Christina Bosch
LinkedIn URL: 
https://www.linkedin.com/in/boschchristina
Professional Title: 
Doctoral Student
About Me (Bio): 
Christina Bosch is a PhD Candidate in Special Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She researches the unique conditions of the education system within the juvenile justice system, especially in relation to the learners with disabilities and science education targeted in the NSF DRK-12 Project RAISE. Related research interests include understanding the motivation to learn science and pursue science related careers among students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, using universal design for learning (UDL) and user experience design (UXD) to develop inquiry science curricula and teacher professional development, as well as employing art and technology mediated learning across the content areas. Her ultimate goal is to advance research and development that improves outcomes for marginalized learners. Prior to her doctoral studies, Bosch worked as an instructional designer at CAST, as an academic mentor for at-risk youth in Boston, and as a special education teacher in Washington, DC.

A Pilot Meta-Analysis of Computer-Based Scaffolding in STEM Education

Author/Presenter: 
Brian R. Belland
Andrew E. Walker
Megan Whitney Olsen
Heather Leary
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2015
Resource Type: 
Publication

This paper employs meta-analysis to determine the influence of computer-based scaffolding characteristics and study and test scorequality on cognitive outcomes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education at the secondary, college, graduate, and adult levels. Results indicate that (a) computer-based scaffolding positively influences learning (g=0.53), (b) studies with zero threats to internal validity had lower effect sizes than studies with two threats, (c) studies with one threat to external validity had higher effect sizes than studies with zero threats, (d) studies with no fading had higher effect sizes than studies with fixed fading, and (e) students performed better when using conceptual scaffolds than with metacognitive scaffolds. There were no differences based on study design, generic vs. specific, paired intervention, assessment level, or intended learning outcome. Meta-regression indicated that fading or lack thereof explained 30% of the variability in outcomes. The significance of this paper lies in its potential to steer scaffold designers away from fixed fading and metacognitive scaffolds, and toward studying scaffolding in authentic contexts, rather than laboratories. Furthermore, this study indicates that a more comprehensive scaffolding meta-analysis is warranted. Belland, B. R., Walker, A. E., Olsen, M. W., & Leary, H. (2015). A Pilot Meta-Analysis of Computer-Based Scaffolding in STEM Education. Educational Technology and Society, 18(1), 183-197.

First Name: 
Jonathan Vitale
LinkedIn URL: 
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jonathan-vitale
Professional Title: 
Postdoctoral Scholar
About Me (Bio): 
Jonathan Vitale is a postdoctoral researcher working under the direction of Marcia Linn at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Jonathan currently works to design curriculum, assessments, and research interventions for the NSF-supported project, “GRIDS: Graphing Research on Inquiry with Data in Science.” Jonathan has a background as a high school teacher, working in New York City. Following his teaching experience, Jonathan completed his Ph.D. in Cognitive Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. For his graduate research Jonathan primarily focused on methods of combining digital tools, physical manipulatives, and gesture to help children learn mathematics. In his current role with GRIDS Jonathan is applying this experience to graphing in science, where students frequently demonstrate difficulty interpreting, constructing, and critiquing graphs representing authentic data. Jonathan hopes to continue working at the intersection of math, science, and technology in future roles as a researcher.
First Name: 
Kevin Moore
Professional Title: 
Assistant Professor
About Me (Bio): 
Kevin Moore is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Georgia. Kevin was born in Ohio and completed his B.S. and M.S. in Applied Mathematics at The University of Akron. He joined UGA after completing his Ph.D in Mathematics with a concentration in mathematics education at Arizona State University. His research interests include developing models of students’ and teachers’ ways of thinking in the context of precalculus and calculus ideas. Specifically, he is interested in understanding students’ and teachers’ quantitative and covariational reasoning including how to support their development of ways of thinking that entail these reasoning processes.
First Name: 
Yvonne Kao
Organization/Institution: 
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