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.
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
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
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.
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.