ELL

Professional Development Approaches to Strengthen Collaboration among Educators with Different Roles to Improve Student Math Learning

Day: 
Thu

Discuss the benefits and challenges of creating mathematics professional development that brings together educators with different roles to build knowledge, practices, and collaboration for teaching students with diverse needs.

Date/Time: 
9:30 am - 11:00 am
Session Materials: 

In order to broaden the participation of underrepresented student groups, such as students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELL), mathematics professional development (PD) programs need to include educators with different areas of expertise, not just mathematics teachers. This session will focus on the benefits and challenges of creating effective PD programs that bring together educators with different roles to build knowledge, practices, and collaboration for improving the mathematics learning of all students. The three panelists will share approaches and challenges from two DR K-12 projects: Visual Access to Mathematics (VAM) and Differentiated Professional Development (DPD). The first works with mathematics teachers and ELL teachers; and the second with mathematics teachers/general educators and special educators. Throughout the session, participants will have opportunities to ask questions, share their experiences, and discuss common challenges. After discussing both projects, participants will join small group discussions on PD for mixed audiences and implications for PD design, implementation, and evaluation.

Analysis of the National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research K–12 ELL Projects

Background/Context: Educational and societal phenomena can converge to draw attention to a new focus, such as ELs and STEM, and then trigger new research interests. A funding program can play a critical role in shaping these new research interests by prioritizing specific research topics and designs or by requiring particular specializations of researchers.

Purpose of the Study: The study examined whether funding provided through the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12) program has made a unique contribution to the research in the fields of science and mathematics education for ELs.

Research Design: This study compared the portfolio of DR K–12 projects focusing on EL science and mathematics education to the literature of non DR K-12 projects in terms of research topics, design, methods, scale, samples, and outcomes. The study also examined the disciplinary expertise of the DR K-12 investigators.

Data Collection and Analysis: The primary method used in this study was content analyses of the portfolio of DR K-12 projects and the literature of non DR K-12 projects in the fields of EL science and mathematics education. To develop comprehensive lists of the literature in these fields, two separate literature searches were conducted. Finally, content analyses of the curricula vitae of the DR K–12 projects’ PIs and co-PIs were undertaken.

Results: The DR K–12 EL projects in both science and mathematics education have made contributions to their respective fields in three areas in particular: (1) their use of mixed methods and experimental designs; (2) their emphasis on instruction and teacher preparation; and (3) their focus on middle school students. In addition, DR K-12 investigators are making connections across the mathematics/science content and EL/ELA areas and are incorporating expertise from both areas, often through the addition of advisory group members.

Conclusions: The results from this comparative study suggest that funding programs can shape research agendas by providing deliberate and targeted funding for priority areas. Federal government agencies should continue providing this funding to support much-needed research that is a necessary step to improving the quality of science and mathematics education for ELs. 

Author/Presenter: 
Linda Caswell
Alina Martinez
Okhee Lee
Barbara Brauner Berns
Hilary Rhodes
Year: 
2016
Short Description: 
Educational and societal phenomena can converge to draw attention to a new focus, such as ELs and STEM, and then trigger new research interests. A funding program can play a critical role in shaping these new research interests by prioritizing specific research topics and designs or by requiring particular specializations of researchers. The study examined whether funding provided through the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12) program has made a unique contribution to the research in the fields of science and mathematics education for ELs.
Resource Type: 
Publication
First Name: 
Maria Gonzalez-Howard
LinkedIn URL: 
https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariagonzalezhoward
Organization/Institution: 
First Name: 
Lorena Llosa
Professional Title: 
Associate Professor
Organization/Institution: 
Assessment, ELL

A Review of DR K–12 English Language Learner Projects and Their Contribution to Research

Day: 
Wed

This session explores the role of funding programs in shaping research agendas. The springboard for discussion is a case study that investigated DR K12 contribution to research in science and mathematics education for English language learners.

Date/Time: 
9:45 am - 11:45 am
2014 Session Types: 
Mini-plenary Presentation
Presenters: 
Session Materials: 

This session explores the role of funding programs in shaping research agendas through deliberate and targeted funding for priority areas. With the English language learner (ELL) population in U.S. schools on the rise and a growing demand for expansion and development of STEM education, intersecting research in these two fields represents an important effort to address pressing issues in U.S. schools and the STEM workforce.

The session starts with a presentation of a case study investigating whether the NSF DR K12 program made a unique contribution to research in the fields of science and mathematics education for ELLs. The case study compared DR K–12-funded research projects from 2007 to 2011 with other (non DR K12-funded) research in terms of research topics, design, methods, outcomes, and researcher expertise. Findings indicated that the funding and the emphases of the DR K12 program did influence the research, suggesting that funding programs can shape research agendas by providing deliberate and targeted funding for priority areas.

The discussion engages the participants to explore two topics. First, what are the implications of the case study for future research on STEM with ELLs? Second, what is the role of funding programs for priority areas where targeted funding would be particularly helpful and ways in which funding agencies could promote progress in such areas? These topics are pertinent and urgent, given the current context of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards for all students, including ELLs.

Meaningful Support for Teachers: Specific Ways to Encourage Game-Based Learning in the Classroom

Day: 
Tues

Panelists from three projects share lessons learned in guiding game use in classroom learning, highlighting specific examples of effective resources.

Date/Time: 
9:45 am - 11:45 am
2014 Session Types: 
Collaborative Panel Session
Session Materials: 

The three panelists in this session are in the last one or two years of their game-based learning projects, and all have done extensive work in supporting use of their games in classroom learning. As their work has progressed, each has discovered valuable ways to support teachers as well as encountered surprises in what teachers wanted (and didn’t want), and now recognize things they wished they had learned in the beginning of their projects. Session participants leave with recommendations they can use in their current projects, including:

  • specific strategies for identifying teachers’ needs,
  • examples of tools for teachers that could be used as a models for other projects, and
  • resources and partnerships for future collaboration.

 Rather than presenting on each project in series, speakers work as a panel to address the following issues, leaving room for active discussion from workshop participants:

  • the process used to identify needs and develop tools;
  • types of materials the presenters have found helpful for:
    • professional development
    • use of games in general
    • use of these projects’ games
    • learning communities (for teachers and learners)
  • most significant discoveries in guiding teachers (such as the discomfort many teachers have in letting a game "teach" rather than "provide practice," and the types of support learners need in game play and different ways teachers can provide that support)
  • future steps for continuing teacher support in the use of developed games.

Collaborative Online Projects for English Language Learners in Science (Español)

Terrazas-Arellanes, F., Knox, C., & Rivas, C. (2013). Collaborative Online Projects for English Language Learners in Science. Cultural Studies of Science Education Journal, 3(8), DOI 10.1007/s11422-013-9521-8.

Author/Presenter: 
Fatima Terrazas-Arellanes
Carolyn Knox
Carmen Rivas
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2013
Short Description: 
This paper summarizes how Collaborative Online Projects (COPs) are used to facilitate science content-area learning for English Learners of Hispanic origin. This is a Mexico-USA partnership project funded by the National Science Foundation. A COP is a 10-week thematic science unit, completely online, and bilingual (Spanish and English) designed to provide collaborative learning experiences with culturally and linguistically relevant science instruction in an interactive and multimodal learning environment. Units are integrated with explicit instructional lessons that include: a) hands-on and laboratory activities, b) interactive materials and interactive games with immediate feedback, c) animated video tutorials, d) discussion forums where students exchange scientific learning across classrooms in the USA and in Mexico, and e) summative and formative assessments. Thematic units have been aligned to U.S. National Science Education Standards and are under current revisions for alignment to the Common Core State Standards. Training materials for the teachers have been integrated into the project website to facilitate self-paced and independent learning. Preliminary findings of our pre-experimental study with a sample of 53 students (81% ELs), distributed across three different groups, resulted in a 21% statistically significant points increase from pretest to posttest assessments of science content learning, t(52) = 11.07, p = .000.
Resource Type: 
Publication

English Language Learners’ Online Science Learning: A Case Study

English Learners may struggle when learning science if their cultural and linguistic needs are unmet. The Collaborative Online Projects for English Language Learners in Science project was created to assist English learners’ construction of science knowledge, facilitate academic English acquisition, and improve science learning. The project is a freely available, online project-based, bilingual instructional web-site designed for English learners of Hispanic origin. The project website contains two units: Let’s Help Our Environment and What Your Body Needs. To create these collaborative online projects, two constructivist approaches were combined: The Cognitive-Affective Theory of Learning with Media and Project-Based Learning. These approaches to science education were used as the basis for culturally and linguistically relevant science instruction, which was delivered within a collabora-tive, online instructional platform. Using a case study design, two teachers demonstrated implementation of the project with fidelity, and students showed statistically significant gains in science content assessments. The Collaborative Online Projects for English Language Learners in Science project provides educators with a strong model for creating instructional materials that support English learners’ science learning by combining culturally-relevant, constructivist, collaborative projects using online, multimedia technology.

Author/Presenter: 
Fatima Terrazas-Arellanes
Carolyn Knox
Carmen Rivas
Emily Walden
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2014
Short Description: 
Terrazas-Arellanes, F., Knox, C., Rivas, C., & Walden, E. (in press). English Language Learners’ Online Science Learning: A Case Study. In J. E. Aitken (Ed.), Cases on communication technology for second language acquisition and cultural learning. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Resource Type: 
Publication
First Name: 
Joel Mejia
LinkedIn URL: 
www.linkedin.com/in/mejiaalex
Professional Title: 
Assistant Professor
Organization/Institution: 
About Me (Bio): 
Joel Alejandro Mejia (Alex) is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education interested in research regarding underrepresentation of minority groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), especially the use of culturally responsive practices in engineering education. I am particularly interested in the use of comprehension strategy instruction in linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms; physical and digital manipulatives and their application in engineering courses; engineering identity; cultures of engineering; retention, recruitment, and outreach for underrepresented minorities in STEM.
Engineering, ELL, Technology
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