Professional Development

Mathematics and Culture in Micronesia: Integrating Societal Experiences (Macimise)

Founded on ethnomathematics research findings, this project aims to increase the mathematics learning of first-, fourth-, and seventh-grade elementary school Micronesian students. Plans are to develop and field-test culturally and linguistically sensitive grade-level curriculum units in specific mathematics topics, such as number and counting, division of whole numbers and fractions, and elements of geometry, focused on the indigenous mathematics learning experiences of eight distinct islands in the Pacific region.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
0918309
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Sun, 08/31/2014
Project Evaluator: 
Joan LaFrance
Full Description: 

Founded on ethnomathematics research findings, this project--a collaborative research and development effort between Pacific Resources for Education and Learning and the University of Hawaii-Manoa--aims to increase the mathematics learning of first-, fourth-, and seventh-grade elementary school Micronesian students. Plans are to develop and field-test culturally and linguistically sensitive grade-level curriculum units in specific mathematics topics, such as number and counting, division of whole numbers and fractions, and elements of geometry, focused on the indigenous mathematics learning experiences of eight distinct islands in the Pacific region. A team of mathematicians, mathematics educators, mathematics teachers, graduate students, curriculum and assessment experts, and quantitative and qualitative methodologists will develop and implement approximately 24 curriculum units (8 for each grade level).

The hypothesis that inclusion of indigenous ways of knowing into the mathematics curriculum may enhance students' NCTM standards-based mathematics learning and meaning making drives the proposed scope of work. Thus, the main research question is: Does knowledge of recovered culturally based mathematics significantly improve indigenous student scores on standardized mathematics tests at grades 1, 4, and 7? The specific setting of the study comprises eight islands included in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, and American Samoa. Participants include 2,304 first- , fourth- , and seventh-grade students: 24 experimental and 24 control groups, two of each grade level on each of the eight U.S.-affiliated islands of the Pacific region.

Qualitative data gathering strategies, such as interviews with local informants, teachers, and students; and classroom observations are used to document indigenous ways of knowing, mathematical content, assessment practices, and cultural practices. Quantitative data gathering and interpretation strategies using pre-and post-test scores, as well as scores from standardized assessments, will include statistical analyses to determine the effect of the curricular units on participating students' grade-level mathematics achievement.

The evaluation plan comprises both formative and summative components, including implementation evaluation and progress evaluation. Grade-level curriculum units, three publications on findings, a professional development model for teachers through graduate courses, and a cadre of masters' and doctoral degrees in mathematics education are among the main products of this effort.

CAREER: A Study of Strategies and Social Processes That Facilitate the Participation of Latino English Language Learners in Elementary Mathematics Classroom Communities

The project aims to: (1) study resources and strategies for teachers that will facilitate participation of 3rd grade Latino English Language Learners (ELLs) in the mathematics classrooms; (2) develop related teacher professional development (PD) materials; and (3) integrate research and teaching activities. The basic research question is: How can 3rd grade teachers facilitate better mathematics instruction for ELLs?

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0844556
Funding Period: 
Wed, 07/15/2009 to Mon, 06/30/2014
Full Description: 

The project aims to: (1) study resources and strategies for teachers that will facilitate participation of 3rd grade Latino English Language Learners (ELLs) in the mathematics classrooms; (2) develop related teacher professional development (PD) materials; and (3) integrate research and teaching activities. The basic research question is: How can 3rd grade teachers facilitate better mathematics instruction for ELLs? The PI will conduct a longitudinal study with teachers over three years in nine third-grade classrooms involving 20 Latino ELLs in each classroom. Data (district-administered assessments, one-on-one formal interviews, classroom artifacts, brief conversations with children following the videotaped lessons) will be collected from multiple sources including the use of head-mounted cameras to videotape classroom social processes. Also, existing research base and data from the nine classrooms will be used to develop, test, and publish PD materials for pre-service and practicing elementary teachers. The integrated education activities will have a direct impact on the design of University of Missouri Teacher Development Program, Masters Programs, TESOL Certification Program, and Mathematics Education Doctoral Program as well as local schools. The proposed project is qualitative. Teachers will also participate in a three-year professional development on ELL strategies and use classroom activities in the fall semester that are designed to assist 3rd grade Latinos acquire mathematical competence on various aspects of the number sense strand of the mathematics curriculum. All the relevant instruments will be collected and analyzed. Findings from the proposed research and integrated research/education activities will expand the knowledge base in the fields of elementary mathematics education and multilingual education.

The project research and education activities will inform our understanding of effective strategies in mathematics classrooms that will influence learning processes and ultimately student outcomes relevant to Latino ELLs and potentially other groups of underrepresented students. Findings from the project will promote effective teaching and learning of mathematics at the elementary level and will be broadly disseminated to students, teachers, teacher educators, and education researchers throughout the U.S. The PI will create a vehicle (i.e., PD materials) for U.S. elementary teachers to discuss critical issues related to engaging a group of students that have typically been non-participants in mathematics classrooms and potentially facilitate more effective participation for this growing population.

Math Snacks: Addressing Gaps in Conceptual Mathematics Understanding with Innovative Media

This project is developing and evaluating effectiveness of 15 - 20 short computer mediated animations and games that are designed to: (1) increase students' conceptual understanding in especially problematic topics of middle grades mathematics; and (2) increase students' mathematics process skills with a focus on capabilities to think and talk mathematically.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918794
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Sheila Cassidy WEXFORD INC.
Full Description: 

View a project spotlight on Math Snacks.

This project Math Snacks: Addressing Gaps in Conceptual Mathematics Understanding with Innovative Media, led by mathematics and education faculty at New Mexico State University, is developing and evaluating effectiveness of 15 - 20 short computer mediated animations and games that are designed to: (1) increase students' conceptual understanding in especially problematic topics of middle grades mathematics; and (2) increase students' mathematics process skills with a focus on problem-solviing and communicating mathematically. The basic research question for this project is whether the planned collection of computer-mediated animations and games can provide an effective strategy for helping students learn core middle grades mathematics concepts in conceptual areas that research suggests are difficult for these students.  A second question relates to types of delivery that are effective for mathematics learning using these tools including in classrooms during extended learning time at home or in informal educational settings. The project is developing and testing the effectiveness of a set of such learning tools and companion print materials, including student and teacher guides, and short video clips documenting best practices by  teachers using the developed materials with students. A pilot study in year 3 and a substantial randomized control trial in year 4 will test the effects of using the Math Snacks web-based and mobile technologies on student learning and retention of identified core middle school mathematics concepts, as measured by performance on disaggregated strands of the New Mexico state standardized mathematics assessments. Thus the project will produce animations and games using the web and new mobile technologies, and useful empirical evidence about the efficacy of their use. One of the key features of the Math Snacks project is development of the mediated games and simulations in a form that can be used by students outside of normal classroom settings on media and game players that are ubiquitous and popular among today's young people. Thus the project holds the promise of exploiting learning in informal settings to enhance traditional school experiences.

Introducing Dynamic Number as a Transformative Technology for Number and Early Algebra

This project operationalizes research in number, operation, and early algebra. It builds on the paradigm of Dynamic Geometry (the interactive and continuous manipulation of geometric shapes and constructions) with a new technological paradigm, Dynamic Number, centered on the direct manipulation of numerical representations and constructions. Using The Geometer’s Sketchpad as a starting point, KCP Technologies is developing new software tools to deepen students’ conceptions of number and early algebra in grades 2–8.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918733
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
John Olive

Research on the Effectiveness of the Observing for Evidence of Learning Professional Development Model for Improving Grades 6-8 Science Instruction

This project is performing a randomized and controlled study of the effectiveness of the Observing for Evidence of Learning (OEL) professional development model in increasing student learning of standards-based science curriculum for grades 6-8. OEL will employ an adaptation of the successful Japanese Lesson Study program, a highly structured school-based professional development program. The program is based on a successfully implemented Local Systemic Change program (MASE) in Las Vegas, NV.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0455735
Funding Period: 
Fri, 07/15/2005 to Wed, 06/30/2010

Data Games: Tools and Materials for Learning Data Modeling (Collaborative Research: Finzer)

The Data Games project has developed software and curriculum materials in which data generated by students playing computer games form the raw material for mathematics classroom activities. Students play a short video game, analyze the game data, develop improved strategies, and test their strategies in another round of the game.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918735
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
James Hammerman
Full Description: 

Students playing computer games generate large quantities of rich, interesting, highly variable data that mostly evaporate when the game ends. What if in a classroom setting, data from games students played remained accessible to them for analysis? In software and curriculum materials developed by the Data Games project at UMass Amherst and KCP Technologies, data generated by students playing computer games form the raw material for mathematics classroom activities. Students play a short video game, analyze the game data, develop improved strategies, and try their strategies in another round of the game.

 

The video games are embedded in an online data analysis learning environment that is based on desktop software tools Fathom® Dynamic Data and Tinkerplots® Dynamic Data Exploration, widely used in grades 5–8 and 8–14 respectively. The game data appear in graphs and tables in real time, allowing several cycles of strategy improvement in a short time. The games are designed so that these cycles improve understanding of specific data modeling and/or mathematics concepts.

 

The research strand of the Data Games project focuses on students’ creation of data representations that model a real-world context. Findings from this research have been incorporated into the design of the data structures in the software.

Concept Inventories and Chemistry Misconceptions: Chemistry Education Research Doctoral Scholars Program

In response to the critical need for scholars with deep content knowledge in chemistry and the specialized training to conduct CER, this capacity building project prepares scholars whose research marries expertise in instrument design with extensive literature on chemistry misconceptions, resulting in the development of concept inventories as reliable and valid measures of student learning for use by chemistry teachers (both high school and post-secondary) and chemistry education researchers.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733642
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Wed, 08/31/2011
Project Evaluator: 
Dr. Jennifer Lewis, University of South Florida; Dr. Maralee Mayberry, University of South Florida

NanoTeach: Professional Development in Nanoscale Science

This project is exploring the introduction of a nanoscience curriculum into high schools. It is creating and studying a professional development model based on two products, the NanoTeach Teacher's Guide and the NanoTeach Facilitator's Guide. The NanoTeach Teacher's guide is being designed for self study by teachers (low treatment group) and for use in a facilitated development model (high treatment group). The NanoTeach Facilitator's Guide outlines the professional development experiences and provides guidance for facilitators.

Award Number: 
0822128
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/15/2008 to Wed, 08/31/2011
Project Evaluator: 
Aspen Associates and Dr. Doug Huffman
Full Description: 

NanoTeach: Professional Development in Nanoscale Science 

NanoTeach is a full research and development project that addresses two challenges:

1.      Contextual Challenge: How can the learning of significant STEM content be achieved to ensure public literacy and workforce readiness? by moving nanoscale science and technology (NS&T) into high school science courses; and

2.      Frontier Challenge: What will support STEM teachers’ practice and development in an era of cyber-enabled learning? by testing an innovative, synchronous online video technology (Versatile Classroom) for use in professional development with cutting edge NS&T content.

 

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning along with ASPEN Associates, Stanford Nanofabrication Facility, and the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) propose to develop NanoTeach. The project will develop and test professional development that combines an instructional design framework with nanoscale science content using multiple delivery methods for high school science teachers. The project has two research questions:

 

RQ #1    Does the NanoTeach facilitated professional development improve teachers’ ability to integrate NS&T content into their classes in a way that promotes effective science teaching?

RQ #2    To what extent is the approach utilized in the NanoTeach project a viable approach to the development of professional development materials and experiences that support integration of nanoscale science in high school science?

 

Methods: The research design includes a formal pilot test and field test with random assignment treatment and control groups. The NanoTeach Teacher’s Guide will be designed for self-study (control group) and for use in a facilitated (80 hours plus significant follow-up) professional development model (treatment group). The results of the pilot test will inform revisions to NanoTeach prior to the field test. The research design and evaluation include ongoing structured data collection and reporting to support the development team in formal reflection about the viability of the design process and the quality of the resulting products.

 

Intellectual Merit: NanoTeach builds on the significant investments that the NSF has made in NS&T and on the existing findings and resources generated from these projects, including NanoLeap, NanoSense, and the NanoEd Resource Portal at the National Center for Teaching and Learning in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT). NanoTeach will test both self-guided and facilitated professional development and advance the field by studying how a carefully designed framework can help teachers learn NS&T content and integrate this content into existing curricula in a way that is essential to meeting their local curricular goals. While bringing current, cutting edge science into K-12 classrooms, NanoTeach also tests a cyber enabled learning tool (Versatile Classroom) to deliver high quality video in real time as part of distance-learning professional development for teachers.

 

Broader Impact: NanoTeach will significantly contribute to the pool of teachers trained in NS&T, reaching over 200 teachers directly and preparing them not only to teach NS&T but also to become ambassadors and mentors for teaching NS&T in high school classrooms. The project targets teachers from in and around large urban centers who teach traditionally under-represented groups and helps them form a learning community that includes NS&T scientists, researchers, and educators, as well as K-12 teachers. Following the study, the NanoTeach professional development model will be widely disseminated through the cadre of participating teachers and the project partners’ national networks, including NSTA, NCLT, and NNIN. The successful demonstration of the Versatile Classroom as a vehicle for professional development will engage teachers in lifelong learning and improve their practice in a timely and inexpensive manner.

Mathematics Discourse in Secondary Classrooms (M-DISC): A Case-Based Professional Development Curriculum

This project is developing, designing, and testing materials for professional development leaders (e.g., teacher educators, district mathematics specialists, secondary mathematic department chairs) to use in their work with secondary mathematics teachers. The aim is to help those teachers analyze the discourse patterns of their own classrooms and improve their skills in creating discourse patterns that emphasize high-level mathematical explanation, justification, and argumentation.

Award Number: 
0918117
Funding Period: 
Sat, 08/01/2009 to Thu, 07/31/2014
Project Evaluator: 
Horizon

Problem-Based Learning Designed for Science and Mathematics Professional Development

This project aims to: (1) develop, implement and study the impact of a subject matter-focused, Problem-based Learning professional development model; and to (2) design ways of incorporating Problem-Based Learning (PBL) into key subject matter and teacher preparation courses taken by pre-service teachers, and study the impact on pre-service teachers' learning. This project is designed with and for teams of K-12 science and mathematics teachers from school districts of mid-Michigan.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0353406
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2004 to Sat, 07/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
SAMPI Western Michigan University

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