Digital Media

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 to 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:

Social Dynamics: Leveraging Online Social Networks to Shape Science Identities and Support Learning Science Concepts in Middle School Students

Social Dynamics is an exploratory project to investigate how face-to-face teaching leveraging the use of an online social network learning platform (SNLP) can increase middle school students' science learning and enhance their development of contextual identities related to science.

Award Number: 
1317073
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/15/2013 to Sun, 07/31/2016
Full Description: 

Social Dynamics is an exploratory project to investigate how face-to-face teaching leveraging the use of an online social network learning platform (SNLP) can increase middle school students' science learning and enhance their development of contextual identities related to science. Units from the recently developed and tested Ocean System Sciences (OSS) curriculum are the basis for the instruction. All six teachers receive professional development in the first summer and teach the OSS in year one. Testing is carried out with the same teachers in years two and three. The design-based research generates evidence about how teachers can use a Facebook-like social network platform, My Big Campus, which is currently used by school districts nationwide to complement face-to-face classroom instruction. The project investigates the ways engagement in an SNLP supports student science identity development and learning; the instructional practices that support engagement in an SNLP; how teachers use these practices to support learning and shape student science identities; and the relationships that exist between student science identities and learning within the face-to-face and SNLP contexts.

To disassociate the impacts of the SNLP and identity on learning, two teachers from Oakland Unified School District use only face-to-face instruction. One only uses science learning strategies; the other employs identity strategies in addition to the science learning strategies. In San Diego, two sets of two teachers use both face-to-face and SNLP - one set using only science learning strategies and the other set using both science learning and identity strategies. Teachers are assigned randomly to the science only and science plus identity implementations and will be separated during professional development. Twelve students, who exhibit online behaviors that stand out, are selected for in-depth interviews. The analyses requires sophisticated data tracking systems that allow for student scores to be linked over the period of one year, and students to be linked to their teachers over the course of one year.

This project should contribute to the scarce research about the effectiveness of the use of social media in science instruction.

Using Research-Based Formative Assessment to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning

This project provides professional development and support for teachers of mathematics in Grades 3-5 and assesses the impacts of the project through a rigorous cluster randomized control trial. The project supports teachers to provide instruction that helps all students reach ambitious academic goals in mathematics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316527
Funding Period: 
Wed, 01/01/2014 to Mon, 07/31/2017
Full Description: 

Using Research-Based Formative Assessment to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning builds on almost a decade of research and development by the Vermont Mathematics Partnership's Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP). The project provides professional development and support for teachers of mathematics in Grades 3-5 and assesses the impacts of the project through a rigorous cluster randomized control trial. The project supports teachers to provide instruction that helps all students reach ambitious academic goals in mathematics by: 1) increasing teachers' knowledge of mathematics and of how students learn specific mathematics content, and 2) providing teachers with specific tools and routines for enacting formative assessment and adapting their instruction. The project has three integrated components: 1) professional development and ongoing support in 30 New York City public schools, 2) research on teachers' use of assessment evidence in instruction, and 3) research on student and teacher outcomes.

Helping students deeply understand mathematical concepts requires teachers to become skilled in formative assessment, particularly in the ongoing analysis of evidence in student work when making instructional decisions: moving beyond right and wrong answers into the more important questions of how students think and reason mathematically, where their misconceptions lie, and how they can be addressed instructionally. Yet research shows that teachers struggle with the analytic aspects of formative assessment, and little is known about how teachers use evidence from student work or thinking to improve their instruction. The project addresses both of these concerns by: 1) implementing a rigorous, research-driven approach to formative assessment in 30 schools; and, 2) studying the effects of the intervention in ways that clearly measure impact on teachers and students, including the link between how teachers interpret student work and how they respond instructionally. The creativity and originality of the project lie in its synthesis of a vast body of knowledge about mathematics teaching and learning into a clearly packaged and presented set of tools, routines, and strategies which are directly usable in practice and can dramatically improve the quality of mathematics instruction. The project is organized around the central goal of improving teachers' formative assessment practice, with the research design providing rigorous evidence of project impacts while simultaneously informing the field.

The project will be implemented in a highly diverse school district serving a large number of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in mathematics and the sciences. The formative assessment system developed through this project will ultimately be made available, through a website and multi-media booklets, to all teachers in New York City public schools and across the country. The OGAP formative assessment system will be tied to college and career readiness standards in mathematics rather than a particular curriculum-although it addresses the same content as the major mathematics curricula-which means the materials, knowledge, and strategies will be usable across settings.

Climate Change Narrative Game Education (CHANGE)

This exploratory project helps high school students learn complex Global Climate Change (GCC) science by making it personally relevant and understandable. CHANGE creates a prototype curriculum, and integrates it into elective Marine Sciences high school courses. Research will examine the project's impact on student learning of climate science, student attitude toward science, and teacher instruction of climate science.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316782
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 to Wed, 08/31/2016
Full Description: 

This exploratory project helps high school students learn complex Global Climate Change (GCC) science by making it personally relevant and understandable. CHANGE creates a prototype curriculum, and integrates it into elective Marine Sciences high school courses. Research will examine the project's impact on student learning of climate science, student attitude toward science, and teacher instruction of climate science. The goal of this project is to develop a place-based futuristic gaming simulation model that can easily extend to the other locales in other states, based on local climate change effects, local stakeholders, local economic and social effects to motivate the high school students in that area. CHANGE uses: (a) scientifically realistic text narratives about future Florida residents (text stories with local Florida characters, many years in the future based on GCC), (b) local, place-based approach grounded in west-central Florida Gulf Coast using scientific data, (c) a focus on the built environment, (d) simulations & games based on scientific data to help students learn principles of GCC so students can experience and try to cope with the potential long term effect of GCC via role-play and science-based simulation, and (e) a web-based eBook narrative where sections of narrative text alternate with simulations/computer games. The proposed project will work with 25 high school Marine Science teachers in 25 schools in Hillsborough County, Florida. The project delivers new research for instructional technologists and serious game developers regarding effective interface and usability design of intermedia narrative gaming-simulations for education.

This project employs and researches innovative models for delivering high school GCC education. GCC is a complex topic involving numerous factors and uncertainties making teaching this extremely important topic very difficult. The pioneering techniques proposed for this project will advance science education of GCC. It also will deliver new research for instructional technologists and serious game developers regarding effective interface and usability design of intermedia narrative gaming-simulations for education. Effective education is probably the most crucial part in our ability to cope with climate change. CHANGE will educate underserved low SES and minority high school students in Hillsborough County, and later elsewhere, with a model making GCC personally relevant to them.

WeInvestigate: Collaborative Exploration of Scientific Phenomena with the Assistance of Hand-Held Simulations, Prose, and Graphics

This project aims to assist in the development and study of WeInvestigate, an application that will run on a mobile device. The application will help support learners as they engage in artifact construction using multiple media while two or more learners can be synchronously collaborating either face-to-face or at a distance. WeInvestigate is leveraging the research that learning in collaboration with others associated with higher engagement and learning outcomes.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1345231
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/01/2013 to Thu, 07/31/2014
Full Description: 

The PIs are proposing an EAGER to assist in the development and study of WeInvestigate, an application that will run on a mobile device. The application will help support learners as they engage in artifact construction using multiple media while two or more learners can be synchronously collaborating either face-to-face or at a distance. WeInvestigate is leveraging the research that learning in collaboration with others associated with higher engagement and learning outcomes. The PIs are investigating the experiences of teachers and students as they implement WeInvestigate to support their engagement and learning about scientific phenomena. They are also looking at the value-added of the support for synchronous collaboration and its impact on student learning. The WeInvestigate application has the potential to reach a high number of students since it is likely that more schools have access to mobile devices and college readiness standards will be looking for collaborative tools such as WeInvesitgage that integrate collaboration and the reading of complex text. PIs are partnering with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) who are building a platform to support the applications for the Next Generation Science Standards.

Theorizing and Advancing Teachers' Responsive Decision Making in the Domain of Rational Numbers

This project addresses the growing need for research to support teachers in developing expertise in responsive decision making in which teachers elicit and build on children's mathematical thinking in the midst of instruction.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1712560
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 to Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

This project addresses the growing need for research to support teachers in developing expertise in responsive decision making in which teachers elicit and build on children's mathematical thinking in the midst of instruction. Specific objectives include characterizing grades 3-5 teachers' responsive decision making in the domain of rational numbers, investigating how professional development can support the development of this form of teaching expertise, and exploring the relationship between degree of teachers' responsive decision making and student learning. Theoretical and practical contributions of this project address the discrepancy in the field's capacity to produce research-based knowledge about children's thinking versus provide resources to take up and effectively use this knowledge. The primary organization is The University of Texas at Austin, and major partner organizations include the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, SRI International, and Teachers Development Group.

In this professional development design study, researchers engage approximately 100 teachers in up to three years of professional development designed to empower teachers to make instructional decisions guided by a research-based framework of children's thinking about rational numbers, with an emphasis on children's informal ideas of partitioning quantities and their understanding of the fundamental properties of operations and equality. Data sources include direct observation of workshops and teachers' classrooms as well as teachers' performance and reflection on a variety of assessments. On the basis of what is learned from these multiple data sources across 3 cohorts of teachers, researchers will iteratively build and refine a model of responsive decision making and identify critical features of the development of this expertise. Further, using approximately half the sample, researchers collect student data to test the conjecture that responsive decision making is related to increased opportunities for students to learn.

The findings, assessments, and professional development generated by this project will help the field respond to the critical challenge of how to support teachers to take up and effectively use knowledge of children's mathematical thinking in instruction. Anticipated intellectual products include a model of teachers' responsive decision making in the domain of rational numbers, identification of landmarks and obstacles in teachers' development of responsive decision making, and knowledge about the relationship between teachers' expertise in responsive decision making and student learning. Anticipated professional development products include a web-based tool to support teachers' self-guided collaborative inquiry and a well-specified, scalable professional development course for teachers with an immediate outlet for dissemination through the ongoing work of Teachers Development Group.

This project was previously funded under award # 1316653.

Next Generation Preschool Science: An Innovative Program to Facilitate Young Children's Learning of Science Practices and Concepts

This project is developing, iteratively refining and evaluating a science curriculum for Pre-K classrooms with units on Plant Growth, How Things Move, and What Makes Shadows by integrating traditional classroom resources (large and small group activities, hands-on activities, read-alouds) with digital media (touch screen tablets, photos and short videos, and games/simulations).

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316550
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 to Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

SRI is developing, iteratively refining and evaluating a science curriculum for Pre-K classrooms with units on Plant Growth, How Things Move, and What Makes Shadows. Working with EDC and WGBH, the project is integrating traditional classroom resources (large and small group activities, hands-on activities, read-alouds) with digital media (touch screen tablets, photos and short videos, and games/simulations). The importance of this approach is that it facilitates the implementation of quality science instruction in pre-schools by reducing the resources and commitment needed. The project is also producing professional development resources for teachers. Project evaluation is by the Concord Evaluation Group. The products of the project are being distributed by PBS Media.

Using an Evidence Centered Design approach, the project is doing a Phase I development and pilot study during the first two years, followed by a Phase II field study in year 3, with 10 classrooms in California and 10 in New York, half of which will be for comparison purposes. Ten children from each classroom are being selected through a stratified randomization process for a more detailed examination of student outcomes. There are 8 research questions covering the three phases of the project; development, implementation, and sustainability. Data collection on child learning is using the project developed science assessment as well as a standardized assessment of children's science learning LENS on Science. Evidence on teachers' confidence is being collected with the Preschool Teachers Attitudes and Beliefs about Science scale (P-TABS). In addition, the project is conducting interviews and observations in the 10 classrooms where teachers are implementing the curriculum units.

Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP)

This project aims to engage students in meaningful scientific data collection, analysis, visualization, modeling, and interpretation. It targets grades 9-12 science instruction. The proposed research poses the question "How do learners conceive of and interact with empirical data, particularly when it has a hierarchical structure in which parameters and results are at one level and raw data at another?"

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1435470
Funding Period: 
Tue, 10/01/2013 to Fri, 09/30/2016
Full Description: 

This project aims to engage students in meaningful scientific data collection, analysis, visualization, modeling, and interpretation. It targets grades 9-12 science instruction. The proposed research poses the question "How do learners conceive of and interact with empirical data, particularly when it has a hierarchical structure in which parameters and results are at one level and raw data at another?" As working with data becomes an integral part of students' learning across STEM curricula, understanding how students conceive of data grows ever more important. This is particularly timely as science becomes more and more data driven.

The team will develop and test a Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP). STEM curriculum development has moved online, but development of tools for students to engage in data analysis has yet to follow suit. As a result, online curriculum development projects are often forced to develop their own data analysis tools, settle for desktop tools, or do without. In a collaboration with NSF-funded projects at the Concord Consortium, Educational Development Center, and University of Minnesota, the project team is developing an online, open source data analysis platform that can be used not only by these three projects, but subsequently by others.

The proposed research breaks new ground both in questions to be investigated and in methodology. The investigations build on prior research on students' understanding of data representation, measures of center and spread, and data modeling to look more closely at students' understanding of data structures especially as they appear in real scientific situations. Collaborative design based on three disparate STEM projects will yield a flexible data analysis environment that can be adopted by additional projects in subsequent years. Such a design process increases the likelihood that CODAP will be more than a stand-alone tool, and can be meaningfully integrated into online curricula. CODAP's overarching goal is to improve the preparation of students to fully participate in an increasingly data-driven society. It proposes to do so by improving a critical piece of infrastructure: namely, access to classroom-friendly data analysis tools by curriculum developers who wish to integrate student engagement with data into content learning.

This project is asociated with award number 1316728 with the same title.

Modeling Scientific Practice in High School Biology: A Next Generation Instructional Resource

This project addresses the need for a curricular resource package to support a high school biology course fully aligned to the core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices of College and Career Readiness standards. The project will develop a suite of resources including educative curricular materials, pedagogical tools, intensive teacher professional development, and video documentation of exemplary implementation and investigate the impact of the instructional resource on teacher and student learning.

Award Number: 
1348990
Funding Period: 
Tue, 10/01/2013 to Fri, 09/30/2016
Full Description: 

This project addresses an immediate challenge facing high school science education: the need for a curricular resource package to support a high school biology course fully aligned to the core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices of College and Career Readiness standards. The project will develop a suite of resources including educative curricular materials, pedagogical tools, intensive teacher professional development, and video documentation of exemplary implementation and investigate the impact of the instructional resource on teacher and student learning. The full curricular resource package will be coupled with an innovative online lesson builder to foster a cycle of continuous improvement, as teachers document their adaptations to the curricular resources over time.

The project has four phases. During the design phase a team of university faculty and science education experts work with two high school biology teachers to modify existing exemplary curriculum materials and instructional supports and align them to the College and Career Readiness science standards. These newly created materials and supports are piloted by the two collaborating teachers and data from the pilot are used to refine the materials. Once the package is complete and refined it will be implemented by an additional ten high school biology teachers. Data from the implementation will allow research into how teachers use the materials to plan their lessons, how the materials are enacted in classrooms and the effects the materials have on student learning. The final phase of the project will be to disseminate the resulting curriculum package and research findings to the public.

The project leverages, aligns and amplifies the NSF-developed resources of previously successful researchers and their tools, methodologies and supports. The need for truly aligned curricula and supports will be pressing as new core standards are implemented across the nation. There is a need for re-tooling the skills and pedagogical approaches of many teachers in the face of the current reforms. The project will meet these needs and provide a substantive contribution to the emerging national vision of quality science education.

Improving Competency in Elementary Science Teaching

This project provides elementary teachers, grades 3-5 with a pedagogical framework and related resources for distinguishing quality science teaching. The study focuses on developing and testing a framework, the Quality Science Teaching Continuum (QSTC), to determine its capacity to serve as a potent formative and collaborative tool with which teachers can reflect on their science teaching practices and recognize student behaviors that are indicators of engagement and science learning.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1317068
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2013 to Tue, 06/30/2015
Full Description: 

This Stanford University project provides elementary teachers, grades 3-5 with a pedagogical framework and related resources for distinguishing quality science teaching. The study focuses on developing and testing a framework, the Quality Science Teaching Continuum (QSTC), to determine its capacity to serve as a potent formative and collaborative tool with which teachers can reflect on their science teaching practices and recognize student behaviors that are indicators of engagement and science learning. The project includes an intensive professional development (PD) that will accompany the instrument designed to develop teachers' understanding of (1) pedagogy, (2) science process and content, (3) community building, and (4) use of QSTC to improve classroom instruction and student engagement.

Teachers will be videotaped during classroom science instruction at various points in the two-year process, and the resulting digital library of teaching videos provides an ongoing reference resource for teachers and others when reflecting on their practice. The project provides a proof of concept and examines the use of a specific, formative, integrative instrument, the QSTC, within an immersive teacher professional development program.

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