Digital Media

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

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.

Curriculum Topic Study -- A Systematic Approach to Utilizing National Standards and Cognitive Research

This project is developing a series of print and web resource guides in science and mathematics based on curriculum topic study (CTS), an approach developed and tested successfully. CTS is used to provide a systematic way of intellectually engaging K-12 mathematics and science teachers with national standards and cognitive research. It is used to engage teachers in thought and discussion about both content and appropriate ways of teaching that content.

Award Number: 
0353315
Funding Period: 
Sat, 05/15/2004 to Fri, 04/30/2010

Using Research to Target Title I Needs in Mathematics

This project is producing research syntheses that summarize and make available to practitioners results from research on effective mathematics curricular interventions, teaching practices, and teacher professional development that have been designed to improve achievement by students in Title 1 programs. The project’s goal is to bring together the best resources in both mathematics education and Title I so that programs are better able to serve the mathematical learning and instructional needs of Title I schools.

Award Number: 
0946875
Funding Period: 
Sat, 08/15/2009 to Sun, 07/31/2011

Developing Science Problem-solving Skills and Engagement Through Intelligent Game-based Learning Environments

The project draws upon intelligent tutoring and narrative-centered learning technologies to produce a suite of intelligent game-based learning environments for upper elementary school science students. The games explicitly model student knowledge and problem solving and dynamically customize feedback, advice, and explanation as appropriate. Unlike its predecessor, the platform is multi-user so it can support collaboration; offer dynamically generated feedback, advice, and explanation; and provide a pedagogical dashboard that generates student progress reports.

Project Email: 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822200
Funding Period: 
Fri, 08/01/2008 to Tue, 07/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
SERVE Center of North Carolina
Full Description: 

Recent years have seen a growing recognition of the transformative potential of game-based learning technologies for STEM education.  The proposed project addresses the DR-K12 Frontier Challenge of assuring that all students have the opportunity to learn significant STEM content by investigating the following research question: How can intelligent game-based environments promote problem solving and engagement in STEM learning for upper elementary students?  The proposed research on intelligent game-based learning environments investigates problem solving, engagement, and STEM learning by targeting the following three objectives:

1. Design a suite of intelligent game-based learning environment technologies for elementary science education.  To promote effective science learning, we will create intelligent game-based learning environment technologies that leverage the rich interactive 3D game environments provided by commercial game engines and the inferential capabilities of intelligent tutoring systems.  Building on our experience in these two areas, we will create an engaging intelligent game-based learning environment for 5th grade science.  

2. Implement an empirically-based research program to provide a comprehensive account of elementary students’ problem-solving processes and engagement with STEM content as they interact with intelligent game-based learning environments.  To understand the cognitive mechanisms by which learning occurs, we will take a mixed method approach to investigating science learning with an intelligent game-based learning environment for 5th grade science.  These studies will investigate the central issues of problem solving (strategy use, divergent thinking, and collaboration), and engagement (motivation, situational interest, presence) with respect to achievement as measured by both science content knowledge and transfer.  With diverse student populations drawn from both urban and rural settings, the studies will determine precisely which technologies and conditions contribute most effectively to learning processes and outcomes.

3. Evaluate the design and implementation phases of the research in order to assure high quality processes and results.  To ensure the success of the project, an external evaluator will provide formative and summative feedback to the project team.  

It is expected that the proposed work will have a significant impact on the theory and practice of science education.  By taking advantage of the high degree of interactivity offered by intelligent game-based learning environments, the project holds significant potential for creating compelling learning experiences for STEM content.  Because the research will be conducted with a highly diverse student population in both urban and rural settings, and because of the synergistic interaction of the technology and learning science research, the project offers significant potential for creating compelling learning experiences that lead to higher achievement for all students.

Enhanced Earth System Teaching Through Regional and Local (ReaL) Earth Inquiry

The ReaL Earth Inquiry project empowers teachers to employ real-world local and regional Earth system science in the classroom. Earth systems science teachers need the pedagogic background, the content, and the support that enables them to engage students in asking real questions about their own communities. The project is developing online "Teacher-Friendly Guides" (resources), professional development involving fieldwork, and inquiry-focused approaches using "virtual fieldwork experiences."  

Award Number: 
0733303
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2007 to Sat, 07/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
BridgeWater Education Consulting LLC
Full Description: 

This recruitment and informational video provides an overview of the ReaL Earth Inquiry Project. 

Cyber-enabled Design Research to Enhance Teachers' Critical Thinking Using a Major Video Collection on Children's Mathematical Reasoning (Collaborative Research: Maher)

This project is working to create a cyber infrastructure that supports development and documentation of additional interventions for teacher professional development using the video collection, as well as other videos that might be added in the future by teacher educators or researchers, including those working in other STEM domains.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822204
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/15/2008 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Full Description: 

The Video Mosaic Collaborative features  videos of student mathematics reasoning,  tools and services to encourage learning, research and practices fostering the development of student reasoning.  The VMC is a collection and service portal intended to support three primary audiences—teacher educators and their pre-service and in-service students, practicing teachers, and researchers.  The Video Mosaic Collaborative features a 22-year longitudinal study of students’ mathematical reasoning skills as they are developed from elementary through high school grades.  The VMC has been carefully designed to leverage the insights and strategies that can be mined in this extensive and unique video collection featuring observations, interventions and interviews with students solving mathematics problems in the classroom and in informal learning settings.  A careful metadata strategy was designed by the library and education research partners in collaboration to capture elements for searching that include forms of reasoning and heuristics, math strand, math problem, NCTM standards, grade level and type of educational environment.  Students and researchers are identified and can be individually tracked through the collection.  Transcripts, student work and dissertations resulting from the videos are linked in metadata.  Tools, such as the VMCAnalytic, a video annotation and analysis tool, are provided to enable registered participants to reuse the videos for instruction, study and research by creating personal clips and combining clips to accomplish research goals such as demonstrating changes in reasoning for an individual student studying probability over several video sessions.  Unlike other video annotation tool, the VMC analytic creates  XML-based independent resources that can be kept private in the researcher’s workspace but that can also be shared.  Shared analytics will be mined for keywords, which will retrieve the video(s) being analyzed, thus adding user tagging to the metadata for the videos.  The analytic resources created are not independently searched and displayed but will display as part of the context for the videos in the collection, along with student work, dissertations, and ultimately published articles, etc., all of which form the critical context of research and study surrounding each video.

Different search strategies, guidance in using videos and opportunities to consult or collaborate with others will be provided for each primary audience of the VMC.  The latest iteration of the portal, with collections and services available for immediate use, will be presented and demonstrated at the DRK12 Principal Investigators’ meeting poster session.  Visitors to the poster will be encouraged to search the portal and to create a small analytic, in a hands-on, interactive one on one demonstration.  We believe that the VMC makes a unique and significant contribution to the efforts of teacher educators, practicing teachers and researchers to discover insights and develop innovative strategies to support the development of student reasoning in mathematics education.

Learning Progressions for Scientific Inquiry: A Model Implementation in the Context of Energy

The project has had three major areas of focus:  (1) Offering professional development to help elementary and 6th grade teachers become more responsive teachers, attending and responding to their students' ideas and reasoning; (2)  Developing web-based resources (both curriculum and case studies) to promote responsive teaching in science; and (3) research how both teachers and students progress in their ability to engage in science inquiry. 

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0732233
Funding Period: 
Tue, 01/01/2008 to Mon, 12/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Lawrence Hall of Science

A Digital Resource for Developing Mathematics Teachers' TPCK

This project aims to advance the preparation of preservice teachers in middle school mathematics, specifically on the topic of proportionality, a centrally important and difficult topic in middle school mathematics that is essential to students’ later success in algebra. To address the need for a workforce of high-quality teachers to teach this mathematics, the project is developing a digital text that could be widely used to communicate the unique transitional nature of middle school mathematics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918339
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Mark St. John, Inverness

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