Technology

Engineering Teacher Pedagogy: Using INSPIRES to Support Integration of Engineering Design in Science and Technology Classrooms

This Engineering Teacher Pedagogy project implements and assesses the promise of an extended professional development model coupled with curriculum enactment to develop teacher pedagogical skills for integrating engineering design into high school biology and technology education classrooms. 

Award Number: 
1418183
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Sat, 08/31/2019
Full Description: 

National college and career readiness standards call for integrating engineering practices into science and mathematics instruction. Very few models for doing this have been implemented and studied. This Engineering Teacher Pedagogy project implements and assesses the promise of an extended professional development model coupled with curriculum enactment to develop teacher pedagogical skills for integrating engineering design into high school biology and technology education classrooms. Professional development is provided to twenty high school biology teachers and twenty technology education teachers in the Baltimore County Public Schools.

The professional development consists of two five day sessions in two consecutive summers and follow up in two academic years as the teachers learn content, pedagogical content knowledge and classroom management skills. The project investigates the teachers' learning trajectories using validated instruments. A longitudinal study investigates teachers' change in practice and its role on student learning through classroom observations and examination of student artifacts. The study also investigates whether the change in practice persists over time and the extent to which the change in practice transfers to other learning environments. This study should elucidate the issues of teaching science concepts through the use of science and engineering practices.

Teaching STEM with Robotics: Design, Development, and Testing of a Research-based Professional Development Program for Teachers

Using design-based research, with teachers as design partners, the project will create and refine project-based, hands-on robotics curricula such that science and math content inherent in robotics and related engineering design practices are learned. To provide teachers with effective models to capitalize on robotics for elucidating science and math concepts, a design-based Professional Development program will be built using principles of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK).

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417769
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

Offering meaningful and motivating engineering contexts, such as robotics, within science and math courses constitutes a compelling strategy to address the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards for Math while enhancing science and math learning for all students. Using design-based research, with teachers as design partners, the project will create and refine project-based, hands-on curricula such that science and math content inherent in robotics and related engineering design practices are learned. To provide teachers with effective models to capitalize on robotics for elucidating science and math concepts, a design-based Professional Development program will be built using principles of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK). To ensure that teachers are well prepared, research-based practices and features of effective Professional Development will be adopted. Experts in robotics, engineering, education, curriculum design, and assessment--with experience in K-12 education, training, and outreach--have formed an interdisciplinary team to make robotics central to and sustainable in middle school science and math classrooms.

The research questions addressed in this project are qualitative in nature as appropriate for design research questions. The methodologies include teacher needs assessment, teachers' perceptions of robotics, pre and post testing, classroom observations, and surveys. Examples of the research questions are:

What characteristics of robotics promote effective learning of middle school science and math?

What elements of Professional Development engender teachers' TPACK of robotics and link it with classroom science and math?

What are student prerequisites to effectively use robotics in science and math learning?

What are the gains in students' STEM engagement, interest, persistence, and career awareness?

The robotics curriculum will include physical science used in robot performance expectations and motion stability. Additionally the curriculum will include the engineering design process consisting of problem definition, solution development, and design improvement. Robotics provides opportunities to support science and engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards such as developing and using models, planning and conducting investigations, designing solutions, and analyzing and interpreting data. The project will be aimed at middle school students and will provide substantial teacher professional development to implement the new curriculum modules. The partner schools have student bodies drawn from a diverse student population in New York City.

CodeR4STATS - Code R for AP Statistics

This project builds on prior efforts to create teaching resources for high-school Advanced Placement Statistics teachers to use an open source statistics programming language called "R" in their classrooms. The project brings together datasets from a variety of STEM domains, and will develop exercises and assessments to teach students how to program in R and learn the underlying statistics concepts.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1418163
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Sat, 08/31/2019
Full Description: 

Increasingly, all STEM fields rely on being able to understand data and use statistics. This project builds on prior efforts to create teaching resources for high-school Advanced Placement Statistics teachers to use an open source statistics programming language called "R" in their classrooms. The project brings together datasets from a variety of STEM domains, and will develop exercises and assessments to teach students how to program in R and learn the underlying statistics concepts. Thus, this project attempts to help students learn coding, statistics, and STEM simultaneously in the context of AP Stats. In addition, researchers will examine the extent to which students learn statistical concepts, computational fluency, and critical reasoning skills better with the online tools.

The resources developed by the project aim to enhance statistics learning through an integrated application of strategies previously documented to be effective: a focus on data visualization and representation, engaging students in meaningful investigations with complex real-world data sets, utilizing computational tools and techniques to analyze data, and better preparing educators for the needs of a more complex and technologically-rich mathematical landscape. This project will unite these lines of work into one streamlined pedagogical environment called CodeR4STATS with three kinds of resources: computing resources, datasets, and assessment resources. Computing resources will include freely available access to an instance of the cloud-based R-studio with custom help pages. Data resources will include over 800 scientific datasets from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Harvard University's Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, Boston University, and Tufts University with several highlighted in case studies for students; these will be searchable within the online environment. Assessment and tutoring resources will be provided using the tutoring platform ASSISTments which uses example tracing to provide assessment, feedback, and tailored instruction. Teacher training and a teacher online discussion board will also be provided. Bringing these resources together will be programming lab activities, five real-world case studies, and sixteen statistics assignments linked to common core math standards. Researchers will use classroom observational case studies from three classrooms over two years, including cross-case comparison of lessons in the computational environment versus offline lessons; student and teacher interviews; and an analysis of learner data from the online system, especially the ASSISTments-based assessment data. This research will examine learning outcomes and help refine design principles for statistics learning environments.

Changing Culture in Robotics Classroom (Collaborative Research: Shoop)

Computational and algorithmic thinking are new basic skills for the 21st century. Unfortunately few K-12 schools in the United States offer significant courses that address learning these skills. However many schools do offer robotics courses. These courses can incorporate computational thinking instruction but frequently do not. This research project aims to address this problem by developing a comprehensive set of resources designed to address teacher preparation, course content, and access to resources.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1418199
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Thu, 08/31/2017
Full Description: 

Computational and algorithmic thinking are new basic skills for the 21st century. Unfortunately few K-12 schools in the United States offer significant courses that address learning these skills. However many schools do offer robotics courses. These courses can incorporate computational thinking instruction but frequently do not. This research project aims to address this problem by developing a comprehensive set of resources designed to address teacher preparation, course content, and access to resources. This project builds upon a ten year collaboration between Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Academy and the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center that studied how teachers implement robotics education in their classrooms and developed curricula that led to significant learning gains. This project will address the following three questions:

1.What kinds of resources are useful for motivating and preparing teachers to teach computational thinking and for students to learn computational thinking?

2.Where do teachers struggle most in teaching computational thinking principles and what kinds of supports are needed to address these weaknesses?

3.Can virtual environments be used to significantly increase access to computational thinking principles?

The project will augment traditional robotics classrooms and competitions with Robot Virtual World (RVW) that will scaffold student access to higher-order problems. These virtual robots look just like real-world robots and will be programmed using identical tools but have zero mechanical error. Because dealing with sensor, mechanical, and actuator error adds significant noise to the feedback students' receive when programming traditional robots (thus decreasing the learning of computational principles), the use of virtual robots will increase the learning of robot planning tasks which increases learning of computational thinking principles. The use of RVW will allow the development of new Model-Eliciting Activities using new virtual robotics challenges that reward creativity, abstraction, algorithms, and higher level programming concepts to solve them. New curriculum will be developed for the advanced concepts to be incorporated into existing curriculum materials. The curriculum and learning strategies will be implemented in the classroom following teacher professional development focusing on computational thinking principles. The opportunities for incorporating computationally thinking principles in the RVW challenges will be assessed using detailed task analyses. Additionally regression analyses of log-files will be done to determine where students have difficulties. Observations of classrooms, surveys of students and teachers, and think-alouds will be used to assess the effectiveness of the curricula in addition to pre-and post- tests to determine student learning outcomes.

Changing Culture in Robotics Classroom (Collaborative Research: Schunn)

Computational and algorithmic thinking are new basic skills for the 21st century. Unfortunately few K-12 schools in the United States offer significant courses that address learning these skills. However many schools do offer robotics courses. These courses can incorporate computational thinking instruction but frequently do not. This research project aims to address this problem by developing a comprehensive set of resources designed to address teacher preparation, course content, and access to resources.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1416984
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Thu, 08/31/2017
Full Description: 

Computational and algorithmic thinking are new basic skills for the 21st century. Unfortunately few K-12 schools in the United States offer significant courses that address learning these skills. However many schools do offer robotics courses. These courses can incorporate computational thinking instruction but frequently do not. This research project aims to address this problem by developing a comprehensive set of resources designed to address teacher preparation, course content, and access to resources. This project builds upon a ten year collaboration between Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Academy and the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center that studied how teachers implement robotics education in their classrooms and developed curricula that led to significant learning gains. This project will address the following three questions:

1.What kinds of resources are useful for motivating and preparing teachers to teach computational thinking and for students to learn computational thinking?

2.Where do teachers struggle most in teaching computational thinking principles and what kinds of supports are needed to address these weaknesses?

3.Can virtual environments be used to significantly increase access to computational thinking principles?

The project will augment traditional robotics classrooms and competitions with Robot Virtual World (RVW) that will scaffold student access to higher-order problems. These virtual robots look just like real-world robots and will be programmed using identical tools but have zero mechanical error. Because dealing with sensor, mechanical, and actuator error adds significant noise to the feedback students' receive when programming traditional robots (thus decreasing the learning of computational principles), the use of virtual robots will increase the learning of robot planning tasks which increases learning of computational thinking principles. The use of RVW will allow the development of new Model-Eliciting Activities using new virtual robotics challenges that reward creativity, abstraction, algorithms, and higher level programming concepts to solve them. New curriculum will be developed for the advanced concepts to be incorporated into existing curriculum materials. The curriculum and learning strategies will be implemented in the classroom following teacher professional development focusing on computational thinking principles. The opportunities for incorporating computationally thinking principles in the RVW challenges will be assessed using detailed task analyses. Additionally regression analyses of log-files will be done to determine where students have difficulties. Observations of classrooms, surveys of students and teachers, and think-alouds will be used to assess the effectiveness of the curricula in addition to pre-and post- tests to determine student learning outcomes.

A Study Group on Diversity, Equity and Excellence in Achievement and Assessment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education

This project seeks to find ways to make the measurement sciences more useful to the production of intellective competence in diverse students of the STEM disciplines. A Study Group on Diversity, Equity and Excellence in Achievement and Assessment in STEM Education will be established to address a set of issues posed as critical to the future of assessment for education and will undertake a series of activities culminating in the production of a report.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1433181
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Mon, 02/29/2016
Full Description: 

This project seeks to find ways to make the measurement sciences more useful to the production of intellective competence in diverse students of the STEM disciplines. A Study Group on Diversity, Equity and Excellence in Achievement and Assessment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education will be established to address a set of issues posed as critical to the future of assessment for education. Building on the work of the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education, the Study Group will undertake a series of activities culminating in the production of a report to the field including conceptual analyses, knowledge syntheses findings, and recommended specifications for a program of research and development to advance STEM education through assessment for education.

The Study Group will consist of fifteen research scientists and scholars of pedagogical practice who are being organized to inquire into the potential of the measurement sciences to more effectively inform the teaching and learning of STEM subject matter for students whose development is challenged by the demands of diversity, equity and excellence in intellective competence. Group members are especially interested in balancing the capabilities of the measurement sciences in the assessment of developed abilities, with equal strength in the analysis, documentation and understanding of the learning and teaching processes by which intellective competence is developed. The Group will conduct a conceptual inquiry into the interrelatedness of diversity, equity, and achievement in STEM. Special attention will be given to variance in attributions, contexts and perspectives associated with differences in life conditions, cultural experience and cultural identity. The Study Group will utilize in-person and virtual deliberations; consultative conversations; and commissioned position and review papers to generate recommendations and suggested specifications for programs of research, development and praxis designed to better inform the teaching and, especially, the learning of STEM disciplines.

Human Subjects Protection in the Digital Age

This project will convene a panel of experts in government, industry and academia to raise and discuss emerging concerns for human subjects' protections in the digital age. This project will support scholarly discussion on human subjects' protections in the digital age with implications for funding agencies, schools, and those who work with human subjects in a variety of environments.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1419055
Funding Period: 
Sat, 03/15/2014 to Sat, 02/28/2015
Full Description: 

This project will convene a panel of experts in government, industry and academia to raise and discuss emerging concerns for human subjects' protections in the digital age. Learners taking part in formal education, informal education, and out-of-school settings are subject to a ubiquitous tracking of their activities: locally, using the internet of things (e.g., smart phones, smart sensors and other cyberphysical devices), and globally, via the internet. This tracking may include data tracked passively (e.g., online purchases) or data made available on social media websites by the learners themselves. In addition, the use of the longitudinal data collected by local educational agencies for research is an increasingly political concern. Decisions about the use of these data by university researchers and scholars are typically made by Institutional Review Board (IRB) offices. New guidelines on IRB practices are being considered by a number of bodies, including the National Research Council, which issued a report in early 2014.

This project will support scholarly discussion on human subjects' protections in the digital age with implications for funding agencies, schools, and those who work with human subjects in a variety of environments. The issues discussed are of national import, including, but not limited to FERPA privacy concerns. To the extent that US researchers work with data from other countries (e.g., via massive open online courses or MOOCs), the impact of the reports that will be produced as part of this conference for education research is potentially global.

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.

The Validity of Technology-Enhanced Assessment in Geometry

This project contributes to the small research base by exploring the validity of Technology-Enhanced Items (TEIs) in the context of elementary geometry. The project addresses three research questions: 1) To what extent are TEIs a valid measurement of geometry standards in the elementary grades?; 2) To what extent do TEIs provide an improved measurement compared to SR items?; and 3) What are the general characteristics of mathematics standards that might be better measured through TEIs?

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316557
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/01/2013 to Thu, 12/31/2015
Full Description: 

Assessment developers, state departments of education, and national consortia have focused extensive efforts on including Technology-Enhanced Items (TEIs) on summative and formative assessments. TEIs have a number of potential benefits over traditional, selected-response (SR) items, including the potential to measure higher-level constructs, the reduction of the effects of test-taking skills and guessing, the capture of rich diagnostic information, the reduction of cognitive load from non-relevant constructs, and the engaging nature of their design. The first three benefits are true of constructed-response (CR) items, but TEIs have the added benefit of being automatically scored by computer. Despite the potential benefits of TEIs, and the strong push to include these types of items in assessments, there is a death of research on the validity of inferences made by TEIs and on whether TEIs provide improved measurement over traditional item types. The Validity of Technology-Enhanced Assessment in Geometry (VTAG) project contributes to the small research base by exploring the validity of TEIs in the context of elementary geometry.

The project addresses three research questions:

RQ1: To what extent are TEIs a valid measurement of geometry standards in the elementary grades?

RQ2: To what extent do TEIs provide an improved measurement compared to SR items?

RQ3: What are the general characteristics of mathematics standards that might be better measured through TEIs?

To address these research questions, the researchers develop 20 items (ten SR items and 10 TEIs) for each of the seven Common Core State Standards in fourth and fifth grade geometry. The researchers collect validity evidence using expert review, cognitive labs, and classroom administration of the items. The first two research questions are addressed by evaluating the validity of the items based on a variety of sources, including test content, internal structure, the relationship to other variables, and student response processes. To address the third research question, informed by the results of the prior two, the researchers use qualitative analysis to identify common themes of the standards that were identified as being better measured through TEIs.

Promoting Students' Spatial Thinking in Upper Elementary Grades using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This project explores the potential for enhancing students' interest and ability in STEM disciplines by broadening fourth grade students' understanding and interest in the spatial perspectives inherent in geography and other science disciplines. The project tests a set of hypotheses that posit that the use of GIS in the classroom results in a measureable improvement in students' spatial reasoning and motivation.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316660
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/01/2013 to Wed, 08/31/2016
Full Description: 

This project explores the potential for enhancing students' interest and ability in STEM disciplines by broadening fourth grade students' understanding and interest in the spatial perspectives inherent in geography and other science disciplines. The study incorporates the latest developments in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) within the classroom. The project tests a set of hypotheses that posit that the use of GIS in the classroom results in a measureable improvement in students' spatial reasoning and motivation. Geography teachers in elementary schools are trained to use GIS software to create digital maps specific to the subject matter and projects on which their students work. Students then work in small collaborative groups and engage in open discussions designed to enhance the development and use of their spatial and multi-step causal reasoning.

GIS has been used in middle and high school settings. This project introduces GIS to upper elementary grades particularly to allow students an early opportunity to be involved in meaningful data and map-driven activities to promote their spatial skills. The proposal team predicts that the traditional gap between girls and boys in spatial skills will shrink with training thus will be strongly pronounced in the experimental relative to control groups. The project documents the effectiveness of instructional practices that are likely to enhance multistep reasoning, systems thinking, conceptual and spatial understanding, and motivation for learning while learning to work with maps to solve problems involving geography and ecological awareness. The project develops instructional methods that incorporate innovative tools for promoting problem solving to address real-life issues in this increasingly technology-driven era. The innovative tool is open-source and designed for professionals, but it can be modified to be child-friendly. Classroom activities are integrated with science and social studies curricula and content standards. Teachers are expected to find the curriculum attractive and easy to implement.

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