This project aims to improve professional development programs for pre-service teachers (PSTs) as a way to improve student learning in mathematics and science. PSTs engage in a series of teaching cycles, and then engage in lesson study groups to develop, teach, and analyze a whole-class lesson. The cycle is completed by reexamining students' knowledge in teaching experiments with pairs of students. These teaching cycles are called Iterative Model Building (IMB).
This project conducts research on knowledge that contributes to successful coaching in two domains: coaching knowledge and mathematics content knowledge. The influence of these knowledge domains on both coaches and teachers is being examined in two ways: (1) by investigating correlations between assessments of coach and teacher knowledge and practice in each domain and (2) by investigating causal effects of targeted professional development for coaches.
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.
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.
Investigations in Cyber-enabled Education (ICE) strives to provide a professional development design framework for enhancing teacher ability to provide science, technology, and math (STM) instruction for secondary students. Exploratory research will clarify ICE framework constructs and gather empirical evidence to form the basis of anticipated further research into the question: Under what circumstances can cyber-enabled collaboration between STM scientists and educators enhance teacher ability to provide STM education?
This project contributes to the emerging knowledge base for reform-minded middle school STEM instructional materials development through the development, field-testing, and evaluation of a prototype instructional materials module specifically designed to stimulate and sustain urban-based students’ interest in STEM. The module includes guided inquiry-oriented activities thematically linked by the standards-aligned concept of energy transfer, which highlight the fundamental processes and integrative nature of 21st century scientific investigation.
This project is exploring how curricula and assessment using dynamic, interactive scientific visualizations of complex phenomena can ensure that all students learn significant science content. Dynamic visualizations provide an alternative pathway for students to understand science concepts, which can be exploited to increase the accessibility of a range of important science concepts. Computer technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to design curricula and assessments using visual technologies and to explore them in research, teaching, and learning.
This project focuses on the challenge of using assessment of relevant STEM content to improve K-12 teaching and learning. CLEAR takes advantage of new technologies and research findings to investigate ways that science assessments can both capture and contribute to cumulative, integrated learning of standards-based concepts in middle school courses. The project will research new forms of assessment that document students' accumulation of knowledge and also serve as learning events.
The CLEAR project takes advantage of new technologies and research findings to investigate ways that science assessments can both capture and contribute to cumulative, integrated learning of standards-based concepts in middle school courses.
Our research investigates how instructional activities can help middle school students develop a cumulative, integrated understanding of energy. Energy is a unifying scientific concept that has been shown to be difficult to learn due to its complexity and abstract nature.
Effective Science Teaching for English Language Learners (ESTELL): A Pre-Service Teacher Professional Development Research Project project is funded by the National Science Foundation DR-K-12 Discovery Research Program. The ESTELL project focuses on improving the science teaching and learning of K-6 linguistic minority students who are currently underserved in K-6 education through improving the pre-service education of elementary school teachers.
The Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12) proposal Effective Science Teaching for English Language Learners (ESTELL): A Pre-Service Teacher Professional Development Research Project Across Three Universities in California is submitted for consideration for a full research and development project in the Frontier Challenge Strand a ? assuring all students the opportunity to learn STEM content. Project investigators will conduct an experimental design study on the impact of an ESTELL elementary teacher education designed to prepare novice teachers to teach science to English Language Learner (ELL) and a qualitative study on program implementation. The ESTELL project builds on prior research in two areas: the integration of inquiry science, language and literacy practices; and the CREDE Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy which have identified a common set of teaching practices associated with increased achievement of ELL. This project will adapt this approach to pre-service teacher preparation. The ESTELL model of pre-service teacher education will be integrated into every stage of teacher preparation and induction from the science teaching methods courses in the post-baccalaureate credential programs, to the clinical setting of student teaching and the first two years of teaching. Researchers will focus on three research questions: (1) What is the impact of the ESTELL teacher education program on novice teachers beliefs and practice? (2) What is the relationship between the use of ESTELL by program graduates and the science achievement of 4th-5th grade students? and (3) What is the impact of the ESTELL program on the beliefs and practice of the participating science methods faculty, teacher supervisors and cooperating teachers?
Math Pathways & Pitfalls lessons for students boost mathematics achievement for diverse students, including English Learners, English Proficient students, and Latino students. This project develops modules that increase teachers’ capacity to employ the effective and equitable principles of practice embodied by Math Pathways & Pitfalls and apply these practices to any mathematics lesson. This four-year project develops, field tests, and evaluates 10 online professional development modules.
Researchers and developers at WestEd are developing, field-testing, and evaluating ten online professional development modules anchored in research-based teaching principles and achievement-boosting mathematics materials. The modules provide interactive learning opportunities featuring real classroom video demonstrations, simulations, and scaffolded implementation. The professional development module development builds on the Math Pathways and Pitfalls instructional modules for elementary and middle school students developed with NSF support. The professional development provided through the use of these modules is web-based (rather than face-to-face), is provided in chunks during the school year and immediately applied in the classroom (rather than summer professional development and school year application), and explicitly models ways to apply key teaching principles to regular mathematics lessons (rather than expecting teachers to extract and apply principles spontaneously).
The project studies the impact of the modules on teaching practice with an experimental design that involves 20 treatment teachers and 20 control teachers. Data are gathered from teacher questionnaires, classroom observations, and post-observation interviews.