Effective Computer-Based Curricula

What have we learned about designing computer-based materials that transform science education? What do we need to investigate? How can we collaborate to stimulate change?

Date/Time: 
Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 1:45pm to 3:45pm
PI-organized Discussion

Synopsis
How can we sustain and improve our innovations to promote lifelong science learning? What have we learned about designing computer-based materials that transform science education? What are open questions and promising directions? How can we collaborate to stimulate change? What strategies and revenue streams will lead to sustainability of promising innovations?

Many exciting NSF-funded materials languish on the electronic shelves or get replaced by the latest technology fad (Smartboards, video lectures, eTextbooks).  This session showcases pedagogically sound, open-source materials that can form a foundation for future innovations. The presenters invite discussion about approaches to ensure that the DR K-12 program creates a progressing and sustainable portfolio of innovations. The presenters invite participants to contrast DR K-12 innovations with commercial successes [like Smartboards] and popular trends [like “flipped” classrooms and and eTextbooks] and to identify strategies we can use to increase our market share!!

Introduction: What have the presenters learned in their 30 years of collaboration?

Discussion: What innovations and sustainability strategies hold promise? What is the role of pedagogy?
Pick a category or example, share your experiences, and identify a promising direction. Possible examples:

Inquiry platforms

  • Web-based Inquiry Science Environment
  • Inquiry Island—avatars. Users or designers enter content.
  • Theory: Constructivism, knowledge integration

Concept maps and other knowledge structuring resources

  • Hypercard
  • Inspiration
  • Theory: Ausabel, knowledge structuring

Tutors

  • Cognitive tutor & Carnegie learning
  • Theory: ACT theory + Immediate feedback.

Collaborative learning

  • CSILE: Collaborative learning where users enter the content
  • Blogs, wikis, collaborative spaces
  • Theory: Zone of proximal development

Modeling environments and research tools [use or construct]

  • Intermedia: Inquiry modeling environments for specific problems
  • Thinkertools: Guided inquiry
  • NetLogo: Models
  • Agent Sheets: Modeling tool
  • PhET: Models and some guidance
  • Model-It: Modeling tool
  • Molecular Workbench
  • Biokids: Explore diversity in the environment
  • Theory: Varies, includes exploration, active learning, scaffolded inquiry

What is working: Examples [5 minute presentations]

  • Michelle Williams – WISE Genetics
  • Doug Clark –SURGE  
  • Uri Wilensky WISE and NetLogo  [not confirmed]
  • Jenny Chiu and Charles Xie –WISE Engineering  
  • Chris Dede –Platforms like Time to Know  

How can we collaborate to sustain innovation?
Many alternative approaches compete for the attention of K-12 decision makers. These include some technology-based curriculum materials that support lectures and transmission of information such as Kahn Academy videos, multiple choice questions for clickers, PowerPoint slides for teachers, and eTextbooks. They also include new technologies that support current practice (like Smartboards) and transmission of information (like Clickers). Decision makers also often select technologies such as tablets, smart phones, or computers without considering the software they will need to make them successful.

  • Bob Tinker: How to sustain innovations. Revenue streams.
  • Marcia Linn: What are high priority needs?

Discussion: What are open questions and promising directions? How can we collaborate to stimulate change?

Wrap-up & closing: Report back from small groups