How do you engage students in career education? EDC’s Sarita Pillai discusses the importance of connecting careers and real world contexts and describes the work of the STEM Learning and Research Center to make those connections.
This project has researched, designed, and developed the SolveMe Mobiles app, a digital learning environment using specific mathematical puzzles to support the transition from arithmetic to algebra for middle school students. The app is designed to support logical thinking in a social environment by allowing users not only to solve puzzles but also to build and share them as well. The project team has prototyped several additional apps that could support solving, building, and sharing mathematics puzzles.
An EDC mathematics curriculum takes a new approach to algebra learning, connecting the concrete procedures of arithmetic to the abstract reasoning that success in algebra requires. Transition to Algebra, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and published by Heinemann, builds on a history of curriculum development at EDC centered on fostering mathematical habits of mind. It is designed to be used flexibly to support algebra in Grades 6—10.
Educators who want to bring technology-infused Common Core lessons to struggling students and those with disabilities can turn to the new website PowerUp WHATWORKS. EDC staff are a part of the team that developed this innovative resource.
Mission US is an interactive adventure game designed to improve the understanding of American history by students in grades 5 through 8. Over the next several years, the project will develop four Web-based American history video games and accompanying pedagogical support materials.
EDC is creating and studying a two year professional development model for middle school mathematics teachers with an emphasis on teaching struggling math students in the areas of fractions and rational numbers.
The professional development is composed of online modules, professional learning communities, and face-to-face workshops. Each of the online modules is one week long and covers:
EDC is developing and testing a two-year, intensive professional development model for building middle grades mathematics teachers’ facility with formative assessment.
Using a combination of institutes, ongoing professional learning communities, and Web-based resources, this model attends both to teachers’ knowledge of critical aspects of formative assessment and their implementation of formative assessment in the classroom.
Supported Literacy for Adolescents is a research-based literacy program. Its goal is to improve reading, writing, and comprehension among both high-risk and typically achieving populations. The program is deeply rooted in standards-based curriculum design, and all components of the program align with national reading and writing standards, as well as selected content standards.
This project is developing a series of online professional development modules for school counselors—middle grades, high school, and postsecondary student service professionals—that focus on career counseling and college preparation. The modules use a learning community approach where school counselors will participate in the project as a cohort and engage in structured online discussions with their colleagues and the instructor during each of the module sessions.
This project is developing activity materials for informal science educators who work with middle school youth as they investigate nature. It also involves controlled applied research to study how different modes of visual representations and the units impact the attitudes of the participating youth and their preparation for future learning.
Collaborators on this project are Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG), Boston Nature Center, and the University of New Hampshire 4-H.
The Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands (REL-NEI) is one of ten regional laboratories and has a mission to help pre-K–16 educators use the best available evidence to make decisions leading to improved student achievement and reduced performance gaps.
Under a previous National Science Foundation grant, EDC is developing the Inquiry Science Instruction Observation Protocol (ISIOP). This instrument will help evaluators and researchers determine the nature and extent of scientific inquiry instruction and the best practices used in teaching middle grades science.
The Coaching Cycle project is creating an online professional development course for K–8 mathematics instructional coaches in rural areas and small schools who do not have access to regular districtwide professional development.
The course will build participants’ coaching skills through the use of classroom artifacts, such as student work, videotapes, and transcripts drawn from the classroom.
The Coaching Cycle project will also examine how online learning and instructional coaching change teachers’ instructional practices and increase student achievement.
The Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program is designed to increase opportunities for students and teachers to learn about and use information technologies within the contexts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Youth-based projects that have strong emphases on career and educational paths
The New York Comprehensive Center (NYCC) is one of 16 regional comprehensive centers that are federally funded to implement the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In doing so, NYCC engages the New York State Education Department in using research-based findings and rigorous evidence. The Center provides technical assistance services to meet the Department’s priority needs and further the key initiatives of the US Department of Education. Additionally, the NYCC works with the State on emerging needs based on new statutes and policy mandates.
The New England Comprehensive Center (NECC) is one of 16 regional comprehensive centers that are federally funded to implement the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The NECC engages state education leaders in using research and best practice to meet the goals of NCLB. Our purpose is to design and deliver technical assistance services that meet education leaders’ priority needs, further the key initiatives of the U.S. Department of Education, and have the greatest potential for building states’ capacities to help districts and schools improve.
The Partnership to Improve Student Achievement in Physical Science: Integrating STEM Approaches (PISA2), a project of the Center for Innovation in Engineering & Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology, is working with 12 districts throughout New Jersey to provide graduate training in physical and earth sciences and professional development to 400 in-service elementary and middle-school teachers and 120 school leaders over the next five years. EDC serves as the external evaluator for PISA2.
Transition to Algebra: A Habits of Mind Approach is a research and development project that provides intervention modules for ninth-grade mathematics students and teachers. These modules provide supplementary materials for Algebra 1 classes (e.g., double-period algebra).
Rather than developing isolated skills and reviewing particular topics, these materials foster the development of mathematical habits of mind—in particular, the algebraic habit of abstracting from calculations, a key unifying idea in the transition from arithmetic to algebra.
This project, through a cooperative agreement with the NSF, is establishing and maintaining the Discovery Research (DR) K–12 learning resource network, known as CADRE, with the aim of advancing the state of research and evaluation in STEM education and promoting the goals of the DR K–12 program. CADRE provides support services to grantees of this program, which enhances student and teacher learning of the STEM disciplines through the development, implementation, and study of resources, models, and technologies.
The Boston Science Partnership was a five-year NSF-funded Math and Science Partnership project designed to improve science teaching and learning in Boston’s middle and high schools, enhance university-level teaching by STEM faculty, and ensure the university partners’ continued support for and faculty involvement in science education. The Boston Public Schools, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Northeastern University are the principal partners. Harvard Medical School and the College Board participate as supporting partners.
Teenage Health Teaching Modules (THTM) is a successful, nationally-used, and independently evaluated comprehensive school health curriculum for grades 6 to 12. It provides adolescents with the knowledge and skills to act in ways that enhance their immediate and long-term health. The evaluation of THTM concluded that the curriculum produced positive effects on students’ health knowledge, attitudes, and self-reported behaviors.
EDC is part of the winning team to receive a two-year, $1 million Fast Track Award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to create and study a tablet-based interactive digital game for middle school history classrooms.
This project is evaluating the Talk Science! program, led by TERC, which strives to study and enhance the development of teachers’ skills in managing productive classroom talk in inquiry-based science.
The Talk Science! project will document teachers’ learning and study the changes in discussion patterns in 18 science classrooms in urban, suburban, and rural schools. The project’s hypothesis is that aligning professional learning with conceptually driven curricula and emphasizing the development of scientific discourse will change classroom culture and increase student learning.
This project is creating two professional development courses, with both on-site and online versions to build the capacity of middle school teachers of mathematics and special educators and their administrators to enable students with disabilities to be successful mathematics learners. During the project, one eight-session course for classroom teachers and their special education colleagues and a six-session course for school administrators will be developed, tested, and disseminated.
EDC has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a suite of digital tools that will help middle-school history and social studies teachers make better use of primary sources.