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Research Highlights

Preparing to Teach Algebra (PTA): A Study of Teacher Education

Faculty: Jill Newton (in Collaboration with Yukiko Maeda and Sharon Senk)

Preparing to Teach Algebra (PTA) investigates the opportunities that secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs provide for pre-service teachers to learn about algebra, algebra teaching, issues in achieving equity in algebra learning, and the algebra, functions, and modeling standards and mathematical practices described in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM).  Using mixed methods (including survey, curriculum analyses, case studies, and focus groups), PTA will study whether and how recommendations from mathematics professional societies, recently released standards for school algebra, and state-level policies related to algebra are addressed in secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs. 

 

Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) Math- Science Partnership

Faculty member: Brenda Capobianco

The primary goal of the SLED Math Science Partnership is to increase grade 3-6 student learning of science by developing Indiana’s first integrated, engineering design-based approach to elementary/intermediate school science education. Research activities explore student and teaching learning and partnership development and sustainability.

The NSF grant is entitled “MSP Targeted Partnership for Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED)” in collaboration with Taylor Community School Corporation, Plymouth School Corporation, Lafayette School Corporation, and Tippecanoe School Corporation

 

The POET Project: Investigating the Use of Visualization to Effectively Teach Optimization Modeling Skills 

 Faculty: Rachael Kenney (in Collaboration with Dr. Nelson Uhan and Dr. Ji Soo Yi)

The POET Project is an exploratory study that addresses the challenge of optimization modeling in mathematics and engineering.  In this study, we will examine student difficulties in this area and develop a web-based learning environment called POET (Purdue Optimization modeling Education Tool) that will enhance the learning of optimization modeling skills for undergraduate engineering students.  We  expect to gain important insights into students' thinking in modeling and problem solving. We also expect to show that novice students’ abilities to formulate valid optimization models will improve when provided with visualization tools for guiding self-assessment and enhancing conceptual understanding.

 

Making Sense of Global Warming and Climate Change

Faculty Member: Anita Roychoudhury (in collaboration with Daniel Shepardson, Andrew Hirsch (Physics) and Dev Niyogi (EAPS)

This research project funded by DRK12 program of the National Science Foundation is exploring teaching and learning in the complex domain of climate change. Learning in this domain involves understanding of physical and earth science. Middle School teachers and students from four local schools are participating in the project. Pre- and post-test data collected from 1200+ students show that they made significant gain (p<.01) in content knowledge, as a result of their participation in the project. Data also show student models of climate, greenhouse effect, and underlying mechanisms. Case studies conducted on participating teachers’ classrooms have implications for curriculum and instruction in climate science as well as in other complex domains.

 

Engineering the Future

Johannes Strobel, Engineering Education faculty member with a joint appointment in Educational Technology, has been named the Director of INSPIRE, the Institute of P-12 Engineering Education and Research. INSPIRE, created with a grant from Bechtel, focuses on the design, implementation, and assessment of engineering activities for students in grades P-6. The institute also provides a summer academy to train teachers who want to integrate engineering concepts in their classrooms.

Johannes is also the PI on an NSF DR-K12 grant project that extends the work of INSPIRE through the use of a cyber-infrastructure with video-based mentoring that links elementary school teachers with Purdue researchers and educators to form a community of practice related to engineering education. The professional development component of the project seeks to transform teachers into master users and designers of engineering education for elementary learners.

 

Preparing Computer Science Teachers

Jim Lehman, Educational Technology faculty member, is Co-PI of a new grant project from NSF that is focusing on getting future teachers prepared to teach computer science in high schools.

The project, dubbed CS4EDU, will address the issue by getting more education majors prepared to teach computer science. CS4EDU is headed by Susanne Hambrusch, Professor of Computer Science, and includes other faculty in both Computer Science and the College of Education.

The project seeks to develop a computer science teaching supplemental licensure program to prepare secondary computer science teachers. As part of the project, modules will also be developed to introduce computational thinking concepts to all education majors through courses such as EDCI 27000.

 

Internationalization of Education in Comparative Context

Nadine Dolby's current research examines how universities in differing national contexts develop policy and practice regarding internationalization. This project takes as its premise that the process of "internationalization" is never solely about internationalization in some pure, abstract form, but instead is a practice that emerges as a necessity because of the larger constellation of forces that surround it. Future directions for this research include an examination of similar issues in K-12 contexts, particularly in rural districts in Indiana.