New NSF Grant to Promote CS4All Implementation

Happy to announce that I have received a new NSF grant in collaboration with CSNYC/CS4All Consortium (PI Leigh Ann DeLyser). We’ll be developing research practice partnerships between NYU, CSNYC and rural/suburban districts in upstate New York, to prototype strategies for better implementation of computer science for all.

The history of policy implementation in K-12 schools is full of cases of failed implementation of new curriculum and technology. In this project, we are designing and testing strategies for teams of K-12 educators to create more robust visions, implementation plans, and partnerships to ensure successful CS4All implementation. We will also be developing practical measures so districts and educators can track how well-aligned their implementations are to achieve success.

New Grant to study Informal Learning Orgs

We’re excited to be awarded a ~$330,000 grant from the Susan Crown Exchange. We are developing a partnership with 8, innovative, out-of-school learning programs that are using digital media to engage young people in computing, making, and other domains.

Our project will explore the best practices of these learning organizations, and better define the types of skills and literacies that learners develop in these settings, as they connect to future pathways in education and career.

Awarded New NSF DR-K12 Grant

Excited to announce that I was awarded a new NSF Grant. The project is in collaboration with University of Washington, Vanderbilt University, and University of California-Riverside. My Co-PIs include Kara Jackson, Paul Cobb, Erin Henrick, Thomas Smith, and Marsha Ing.

In the project will create research-practice partnerships with 5 school districts across the country, where our team will work with instructional coaches and middle school math teachers to improve their pedagogical practices. Within this context, we are focusing on creating valid “practical measures” to help teachers understand and reflect on their practice, and inform future decisions.

My role in the project is to help design interactive data visualizations and data collection mechanisms, so that teachers can engage with these practical measures quickly and effectively. I’m excited for this $5 million project (approximately $1 million is NYU’s portion of the project).

Youth & Minecraft: Paper Published in Games and Culture

There is a great deal of excitement around engaging young people in the game Minecraft, and deservedly so. Minecraft is an incredibly rich game world that promotes creativity and creation as young people build worlds on their own and with friends. Numerous projects are now utilizing Minecraft to provide rich learning experiences for kids.

However, we know little about how youth experience and learn in Minecraft – particularly those from under-represented groups. What are their experiences and what can we learn about using Minecraft in equitable ways? As recent events such as Gamergate suggest, there are still stark dangers for groups such as female gamers, and gamers of color, within broader gamer cultures.

I’m happy to share a recent study we published, led by my great doctoral student, Anthony Pellicone, in Games and Culture. We present an ethnography of an adolescent, low-income, African-American youth who has become an avid Minecraft player, producer, and server admin. We show how he stitches his experience together across numerous platforms and affinity spaces, with Skype being a core technology in his practices… but we also document how deep issues of race, class, and gender are prominent in his Minecraft experience – and could offer stark obstacles for young people of color, female gamers, and other under-represented groups from learning and benefitting from this rich game.

Check out the online first article here:

And the PDF here

Awarded Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Grant

I was recently awarded a 2-year, $400,000 grant from the Institute of Education Sciences with my Co-PI John Rice in the District of Columbia Public Schools. We will be developing a partnership to explore DCPS’ recent investments to implement blended learning to improve student learning. My greatest excitement is having the opportunity to blend research and practice, and hopefully make a positive impact on students in Washington, DC.

CIRCL Center Interview

I was recently interviewed by The Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL). They are an organization that aims to communicate cyberlearning research to the public and enhance the effectiveness of our projects (I’ve had two projects funded by NSF Cyberlearning).

A big thanks to CIRCL for inviting me for an interview to share some of my work and the things I’m thinking about these days. Take a look to learn more about what I’m doing!

New Publication! Using social media for science learning

My colleagues and I wrote a paper that will appear in a future issue of Learning, Media, and Technology. In the paper, we document our work  designing a social media app called ScienceKit for children. In the app children document and share their everyday life (just as they would using tools such as Instagram etc.), but in the process of sharing see their life through a lens of scientific inquiry. We also document the amazing work by co-author Dr. Tammy Clegg in designing a program called Kitchen Chemistry (KC) where children learn scientific inquiry through cooking.

What happens when we combine these two ideas – social media in a life relevant learning environment like KC? We feel that some magic can occur by thoughtfully combining technology and curriculum, and we present some case studies to show how.

Take a look at the pre-publication manuscript here: LINK.

CSCW 2015 Paper: P2PU and fostering open education

I led a paper with Sarah Webster (HCI Masters Student) and Dr. Brian Butler that was recently accepted to the CSCW 2015 conference! In the paper we examine the phenomenon of entirely user-generated, open education communities through a study of P2PU. Our paper uses log data from P2PU to show how fostering peer to peer collaboration and helping participants gain experience in open education settings are the critical factors needed to cultivate course developers (or peers who take on the task of creating more courses for others). You can read a draft of the paper here: PDF.