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Early Math with Gracie and Friends App

Innovative Research on Preschool Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning

The Center for Technology in Learning (CTL), Education Development Center (EDC), and WGBH together designed and created a new set of iPad apps, Early Math with Gracie and Friends™, that help preschool students learn advanced yet foundational mathematics. The apps are based on the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM) project. Through multiple rounds of iteration, the collaborative team of learning scientists, content advisors, developers, and preschool teachers created the tablet-based apps as part of a curricular program that also includes hands-on activities and a Digital Teachers' Guide to support educators in preschool classrooms. In a recent randomized controlled trial (RCT), the team found that children in classrooms that implemented the NGPM program learned more of the target mathematics than children who engaged in their regular preschool activities.

This line of work is currently being extending through the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Science (NGPS) project. The NGPS team is developing a curricular program to promote engagement in science practices and understanding of science concepts. The apps being developed include toolkits to support group investigations, simulations that enable children to interact with scientific phenomena, and games that provide opportunities for practice. Partner teachers are piloting activities and resources to inform future iterations in preparation for a field study in 2015.

Routledge Publishes Online Learning Book by Three CTL Authors

Developing Assessments of Student Learning in Computer Science and Computational Thinking

Computer science education and training are in the news a lot these days, but few are aware that so far no one has critically examined what students are learning from all of these efforts, especially in high school. CTL researchers Eric Snow and Marie Bienkowski have led the effort to develop the first evidence-centered assessments for Exploring Computer Science (ECS), an introductory computer science curriculum that targets 9th- and 10th-graders with no prior computer science experience. Their work with ECS complements those features of the curriculum that encourage diverse participation in computer science with the assessments of student learning that teachers—many of whom are new to teaching computer science—need to understand how their students are doing and adapt their teaching accordingly. SRI’s successful work in developing computer science assessments in the PACT project is continuing under NSF funding in two ways: (1) design and develop web-based versions of existing assessments (award DRL-1433065) and (2) leverage these assessments in a large-scale implementation study of the curriculum throughout the US (award DRL-1418149).

CTL Researchers Talk Early Learning with Media and Technology

CTL researchers facilitated an interactive session on the use of media in early STEM settings during a meeting of the Gateways East Bay STEM Network’s Early Learning Action Group. The audience included early learning practitioners and early childhood education leaders as well as informal science professionals, librarians, staff from philanthropic organizations, and faculty members from California State University (CSU) East Bay and Mills College. The presentation reviewed current policy (the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)/Fred Rogers Center position statement) as well as research and best practices on using media in preschool classrooms, providing examples from recent CTL projects, the Joint Engagement with Media project funded by the LIFE center, Next Generation Preschool Math, and Ready To Learn. It was a timely opportunity for Savitha Moorthy, Carlin Llorente, and Phil Vahey to talk directly—and share research-based experiences—with a key group of early learning stakeholders in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties about a critical topic in preschool education.

Conference: Cyberlearning 2015: Connect, Collaborate, and Create the Future

Report: Recruiting Participants for Large-Scale Random Assignment Experiments in School Settings

SRI News: William Jeffrey Joins SRI International as President and CEO

Don't miss our January Research Update, featuring:

What Can You Learn From Five Years of Funding Postsecondary Digital Courseware? 

Learn about the outcomes of CTL's review of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s portfolio of grants supporting postsecondary learning technology application projects. A new report describes what we learned from analyzing the features of 137 courses and from our meta-analysis of the impacts of this digital courseware on student learning and course completion. 

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