Active Projects

PAD (Physical Activity Data) Project - Through iterative cycles of design-based research in elementary and middle school classrooms, we are designing new curriculum and tools for to support students in the development of data literacy through the use of data obtained about students' physical activities. This project is supported through an NSF CAREER grant provided by the National Science Foundation (DRL-1054280)

Situated Librarianship Learning Infrastructure (SLLI) - By way of a research-practice partnership linking university researchers and local public and school libraries, we are trying to better understand the learning needs of librarians who serve a new generation of adolescent connected learners and how best to integrate supports to enable those professionals to expand their educational efforts into the world of Making and digital fabrication. The goal is to develop new models of professional learning and Maker programming that can be replicated at other libraries and in other cities. This project is supported through a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Engagement in Makerspaces with Wearables (EMW) - In light of the growing attention on makerspaces as informal learning environments, this project explores new wearable technologies and new analysis techniques to pinpoint interest as it emerges in makerspace situations. This project is done in partnership with Utah's 4-H office and Cache Makers. Funding comes from the National Science Foundation (CNS-1623401) Support also comes from a Presidential Doctoral Research Fellowship from Utah State University.

Agent-Based Modeling for US Nursing Education. - Building on prior work from Israel, this project seeks to develop and empirically test different configurations of agent-based models related to pharmacology to improve the quality of education for American nursing students. This project is funded by the office of Academic and Instructional Services at Utah State University.

Coding Toys and Early Childhood Education - Many commercial toys purport to help young children learn computational thinking and coding. With collaborators from Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences and the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership, this team is examining the range of toys that are marketed toward children up to age 8 and examine when and how computational thinking is promoted through their use in play activities.

Embodiment and Explanations of Motion - Using clinical interviews with high school students who have completed high school physics, we are performing knowledge analyses and comparisons of student thinking about motion before and after they physically enact specific motions. This work helps inform the relationship between embodied activity and conceptual reasoning in science. This project is supported by funds from a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Fellowship.

Physics through Cycling - This dissertation study is an effort to understand participation in an amateur road cycling community of practice. It also examines the nature of understandings that cyclists develop about complex physics content, such as mechanical advantage and air resistance, by virtue of embodied participation in their sport of choice.

Data Tracking in Daily Life - As more data have become accessible to people through new technologies, we are trying to understand the range of practices that have naturally emerged with respect to personal data. We have so far studied how endurance athletes have collected and used performance data, how hobbyists involved in the Quantified Self movement talk about and present data, and are currently examining how families with children diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes handle data.

Learning from Bodies - Embodied cognition posits that learning intimately involves use and consideration of our bodies. What happens when learning also involves the use and consideration of the bodies that belong to others? This project involves an interaction analysis in human anatomy dissection projects to understand how learning opportunities are jointly constructed between bodies of people, both living and deceased.

FIT Game - In collaboration with faculty in Psychology and Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, we are exploring ways to leverage established knowledge related to health and behavioral economics to support sustainable school-wide activities to promote healthy behavior among elementary school students through narrative game experiences.

Completed Projects

Finding the Science in SportScience - ESPN SportScience is an Emmy Award winning series that uses professional sports as a vehicle for presenting science content to a broad range of viewers. We have been analyzing video archives to understand what visual representation strategies are being used in this program and evaluating the range and depth of science content that is being covered.

Visualizing Body Movement - With the increased availability of technologies to capture high-speed, slow motion video of everyday phenomena, this project is an effort to understand how classrooms can productively use slow-motion footage of their own bodily activities to participate in practices of modeling and visual data analysis. This project is supported through funds provided by the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation.

Self-Data and Mattering - This dissertation study attempts to provide support for undergraduate statistics students and understand by way of data exploration sessions when and how different kinds of data and are considered meaningful in the process of learning. This project is supported by a Presidential Doctoral Research Fellowship from Utah State University.

Learning with E-Textiles - Part of the maker movement has involved the integration of computational technology with soft materials. Examples of this include clothing and decorations that can light up, make sounds, and respond to changes in the environment. With Dr. Deborah Fields, we are studying the broad range of knowledge change in an undergraduate course involving the use of the LilyPad Arduino to make e-textiles. 

Microlongitudinal/Microlatitudinal Knowledge and Interaction Analysis - In a collaborative effort supported by an AERA Education Research Conference grant, researchers from Utah State University, UCLA, Indiana University, and Boston College performed a systematic analysis of knowledge and interactional dynamics to understand how undergraduate ideas in chemistry both stabilize and change through small modifications in setting and specific lines of questioning. The product of this work will appear in an edited book in 2015.

Interviewer Discourse Analysis - With top scholars at UW-Madison and Northwestern University, this project shifted the analytical lens used on clinical interviews from what a student says and does to what an interviewer says and does. As clinical interviews are a powerful technique for eliciting student thinking, our view is that a better understanding of what interviewers do and how that affects data quality is critical for future research in conceptual change that is accountable to the interactional dynamics inherent in interviewing.

Curriculum Customization Service (CCS) Replication - The Curriculum Customization Service was developed at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. It provides a portal to DLESE, a repository of high quality web materials for use in teaching Earth Science as part of the National Science Digital Library. CCS has been successfully implemented in Colorado, and with colleagues at Utah State University and University of Utah, the original team of researchers and developers were examining how the CCS can be brought to scale across a diverse set of school districts. This project was supported by NSF Grant DUE-1043858.

The Digital Pets Project - Technologies that enable students to build and create new, personally meaningful objects have been made increasingly accessible and represent an important opportunity for helping students develop their computational thinking capabilities. In this project, we were exploring how students who have been placed in alternative schooling can engage with such technologies and learn skills related to software debugging using a scaffolded sequence of learning activities and a design project culminating in creation of a digital pet.

TwHistory: Historical Re-enactments through Twitter - The Twitter microblogging service has allowed for new forms of dialogue and self-expression in 140 characters or less. In this project, some innovative graduate students had developed an implementation framework for enabling historical reenactments to take place through Twitter. Reenacted events include the Cuban Missile Crisis, the sinking of the Titanic, the Pioneer Trek, and the Battle of Gettysberg. This project had been supported in part by a Talis Incubator grant awarded to Tom Caswell and Marion Jensen.

Visual Representation Use in Middle School Science  - Science intimately involves a range of representations, ranging from diagrams, drawings, graphs, to photographs. In this work, we had been considering the kinds of visual representations that are included at the middle school level from historical and observational perspective. We had also been concerned with how students make sense of or think about those representations, particularly those that are thought to be problematic for learning. This project was supported by NSF Grant ESI-0227557.

Learning through Collaborative Board Games -A new style of board game has been gaining prominence in the United States that involves collaboration, resource management, and reliance on strategy rather than luck. These games, referred to by others as German-style, Eurogames, or Designer games involve a number of complex interactions related to sense-making of rules, strategies, and engaging in tasks computationally. We have examined the discourse and activity involved in some samples of this game play, particularly with the collaborative board game, Pandemic.

Photo documentation of Science in the Field - Field trips are a common occurrence for schools, often with the expectation that they map to a particular area of required content. In this project, we followed a class of elementary students on a multi-day and night field trip to a national park and provided digital cameras to each student so that they could document meaningful experiences and any scenes or activities that represented "Science" to them and to understand when science seemed more prominent to those students.

Small Group Argumentation in Inquiry Science - Argumentation has been identified as an important practice to foster in science classrooms as a way for students to both learn content and engage in practices comparable to those of the scientific community. This project involved examining the interactions of students who were engaged in argumentation while working in small groups when they were using a ecosystem simulation in the NetLogo modeling environment and identifying influences on students' ability to reach consensus. This project built off of curriculum materials developed as part of the Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST) curriculum development project.