Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Arthur Camins

    Arthur Camins

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2016 | 02:55 p.m.

    It is great to see how the teachers have embraced both the collaboration and their own learning. One of the teachers featured in the video mentioned that seeing the students’ learning progression was a big breakthrough. Was this an “Aha” for others too. Were there other big insights?

  • Icon for: Jo Louie

    Jo Louie

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 11:56 p.m.

    Hi Arthur,
    Thanks for your comments and questions! Yes, in interviews and survey data from teachers and administrators, educators commonly said that it was extremely valuable for them to learn about mathematics learning progressions in the early grades. Multiple educators said that before we began our collaboration with the district, their focus had been on simply following the district’s adopted mathematics curriculum (Everyday Math), and their exposure to mathematics research was primarily (or solely) through the curriculum. Through research briefs that we generated for them as well as articles and books that we studied together, everyone became familiar with the the work of Clements and Sarama, Cathy Fosnot, Jere Confrey, and others. In the words of an administrator: “It’s kind of been a mind shift for me … Use the program but teach the students… The development of math concepts…That to me was the first kind of ah-ha moment where it’s like, ‘This is not about a program, this is about kids learning these foundational pieces and having to master certain things before they can move on.’”

    There were many other insights as well, gained by trying new learning and teaching strategies with iPad tools during mathematics lessons and through the ongoing, iterative process of co-investigating a research question together. I’ll say more on this topic below, in response to Elissa’s comment.

  • Icon for: Elissa Milto

    Elissa Milto

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2016 | 09:04 p.m.

    Hi,
    I have to echo Arthur in saying it is great to see teachers reflecting on their own learning. The teachers obviously feel that they are involved in a partnership of researchers. Can you talk a bit about the role of iPads? you mention them in the descriptive blurb and then in the video, but they do not seem to be a big part of the students’ interactions with math. I’d also like to hear about some of your findings related to classroom practices and reaching the students.
    Thanks,
    Elissa

  • Icon for: Jo Louie

    Jo Louie

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 01:32 a.m.

    Hi Elissa,
    Thanks for your questions! Our video serves as a teaser for our project. Here is more background:
    - EDC and Auburn, Maine are working together in a research-practice partnership as part of a much larger NSF-funded project called the Research + Practice Collaboratory. See http://researchandpractice.org/.
    - As part of this work, EDC joined with the Auburn School Department (as well as with university mathematics educators in Maine) to help Auburn address a persistent problem of low mathematics achievement in the early elementary grades. To boost learning, Auburn had implemented a 1-to-1 iPad program prior to the formation of our partnership, but mathematics achievement remained stubbornly low.
    - Following the principles of design-based implementation research (DBIR), we began in early 2014 to identify with educators what may underlie low mathematics achievement. We collaboratively came to understand that students in the early grades were weak in basic numeracy, and teachers did not have a clear vision of what effective mathematics learning and teaching looks like – particularly with technology.
    - With these insights, EDC helped provide a summer of professional learning for a cohort of teachers in Auburn’s lowest performing schools. Together we examined research on early mathematics learning and tools on the iPad designed to support mathematical problem-solving, reasoning, and communication/discourse. Teachers subsequently went through a “toe-in-the-water” phase during fall 2014, when they tried the different strategies and iPad tools they had encountered over the summer. We met monthly in professional learning community (PLC) meetings to reflect on their experiences and to plan how they might adjust their use of these strategies and tools the next month.
    - By early 2015, teachers developed a hypothesis: If students regularly use an iPad screencasting tool (such as Explain Everything) to record and review explanations of their own thinking when solving mathematics problems, their mathematical communication and reasoning will improve. We decided as a group to systematically explore this hypothesis. We launched 30-day iterative plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles in which teachers had their students use iPads to record and review their mathematical thinking – often in conjunction with other visual representation tools on the iPad – and to reflect on how to implement this strategy most effectively. We met monthly to review student screencast recordings and to share insights based on different methods of implementation.
    - We added a new cohort of teachers in summer 2015, and have continued our iterative exploration of this strategy through the 2015-2016 academic year. We have been collecting data from teachers and administrators through interviews, surveys, logs, classroom observations, and student artifacts/recordings, and have been finding deep shifts in teachers’ use of iPads and their expectations of students’ capacities for mathematical reasoning and discourse. Young students – many who are not yet reading or writing at all or with ease – have ways to express their mathematical thinking through iPad screencasting tools and modeling/visual representation apps. Teachers noticed early on that students in grades K-2 LOVE recording themselves, knowing that their voices will be heard by peers and their teacher, and they naturally self-correct and become more metacognitive when they listen to their own recordings. We have found that the strategic use of iPad tools in mathematics classrooms can promote greater equity in students’ opportunities to engage in mathematical reasoning and discourse.
    - I have only shared a small portion of what we’ve been doing and learning from this collaborative work. We are excited by the process of working in this research-practice partnership and the results that are emerging. Others on the team can continue to help fill out this story. For more information on our work in Auburn, you can also see our website: http://interactivestem.org/.

  • Icon for: Peter Orne

    Peter Orne

    Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 08:45 a.m.

    Hi Elissa – Thank you for your observation about inserting students’ hands-on use of iPads into the video, which could take us deeper into the work in Auburn. We have done quite a bit of in-person sharing of student use of iPads – typically through recordings of students’ use of Explain Everything – at conferences around the country [click on the Materials tab): http://interactivestem.org/events/event-archive...]. In April, our videographer recorded a dozen classroom snapshots of students’ iPad work, and we will be adding voiceovers and publishing this suite of videos soon. In the meantime, we have been disseminating this set of preliminary guidelines for using interactive mobile technologies in early ed classrooms which grew out of the Inquiry Group work in Waltham: https://go.edc.org/in3c

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Co-Principal Investigator
    May 17, 2016 | 06:40 a.m.

    After reading around your website, I am curious: What have the schools had to do to support the teachers’ experimentation and participation in this project? Have you had to do a lot of work with parents to get buy-in? (Do you think the parents gain more confidence because of changes in the children’s attitudes/feelings than from changes in test scores?) Finally, is the math project having any knock-on effects in science?

  • Icon for: Peter Tierney-Fife

    Peter Tierney-Fife

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:17 a.m.

    Brian,

    The active involvement of school leadership has been crucial to the project from the beginning. District and building leadership worked with the teachers and researchers as a design team to determine expectations for teacher involvement inside and outside the classroom. Building leadership was an important support for teachers as they implemented new practices with students. Principals, teachers, and researchers participated in monthly professional learning community meetings together, and Principals acted as co-investigators with teachers and researchers, including by doing informal observations. Principals’ could then draw on these experiences in classrooms when collaborating with teachers and researchers.

    Although we did not involve parents formally in the design process or professional learning community, teachers did involve parents informally by sharing rich artifacts—including audio, video, and other representations—of student work in parent meetings and other venues. These informal events and conversations showcased the types of work students are doing. Teachers reported that when parents saw the ways their young children were doing math, in their students’ own voices and actions, it was powerful and created buy-in for this work among parents.

    We have not explored connections in science explicitly, but teachers have reported students’ increased use of academic language and ability to communicate their thinking in literacy contexts.

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    Linda Fuller

    Guest
    May 21, 2016 | 07:00 a.m.

    Supervising a student teacher in Hancock County this fall I noticed similar fifth grade responses to creating science based iPad recordings: students provided more explanatory details, made more attempts to find familiar examples of concepts, and exhibited more self-awareness of the limits of their understanding.

  • Icon for: Sarah-Kay McDonald

    Sarah-Kay McDonald

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 10:50 a.m.

    Thanks so much for sharing this insight into your team’s work with schools in Auburn and faculty at Maine universities around mathematics learning in the early grades. I’d be particularly interested in learning more about how this work ‘fits’ in (e.g., benefits from, contributes to) the work of the larger Research+Practice Collaboratory. (E.g., what parallels—or key differences—might there be between this and other R+P Collaboratory initiatives?) Could you tell us a bit more about this? Thanks! – I’m looking forward to learning more as this Video Showcase conversation unfolds!

  • Icon for: Peter Tierney-Fife

    Peter Tierney-Fife

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:41 a.m.

    Sarah-Kay,
    A few common themes have emerged from the three R+P Collaboratory partner sites that work directly with K-12 and informal educators:
    (1) the importance of equity-oriented engagement, including using research-based practices
    (2) the key role of opportunities for productive struggle for the growth of learners
    (3) the creation of contexts with opportunities for meaningful formative assessment to enhance learning
    For classrooms in Auburn and in the Exploratorium’s informal settings, equity-oriented facilitation practices included increasing wait time and student tinkering, which made student understandings more explicit and provided a way for teachers to adjust activities based on more information than previously possible.

  • Icon for: Catherine McCulloch

    Catherine McCulloch

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 10:04 a.m.

    Sarah-Kay,
    Building on Peter’s response, there are a few other common goals and practices between the work we are doing with the Auburn, ME site and the work our partners in the Collaboratory are doing with their respective sites. The R+P Collaboratory entered into this work to test a few conjectures about research and practice partnerships. Each R+P site has engaged in a version of the collaboration process outlined here: http://interactivestem.org/briefs/tools/guide-m... refining and documenting our nuanced approaches—and more concretely in areas such as co-designing materials and tools. Collectively we are interested in whether and how our work at the respective sites, and the materials, tools, and other research and practice outcomes will be sustained and “travel”, e.g., do we find that if we co-create a guide for using screencasting and math apps in early math classrooms that is grounded in research, co-designed with researchers and teachers, and tested in classrooms, then that guide will be more readily and effectively used by teachers who weren’t engaged in the co-design of that tool?

  • Icon for: Jean Ryoo

    Jean Ryoo

    Senior Researcher
    May 19, 2016 | 12:28 a.m.

    What an inspiring video! Wonderful to see how an equity-oriented research-practice partnership can transform the ways that math education happens with technological tools! It’s wonderful to see how the educators see themselves as “researchers” and feel empowered by this collaborative experience. Are there ways that the researchers on the team have felt like their identities have shifted and grown as well? Thanks for sharing your important work!

  • Small default profile

    Shannon Larsen

    Guest
    May 19, 2016 | 05:52 p.m.

    Interestingly, I feel more like a researcher because of this project. I chose to teach at a university like the University of Maine at Farmington because I see myself as a practitioner and teacher first. It is what I love and what I think I am best at doing. I am always nervous about being cast in the role of “expert” because I know I have so much to learn. I’m wary of making claims about what I see and know. I am not sure I have more “authority” to make those claims than people who are in the classroom every day (most of my data collection has been through observation and interview). Because of the collaborative nature of this work, I have been able to talk to teachers and other researchers about what is going on to help me make sense of my observations and to make stronger claims. I really love that feeling and have been surprised by that. In fact, when I was interviewed about this project the first two times around I was adamant that I was a practitioner. It was only recently that I said I would also position myself as a researcher. I also think it has helped my own teaching practice because I am able to see that what I believe to be best practices, based on previous observations, practice, and research, does have impact in classrooms. I am able to use this information when I teach my pre-service teachers. I can tell them about what I see in Auburn and what the outcomes appear to be. I also share videos that I take in the classrooms with them. Finally, I came into this project with very little knowledge about effective uses of technology in elementary classrooms. I have learned so much from EDC and the teachers about this. I am still figuring out how to best integrate it into my pre-service methods courses. But, I am thinking about it in new ways and trying new things out so that I can prepare them to be effective in a way I was not.

  • Small default profile

    Kelly McCormick

    Guest
    May 20, 2016 | 10:50 a.m.

    I don’t feel like my identity has shifted from working on this project, but I have learned a lot about using technology to support kids’ mathematics learning and engagement from the project. As a university faculty, I rarely get to spend time in K-12 classrooms observing and working with master teachers and their students, so while I wouldn’t say that my identity changed, I have gained a lot from this experience.

  • Icon for: Peter Orne

    Peter Orne

    Presenter
    May 21, 2016 | 08:26 a.m.

    Thank you, Shannon, for the article you wrote about how the Collaboratory learning is informing your work with student teachers at UMF: http://researchandpractice.org/maine-preservice...
    And thank you, Kelly for the interview you did with us in Auburn – hoping to produce that soon for the website.

  • Icon for: Peter Orne

    Peter Orne

    Presenter
    May 23, 2016 | 10:50 a.m.

    Thank you for you comments, Jean!

  • Icon for: Jill Denner

    Jill Denner

    Senior Research Scientist
    May 19, 2016 | 01:02 p.m.

    This is a really great example of a research-practice partnership. Can you explain how it was initially formed? Did the schools initiate it, or the researchers?

  • Icon for: Peter Orne

    Peter Orne

    Presenter
    May 20, 2016 | 10:26 a.m.

    Thanks for your question, Jill, which our P.I. Pam Buffington also responded to below. The inquiry group that EDC and the Auburn School Department hosted in November 2014 was a major catalyst for the work. It brought together researchers across the country with educators in Auburn to exchange knowledge and deepen understanding of work occurring across the research–practice divide, and to address the use of interactive technologies to support mathematics learning in the early grades. That collaborative inquiry really set the stage for a long-term mutualistic relationship and is more fully explained in this report: http://interactivestem.org/wp-content/uploads/2...

  • Icon for: Jill Denner

    Jill Denner

    Senior Research Scientist
    May 20, 2016 | 02:16 p.m.

    The report is very helpful. Thank you!

  • Icon for: Pam Buffington

    Pam Buffington

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 06:28 p.m.

    Through prior professional associations the district leadership expressed a desire to understand more about the efforts to improve early elementary mathematics and literacy learning with mobile technologies. When the opportunity arose within the Research and Practice Collaboratory Project, we reached out to the district. The actual collaboration began only after we all convened to identify the mutual goals and ways of working together. Once we established the shared roles and responsibilities, we convened a broad base of practitioner stakeholders, higher education mathematics researchers, and R+P Collaboratory staff to identify the problems of practice that would become the focus of our Design Based Implementation Research. The research questions emerged through a series of discussions, building and classroom experience, data analysis, and review of existing artifacts.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

  1. Peter Orne
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/peter-orne
  3. Center Communications Director
  4. The Research + Practice Collaboratory
  5. http://researchandpractice.org/actions/maine/
  6. Education Development Center
  1. Pam Buffington
  2. Senior Managing Project Director
  3. The Research + Practice Collaboratory
  4. http://researchandpractice.org/actions/maine/
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Jim Galdos
  2. The Research + Practice Collaboratory
  3. http://researchandpractice.org/actions/maine/
  4. Galdos Pictures
  1. Jo Louie
  2. Research Scientist
  3. The Research + Practice Collaboratory
  4. http://researchandpractice.org/actions/maine/
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Catherine McCulloch
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/catherine-mcculloch
  3. Project Director
  4. The Research + Practice Collaboratory
  5. http://researchandpractice.org/actions/maine/
  6. Education Development Center
  1. Jennifer Stiles
  2. The Research + Practice Collaboratory
  3. http://researchandpractice.org/actions/maine/
  4. Education Development Center
  1. Peter Tierney-Fife
  2. The Research + Practice Collaboratory
  3. http://researchandpractice.org/actions/maine/
  4. Education Development Center

The Research + Practice Collaboratory Interactive STEM at EDC Partnership in Auburn, Maine
DRL-1238253

The Interactive STEM team at Education Development Center, Inc. is a major partner in the Research + Practice Collaboratory, a five-year initiative (NSF grant DRL-1238253) to strengthen and reframe the relationship between research and teacher practice in STEM education in K–12 and informal settings. EDC’s team is developing and studying a model of research-practice collaboration in partnership with the Auburn, Maine, School Department and faculty at Maine universities to improve student learning of mathematics in the early grades using interactive mobile technologies such as iPads. Teams of teachers, administrators, researchers, coaches, and EDC facilitators are engaging in collaborative inquiry through an iterative process of designing, testing, and analyzing classroom learning and teaching practices in mathematics with iPad tools to generate new knowledge and practice in direct response to a district need. Through journal publications, briefs, tools, and video, the initiative is contributing to the research base about what works in early STEM learning with practices, interventions, and teaching strategies; supporting elementary school teachers with STEM pedagogy and content knowledge; and supporting children from low-income families who may have less access to STEM experiences.