Eric.ed.gov – Evaluation of Learning by Making i3 Project: STEM Success for Rural Schools

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The Learning by Making (LbyM) project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund (i3). As a five-year development project (2014-2018), Sonoma State University (SSU), in partnership with high-need schools and districts, has been developing an innovative, integrated high school Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum. The curriculum consists of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) in earth science and biology as described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013) and utilizes an easy-to-use Logo programming language that conducts data transfer and network communications in support of student-designed investigations. The purpose of this study is to understand how LbyM is implemented in high school classrooms in rural environments, to observe the influences of this curriculum on student learning and engagement, and to explore how teachers’ instructional practices and technological capacities evolve while using the curriculum. The study used a quasi-experimental design. One hundred thirty-seven students were recruited to enroll in eight LbyM STEM classes in six participating high schools. Three of the participating high schools are small schools, and it is not possible to find comparison students from these small schools. Therefore, all comparison students were recruited from the larger schools, with a total of 141 comparison students from six classrooms in three out of six participating high schools. The results from the study indicated that the LbyM curriculum that was developed by SSU helped teachers integrate NGSS and project-based learning into classroom instruction. Teachers reported spending more instructional time supporting students to collect, organize, display, and present data. Students were highly engaged with the LbyM curriculum and demonstrated increased confidence and problem solving stamina. Teachers reported that some students who typically struggle to participate in class exhibited higher levels of participation in LbyM and even demonstrated leadership. They also reported that some students with special needs, while still requiring extra attention, remained engaged with the curriculum and were even quicker to complete certain activities than the other students. The LbyM curriculum was positively associated with significant gains in students’ science content knowledge. It helped low-achieving students improve math understanding.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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