My work involves working with K-16 educators to embed active learning and computing ideas in the classroom. Along this line of research, I have focused on two areas: (a) problem-based learning in undergraduate curriculum in engineering and teacher preparation; and (b) preparing K-12 teachers to use computing ideas and technologies in their classrooms. My research has been funded by a number of extramural grants from National Science Foundation and Institute of Educational Sciences as well as a number of internally funded projects. Below are some of the recently funded research projects.
SELECT FUNDED PROJECTS
CaBIE (Case Based Instruction in Engineering). Funded by National Science Foundation, $101,102 (Total Award:$149,986), 2015-2017, PI. The goal of this collaborative project with UC-Merced is to use case studies to introduce design thinking to first-generation and underrepresented students to help them transition from classroom and lab-based learning to engineering capstone design and ultimately to their careers in engineering fields. In this project, we will (a) develop a library of case studies that use the designing thinking to expand the engineering students’ view of problem formulation, and solution development, and (b) evaluate the effectiveness of case-based instruction in developing design thinking behavior for a diverse student population.
PD4CS (Professional Development for Computer Science). Funded by National Science Foundation, $1,152,669, 2013-2016, PI. The goal of project PD4CS is to establish an evidence-based professional development (PD) program to improve teachers’ knowledge to teach computer science, with a special focus on the effective training of teachers having limited computer science background. The project team will (i) develop and implement a high-quality professional development approach that incorporates face-to-face training coupled with continuous online just-in-time support at a large-scale; and (ii) assess the effectiveness of that professional development at improving teachers’ knowledge and skills for teaching computer science.
Professorial Advancement Initiative (PAI). Funded by National Science Foundation, $299,740 (Total award $1,417,500), 2013-2017, Co-PI. The goal of the collaborative project with Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is to develop a high-quality mentoring network that will improve the transition of postdoctoral scholars into the professoriate in the STEM disciplines and double the number of URM faculty members hired at CIC institutions.
CS4EDU: Computer Science for Education (CS4EDU). Funded by National Science Foundation, $871,456, 2009-2014, Co-PI. This project created new pathways for undergraduate education majors to become computationally educated secondary teachers. It includes a joint effort between faculty in the departments of computer science and education to create a Computer Science Endorsement program based on the Educational Computing Standards set by the International Society for Technology in Education. In addition, computational thinking was integrated into existing education courses to highlight the pervasiveness of computational metaphors in topics like reasoning, knowledge construction, and problem solving.
Classroom Links to Words and Sounds. Funded by Institute of Educational Sciences, $1,738,508, 2007-2010, Co-PI. The purpose of project was to develop and pilot test case-based hypermedia combined with individualized coaching of teachers to significantly improve pre-kindergarten teachers’ use of effective instruction to promote children’s vocabulary and phonological sensitivity.