Doctoral Research Assistant @ the University of Florida.
I am currently a 4th-year doctoral candidate in Educational Technology at the University of Florida. I received my master’s degree in Translation and Interpretation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California. I also completed a certificate program in computer programming at Mission College, Santa Clara. A teacher (with many years of experience in K-12 and undergraduate classrooms both in the U.S. and China), translator and interpreter, and website developer, I have gained from various roles experience that has empowered me to pursue my interests in educational technology. Prior to joining LTEC, I built an educational technology that aimed to support children’s interests in botany as well as to provide college students with a hub for information and learning activities in botany. I also ran a research study that involved elementary students in computational thinking-integrated botany using robotics. My current research interests are computational thinking assessment and understanding students’ CT/CS learning progression K-8.
LTEC Role: Doctoral student (3rd) year in Educational Technology @ the University of Florida; graduate assistant.
Professional Background: I taught high school English for 10 years, from remedial reading to college-level literature and linguistics. I also taught photojournalism for several years and was in charge of the yearbook program.
Author: Feiya Luo
Contributors (names in alphabetical order): John Hampton, Maya Israel, Todd Lash, Ruohan Liu, Michael McKelvey, Wei Yan.
This Spring semester, we piloted a series of Action Fractions lessons with 4th-grade students. During the lessons, students built projects using computational thinking (CT) skills such as decomposition, sequencing, and repetition to solve math projects focused on fractions. As part of the effort to understand students’ thinking during problem solving, we conducted “cognitive interviews,” also known as the think-aloud protocol (TAP), to solicit students’ immediate thoughts and reactions during problem solving. In our case, the purposes were to a) have students verbalize their thinking as they solved the CT+fractions problems, b) identify learning gaps and pitfalls in regard to CT understanding, and c) help us validate the assessment items–i.e. to see if there is any misalignment between students’ actual problem-solving and the item developers’ intention.
The assessment items used in the cognitive interviews were selected from the CT assessments designed to assess student learning after they go through the Action Fractions lessons. To ensure meaningful data collection, the items included multiple-choice, open-ended, and fill-in-the-blank questions that covered all important CT concepts present in the lessons. From a data collection perspective, no True or False questions were selected, since they would not provide as much rich data compared to the other question formats used.
Each year, this showcase features innovative projects aimed at improving STEM learning and teaching, which have been funded by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies. During the week-long event, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and members of the public are invited to view the short videos, discuss them with the presenters online, and vote for their favorites.
The theme for this year’s event is “Innovations in STEM Education.” Video presentations address improving K-12 STEM classroom, informal environments, undergraduate and graduate education, teacher professional development, and community engagement. Collectively the presentations cover a broad range of topics including science, mathematics, computer science, engineering, cyberlearning, citizen science, maker spaces, broadening participation, research experiences, mentoring, professional development, NGSS and the Common Core.
This year our video submission focused on our progression from developing Learning Trajectories (LTs) to using them to design a curriculum as a vehicle for research about integrating Math + CT instruction. Action Fractions is a 3rd and 4th grade integrated curriculum that builds fractions knowledge and CS/CT skills through approximately 12 hours of instruction in each year. We describe our motivation, our curriculum, and how we will use the development and deployment of our curriculum to further research in Math + CT integration.
We encourage everyone – from researchers to policy-makers to teachers to interested community members – to visit the video showcase, join the discussion, and vote for our video by sharing it on social media!