Opportunities for Teachers
Summer, 2003, and Academic Year 2003-2004
The Learning by Design group in Georgia Tech's College of Computing is seeking teacher collaborators for piloting and field testing on three projects. SDU's and stipends are available to teachers who participate fully. Each project involves summer training and a commitment to use our materials during the 2003-2004 school year and to allow us to collect data as materials are being used. We welcome teachers who wish to make longer-term commitments. All projects are funded by the National Science Foundation, and we have received approval from GA Tech's Internal Review Board to ask teachers and students to participate.
Software Support for Project-Based Inquiry Learning: Our SMILE software is designed to provide scaffolding for planning and reporting activities as students are learning through project-based inquiry, supplementing the help provided by the teacher for such things as designing investigations, interpreting data, making connections between science and project activities, planning project solutions, and testing and refining project solutions. We're seeking middle-school and high-school science and social studies teachers who will integrate its use into at least two of three project-based inquiry units they will run during the school year. The summer session will be one week long and will be held during the week of July 14 or July 21. Participants will learn to use the software and spend time along with our staff and master teachers planning its use in their classrooms. Teachers will use the software with project-based inquiry units they are already using.
Piloting and field testing Learning by Design and other project-based inquiry science units: Our Learning by Design units use design challenges as the basis for a project-based inquiry approach to science learning in middle school. We have developed approximately one-half year each of physical and earth science units, adaptable for 6th to 8th grades. We seek teachers to test the 6th-grade versions of our physical science units (on experimental methodology and motion and forces) and the 6th and 8th grade versions of our earth science units (covering modeling methodology, earth's surface processes, geology, and underground water). The summer sessions for learning these units will each be two weeks long. They will be held from June 18 to July 1 and from July 1 to 16. (One will be devoted to earth science and one to physical science; we do not know yet which will be which.) Participants will learn to facilitate project-based inquiry science, focusing especially on learning from design challenges; will learn LBD units, including the science, scientific reasoning, and pedagogical principles behind them; and will practice with middle-school students attending science summer camp at Georgia Tech. Participants should commit to running the LBD units in their classrooms during fall semester, 2003, and to allowing us to collect pre and post-test data, observe, and interview you about your implementation. Participants who wish to continue during Spring, 2004, will have the opportunity to pilot an astronomy unit currently under development. Participants who wish to continue during 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 will have the opportunity to enact units developed at University of Michigan and Northwestern University. Georgia Tech is working with these two universities to publish a technology-infused comprehensive 3-year project-based inquiry middle-school science curriculum.
Understanding how learning develops in project-based inquiry settings: Learning by Design units are designed based on the best of what research currently tells us about promoting deep and lasting learning. Our research group is interested in adding to the literature on such learning by closely examining the learning that is taking place among several students in the classrooms of masterful teachers who are enacting Learning by Design as intended in our design. We are seeking 8th-grade earth science and physical science teachers who will work with us over a two-year period to help us achieve this goal. These teachers will attend the two-week summer workshop listed in the previous paragraph, will enact LBD units in their classrooms, working with us to adapt them as needed for deeper learning, and will allow us into their classrooms several days a week to video, collect data from, and interview a subset of their students. These teachers may also participate in all the ways listed above - integrating software into their classrooms (usually in their second year with us) and using Michigan and Northwestern materials as well as those from Georgia Tech as they become available.
To find more information on Learning by Design, see http://www.cc.gatech.edu/projects/lbd/home.html. To see a typical screenshot of SMILE, see http://www.cc.gatech.edu/projects/lbd/software.html. Try SMILE at http://220.127.116.11:8080/smile2/Login.jsp?periodId=1&Submit=Submit&sessionId=1 (but it may be hard to navigate without instructions).
To apply or ask questions, get in touch with Janet Kolodner, 404-894-3285, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let her know which program you'd like to participate in and what dates you are available of those listed for that program.
Note that all LBD curriculum materials are correlated with the Georgia QCC's; however, our focus on deep and lasting learning means that LBD curriculum materials focus deeply on a small set of topics over a relatively long period of time, allocating more time for those topics than would be typical if all QCC's were to be covered. It will be important for participating teachers to clear this with their principals and science coordinators.