April 2021 Newsletter

The Conferences Issue: Getting the Word Out

April was the month of conferences for the Careers in Play team.  We had two papers in a symposium we organized for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and a poster in the Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK-21) Conference.

American Educational Research Association Conference

We organized a symposium where we brought together national and international researchers to present their research on textual practices designed or analyzed through the theoretical lens of Productive Disciplinary Engagement (PDE)PDE has most often been used with spoken discourse.  In our project, we are using PDE with written documents, including workplace texts common to STEM fields.

The symposium was part of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference.  AERA has a membership of 25000 American and international researchers, teachers, students, administrators, organizations.  The association was formed over 100 years ago and is the largest educational conference. 

Figure 1 - Symposium Presenters at AERA

Figure 1 – Symposium Presenters at AERA

Dr.  Daniel Hickey opened the symposium with a systematic review on PDE and texts.  Next, Dr.  Susan De La Paz from the University of Maryland presented on the use of a cognitive apprenticeship to promote PDE among middle school students who independently wrote argumentative essays after engaging in science experiments and whole class discussion.  Our third presenter, Dr.  Ananya Matewors from St.  Norbert College discussed a middle school earth and environmental science intervention using PDE as a design principle and analyzed the importance of affective components as students co-construct knowledge and reason in classrooms.  Then Dr.  Yann Shiou Ong, from the National Institute of Education, Singapore presented her study on a middle school science inquiry course designed and analyzed using PDE principles where students produced scientific texts and critiqued each other’s work.  Lastly, Dr.  Phil Piety from the University of Maryland described the textual ecology that will be employed to promote productive disciplinary engagement in the PCS’s disaster response module. Dr.  Richard Duschl, Executive Director of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, served as the discussant and gave astute remarks about the research presented.

Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference

The Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference followed on the heels of AERA.  An interdisciplinary group of graduate students from the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering, iSchool, and the College of Education presented different types of visualizations that would provide students feedback, practitioners insight, and researchers patterns on student performance on collaborative reading and writing tasks. 

325_Developing Effective Visualizations

Figure 2 – Poster Presented at LAK by Anisha Singh, Chenxi Liu, Revati Naik, and Phil Piety.

This year was the largest LAK gathering so far.  Organized by the Society for Learning Analytics Research, the first LAK conference was held in the year 2011.  The conference brings together researchers who are at the intersection of educational research, statistical analysis, and human-centered design and was a great venue to showcase some of the advances we have made with learning analytics using the Google docs API.

Figure 3 - Virtual Poster Presentation at LAK

Figure 3 – Virtual Poster Presentation at LAK

Team Member Spotlight: Anisha Singh

Anisha is a Ph.D.  candidate in Educational Psychology in the College of Education, University of Maryland.  Her primary research interest is learning with different types of texts.  She has been part of the CiP team for a year now and has worked on disaster response game design, developing caselets, and is currently devoting time to developing the curricular material for the disaster response module. 

In her free time, Anisha loves to read books, play board games, and visit museums.  This summer, Anisha and her partner will be welcoming a new baby.

Anisha Singh

Figure 4 – Anisha Singh

Careers In Play Leadership Team

Phil Piety, PhD. University of Maryland iSchool (PI and Learning Analytics). ppiety@umd.edu

Beth Bonsignore  PhD. University of Maryland iSchool (Co-PI and Design-based Research), ebonsign@umd.edu

Derek Hansen, PhD.Brigham Young University (Co-PI and Game Technology). dlhansen@byu.edu

Dan Hickey, PhD. Indiana University School of Education (Co-PI, Learning Theory and Assessments). dthickey@umd.edu


logos of three institutions

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