Research and Projects

 

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking efforts and applications aim at designing and developing educational products and learning environments to promote higher order thinking skills. Instructional efforts include mobile applications and VR games for school children to help them develop habits of mind that include inquiry and reasoning skills. The notion is to help learners develop principled and sustained inquiry and critical thinking skills that range from noticing and explaining unusual things, evaluating alternative explanations, and reflecting on problem solving processes.  Currently, two educational efforts are in progress: (a) a critical thinking mobile application called “SmarThink”, and (b) a VR game based on an essay entitled “A Game of India” aimed at supporting hypothesis formation and testing skills. Under the leadership of Prof. Spector, we have built cooperation with several companies and educational institutes around the world,  including NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited in China, East China Normal University’s Educational Science Faculty, Beijing Normal University’s Smart Learning Institute, and the India Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

Media Multitasking

Media Multitasking

We have conducted a series of experiments investigating relationships of media multitasking to learning engagement, in-depth learning, media content, students’ subject matter expertise, learning habits, goals, note-taking abilities and various technology-enhanced or technology-immersive environments.

Language Learning and Artificial Reality

Language Learning and Artificial Reality

Computer-mediated reality such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) interfaces have shown the potential to enhance language learning. AR and VR combine physical and virtual worlds to form an artificial reality and leveraging the advantages of both. AR technology allows the virtual objects (augmented components) to be overlaid into the real world so that user experience can be elevated, where VR technology brings the reality experience into a virtual environment with the help of VR devices such as VR glasses. This project adopts the Design-Based Implementation Research (DBIR) methodology to build the artifacts with AR and VR technology and it involves teachers during the design process and reflection to improve the system and pedagogical design. Through the process, the teachers will improve their digital literacy and form a good community of practice in language education with e-learning practical experience.

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning

K-12 educators are being called on to support students in developing collaboration skills. Working as a team, Dr. Cathleen Norris and Dr. Elliot Soloway have developed a suite of “Collabrify” productivity tools for mobile devices and across platforms. These new tools provide technological scaffolding for curriculum development and synchronous collaborations in the K-12 classrooms: http://www.imlc.io/

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

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STEM Learning and Computational Thinking

STEM Learning and Computational Thinking

Computational Thinking (CT) is an essential skill for students, just as reading, writing, and arithmetic competencies are. CT is a way to think and act, via skills such as decomposition, abstraction, generalization, algorithmic design, debugging, and iteration. Block-based programming environments such as App Inventor and Scratch can help young learners to cultivate CT during programming activities by dragging and dropping blocks while focusing on the problem solving processes. Brennan and Resnick (2012) proposed a framework that conceptualized CT with three dimensions. Our research team focuses on improving K12 students' CT skills.

MOOCs

MOOCs

Through a series of projects, we examine course designs and ways to improve MOOCs. Such efforts include the instructional design of MOOCs, the design and application of teaching videos in MOOCs, learners’ experience analyses of MOOCs, and learning quality of learners in MOOCs. We also explore micro-credentialing and individual learning paths.

Multimedia Design

Multimedia Design

Through this project, we aim to promote learners’ in-depth learning through optimizing multimedia designs. We look into multimedia designs for different students and in different learning content areas; we use learning analysis to examine different technology-supported environments; and we look for ways to help learners to learn and transfer what they have learned to new situations.

Creativity and Virtual Reality

Creativity and Virtual Reality

Emerging technologies are redefining human work, and workplaces are becoming a hybrid of virtual and physical realities. People learn to be creative in a wide range of areas. Virtual reality allows people to enter in an immersive 3-D environment and provides a new entry point for researchers to study social science issues. Our research team is conducting a series of studies using virtual reality and electroencephalography (EEG) not only as new tools and methods for research, but also as tools to design and assess new ways to best facilitate attention, flow, and creativity.