Saturday Academy Summer classes start soon! Visit The Saturday Academy Site for more information about the classes or download the flier and signup sheet.
Some of our observational research has involved teaching at-risk
middle school students in Pittsburgh to use the Alice programming system
to create interactive, 3D stories.
Also, available to a wider group of Pennsylvania students,
the Pennsylvania Governor's School for Information Technology held at
Penn State each summer has several upcoming hands-on experiences for students
(including character development in game environments), in conjunction
with surveys and interviews for informal evaluation.
At Oregon State University through the Department of Science and Mathematics
Education, we have been offering a series of summer professional development
coursework for K-12 and community college mathematics teachers who are
teaching mathematics with spreadsheets. During these courses, we involve
K-12 teachers in both the use and the development of a curriculum that
includes teaching about the spreadsheet while teaching mathematics.
Using evolving prototypes developed by EUSES reseachers,
teachers experiment with their curricular ideas by developing
exercises and plans for students. The teachers have a chance to
try out their innovations with interested Saturday Academy
middle-school and high-school students who are attending summer
activities. The teachers ultimately take their best ideas back to their classrooms to
incorporate into their teaching of mathematics.
Following the summer coursework, science and mathematics educators will
follow the curriculum and instruction that teachers implement in their
individual schools and classes. More details about this professional
development opportunity can be found in the
Education Links section.
In conjunction with that series, Saturday Academy is offering accompanying
sessions for high school students who join teachers who have been learning
in the summer courses. Students are identified through an announcement
to all area middle and high schools.
In preparation for the summer work with teachers and students, a two-Saturday
experience will be offered where high school students work with the
computer science researchers and the science and mathematics education
researchers use the research prototypes to explore spreadsheets that
have been seeded with errors. The recruitment advertisement encourages
students to become computer science investigators:
CSI: Computer Spreadsheet Investigators
Why do spreadsheets give us answers that don't make sense? Why don't
spreadsheets solve the problem we want them to? Errors are hard to find
and we don't know where to start looking for them. We need detectives
who are willing to work with new prototype software tools designed to
help spreadsheets users figure out what mistakes are made. In this class
you will use spreadsheets to solve math problems and hand-in-hand with
a team of computer scientists and math educators, you will investigate
different spreadsheets designed to solve specific math problems. Some
prior experience working with Excel spreadsheets is preferable.
High-school Research Assistant
Last summer we involved the first of several high-school student research
assistants in our research. The student who was selected is an outstanding
female student from a rural area of Oregon. She worked on empirical
aspects of our research. One goal of involving high-school research
assistants is to interest them (especially members of underrepresented
groups or rural students) in computer science research as a future career
Two more high school students will be selected this summer to work
with two computer science professors and their graduate students
Presentations to K-12 Students
We will be presenting some of our results during the Mid-Summer
Conference held at OSU on July 22-23, 2005 for high school students (from
around the state of Oregon and southern Washington) who are in the eight-week
Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) Program. Researchers
involved in the grant will give brief presentations to acquaint high school
students with the need for the research and the results to this point.
(The ASE Program was the recipient of an NSF grant in the early 90s and
is definitely a success story for NSF sustainability.)
Outreach to K-12 Education Professionals
Presentations to national mathematics conferences have focused
on using spreadsheets to learn mathematics. One presentation was made
to the Association for Mathematics Teacher Educators' annual conference
in January, a second will be to the National Council of Teacher of Mathematics
annual conference in April, and a third spreadsheet workshop will be presented
at the National Education Computer Conference in Philadelphia in June.
All of these sessions focus on helping teachers redesign their mathematics
curriculum that includes the spreadsheet as a tool. In particular teachers
explore ways to scaffold student learning of mathematics with spreadsheets
in a way that the spreadsheets are reliable and maintain their quality
when changes are made to consider problem extensions.