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What we are working on

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How can we design data visualizations to help teachers improve on their daily practice? In this project, we developed a data visualization platform called Edsight that is being used in NICs and RPPs across the country. Our research team is interested in exploring how the design of dashboards, within the context of these improvement efforts, relates to how teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders can better use data to better understand students and make pedagogical decisions.

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Along with colleagues at NYU and CUNY, we are designing AI chatbots that can help augment the college advising needs of low-income students in the summer between high school graduation and enrollment. We’re exploring whether AI-based chatbots might help mitigate summer melt – where students decide not to enroll in college.

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In this project, we work alongside families from the Santa Ana Early Learning Initiative (SAELI) to co-design a mobile application that accompanies our Playful Learning Landscapes initiatives in the city of Santa Ana, CA. The City STEM Learning mobile app will allow families to explore a hidden, virtual city we created within Santa Ana called Bizumia. Our goal is for families to experience playful learning landscapes anywhere they go! 

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In this project, we support the Connected Learning Lab/Gates Foundation Equitable Futures Innovation Network. The broader project is focused on understanding how youth develop deeper identities toward career pathways. Our role in the project is to evaluate the local work of the network of youth-centered organizations, and also to develop practical measures for the field, that better capture aspects of youths’ developing identities that can inform improved practices for youth programs.

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Collaborating with PIs Andres Bustamante, Drew Bailey, Katherine Rhodes, and Lindsey Richland, we are studying the design of FractionBall, which are a series of games that can be played on schoolyard basketball courts that are specially painted to promote learning about fractions. Our role is to lead the participatory design agenda to better refine Fractionball, develop connections to school-based curricular and pedagogy, and study the adaptions needed to better implement Fractionball in K-12 schools. This DBIR project is a partnership with the Santa Ana Unified School District.

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The Prosocial Learning Project brings together a collaborative research group that explores the ways that intervention programs can strengthen social and emotional skills in older adolescents and young adults. This project involves designing, implementing and evaluating an intervention program. Moreover, this study involves learning about stakeholders, commonly faced issues, and possible solutions to promoting social-emotional skills. Ultimately this project aims to further research interventions that highlight the strengths of underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities and move away from research focused on negative pathology.

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AREPA (Anti-Racist Education Partners for Action) is a network of Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) groups in Southern California across UCI and UCLA. Starting with funding from the WT Grant Foundation, AREPA focuses on partnering with educators and examining how to utilize the latest research about anti-racism to make positive changes in local schools.

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Through a number of programs, and with the support of the Chan- Zuckerberg Initiative, this project aims to help students develop more holistic learning experiences, support student agency, and develop a deeper understanding of how what they are learning in school connects to issues they care about in their lives.

Our past projects

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With funding from a 2-year Spencer Foundation grant for research-practice partnerships, your lab led a partnership with local agencies, school districts, and schools to understand the needs of educators who support housing insecure youth across Orange County. We’re developed tools and re-imagined the work we do within our systems to improve our support of youth.

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In this design-based research project, we studied how to help kids develop dispositions towards science through such social media participation. We co-designed a social media tool to allow children to capture their everyday life like they would in tools like Instagram, but in the process view the world through a lens of scientific inquiry. We also designed public interactive displays, to encourage neighborhoods to engage in joint science inquiry.

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Building Multi-Level Alignment in Local CS4All Implementation for Sustainability. We developed an RPP with the CS4All Consortium, and a network of rural school districts in New York State. We piloted a series of design and planning workshops, practical measures so educators can track their CS-EDU implementation alignment, and created a toolkit for other districts to leverage for their own implementations.

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In this project, we partnered with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop to conduct a national study to better understand how parents and youth educators help connect learning across the settings of children’s lives; particularly in the early childhood years. We explored the opportunities to bridge learning across settings, the obstacles that different families face, and the role that technology could play in facilitating richer ecosystems of learning for children.

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In this project, we collaborated with the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) to explore how we can design and leverage open education platforms to help learners build their own experiences. We prepared P2PU data for open sharing in the research community, and using quantitative models we explored how the online community developed and evolved as peers collaborated in creating open education courses.

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We led a Researcher-Practitioner Partnership with the Washington DC Public School system to examine their blended-learning reform initiative. We examined data from the district’s video game and other software platforms to examine relationships to student achievement using various learning analytics and regression methodologies.

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Partnerships and Community Development for Informal Learning Opportunities. We partnered with 8 informal learning organizations around the country that are recognized for infusing digital media to enrich learning opportunities. Our project documented best practices for expanding digital learning for youth with a particular emphasis on the importance of connecting digital tools to impactful community projects that provide youth with agency to positively improve their own worlds.

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With Dr. Derek Hansen and Dr. Kari Kraus, our team developed two large-scale, Alternate Reality Games, that were designed to engage under-represented teenagers in STEM learning. One game called DUST was in partnership with the Smithsonian Museum and a second called the Tessera was in partnership with the Computer History Museum. We explored how the design of these large-scale, collaborative experiences push our thinking about informal science education.

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In the Sci-Dentity project, we designed and studied an after-school program in Washington DC public middle schools, where learners used new media projects and science fiction to explore the relevance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in everyday life. This design-based research project examined how new models of learning like interest-driven, connected learning work (and sometimes don’t work) for under-represented, urban youth as they work to develop identities that integrate STEM.

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